Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Z" Perfect Day: Stereoviews A-Z







"A Bite at Last" (ca. 1890s)

"Calves Crossing the Stream" (ca. 1890s)

Still laughing at the last stereoview in the collection. I had to use a magnifying glass to read the fine print at the bottom. It really does say "calves."

And so . . . here we are . . . "Z" end of 26 nearly perfect days! Thank you Arlee and everyone else for making the A-Z possibleI cannot thank all of you enough for reading my blog and for your support and humor in comments. I loved your spunk and the many inspirational and  adventuresome posts you wrote. You made me laugh, you made me cry, and you made me think. I learned so much from you!! 

NOW for a good long nap!!!

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl; [Gravseth family archive; Cosmopolitan and New educational series 1890s]  

Monday, April 29, 2013

Young Gladiator: Stereoviews A-Z

A parent's imagination no doubt helped title this picture of their son. There has long been a fascination in our culture with Rome and its gladiators.

"The Young Gladiator" (ca. 1890)

History shows that most gladiators were slaves. The first written record of gladiator combat dates back to a religious ceremony in Rome in 264 BC. Later, gladiators were used in the military for combat training. However, some gladiators were free men and became heroes in the arena, earning great fame and wealth. 

Books and movies have recorded their times and legends with gusto. In 1925, the silent film hit, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, put gladiators on the screen. The movie was based on a popular novel of the same title by Lew Wallace, written in 1907. It cost the film industry $3.9 million to make and was the second most expensive silent film ever made. 

[Gravseth family archive; ca. 1890] Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
 [source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ptop/A46178445; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben-Hur_(1925_film)]

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Africa Mercy Update 7: One Nurse's Journey

This is a running post about my friend's journey to Africa and work as a nurse on the Africa Mercy. The below email was sent late today. I enjoyed learning more about the area in this post.  

Click here to learn more about the nurses and doctors on the Africa Mercy. 

28 Apr 2013

I can't believe I've been on the ship for more than five weeks already.
Time is going so fast...I must be having fun!  The first three weeks were spent on the ward, and the last two have been spent as an admissions nurse.  The job is not complicated, mostly paperwork and blood draws, but it is part of the overall process of bringing surgery to the people of Guinea.  The people are so grateful for what we provide; it makes my job a joy.  We only have three more weeks of surgery in Guinea, and then it will be time to pack up the ship and sail away.  That will be an interesting process...but sad, too, to leave these folks.  But, I'm sure we'll return before too many years.

Mercy Ships arranges various activities for the crew, all kinds of activities, ranging from sporting contests to cultural expeditions.
Yesterday I went with a group to tour the local mosque.  It is the second largest mosque in West Africa, and very beautiful inside (the outside has gotten a bit shabby, needing paint, but the inside is in good repair).  The first president of Guinea made a pilgrimage to Mecca in the 1980's, and saw that there were no trees along the road.  He arranged with the king of Saudi Arabia to import and plant a bunch of trees from Guinea, where they thrived and gave shade to pilgrims.  The king then returned the favor by building this mosque for Guinea.  It holds 10,000 men at prayer on the main floor and 2500 women in the balcony.  Friday is their holy day, but we were there on Saturday, and our visit was timed between official prayer times, so apart from the men giving us the tour and the cleaning lady who was sleeping on the floor, there weren't many people inside.  Our hosts were so very gracious, describing their rituals and showing us all around.  They said that they pray for Mercy Ships every day there in the mosque.  How wonderful, to be continually blessed in such a way!

Age has its advantages.  Muslim men do not touch women who are not relatives as a rule.  Our leader instructed us that the men in our group should greet every man that we met, but the women should hang back and not offer to shake hands.  We did that. Several men met our group when we arrived, and all the men had a spot of tea while the women watched.

But, my white hair earns me lots of respect around here.  I was approached by a high mucky-muck fellow--I think he was supervisor of all the mosques in the region--and offered a greeting and a handshake.  The men who were leading our tour all shook my hand, talked to me, and wanted pictures taken with me.  I felt pretty special!

Did you know that barracuda is quite tasty?  Delicious.

Next week is likely to be pretty busy.  One of our three nurses in admissions went home this weekend.  Well, she attempted to go home.  The flight got cancelled for mechanical problems.  There aren't any backup planes lying around here, so they had to cancel the flight and reschedule for early tomorrow morning...hopefully, they've been able to fix the plane.  We will be getting another nurse next week, but of course, we'll need to orient her before she can be productive.  I guess I'm not the new hand any more...how quickly our status changes!

