Archive for November 2012

Portraits: Chester Arthur   Leave a comment

This 1881 painting is currently in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

The 21st President of the United States, 1881 – 1885

AKA: Chet, Gentleman Boss, Prince Arthur, The Dude President, Walrus

From: Vermont, New York

College: Union College

Married to: Ellen Herndon

Children: William, Chester, Ellen

Party: Whig, Republican

Previous Jobs: teacher, principal, lawyer,

In His Words:  “I trust the time is nigh when, with the universal assent of civilized people, all international differences shall be determined without resort to arms by the benignant processes of civilization.”

“The office of the Vice-President is a greater honor than I ever dreamed of attaining.”

“Men may die, but the fabric of our free institutions remains unshaken.” – said upon the death of President Garfield.

“I love the autumn.  The crispness in the air, the changing of the leaves, and the changing of my wardrobe to winter-weight wools.”

“Madam, I may be President of the United States, but my private life is nobody’s damn business.”

Not true: Arthur’s father was born in Ireland, and he moved frequently with his young family.  That led to Chester Arthur’s political opponents starting a rumor that he was foreign born and not eligible to be Vice President in 1880.  The rumors first swirled that he was born in Ireland, and then in Canada … but neither rumor took hold.  Isn’t this all of the proof we need to see that history does repeat itself?

True: Arthur owned at least 80 pairs of pants, which may not be a lot by today’s presidential standards, it was quite the extravagance back then.

His nomination as Vice President was a compromise.  Republicans were fighting between the Stalwarts and the Half-Breeds, with Garfield’s nomination only happening after 36 ballots.  Arthur was the 2nd choice for Vice President.

He refused the duties of the office of President while President Garfield was incapacitated and unable to perform those duties.  The nation was rudderless during the two months of Garfield’s decline.

His nomination was secured due to the sentiment that he would not upset the patronage system that prevailed in the Washington of his day.  In the end, however, he did institute reforms, and his administration was not marred by the scandals that tarred so many of this era.

The Official Portrait: Daniel Huntington painted the official portrait of President Arthur in 1885.  It would prove to be his last significant painting.

Today’s Top Two   1 comment

Today’s Top Two posts:

1. Today’s post, about the family photo scrapbook I’m doing for my in-laws.

2. An older post, titled “Tequila.”

Serendipity?  Or is it simply that y’all really do know my family?

Posted November 29, 2012 by henrymowry in Living Life

Family Photo Scrapbooks   8 comments

I’m nearing the end.  I started working on the Hepler family photo scrapbook in March 2011, and it will be finished in the next few weeks.  The book has grown to just over 200 pages of photos, history and genealogy information.  This book is focused on the family of Harry Baptiste Hepler: his 6 children, his 25 grandchildren, and their descendants.

I enjoy putting together the covers of the book.  For this family history (and it’s the 4th that I’ve compiled), I assembled 2 covers.  The first one is focused on the first couple of generations, and the 2nd cover is focused on the younger generations.

In the case of this branch of the family, no one member will know everyone pictured.  Reacting to that fact became one of my goals: to illustrate the breadth of the family immediately.  An essential  third page is a key to the photographs, so that the family can begin to associate names with faces!


Creating a Family Photo Scrapbook

Digitizing Family Photos

Treasuring Family Photos

Your Family Tree

Posted November 29, 2012 by henrymowry in Genealogy, Photography

Tagged with , , ,

Portraits: Franklin Pierce   Leave a comment

Franklin Pierce (1804 – 1869)

The 14th President of the United States, 1853 – 1857

AKA: Young Hickory of the Granite Hills, Handsome Frank (proof that most never saw him!)

From: New Hampshire

College: Bowdoin College, Northampton Law School

Married to: Jane Appleton

Children: Franklin, Frank Robert, Benjamin

Party: Democrat

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, state representative, US Representative, US Senator

In His Words:  “You have summoned me in my weakness. You must sustain me by your strength.”

