historic society

10

Assorted 19th Century Pistols

These are for @qsy-complains-a-lot. The Rock County Historical Society had a pop-up exhibit for Father’s Day last Sunday, and it featured a portion of their firearms collection. The photos above are a small portion of what was on display. The pistols were not behind glass, but we were not allowed to handle them (but it was cool to be able to see them from different angles). The lighting wasn’t great so the photos are a bit dark–sorry about that. Hopefully the information on the index cards is readable because I’m not going to type out a long post explaining each pistol. Plus, I’m not Qsy and I don’t know that much about firearms.

She was the first woman to...

…travel around the world in a damned Zeppelin.

Originally posted by lego-stories

Lady Hay Drummond-Hay (September 12, 1895—February 12, 1946) was a star journalist who became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, and she did it in a damned Zeppelin. She went on to report from war zones like Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and Manchuria (now part of China), fell into a tumultuous romance with a fellow reporter, and was eventually captured by the Japanese during WWII.

…swim the English Channel.

Originally posted by hero-generator

Gertrude Ederle (October 23, 1905 – November 30, 2003) was a competitive swimmer, Olympic champion, and at one time held five world records. If there was a world record for coolest nickname she would’ve held six, because hers was “Queen of the Waves.” When Ederle set out to become the first woman to swim the English channel, she used motorcycle goggles and sealed the edges with wax to keep the salt water out of her eyes. Due to unfavorable and violent wind conditions twelve hours into her 14 hour and 34 minute journey, her trainer shouted at her to get out of the water and into his boat. She reportedly popped her head up from the water to simply ask “what for?” 

travel around the world in less than 80 days.

Originally posted by meedean

Nellie Bly (May 5, 1864—January 27, 1922) asked her editor at the New York World if she could take a stab at turning the story Around the World in 80 Days from fiction to fact. Using railways and steamships, Bly chuggah-chuggahed and toot-tooted the nearly 25,000 mile trip in just 72 days, meeting Jules Verne and buying a monkey along the way. If her name sounds familiar but these stories don’t, it’s probably because you’ve heard about how she once faked a mental illness so she could write an exposé on psychiatric asylums. Or maybe it’s because of her famed coverage of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913. Or maybe it’s because you’re a big fan of farming and industrialist patents and heard she invented a novel milk can and a stacking garbage can. Nellie Bly did a lot in her short 57 years. 

Follow these Tumblrs for more Women’s History:

  • Stuff You Missed in History Class (@missedinhistory) is not exclusively about women, but hoo boy, it turns out most history classes aren’t great at teaching us about women’s history. You’ll learn a lot here. 
  • The New-York Historical Society (@nyhistory) has been pulling articles, artifacts, and documents deep from the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library this Women’s History Month. 

Yo, a friend of mine made an amazing list about imortant and historical trans men!

A list of historical (and some recent) trans men since everyone likes to ignore the fact that we did in fact exist before Chaz Bono came out

(TW: transphobia, obviously, and r*pe)


• Hatshepsut (1479 - 1458 BC)
Hatshepsut was a female Egyptian
pharaoh, who went to great lengths to
present as a man, wearing male
clothing and a fake beard, took on
wives, and used both male and female
pronouns.
Though it cannot be definitively said
if Hatshepsut was a trans man or not,
a lot of the evidence points to that
being the case.

• Anonymous Man (16th century)
Henri Estienne wrote of a FTM man
who was burned alive for living as a
man, learning a trade, and taking a
wife. The man was outed by someone
who recognized him from their
hometown and when given the option
between death and living as a woman,
the man chose death.

• Jospeh Lobdell (1829 - 1912)
A frontier man and skilled marksman
who lived on the frontier with his wife
before being locked in an asylum for
insisting that he was a man.
Scholars used to label him as a lesbian
before it was revealed by his own
writings that he more likely was in fact
a trans man.

