If cabin fever has gotten you down lately, consider heading up to the College of 3 Ravens this weekend. While there, be sure to take a class or two or five! There is a wide variety of classes, something is sure to tickle your fancy!
The Æthelmearc Gazette is pleased to pass along this missive from the Chancellor of Classes for the College of 3 Ravens regarding the finalized list of classes for the day!
Unto the good gentles of the Sylvan Kingdom of Æthlemearc does Lady Kadlin Sigvaldakona, Chancellor of Classes for the College of 3 Ravens, send greetings!
I am pleased to say that the class listings and schedule are finalized and can be found online at: http://1drv.ms/1EVGE5g
In order to reduce waste, we are going to post a large-print version of class descriptions on-site, and only print 50 copies for distribution at the event. Gentles may wish to print out their own copies of class descriptions before the event.
Also remember that things may change between now and Saturday, so please make sure to check against the posted schedule after you arrive on-site.
Many, many thanks to the gentles who have volunteered to share their time, skills, and knowledge with us. Without you, there would be no C3R.
In humble service,
The College of 3 Ravens, which is hosted by the Barony of Thescorre, will be held on February 21, 2015 at the Western Presbyterian Church, located at 101 E. Main St, Palmyra, NY 14622. Event information can be found at http://www.aethelmearc.org/eventinfo.php?event=1001
A 3,500-year-old Bronze Age hoard containing the head of an ice axe, fragments of a spiral necklace and a bracelet with tapered ends, all made of bronze, was found last month in the village of Rzepedź in Bieszczady Mountains of southeastern Poland. The hoard was discovered by Łukasz Solon from the nearby town of Sanok who was visiting the old wooden church of St. Nicholas with his girlfriend. They were walking towards the north side of the village when Łukasz noticed a metal object sticking out of the ground. Its green patina contrasted against the brown grass reminded him of artifacts he had seen in the Historical Museum of Sanok, so instead of indulging a perfectly natural curiosity and digging it up, Łukasz left the object alone and alerted the museum experts when he got home.
Archaeologist Peter Kotowicz from the Historical Museum of Sanok and Marcin Glinianowicz from the Carpathian Archaeology department of Sanok’s Folk Architecture Museum went to the site the next day and recovered the exposed object. They recognized it as an ancient bronze ice axe and immediately applied for an emergency permit to conduct an archaeological survey of the spot. The day after that, permit in hand, they excavated the find site.
First they explored the area with a metal detector and found fragments of bronze spirals and a strong signal indicating that there was more to found deeper underground. They dug a small trench about two feet square and carefully raked into the soil, recovering multiple pieces of bronze spirals until, about a foot under the surface, they encountered potsherds that were the edges of a clay vessel about 10 inches in diameter. Much larger sections of bronze spirals lay within the vessel’s perimeter. Underneath those archaeologists found another 15 bronze spiral fragments and a bracelet with tapered end broken in two pieces. When they got to the bottom they discovered the earthenware vessel had been deliberately placed upside-down on a circular sandstone plate.
According to Kotowicz, the discovered objects were probably made south of the Carpathians. “The treasure is probably related to the communication route, which ran from the nearby Łupków Pass through the Osława and San valleys” – noted the archaeologist.
Bronze monuments from Rzepedź have been preliminarily dated to approx. 1500 years before Christ. “We do not yet know who and why had hidden the treasure so carefully. Axe and jewellery are most likely related to the Piliny culture, then existing south of the Carpathians” – noted Kotowicz.
The Piliny culture is one of the Urnfield cultures, named after their practice of cremating their dead, placing the remains in urns that would then be buried in cemeteries that in some cases have been found to contain thousands of urn burials. Archaeologists have found pottery vessels of different shapes and sizes, bronze pins, bracelets, rings, weapons and more in those Piliny cemeteries and in settlements and hoards. The bronze work is particularly exceptional, the product of a well-developed metallurgic trade courtesy of the Carpathian mountains’ plentiful supply of ore. The area was an important center of metallurgy from the Early Bronze Age on, introducing innovations in the making of alloys and other metallurgic techniques.
The bronze spiral fragments in the Rzepedź hoard are typical of jewelry that has been found at Piliny sites. They used that spiral configuration in all kinds of designs: arm rings, leg rings, wrist guards, finger rings, pendants.
In order to ascertain whether the hoard was a one-off buried in a remote location far from the madding crowd or part of a larger settlement, the find site will have to be more extensively explored. A survey or the wider area has already begun, a first step to a broader program of research under the aegis of the regional conservation office.