“Do we not all know that the cause of our casualties is the vicious intermeddling of too many of the citizens of the Northern States with the constitutional rights of the Southern States, cooperating with the discontents of the people of those states? Do we not know that the disregard of the Constitution, and of the security that it affords to the rights of States and of individuals, has been the cause of the calamity which our country is called to undergo? And now, war! war, in its direst shape — war, such as it makes the blood run cold to read of in the history of other nations and of other times — war, on a scale of a million of men in arms — war, horrid as that of barbaric ages, rages in several of the States of the Union, as its more immediate field, and casts the lurid shadow of its death and lamentation athwart the whole expanse, and into every nook and corner of our vast domain.”

“Frequently the more trifling the subject, the more animated and protracted the discussion.”

Not true: Pierce was branded a coward by some after he passed out and was carried from the battlefield at the Battle of Churubusco, part of the Mexican American War.  Here’s what happened:

In 1847, Pierce was serving in the US Army, and was promoted to Brigadier General.  He took command of the army marching on Mexico City.  During the Battle of Contreras, he was injured when his horse stepped into a crevice, breaking its leg and pinning Pierce underneath.  Contemporary accounts say he was seriously injured, including a sprained knee.

He returned to the battlefield the next day, but had to be tied into the saddle.  His pain proved to be so great, however, that he passed out and had to be carried from the field.  His political opponents branded him a coward.  However, in his memoirs, Ulysses S Grant (who was not a political ally of Pierce’s) said that the negative description was “unfair and unjust.”  He further stated that Pierce was “a gentleman and a man of courage.”

Pierce returned to command and led his brigade in its capture of Mexico City.

True:  Pierce saw much tragedy in his life.  For example, all 3 of his sons died before he was inaugurated as President.

Franklin Pierce was the first President to have a Christmas tree in the White House.  He was also the first to install a bathtub in the White House, which was somewhat controversial, as many people of the time thought taking baths was not healthy and would make you sick.

Pierce gave his 3,319-word inaugural address from memory, without the aid of notes.

During his administration, bloodshed over the issue of slavery followed the passage of Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and re-opened the question of slavery in the West.  Pierce worked with Senator Stephen A Douglas, who was advocating building a railroad to the west from Chicago, while simultaneously asserting that it was each state’s right to decide the question of slavery in their territory.  Part of that effort resulted in the purchase of what is now the southern part of Arizona and New Mexico for $10,000,000 from Mexico.

Pierce was the only elected President who sought but did not win his party’s nomination for a second term.

The Official Portrait: George Healy painted the official White House portrait of Franklin Pierce in 1858 after an earlier sitting in 1853.  Healy painted most of the presidents in the mid-19th century.

Kauai: Kilauea Lighthouse   1 comment

The Kilauea Lighthouse is set on a prominent point on the north shore of Kauai.  The view of the bay beside the lighthouse is the reason to go.

You’ll see the lighthouse, take the picture.  Maybe there will be some nene on the grounds to take a picture of.  Good.

Now, look at the coastline.  Look at the albatross gliding on the wind currents above the ocean currents of that wonderful sea green bay.

Bonus: make sure you visit the Kilauea Fish Market for an ahi wrap on your way to or from the Lighthouse.  It is the BEST wrap on the island.  It’s the best restaurant for the money on the island, and it’s our favorite restaurant on the island.

Posted November 27, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

Portraits: Calvin Coolidge   8 comments

Calvin Coolidge (John Calvin Coolidge, Jr, 1872 – 1933)

The 30th President of the United States, 1923 – 1929

AKA: Cautious Cal, Cool Cal, Silent Cal

From: Vermont, Massachusetts

College: Amherst College

Married to: Grace Anna Goodhue

Children: John and Calvin, Jr

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, city councilman, city solicitor, clerk of courts, state representative, mayor, state senator, lieutenant governor, governor, vice president

In His Words:  “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, any time.”