More another day.  Blessings to you.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

"X" Marks the Spot: Stereoviews A-Z

"Martha, I can't make that fit."

Martha: "Do you have the right end?"
Man: "Yep, says right here that "x" marks the spot."

So much for following the directions. Did you ever have one of those days?

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
[Gravseth family archive; New educational series 1890s]

Friday, April 26, 2013

World Destinations 1890s-1900s: Stereoviews A-Z


"Monument to Maria Josefa Quaritate (Queretaro)." 
Scene from train, the Mexican Central (ca. 1900). 

"Chapultepec Park, Mexico City." Scene from the Mexican Central (ca. 1900).

The Mexican Central Railroad was built in 1884. It connected Mexico City with Mexican towns to the north and towns on the U.S. border. It brought Mexican agriculture, goods and minerals into the American market, and allowed thousands of Mexican laborers to find work in the U.S. The Mexican Central was also a means of travel for Americans into Mexico.  

"Feeding Pigeons in Public Square, Venice, Italy" (ca. 1890s)

 "Village Life in Skansen Near Stockholm, Sweden" (ca. 1890s)

 "Japanese Actors, Osaka, Japan Theatre" (ca. 1890s)

 "Rice Field at Plowing Time, Japan" (ca. 1900)

"Irrigating Plains Otherwise Sterile and Planting Sugar Cane Farm at Santa Clara, Peru" (date unknown)

Copyright 2013 ©Sharon Himsl; [stereoviews from Gravseth family archive]
Source (railroads): Donna S. Morales and John P. Schmal, 2004, How We Got Here: The Roads We Took to America;

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vanity and the Portrait: Stereoviews A-Z

Another set of stereoviews by photographer Herman Knutzen. There is not much online about this photographer, except for his German ancestry. It could be someone else choreographed the scenes and all Knutzen did was point and shoot. 

But I doubt it. An entire team of people had to be involved . . . actors for instance. I think one of the characters below (or even Kutzen himself) would make a great protagonist or supporting character in a book. What do you think?

"Yes, madam, I can paint your portrait while you wait."

"Now, Mr. Artist, I want it to look just like me."
Mr. Artist: "Certainly, madam, there you are."

Madam: "Do you mean to say that chromo looks like me?"

"I'll teach you to insult me, sir; you made me look forty years old when I am only 23."

 "And she said she was 23. I see it was bad for me, all right."

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
[Gravseth family archive; 1906, Herman Knutzen]

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U.S. and Canadian Scenery: Stereoviews A-Z

Stereoviews were often used as instructional tools in school. The backside of the Canadian apple orchard scene that follows at the end describes the loading of "rosy-cheeked apples" and appears to have been written for a young audience. "Barrels and barrels of them are being picked to sell," it says.

The last paragraph reads: "The trees in apple orchards are started from seeds. The little seedlings are cut close to the ground and slices of the branches of other apple trees are tied on. This is called grafting." 

Kids were then handed a stereoscope, so they could view the photo in 3-D. It was an effective method of learning, I suspect.  

"Grand Canyon of the Colorado, Arizona" (ca. 1890s)

"A Herd of Sheep" (ca. 1890s) (location unknown)

Apple orchard in Annapolis Valley.
Nova Scotia, Canada (ca 1900s)

(See Post A and Post B for history of Stereoviews/Stereoscope)

  Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
Gravseth family archive; New educational series 1890s; Cosmopolitan Series 1890s; Keystone View Company 1900s

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Twentieth Century Woman: Stereoviews A-Z

Don't confuse the hair-like mop in the middle for another woman like I did! The focus of course is the wife on the left, who is leisurely reading a book while her husband (note the apron) does dishes. It is a funny take on women's lib in the 1890s and early 1900s. I doubt this household scene was typical then, but nevertheless . . .

"Twentieth Century Woman" (ca. 1890s)
Proper Victorian dress for American women up to the 1890s was known for its corsets and layers of clothing. Author Dorothy W. Hartman writes, "One account reported that the 'well-dressed' woman of the late nineteenth century wore 37 pounds of clothing in the winter, 19 which hung from her corseted waist." Whew. It is hard to imagine. But in the 1890s, bloomers (long pantaloons like the striped ones in this photo) became acceptable. Finally, women had something to wear if they wanted to ride a bicycle . . . or simply play.