Start spreading the news!
On Monday, February 16th 2014, at 8:01 PM The Barony of Endless Hills in Æthelmearc welcomed the newest warrior, Tegan Evan Gelatt into the world. Weighing in at 8lbs 14 oz., and 21 inches long, Tegen entered the world kicking and yelling along to the stylings of the bard Frank Sinatra.
The new mother, Lady Serena Finn, is doing well after a short and efficient delivery. She was attended by her sister, Auntie Lady Elizabeth nic Ghille Brighde and mother (now Nanna) Dame Aoife Finn and was shortly joined by Tegen’s Grandpa, Master Brion Donul Gilbert and Auntie, Lady Corinne Gilbertsdottir, and family friend Will Brennan. Mother Serena and her fierce wee man are doing remarkably well, and will return home later this week.
From the Kingdom Seneschal:Greetings unto all those intending to enter Spring Crown Tournament, Please be aware that both the combatant and the consort must submit a letter of intent, either through the following link (preferred) or by email to TRH Prince Omega and Princess Etheldreda with a copy to the Kingdom Seneschal. If by email, a joint email is preferred. http://fluidsurveys.com/s/EKCrownTourneySubmissionKAII/ The Letter of Intent must be received by Coronation, April 11, 2015 If using email, the letters of intent must include all of the following information for both combatant and consort: Society name, legal name, address, telephone number, years of residency and be accompanied by proof of membership with membership number & expiration date that is valid at least thirty days after Crown. If both entrants are combatants, then that should be clearly indicated. Proof of valid membership consists of a copy of a valid membership card, a postcard (with a date-stamp) or letter from the Corporate office, or a confirmation form printed from the website after an online membership purchase. – Confirmation of faxed membership applications with credit card receipts as well as membership applications CANNOT be accepted as proof of membership. - TRHs also request that combatants bring heraldic shields for the list trees. In Service to the East, I remain Dueña Mercedes Vera de Calafia
Seneschal, East Kingdom
Filed under: Uncategorized
Last October, John Steele was scanning a field in Whitchurch, north of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, at a Weekend Wanderers metal detecting group rally when he discovered some fragments of iron and copper alloy artifacts. There were also pieces of red Samian ware vessels, an indication that the site may have been an ancient burial. The group alerted Finds Liaison Officer Ros Tyrell. Buckinghamshire County Council archaeologist Eliza Alqassar realized this could be a significant discovery and commissioned Oxford Archaeology to excavate the find site.
The excavation was challenging. Soil conditions were difficult and the earth had been churned up by heavy farming machinery leaving some artifacts so crushed and dispersed that it was hard to figure out what they were. Oxford Archaeology spent three days excavating and documenting the site. They found iron nails and organic deposits indicating there had once been a wooden burial casket 3’7″ long and 2’4″ wide buried at the site. The wooden structure of the casket has decayed, but it contents survived: a bronze jug with a decorated handle, two Samian ware cups, two Samian ware dishes, a pottery flagon, two glass vessels, a bronze patera (a shallow libation bowl), an iron lamp or lamp holder, two unidentified lead objects and a cremation urn.
The cremation urn was in such bad condition that archaeologists lifted the entire soil block around it for excavation back at the Oxford Archaeology lab. Inside the urn were iron hobnails from a shoe, a red jasper intaglio engraved with the goddess Minerva and a smaller figure, possibly Mercury, holding up a wreath. The cremated bone fragments belonged to an adult, possibly female, buried in the 2nd century.
The wealth and rare combination of artifacts suggest she was someone of high status. Burials from this period containing objects in a variety of metals, glass and ceramics are very rare. There are only a handful of comparable rich cremation burials found to contain glass and bronze artifacts and lamps all unearthed in southeastern England (this burial in Wendover found in 2000 is comparable down to the original discovery by metal detectorists). The Whitchurch find is the westernmost of these burials. The iron lamp or lamp holder is also a rare find. The bronze jug handle, elaborately decorated at the base with a sacro-idyllic scene of figures worshipping at an altar that has no known parallels. It’s a unique piece of national importance, especially since it was properly excavated in a dated and documented context.
In the months since the discovery, three artifacts have been cleaned and conserved: the bronze jug handle, one of the Samian cups and the jasper intaglio. The three of them will be on display at the Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury for the next three months in a bid to raise interest and funds for thorough conservation of the rest of the metal artifacts. They need £3,000 to clean and stabilize the objects so they’re suitable for permanent display and for publication.
