Archive for the ‘Woodrow Wilson’ Tag

Acadia National Park   6 comments

Acadia NP 00Where Is It: It’s in Maine. Mount Desert Island, and associated smaller islands off the Atlantic coast, comprise the park. It’s 4-1/2 hours north and east of Boston. From Bangor, ME, it’s 50 miles.

The Birth: This rustic area attracted the nation’s moneyed families in the late 1800s for summer getaways. The Dorr family, the Rockefellers and the Morgans all had significant hands in developing the park. President Woodrow Wilson officially established it as Sieur de Monts National Monument on July 8, 1916. It was later named Lafayette National Park in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, a noteworthy French supporter of the American Revolution. Finally, the park became Acadia National Park on January 19, 1929 – the first National Park east of the Mississippi.

It Happened Here: John D Rockefeller, Jr, financed and directed the construction of a network of carriage trails throughout the park, which included 17 granite bridges over a 50-mile gravel path. Much of that network is still in use today.  Cut granite stones line the road to keep visitors on the path and away from steep edges. Those stones are called “coping stones” … and they are also referred to as “Rockefeller’s teeth.”

Size: Acadia National Park has more than 47,000 acres. Park property on Mount Desert Island is 2,728 acres, 2,366 acres on Isle au Haut and 2,366 acres on the Schoodic Peninsula. The Park boundary, established by act of Congress in 1986, includes a number of private in-holdings that the Park is attempting to acquire.

# Visitors: 2,431,052 visitors in 2012. December/January are the least visited months; visitation peaks in July/August.

Plants: Over 1200 plant species are known in the Park. Incredibly, nearly a quarter of those species are non-native. Humans do have an impact on their environment!

Animals: A total of 338 bird species are confirmed as sighted within Acadia National Park  23 species of warblers have been seen in the park!

Species that used to inhabit the island include the mountain lion and gray wolf. These predators may have left the area due to the dramatic decrease in small prey and proximity to human activity. Few large mammals are now sighted in the park.

Choices: There are over 120 miles of hiking trails in the park … from the seashore to the 1500′ Cadillac Mountain. There are great tidepools to explore. And don’t miss the carriage paths, with unique granite bridges that you will travel over and under.

Fees: All park visitors are required to pay an entrance fee upon entry May through October. The cost for a 7-day pass is $20 for a private vehicle, $5 for one person on a motorcycle or on foot. Youth under 15 are free.

Staying There: Campgrounds are $20 May – October, and $10 in April and November. There are no hotels in the park. Several neighboring small towns offer lodging: Bar Harbor, Seal Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Hulls Cove, and Bass Harbor.

Contact Info:

PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Current Issues: Air pollution is one of the biggest concerns for the long-term healthy of Acadia National Park. Visibility atop Cadillac Mountain – one of the highest points on the east coast – has dropped from 110 miles to just 33 miles. Polluted air is also suspected of causing the levels of mercury to rise in the park’s freshwater fish.

Don’t Miss This: Spring blossoms and fall foliage are annual highlights for visitors to the park. Fall colors often peak in the first two weeks of October.


National Park Service: Acadia National Park

National Parks Traveler: The Bridges of Acadia

Running With Scissors: Postcards From Acadia

Deano In America: Carriage Road Stone Bridge

New England Vintage Chic: Arcadia National Park

Red Fox James   2 comments

I subscribe to the SHORPY historical photo archive RSS feed. They have a variety of 20th century photographs … Adam West on the Batman set, beach goers at Atlantic City in the 1920s … you never know what photo they’re going to share each day. The feed is free, and they sell high quality prints of the photographs in the archive.

Subscribe to the free feed here.

They delivered a photo of Red Fox James who was identified as a Blackfoot Indian … and it looked like he was wearing a Boy Scout pin. In a photo dated 1915! This was a story I had to learn. Here’s one picture … click on it to see it full size.

I can’t identify the medal on the ribbon; don’t know if that’s a BSA award or not. He is wearing what looks like a Tenderfoot pin, and has a “BSA” pin on his hat. I believe BSA was worn on the collar by leaders in this time period … uniform experts, please correct me if that’s wrong.

Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On Dec. 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed. (Library of Congress)

Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On Dec. 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed. (Library of Congress)

James rode “his famous Indian pony” throughout the country in 1914, and then again in 1915, to inspire support for a designated “American Indian Day.” He met with citizens all across the country, and frequently met with Scout troops during his journeys. He spoke to a gathering of 35,000 people in New York … he was trying to build a groundswell of opinion before mass media would have made his work much easier.

24 Governors signed James’ petition proposing a new holiday called “American Indian Day” be added to our calendar. James presented the petition to President Wilson in 1915. Unfortunately, there’s no record that Wilson ever acted upon the plea.

James had a colorful history, as one might expect from someone that became a celebrity in an era when Indians could not be US citizens. He did not live on a reservation; rather he was raised in white society. He went by many names, and at various times claimed to be graduated from the University of Oklahoma, went by the name Reverend St James, and raised over $15,000 for the American Red Cross in the early part of the 20th century – a very significant sum!

In January of 1915, James helped found the Indian Scouts of America, which was a part of the Boy Scouts. He was designated as “Acting Scout Master” according to the record of the event, which you can view here. He was a part of the founding of another organization, the Tipi Order of America, for non-Indians to learn about the Indian culture. That organization (you can find references that use both the Tipi and Teepee spelling) eventually transitioned into an adult fraternal organization.

1915, Red Fox James at the White House. State, War & Navy Building at far left. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.

1915, Red Fox James at the White House. Note the “Be Prepared” pennant. State, War & Navy Building at far left. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.


Native American Heritage Month

The Star & Sentinel, 12/08/1914

Biographical Background For Red Fox Skiuhushu – Origins

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Quarterly Journal of the Society of American Indians

The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements

Portraits: Woodrow Wilson   7 comments

Woodrow Wilson, 1902Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924)

The 28th President of the United States, 1913 – 1921

AKA: The Phrasemaker, The Schoolmaster

From: Virginia

College: Davidson College (transferred), Princeton University, University of Virginia School of Law (withdrew), Johns Hopkins University (Ph. D.)

Married to: Ellen Axson, 1885 – 1914 (her death), Edith Bolling

Children: Margaret, Jessie, Eleanor

Party: Democratic

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, Professor, Football Coach, President of Princeton University, Governor of New Jersey

In His Words:

“Adventurers swarmed out of the North, as much the enemies of one race as of the other, to cozen, beguile and use the negroes. The white men were aroused by a mere instinct of self-preservation — until at last there sprung into existence a great Kuklux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.”

“The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.”

President Woodrow Wilson, seated at desk with his wife, Edith Bolling Galt, standing at his side. First posed picture after Mr. Wilson's stroke partially paralyzed his left side, White House, June 1920. Mrs. Wilson holds a document steady while the President adds his signature.

President Woodrow Wilson, seated at desk with his wife, Edith Bolling Galt, standing at his side. First posed picture after Mr. Wilson’s stroke partially paralyzed his left side, White House, June 1920. Mrs. Wilson holds a document steady while the President adds his signature.

“There are two beings who assess character instantly by looking into the eyes,—dogs and children. If a dog not naturally possessed of the devil will not come to you after he has looked you in the face, you ought to go home and examine your conscience; and if a little child, from any other reason than mere timidity, looks you in the face, and then draws back and will not come to your knee, go home and look deeper yet into your conscience.”

“The purpose of a university should be to make a son as unlike his father as possible. By the time a man has grown old enough to have a son in college he has specialized. The university should generalize the treatment of its undergraduates, should struggle to put them in touch with every force of life.”

“America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses.”

“Liberty is its own reward.”

“I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty.”

“No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation.”

“The only excuse that America can ever have for the assertion of her physical force is that she asserts it in behalf of the interests of humanity.”

“I have long enjoyed the friendship and companionship of Republicans, because I am by instinct a teacher and I would like to teach them something.”

Not true: Conspiracy theorists love this one.

Wilson allegedly said, after signing the Federal Reserve into existence, “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

HOWEVER, the underlined sentences appear to be a fabrication of the anti-fed movement.  There is no evidence that Wilson wrote, or said, “I am a most unhappy man.  I have unwittingly ruined by country.”

True: Woodrow Wilson is the only President to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.).

Woodrow Wilson was President when World War I began. He tried to keep our country out of the war. Then, when we had to go to war, Wilson said he hoped it would be the “war to end all wars.”