(See Post A and Post B for history of Stereoviews/Stereoscope)

Copyright 2013 ©Sharon Himsl; [stereoview from Gravseth family archive]

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sawing the Bass Fiddle: Stereoviews A-Z

Ha-ha . . . Poor guy.  

Some days really are like this! 

"I vill practice me dose Intermezzo for der concert tonight."

"Dot music is lofely it gifs me a thairst like eferyting."

"Now I vill play dot last part ofer again."

 Dot don't sount like it dit der fairst time."

"I bade you dot I get dot right, so soon as quick."

"Ach du Lieber, dot is von awful moosic.
Vair got me dot saw?" 

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
[Gravseth family archive; 1906, Stereoviews, Herman Knutzen]

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Africa Mercy - Ward Nursing: One Nurse's Journey

This is a running post about my friend's journey to Africa and work as a nurse on the Africa Mercy. Below are two emails sent April 14 and 17. Click here to learn more about the nurses and doctors on this ship. 

14 Apr 2013
ward nursing

This evening is my last scheduled shift as a ward nurse.  What an interesting two weeks it has been...such a different flavor from hospital nursing at home.  The pace is slower, for one thing, and the patients are not acutely ill, just recovering from surgery.  I had to laugh at myself last night.  I was organized and on task...and there wasn't all that much to do.  I found myself waiting for that window of one hour prior to a scheduled medication or treatment to get things done as soon as possible, "just in case."  Just in case...what?  I suddenly realized that I was expecting the unexpected admission, the sudden crisis down the hall, any of the myriad of things that can happen at home...and it's different here.  We are not a general hospital, and our surgeries are scheduled.  "Just in case" is pretty limited in scope.

Relax and enjoy the evening, Marilyn!  Play with the kids.  Dance with the ladies.  Be a hostess as well as a nurse.

Our ward quickly becomes a community.  One of my patients was a five-year old boy with major plastic surgery, so he has been here for several weeks while his graft sites heal.  His father is here with him, as patient as the day is long.  But last weekend, he declared that he had to go home to Kenya, a two day trip, to pay urgent bills, or his family would be evicted from their home.  No, he knew no one in Conakry who could be a caregiver for the boy.  No, no one else could pay his bills for him.  No, no one else could come from Kenya to care for the boy.  So, could he just leave the boy with us?  No, there has to be a caregiver for anyone under the age of 16.  Well, could he take the boy with him?  Not a good idea.  Hate to ruin a good surgery by discharging too soon.  Aha!  He asked another caregiver to watch his son for the two days he would be gone, a woman he only knew for a week or two because their sons were both in Ward A.  Problem solved.  I'm not even sure they were from the same tribe or language group...but it worked out.

Not all the stories have happy endings.  One little boy was admitted for removal of a huge lipoma, a non-cancerous tumor, that was growing on his neck and chest.  Unfortunately, x-rays revealed that the tumor had grown into his chest cavity and was already entangled with critical structures.  Surgery would require a thoracic surgeon, which we didn't have, and perhaps even then would be impossible.  It was just too late.

A year or two ago, perhaps...but not now.  Heartbreaking, to send him away to die of something that could have been cured, if only...

OK.  Let's talk about something more cheerful.  I got to watch eye surgeries one day last week.  Cataracts are a big deal here, both for children and for adults.  Our surgeons have trained some West African surgeons in cataract removal.  This is a perfect training place because we get hundreds of people hoping for surgery, so the surgeon can practice all day long, and he quickly becomes proficient.  I watched one Guinean doctor replacing cataracts and simultaneously training another Guinean while he worked.  They could whip through a surgery in about fifteen minutes.  Very smooth!

Time for lunch, and then another evening shift in Ward A.  It will be a little hard to say goodbye...and I've only been there for two weeks.  I can see that I'll have to return to the ward for visits once I'm working elsewhere.



Remember the boy with the huge inoperable lipoma on his neck and chest?

Well, guess what?  They did some more CT scans and decided that there was a fighting chance that they could remove it.  I guess some lipoma's are stuck pretty hard to the surrounding structures, but some peel off more easily.  Maybe his would peel.

His surgery was today, and it was apparently very successful.  The surgeon believes that he got it all, so the boy should recover to lead a normal life.  I'm told that his father is ecstatic.  He'd already lost one child to this malady, and for a while thought he would lose this one, too.  Anyway, to those who prayed for this boy and his family, thank you.  Who knows?  Maybe the Lord loosened that tumor up in response to prayer.  Please pray for his continued recovery and for a fruitful life in the years that have been restored to him.  Thanks.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Resting: Stereoviews A-Z

 Cute stereoview of little girl. At first I thought she was sitting on a potty chair. Maybe she is. I am reminded of the struggle I had potty training my son. He was four-years-old and still in diapers. It was a matter of convenience (i.e., his). And I remember this same look on his face, too.