The Winchester Bible is "magnificent, lavishly ornamented - a pivotal landmark of medieval art from around 1200," and pages from it will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York until March 8, 2015. (photos)
What the President of the United States said, the reaction to it, and other news from the Medievalverse.
[View the story "Obama and the Crusaders: Medieval News Roundup" on Storify]
If you are a member of a polled Order and are not subscribed to the polling distribution or the discussion list, you may sign up here: Polling Lists
And if you are subscribed to the polling distribution but did not receive the most recent polls, please contact the Clerk of the Polling Lists, (currently Duchess Katherine Stanhope).
Filed under: Official Notices Tagged: awards, pollings
Greetings unto the populace of the East Kingdom. The Shire of Glenn Linn would like to extend an invitation to attend Northern Region War Camp, July 2-5, 2015. We will be in a new, much larger location at the Washington County Fair in Greenwich, NY. This year we will have heavy list, youth fighting, rapier for adults and youth, archery, thrown weapons, equestrian, Royal court, A&S classes, merchants, and merchant demonstrations. With a theme of “assassination” this year’s war camp promises to be a fun event for all.
As this is a new site, we are trying a new process to make check in and camp set up occur as smoothly as possible. We are now taking reservations for individuals and groups. We have campsites near the fighting, near rapier, and near equestrian, as well as general camping near water and electric. We even have two household sites still available. Although reservations are not necessary to attend NRWC, they may help you camp near your preferred activity. Campsites are offered on a first come, first served basis.
For more information or to reserve your preferred campsite, please contact Lisabetta vedova di Alessandro, Autocrat for NRWC, at email@example.com
Filed under: Archery, Arts and Sciences, Equestrian, Events, Fencing, Heavy List, Thrown Weapons, Youth Activities Tagged: Glenn Linn, Northern Region War Camp
The Rapier Muster held in the Shire of Silva Vulcani on February 15, A.S. XLIX, drew a crowd of almost 50 fencers to engage in single combat and melees, but many of the attendees were also eagerly awaiting the announcement of the first person in Æthelmearc to be elevated to the new Order of Defense for prowess in rapier.
They were not disappointed, as King Titus and Queen Anna Leigh, with Their Heirs, Timothy and Gabrielle, looking on, called forth Duchess Dorinda Courtenay and requested that she present herself at the Celebration of the Art of Rapier event in Heronter on Friday, May 1, A.S. 50, there to be inducted as Æthelmearc’s Principal of the new Order for fencing prowess.
Duchess Dorinda said she was incredibly honored to be chosen as Æthelmearc’s Principal Master of Defense. “I hope to help start [the Order] off right, and would welcome advice from anyone with ideas on how to set traditions for the new peerage.”
When asked if she had considered what she would like to see in her vigil and elevation ceremony, Her Grace said, “We need to create a new ceremony that fits Æthelmearc traditions, but I would also like to see a ceremony that follows period fencing traditions, possibly like those of the London School of Defense.” One tradition from period practice that she is considering is a test called “Playing the Prize.” In 16th c. English fighting guilds, students who wished to advance were expected to Play the Prize by fighting a series of test bouts against other senior opponents, often facing 60 bouts or more in an afternoon, in what we might call “holding the field.” If she chooses to Play the Prize, Duchess Dorinda said it would be in addition to a traditional vigil.
Other items still to be considered include the type of oath a Master of Defense might swear. Regalia and heraldry will be determined by the Board of Directors and the College of Heralds, but Her Grace noted that “Each Kingdom has a unique opportunity to create new traditions.” She also suggested that the Order of Defense was, in part, a creation of the Order of the White Scarf, saying, “We need to honor the traditions and history gifted to us by the White Scarf. At first, there will be very few Masters of Defense. People looking for guidance and teaching from people they respect will still go to the White Scarves for a long time to come.” She hopes the Masters of Defense will work with the White Scarves to maintain good relations between the two orders.
Duchess Dorinda commented that while she, like other members of the fencing community, has been thinking for a while about how the new order should function, she has no firm opinions yet and welcomes advice from the populace. She is excited and honored, and looks forward to hearing from people. Gentles can contact Her Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After court, Æthelmearc’s Rapier Warlord, Don Orlando di Bene del Vinta, ran the fencers through a variety of melee training sessions. He said the day’s goals were to teach people to hear and follow commands, learn to move together, and more generally work on the basic elements of melee fencing.
Initially he divided the fencers into two teams and had them practice close and open formations, advancing together, and engaging their opponents in a line. Don Orlando noted that as they day progressed, participants became more proficient as melee fencers. He pointed out that melee involves a different skillset from tourney fencing.