• Reed Erickson (1912 - 1992)
After inheriting his father’s fortune in
1962 and after transitioning in 1963,
Erickson launched the Erickson
Educational Foundation in 1964 and
through that laid the foundation for
several trans activism organizations
like the Harry Benjamin International
Gender Dysphoria Association,
Paul Walker’s Janus Information
Service, Sister Mary Elizabeth’s and
Jude Patton’s J2CP, and several
others.
He was also an alternate health
practices supporter and funded
research on homeopathy and
acupuncture.

• Billy Tipton (1914 - 1989)
An American jazz musician from 1936
to 1970, Tipton began presenting as
male full time in 1940, with only his
two cousins knowing his assigned
gender.
To avoid explaining his breasts and his
lack of package, he would tell women
that he had been in a serious car
accident that resulted in damaged
genitals and broken ribs that he had to
keep wrapped constantly.
No one knew he was trans until he
died and and it was revealed by the
autopsy.

• Dr. Alan L. Hart (1890 - 1962)
An American physician, radiologist,
TB researcher, writer and novelist.
Alan L. Hart was one of the first trans
men to have a hysterectomy and a
gonadectomy in the US and his
research on TB detection saved
thousands of lives.
He presented as a boy as a child and
was encouraged by his grandparents
and parents to do so, and was listed as
his grandparent’s grandson in their
obituaries. He’s was recorded as
always begging to cut his hair, wear
boy clothes, and would refer to himself
as a boy as a child.
He’s the first documented trans man
in the united states. His doctor who
helped with his transition described
him as “extremely intelligent and not
mentally ill, but afflicted with
a mysterious disorder for which I have
no explanation” and said that “from a
sociological and psychological
standpoint [Hart] is a man”.
Not only was he a man of medicine but
he was also a fiction writer, and such
a lot of his fiction writing reflected his
own experiences and feelings.

• Michael Dillon (1915 - 1962)
The first FTM person to have a
phalloplasty. He’s also believed to be
the first FTM person to undergo hrt.
While in the hospital with a head injury
he met a plastic surgeon who gave
him a double mastectomy and a note
to help get his birth certificate
changed.
Dillon performed SRS on Roberta
Cowell, the first British trans woman to
receive SRS, but because Dillon had
not completed his medical training the
surgery was considered illegal.
Later on he ended up devoting the
rest of his life to Buddhism in India.

• “Little Axe” Broadnax (1916 - 1992)
Little Axe was an American gospel
singer. I couldn’t find much on his
personal life, but he was apart of
several gospel groups between the
1940’s and 1980’s.
He was not discovered to be trans
until his death in 1992.

• Lou Sullivan (1951 - 1991)
An American author and activist, and
also one of the first trans men to
publicly identify as gay. He’s heavily
credited to the modern understanding
of gender identity and sexuality being
different things.
As a child, he would write in his journal
about being confused about his
identity, and expressed his ideas of
wishing he were a man and wanting to
be a gay man there from a young age.
He moved away from Milwaukee in
1975 to San Francisco so he could
have easier access to not only hrt but
a more understanding community. His
family was supportive of this move and
gave him a man’s suit and his
grandfather’s pocket watch as going
away presents.
In San Francisco, he lived openly as
a gay trans man but was denied SRS
constantly because of his sexuality,
since at the time trans people were
expected to adhere to a more
heterosexual lifestyle. He finally had
SRS in 1986.
He was diagnosed as HIV positive in
the same year, and said afterwards:
“I took a certain pleasure in informing
the gender clinic that even though
their program told me I could not live
as a Gay man, it looks like I’m going to
die like one.”
As an adult he was active in the
Gateway Gender Alliance, which was
one of the first educational
organizations that offered support for
FTM people. He was an editor for The
Gateway,
a newsletter with “news
and information on transvestism and
transsexualism” that originally primarily
focused on MTF issues, but started to
also talk about FTM issues under his
editing.
He was a founding member of the
GLBT Historical Society in San
Francisco, he founded FTM
International - an organization
specifically for trans men - and was a
huge advocate for gay trans men, and
gay trans people in general.
He ended up passing due to HIV
related complications.

