The Public Domain Review

This is just an automatic copy of Public Domain Review blog.

Where were the Olympic brand police in 1908?

Wednesday 25 July 2012 at 10:12

In 1908 London hosted its first Olympics. It was a Games of many firsts: the first to use a swimming pool, the first to ensure that competitors had to be representing countries, the first protest, and also the first Olympics to be properly commercialised. The official sponsors were OXO and Indian Foot Powder. As Rebecca Jenkins, author of The First London Olympic 1908, writes:

the 1908 Marathon course was sponsored by OXO. There were booths along the 26 mile and 385 yard course offering hot and cold Oxo for the refreshment of the competitors, who were also proferred the same in handy flasks. Many Edwardian trainers believed drinking water during a race was bad for the runner, though a little brandy or champagne was considered a useful stimulant. The salt in the beef extract that made up OXO may have been of some benefit considering that the day of the 1908 Olympic Marathon was one of the hottest of that summer.




The IOC of 1908 weren’t however quite as draconian about clamping down on unofficial Olympic connections as they have been this summer. One of the most ubiquitous adverts one would have seen in the summer of 1908 would have been for Odol mouthwash – the whole Olympic stadium transformed (without permission) into spelling out the name of “Odol”.



To read more about the 1908 Olympics and how it saw the first Olympic protest, see Rebecca Jenkins’ article for The Public Domain Review.






Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

flattr this!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/07/25/where-were-the-olympic-brand-police-in-1908/


The First Olympic Protest

Wednesday 25 July 2012 at 09:18

With the 2012 Olympics about to get underway in London, Rebecca Jenkins looks back to when the city first hosted the event and how a mix up with flags gave birth to the first Olympic protest.

1908 postcard of the White City Stadium, the main arena built especially for the 1908 Olympics.

Just over 100 years ago London hosted its first Olympic Games – the Fourth Olympiad of 1908. It was a fledgling version of what we have today – only 2023 athletes competed, approximately the same number that will contest the Athletic events in 2012.

Of course, the Olympic Games were rather different then – there was no torch relay, or spectacular opening ceremony with a stadium transformed by pageants of England’s green and pleasant land. In 1908 the tug-of-war was a medal winning contest, as were massed gymnastic displays (very popular with the northern European nations with military conscription) and marathon runners were not encouraged to re-hydrate, so the winning time wouldn’t have even qualified a modern athlete for the Olympic team today.

It is well know that in 1908 the marathon was run for the first time at the modern Olympic distance of 26 miles, 385 yards. But what is often overlooked is that these Edwardian games were the first to have an opening ceremony revolving around a parade of nations; in short, the first London Olympics witnessed the birth of Team GB.

It has been said that whereas the Germans excavated Ancient Olympia and the French reanimated its spirit, the Edwardian sons of the British Empire set out to organise it. In the first Games of the modern Olympics, any one – or perhaps more accurately, any sporting man (Baron de Coubertin, the “father” of the Olympic movement, did not approve of women performing in public sporting contests) – who had the private means to turn up at the venue could put himself down to compete.

Photograph of Team GB in the opening ceremony's 'parade of nations', from the Fourth Olympiad 1908 London Official Report published by the British Olympic Association in 1909.

Engraving of the opening parade from the London Illustrated News, July 1908.

Faced with an increasing interest in the Games, the small group of gentlemen who set out to organise the London Olympics of 1908 decided it would be more efficient only to accept contestants registered through national teams selected through national Olympic associations. This administrative decision was re-enforced by an opening ceremony in which the athletic teams paraded into the stadium dressed in athletic or national costume, four abreast behind “their respective representatives, [bearing] the flag and entablature of their country.”

The eye of the Olympic spectator was moved irrevocably from the individual athelete to the flag they wore on their chest. And flags, as the Edwardian organising committee soon discovered, cause conflict.

In 1908 the US Olympic Committee sent their largest team so far to the Olympic Games: 122 men (no women), in team costume with the stars and stripes on their breast. The managers of Team US 1908 were determined that they were going to sweep England off the athletic map. The ground they chose was track and field and their modern gladiators were dominated by Irish American track and field stars from New York.

