Photo Mystery Monday: October 19, 2015

This is one in a series of posts inviting our users to learn how to get the most information out of historic photos. We’ll post a new photo mystery every Monday, and then follow up with more information about the image on Friday. Get the conversation started by commenting on the blog and sharing it with your friends and family.

Be a photo detective! What is going on in this picture? What clues do you see? Where in Florida could this be?

What people, objects and activities do you notice? Let us know in the comments! Don’t be afraid to state the obvious. Noticing details can lead to greater insight.

Try an artist’s trick. Divide the photo into four quadrants and study each section. What new details do you see? Based on what you have observed, what can you infer from this photograph? What questions do you have?

Come back on Friday when we will update the post with more identifying information!

 

For Teachers: Photo interpretation is a great critical thinking activity for students. The Photo Analysis Worksheet from the National Archives lets you use any photo as an opportunity to analyze primary source documents.


UPDATE:

This photo shows a safe being delivered to the Polk County Bank in Bartow by means of an ox team pulling a flatcar over temporarily laid railroad tracks.

Reader Patsy Glasscock noticed details such as the prevalence of men wearing hats, the difference between the men in more casual clothes compared to those in business attire, the lack of women in the photo and the presence of a child.

Several readers mentioned the gap in the rails on the dirt street, indicating that the track was temporary. Jon Hoppensteadt observed that no one in the photo was armed, indicating that the safe was probably empty.

We had originally had this photo dated some time in the 1800s. As Jo Reimer noted, the Polk County bank was organized in 1886. Thanks to diligent research by blog readers, and with confirmation from our Archives Historian, we’ve updated the catalog record.

Thanks all, and join us next Monday for a new photo!


Photo Mystery Monday: October 12, 2015

This is one in a series of posts inviting our users to learn how to get the most information out of historic photos. We’ll post a new photo mystery every Monday, and then follow up with more information about the image on Friday. Get the conversation started by commenting on the blog and sharing it with your friends and family.


Be a photo detective! What is going on in this picture? Do you have a guess as to what year it might be? Where in Florida could this be?

What people, objects and activities do you notice? Try an artist’s trick. Divide the photo into four quadrants and study each section. What new details do you see?

Based on what you have observed, what can you infer from this photograph? What questions do you have?

Come back on Friday when we will update the post with more identifying information!

For Teachers: Photo interpretation is a great critical thinking activity for students. The Photo Analysis Worksheet from the National Archives lets you use any photo on Florida Memory as an opportunity to analyze primary source documents.


 UPDATE: This photo shows actress Ann Blyth swimming in the underwater set during filming of Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid at Weeki Wachee in 1948.

Astute blog reader Susan noticed the contrast between the squeaky clean set and the natural background. Here’s a view of the set before it was lowered into the water.

And we had a real mermaid join us in the comments!

Thanks everybody!


 

Picture Florida: October 2, 1947

This photograph was taken on October 2, 1947. What can this picture tell you?

Be a photo detective! What is going on in this picture? What clues do you see? Don’t be afraid to state the obvious. Noticing details can lead to greater insight.

What people, objects and activities do you notice?

Try an artist’s trick. Divide the photo into four quadrants and study each section. What new details do you see?

Based on what you have observed, what can you infer from this photograph? What questions do you have?

Come back on Monday when we will update the post with more identifying information.

 

For Teachers

  • Photo Analysis Worksheet from the National Archives
  • Standards: SS.4.A.1.1, LAFS.68.RH.1.2, LAFS.68.RH.1.1, LAFS.910.RH.1.1, LAFS.910.RH.1.2, LAFS.1112.RH.1.1, LAFS.1112.RH.1.2, LAFS.1112.RH.3.9, SS.912.W.1.3, SS.912.A.1.2

UPDATE: It’s Fuller’s Earth!

Fuller’s earth was mined by the Floridin Company in Quincy, Florida. Fuller’s earth has been used in the movies to make pyrotechnic explosions look more spectacular as the fine particles linger in the air and reflect light. It also has uses for filtration, as an absorbent and as a cleaning agent.


 

Celebrating the Fourth in Florida

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and folks all over the state are preparing to celebrate. Every community has its own traditions for marking the occasion, often involving grand displays of fireworks. Floridians have found lots of unique ways to celebrate Independence Day over the years, and today’s blog explores a few examples found in the Florida Photographic Collection on Florida Memory.

