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With the Germans on the Somme (The Cambridge Magazine, 1916)

Throughout much of the First World War, Karl Von Wiegand (1874 - 1961) served as the war correspondent for the Hearst News Syndicate; he was also an eye witness to the opening British attack on the Somme (July 1, 1916), which he observed from the German side of no-man's land:

"We stood awe-stricken. Mankind, like Frankenstein, was being devoured by the monster it had created".


A Drawing of a German Trench Latrine (Royal Engineers, 1915)

Attached, you will find a mechanical drawing made by the industrious souls assigned to the Royal Engineers in order to placate those busy-body brass-hats situated so far in the rear and having little better to do than wonder aloud as to how the Hun tended to deal with his bowel movements.

The author of The Western Front Companion is very informative on the topic of trench latrines and tells us that as the war progressed, latrines evolved into loitering centers for those wishing to read or enjoy some solitude. In order to remedy the situation officers decided to position their front-line trench latrines at the end of short saps, closer to the enemy; the reason being that a man was less likely to tarry and would return to duty that much quicker.


The Dress-Reform Movement and Male Attire (Literary Digest, 1929)

A few short paragraphs from a late-Twenties issue of LITERARY DIGEST recalled the terribly unproductive plans of the short-lived dress-reform movement and the frustrating nature of the human male in most matters sartorial:

"The male is a shy creature, and has always been particularly fearful of appearing conspicuous" and yet "it seems to be universally agreed upon that male dress at the present time is the most unhygienic, inartistic, somber, and depressing form of costume that the mind could well imagine. But the difficulty is to get the idea of a brighter, more hygienic, and picturesque attire into the mind of the mere male."

Click here to read an editorial about the need for reform in men's attire.




1914: The End of an Era (The New Republic, 1915)

World War I had only been raging for six months when this article first appeared. As the journalist makes clear, one did not have to have an advanced degree in history to recognize that this war was unique; it involved almost every wealthy, industrialized European nation and their far-flung colonies; thousands of men were killed daily and many more thousands stepped forward to take their places. The writer recognized that this long anticipated war was an epic event and that, like the French Revolution, it would be seen by future generations as a marker which indicated that all changes began at that point:

"Those who were but a few months ago assuring us that there never could be another general war are most vociferously informing the same audience that this will be the last."

Click here to read about the W.W. I efforts of Prince Edward, the future Duke of Windsor.

The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914




What Were You Doing in the August of 1914? (American Legion Monthly, 1934)

Appearing in a 1934 magazine for American war veterans (who by that year were well into their middle years and very much looking the part) was this curious column recalling the summer of 1914 and all the various goings on that had taken place in the world and in American popular culture.

Is your name Anderson?




The Jokes of Abraham Lincoln (Pageant Magazine, 1954)

I like to think that when my time is up, an article will appear like the one attached here: an article that provides a chronological list cataloging all the many gut-busting jokes I've ever uttered to everyone's complete joy and delight - but it seems highly unlikely.
That said, the journalist who went to the effort to compile and chronicle these ten Lincoln jokes did so in order that Lincoln students yet-unborn would understand the unique place that humor occupied in his life:

"Lincoln could use humor as an explosive weapon as well as employing it as a constructive force... For Abraham Lincoln never told a story except with a purpose. He himself pointed this out often. His anecdotes were the precision tools of a highly skilled and intelligent wit... 'I laugh because I must not cry: That's all, that's all.'"

Click here to read another article about Lincoln's use of humor and story-telling.


General Stilwell and his Return to Burma (Yank Magazine, 1944)

"'I claim we got a hell of a beating. We got run out of Burma and it is humiliating as hell. I think we should find out what caused it and go back and retake it.'"

"In May 1942 Lieutenant General Joseph Warren Stilwell (1883 1946) made that frank statement after leading a tired, battered band of 103 officers, men and nurses on a 20-day march into India, refugees from the Allied rout in Burma...Stilwell's return to Burma is the result of two years of careful preparation in which two major projects were developed. One was a Chinese-American training center in India...The other was the Ledo Road, a supply route from India by which Allied troops moving into Northern Burma could be equipped and provisioned."


Marriner Stoddard Eccles on Cold War Economics (The Diamondback, 1950)

While serving as FDR's Federal Reserve chairman between 1934 and 1948, Marriner Stoddard Eccles (1890 - 1977) put into play numerous policies that allowed the Federal Reserve to be sublimated to the interests of the Treasury; as a result, he is largely remembered as the patron saint of deficit spending. When he left that position during the Truman administration he went on the lecture circuit where he repeatedly condemned both the post-war economic policy as well as the Cold War policies of the State Department. The attached article summarizes a talk he gave at the University of Maryland in February of 1950:

"We do not have the economic strength to hold Russia within a certain area and cannot provide military and economic aid to all those countries outside of [the] U.S.S.R... Today the U.N. is only a myth. Every place we look, we see the shadow of the Kremlin".

Click here to read a Cold War editorial by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.




An Interview with the Exiled Crown Prince Wilhelm (The Literary Digest, 1919)

In this 1919 interview with the Kaiser's son and fellow exile, Crown Prince Wilhelm (1882 - 1951), the former heir apparent catalogs his many discomforts as a "refugee" in Holland.

At this point in his life, the fellow was dictating his wartime memoir (click here to read the book review) and following closely the goings-on at Versailles.


A Profile of H.L. Mencken (The English Review, 1922)

During much of the 20s and 30s satirist H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956) was widely read and respected for the critic that he was -and as you read this British essay from the arts journal, THE ENGLISH REVIEW, you'll get a sense that the author/groupie must have been waiting by the docks for several years in anticipation of his arrival.

The historian Henry Steele Commager ranked H.L. Mencken at number 9 insofar as his impact on the American mind was concerned - click here to understand his reasoning...

Click here to read an article about one of New York's greatest mayors: Fiorello LaGuardia.




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