Later, fencers experimented with techniques for attacking and defending against groups in superior numbers. Initially, Don Orlando had the White Scarves form a small group defending against the rest of the fencers. In later rounds, different groups of fencers had the opportunity to defend against superior numbers. In each case, Don Orlando timed the fights, and as the combatants gained more experience and confidence, the smaller group was defeated in shorter and shorter amounts of time. In the first round, the White Scarves lasted for 27 seconds against roughly two-to-one odds. By their third round, they only lasted 14 seconds.
The final group of melees involved capture the flag battles with unlimited resurrections. The fencers’ goal was control of three “flags,” one at each side’s home base and one midway between the two. Teams received a point for having control of each flag during multiple pre-set time checks by Don Orlando. The purpose of these melees was not only to give combatants experience with the format, but also to help them learn to pace themselves. “In resurrection battles, each fencer needs to manage their personal energy reserves since the battle can last a long time. It’s important to choose carefully when to press and when to be more defensive since they don’t want to burn themselves out,” Don Orlando explained.
Don Orlando indicated that one of the next steps will involve teaching the rapier community more advanced techniques, like how to recognize and exploit opportunities as they arise during a melee. He hopes many fencers can make it to the Melee Madness event in the Barony of Endless Hills at the end of May, or to the Highland River Melees event in the Barony of Highland Foorde, just over the border in Atlantia. Don Orlando said he will be working with the Atlantian rapier marshals to coordinate training of fencers since our kingdoms will be allies at next summer’s Pennsic War.
In addition, the Rapier Warlord said he hopes this Pennsic might include some War Point battles more customized to rapier, as opposed to simply being clones of the heavy battles. One example he gave would be the inclusion of rubber band guns in a rapier battle. He indicated that he and Prince Timothy have already shared these thoughts with the East and Middle Kingdoms.
When asked about the choice of Duchess Dorinda as the Principal of the Order of Defense, Don Orlando enthusiastically replied, “Dorinda is the epitome of what Æthelmearc wants its Order of Defense to look like. She’s not just about prowess, she’s also a well-rounded exemplar of the virtues we espouse. She can marshal a tourney, serve as warlord, or push a broom when the event is over. She’s skilled in the arts, a model of service and comportment – she’s the whole package. Her Grace will be a great ambassador for Æthelmearc’s Order of Defense.”
~ All videos by Arianna of Wynthrope with assistance from Lady Ceindrech verch Elidir.
Have you seen this badge at events recently? —>
If not, you soon will. It is being worn by anyone who wishes to show they support the creation of an omnibus — or umbrella — Peerage to recognize non-rattan martial prowess. It is also being used as (or added to) avatars and profile pictures in various social media.
The badge was created by the Martial Peerage FaceBook group as a way to promote awareness of the movement.
Editor’s note: The badge graphic — and variants for different martial interests — was designed by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin of AEthelmearc.
Filed under: Archery, Equestrian, Thrown Weapons Tagged: peerages
The University of Leicester has released a video of the forensic examination of Richard III’s skull that revealed the blow that is likely to have been the coup de grâce. The video captures the moment (in real time, this is not a reenactment) when Professor Guy Rutty of the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit working with University osteologist Dr. Jo Appleby traced the trajectory of a penetrating wound from a sharp weapon that would certainly have been fatal.
Out of the nine injuries to the skull, there are two candidates for wounds that caused Richard’s death: a big hole on the right side of the occiput at the base of the skull caused by sharp-force trauma from a large bladed weapon like a halberd, and a smaller penetrating wound with radiating fracture to the left side of the occiput caused by the pointed tip of an edged weapon like a sword or the spike of a polearm weapon like a halberd or bill. (For more details about Richard’s wounds and the weapons that may have caused them, see this article from the Royal Armouries.)
At the time of the press conference announcing the early results of the study of the skeleton, the larger injury seemed the likeliest fatal wound. The smaller one of the two wasn’t even mentioned, that I recall.
In the video Professor Rutty, who was a Home Office forensic pathologist for 19 years, and Dr. Appleby slide a thin metal rod through the smaller penetrating wound. They align it with a cut mark on the left posterior arch of Richard’s first cervical vertebra to determine the angle of the blow and finds that the rod culminates at a small flap injury that looks like a tiny divot on the inner surface of the cranium. The three aligned injuries strongly suggest that the point of an edged weapon was driven up through the back of his head up into the brain and penetrated the skull opposite the entry wound. That’s a distance of 10.5 centimeters, or just over four inches.