Even before the Games began, the press were reporting spats between the American managers and the British Olympic Association over the rules governing pole vaulting. (The British organisers had sent out their rules in advance, assuming no one would complain. After all, as the Daily Mail wrote: “We have carried our dress clothes and our games throughout the world.”)

1908 postcard (cropped) showing King Edward VII at the opening ceremony.

It was, perhaps unfortunate, therefore, that in the rush to prepare the White City stadium for King’s arrival to open the Games on the afternoon of Monday, July 13th, 1908, the national flags run up the poles included those of Japan and China (neither of whom would send representatives to the Olympics games for some years yet), but omitted those of Sweden and the United States of America.

The Crown Prince of Sweden, president of the Swedish Amateur Athletic Association had been a key supporter of the Olympics since their revival. He and the Swedish Government had – unlike the British government – provided substantial subsidies to send the third largest national team to London for the 1908 Games. And, Prince Gustavus, an honoured guest of the British King and Queen, was among the royal party in the royal box.

The Prince was polite in front of his royal hosts about the omission of his national flag. The American Committee however suspected a deliberate insult. They produced their own Stars and Stripes and had it run up the pole. The Swedes had to make do with the single flag carried before their team in the parade.

The parade climaxed with the massed ranks of athletes behind their flagbearers facing the royal box. With a fanfare from the trumpeters of the Life Guards, the flag were dipped to salute King Edward VII; every flag, that is, except the Stars and Stripes held by the Californian law student and shot putter, Ralph Rose.

Photograph of Ralph Rose in shot-putting action, from the Fourth Olympiad 1908 London Official Report published by the British Olympic Association in 1909.

The British press at the time over-looked the incident, but the Irish paper in New York, The Gaelic American, picked up Rose’s gesture and made much of it. When an American sports journalist revived the story in the 1950s, it told of Ralph Rose being “taken aside” the night before the opening ceremony by a core of Irish American athletes determined to make a stand against the British tyrant who oppressed the Irish. ‘This flag dips to no earthly king’, the young democrat was supposed to have said as he held his flag high.

Historians dispute whether the words were actually said by Rose or were a later embellishment to the story, but the fact remains that after 1908 the national Olympic team was here to stay and 1908 US team had made the first Olympic political protest.



Rebecca Jenkins is a cultural historian, lecturer, novelist and biographer. She is a member of the International Society of Olympic Historians, the Crime Writers’ Association and the Historical Writers’ Association. See contemporary pictures and more about the 1st London Olympics of 1908 at her website


Links to Works


A Flickr slideshow of photographs from the Fourth Olympiad 1908 London Official Report published by the British Olympic Association in 1909 – via Wikimedia Commons.








Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

flattr this!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/07/25/the-first-olympic-protest/


The life and death of Mr. Badman presented to the world in a familiar dialogue between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive (1900 edition)

Tuesday 24 July 2012 at 16:31


The life and death of Mr. Badman presented to the world in a familiar dialogue between Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Attentive, by John Bunyan…with twelve compositions by George Woolliscroft Rhead & Louis Rhead designed to portray the deadly sins of the ungodly Mr. Badman’s journey from this world to hell. With an introduction reprinted from the life of Bunyan by J.A.Froude; 1900; Heinemann, London.

Beautifully designed turn-of-the-century edition of John Bunyan’s companion piece to The Pilgrim’s Progress, originally published in 1680, in which two characters have a dialogue about sin and redemption over the course of a long day. In his preface titled “The Author to the Reader,” Bunyan announces that Mr Badman is a pseudonym for a real man who is dead. Mr Badman’s relatives and offspring continue to populate Earth, which “reels and staggereth to and fro like a Drunkard, the transgression thereof is heavy upon it.” In a mock eulogy, Bunyan says Mr Badman did not earn four themes commonly part of a funeral for a great man. First, there is no wrought image that will serve as a memorial, and Bunyan’s work will have to suffice. Second, Mr Badman died without Honour, so he earned no badges and scutcheons. Third, his life did not merit a sermon. Fourth, no one will mourn and lament his death. Bunyan then describes the sort of Hell awaiting Mr Badman, citing biblical scripture. He said he published it to address the wickedness and debauchery that had corrupted England, as was his duty as a Christian, in hopes of delivering himself “from the ruins of them that perish.” (Wikipedia). The stunning illustrations for this 1900 edition published by Heinemann are by Staffordshire born father and son illustrator duo George and Louis Rhead.

