October 4, 2012

North Atlantic Ocean: Northeastern Sheet [portion]

This is one of four charts held at the American Geographical Society Library that the American aviator Charles Lindbergh (1902–74) used to plan his historic transatlantic flight. Lindbergh was an airmail pilot who, in 1926, learned of the $25,000 prize for the first nonstop flight between New York and Paris. Backed by a group of businessmen in St. Louis, Missouri, Lindbergh had a special plane built, which he named The Spirit of St. Louis in honor of his supporters. On May 21–22, 1927, Lindbergh achieved the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic, covering the 5,790 kilometers from Roosevelt Field, New York, to Le Bourget, Paris in 33.5 hours. This map shows the extreme measures that Lindbergh used to lighten his aircraft. To eliminate every ounce of unnecessary weight from his plane, Lindbergh went so far as to cut off sections of the map that he would not need on the flight. The annotations on the map read: “Unused portion of chart for New York to Paris flight—1927. C.A.L.” and "Gift from Charles A. Lindbergh, Dec. 18, 1950.”

Time Zone Chart of the World

The annotation on this map reads: “Used for laying out route for New York to Paris flight, San Diego, California, 1927 C.A.L.” Charles Lindbergh (1902–74) was the American aviator who made the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 21–22, 1927. While Ryan Airlines of San Diego, California, was constructing his plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, Lindbergh was busy obtaining charts and plotting his course. In his book The Spirit of St. Louis (1953), Lindbergh described purchasing a number of charts of the North Atlantic at a store in San Pedro, including this time-zone chart of the world: “The salesman pulls out two oblong sheets. They’re Mercator’s projections and—yes, I'm in luck—they extend inland far enough to include New York and Paris. Then, like stumbling over a nugget of gold, I see a gnomonic projection covering them both. . . . Rummaging around still farther, I locate a time-zone chart of the world, a chart of magnetic variation, and others showing prevailing winds over the Atlantic for April, May, and June. I buy them all.” Lindbergh planned his route on this time-zone chart in 500 mile-long segments that follow the great-circle route from New York to Paris. He did not indicate the number of charts he bought in San Pedro, but it appears that he purchased the two Mercator projection charts, upon which he plotted his intended course in 100-mile segments and which were actually taken on the flight.

October 16, 2012

"A Happy New Year to Our Gallant Soldiers!" You Can Make It Certain If You Join Now

This poster created in early 1915, designed and printed by Johnson, Riddle & Company for the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee in the United Kingdom, shows British soldiers marching toward victory in World War I. After Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, posters such as this were used to encourage men to enlist in the armed forces. The optimistic visual imagery promised victory in the new year, provided enough men joined the fight. In the early months of the conflict, many people in Britain believed that the war would be over by Christmas. This clearly did not happen. In early 1915, the British Expeditionary Force was bogged down in heavy fighting on the Western front in France. In January 1916, Parliament passed the Military Service Act, which went into force on March 2, 1916, introducing conscription and ending Britain’s reliance on volunteers for the war effort. The act specified that men between the ages of 18 and 41 were liable to being called up for service in the army. Men who were married, widowed with children, or who worked in certain reserved professions were exempt.

"The Child at Your Door." 400,000 Orphans Starving, No State Aid Available. Campaign for $30,000,000

The American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief was established in 1915 with the cooperation of the United States Department of State, for the purpose of providing humanitarian relief to Armenians forcibly deported from Anatolia to other parts of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The Ottoman parliament passed a law by which privately collected funds from the United States could be distributed to displaced Armenians via the U.S. Embassy in Constantinople. The committee, which raised millions of dollars at public rallies and churches, issued this poster as part of a fund-raising campaign in Baltimore, Maryland, in February 1917. The poster cites the 400,000 starving orphans and indicates “no state aid available,” emphasizing the need for voluntary contributions. The poster identifies Armenia, Greece, Syria, and Persia as areas of need. After World War I, the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief was given a charter by the U.S. Congress and changed its name to the American Committee for Relief in the Near East. The organization was credited with caring for 132,000 Armenian orphans in Tbilisi, Constantinople, Beirut, Damascus, Jerusalem, and other locations in the Near East.

"Times Are Hard Your Majesty - You Leave Us Nothing to Do"

This U.S. World War I propaganda poster shows a devil, accompanied by two smaller devils, telling Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany that he was leaving them with no work to do. On the left is shown the home of the devils, a cave with its opening covered with cobwebs, over which hangs a sign, “To Let.” Using a word from the Hebrew Bible identified with Hell, the cave is called the “Gehenna Apartments.” The Kaiser has a bloody sword extending from beneath his cape. Also shown is the Kaiser’s left arm, which was withered from a birth defect that he often tried to conceal by carrying white gloves to make the arm seem longer. The idea that the Kaiser was a figurative devil, a man who had caused the war and was responsible for alleged atrocities committed by the German military, played a big role in British, French, and later American propaganda aimed at stirring up popular enthusiasm for the war. The poster was part of a series produced by Barron Gift Collier (1873–1939), an American advertising entrepreneur who also played an important part in the development of the U.S. state of Florida in the 1920s and 1930s.

Kościuszko, Pułaski—They Fought for Liberty in America

This Polish-language poster, produced in Brooklyn, New York, in 1917, shortly after the United States entered World War I, was aimed at the many Polish-speaking immigrants living in the United States at that time. The message— “Kościuszko, Pułaski fought for liberty in America. Can you help America fight for freedom in Poland? Eat less sugar, wheat, meat, fats so that we can support our brothers fighting in the allied armies”—invokes the names of two Poles. Tadeusz Kosciusko and Kazimierz Pulaski fought on the American side in the Revolutionary War, and this poster identifies their cause with that of wartime austerity to support the U.S. war effort against Germany. The portrait is that of Kosciusko, a young Polish officer best remembered for overseeing the construction of the fortifications at the decisive Battle of Saratoga. The poster was sponsored by the U.S. Food Administration, a government agency established in August 1917 by President Woodrow Wilson for the purpose of assuring the supply, distribution, and conservation of food during the war. The artist was George John Illian, a prolific illustrator who made numerous World War I posters.