Sometimes the cheap seats can be more fun
This Is The First Ever Photo Of Canada (via This Is The First Ever Photo Of Canada)
Behold the first photograph ever captured in the Great White North.
Taken in 1840 (yes, technically before Canada was actually a country, but stop being so persnickety), the picture of Niagara Falls was discovered in 1997 at Newcastle University in England, where it had been sitting forgotten in the Special Collections of the school’s library. Taken by British businessman Hugh Lee Pattinson on a trip to Canada, it was given to the school by his family.
The image is a daguerreotype, an early form of photograph that required a long exposure time. The picture took around 10 minutes to capture, leading many to suggest the figure in the bottom left corner is Pattinson himself.
The photo went viral on Reddit this week, racking up tens of thousands of views. Clever Redditors even took the time to enhance the image and flip it. The original was inverted as part of the daguerreotype process.
The Legend of Stagecoach Mary,
Also known as Mary Fields, Stagecoach Mary was one of the toughest ladies of the Old West. Born as a slave on a Tennessee plantation in 1832, she gained her freedom after the Civil War and the resulting abolition of slavery. After the Civil War Mary made her way west where she eventually settled in Cascade County, Montana.
In Montana Mary would gain a reputation as one of the toughest characters in the territory. Unlike most women of the Victorian Era, Mary had a penchant for whiskey, cheap cigars, and brawling. It was not uncommon for men to harass her because of her race or her gender. Those who earned her disfavor did so at their own risk, as the six foot tall two hundred pound woman served up a mean knuckle sandwich. According to her obituary in Great Falls Examiner “she broke more noses than any other woman in Central Montana”.
In Montana Mary made a living doing heavy labor for a Roman Catholic convent. She did work such as carpentry, chopping wood, and stone work. However it was her job of transporting supplies to the convent by wagon that would earn her the name “Stagecoach Mary”. The job was certainly dangerous, as she braved fierce weather, bandits, robbers, and wild animals. In one instance her wagon was attacked by wolves, causing the horses to panic and overturn the wagon. Throughout the night Stagecoach Mary fought off several wolf attacks with a rifle, a ten gauge shotgun, and a pair of revolvers.
Mary’s job with the convent ended when another hired hand complained it was not fair that she made more money than him to the townspeople and the local bishop. When the bishop dismissed his claims, he went to a local saloon, saying that it was not fair that he should have to work with a black woman (he said something much more obscene). In response, Mary shot him in the bum. The bishop fired Mary, and she was out of a job.
After a failed attempt at running a restaurant, Stagecoach Mary was hired to run freight for the US Postal Service. Today she holds the distinction of being the first African American postal employee. Despite delivering parcels to some of the most remote and rugged areas of Montana, Mary gained a reputation for always delivering on time regardless of the weather or terrain.
At the age of seventy, Stagecoach Mary retired from the parcel business and opened a laundry. In one incident when a customer refused to pay, the 72 year old woman knocked out one of his teeth. For the remainder of her life Mary settled down to peace and quiet, drinking whiskey and smoking cheap cigars. She passed away in 1914 at the age of 82.
RIP Nelson Mandela
Don’t worry, he’ll make the history books.
Forty years ago today, Pioneer 10 made its closest approach to Jupiter and sent back these images. It was the first spacecraft to venture beyond the asteroid belt and get close-ups of Jupiter.
Can we just talk about how awesome this image is? Pioneer 10 had an artsy streak. I would totes hang on my wall.
(image via NASA)
A glove to find your way in 19th-century London
This amazing artifact came by in my Twitter feed today and it is too special not to share. It is a glove that was purchased in 1851 as a tourist souvenir at London’s Great Exhibition, which was attended by a variety of famous individuals, from Charles Darwin to Charlotte Brontë. The leather glove is special because it contains a map that shows the routes to Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, which was the main staging area for the exhibition. It appears to be made for a child, perhaps in case he lost his parents in the crowds. The glove is one of a variety of maps that was produced for the many visitors to the city. Another is this wonderful folding specimen printed on silk, which shows a great amount of detail (check out the enlargements). London in the palm of your hand: a functional memento from the time that the tourist industry was beginning to boom.
Pic: Kew, The National Archives, EXT 11/159 (c. 1851). This the source of the image; here and here is more information on the glove (the latter webpage, from the archive that keeps the artifact, suggests it was a kid’s glove). The glove features on various blogs, such as this one; I saw it in this tweet today.