June 30 1840: Journal Entry, Henry David Thoreau

I sailed from Fair Haven last evening as gently and steadily as the sail through the atmosphere. The wind blowing blithely from the southwest fields, stepped into the folds of our sails like a horse, pulling with a strong and steady impulse. The sail bends gently to the breeze as swells some generous impulse of the heart, and anon flutters and flaps with a kind of human suspense. I could watch the motions of a sail forever, they are so rich and full of meaning. I watch the play of its pulse as if it were my own blood beating there. The varying temperature of different atmospheres is graduated on its scale. It is a free buoyant creature, the bauble of the heavens and the earth. A gay pastime the air plays with it. If it swells and tugs, it is because the sun lays his windy finger on it. The breeze it plays with has been out doors so long, so thin is it, and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least serviceable. So am I blown by God’s breath, so flutter and flap, and fill gently out with the breeze.

In this fresh evening, each blade and leaf looks as if it had been dipped in an icy liquid greenness. Let eyes that ache come here and look, the sight will be a sovereign eye water, or else wait and bathe them in the dark.

We go forth into the fields, and there the wind blows freshly onward, and still on, and we must make new efforts not to be left behind. What does the dogged wind intend, that like a wilful cur it will not let me to turn aside to rest or content? Must it always reprove and provoke me, and never welcome me as an equal?

The truth shall prevail and falsehood discover itself as long as the wind blows on the hills.

A man’s life should be a stately march to a sweet but unheard music, and when to his fellows it shall seem irregular and inharmfairhavenonious, he will only be stepping to a livelier measure or his nicer ear hurry him into a thousand symphonies and concordant variations. There will be no halt ever, but at most a marching on his post, or such a pause as is richer than any sound, when the melody runs into such depth and wildness as to be no longer heard, but implicitly consented to with the whole life and being. He will take a false step never, even in the most arduous times, for the music will not fail to swell into greater sweetness and volume, and itself rule the movement it inspired.

Value and effort are as much coincident as weight and a tendency to fall. In a very wide but true sense, effort is the deed itself, and it is only when these sensible stuffs intervene, that our attention is distracted from the deed to the accident. It is never the deed men praise, but some marble or canvas which are only a staging to the real work.

June 27, 1874: Second Battle of Adobe Walls

Chief Quanah Parker was ambivalent about the whites, as he was half-Anglo himself.

His father was the warrior Peta Nocona, but his mother was Cynthia Ann Parker, who had been captured and adopted by the Comanches at age nine, after they massacred her family. She had been “rescued” by the Texas Rangers a few years back, but had tried to escape and return to her husband and children. Heartbroken over her separation, she had died of influenza in 1871.

Quanah could see that buffalo hunting was becoming big business in the Texas Panhandle in the 1870’s. A group of merchants from Dodge City, Kansas moved south to establish a store near the ruins of the old Fort Adobe to cater to the influx of buffalo hunters. In April, 1874 a second store opened, and shortly afterwards, a saloon and a blacksmith shop. By the end of spring, 200 to 300 buffalo hunters were roaming the area, and trade at Adobe Walls was booming.

The Native Americans in the area were terrified by the threat that illegal hunting and the settlement posed to their existence. In the spring, they held a Sun Dance where Comanche medicine man, Isa-tai, foretold a victory to the warriors who would rid the Panhandle of the buffalo hunters. Early in the morning of June 27, 1874, Quanah Parker rallied 700 Comanche, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Arapaho warriors, and attacked the buffalo camp.

The hunters took refuge in two stores and a saloon. The post held only 28 men (including Bat Masterson and Billy Dixon) but Isa-tai’s prophecy proved to be an illusion. Despite being dramatically outnumbered, the hunters’ high-powered rifles repelled the assault. After four days of battle, reinforcements arrived and the Indians were forced to retreat. As many as 70 Indians had been killed and many others, including Parker, were wounded.

The Battle of Adobe Walls was a crushing spiritual defeat for the Southern Plains tribes. Chief Quanah Parker understood that further resistance would lead to annihilation, and he counseled his people to lay down their arms and “take the white man’s road.”

He became a farmer. He also learned about peyote, after being gored by a bull and surviving with the help of a strong peyote tea given to him by a healer who showed him how to properly pray with peyote. He became an early, influential leader in the Native American Church. He was elected president of his local school board, and appointed a judge in the Court of Indian Offenses. He hunted wolves with Teddy Roosevelt, traveled numerous times to Washington D.C. to represent the Comanche, became a familiar figure in the halls of Congress, and rode his horse in TR’s inaugural parade.Quanah_Parker_on_horseback

June 26, 1948: Shirley Jackson publishes “The Lottery” in the New Yorker

lottery“Dad and I did not care at all for your story in The New Yorker . . . Why don’t you write something to cheer people up?”

