Ghosts of Train Stations Past: New York Pennsylvania Station

07/02/2012 § 5 Comments

I promise a train and train station moratorium after this post. 


Images of the old New York Penn Station (1910 – 1963), designed by the architectural powerhouse McKim, Mead & White.  Every time I have to pass through the wretch that is the new Penn Station — dark, subterranean and horribly bland — I catch myself wishing earnestly that it had survived the 1960s.  Wishing that what is now the busiest train station in North America was something beautiful to look at.  Wishing that it rivaled the glory that is my beloved Grand Central.  But alas, it is not…

Henry Crane had the right idea.
(Sidenote: Mad Men! March 24! Finally!)

For more pictures of Penn, be sure to check out my earlier post Farewell at Penn Station, poignant moments captured by LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt of WWII soldiers shipping out.

Images via the Library of Congress and the NYPL

World War I in Color: The Autochromes of Albert Kahn

31/01/2012 § 1 Comment

Color Autochromes — an early form of color photography — taken during WWI, from the collection of Albert Kahn.  It is an amazing real-life look into the world that Downton Abbey so elegantly recreated for Masterpiece Theatre.  Sidenote: I am completely obsessed with the show.  Are you?

Kahn was a French banker and philanthropist who attempted to collect a photographic record of the entire world between 1909 and 1931.  Amassing over 72,000 Autochromes, Kahn’s collection included historical records of 50 countries and was little-seen until recently.  Kahn’s archive formed the basis of a recent BBC miniseries and accompanying book, The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn: Colour Photographs from a Lost Age.  Find out more here.

**Update: Just found a place online where you can watch a bit of the documentary.  Find part 1 here and part 2 here, courtesy of Ovation.  Enjoy!

Rabbit Hole: Vintage Travel Posters

28/01/2012 § 1 Comment

In love!

A beautiful collection of vintage travel posters is currently available at Vintage Seekers.  To view and purchase these and more, head here.

Commuting Through Time: New York

26/01/2012 § 2 Comments

A few places I pass by every day on my daily commute…

Grand Central Terminal

Fifth Avenue.

The “hidden” City Hall stop…

Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Rabbit Hole Revisit: paws22

06/01/2012 § 1 Comment

It had been awhile since I checked in with paws22 on Flickr, and I’m happy to report he’s still working away on his collection of some of the best vintage photographs I’ve ever seen.  If you haven’t yet visited him, you really ought to.  Head here.

All images via paws22.

Rabbit Hole Revisit: paws22 on Flickr
Down the Rabbit Hole: paws22 on Flickr

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

04/01/2012 § 2 Comments

The University of Coimbra General Library
Coimbra, Portugal

The Trinity College Library
Dublin, Ireland

Duke Humfrey’s Library, Bodleian Library, Oxford University
Oxford, UK

George Peabody Library, Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

Queen’s College Library, Oxford University
Oxford, UK

University of Salamanca Library
Salamanca, Spain

University of Salamanca Library
Salamanca, Spain

For more beautiful college libraries from around the world, head here.

Quote by Jorge Luis Borges.

Rabbit Hole: Yasmin Le Bon for Ralph Lauren Fall 1985

03/01/2012 § 1 Comment

I know this campaign is nearly 30 years old and all, but can someone please invent a time machine and bring me back every single thing Yasmin Le Bon is wearing in these photos from the 1985 Ralph Lauren fall campaign?  The pleated stirrup pant, the paisley scarf and the herringbone duster are the most urgently needed items, if you have to prioritize.  Many thanks.

All images via the Style Registry.

Rabbit Hole: Victorian Child Criminals of Newcastle City Gaol and House of Correction

25/10/2011 § 3 Comments

All taken between the years of 1871 and 1873, these photographs of child criminals who served time in Newcastle City Gaol and House of Correction are so very intriguing to me.  Initially because none of the inmates shown here are yet 20 years old, and for their various crimes and corresponding sentences (usually petty thievery and hard labor).  Aside from the relatively rare opportunity to view the stark poverty and desperation that underlined the Victorian era on a individual and personal level, what struck me is that each “mugshot” is rather theatrically posed. 

Why is this?

Is it because photographs were such a rarity at the time, especially for these subjects, that they were afforded the opportunity to ham it up for the gaoler’s photographer?  Perhaps they were posed in an effort to humiliate?  I suppose I will never know, but I still am lost down a Victorian rabbit hole, looking at these amazing photographs…

Jane Farrell stole 2 boots and was sentenced to do 10 hard days labour.

