Tag Archives: Melody Amsel-Arieli

Celebrating Miss America

Pageant Poster from 1925 with the accompanying trophy and a photograph of Miss America 1925, Fay Lanphier, who came to the title by way of being Miss Santa Cruz 1924, the 1925 Rose Queen, and then Miss California 1925. 

by Melody Amsel-Arieli In 1921, Atlantic City, New Jersey offered East Coast vacationers far more than sun, sand, and sea. In addition to thrilling mechanical rides and pre-Broadway shows, it hosted the first “Inter-City Beauty Pageant,” an exuberant extravaganza celebrating the fairer sex. This seaside competition launched with the dramatic entry of King Neptune (its […]

The Blacksmith

The Village Blacksmith by Thomas Hovenden (American (born Ireland), Dunmanway 1840–1895 Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania

by Melody Amsel-Arieli Under a spreading chestnut-tree The village smithy stands; The smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands; And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands – The Village Blacksmith, Longfellow, 1842   Blacksmiths have wrought objects from iron for thousands of years. Metalworking, however, harks […]

The View From Where You Sit: Personal Magnification Devices

Microscope: 3 convex lenses in the inner cylinder, fitting into shagreen (snakeskin)- covered tube, with gilt-bronze finial cap and tripod stand, optics by Passemant, ingénieur du roi, France, c. 1750 photo: metmuseum.org

by Melody Amsel-Arieli   Simple magnification devices, like water-filled spheres and rock crystal (quartz) “burning glasses” were known around the Mediterranean and across the Middle East in ancient times. These evidently served not only to light kindling but also to cauterize wounds and enlarge texts. According to Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, Nero viewed gladiator […]

Hudson River Revolutionary War Artifacts

Hudson River Revolutionary War Artifacts

by Melody Amsel-Arieli To drum-beat and heart-beat, A soldier marches by: There is color in his cheek, There is courage in his eye, Yet to drum-beat and heart-beat In a moment he must die. – from Nathan Hale by Francis Miles Finch (1827-1907) The Hudson River, which spans from northeastern New York State to the […]

Game Boards: The Game is Up

Game Boards: The Game is Up

by Melody Amsel-Arieli Through the ages, nearly all cultures have developed pre-marked surfaces used for playing games. Players, drawing on skill, strategy or luck while following pre-determined rules, move game pieces, like seeds, animal droppings, or pebbles, on patterned paths along their surfaces. Vintage game boards, which are available in wide variety, not only reflect […]

Civil War Surgical Tools

Civil War Surgical Tools

by Melody Amsel-Arieli The Civil War, which left over 600,000 dead, was the bloodiest war in the history of the United States. Initially, surgeons tended the injured at the front, in fields, barns, tents, stables, and private homes. “Conditions were frightful,” wrote Dr. Nathaniel Alexander Morgan, a Confederate physician serving at a Battle of Chickamauga […]

Exploring Antique Humidors

Exploring Antique Humidors

By Melody Amsel-Arieli Fans of fine cigars, like Cuban Habanos, Dominican Republic Alcántaras, or Mexican Gloria de Colóns, may not smoke them right away. Instead, many prefer to save them to celebrate special occasions like parties, birthdays, or anniversaries. Yet these rolled bundles of tobacco leaves, along with cigarettes and pipe tobacco, are produced in […]

Vintage Handkerchiefs

Vintage Handkerchiefs

By Melody Amsel-Arieli Handkerchiefs, also known as hankies, are thin, hemmed cloths carried in purse or pocket. They serve not only hygienic purposes, but also as decorative accessories. Vintage handkerchiefs, whether lacy confections, sturdy cotton florals, or designer works of art, reflect not only changing tastes, but also our cultural heritage. Wealthy ancient Egyptians, for […]