Tuesday, July 10, 2012

1955 Cocktail Review: The Stubby Collins

The first review of the cocktail recipes from the 1955 book What, When, Where, and How to Drink!! We started out with something simple- the Stubby Collins. Here is what you need:

- A Glass
- Something to stir with
- 2 oz. Dry Gin (We used Bombay as usual)
- 1 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1-3 Dashes Bitters (optional)
- 2 Ice Cubes (not pictured)

Stir lemon juice, sugar, and bitters WELL in a glass. Add ice cubes. Pour gin over it and mix well.

This was very refreshing and delightful but MUST be kept mixed well continuously, as Amy discovered on her first sip which was more like a straight shot of lemon. It is a tart drink, so if that is not your thing, you may want to adjust the lemon and sugar. Afterwards, I went back for another, she had a gin and tonic instead. This was thoroughly enjoyed but not universally LOVED. I would recommend it, overall.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What, When, Where and How to Drink

Found a little treasure the other day- a book published in 1955 entitled What, When, Where and How to Drink by Richard L. Williams and David Myers with an introduction by Sherman Billingsley:

The Table of Contents:

There are even great illustrations of some guys who look like they knew their drinks:

According to Mr. Billingsley of The Stork Club in New York City, "...this is not a subject on which it pays to be either ignorant or intolerant. To know at least a little about what to drink, and when, and how, is to be a little better equipped for present day living." Thank you, Mr. Billingsley; agreed. The book includes a section full of cocktail recipes of the period. So- it is at this point I would like to introduce you to my wonderful, amazing girlfriend Amy:

HOW amazing? Sometimes, she is the Queen of England:

But always my Queen. SO- for your benefit- Amy and I will periodically do joint reviews of the cocktails in the book and I will post both the recipe and result. The good ones will receive a truly Royal approval. Let the experiment begin!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Men's Shirt Cuffs

This was posted on the Old Picture of the Day blog this morning and as much as I love ice cream, what really caught my eye was the cuff of the shirt on the fellow turning the crank. The photo was taken in ca. 1940 but the wide cuff had the button placed at the rear, a characteristic that emerged in the very late 18th/early 19th Century, seemingly coinciding with the lengthening of the coat cuff. This characteristic endured at least through World War I, as can be seen on the ca. WW I military issue shirt:

The book Thoughts on Men's Shirts in America 1750-1900 by William L. Brown III documents this being common throughout the 19th Century with extant examples, the button continuing to be placed at the rear of the cuff even as they narrowed as coat sleeves of a more familiar length took hold. The modern, center placed button was well in place by this 1920 shirt ad:

Here is an example from 1939 of the two versions coexisting (the older man on the right has a rear placed button while the two men in the center have center placed):

This seems to have been familiar so recently that I always find it surprising that most manufactured "reenactor shirts" that I see with wide cuffs intended for use from the 18th Century through the Civil War have center placed buttons, an adaptation that seems to have taken decades to gain acceptance and existed seldom if at all through the 19th Century.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Speak French: A Book for the Soldiers

Thanks to my friend Rebecca Cooper for sharing this interesting piece of history with me. Once again, this is just slightly before the focus of this blog, but it is the book that was issued to her Grandfather to help him navigate life in France as a United States soldier during World War I:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Box of Vintage Photos

A neighbor of mine loaned me a box of vintage photos that he rescued from a house in New Albany, Indiana (right across the river from Louisville) that was being cleared out. Have had a blast going through them and have separated them all into categories which I will share with you here. This first set looks to maybe be just before the time frame I focus on here; a lady having fun dressing up and posing for the camera:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Division Street School

The Division Street School is little known but amazing historic site currently open to the public in New Albany, Indiana. It was built in 1884, first day of classes were New Years Day, 1885, and it operated until 1946. It was a racially segregated school for African American children so the stories they are able to tell are in interesting mix of education in the past and the too often forgotten story of racial segregation in Indiana. Let's take a look inside:

This is the classroom where grades 1, 2, and 3 met:

Originally, there were outhouses in the back, but when plumbing was installed, it was in the basement, and boys and girls had separate staircases:

 The grades 4, 5, and 6 classroom is now used as exhibit space. This is a comparison between actual seats that were available to Whites and African Americans at The Grand Theater in New Albany (which is still standing and used as a rental facility for special events). I was invited to sit on each, which made for a much more powerful comparison than just seeing it does:

The seats for African Americans were just numbered sections on a bench:

Both times I have been shown around the museum, it was by Vic Megenity, one of the people responsible for saving the building when it was threatened with destruction in 1999 and turned it into a museum:

His partner in the project was Kathryn Hickerson, a graduate of the school, now deceased. She lived just long enough to see her dream for the place become a reality:

I had to take this photo through glass but the girl front and center is Ms. Hickerson during her high school days:

Today, the museum is open for walk in tours from 1pm-3pm every Saturday or by appointment. Every 4th Grader in the Floyd County School System spends a full day of instruction at the Division Street School as it would have been at the turn of the century, complete with lunches prepared according to the recollections of surviving students: a cheese or bologna sandwich with an apple or carrot sticks (milk substituted for the well water). These were the last two teachers at the school, Ms. Mamie Starks and Ms. Vivian Smith. According to those who remember, crossing them was just something you did not do!