Age (on discharge): 12
Height: 4.2
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Blue
Place of Birth: Newcastle

Henry Leonard Stephenson was convicted of breaking in to houses and was sentenced to 2 months in prison in 1873

Age (on discharge): 12
Height: 4.5
Hair: Dark
Eyes: Hazel
Place of Birth: Castle Eden

Mary Hinnigan was caught stealing iron and was sentenced to do 7 days hard labour.

Age (on discharge): 13
Height: 5.0½
Hair: Light Brown
Eyes: Hazel
Place of Birth: Newcastle

James Donneley, also known as James Darley, at the age of just 16, this young man had been in and out of prison, but on this occasion he was sentenced for 2 months for stealing some shirts.

Hair: Brown
Place of Birth: Shotley Bridge
Work: Labourer

Mary Catherine Docherty was sentenced to 7 days hard labour after being convicted of stealing iron.

Age (on discharge): 14
Height: 4.9
Hair: Red
Eyes: Dark Blue
Place of Birth: Newcastle

Henry Miller was charged with the theft of clothing and sentenced to 14 days hard labour.

Age (on discharge): 14
Height: 4.5
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Blue
Place of Birth: Berwick
Occupation: Confectioner
Wait, Henry was a candy-maker??

Alice Mullholland was sentenced to 3 months after being convicted of stealing some boots.

Age (on discharge): 18
Height: 5.0¼
Hair: Dark Brown
Eyes: Blue
Place of Birth: Newcastle

John Divine was imprisoned for 6 months after stealing money from another person.

Age (on discharge): 17
Height: 5.7
Hair: Dark Brown
Eyes: Grey
Place of Birth: Ireland
Occupation: Carver and Guilder

Isabella Hindmarch was convicted of stealing money, she had no previous convictions and served 1 month with hard labour.

Age (on discharge): 16
Height: 4’5 1/2”
Hair: Light Brown
Eyes: Dark Blue
Place of Birth: Gateshead
Occupation: Servant

Richard Rimmington was convicted of stealing a pipe from a shop and was expected to serve 14 days with hard labour. He was spared his sentence when his parents agreed to pay costs and the resulting fine.

Age (on discharge): 15
Height: 4’2 1/2”
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Grey
Place of Birth: Newcastle
Occupation: None

John Park was convicted of stealing a violin, he had no previous convictions and served 1 month with hard labour.

Age (on discharge): 19
Height: 5’6 1/2”
Hair: Dark
Eyes: Hazel
Place of Birth: Scotland
Occupation: Cartman and Soldier, 14th Brigade RA

If you’d like to wander through the full set of portraits of the inmates of Newcastle City Gaol and House of Correction from 1871 to 1873, head here.

Pictures and inmate information via Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

Rabbit Hole: Fifth Avenue, New York, 1911

20/10/2011 § 2 Comments

Carnegie mansion (R, current home of the Cooper-Hewitt)

Did you know that the New York Public Library had within its collections a series of panoramic photographs taken of Fifth Avenue — from start to finish — in 1911?  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my virtual wanderings down the avenue in 1911, which coincidentally is also where my office is located in 2011.  Cars and pedestrians are frozen in time on the stately street.  Some of the buildings I can recognize, while others have been long since torn down.  The library is without its lions, St. Thomas is just being built and Mrs. Vanderbilt is still living in the mansion where Bergdorf Goodman now stands.

The images are a bit small here, but I urge you to click through and take a look for yourself at New York 100 years ago.  They are amazing.  You can find the collection here.

Knox Hat Building (currently home to HSBC)  and NYPL

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The Metropolitan Club

St. Thomas being built (R) and two Vanderbilt homes (L)

Vanderbilt home (current location of Bergdorf Goodman) and the Plaza

Met Museum

Rabbit Hole: The American Girl Magazine

16/10/2011 § 7 Comments

No, no, not that American Girl.*

From 1917 until 1979 Girl Scouts published a magazine, originally called “The Rally” (1917–1920) and then “The American Girl.”  At one time this magazine had the largest circulation of any magazine aimed at teen-aged girls.

I really love some of the covers from the 1930s.

Girl Shout Week.  Word.

For more, head over to How To Be A Retronaut.

*I did own one of those dolls, though.  Bonus points if you can guess which one.

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