The audio is rough and there is no closed captioning option, but it’s still neat to see the moment when all the wounds aligned. If you’d like to get a fuller picture, read the paper on the examination of Richard’s perimortem wounds published in The Lancet.
The video is one of 26 shot by a University videographer to document the discovery, study and reburial of Richard’s bones. Ten others are currently available for viewing on the University’s dedicated Richard III website. The set won’t be complete until the funerary cortege on Sunday, March 22nd, the lying in state and finally the reinterment ceremony on Thursday, March 26th, are recorded.
While I’m on the subject, I am compelled to recommend the episode of the PBS series Secrets of the Dead in which a young man with scoliosis very similar to Richard’s in degree and shape of spinal curvature volunteers to be put through the paces of medieval combat to study how effective the last king of England to die in battle would have been as a fighter. It is fascinating to see what he can and can’t do. Spoiler: he can do an amazing amount, and unlike Richard, he only got broadsword and horseback training for a couple of weeks in his adulthood. The best part is the extremely badass custom suit of armor a blacksmith makes for him. It needs some modification from the standard template because of certain anatomical peculiarities caused by his scoliosis (mainly the lack of a usable waist for armor purposes), but once he’s in it you wouldn’t know there’s anything at all unusual about that knight.
If you have any questions about how a man with Richard’s disability could perform on the battlefield, watch this show. I’ve already watched it twice it’s so good. I might have to make that thrice now that I’ve reminded myself of how awesome it is.
From THF Dagonell the Juggler.
I have acquired over 100+ of these cups. If any scribes would like some of these cups for free, see me at Ice Dragon. I am the Tavern Master and will be in the Tavern most of the day.
(editor’s note: the Gazette is always happy to facilitate the sharing of supplies and items for arts, sciences and anything else we use in our SCAdian life. Just email us at aethgazette.com)
THLord Stefan li Rous has publised updates for Stefan's Florilegium for February 2015.
- Submitted by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.
As promised by Their Majesties, Titus and Anna Leigh, at the Rapier Muster in the Shire of Silva Vulcani today, a Writ of Summons was issued for the first Master of Defense to be made in Æthelmearc.
Duchess Dorinda Courtenay was called before Their Majesties and instructed to present herself on Friday, May 1st at the Celebration of the Art of Rapier in her home shire of Heronter, there to be elevated by Their Highnesses, Timothy and Gabrielle, as the Principal of Æthelmearc’s Order of Defense and first gentle in our realm to receive a peerage for prowess in rapier.
Her Grace was Æthelmearc’s second Duchess, having first been crowned Queen in March of A.S. XXXIII (1999) and again in September of A.S. XXXV (2000). She is also a Mistress of the Pelican and Laurel, a Companion of the White Scarf, and the 5th Jewel of Æthelmearc. She has served as Kingdom Rapier Marshal, organized fencing at numerous events including Æthelmearc War Practice, and commanded Æthelmearc’s fencers in
battle at Pennsic as Rapier Warlord. Once the cadet of Don Iago Benitez, as a White Scarf Duchess Dorinda in turn took Mark le Gabler as her cadet until he was inducted into the White Scarf last September. She has also been tireless in her service to the Society, autocratting or assisting with the running of Heronter’s largest annual event, Harvest Raid, for at least a decade; serving her Shire as exchequer; using her scribal skills to create numerous scrolls of great beauty and teaching others to do likewise; and marshaling youth combat as well as adult and youth fencing.
The wording of the writ:
Let all of Aethelmearc rejoice!
Their Majesties Titus Scipio Germanicus, King by Right of Arms, and Anna Leigh, Queen by inspiration have been granted the ability to recognize excellence in the field of Rapier.
If Excellence is the bar, there is none more worthy than Duchess Dorinda.
She has served as Inspiration. She has served as Warlord. She has served as Mentor. She has served as Advisor. We are not just recognizing her for these services, and countless other that she renders, it is how she serves.
She embodies the values that we most want our order to encompass for the Known World to gaze upon.
She is welcoming and gracious, nurturing and supportive, chivalrous and courteous. She is well respected and beloved by all. We would have her nurture the new peerage with the same loving care she has guided our Rapier community with from its very infancy.
We ask that she presents herself at A Celebration of Rapier on May 1st, Anno Societatus 50 in the Shire of Herontir where she will be the guest of honor at a joyous celebration of our new peerage.
Done by our hand, this 15th day of February, Anno Societatus 49
Titus, Rex, Anna Leigh, Regina
One of Norman Rockwell’s most tender and beloved images, Boy and Girl Gazing at Moon (Puppy Love), also known as the Spooners, has been donated to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The donor is Bill Millis who has owned the oil painting since he bought it at an art gallery in 1975 when he was 26 years old.
