Chess games of the rich and famous: Aboard the Endurance, trapped in ice

June 14, 2012

Expedition photographer Frank Hurley and meteorologist Leonard Hussey play chess aboard the ‘Endurance’ trapped in ice in 1915, in the Antarctic. RoyalCollection.org.uk via Pau Pascual Duran.

Trapped by ice, members of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s exploration team aboard the Endurance needed activities to keep themselves sane, do doubt.

Does chess really qualify as one of those activities?

If Hurley, the expedition photographer, was in the picture, who was behind the camera?

Description of the photo at the Royal Collection:

Creator:  Frank Hurley (1885-1962) (photographer)
Creation Date: 1915
Materials: Silver bromide print
Dimensions: 15.4 x 20.5 cm (image)
RCIN 2580072
Acquirer: George V, King of the United Kingdom (1865-1936)
Provenance: Presented to King George V, 1917
Description:  Photograph taken on board Endurance of Frank Hurley (1885-1962) sitting on the left as he is concentrates on a game of chess with Leonard Hussey (1891-1964) while on watch. Beside them lie the remains of a supper of tea, bread and sardines. Leonard Hussey later practised as a doctor, until his retirement in 1957.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Pau Pascual Duran.

Endurance final sinking in Antarctica

Endurance final sinking in Antarctica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Flag Day poster from 1917

June 14, 2012

140th US Flag Day poster. 1777-1917. The birthday of the stars and stripes, June 14th, 1917. 'Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh, long may it wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!" Library of Congress description: "Poster showing a man raising the American flag, with a minuteman cheering and an eagle flying above." - Wikipedia

140th US Flag Day poster. 1777-1917. The birthday of the stars and stripes, June 14th, 1917. ‘Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh, long may it wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” Library of Congress description: “Poster showing a man raising the American flag, with a Minuteman cheering and an eagle flying above.” – Wikipedia

Details about the poster, from the Library of Congress:


1777-1917: The 140th flag day. The birthday of the stars and stripes, June 14th, 1917. The text continues: ‘Tis the Star Spangled Banner, oh, long may it wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave! President Woodrow Wilson remarked, “this flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. Though silent, it speaks to us of the past, of the men and women who went before us, and of the records they wrote upon it.”

MEDIUM: 1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 101 x 65 cm.

CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1917.

NOTES: Forms part of: Willard and Dorothy Straight Collection.

Who was the artist?  Who ordered the printing, and for what specific purpose?  Anyone know?

The Library of Congress sells copies of this poster.


Flag Day 2012 – Fly your flag today!

June 14, 2012

Of course, you’re already flying your Stars and Stripes, right?

I’ve been on the road, mostly without internet access; I’m tardy in my reminder.

June 14th marks the anniversary of the resolution passed by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, adopting the Stars and Stripes as the national flag.

Fly your flag today. This is one of the score of dates upon which Congress suggests we fly our flags.

Flag Day 1916, parade in Washington, D.C. - employees of National Geographic Society march - photo by Gilbert Grosvenor

Flag Day 1916, parade in Washington, D.C. – employees of National Geographic Society march – photo by Gilbert Grosvenor

The photo above drips with history. Here’s the description from the National Geographic Society site:

One hundred and fifty National Geographic Society employees march in the Preparedness Parade on Flag Day, June 14, in 1916. With WWI underway in Europe and increasing tensions along the Mexican border, President Woodrow Wilson marched alongside 60,000 participants in the parade, just one event of many around the country intended to rededicate the American people to the ideals of the nation.

Not only the anniversary of the day the flag was adopted by Congress, Flag Day is also the anniversary of President Dwight Eisenhower’s controversial addition of the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.

(Text adapted from “:Culture: Allegiance to the Pledge?” June 2006, National Geographic magazine)

The first presidential declaration of Flag Day was 1916, by President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson won re-election the following November with his pledge to keep America out of World War I, but by April of 1917 he would ask for a declaration of war after Germany resumed torpedoing of U.S. ships. The photo shows an America dedicated to peace but closer to war than anyone imagined. Because the suffragettes supported Wilson so strongly, he returned the favor, supporting an amendment to the Constitution to grant women a Constitutional right to vote. The amendment passed Congress with Wilson’s support and was ratified by the states.

The flags of 1916 should have carried 48 stars. New Mexico and Arizona were the 47th and 48th states, Arizona joining the union in 1913. No new states would be added until Alaska and Hawaii in 1959. That 46-year period marked the longest time the U.S. had gone without adding states, until today. No new states have been added since Hawaii, more than 49 years ago. (U.S. history students: Have ever heard of an essay, “Manifest destiny fulfilled?”)

150 employees of the National Geographic Society marched, and as the proud CEO of any organization, Society founder Gilbert H. Grosvenor wanted a photo of his organization’s contribution to the parade. Notice that Grosvenor himself is the photographer.

I wonder if Woodrow Wilson took any photos that day, and where they might be hidden.

History of Flag Day from a larger perspective, from the Library of Congress:

Since 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14, Americans have commemorated the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by celebrating June 14 as Flag Day. Prior to 1916, many localities and a few states had been celebrating the day for years. Congressional legislation designating that date as the national Flag Day was signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1949; the legislation also called upon the president to issue a flag day proclamation every year.

According to legend, in 1776, George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the new nation. Scholars debate this legend, but agree that Mrs. Ross most likely knew Washington and sewed flags. To date, there have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag, but the arrangement of the stars varied according to the flag-makers’ preferences until 1912 when President Taft standardized the then-new flag’s forty-eight stars into six rows of eight. The forty-nine-star flag (1959-60), as well as the fifty-star flag, also have standardized star patterns. The current version of the flag dates to July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became the fiftieth state on August 21, 1959.

Fly your flag with pride today.

Elmhurst Flag Day 1939, DuPage County Centennial - Posters From the WPA

Elmhurst flag day, June 18, 1939, Du Page County centennial / Beauparlant.
Chicago, Ill.: WPA Federal Art Project, 1939.
By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943

This is an encore post, from June 14, 2009

More, and Other Voices:


A good reason to send a letter on Flag Day

June 14, 2012

Forever Justice, Equality, Freedom, Liberty stamps - photo by Mary Almanza

A trip to the Post Office turned into a patriotic exercise — photo by Mary Almanza.


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