Typewriter of the moment: Helen Keller (again)

February 21, 2011

Helen Keller at her typewriter, 1946 - Perkins School for the Blind

Helen Keller at her typewriter, circa 1946 – Perkins School for the Blind

Helen Keller at her typewriter, circa 1946

Helen Keller at her typewriter, circa 1946. Perkins School for the Blind caption: In 1902, Helen Keller became the first person who was deafblind to write a book. Her autobiography, The Story of My Life, was the first of 14 books she wrote in her lifetime.

Earlier at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:  “Typewriter of the Moment:  Helen Keller”


Phillis Wheatley: Poem for Presidents Day

February 21, 2011

From the Poem-a-Day folks at the American Academy of Poets:

His Excellency General Washington
by Phillis Wheatley

George Washington

George Washington, as he appears on the one dollar bill.

 

Celestial choir! enthron’d in realms of light,
Columbia’s scenes of glorious toils I write.
While freedom’s cause her anxious breast alarms,
She flashes dreadful in refulgent arms.
See mother earth her offspring’s fate bemoan,
And nations gaze at scenes before unknown!
See the bright beams of heaven’s revolving light
Involved in sorrows and the veil of night!

The Goddess comes, she moves divinely fair,
Olive and laurel binds Her golden hair:
Wherever shines this native of the skies,
Unnumber’d charms and recent graces rise.

Muse! Bow propitious while my pen relates
How pour her armies through a thousand gates,
As when Eolus heaven’s fair face deforms,
Enwrapp’d in tempest and a night of storms;
Astonish’d ocean feels the wild uproar,
The refluent surges beat the sounding shore;
Or think as leaves in Autumn’s golden reign,
Such, and so many, moves the warrior’s train.
In bright array they seek the work of war,
Where high unfurl’d the ensign waves in air.
Shall I to Washington their praise recite?
Enough thou know’st them in the fields of fight.
Thee, first in peace and honors—we demand
The grace and glory of thy martial band.
Fam’d for thy valour, for thy virtues more,
Hear every tongue thy guardian aid implore!

One century scarce perform’d its destined round,
When Gallic powers Columbia’s fury found;
And so may you, whoever dares disgrace
The land of freedom’s heaven-defended race!
Fix’d are the eyes of nations on the scales,
For in their hopes Columbia’s arm prevails.
Anon Britannia droops the pensive head,
While round increase the rising hills of dead.
Ah! Cruel blindness to Columbia’s state!
Lament thy thirst of boundless power too late.

Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side,
Thy ev’ry action let the Goddess guide.
A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine,
With gold unfading, WASHINGTON! Be thine.

American Poet Phyllis Wheatley, detail from the Boston Women's Memorial on Commonwealth Ave.

American Poet Phillis Wheatley, detail from the Boston Women’s Memorial on Commonwealth Ave.

Who was the inspiring woman, Phillis Wheatley? Read her biography at the Academy of American Poets site.

Phillis Wheatley was the first black poet in America to publish a book. She was born around 1753 in West Africa and brought to New England in 1761, where John Wheatley of Boston purchased her as a gift for his wife. Although they brought her into the household as a slave, the Wheatleys took a great interest in Phillis’s education. Many biographers have pointed to her precocity; Wheatley learned to read and write English by the age of nine, and she became familiar with Latin, Greek, the Bible, and selected classics at an early age. She began writing poetry at thirteen, modeling her work on the English poets of the time, particularly John Milton, Thomas Gray, and Alexander Pope. Her poem “On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield” was published as a broadside in cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia and garnered Wheatley national acclaim. This poem was also printed in London. Over the next few years, she would print a number of broadsides elegizing prominent English and colonial leaders.

More, at the AAP site.


Did Kennedy say it? Why is it on the minds of thinking people from Tehran to Madison?

February 21, 2011

Banner of Kennedy quote, Pueblo, Colorado, by Wavy1

Banner photographed by Wavy1 in Pueblo, Colorado, featuring quote from President John F. Kennedy

Stuck away from my library, I can’t confirm that John Kennedy actually said it, only that he is reputed to have said it:

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

[March 13, 1962, White House reception for Latin American diplomatic corps,
on the first anniversary of the Alliance for Progress]

The ruling families of Libya and Wisconsin pledge to fight to hold on to power, splitting their nations if necessary rather than concede to democratic forces.

Was Kennedy right?

(What did he really say, where and when?)

Photo of banner from Pueblo, Colorado, by Wavy1.


Fly your flag for President’s Day, 2011

February 21, 2011

Fly your flag today.

White House at night

White House with U.S. flag at night; photo by Keith Stanley, kestan.com

Residents of the United States celebrate Presidents Day today, a holiday that grew out of celebrations of the birthdays of both George Washington (February 22, 1732) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809), both of whom were born in February (under the “new” Gregorian calendar).

President’s Day is one of a score of dates Congress recognized in the Flag Code as appropriate for patriotic display of the U.S. flag.

Note: Keith Stanley sells his photos, including this one of the White House at night. You can view this one, and many more, and purchase copies, at Mr. Stanley’s website.


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