• Brandon Teena (1972 - 1993)
TW: r*pe, assault/violence, murder

Brandon Teena was raped and
murdered at age 21 for being trans.
He asserted that he was male from a
young age and began identifying as
a man during adolescence. He would
constantly reject school dress code by
dressing masculinely.
When he was 18 he tried to join the US
army but failed to enter after listing his
sex as male.
In 1993 he began living as a man full
time and associating with John L.
Lotter, Tom Nissen, and Lana Tisdel.
During a Christmas Eve party, Nissen
and Lotter forced Brandon to pull
down his pants revealing that he was
trans. They forced him into a car, drove
to a nearby meat packing plant, and
raped him. They then took him to
Nissen’s house, where they told
Brandon to shower, allowing him to
escape out the bathroom window and
to Tinsel’s house.
They went to the ER where while
Brandon was having a rape kit done,
he was asked invasive, rude, and
unnecessary questions about him
being trans so they left.
When Nissen and Lotter found out
about the police report and rape kit
they started a hunt for Brandon, and
eventually found him on December
31st when they shot and killed him and
the two other people in the house
where he was staying. Brandon was
also stabbed in the chest to ensure he
was dead.
He’s had two movies made on his life
a documentary called The Brandon
Teena Story
and movie called Boys
Don’t Cry.

Some more recent trans men include:

• Thomas Beatie - in 2007 was the first
trans man to become pregnant
through artificial insemination after
finding out his wife was infertile.

• Balian Buschbaum - a former German
pole-vaulting champion. He competed
during the early 2000s and retired in
2007 to transition

• Chaz Bono - son of Sonny and Cher,
he is a writer, musician, and activist

• Ian Harvie - a comedian and actor, he
was in Transparent and Roadtrip
Nation

• Buck Angel - a former adult film star
and producer, and is now a trans
activist, writer, and speaker

There are obviously many, many other well known current trans guys out there, but those are just some ✌️

The history of trans guys is often overlooked and/or forgotten, so hopefully you learned something from this

every year seemingly on the dot there’s an article about this, and to your average New Yorker who reads the news this is probably your only ‘negative’ article about the Hamptons.  And like, yeah, this shit is annoying, people will fly really fucking low in secluded areas and if you live on the flight path you might get like 40 helicopters a day, but honestly?

This is no where near the biggest issue the Hamptons faces.  Not even close.  But it’s an issue that gets hits because it lets us laugh at an issue that’s mostly millionaires vs billionaires because in the popular imagination those are the only people who live in the Hamptons.  More on that in a second but here are some of the issues that your average person faces and sees.

50 people died in the Hamptons from opiod abuse last year.  That might not seem like a lot but in towns where the year-round population numbers in the hundreds its huge, and it grew by 70% last year.  I had this conversation with a friend a year back about this, about how if you stay in the Hamptons there’s this point you get to where everyone you know knows someone who died either because of drugs or because of alcohol.  

Homelessness is a pervasive issue in the east end too, and it’s an issue that’s gotten infinitely worse with the arrival of AirBNB.  Montauk in particular is awful about this; rent goes from around 800 a month for a room to more than a thousand a week (or a day) during the summer, and, and this is just a fun anecdote, but there’s an abandoned army base in Montauk that was the inspiration for the army base in Stranger Things, and it’s basically a shanty town during the summer for people who are just working as waiters and taxi drivers but who can’t afford close to a room there.  In general cost of living is high as hell, you might be able to snag a 15$ an hour job if you’re lucky but if you’re not then lunch still goes for twelve at least and nearly all the retail space in any village is dedicated to shit that you could never possibly afford.

The rampant increase in housing prices has also priced out historic black communities in the Hamptons which gets to another issue which is the brutal and pervasive segregation the region faces.  It’s even getting to the point where a NYC style private-public schooling system is de facto in place which drains funding from Latino, African American, and Native American majority districts as the rich white kids go to a pseudo-private school.  The Latino and black communities exist basically outside of the dominant white communities and neighboring Hampton Bays (which is or is not in the Hamptons depending on who you ask) has the largest KKK chapter in the United States.  

