Theodore Roosevelt jumping, 1902

Rear view of an action photograph unusual for the time.

As one of history’s most active presidents came on the stage, photography raced to catch up with him.  This rather extraordinary photograph from 1902 shows Teddy Roosevelt, then president, jumping his horse over a split-rail fence.  Such beautifully crisp shots of objects in motion were exceedingly rare at that date. Continue reading

Who will climb to the top of the GOP heap?

The GOP heap (photomontage), © 2015 Susan Barsy
My take on the declared Republican presidential candidates.  They are listed in reverse order, from least to most likely to rise to the top of the heap.  Those in red I consider to have no chance of winning. Continue reading


Inaugurating the Glorious Fourth (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

“Inaugurating the Glorious Fourth,” C. S. Reinhart after a sketch by H. N . Cady” (July 1878).

Boys loading and firing pistols, blowing horns, and setting off firecrackers on the Fourth of July.

Image from this source.

He chose neither the nation nor the time

Boy in sailor uniform with flag-draped portrait of President McKinley (Courtesy of the Library of Congress).
He was born into the United States and, being but a boy, had little choice when his mother chose to dress him in a sailor uniform, cart him off to a photographer’s, and have him pose with a sword before a large flag-draped portrait of William McKinley (who must have been his mother’s political hero). Continue reading

Mending the flag

Fort McHenry flag (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)
EVERY FOURTH OF JULY, my head is filled with an unruly melange of memories: bits and pieces of our history, recalling the brilliant beings who charted a treacherous course away from kingly rule toward liberty, and the many subsequent Independence Day celebrations when orations, rather than fireworks and explosions, were the order of the day. Continue reading

American ancestry and identification mapped

Ethnic map of US from the UK's Daily Mail

This map shows the predominant ancestry of every county in the country, based on data gathered in the 2000 US census.  As a measure of the prevalence and persistence of ancestral identification, the map is fascinating and surprising.

Many of us are invisible on this map: we are minorities within majorities.  In that sense, the map hides diversity rather than exposing it, but, even so, the level of diversity and homogeneity within the states is striking. Continue reading


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