“There is no force so democratic as the force of an ideal.”

“The chief business of the American people is business.”

“What we need is not more Federal government, but better local government.”

“I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.”

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

“If you don’t say anything, you won’t be called on to repeat it.”

Not true: “Silent Cal” gave 529 press conferences, more than any other President before or since. (from Greenberg, David (2006). Calvin Coolidge. The American Presidents Series.)

True: Coolidge’s first Presidential speech to congress, on December 6, 1923, was the first speech by a President broadcast on the radio.  He was the first President to appear in a motion picture with sound, in 1924.

After completing Harding’s term, and then running successfully for re-election, he declined to run again in 1930, saying that 10 years in Washington is more than anyone should be President.

The Official Portrait:

Charles Hopkinson painted the official White House portrait of Calvin Coolidge in 1932.  Many of his paintings were commissioned by U. S. East Coast institutions, especially Harvard University, where he acted as house portraitist. Among his sitters were Oliver Wendell Holmes and E. E. Cummings.

UCLA v. Stanford at the Rose Bowl   Leave a comment

One annoying thing about going to the Rose Bowl is they do not allow DSLRs into the public area.  I guess they’re afraid that you might take some really good pictures?

In any event, I was limited to my old point and shoot, so I did my best.

The Bruins weren’t up to the task either, unfortunately, falling 35-17.  This was just table setting for the finale, however.  The Bruins have a chance for immediate revenge on Friday, when they will again play Stanford, but this time for the Pac-12 Championship.  Friday’s game will be in Palo Alto.

Portraits: William H Harrison   1 comment

William Henry Harrison (1773 – 1841)

The 9th President of the United States, 1841

This portrait of Harrison originally showed him in civilian clothes as the congressional delegate from the Northwest Territory in 1800, but the uniform was added after he became famous in the War of 1812.

AKA: Old Tippecanoe, General Mum

From: Virginia, Ohio

College: Presbyterian Hampden-Sydney College, University of Pennsylvania (withdrew from both)

Married to: Anna Symmes

Children: Ten with his wife, and six with one of his slaves, Dilsia.  He didn’t want “bastard slave children” around the White House, so he gave four of those to his brother, who sold them.

Party: Whig

Previous Jobs: General, US Representative, Senator, minister to Columbia

In His Words:  “But I contend that the strongest of all governments is that which is most free.”

“There is nothing more corrupting, nothing more destructive of the noblest and finest feelings of our nature, than the exercise of unlimited power.”

“The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.”

Final words: “Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.”

Not true: Chief Tecumseh’s Shawnee were defeated by Harrison (at the Tippecanoe River), prompting Tecumseh to curse the American presidency. The oddly specific curse was that every President elected in a year ending in zero would die in office.  Harrison himself was the first such President to die, followed by Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, Roosevelt and Kennedy.  The curse was proven false when Reagan did not die in office (though he was shot).

True: Harrison’s father, Benjamin Harrison, signed the Declaration of Independence.

It was a cold, wet day in March when Harrison was inaugurated. His speech lasted nearly 2 hours. He caught pneumonia and died on his 32nd day in office, the shortest term of any president. Harrison was the first president to die in office. His death would be seen as the first in a long series of what became known as Tecumseh’s Curse: Presidents elected in a year ending in a zero would die in office.

The Official Portrait:

James Lambdin is famous for many of his portraits of U.S. Presidents, including portraits of William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. The Harrison portrait was painted in 1835, before he was elected President. Lambdin became professor of fine arts at the University of Pennsylvania.

Thanksgiving Table   2 comments

Statues of Na ‘Aina Kai   Leave a comment

This is series of  pictures of just some of the statues on display at Kauai’s Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens. I have said it before: this is the best Botanical Garden we have visited in Hawaii.  The incredible array of statues is just one reason why I hope to return to this beautiful place.