This isn’t even getting into the issues with public transit, the issues with environmental degradation, suicide rates, etc.  These issues, of drug addiction, pervasive poverty, racism, hopelessness, they’re, like, none of it will probably sound new to you.  They’re issues in nearly every rural community in the United States.  But, even though the Hamptons are a mere 100 miles away from NYC and gets more media attention than your average town in New Mexico or Indiana or Montana, these issues are hardly ever talked about in the context of the Hamptons.  Two years ago if you were looking for a mass media depiction of poverty in the Hamptons you had like two or three articles to go on, tops.  

What gets me about the pervasiveness of these “oh these stupid rich people and their rich people problems” articles seem to me to be like the horrifying end phase of the hyper-gentrification of the Hamptons.  A town becomes a target for rich summergoers, it becomes known as a resort town, and gradually the poor people (who live everywhere, who work everywhere) fade from view and disappear from the public image.  They become the subaltern of their own home, known only under the signifier of ‘local’, as hillbillies with hick accents. Their history is forgotten as their past becomes similarly owned by the people who own their house, who own their labor (seriously before the Eastville Historical society was formed in the 1980s the history of the Hamptons working class which was a beautiful combination of Irish and East European immigrants, Native Americans, and freed slaves was nearly entirely forgotten).  The changes the region needs are radical but they are not even thinkable because the only constituency we can imagine are the millionaires who’s problems amount to a guy driving over their house in a helicopter once or twice a day.

That’s why, beyond the fact that I lived there for nearly 16 years, the Hamptons are important to me. Because it’s the end of the line for where our economic model goes.  Because it goes along the line where gentrification crosses into colonization.

4

In 1973, women in the New York Police Department were assigned to patrol duty for the first time, and the term “police officer” replaced the earlier designations of “police-woman” and “patrolman.” 

Jane Hoffer photographed a number of these women and collected their perspectives on their work. Ann Wilson (top photo) reflected:

When they transferred me to the taxi squad, I was primarily with the other girls, assigned to clerical duties. But I had a very innovative boss who one day said to me: “Are you afraid of the street?” and I said: “No.” And he said: “Would you like to try it?” And I said: “Yes.” And out I went. On patrol, in an unmarked car. And I enjoyed it! Once you get a taste of it, it’s like you can’t keep ‘em down on the farm any longer. Because you realize you are just as functional…you can do just about the same things. In fact, in some cases, you’re at an advantage.

Jane Hoffer. Ann Wilson, Sergeant Barbara Collins, [?] Walker, and Officer Peggy O’Shaughnessy. circa 1975-1978. On the Beat photograph collection. New-York Historical Society. 

Sorority Life

Alpha Kappa Alpha

(Howard University, 1908)

Delta Sigma Theta

(Howard University, 1913)


Zeta Phi Beta

(Howard University, 1920)


Sigma Gamma Rho

(Butler University, 1922).

Vintage Movie Advertisements

We recently received a collection of great film advertisements that really blur the line between form and function. The three here are for films released in 1932. The movable features make perfect fodder for animated GIFs. It makes one wonder if these were put together by hand and how many were made.

“Strictly Dishonorable”

“Lady With a Past”

“Fireman Save My Child”

What was the relationship between Sephardim and Ashkenazim on the West Coast?

By Leora Singer, Former Research Intern

This is my second blog post in a series of three posts in which I discuss the theme of Sephardim in the West Coast in the 19th-20th century. You can see my first post here. In this post, I compare and contrast the relationship between Ashkenazim and Sephardim in Seattle and San Francisco.

Seattle:

When Calvo and Policar (the first two Sephardim in Seattle) first encountered the Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews living in the city, they weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms. These observant Jews didn’t believe that Policar and Calvo were “real Jews” because they spoke Greek instead of Yiddish (Adatto, 56), and their names didn’t “sound Jewish” (Angel, 553). Because they felt ostracized by the Jewish community, Calvo and Policar spent a lot of time with Greek non-Jews living in Seattle (Adatto, 58). Fortunately, the rabbi of Bikur Holim, an Orthodox synagogue, convinced the Orthodox Ashkenazim that the Sephardim were just as observant as they were. The Ashkenazim accepted Calvo and Policar as members of the Jewish people.