"Yes, I get it, Mommy. No more diapers."  

"Resting" (ca. 1890)

(See Post A and Post B for history of Stereoviews/Stereoscope)

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl; [Gravseth family archive; ca. 1890]

Friday, April 19, 2013

Question: Who are they? - Stereoviews A-Z

It's not clear where this photo was taken or its purpose. A watermelon is being stored in the cellar and three boys are salivating and hoping they can sneak a bite? I like that.....

But it's so close to the post-Civil War period. I can't help but wonder if they are sharecroppers. Slavery may not have been legal in the 1890s, but in the south especially, African Americans often went from slavery straight to sharecropping (along with poor whites), which was a form of forced labor. Most were too poor to do little more. According to historian W.E.B. Dubois, "The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery."

"Dis Am de Pick of Dat Patch." (ca. 1890s)

(See Post A and Post B for history of Stereoviews/Stereoscope)

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl; [Gravseth family archive; Cosmopolitan and New educational series 1890s]
source: http://www.americanhistoryusa.com/slavery-to-serfdom-black-people-new-south/

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pulling Teeth: Stereoviews A-Z

Reminds me of a wisdom
tooth I had pulled once.   

"A little harder pull than he expected." 

"With the ice tongs. Pull it or bust something." 

"Well, it finally came after making a wreck of the office."

(See Post A and Post B for history of Stereoviews/Stereoscope)

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl; Gravseth family archive; 1906, Herman Knutzen

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh, My Aching Head: Stereoviews A-Z

This might be a fun writing exercise to come up with a story. Unfortunately, the scowl on the woman's face is hard to see, but it has set my imagination running. We only know that circumstances were different the night before.
What do you think happened?

"Oh! What a Difference in the Morning" (ca. 1890s)

(See Post A and Post B for history of Stereoviews/Stereoscope)

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl; [Gravseth family archive; New educational series 1890s]

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Native Americans: Stereoviews A-Z

Native Americans
in the 1890s and past.

"Family of Cheyenne Indians, Wyoming" (ca. 1890s)

"Ruined Cave Dwellers' Houses, New Mexico" (ca. 1890s)

Hmm..... These could be ancient "Atsina Indian Cliff Dweller Ruins" according to one online source, but I found nothing more to document that.

(See Post A and Post B for history of Stereoviews/Stereoscope)

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl; [Gravseth family archive; Cosmopolitan series 1890s]  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mr. Jones, Please Remove Your Hat: Stereoviews A-Z


Ha-ha-ha... Mr. Jones has just broken one of Emily Post's rules for wearing hats. There are fifteen hat rules for men.

  "Mr. Jones, Remove Your Hat." (ca. 1890s)


Men must leave their hats on . . . 
-at sporting events (inside and outside)
-on public transit
-in some public buildings (hotels, airports, post offices, or office lobbies)
-and on elevators! 

Men must take off their hats (even baseball caps) . . .
-in someone's home
-at mealtimes (at the table)
-when introduced (indoors and out, unless extremely cold outside)
-in house of worship (unless required)
-in some public buildings (school, library, courthouse, or town hall) 
-in restaurants and coffee shops
-at movie theaters, indoor performances
-when national anthem is played
-when national flag passes by (e.g., in a parade) 

Men never left home without their hat in the 1890s, and it really wasn't until the 1960s that the wearing of hats began to decline. Most people attribute this decline in the U.S. to President Kennedy, who disliked wearing his top hat. He was often seen carrying one in his hand, but seldom wore it. Maybe it had to do with all those rules (historically, women have always been exempt from the hat rule :).

It seems that hats have slowly been making a comeback (for men at least). Harrison Ford of the Indiana Jones movies certainly made the Indy Fur Fedora hat popular for awhile. My husband has at least two versions, and does wear them occasionally. How about you (guys and gals)? Do you wear hats today? If so, what kind?  

(See Post A and Post B for history of Stereoviews/Stereoscope)

Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl; [Gravseth family archive; Cosmopolitan series stereoviews 1890s] 
source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/05/04/152011840/who-killed-mens-hats-think-of-a-three-letter-word-beginning-with-i