Two of Wilson’s daughters were married in the White House while he was President.

President Wilson was the first President to host a press conference.

His 1913 State of the Union Address was delivered live – he was the first President to do so since Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice in 1801.

Wilson is one of two Presidents to be widowed while in office (President Tyler was the other).

Wilson pushed the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 through Congress, effectively throttling anti-war or pro-German opinions. The US Post Office, following the instructions received from the Justice Department, refused to carry any materials deemed critical of the US war effort … 60 newspapers lost their 2nd class mailing rights, and were effectively banned from the US mail.  Freedom of the Press?  Not 100 years ago!

Freedom of Speech?  During the war, criticism of the Democratic Wilson administration became grounds for arrest and imprisonment.

He was the first President to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

President Wilson’s first wife, Ellen Axson, died in the White House during the summer of 1914.  Wilson married again in December 1915, to Edith Bolling Galt  After Wilson suffered a stroke while in office, Edith controlled access to the President, igniting a debate that still remains over how much power she exerted.

In 1920, President Wilson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

He is the only President buried in Washington, DC.

The Official Portrait:  F Graham Cootes painted this 1936 portrait of Woodrow Wilson.  The painting hangs above the Grand Staircase in the White House, along with portraits of other 20th century Presidents. It shows an academic President, with a book in hand.

Woodrow Wilson, Official White House Portrait


Portraits: William Howard Taft   Leave a comment

William Howard Taft (1857 – 1930)

Taft was not a small man.

Taft was not a small man.

The 27th President of the United States, 1909 – 1913

AKA: Big Lub, Big Chief

From: Ohio

College: Yale University, University of Cincinnati College Of Law

Married to: Helen Herron

Children: Robert, Helen, Charles

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Journalist, lawyer, Collector of Internal Revenue, Superior Court Judge, US Solicitor General, US Court of Appeals Judge, Governor-General of the Philippines, Secretary of War, Provisional Governor of Cuba, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court (after his Presidential term)

In His Words: “The welfare of the farmer is vital to that of the whole country.”

“The diplomacy of the present administration has sought to respond to modern ideas of commercial intercourse. This policy has been characterized as substituting dollars for bullets. It is one that appeals alike to idealistic humanitarian sentiments, to the dictates of sound policy and strategy, and to legitimate commercial aims.”

“The intoxication of power rapidly sobers off in the knowledge of its restrictions and under the prompt reminder of an ever-present and not always considerate press, as well as the kindly suggestions that not infrequently come from Congress.”

“We are all imperfect. We can not expect perfect government.”

“Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race.”

“Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that to-day is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity.”

“Enthusiasm for a cause sometimes warps judgment.”

Not true: Many accounts credit Taft with the creation of baseball’s “seventh inning stretch,” but this is not proven.  Indeed, the practice is described as early as 1869, well before Taft’s supposed 1910 stretching of his legs at a Washington Senators game.

True: William Howard Taft started the tradition of the President throwing out the first ball at the beginning of baseball season.

He was the first President to take up golf, which was thought by some to be indecent if not immoral. His love for the sport did help spur an increase in the number of golfers in the nation, doubling the number of players on public courses. As with all Presidents, Taft’s affection for a recreational pastime caused political problems when critics suggested he should work more and play less.

Blame Taft: under his watch, the 16th Amendment was passed, legalizing the income tax.  No wonder he’s viewed poorly by many Presidential scholars.

Taft was the fattest President, tipping the scale at over 300 pounds.

After getting stuck in the White House bath tub, he had a very large bathtub installed, supposedly large enough for four men.

His close friend Teddy Roosevelt offered him a Supreme Court nomination many times, but Taft always refused because of unfinished work (principally while he was Governor-General of the Philippines).

His later break with Roosevelt (who felt he was not Progressive enough) led Roosevelt to oppose Taft’s re-election and found the Bull Moose party for the 1912 election.  The three-party election was won easily by the Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

Taft is the only President to also serve as the Supreme Court Chief Justice, where he initiated many reforms and administrative efficiencies.

Taft is the last President to have facial hair.

The Official Portrait: Painted in the White House Blue Room by Anders Zorn.  The portrait still hangs in this room.

William Taft, Official Presidential Portrait


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