“I loved everything Rockwell had painted—for me it’s what America stood for,” recalls Millis from his home in High Point, North Carolina. “Little did I know how popular Mr. Rockwell was, but I’d write him and he’d always write me back. I asked him if he knew whether any originals would ever be for sale, and he told me that there was going to be a showing at the Bernard Dannenberg Galleries in New York City.”
Millis traveled to New York and met with the gallery’s curator, who showed him the works on view. “I was just in awe of the Rockwell paintings, and all of the sudden I saw this one, Puppy Love, and I asked if it was for sale, and he said it was, and I said ‘Oh my goodness!’” Then only 26 years old, Millis asked the curator if he could hold it for him until the following Monday when he could send a check, to which the curator agreed.
Millis wrote to Rockwell to let him know he’d bought the painting and Rockwell so kindly replied: “I’m glad Puppy Love finally has a happy home.” Since he painted it for the cover of the April 24th , 1926, issue of The Saturday Evening Post, it was a homecoming just shy of 50 years in the making. The loving, innocent depiction of young sweethearts entranced by the moon on their way to go fishing with their simple stick pole, worms in a can and an irresistibly cute beagle puppy, continues to charm a new generation in the Internet era as exemplified by its selection as the subject of the February 3rd, 2010, Google Doodle commemorating what would have been Norman Rockwell’s 106th Birthday,
When Millis first bought the painting, the check he wrote the curator was for $27,000 so it was a major purchase at the time, but prices for original works by Norman Rockwell are on a whole different plane these days. He was a prolific artist who was popular throughout his career and extant works aren’t rare. They’re just really expensive now, especially the original oil paintings for his most famous magazine covers. Puppy Love is very much in that category. If it were to be sold on the art market today, it would be valued at $4 million and would probably sell for even more than that. The auction record for a Rockwell painting was set in December of 2013 when Saying Grace went for $46 million.
Millis has kept an eye on the prices and knew he had a winning lottery ticket hanging on his wall. Even though he left the painting to the Norman Rockwell Museum in his will, he was sorely tempted by the sky-high prices to sell Puppy Love and use the proceeds to fund a church-building ministry. Finally he decided in consultation with his family that not only was he not going to sell the painting to the highest bidder, but he wasn’t going to wait until he was dead to donate it.
The museum was ecstatic, of course. It houses the largest collection of original Rockwell art in the world — 998 original paintings and drawings — plus an archive of 100,000 items — working photographs, correspondence, fan mail, contracts — donated by the artist himself. However, it does not have the kind of acquisition budget that can allow them to keep up with the price of original Rockwell art as it rockets into the stratosphere. Saying Grace and the two other Rockwells that sold at that auction (The Gossips for $8.5 million and Walking to Church for $3.2 million) had been on long-term loan at the museum for years before the owners, descendants of The Saturday Evening Post art editor Kenneth J. Stuart, decided to cash in. Unless people give them things, the museum has been decidedly priced out of the market.
Now Bill and his four children Casey, Maggie, Jenny and Jesse, have donated the work “in honor of Norman Rockwell, an incredible American,” the Norman Rockwell Museum has 34 oil paintings of The Saturday Evening Post covers. That’s an impressive 10 percent of the Evening Post originals.
A month before the Western Electric picnic, the Eastland had more weight added to its top in the form of additional lifeboats, a reaction to the recent passage of the Seaman’s Act (itself a reaction to the sinking of the Titanic) which required increased lifesaving devices on ships. The act didn’t go into effect until the end of the year, but the steamship company decided to get the jump on it. It did not decide to lower the ship’s passenger capacity, however, although by the terms of the Seaman’s Act the Eastland would go from being licensed to carry 2,500 passengers to a capacity of 1,200.
Unaware that their ship had a history of top-heaviness, that it was even top-heavier right then than it had ever been thanks to all the new lifeboats and rafts on the top deck, and that there were twice as many of them as future regulation would allow, 2,500 picnickers boarded the Eastland. As soon as they got on the ship started listing. Still moored to the wharf, the steamer listed to starboard, then to port. The passengers thought it was fun at first and the captain thought he could fix it, so he didn’t order an immediate evacuation. At 7:31 AM, the Eastland rolled all the way onto its port side and capsized in 20 feet of water a few feet from dry land.
