A Wild Ride: The Liondrome

Leave a comment

Motordromes (sometimes called silodromes or Walls of Death) are nearly extinct now, but in the early 1900′s, these wooden vertical raceways were a carnival attraction that became a staple in the United States outdoor entertainment industry.

Add a lion to your racing sidecar, and you’ve got the Liondrome.

Check out this video containing actual film footage from 1934: Taking A Lion For A Ride

More on Liondromes:
The Wall Of Death
Lions And Ladies

[Images via]

Collections Worth Building: Tall Tale Postcards


American Tall-Tale postcards emerged around the turn of the 20th century, when postcards came to function as surrogates for travel. Nowhere did these modified images become more prevalent than in rural communities that hoped to forge an identity as places of agricultural abundance to encourage settlement and growth. [Wisconsin Historical Society]

Mugshot Yourself: Join N.Y.’s Most Notorious

Leave a comment

This free App from BBC America is so clever – visit Mugshot Yourself to meet some of 1864′s greatest rogues, then become one yourself. Upload a photo of yourself, try your face on different mugshots, and then add the best of them to their growing collection of New York’s most notorious. The folks at BBC America are hosting Mugshot Yourself to celebrate their new television series, “Copper” , which premiers on August 19.


Collections Worth Building: Sailing Cards

Leave a comment

“Sailing Cards” were printed in America between 1850 and 1880, and served as advertisements and records of the various ships transporting cargo and passengers to San Francisco, during and after the California Gold Rush.

ELLEN SEARS     AUDUBON - for San Francisco    DON QUIXOTE

The cards were primarily advertisements used to entice passengers, but were also designed to inspire the confidence of prospective freight shippers.

     KINGFISHER - 112 Days To San Francisco!       MERCHANT PRINCESS for San Francisco!

Most of the cards represent vessels built in Boston and New York, and signify the formation of an American identity through visual representation of the vessels, expedition and typography.


Many of the cards were printed on heavy cardstock at around 4 x 6 inches in size, and while they were mass-produced and distributed liberally throughout the major shipping ports, the originals are now difficult to find.


While an original sailing card can sell today for a few thousand dollars, I think a nice album of reprints would make a fine collection or gift for a maritime enthusiast, history buff, or anyone who appreciates good graphic design.

STAR OF THE UNION       SUNRISE      PANTHER - The Splendid Boston Built Clipper Ship

Online sailing card collections include Mystic Seaport and The Library of Congress.


A Pop Quiz for America

Leave a comment

Gutzon Borglum and the making of Mount Rushmore

Video to watch:  Jay Leno’s Jaywalking July 4th Edition (Embarrassing!)

Could you pass the civics portion of the United States Naturalization Test? [Answers are here.]

1. What is the supreme law of the land?
2. What does the Constitution do?
3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
4. What is an amendment?
5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?
6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?
9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
10. What is freedom of religion?
11. What is the economic system in the United States?
12. What is the “rule of law”?
13. Name one branch or part of the government.
14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?
15. Who is in charge of the executive branch?
16. Who makes federal laws?
17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?
18. How many U.S. Senators are there?
19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators now?
21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?
23. Name your U.S. Representative.
24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?
25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?
26. We elect a President for how many years?
27. In what month do we vote for President?
28. What is the name of the President of the United States now?
29. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?
30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
31. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?
32. Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?
33. Who signs bills to become laws?
34. Who vetoes bills?
35. What does the President’s Cabinet do?
36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?
37. What does the judicial branch do?
38. What is the highest court in the United States?
39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
40. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?
41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?
43. Who is the Governor of your state now?
44. What is the capital of your state?
45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?
46. What is the political party of the President now?
47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.
49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?
50. Name one right only for United States citizens.
51. What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?
52. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?
53. What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?
54. How old do citizens have to be to vote for President?
55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?
56. When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?
57. When must all men register for the Selective Service?
58. What is one reason colonists came to America?
59. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?
60. What group of people was taken to America and sold as slaves?
61. Why did the colonists fight the British?
62. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
63. When was the Declaration of Independence adopted?
64. There were 13 original states. Name three.
65. What happened at the Constitutional Convention?
66. When was the Constitution written?
67. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.
68. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?
69. Who is the “Father of Our Country”?
70. Who was the first President?
71. What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803?
72. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1800s.
73. Name the U.S. war between the North and the South.
74. Name one problem that led to the Civil War.
75. What was one important thing that Abraham Lincoln did?
76. What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
77. What did Susan B. Anthony do?
78. Name one war fought by the United States in the 1900s.
79. Who was President during World War I?
80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?
81. Who did the United States fight in World War II?
82. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?
83. During the Cold War, what was the main concern of the United States?
84. What movement tried to end racial discrimination?
85. What did Martin Luther King, Jr. do?
86. What major event happened on September 11, 2001, in the United States?
87. Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.
88. Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.
89. What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?
90. What ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?
91. Name one U.S. territory.
92. Name one state that borders Canada.
93. Name one state that borders Mexico.
94. What is the capital of the United States?
95. Where is the Statue of Liberty?
96. Why does the flag have 13 stripes?
97. Why does the flag have 50 stars?
98. What is the name of the national anthem?
99. When do we celebrate Independence Day?
100. Name two national U.S. holidays.