Happy Bookmobile Day!

The first bookmobiles appeared in England in the 1850s, but made their way over to America by the 1890s. Today, National Bookmobile Day, part of National Library Week, is all about celebrating this four-wheeled reading machines and their ability to spread the written word to far-flung places.

Above, U.S. soldiers picking up some hardbacks from a bookmobile in Texas, 1917 or so.

The Man Who Captured Motion, Eadward Muybridge

“Horse in Motion, 1878”

Eadward Muybridge, who was born on this date in 1830, had quite the life. An Englishman who emigrated to the States in 1850, at the age of 20, he worked as a publisher and bookseller in California, and he likely would have remained as such had it not been for a stage coach accident in Texas in 1860. Flung from the vehicle and hitting his head on a rock, Muybridge was taken to Arkansas for treatment following the accident, and it was there that he was introduced to photographer, a hobby that became his legacy. (Which is good, because otherwise he might be remembered for murdering his wife’s lover in 1874, a crime for which he was acquitted.)

Some of his first images were of the American West, including Yosemite, which caught the attention of California Governor Leland Stanford, who asked Muybridge to photograph his prize-winning horses. Muybridge readily agreed, embarking on a project that he hoped would answer the age-old question: does a running horse ever get completely airborne? (Above)

Taking a rapid succession of shots, Muybridge showed that, yes, horses did indeed remain airborne; he also realized that motion could be captured among humans, too, capturing the images below and inspiring and inventors, most notably Thomas Edison, who used Muybridge’s work as a springboard to develop motion pictures.

Muybridge died in 1904, back in mother England, but his artistic and technical impact remain world-changing even today: without Muybridge we wouldn’t have Black Panther, after all.

After the jump, four more early Muybridge images capturing motion in action.

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“Novelists are failed poets.” Word.

“Poetry— the sound and look of language—definitely played a role in my writing of this novel. Novelists are failed poets, as they say. A good turn of phrase, a beautiful description, and lyricism, I feel, are central to any good writing. Form and content aren’t separate.”

– Douglas Light, author of Where Night Stops, to Paul Cohen at The Millions.

 

VIDEO: Martin Luther King’s Final Speech

Today, on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, it’s advisable we all view Martin Luther King’s final speech, his iconic “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” remarks, delivered ahead of the Sanitation Workers’ strike in Memphis. Viewing’s advisable for many reasons: one, MLK was an incredible orator whose words not only inspire the mind, but the soul; two, race relations in the States are at perhaps their lowest point since the 1960s and we desperately need a reminder of how nefarious hatred can be faced with peaceful fortitude; and, three, this speech specifically deserves recognition for his remarks about American rights: a court tried to prevent him from leading the Sanitation Workers’ march, a ruling that MLK rightly described as un-American. An excerpt:

If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions. Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren’t going to let dogs or water hoses turn us around, we aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.

Let’s all go on, today, tomorrow and every day after until the nation lives up to its ideals, until totalitarian tendencies are squashed once and for all and until all people are free from want, fear, intimidation and to speak their minds.

Aforementioned excerpt is above, full speech below the break.

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Found in The LOC: Buying Flowers in NYC, 1900

With Easter right around the corner, what better time to feast our collective eyes on some shots of New Yorkers buying their holiday bouquets in Union Square circa 1900? See fifteen more, all found in the LOC, after the jump.

And for more “Found in the LOC,” click here.

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