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JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post

WWI--Doggie photo detail029

Many years ago in D.C. I bought part of the estate library of Parmelee C. Daniels–the books had been passed down to the next generation, and after their passing some of those books came into my bookstore. Among them was this wonderful photograph, made by P.V. Reyes of Avalon California in 1923. But it wasn't until tonight that I could easily put together the history of the image. (And when I said "small mystery solved" I meant that it was a small mystery to me–no doubt there will be many others who will identify this instrument on first light).

I found that the photograph was made during the 1923 Solar Eclipse Expedition to Santa Catalina Island at Camp Wrigley, and was attended by Daniels and a host of the Big Names of astronomy of the 19-teens and 'twenties. Daniels was a professor at Drake University in Des Moines, and the school's telescope was packed up and made the trip to the Pacific. I do believe that this is the 8.5-inch refractor that was the gift to the school of General Drake in 1893, although I could be wrong.

Here's the image of the telescope (with Daniels standing on the box, President of Drake University and astronomy professor Dr. Morehouse, and Prof. Edwin B. Frost. The image comes from the University of Chicago:

Drake telescope
[PC Daniels photo on the solar eclipse expedition of 1923 via the University of Chicago,]

And so the story of this photograph gained some life tonight by me simply plumbing the intertubes for information. Unfortunately I do not know the identity of the boy in the sailor's suit.

I received the following information on the telescope, generously supplied by Bart Fried of the Antique Telescope Society:

8 1/4" Brashear/Warner&Swasey refractor, 1894. (Curiously, in a
dedicatory article in the 1922 issue of "Popular Astronomy" it is
described by the chief astronomer at Drake University, Daniel Morehouse
as a 9" telescope). According to Kirby-Smith (U.S. Observatories, Van
Nostrand Reinhold), it has an interchangeable front flint element for
visual or photographic work, and has a 5" doublet Brashear camera and a
polarizing solar eyepiece. Possibly also, a filar micrometer and a

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JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post [Part of the series of World War I Photographs]

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This image shows one of the happy moments during the First World War–rather, a happy moment right before the end of the war, just a few days after the Armistice (11-11-1918, on the 11th minute of the 11th hour). The image shows the British army being welcomed into the city of Lille on October 17, 1918–the city had been occupied by the Germans right at the beginning of the war in the middle of October, 1914, and was severely punished for a deception perpetrated in its defense, with the German army burning down an entire section of the ancient city in revenge.

WWI Brit Soldier reception001
The picture was published on 15 November 1918, a few days after the end of the war. In the detail of this photo is revealed a small and unexpected kindness:

WWI Brit Soldier reception002

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JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post

A bit of calm, or at least a bit of a place that could not be reached by shells or bullets, was found bellow ground in the cellars of Douaumont Fort, in Verdun. These images were made at the very end of 1916, and published in The Illustrated London News for 13 January 1917. These images show another side of that battle, of soldiers meeting for religious services and for medical attention in the cellars ("…the subterranean, vaulted, stone-built casements, deep underground beyond possibility of penetration by the heaviest bomb") of one of the barrier-forts surrounding Verdun, Douaumont.

WWI Religion underground 2 992

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JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post

This image stabbed me right in the eyeball. It popped out while I was grazing in a heavy lap-busting volume of The Illustrated London News for 26 March 1949–the yearly volume resists being held in just one hand. Anyway it was first a photo of new tanks in an American cavalry regiment; beneath that, though, was this image:

Negro troops980

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JF Ptak Science Books Quick Books

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The following images were made by Farm Security Administration/Office of
War Information photographers during World War II and are part of the
famous FSA photography series that I have written about here.
The color photographs–which were made in the first decade or so of
the use of this new medium–represented only about 1,600 of the
collection of 160,000 images in the FSA archive, and are far less known
than their black-and-white complements, many of which are new iconic
symbols for this period. The color images are beautiful works, and
somehow seem to bring these historic images a little closer to the

[Source: the Library of Congress,]Fsa color negro juke

Negro migratory workers by a "juke joint" (?), Belle Glade, Fla.

Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990, photographer.

Fsa negro color juke 2
Living quarters and "juke joint" for migratory workers, a slack season; Belle Glade, Fla. Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990, photographer.

Image, Source: digital file from original slide

A cross roads store, bar, "juke joint," and gas station in the cotton plantation area, Melrose, La.

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

General store, Chacon, N[ew] Mex[ico] Collier, John, 1913-1992, photographer.

Fsa color general store 3

General store, near Questa, Taos County, N[ew] Mex[ico]

Collier, John, 1913-1992, photographer.

Fsa color pie town

General Merchandise store, Main Street, Pie Town, New Mexico

Lee, Russell, 1903-1986, photographer.

Fsa color plumbing store

Brockton, Mass., Dec. 1940, second-hand plumbing store Delano, Jack, photographer.

Fsa color stores natchez
Natchez, Miss. Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990, photographer.

Fsa color store natchez 2
Natchez, Miss. Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990, photographer.

Natchez, Miss.

Natchez, Miss.

A cross roads store, bar, "juke joint," and gas station in the cotton plantation area, Melrose, La.

[Grand Grocery Co.], Lincoln, Neb.

A store with live fish for sale, vicinity of Natchitoches, La.

JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post Part of the Zoomology series

From the photography collection at the Library of Congress, offering deep and big graphic files. The file photograph looked interesting, but on closer inspection the magnificent central figure is revealed:

Negro chain gang detail middleedited-1
"Chain gang of convicts engaged in road work. Pitt County, North
Carolina. Autumn 1910. The inmates were quartered in the wagons shown in
the picture. Wagons were equipped with bunks and move from place to
place as labor is utilized. The central figure in the picture is J.Z.
McLawhon, who was at that time county superintendent of chain gangs. The
dogs are bloodhounds used for running down any attempted escapes."

The full image:


Negro chain gang detail middle right

Negro chain gang detail far right dited-1

JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post

This is a continuation of sort of this morning's post, "Massive 500-Daguerreotype Mosaic", though this one concentrates on the sumptuous ruination and decay that has occurred within and to some of these photographic images. I've looked closely at only five of these images, and within each of these five images there are five more. And, if you manipulated the largest downloadable file of these (which range up to about 150 megs), there are five more within the five within the five. And all that before you start to imagine the artistic fantasies int he non-representational forms, and that before adding color. So five is all that will be here, for the present.

Ruination old dags detail 1

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