The short story opens in a bucolic New England village, a setting not at all unlike the author’s native North Bennington, VT:

“The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock …”

The locals are in an excited yet nervous mood that late June morning. Children gatherstones as the adult townsfolk assemble for their traditional event, practiced to ensure a good harvest (“Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon”).

The preparations started the night before with Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves making the paper slips and the list of all the families. Once the slips were finished, they were put into a black box, and stored overnight in a safe at the coal company. The next morning the townspeople assemble before 10 a.m. in order to have everything done in time for lunch.

First, the heads of each household draw slips until every household has a slip; Bill Hutchinson gets the one slip with a black spot, meaning that his family has been chosen. The second round is for the family members to draw. For the first round, the men have to be over sixteen years of age, however in the second round everyone is eligible, no matter their age. Bill’s wife Tessie gets the marked slip; after the drawing is over and Tessie is picked, the slips are allowed to fly off into the wind.

The story concludes with its unsettling denouement, as Tessie Hutchinson holds her hands out desperately as the villagers move in on her:

“It isn’t fair,” she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, “Come on, come on, everyone.” Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.

“It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.


June 25 1906: Harry K. Thaw shoots Stanford White

evelyn“Good God, Harry! What have you done?”

Evelyn Nesbit was only 15 when she arrived in New York City in December of 1900 but with her luminous eyes and sensuous lips she became an overnight sensation. She started out as an artist’s model for painters and sculptors; soon she was posing for photographers and magazine illustrators. Within a year Evelyn was singing and dancing in the hit musical “Florodora” and became the talk of the town.

It didn’t take long for Evelyn to be introduced to Stanford White, the leading arbiter of taste of the day. The 47-year-old architect showered the chorus girl with gifts and money, while assuring her mother that his interests were purely wholesome.

One evening “Stanny” ushered Evelyn to his secret 24th Street apartment, and introduced the sixteen-year-old Evelyn to a forest green room illuminated by concealed lighting with “a gorgeous swing with red velvet ropes … set high in the ceiling at one end of the studio.” White said, “Let’s put this little kid in the swing,” and Evelyn jumped on enthusiastically. She would ride the swing again many times, sometimes clothed, and sometimes not.

“Stanny” then escorted her to “the mirror room,” paneled entirely with mirrors. Entranced by her opulent surroundings, Evelyn drank champagne, changed into a yellow silk kimono, and remembered nothing else until she awoke in bed the next morning, her virginity gone.

There were more steamy nights spent on tiger rugs before blazing fires, but before long, Stanford White’s restless appetite moved on to other conquests. Evelyn fell hard for young John Barrymore, but her mother considered his prospects limited. A fantastically wealthy young railroad heir from Pittsburgh by the name of Harry K. Thaw then came into the picture.

Dark-haired and baby-faced, Thaw blamed Stanford White for keeping him out of some of New York’s toniest clubs. He became obsessed over Evelyn, sitting through 40 performances of “The Wild Rose” just to watch her on stage. He proposed multiple times, but she rejected him, knowing she could never marry without admitting her less-than-reputable sexual past. Mad with frustration, he demanded to know why she wouldn’t accept and pried from her every excruciating detail of that night in the mirror room.

Stanford White knew that Thaw was unstable and a cocaine addict, and warned Evelyn to stay away from him, but Evelyn’s thirst for financial stability overcame her. She married Harry on April 4, 1905; they settled in Pittsburgh, and Harry took up as his solemn duty a crusade to expose Stanford White for the ruinous monster that he perceived him to be.

On June 25, 1906, Harry and Evelyn stopped in New York before embarking on a European vacation. They purchased tickets to “Mam’zelle Champaigne,” opening that night at the roof-top theater atop the Madison Square Garden. Before the show, they dined at Cafe Martin a block west of the Garden. There, too, dined none other than Stanford White, and Harry K. Thaw stewed over the sight of his wife’s despoiler.

At 10:55 PM, as the show was concluding, Stanford White finally arrived and took his usual table in the front row. Evelyn, anxious to avoid a scene, tried to pull Harry toward the elevators to leave, but he pulled away and marched straight up to White.

White must have seen Thaw approaching, but he made no move. Thaw placed the pistol almost against the head of the sitting man and fired three shots in quick succession. White’s elbow slid from the table, the table crashed over, sending a glass clinking along with the heavier sound. The body then tumbled from the chair.

June 24, 1966: The Rolling Stones open their American Tour in Lynn, Massachusetts.

stonesAfter a morning press conference aboard a yacht in New York City and a visit with Bob Dylan at a recording studio, the Stones headed to Boston to start their tour with a performance at the Manning Bowl in Lynn, Massachusetts. Tickets were $3 to $5 and a local promoter had staged a Battle of the Bands for and opening act. The Mods, a local band that played CYO dances and high school mixers throughout the South Shore won an opening spot before the McCoys (“Hang on Sloopy”) and the Standells (“Muddy Water”) prepped the crowd for the appearance of the Stones.