Read more »

A Brief History of the Bathing Suit

On July 5th, 1946 the bikini hit shelves and changed Florida’s beaches forever. In honor of the 69th anniversary of this momentous event, we’re taking a look at the history of the bathing suit!

The first stop on our timeline is in the 18th century (though there’s proof people were using bathing suits as far back as Ancient Rome). According to Smithsonianladies often wore “bathing gowns” in the water, which was just what it sounds like, a long dress meant to modestly cover women, even when wet. It is thought that women even put weights in the dress so it wouldn’t float up!

Read more »

Jacksonville’s “Treaty Oak”

“Big Oak is really big.”

Someone once wrote these profound words on the back of a photograph to describe what may be one of the oldest single living things in the entire city of Jacksonville. “Big Oak,” now known as “Treaty Oak,” is an enormous Southern live oak tree (Quercus virginiana) estimated to be well over two centuries old. It’s located in Jacksonville’s Jessie Ball duPont Park, parts of which were once known as the Dixieland Amusement Park. Read more »

Top 5 Creatures on Florida Memory

What creatures lurk in the collections on Florida Memory? Check out our top five, then nominate a few of your own!

5 . Giant Fish

The lively portraiture of a fish called the Dolphin...The top of his back and all his fins be blue, all his sides are of light green, the belly white, his head almost all blue, the tail one part blue, and the lower part green. He is very pleasant to behold in the sea by day light, and in the night he seemeth to be of the colour of gold, he takes pleasure as other fishes do in swimming by the ship, he is excellent sweet to be eaten.

“The lively portraiture of a fish called the Dolphin… The top of his back and all his fins be blue, all his sides are of light green… He is very pleasant to behold in the sea by day light, and in the night he seemeth to be of the colour of gold.” Excerpt from a map by Italian cartographer Baptiste Boazio depicting Sir Francis Drake’s 1586 raid on St. Augustine (1589).

 

 4. Mermaid

Mermaid checking her hair in a mirror: Weeki Wachee, Florida

Mermaid checking her hair in a mirror: Weeki Wachee, Florida (1960).

 

3. Writhing Swamp

Lithograph of a Florida swamp (ca. 1800s)

Lithograph of a Florida swamp (1800s).

 

2. Alligator Dragon

Envelope decorated by Herbert A. Franke and addressed to Koreshan Unity president Hedwig Michel in Estero, Florida

Envelope decorated by Herbert A. Franke and addressed to Koreshan Unity president Hedwig Michel in Estero, Florida (ca. 1972).

 

1. The Creature

Ginger Stanley in the grip of the Creature From the Black Lagoon -at Silver Springs, Florida (1955)

Ginger Stanley in the grip of the Creature From the Black Lagoon at Silver Springs, Florida (1955).

Share this post with your friends and family on Facebook, and leave comments to nominate your favorite Florida Memory creature, or perhaps another from our photographic collections!

Have You Seen This #Selfie?

We spotted this photo from our collection in the opening credits of the TV show Selfie.

Sada Roffe posing with Kodak camera

The image of Sada Roffe posing with a Kodak camera was taken in Tallahassee, Florida, ca. 1900 by photographer Alvan S. Harper. A professional photographer, Harper lived and worked in Tallahassee from 1884 until his death in 1911.

Selfie was cancelled, but don’t feel bad for Alvan Harper. His photographs have appeared in many publications over the years and helped to define how Americans view our past.

The Kentucky Club in Lewis Park, Tallahassee, Florida

This group of local actors in a park Tallahassee, Florida was featured in the in the first book of the Time-Life series, This Fabulous Century. Notice the levitating hat?

Although largely unidentified today, Harper’s photographs of the teachers, business owners and leaders of Tallahassee’s vibrant African-American community are important records of this era.

Young woman wearing fancy hat

 

Man in a satin-faced coat, holding a cane

 

Harper’s photographs also captured the trendy new Penny-Farthing bicycles.

Three young men with Penny-Farthing bicycles

Check out the rest of the Alvan S. Harper Collection on Florida Memory!

 

Daytona Beach and the Earliest Days of Aviation in Florida

Daytona Beach is perfect for sunbathing and swimming, but there’s no telling how many visitors have spent a day there without realizing they were enjoying themselves on one of Florida’s very first runways. Auto racing was already a popular sport at Daytona by the time the Wright brothers made their first successful flight in 1903. The hard sand surface of the upper beach was a perfect natural track for the light, speedy cars being developed by racing enthusiasts. Airplanes were an easy addition to the mix of experimental machines, since the motors in the earliest planes incorporated much of the same technology as automobiles. The result was an age when Daytona Beach served not only as one of the nation’s first racetracks, but also a natural airport.

