Hidden Figures: Zelda Wynn Valdes #BlackHERstoryMonth 18/28

Zelda Wynn Valdes was an African-American fashion designer and costumer famous for dressing Black celebrities as well as designing the infamous Playboy Bunny costume. Valdes learned how to sew by watching her grandmother’s seamstress and making dresses for her dolls as a child, eventually making clothes for her grandmother and working for her uncle as a tailor. She got a job as a stock girl for a high-end boutique, and made her way up to salesclerk (becoming the first Black salesclerk in the shop) and making alterations (becoming the first Black tailor in the shop).

In 1948 she opened her own shop on Broadway and West 158th St in New York City, making her the first Black woman to open a shop on the major street. Later she moved ‘Chez Zelda,’ as she called it, to Midtown. The boutique was a runaway success, netting her celebrity clientele such as Josephine Baker, Mae West, Ella Fitzgerald, Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, Marian Anderson, and Joyce Bryant. Valdes created what later became Bryant’s signature sexy look, which earned her the nickname 'The Black Marilyn Monroe.’

In the 1950’s, Hugh Hefner took notice of her famously glamorous designs and commissioned her to create a costume for his Playboy Bunnies. Valdes came up with the sweetheart neckline satin leotard, bowtie, and bunny ears still used today.

In 1970, dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell asked Valdes to design costumes for his new company, the Dance Theater of Harlem. and she went on to design costumes for eighty-two productions by 1992. Although she closed her business and retired from fashion design in 1989, she continued to work with the Dance Theater of Harlem until her death in 2001. She was 96.

#HiddenFigures #BlackHERstoryMonth


In 1896, Jagadish Chandra Bose proved science (and science fiction) wasn’t a white man’s game

  • Jagadish Chandra Bose’s list of accomplishments is long and inspiring.
  • He was a genius polymath, studying and contributing to the fields of physics, biology, biophysics, botany and archaeology.
  • He also made significant contributions to radio and sonic technology and was hailed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering as one of the “fathers of radio.”
  • For his work in radio technology, a crater on the moon was named after him.
  • Beyond his professional work, however, Bose was also one of the first writers of science fiction.
  • Bose wrote “Nirrudeshar Kahini” (“The Story of the Missing”) in 1896 for a writing competition sponsored by a popular hair oil. He won.
  • On Wednesday, Bose’s 158th birthday, Google published a Doodle to honor his achievements and scientific contributions. Read more

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Happy Valentines Day and Happy 158th Birthday Oregon! 💖
I got tagged by @godshideouscreation @stoned-mama @bohemian-crystalchild @indig0sunflower to take a hit! 😘💨
I am tagging!

February 14th, 1859

It is the eve of the Civil War, and on this day, Oregon becomes the 33rd state of These United States of America. Despite a policy of discrimination written in its very constitution, it is a free state, and many white Americans, both Southern and Northern, flee there in the face of the coming conflict.

It’s your 158th birthday, Oregon!

I have conflicting feelings about the history of my state (as most people probably do about theirs), but I also wanted to celebrate what I like about living here, which is mainly being surrounded by all these natural wonders, from Hells Canyon to Crater Lake, Mount Hood to Multnomah Falls, and the haystacks at Cannon Beach to the fossil beds at John Day. It might not always be the best place to live, but it sure is beautiful.

Today we can celebrate Regoyos’s 158th ;-) birthday, a perfect occasion to put the spotlight on a lesser known, but very interesting artist.
Darío de Regoyos y Valdés was born on 1 November 1857 in Ribadesella, Spain of all places. During the 1880’s Regoyos travelled intensively in Europe, and even lived intermittently in Brussels where he met people like Théo Van Rysselberghe, James Ensor and the symbolist Fernand Khnopff and became one of the eleven co-founders of an important avant-garde group, called “Les XX”. That group organised influential exhibitions in Brussels giving a platform to themselves and people like Caillebotte, Cassatt, Cézanne, Gauguin, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Redon, Seurat, Signac, Sisley, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh and many more.
Regoyos went on to become one of the renewers of Spanish painting.

This ‘Winter Landscape by Night, Haarlem’ is a view of a canal in Haarlem (Netherlands) in January 1886.

Darío de Regoyos y Valdés, Paisaje nocturno nevado. Haarlem (Winter Landscape by Night, Haarlem), 1886. Oil on canvas, 87 x 119 cm. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Dec. 1943: American Navajo Indians from Southwest United States, members of the 158th U.S. Infantry, are seen on a beach in the Solomon Islands. They are in their traditional dress for a tribal ceremony at Christmas time. From left to right are, Pfc. Dale Winney, Gallup, N.M; Pvt. Perry Toney, Holbrook, Ariz.; Pfc. Joe Gishi, Holbrook; and Pfc. Joe Taraha, Gallup. (AP Photo/U.S. Army Signal Corps)

“Cuidado”–Take Care–Bushmaster with Bolo! by H. Charles McBarron

“April 3 and 4, 1945 – Cries of Banzai rang through the snake infested jungles while the staccato of enemy machine guns, mortars and rifles rolled. The bayonet charges were suicidal but the 158th Regimental Combat Team, the Bushmasters, repulsed the enemy and advanced. It fought day after day, in critical battles to open the Visayan passages for allied shipping in the Pacific. The merciless campaign lasted two months in terrain laced with tank traps, wire, mines and bamboo thickets.”

(National Guard)