Saturday, July 17, 2004

Growing up with the Impressionists: the Diary of Julie Manet

Growing up with the Impressionists: the Diary of Julie Manet.
This is a review of this book by Julie Lorenzen, It is very well done. It has lots of good information on 19th Century Paris.

From the site:

After reading the book Growing up with the Impressionists: the Diary of Julie Manet, I couldn’t help but think that Julie Manet, the niece of painter Edouard Manet and daughter of Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot led an enviable life. Born November 14, 1878 in Paris at the height of the Impressionist period, Julie grew up amongst the likes of Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and the Great Symbolist Poet Stephane Mallarme who were all friends of Berthe Morisot and Eugene Manet, Edouard’s brother. Unlike her brother-in-law, Edouard Manet, who refused to exhibit with a group that called themselves the Impressionists, Berthe Morisot embraced the title and showed her works along with artists such as Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas and Alfred Sisley. She showed every year starting in 1874 except for 1879, the year after Julie was born. Julie soon became Berthe’s favorite subject and Julie occasionally wrote of posing for her mother. 

There was no mention of formal schooling in the diary although Julie wrote about being tutored. Her entries revealed an intelligent girl who grew up in a sophisticated world that included attending concerts and art gallery exhibits in Paris. Her mother hosted Thursday night gatherings that Mallarme and the Impressionists would attend. After Morisot died, it was not uncommon for Julie to join Morisot’s friends for dinner at someone’s home where such current events as the Dreyfus affair were discussed.

Julie started her diary at the age of 14 in 1893. The last entry of this diary ends December 1899, when Julie was twenty and engaged to artist Ernest Rouart. In some entries, Julie’s topics of having a birthday, getting the chicken pox, shopping in Paris and attending the funeral of her “oncle” and “tante” seemed rather ordinary. However, when Julie writes about the art in Paris and the people who created it, her diary became extraordinary. An aspiring artist herself, she often wrote about visiting the artists at their studios, going to an exhibit where she would spot their work, or having a conversation with Renoir or Degas while copying work at the Louvre. In one entry (undated but included with others from the year 1897), it was apparent that Julie realized the importance of impressionism to the era in which she lives. After reading a few pages of a published diary of a young girl like herself she comments, “What infuriates me about her is that, living at a time when Manet and all the Impressionists were alive, she had nothing to say about any of that."

Friday, July 16, 2004

The Travels of William Bartram (1739-1824)

The Travels of William Bartram (1739-1824) A study of the life and travels of the American naturalist and artist. Includes information on the Bartram Trail, online texts, discoveries, and links to Bartram-related sites.

From the site:

William Bartram was America’s first native born naturalist/artist and the first author in the modern genre of writers who portrayed nature through personal experience as well as scientific observation. Bartram’s momentous southern journey took him from the foothills of the Appalachian mountains to Florida, through the southeastern interior all the way to the Mississippi River. His work thus provides descriptions of the natural, relatively pristine eighteenth-century environment of eight modern states: North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. William Bartram published an account of his adventure in 1791. It quickly became an American classic and Bartram's
Travels has been described by one scholar as “the most astounding verbal artifact of the early republic.”

Bartram's book became an immediate success in Europe where it influenced the romantic poets and armchair travelers who savored the descriptions of exotic, sub-tropical Florida as well as the relatively unexplored southeastern interior. Particularly enlightening and appealing were Bartram's accounts of the Seminole, Creek and Cherokee Indians. During the first quarter of the 19th century William Bartram became the grand old man of American natural science, advising and mentoring the first generation of naturalists who were beginning to explore the new territories being added to the young nation.

The Bartram Trail Conference, Inc., founded in 1976, has sought to identify and mark Bartram’s southern journey and works to promote interest in developing recreational trails and botanical gardens along the route. The BTC also seeks to encourage the study, preservation and interpretation of the William Bartram heritage at both cultural and natural sites in Bartram Trail states.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

World War II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

World War II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This is a detailed article on World War II at Wikipedia. As with all Wikipedia content, you can volunteer to edit this article if you want to do so.

From the site:

World War II was the most extensive and costly armed conflict in the history of the world, involving the great majority of the world's nations, being fought simultaneously in several major theatres, and costing approximately 55.5 million lives (see below). The war was fought mainly between an alliance of the British Commonwealth, France, the United States, the Soviet Union, and China—collectively known as the Allies; and the Axis Powers, an alliance between Germany, Italy, and Japan. Most of the fighting occurred in the Atlantic theatre in and around Europe, and in the Pacific theatre in the Pacific and East Asia.

The German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 is the most common date in the West for the start of World War II. Others cite the Japanese invasion of China in 1937 as the war's beginning, or even the 1931 Japanese incursion into Manchuria. The war in Europe ended with the surrender of Germany on May 8, 1945, but continued in Asia and the Pacific until September 2, 1945, when Japan surrendered.

