So many great things to post about today. Shorpy has more great early 20th-century images of DC:
Washington, D.C., circa 1919. "Red Cross ambulances at Washington Monument." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.
September 1935. Washington, D.C. "Front of Negro home near Capitol. Interiors of these homes vary little. A chair or two and a table, a bed and perhaps an extra mattress on the floor cares for six to ten people." 35mm nitrate negative by Carl Mydans for the Farm Security Administration.
Fuck Yeah Women’s History has an anti-suffrage cartoon from 1915, the mug shot of Julia Aaron, one of the Freedom Riders, and the Motorcycle Queen of Miami, Bessie Stringfield.
An old anti-suffragist cartoon shows a white man being thrown out of a brick building onto the street. The brick building shows three white women looking out the window at the man being thrown out onto the street, and they seem pretty pleased with the situation. The man is well dressed in a top hat and coat and looks incensed at the way he has been treated as he looks back at the building and the women in the doorway that are looking happy with themselves. These women are wearing votes for women buttons and are carrying women’s rights pamphlets. On the buildings are signs that say “Man? The missing link”, “No men admitted”, “Home for lost stolen or strayed suffragettes”, “man disgraces the animal world” and “down with the men”. At the bottom of the image are red words that read “girls I didn’t marry”.
Julia Aaron, 1961. Julia Aaron didn’t just participate in the Freedom Rides, her family also housed some of the many people who arrived in New Orleans in order to integrate inter-state buses and trains.
“Known as the Motorcycle Queen of Miami, Bessie Stringfield started riding when she was 16. She was the first African-American woman to travel cross-country solo, and she did it at age 19 in 1929, riding a 1928 Indian Scout. Bessie traveled through all of the lower 48 states during the ’30s and ’40s at a time when the country was rife with prejudice and hatred. She later rode in Europe, Brazil, and Haiti and during World War II she served as one of the few motorcycle despatch riders for the United States military.”
Black Vintage has a beautiful photograph by Dorothea Lange from 1945:
It’s so exciting to own a new President refrigerator. 1954.
It’s new, it’s practical, it’s pegboard! 1954
But the winner of the “Dang, that is awesome” award for the week goes to the Library of Congress for their National Jukebox project.
The goal of the Jukebox is to present to the widest audience possible early commercial sound recordings, offering a broad range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning.
The Jukebox contains over 10,000 recordings between the years 1901 and 1925. You can browse the collection by genre, artist, date, and even target audience, or you can listen to one of their playlists. They even feature a Day by Day search function that allows you to find songs that were recorded on a specific date. On my birthday in 1904, this version of Auld Lang Syne was recorded:
Emma Goldman, political cartoon, From the Yiddish Press c. 1901
Some new women’s history resources are available for you!
Women’s History Research in Archives at the University of Wisconsin has a new guide out that allows researchers to access a large number of digital primary sources. Topics include:
women in the armed forces
The bookmobile 1931 -1940. The 1931 Dodge was "manned" by two ladies at all times: one to drive and one to stand on the running board to keep it from tipping over. Proper attire included "a long-sleeved dress, a broad brimmed hat and gloves" to prevent tanning.
Recruitment poster for the Women's Army Corps (WAC) dated 1965, printed in green and black, and featuring an illustration of a woman in a WAC uniform. The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project.
In some of the first incarnations of DC graffiti, black owned business owners painted “Soul Brother” and other tags on their doors letting looters know that their business identified with the rage felt in the city streets.
On April 4, 1968, after news of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination spread, residents of Washington, D.C. rioted, looted, and set fire to portions of the city. Large areas of the primarily-black Columbia Heights, U Street, and H Street neighborhoods were destroyed. The riots lasted for five days, and certain parts of the city have still not fully recovered.
Did you know that Woodrow Wilson used sheep to keep the White House lawn trimmed during WWI? It’s true!
But the sheep did more than keep the grass at bay. The auctioning of prized White House wool raised over $100,000 for the Red Cross. That’s equivalent to $1.5 million in today’s dollars—money that could be well spent restoring the decrepit National Mall. But even beyond the sale of shearings, the federal flock would be an economic boon for Washington. Just think of the tourist kitsch.
Senator Verda Welcome December 1950
Paul S. Henderson (d. 1966)
4×5 inch black and white negative
Henderson Collection, Maryland Historical Society
Verda Freedom Welcome (1907-1990) was a teacher, Civil Rights leader, and the first African American woman to be elected to the state senate. Welcome moved to Baltimore in 1929 and graduated from Coppin State Teachers College. Welcome was elected to the Maryland State Senate in 1962 and survived an assassination attempt in 1964, after which two men were convicted.