The book is housed at the Internet Archive, donated by Princeton Theological Seminary. Found by way of the Old Book Illustrations blog.










Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

flattr this!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/07/24/the-life-and-death-of-mr-badman-1900-edition/


17th century Heraldry Designs (1695)

Monday 23 July 2012 at 15:22

Select images from the book Nouveau Livre de Differens Cartouches, Couronnes, Casques, Supports et Tenans – roughly translated as a New Book of Different Cartouches (the central oval), Crowns, Helmets, and both Animal and Human Supports – engraved by Charles Mavelot and published in 1695 in France. The book’s subtitle announces its practical use for “painters, sculptors, engravers, goldsmiths, weavers, embroiderers and others”.

(All images extracted from the book housed at the Internet Archive and donated by the Getty Research Institute. See the Internet Archive link to view the whole book including a key to what each emblem contains).



















































































Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

flattr this!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/07/23/17th-century-heraldry-designs-1695/


Aeolian Piano Rolls (1903)

Friday 20 July 2012 at 16:52



The piano roll was the first medium which could be produced and copied industrially and made it possible to provide the customer with actual music quickly and easily. It consisted of a roll of paper with perforations punched in it, the position and length of which determined the note played on the ‘autopiano’ (also known as a player piano, or pianola). These self-playing pianos contained a pneumatic mechanism that operated the piano action via the pre-programmed rolls. These recordings are from the rolls of the Aeolian Company, one of the biggest producers of the automatic piano. By 1903, the Aeolian Company had more than 9,000 roll titles in their catalog, adding 200 titles per month. (Wikipedia)

MP3 Download
Internet Archive Link










Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

flattr this!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/07/20/aeolian-piano-rolls-1903/


The Dodo and its Kindred (1848)

Thursday 19 July 2012 at 17:55


The dodo and its kindred or, The history, affinities, and osteology of the dodo, solitaire, and other extinct birds of the islands Mauritius, Rodriguez and Bourbon, by H. E. Strickland and A.G. Melville; 1848; Reeve, Benham, and Reeve, London.

This seminal 1848 monograph sets out to separate the myth from reality regarding perhaps the world’s most famous extinct bird. The book was borne from a dissection of the dried out head of the last remaining stuffed Dodo, carried out by Strickland and Melville in the mid 19th century.



Book from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries via the BioDiversity Heritage Library and Internet Archive










Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

flattr this!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/07/19/the-dodo-and-its-kindred-1848/


Cleopatra (1912)

Wednesday 18 July 2012 at 16:26



Cleopatra – a Romance of a Woman and a Queen – depicts Helen Gardner in the title role and as centrepiece to the series of elaborately staged tableaux which tell the story of her various love affairs, first with the handsome fisherman-slave Pharon, and then with Marc Antony. The film is created by the Helen Gardner Picture Players and was based on a play written by the French dramatist Victorien Sardou, the man who wrote La Tosca (1887), the play behind Puccini’s opera Tosca 13 years later.

Download from Internet Archive

Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.










Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

flattr this!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/07/18/cleopatra-1912/


Rhyming Drugstore Advertisements (1885)

Tuesday 17 July 2012 at 17:03

These rhyming advertisements were created by “commercial rhymist” W.N.Bryant for a variety of drugstores in the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Indian Territory. They contain some ingenious sections of poetic flair, and strangely all end on a cigar-related note. Not sure if too many people would quite have the patience these days to stay still for the time required to get through the whole thing – though with such enticing headlines as “Ah! There” and “Why will you die?”, perhaps so.