A warm rain started to fall, but the 8,000 fans were ready for an historic night. Finally Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg introduced the feature act, and with an adrenaline rush Mick, Keith, Bill, Charlie, and Brian hit the stage and launched into “Not Fade Away.” After ten songs, including “Mother’s Little Helper”. “Get Off of My Cloud”, and “19th Nervous Breakdown”, they launched into “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

The rain started to come down hard, and the fans surged towards the flimsy stage and the police got nervous and fired off tear gas. The Stones jumped into limos and were gone. The crowd was left to fight off the tear gas and throw wooden chairs around the field.

”It was a bit of an outdoor crazy,” Mick Jagger said of that Lynn show. ”It wasn’t well secured. A few people got a bit drunk. There were a few cops and that was the end of it.” Added Keith Richards recently: ”Things got a little blurry in the ’60s. Tear gas, yeah, that was the other continuous smell of the ’60s. I can’t say I miss it.”




June 23, 1917: Babe Ruth is ejected, and Ernie Shore pitches a “Perfect” Game

babeBabe Ruth was the starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, throwing against the Washington Senators in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader. The first pitch he threw against the lead-off batter, Ray Morgan, was called a ball by plate umpire “Brick” Owens. The Babe threw his second pitch over the plate, sure that it was a strike, but Owens again called a ball.

The Babe was miffed, and he let “Brick” know it. He threw again – again it was called a strike. Down 3 and 0 in the count, the Babe gave the ump another piece of his mind, then hurled his fourth pitch right over the plate.

The ump called “Ball Four!” and the Babe charged off the mound and ripped into Owens: ““If you’d go to bed at night, you *!@#$%*, you could keep your eyes open long enough in the daytime to see when a ball goes over the plate!”

Owens politely begged to disagree and told Ruth to shut up and get back to the mound or he’d be thrown out of the game.

“Throw me out and I’ll punch ya right in the jaw!” Ruth replied. Owens jerked his thumb towards the dugout and Ruth responded with his fist, striking a glancing blow behind the ump’s ear and knocking him to the ground. The Boston police emerged from the runway and escorted the Babe off the field.

Ernie Shore was then called out of the dugout to replace Ruth, while catcher Sam Agnew took over behind the plate for Pinch Thomas. Ray Morgan attempted a steal on the first pitch, but Agnew threw him out, and then Shore proceeded to methodically retire the next 26 batters.

All 27 outs were made while Ernie Shore was on the mound. Once recognized as a perfect game by Major League Baseball, it is still counted as a combined no-hitter.

Babe Ruth paid a $100 fine, was suspended for ten games, and made a public apology for his behavior. The Red Sox owner, Harry Frazee, always in a bind for cash, sold Ernie Shore to the New York Yankees at the end of the season, and sold them Babe Ruth as well, two years later.


June 20, 1782: The Great Seal of the United States is officially adopted.

great-sealOn July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson to begin the design process to create a national emblem, the Great Seal of the United States.

Three different committees submitted ideas for this graphic image of America over the next six years, but none were acceptable.

In 1782, Congress turned to Charles Thomson, its trusted Secretary, who kept the minutes of all sessions of Congress and whose journals and files formed the basis for our national archives. Using symbolic elements from all three committees, and adding imagery and mottoes of his own, Thomson created a bold and elegant two-sided design, which he presented as a written description, and Congress approved it that same day.

While graphic realizations of the seal may vary from time to time, the design description remains unchanged.

Remarks and Explanation by Charles Thomson:

• The shield (escutcheon) is composed of thirteen stripes that represent the several states joined into one solid compact, supporting the chief (top section of the shield) which unites the whole and represents Congress. The stripes are kept closely united by the chief and the chief depends upon that union and the strength resulting from it.

• The motto E Pluribus Unum alludes to this union.

• The shield is born on the breast of an American Eagle without any other supporters to denote that the United States of America ought to rely on their own virtue.

• The olive branch and arrows denote the power of peace and war which is exclusively vested in Congress.

• The constellation of thirteen stars denotes a new state taking its place and rank among other sovereign powers.

• The pyramid signifies strength and duration.

• The Eye over it and the motto Annuit Coeptis allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favor of the American cause.

• The date 1776 underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence and the words Novus Ordo Seclorum under it signify the beginning of the new American Era, which commences from that date.

June 19,1864: The USS Kearsarge sinks the CSS Alabama in the Battle of Cherbourg

manetIn June 1864, all France was enthralled by the prospect of a naval skirmish between a Yankee and a Confederate warship off the Normandy coast.

