Frontispiece and details of Arnold Colom’s Zee-Atlas: Oste Water-Wereldt, 1658. One of the most important sea-atlases of the period, it begins with this glorious illuminated spread, complete with allegorical illustrations of the four elements (fire, air, water, earth) and day and night.

From Zee-Atlas: Oste Water-Wereldt. O.455.

Our friends at othmeralia informed us it was Fashion Week, so in honor of that, here’s a profile on fashion designer Ola Hudson from an advertisement for Dewar’s White Label Scotch in the July 1969 issue of Ebony. Hudson (1946-2009) designed costumes for David Bowie (whom she also dated), John Lennon, the Pointer Sisters, and Diana Ross, and as perhaps befitting of a rock star designer, was also the mother of Gun N’ Roses guitarist Slash.
From the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Balch Institute Ethnic Images in Advertising Collection [3238].

Our friends at othmeralia informed us it was Fashion Week, so in honor of that, here’s a profile on fashion designer Ola Hudson from an advertisement for Dewar’s White Label Scotch in the July 1969 issue of Ebony. Hudson (1946-2009) designed costumes for David Bowie (whom she also dated), John Lennon, the Pointer Sisters, and Diana Ross, and as perhaps befitting of a rock star designer, was also the mother of Gun N’ Roses guitarist Slash.

From the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Balch Institute Ethnic Images in Advertising Collection [3238].

wwionline:

packconfig:

1916 private soldier, Battle of the Somme
A photographer, Thom Atkinson, has documented 13 military kits in a series called ‘Soldiers Inventories’. I’ve picked a few to share with you guys over a couple of posts so they can be enjoyed individually, in all their glory. It will also show which are the most popular kits. 
By its very nature, war requires a soldier to be prepared for every possible eventuality. The sheer amount of gear that is demanded by this level of preparedness means good pack configuration is a necessity. It is really interesting to see how a soldiers carry has developed over time, so I encourage you all to check out the full set here. 
Thanks to thenewartemis for their post that reminded me about seeing this in their post here. Below is a breakdown of what is featured above:
Hob nail boots
Puttees (for binding trousers around lower legs)
Socks
Shirt and vest
Gas mask container
Gas mask
Non Commissioned ranks hat
Notebook and service warrant card
Battledress tunic – note stripes on sleeve denote rank
Mess tins
Tin opener and can of food, appears to be tinned stewed apple
Oxo cubes
Bar of chocolate
Bar of soap
Water flask
Belt
Leather belt with leather pouches for kit
Haversack
Longjohn under garments, battledress trousers and braces
Boot polish and two brushes
Blankets
Dog tags – imprinted with name, rank and service number
Trench club – for breaking heavy ground for trenching into and for fighting the enemy at close quarters
Entrenching tool handle; often the handle was customised with lumps of metal and made into a trench club
Leather pouch for entrenching tool
Field dressing
Cigarettes and matches
Mess kit containing knife, fork spoon, shaving brush, soap and brass button polisher (slid underneath battledress button to protect BD from polish)
Polish
Razor
Gun oil
Cloth for pull-through for cleaning barrels internally
Bullet
Ammunition belt, containing clips of bullets
Penknife and pull through cord
Entrenching tool spade; sometimes soldiers sharpened the edges of the spade and used these to fight
Lee Enfield 303 bolt action rifle. It was developed at the beginning of the twentieth century as an attempt to create a standard rifle for both the infantry and soldiers on horseback. As it turned out it was ideally suited to conditions in the trenches – it wasn’t good at firing over long distances, but was really robust and could stand up to the mud. It was still used right up into the 1950s.
Bayonet – to be attached to fore end of rifle
Helmet – with cover
Fob watch, personal effects. Officers tended to have pocket watches more so than infantry soldiers
Coins – possibly local francs or similar, personal effects
Scabbard for bayonet, worn on leather belt around waist over hip
5 round ammunition clips – ready to load magazine of 303 rifle


Hey, that looks familiar! Art imitates life in this watercolor of an ideal cot set-up before barracks inspection from hspdigitallibrary. For more WWI-related items from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, check out Home Before the Leaves Fall.

wwionline:

packconfig:

1916 private soldier, Battle of the Somme

A photographer, Thom Atkinson, has documented 13 military kits in a series called ‘Soldiers Inventories’. I’ve picked a few to share with you guys over a couple of posts so they can be enjoyed individually, in all their glory. It will also show which are the most popular kits. 

By its very nature, war requires a soldier to be prepared for every possible eventuality. The sheer amount of gear that is demanded by this level of preparedness means good pack configuration is a necessity. It is really interesting to see how a soldiers carry has developed over time, so I encourage you all to check out the full set here

Thanks to thenewartemis for their post that reminded me about seeing this in their post here. Below is a breakdown of what is featured above:

  1. Hob nail boots
  2. Puttees (for binding trousers around lower legs)
  3. Socks
  4. Shirt and vest
  5. Gas mask container
  6. Gas mask
  7. Non Commissioned ranks hat
  8. Notebook and service warrant card
  9. Battledress tunic – note stripes on sleeve denote rank
  10. Mess tins
  11. Tin opener and can of food, appears to be tinned stewed apple
  12. Oxo cubes
  13. Bar of chocolate
  14. Bar of soap
  15. Water flask
  16. Belt
  17. Leather belt with leather pouches for kit
  18. Haversack
  19. Longjohn under garments, battledress trousers and braces
  20. Boot polish and two brushes
  21. Blankets
  22. Dog tags – imprinted with name, rank and service number
  23. Trench club – for breaking heavy ground for trenching into and for fighting the enemy at close quarters
  24. Entrenching tool handle; often the handle was customised with lumps of metal and made into a trench club
  25. Leather pouch for entrenching tool
  26. Field dressing
  27. Cigarettes and matches
  28. Mess kit containing knife, fork spoon, shaving brush, soap and brass button polisher (slid underneath battledress button to protect BD from polish)
  29. Polish
  30. Razor
  31. Gun oil
  32. Cloth for pull-through for cleaning barrels internally
  33. Bullet
  34. Ammunition belt, containing clips of bullets
  35. Penknife and pull through cord
  36. Entrenching tool spade; sometimes soldiers sharpened the edges of the spade and used these to fight
  37. Lee Enfield 303 bolt action rifle. It was developed at the beginning of the twentieth century as an attempt to create a standard rifle for both the infantry and soldiers on horseback. As it turned out it was ideally suited to conditions in the trenches – it wasn’t good at firing over long distances, but was really robust and could stand up to the mud. It was still used right up into the 1950s.
  38. Bayonet – to be attached to fore end of rifle
  39. Helmet – with cover
  40. Fob watch, personal effects. Officers tended to have pocket watches more so than infantry soldiers
  41. Coins – possibly local francs or similar, personal effects
  42. Scabbard for bayonet, worn on leather belt around waist over hip
  43. 5 round ammunition clips – ready to load magazine of 303 rifle

Hey, that looks familiar! Art imitates life in this watercolor of an ideal cot set-up before barracks inspection from hspdigitallibrary. For more WWI-related items from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, check out Home Before the Leaves Fall.

Stereoscopic views of the Great Central Sanitary Fair in Philadelphia, June 1860—transformed into GIFs! Just because not everyone has a stereoscope viewer, and these images were meant to be 3D.

Also, if you’re in the Philly area, come check out HSP’s display of items (including these stereographs and more!) related to the Sanitary Fair. It’ll be up for another 2 weeks.

Stereographs from the Historical Society’s Photograph Collection [V59], on our Digital Library here.

Flipping through some letters in one of our genealogical collections, I found this delightful stationary feature. Pennsylvanians, you’re welcome. 
You can see the full letter on our Digital Library here.

Flipping through some letters in one of our genealogical collections, I found this delightful stationary feature. Pennsylvanians, you’re welcome.

You can see the full letter on our Digital Library here.

"What is in those celestial spaces void of Matter? And whence is it that ye Sun & Planets Gravitate mutually towards one another, the spaces between being void of Matter? How comes it yt Nature acts nothing in vain? And whence proceeds yt admirable Beauty of ye Universe?”

—Sir Isaac Newton, quoted on this gorgeous John Senex map of the solar system. It was published as the first leaf in his book Universal Geographer, or, Compleat Atlas, published in London, 1708. The map shows the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in addition to many observable comets. Senex printed Newton’s text from Opticks as orbiting bodies unto themselves.

In 1743, Benjamin Chew decided to leave his comfortable home at Duck Creek, Delaware, to study law at Middle Temple, in London. He was 21. After a long and stressful trans-Atlantic trip (the young Chew apparently fell severely ill several times on the journey), he arrived at the legendary law school, expecting, “a better opportunity of contracting an Acquaintance with Gentlemen who were in the Prosecution of the same Studies with myself & I made no doubt but that their Conversations & the frequent Disputes which I did imagine they must necessarily be involved in & which must chiefly twin [?] on the subject of their studies…” Adorable.

But instead Chew describes in this diary entry, above, the devout Quaker’s nightmare come to life. Instead of the bright young men talking incessantly about their studies, he found a scene that seems not dissimilar to today’s college party culture:

"I find the Young Fellows here employ all their Time in Debaucheries and Extravagancies of all kinds… When they meet together their last Debauch is commonly the Subject of the Conversat[ion]. one stretches & swears he was d—d’d drunk last Night another yawns & says he was up all the Night at a Bawdy House, a third at the Gaming Table & so on, in short such is the Depravity of the Times that they are not ashamed of owning nay & bragging too that they are in the constant Practice of every kind of Vice."

Poor Benjamin. Maybe he felt like a country bumpkin around all those Londoners, having grown up in the rural Delaware colony. Maybe he just needed to relax and live a little. It’s clear enough that he felt much more religious than any of the other “Young Fellows.”

In any case, Chew’s nerdery paid off—he was named chief justice of Pennsylvania (under the colonial government—he remained a loyalist in the Revolution) in 1774.

Above is Benjamin Chew’s silhouette, from the Simpson Plates Collection [3237A]

Check out more from our extensive Chew Family Papers collection [2050] on our Digital Library, here.

This morning I found flowers pressed in a bound volume of The Irish Shield, a radical literary and historical newspaper for Irish immigrants in America. This particular issue is from May, 1831.

New in our Digital Library: one of the Society’s favorite treasures, the Washingtoniana Case! Compiled by Harold Edwards in 1882, it features a signed letter by Washington, two portraits, and (*drum-roll please*) a lock of our first President’s hair. As his blurb explains, Edwards received the lock from a relative, John Perrie, who was Washington’s hairdresser.

Did you know there used to be an outdoor rooftop gym in Center City Philadelphia? It wasn’t even supplementing some luxury condo. Nope, Wanamaker’s Department Store used to boast rooftop tennis and handball courts, and an outdoor track for its staff to use!

Check out this aerial view of the store circa 1925 by Philly-famous photographer William N. Jennings, *probably* taken from the top of City Hall. Then there’s this shot of young lady staffers of the Wanamaker Commercial Institute in marching band formation practicing on the roof gym.

Check out more images from our Wanamaker collection on our Digital Library here.