Showing posts from September, 2011

Some Jersey City Architecture and its Presidential Associations

Because of Jersey City’s proximity to New York City, the many historical and architectural treasures of this storied city are often overlooked. One such prize is the main branch of the Jersey City Public Library, which was designed by the architect who designed the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

Jersey City Public Library c.1900
The cornerstone of the Beaux-Arts structure was laid in 1899 after the New York architectural firm of Brite and Bacon won the design competition. Henry Bacon (1866-1924) had honed his style at the prestigious firm McKim, Mead and White, working on such projects as the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. After striking out on his own, the Jersey City Public Library was one of his first commissions.

Another of his early commissions was the Lincoln Memorial. Bacon was selected by the committee dedicated to erecting a monument for Lincoln (which had been long delayed by insufficient funding, differences over design and location, etc.). The long…

The History of War Games and Great Military Strategists in a Nutshell

I was researching Charles De Gaulle’s prescient 1934 work on warfare, The Army of the Future, in which he correctly predicted many of the tactics that would be used in World War II, when I stumbled across this concise and intriguing timeline of the history of war games in Foreign Policy Magazine.
War Games at Fort Knox.  Members of the U.S. armored forces discuss tactical problems during war games at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where soldiers in training learned the most up-to-date methods of fighting a mechanized war, 1942. Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division, Washington, DC
It outlines the use of games in military preparedness from the birth of chess in India and its 19th-century variant, Kriegsspiel, to modern computer simulated war games, apparently quite realistically portrayed in the 1983 movie, War Games starring Matthew Broderick. I’m intrigued, comforted by and terrified that in 2009 the Pentagon staged an economic war game with the aid of financi…

Exhibition Review: Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art

At the Morgan Library & Museum June 3 through October 2, 2011
As a habitual list maker, list refiner and scrapbooker, I jumped at the chance to visit the exhibit
Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists' Enumerations from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art
on view at the Morgan Library & Museum through October. In fact, I found it so intriguing that I visited twice. The exhibit, ingeniously brought together from different collections in the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, was far more visually interesting than one might imagine. Some of the list makers include Grant Wood, H.L. Mencken, Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, Pablo Picasso, and N.C. Wyeth. Many, if not most, of the lists are illustrated and provide insight into the artists’ creative processes, motivations, organizational devices, social milieux and, in several cases, drinking habits.
Exhibition catalogue
Some of my favorite items include: The 1932 New Y…