(All images taken from the Southern Methodist University’s Central University Libraries Flickr Set and are held by the DeGolyer Library in Dallas).













Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

flattr this!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/07/17/rhyming-drugstore-advertisements-1885/


Entries to a competition to design a new tower in London (1890)

Monday 16 July 2012 at 17:59

A selection of the more inventive entries to a competition to design a new tower for London. The year previous, 1889, saw the hugely successful Eiffel Tower go up in the centre of Paris, and the good people of London, not to be outdone, decided to get one of their own. A wonderful array of designs were put forward. Many were suspiciously similar to the Eiffel Tower and many erred on the wackier side of things, such as Design no.19, the “Century Tower”, reminiscent of a huge screw, and London Vegetarian Society’s design for an “aerial colony” which came complete with hanging vegetable gardens and a one-twelfth scale replica of the Great Pyramid on its summit. The very practical design number 37 by Stewart, McLaren and Dunn was eventually chosen to be awarded the 500 guinea prize-money and built in Wembley Park. Construction began in 1892 but the company in charge of the erection, The Metropolitan Tower Company, soon ran into problems including falling chronically behind schedule due to marshy ground and then financial difficulties which eventually led to their liquidation in 1889. Construction ceased after only 47 metres had been completed. The abandoned ‘tower’ (known as the Watkins Folly, or The London Stump) remained a spectacle in the park for a number of years before being deemed unsafe and blown up in 1904. Wembley Stadium ended up being built over the site for the 1923 British Empire Exhibition. When the stadium was rebuilt in 2000, the lowering of the level of the pitch resulted in the concrete foundations of the failed tower being rediscovered.

(All images extracted from Descriptive illustrated catalogue of the sixty-eight competitive designs for the great tower for London compiled and edited by Fred. C. Lynde (1890). See the book in its entirety, including descriptions and more design entries, here in our Text collections.














Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

flattr this!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/07/16/entries-to-a-competition-to-design-a-new-tower-in-london-1890/


Catalogue of the 68 competitive designs for the great tower for London (1890)

Monday 16 July 2012 at 17:05


Descriptive illustrated catalogue of the sixty-eight competitive designs for the great tower for London compiled and edited by Fred. C. Lynde for the Tower Company; 1890; Industries, London .

A catalogue showing the entries for a competition to design a new tower for London. The year previous, 1889, saw the hugely successful Eiffel Tower go up in the centre of Paris, and the good people of London, not to be outdone, decided to get one of their own. A wonderful array of designs were put forward. Many were suspiciously similar to the Eiffel Tower and many erred on the wackier side of things, such as Design no.19, the “Century Tower”, reminiscent of a huge screw, and London Vegetarian Society’s design for an “aerial colony” which came complete with hanging vegetable gardens a one-twelfth scale replica of the Great Pyramid on its summit. The very practical design number 37 by Stewart, McLaren and Dunn was eventually chosen to be awarded the 500 guinea prize-money and built in Wembley Park. Construction began in 1892 but the company in charge of the erection, The Metropolitan Tower Company, soon ran into problems including falling chronically behind schedule due to marshy ground and then financial difficulties which eventually led to their liquidation in 1889. Construction ceased after only 47 metres had been completed. The abandoned ‘tower’ (known as the Watkins Folly, or The London Stump) remained a spectacle in the park for a number of years before being deemed unsafe and blown up in 1904. Wembley Stadium ended up being built over the site for the 1923 British Empire Exhibition. When the stadium was rebuilt in 2000, the lowering of the level of the pitch resulted in the concrete foundations of the failed tower being rediscovered.





(For more info see the Wikipedia article and also this blog where the pictures above came from. There is also a nice post on the subject over at London Particulars. Also check out our post in the Images collection for a selection of some of the more inventive designs.)

Open Library link










Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

flattr this!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/07/16/catalogue-of-the-68-competitive-designs-for-the-great-tower-for-london-1890/