People who had been milling about on the upper decks were dumped into the Chicago River. Whoever was able to scramble over the starboard rail as the ship turned remained dry on the exposed starboard side of the capsized vessel. The passengers below deck (and there were many, particularly women and children), with the good sense but bad luck to stay out of the rain, were trapped. Disoriented in the sideways ship, crushed by falling furniture, fixtures and people, flooded by the water rushing into the interior, they died from drowning, blunt force trauma, and trampling.
Eight hundred and forty-four people died in the hull of the Eastland. Twenty-two families were completely annihilated, and more than 650 families lost at least one member. Nineteen families lost both parents. One hundred and seventy-five women, three of them pregnant, were widowed; 84 men were left widowers. Of the victims who lost their lives, 228 were teenagers and 58 were babies or young children. Seventy percent of the dead were under 25 years of age; the average age of the victims was 23. The Eastland tragedy remains to this day Chicago’s worst disaster in terms of loss of life.
The tugboat Kenosha, which was tied to the Eastland in preparation to tow it from the river to the lake, immediately changed gears to rescue. Captain John O’Meara had the tug moored to the wharf so passengers who had managed to climb onto the starboard side of the Eastland as it rolled could use the tug as a floating bridge to walk to safety. Divers were enlisted to search for survivors, or more realistically to recover bodies, inside the capsized ship. They had to break through the sides of the ship using cutting torches.
Rescue and recovery was only the beginning. With so many dead and so many more living rushing to the riverside clamouring to know the fate of their loved ones, storing and identifying the dead and alerting their families would become a logistical nightmare. Western Electric just happened to be incredibly well-positioned to live up to the challenge.
The Western Electric Company made equipment for the Bell System, a network of local phone companies either directly owned by or closely connected to AT&T. Originally formed to make telegraph machinery in 1869, the company went through several iterations before AT&T bought a controlling stake in the company in 1881. Western Electric became the exclusive manufacturer of AT&T telephones in 1882. By the early 20th century it was also manufacturing or reselling a wide range of electrical appliances like dishwashers, toasters, radios and vacuüm cleaners.
It manufactured the parts for the Transcontinental Line that linked sea to shining sea by voice. The first transcontinental phone call, from Alexander Graham Bell in New York City to Dr. Watson in San Francisco, was made in January of 1915, just six months before the disaster. (And yes, Bell did repeat his famous line, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you” for the test. Watson replied that it would take him a week since he wasn’t in the room next door this time.) Instantaneous voice communication across 3,000 miles was an exciting technological leap forward for Western Electric and its employees, and that buzz was part of the reason the picnic was so enthusiastically embraced that summer.
The company had a paternalistic, almost Hershey-like approach to its employees. Productivity, Western Electric believed, could be improved by creating a supportive, active, family environment. The Hawthorne Works plant, built in Cicero, Illinois in 1905, had a band, gym, restaurant, library, baseball field, bowling alley and track field. Eventually it would have its own hospital, fire department and police. Employees were encouraged to join teams, be they baseball, soccer, bowling or chess. The company saw sports and friendly competition were a way for employees to get to know each other, to work together as a team, maybe even get a rivalry going on between people or departments that would egg them on to make more phones.
The company offered evening classes for all employees, men and women. The classes could be related to the job or purely for one’s edification. Then there were the social entertainments: dances, masquerades, movies, concerts, ice skating, and the culmination of the season, the annual employee picnic.
Organized by employee social clubs for the first four years, the fifth annual Hawthorne Works picnic in 1915 burst the boundaries of the clubs and became its own thing, generating a shockingly vast panoply of committees to attend to every little aspect of the day. Committees included Program, Judges, Prizes, Beach, Dancing, Tug-of-War, Amusement, Picnic, Transportation, Tickets, Photography, Grounds, Music, Publicity, Athletics and Races. It was the Transportation Committee that arranged with the Indiana Transportation Company to charter five large ships to carry the throngs to the picnic site.
When the disaster struck, Western Electric employees who had been waiting to board their own ships for the party used some of the teamwork developed on the company baseball diamond to band together for the recovery, identification and notification for their fallen comrades. They and other volunteers set up temporary morgues in warehouses and in the Second Regiment Armory. They created multiple information bureaus to make a list of names of the dead and collect information from frantic next of kin. They had dozens of phones installed so the information bureaus could share data instead of duplicating each others’ work, and to receive the many phone calls from worried friends and family. They scoured hospitals for living and dead. They sorted an enormous quantity of personal belongings that had been taken from dead bodies in the hopes of identifying them, as well as from the inside of the ship.