The Seattle Sephardic community kept growing as Calvo and Policar brought family members over, and these family members spread the word about the opportunities available in Seattle (Adatto, 60). In 1904, the first Rhodesli Sephardic immigrant came to Seattle (FitzMorris, 29). As the number of Sephardim in Seattle grew, their ties to the overall Jewish community of Seattle grew. Many Sephardim prayed at Bikur Holim. They felt somewhat connected to the Orthodox Ashkenazim because they, like the Sephardim, upheld high religious standards (Adatto, 116). However, the perception was that their cultures were just too different to mix together, so the Sephardim and Orthodox Ashkenazim remained fairly separate. For example, intermarriage between the two groups was highly rare (Adatto, 117).

Despite its rocky nature, the beginning of the relationship between Orthodox Sephardim and Orthodox Ashkenazim was still stronger than the beginning of the relationship between Sephardim and Reform Ashkenazim. The Sephardim distrusted the Reform Ashkenazim because they believed that the Reform Ashkenazim were not following enough of the Jewish traditions. Fortunately, Aubrey Levy from the Reform Temple de Hirsch helped to change this negative view of Reform Judaism by forming a friendship with the Sephardic Jews. As a lawyer, he helped Sephardim with legal work, free of charge. For example, in 1914, he assisted them with the legal logistics in the purchase of the (previously Ashkenazi-owned) Bikur Holim synagogue (Adatto, 118-119). Levy was highly regarded by the Sephardim. By association, his synagogue became highly regarded as well. In fact, many Sephardic children got their Jewish education at the Hebrew School of Temple de Hirsch. However, even after many years, there was still very little intermarriage. The Sephardim still did not feel like a part of Ashkenazi culture.

San Francisco:

There was a temporary Sephardic congregation in the early 1850s (Zerin, 30). The congregation was called Shaar Hashamayim. It was so temporary that it never even had a building because the congregation stopped meeting only a few months after its creation (Zerin, 47). This is likely because the construction of new buildings for two Ashkenazi-run synagogues, Temple Emanu-El and Temple Sherith- Israel, was underway. Since the Sephardim and Ashkenazim in San Francisco were united, (especially in comparison to these sects in other West Coast cities) the Sephardim didn’t want to divide it by having their own synagogue. Also, some members of the Sephardic congregation had been leaders in the other synagogues, because they were so prominent and respected by the Ashkenazim (Stern and Kramer, 47).

Sephardim from San Francisco are sometimes difficult to identify because intermarriage with Ashkenazim and even non-Jews was common (Stern and Kramer, 45). This practice showed a stark difference between the Jews of San Francisco and in other West Coast cities. In the other cities, intermarriage between pretty much anyone that was not a Jew from your home country was frowned upon.

Bibliography:

Adatto, Albert. Sephardim and the Seattle Sephardic Community. Seattle: U of Washington, 1939. Print.

Angel, Marc D., Hasson, Aron, Kramer, William M., Maimon, Isaac, Samuels, Beth, Sidell, Loraine, Stern, Norton B. Sephardic Jews in the West Coast States : An Anthology. 1st ed. Los Angeles: Published for the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles by the Western States Jewish History Association, 1996. Print. Western States Jewish History ; v. 28, No. 1-3.

Stern, Stephen. The Sephardic Jewish Community of Los Angeles. New York: Arno, 1980. Print. Folklore of the World (New York).

Zerin, Edward. Jewish San Francisco. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2006. Print. Images of America

Fleetwood Marsh Nature Reserve, Lancashire, England.

One of the shipwrecks (fishing trawler?) on Fleetwood Marsh at high tide. The tide was so high when I got there that I had to wait for it to start going out so that I could see the safe route through the water! Would have certainly given passersby a good giggle if I fell into one of the deep channels…