An early bi-plane on Daytona Beach, built by Carl Bates (1909).

An early bi-plane on Daytona Beach, built by Carl Bates (1909).

As enthusiasm for aviation spread quickly in the 1900s, more and more pilots and their experimental flying machines began appearing on the sand at Daytona. In 1906, New York aviator Israel Ludlow arrived at the auto races in Daytona and Ormond beaches to execute a test flight with a glider contraption he had designed. Charles K. Hamilton, who would go on to become the twelfth person to earn an American pilot’s license, flew the device. Hamilton gripped a tow rope tied to an automobile that pulled his aircraft along the beach by driving quickly across the sand. Once Hamilton left the ground, he released the tow rope and glided, shifting his body weight left and right to steer. The glider flew for about 150 feet before one of the wing ribs broke, sending it crashing to the ground. The glider was seriously damaged, but Hamilton survived.

Preparing for Florida's first glider flight at Ormond Beach near Daytona. Charles Hamilton would soon fly this glider into the air over Florida's Atlantic coast (1906).

Preparing for Florida’s first glider flight at Ormond Beach near Daytona. Charles Hamilton would soon fly this glider into the air over Florida’s Atlantic coast (1906).

Charles K. Hamilton flying a glider designed and constructed by Israel Ludlow of New York over Ormond and Daytona beaches (1906).

Charles K. Hamilton flying a glider designed and constructed by Israel Ludlow of New York over Ormond and Daytona beaches (1906).

Daytona became a popular testing site for all kinds of aviation innovations. In 1910, Edward Andrews of Chicago flew the first twin-engine plane ever built from Daytona Beach. It flew for about 100 feet at an altitude of only 6 feet before breaking apart. Interestingly, Andrews later decided to temporarily buck the flight mechanization trend and develop a gliding apparatus worn on the arms. In 1911, he attached wings of wood and cloth to his arms and shoulders and had a car pull him along the beach until he took flight. The voyage was successful, but afterward Andrews had this to say:

“I have found this to be dangerous. A machine, which if free would be perfectly safe, is made as erratic as a child’s kite by the attachment of a rope. I, for one, shall seek other means of getting into the air.”

 

Edwin F. Andrews is towed behind a car on Daytona Beach while wearing his gliding apparatus (1911).

Edwin F. Andrews is towed behind a car on Daytona Beach while wearing his gliding apparatus (1911).

First twin-engine airplane, designed by Edwin Andrews of Chicago - Daytona Beach (1910).

First twin-engine airplane, designed by Edwin Andrews of Chicago – Daytona Beach (1910).

The daring and edgy spirit of Daytona attracted a large number of aviation exhibitionists. John McCurdy, Canada’s first licensed pilot, pioneer aviatrix Ruth Law, and future million-mile commercial pilot Ervie Ballough were all among the throng of eager aviators who flew up and down the sandy coast in the 1910s and 1920s.

Over time, the number of planes and people visiting Daytona Beach necessitated regulations to ensure public safety. At first, Daytona’s city government determined the best method was to restrict landings and take-offs to the beach and keep them away from town. Once airstrips appeared at Bethune Point and farther inland in the 1920s, the beach was no longer deemed the safest place for these activities. In the 1930s, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of the beach as an airstrip.

John McCurdy, Canada's first licensed airplane pilot, with his aircraft at Daytona Beach (1911).

John McCurdy, Canada’s first licensed airplane pilot, with his aircraft at Daytona Beach (1911).

Ruth Law lands her plane on Daytona Beach (1915).

Ruth Law lands her plane on Daytona Beach (1915).

Burgess-Wright biplane flying over Daytona Beach. The pilot, Phillips Ward Page of Massachusetts, was hired to fly guests of the Clarendon Hotel over the beach as a novelty (1912).

Burgess-Wright biplane flying over Daytona Beach. The pilot, Phillips Ward Page of Massachusetts, was hired to fly guests of the Clarendon Hotel over the beach as a novelty (1912).

Daytona was one of the most popular spots for early aviation experiments in Florida, but there were certainly others. Search the Florida Photographic Collection for more images depicting early aviation in the Sunshine State!