That’s just scratching the surface. After identification there was relief, providing some financial support for the families of the dead. The Eastland Memorial Society has digitized a transcript of the August 1915 edition of the Western Electric News, a memorial issue dedicated to those who perished in the disaster. Read this page for the company’s account of its employees’ dedication, ingenuity and heroism in extremely trying circumstances. For a contrasting viewpoint, read Carl Sandburg’s very different take on events in the International Socialist Review.
The wreck and its tragic aftermath were thoroughly documented by the press. Groundbreaking photojournalist Jun Fujita, the first Japanese-American photojournalist and one of the first photojournalists period, had just been hired by the Chicago Evening Post. He happened to be at work bright and early on July 24th, 1915, so he was able to run to the wharf as soon as he heard about the disaster. Fujita took pictures of the capsized ship and the crowd of passengers perched on top of it. He clambered onto the ship and got some very compelling shots of the rescue efforts, including one of a wharfman carrying the dead body of a child. The tough old dock worker with a horrified look in his eyes as he holds a young victim in his arms became a symbol of the disaster in the same way the firefighter tenderly cradling the bloody baby after the Oklahoma City bombing became an iconic image. Jun Fujita wrote a poignant essay about the day’s events as seen through the agonized eyes of the rescue worker with the dead child in his arms.
There was no film of the disaster known to have survived. That changed on Thursday. University of Illinois Ph.D. candidate Jeff Nichols was looking through that magnificent time sink that is Europeana, the digital database of Europe’s cultural patrimony, doing research for his dissertation on World War I propaganda when he saw the intertitle of a Dutch newsreel refer to the Eastland. Then he found a second clip in another newsreel. Both movies were uploaded to Europeana’s exceptional World War I site, Europeana 1914-18, by the EYE Film Instituut Nederland which has contributed hundreds of hours of archival footage to the database.
The first clip is a segment (starts 1:08) of a newsreel that otherwise covers World War I-related events, mainly in England. The only exceptions are the opening scene of Bersaglieri, an Italian light infantry unit famous for their signature black grouse feather hats and the brisk trot they use instead of a parade march, taking the town of Cormons on the border with Austria-Hungary, and the second scene of the rescue efforts around the capsized Eastland.
The second clip (starts 9:10), also a segment of a newsreel covering home front events, records the salvage crews working to right the Eastland on August 14th, almost four weeks after the disaster.
The Eastland’s owners were tried in a Chicago court for criminal neglect, but the jury acquitted them. The steamer itself was repaired, renamed the USS Wilmette, and used as a training ship for the Navy until it was finally broken up for scrap in 1947.
Hawthorne Works went the way of so much midwestern manufacturing. Employer to more than 40,000 people at its peak, the plant closed its doors permanently in 1986, and shortly thereafter the brick industrial buildings were demolished to make way for a hideous strip mall. Only the water tower and a cable factory, now used by the county as a warehouse, remain of the original campus.
The Chicago History Museum has a display on the Eastland disaster in the City in Crisis section of its permanent exhibition Chicago: Crossroads of America. Go to the Eastland Disaster Historical Society website for tons of information about the disaster and its aftermath. The organization was founded by the two granddaughters of a survivor of the disaster, and it is a labor of love and respect. Not to be missed is their meticulous reconstruction of the passenger list with links to more information and photographs about the victims and survivors.
On January 25, the Middle Kingdom lost Lord Sedric Edye, a founding member of the Marche of Alderford and a close friend of the SCAtoday.net staff.
Here within this page and the comments section below it are the words of those who wish to let their significant other or would be love know their feelings. If you would like to add a message to someone and are not on this page just use the comment button below.
My lady carries love within her eyes;
Unto Mine Husband.
My dearest Lord, who hath gone before
I see your face in dreams, beloved
You voice grows faint inside my mind
Your ashes sit upon the mantel
Tears pour as I write this,
I have cursed the day I lost you
Oh Beloved, how must I live on without thee?
Unfair Fate, Unkind Death,
Lord Martyn Kennish. June 17th, AS 49
Darling m’lord Wil
1. To Master Broom, you will always be my hero. Much love and kisses, the happiest apprentice in the world!!!
This is one of a series of Q&A articles with East Kingdom Officers. The Gazette thanks Don Frasier MacLeod, the Kingdom Marshal of Fence, for answering our questions.
Please describe your job responsibilities.
Do you have a goal for your term?
What was your first event? And what made you stay?
Which people made an impact on you in the SCA and why?
Could you share with us a moment – or several moments – that describe what makes the SCA special for you?
Filed under: Fencing, Interviews Tagged: rapier