Edouard Manet may or may not have been part of the crowd of spectators that climbed into boats or rushed to cliffs above Cherbourg on the afternoon of June 19, and it is not clear if anyone could see from the land, but, when the guns fell silent, the whole world learned that the ironclad steamship USS Kearsarge had sunk the CSS Alabama in a deadly confrontation.

There hadn’t been a naval engagement in European waters for more
than half a century and the American battle fought off the coast of France was big news. Manet had been familiar with ships and the sea from his teenage years, when he had sailed to Brazil, and looking for quick recognition, he set about creating an “eyewitness” description of an event everyone was talking about. He worked swiftly in his Paris studio from written descriptions, sketches, possibly from photographs, and painted a large square canvas. Less than a month after the battle, the picture was on public display in the window of Alfred Cadart’s art gallery near the Bibliothèque Impériale in Paris.

Viewers on the street in Paris surely sensed what we sense today, that we are standing on the cliffs above Cherbourg looking out over a disturbed sea. Manet’s syncopated strokes of black and aquamarine throw us off balance. Almost seasick from the vertiginous viewpoint and confused by the clouds of cannon smoke, we ask: “Which ship is the Kearsarge? Which the Alabama?”

The little sailboat in the foreground, flying the French tricolor, ploughs through the waves and races to rescue survivors. We go on with our lives, but the smack of a salt breeze, the fresh cold wind in our face, the exhilaration of a boat under full sail, the terror of the deep, travels with us as we proceed on our way.

June 18, 1877: James Montgomery Flagg is born in Pelham Manor, NY

Flagg self-portraitJames Montgomery Flagg sold his first illustration to St. Nicholas Magazine when he was twelve years old. By the age of fourteen he was drawing for the humorous Life Magazine, and two years later he was working for Judge.

In 1893 Flagg attended the Art Students League and then studied in London, but he later recalled: “There are no art teachers. Art cannot be taught. Artists are born that way.”

On his return to the States he married Nellie McCormick, a St. Louis socialite eleven years senior who knew all the richest people in all the big cities. “Here was the beautiful woman who had turned down a number of rich suitors to marry a poor but promising artist who was madly in love with her….”

The couple moved to California, then Florida and Virginia. He attempted to become a society portrait painter, but in 1904 he returned to New York City to concentrate on magazine work. His work appeared in all the major publications, including Scribner’s, McClure’s, Collier’s Weekly, Ladies’ Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Saturday Evening Post and Harper’s Weekly.

In 1903 he began drawing portraits for Photoplay Magazine, and soon found himself involved in dalliances with several Hollywood stars. “Many of those girls were so beautiful; and artists are such fools! If I had this side of life to live over again. I’d again be just such a fool as I was!”

When the United States entered the First World War a group of artists, chaired by Charles Dana Gibson, established the Division of Pictorial Publicity. The group met at Keene’s Chop House in New York to discuss the government’s need for posters. Flagg designed 46 posters, and used his own face as the model for his most iconic work, the Uncle Sam poster with the caption “I Want You”.

James Montgomery Flagg passed away in 1960. Today, he is best remembered for his patriotic self-portrait, but the illustrations he cherished most were his portraits of Hedy LaMarr (“it would be only a blind and deaf man who wouldn’t fall in love with her”), Joan Fontaine (“she has everything”), Greta Garbo (I can think of no woman I would prefer to paint”) and Merle Oberon (“much more beautiful to meet than to see… on the screen”).

1876: Buffalo Calf Road Woman rallies the Cheyenne at the Battle of the Rosebud.

buffalo_calf_road_saving During the Battle of the Rosebud, the Cheyenne and Lakota, allied under the leadership of Crazy Horse, were retreating under the assault of General George Crook’s expeditionary forces, when  the warrior Comes in Sight found himself knocked from his horse during a retreat.

Suddenly his sister,  Buffalo Calf Road Woman, who had been watching from a distance, galloped at full speed onto the battlefield and grabbed up her wounded brother. Her courageous rescue inspired the Cheyenne forces and they rallied to defeat Crook and his cavalry. In honor of her courageous action the Cheyenne call the Battle of Rosebud “The Fight Where the Girl Saved Her Brother”.

The battle was part of the Great Sioux War that arose after the Lakota and their northern Cheyenne allies had won as a reservation the Black Hills and a large territory in what is now Montana and Wyoming in the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868). In 1874 the Custer Expedition discovered gold in the Black Hills, which prompted the U.S. to desire to buy the territory from the Indians. The U.S. ordered the Lakota and Cheyenne to come to the agencies on the reservation by January 31, 1876 to negotiate the sale. A few bands did not comply and when the deadline passed General Crook undertook to force Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and their followers onto the reservation.

Buffalo Calf Road Woman went on to fight next to her husband in the Battle of the Little Bighorn eight days later.

Northern Cheyenne storytellers credit Buffalo Calf Road Woman with striking the blow that knocked Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer off his horse before he died.

Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.