The war was significant in that it was the first war in which air power was a significant factor. Indeed, the first combat operation in World War II was a German bombing attack against Poland, while the last combat operation was a thousand-aircraft bombing attack on Japan, on August 14, 1945. The war also saw the re-emergence of the United States from its isolationism, the destruction and rebuilding of Germany and Japan into major industrial powers, the advent of the atomic bomb, and the emergence of the United States and the Soviet Union as global superpowers. The war also directly led to the United Nations, which was founded by the victorious Allies in order to prevent such a large and destructive conflict from ever happening again.

The war caused more civilian casualties than any war in history. This was partly due to its unprecedented scale, the first uses of mass aerial bombings against civilian populations (a policy initiated by the German Luftwaffe against Poland, and later used more extensively against German cities by the Allies), and the first application of industrial age technology to enable the mass killing of unwanted civilians in extermination camps. In total, World War II caused the deaths of about two percent of the population of the world.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Teaching about Canada

Teaching about Canada This is an essay with some good ideas on how to teach about Canada in American classrooms. This includes ideas for history.

From the site:

Canada's evolution to independence presents an interesting contrast to the American revolutionary beginnings, which may be examined in standard United States history courses. The high school history student can examine the French colonization period and notice that French culture is more evident in Canada because of the French heritage of Quebec. Canadian roles in the War of 1812 and in the American Civil War have interesting ramifications in both countries. Canadian participation in World War I and World War II also offers useful comparisons to United States history students.

Government classes may benefit greatly from comparison of the political institutions of the two countries--the similarities and differences of presidential and parliamentary systems. The electoral process, systems of federalism, and constitutional development in both countries should also be valuable objects of comparison.

In world history courses, emphasis upon Canada's assumption of a leading role in the British Commonwealth and LA FRANCOPHONIE is an effective way to illustrate the transition of former colonial possessions into independent nations. The political positions of Canada also more often reflect "third world" interests than do he United States.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

William Howard Taft

William Howard Taft This is a nice short biography of President Taft.

From the site:

William Howard Taft ( September 15 , 1857 - March 8 , 1930 ) was the 27th ( 1909 - 1913 ) President of the United States , and the 10th Chief Justice of the United States .

He was born on September 15 , 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio . A prominent Republican, Taft's father served as secretary of war under President Ulysses S. Grant . The younger Taft began his political career in Ohio shortly after joining the bar in 1880 .

In 1900 , President William McKinley appointed Taft chair of a commission to organize a civilian government in the Philippines which had been ceded to the United States at the close of the Spanish-American War . From 1901 to 1904 Taft served successfully as the first civilian governor of the Philippines. In 1904 Theodore Roosevelt named Taft as Secretary of War .

After serving nearly two full terms, popular Theodore Roosevelt refused to run in the election of 1908 . Instead, he promoted Taft as the next Republican president. With Roosevelt's help, Taft handily defeated Democrat William Jennings Bryan . Throughout his presidency, Taft contended with dissent from more liberal members of the Republican party, many of whom continued to follow the lead of former President Roosevelt.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Chinese in Guyana: Their Roots

Chinese in Guyana: Their Roots Information about the introduction of the first Chinese immigrants to Guyana (then called British Guiana) between 1853 and 1879.

From the site:

In 1834, the slaves who had been taken from Africa to the colonies of Britain were set free. In British Guiana a significant proportion of the freedmen chose to live off the fertile land and sought paid employment on an irregular basis. The resulting reduction in the labour force caused the sugar plantation owners to search for replacement workers. They obtained large numbers of labourers from Madeira (Portugal), India and China each bound by a contract of indenture. The Chinese were the smallest group of these indentured workers.

When they came

The first batch of Chinese landed in Georgetown, British Guiana in 1853, and for the next few years all were men, most being taken forcibly. To curb the excesses of this trade in human cargo the British and Chinese authorities in Canton agreed to a formal supervised recruitment process and families were encouraged to emigrate. Chinese women began arriving in 1860, but in small numbers. The period from 1860 to 1866 saw a relatively large influx of immigrants, bringing the local Chinese population to a peak of 10,022 in 1866. Subsequently only two boats arrived with Chinese immigrants, one in 1874 and the other in 1879. After this Chinese immigrants came of their own free will and at their own expense.

How they came

The 39 ships that brought the Chinese labourers were chartered by recruiting agents based in Canton, China, with the cost of shipping shared between the colony's Immigration Fund and the plantation owners. The ships travelled by way of Singapore and Cape Town, arriving at Georgetown after a journey of between 70 and 177 days.