Do Communists Have Better Sex?: A Documentary on the NSFW Ideological Question

≡ Category: History |Leave a Comment

If I had to point one visible difference between American cities and Toronto, where I’ve stayed this past week, I’d point out the flyers posted around advertising a “Communism Discussion Group.

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1797 Temperance Thermometer Measures the Moral & Physical Impact of Your Drinking Habits

≡ Category: Food & Drink, History, Life, Science |Leave a Comment

Question for the drinkers out there:
Does strong beer taken in moderate quantities at mealtimes make you cheerful?
Yeah, me too!
That gives us a temperature of 10 according to 18th-century physician John Coakley Lettsom’s “moral and physical thermometer,” one of his Hints Designed to Promote Beneficence, Temperance, and Medical Science (17

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The Only Footage of Mark Twain: The Original & Digitally Restored Films Shot by Thomas Edison

≡ Category: Film, History, Literature |3 Comments

We know what Mark Twain looked like, and we think we know what he sounded like. Just above see what he looked like in motion, strolling around Stormfield, his house in Redding, Connecticut—signature white suit draped loosely around his frame, signature cigar puffing white smoke between his fingers.

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A 1932 Illustrated Map of Harlem’s Night Clubs: From the Cotton Club to the Savoy Ballroom

≡ Category: Comics/Cartoons, History, Maps, Music |Leave a Comment

Harlem’s undergoing another Renaissance of late. Crime’s down, real estate prices are up, and throngs of pale-faced hipsters are descending to check the area out.
Sure, something’s gained, but something’s lost, too.
For today’s holiday in Harlem, we’re going to climb in the Wayback Machine. Set the dial for 1932.

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Rare Footage of the “Human Be-In,” the Landmark Counter-Culture Event Held in Golden Gate Park, 1967

≡ Category: History, Music |1 Comment

Investigative reporter Steve Silberman awesomely flagged this video for us today. He writes:
This seems to have just surfaced: the most complete recording of the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in 1967 that I have ever seen, by far.

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Winston Churchill’s Paintings: Great Statesman, Surprisingly Good Artist

≡ Category: Art, History |Leave a Comment

Winston Churchill is one of those colossal figures who readily qualifies for that unfashionable moniker of The Great Man of History. This was a guy who warned of Hitler’s threat long before it seemed polite to do so.

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The First Color Photos From World War I, on the German Front

≡ Category: History, Photography |Leave a Comment

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. Most of us know this — or at least if we don’t know the exact date, we know it happened in 1914, 100 years ago. We also know that the spark of the killing ignited the international geopolitical tinderbox just waiting to flame into the First World War.

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Optical Poems by Oskar Fischinger, the Avant-Garde Animator Hated by Hitler, Dissed by Disney

≡ Category: Animation, History |2 Comments

At a time when much of animation was consumed with little anthropomorphized animals sporting white gloves, Oskar Fischinger went in a completely different direction. His work is all about dancing geometric shapes and abstract forms spinning around a flat featureless background.

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Photos of Jean-Paul Sartre & Simone de Beauvoir Hanging with Che Guevara in Cuba (1960)

≡ Category: History, Photography |6 Comments

In 1960, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir ventured to Cuba during, as he wrote, the “honeymoon of the revolution.” Military strongman Fulgencio Batista’s regime had fallen to Fidel Castro’s guerilla army and the whole country was alight with revolutionary zeal.

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“The Civil War and Reconstruction,” a New MOOC by Pulitzer-Prize Winning Historian Eric Foner

≡ Category: History, Online Courses |Leave a Comment

It ended in early April 149 years ago. But it begins again on Wednesday.

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