January 2, 2013

Arab Men Racing Horses While Crowd Looks on, Tents in Background

At the conclusion of World War I, the victorious allies named Britain the mandatory power for Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq, all former territories of the Ottoman Empire which, with Germany, had been defeated in the war. In April 1921, the British convened meetings of Arab and British officials at Amir Abdullah ibn Hussein's camp at Amman, during the course of which British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel proclaimed Amir Abdullah the ruler of the new Emirate of Transjordan. This photograph, taken at these meetings, shows a group of Arab men racing horses while a crowd watches. The photograph is by the Photo Department of the American Colony in Jerusalem, a Christian utopian community that was established in 1881 and that in subsequent years developed a substantial archive on the Middle East. It is part of an album in the papers of John D. Whiting, a member of the American Colony in Jerusalem, in the collections of the Library of Congress.

Amir Abdullah's Bodyguard on Camels with Red, Green and White Standard at Far Left

At the conclusion of World War I, the victorious allies named Britain the mandatory power for Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq, all former territories of the Ottoman Empire which, with Germany, had been defeated in the war. In April 1921, the British convened meetings of Arab and British officials at Amir Abdullah ibn Hussein's camp at Amman, during the course of which British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel proclaimed Amir Abdullah the ruler of the new Emirate of Transjordan. This photograph, taken at these meetings, shows Amir Abdullah's bodyguard, mounted on camels. The photograph is by the Photo Department of the American Colony in Jerusalem, a Christian utopian community that was established in 1881 and that in subsequent years developed a substantial archive on the Middle East. It is part of an album in the papers of John D. Whiting, a member of the American Colony in Jerusalem, in the collections of the Library of Congress.

Thatched Roof Building Shaded by Palm Trees with People Standing at Entrance

Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands was the scene of the first post-World War II atomic tests, carried out by the United States to determine the effects of nuclear weapons on naval ships. This photograph, part of the record of the operation made by the U.S. Army Air Forces, shows people looking out from a typical thatched-roof building on Bikini. Before the tests, all 167 residents of Bikini were evacuated from their home island. Because of the high levels of radiation caused by the explosions over Bikini, neither they nor their descendants were ever able to return. After World War II, the Marshall Islands were part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, administered by the United States under a United Nations mandate. In 1986, the Republic of the Marshall Islands became an independent country under a Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Long a Pacific Mystery, the Secret Naval Base at Truk is Hit by Avengers, February 1944

This illustration shows U.S. Navy planes flying over the island of Truk in the Federated States of Micronesia during World War II. The destruction of the Japanese naval base at Truk was an important element of American strategy in the Pacific theater. It also had a profound effect on the indigenous inhabitants, who were caught up in fighting that lasted from February 1944 to the end of the war. The planes shown are the Avenger torpedo bombers that first saw action in the Battle of Midway in 1942. The illustration is by Frank Lemon, an artist who produced aviation lithographs and watercolors for the Wright Aeronautical Corporation of Paterson, New Jersey, the manufacturer of the Cyclone engine that powered the Avenger. The more than 50 ships sunk in Truk Lagoon now constitute the premier World War II submerged historical site in the Pacific.

Operations Against the Japanese on Arundel and Sagekarsa Islands

This World War II photograph shows American soldiers wading into water on an island in the New Georgia group of the Solomon Islands. They are part of Operation Cartwheel, a U.S.-led effort, supported by forces from Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, to neutralize the major Japanese base at Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, by advancing upon it from two directions: from the west along the northeast coast of New Guinea and from the east through the Solomon Islands. The photograph is by Sergeant John Bushemi (1917-44), a staff photographer for the U.S. Army magazine Yank. The son of Italian immigrants from Gary, Indiana, Bushemi began his career as a photographer for the Gary Post-Tribune. In July 1941, he enlisted in the Army and in June 1942 was assigned to Yank to cover the war in the Pacific. He was killed on February 19, 1944, some months after he took this photo, while filming the landing of U.S. forces on the island of Eniwetok.

January 3, 2013

A New Song Called Auld Scotia Free, to Which are Added, O Helen Thou Art My Darling; The Lovely Lass of Allan-down; Will Ye Go to the Ewe Bughts; and A Lamentation for the Deatd of the Brave McKay

Robert Burns (1759-96) is best known for his poems and songs that reflect Scotland's cultural heritage. He was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland, the first of seven children belonging to William Burnes, a tenant farmer, and his wife Agnes Broun. Burns had little formal education, but he read English literature and absorbed the traditional, largely oral Scots-language folk songs and tales of his rural environment. He began to compose songs in 1774, and published his first book, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, in 1786. The work was a critical success, and its poems in both Scots and English, on a range of topics, established Burns’s broad appeal. While building his literary reputation, Burns worked as a farmer, and in 1788 he was appointed an excise officer in Ellisland. He spent the final 12 years of his life collecting and editing traditional Scottish folk songs for collections including The Scots Musical Museum and A Select Collection of Original Scotish [sic] Airs for the Voice. Burns contributed hundreds of Scottish songs to these anthologies, sometimes rewriting traditional lyrics and setting them to new or revised music. Burns’s works were widely distributed throughout Scotland and beyond in chapbooks. These small, inexpensive eight-page booklets were often illustrated with woodcuts and printed on coarse paper. Chapbooks (called garlands if they included songs) were a popular form of entertainment in the 18th and early 19th centuries and the principal way that ordinary people encountered songs and poetry. They were distributed by traveling “chapmen” who sold the books at markets and door-to-door in rural areas. Chapbooks often included poems by more than one author, and the authors were not identified. This book, from the G. Ross Roy Collection at the University of South Carolina, includes Burns’s "The Lovely Lass of Allan-down."