Have you ever thought of Milan as a city of water?
When Daisy first visited Milan in 1889 with her mother and older sister Endemial, the city was surrounded by its 5 working canals.
"Bianca made arrangements for our first night supper in Il Centro and suggested we walk along the canals. Milan was a city of tranquil waterways at this time, with barges navigating the picturesque canal-banks. Naviglio means canal in Italian and navigli is the plural and name for the artificial canals of Milan. They were started during Roman times and by the end of the 13th century, water was seen as a way to transport people and objects, like the marble for the Cathedral. Leonardo da Vinci started working on these projects in 1482. This amelioration started the development of a new system of canals that would have made it possible to travel by canal from the Valtellina wine valley in the far North at the border of Switzerland to Milan, had the work been completed. I was lucky to see the City with its waterways intact, as by the 1920’s rail and motor travel saw many of them covered by streets and buildings with just remnants remaining and few signs that Milan had ever been surrounded by water."
Read more about Leonardo daVinci's canal designs, why they disappeared and how a growing movement is afoot to uncover them.
As I write this book, I am learning more about the many Polk buildings from St. Louis, Kansas City, San Francisco and beyond. But I have yet to find a complete listing of all the Polk oeuvre. Whether with his family, partners or other artists, I have tried to map these works. It is a work in progress. Am I missing something? Let me know. I'll add it when I have the time ... or find an assistant!
The Polk Map
You will find here extant, demolished or work so dramatically changed I have delineated it from the rest. Click on a marker to see pictures or learn more. The map will pop-out to full screen listing all points. Many points have multiple pictures. Scroll to bottom of text to see all.
With many thanks to the following sources:
Late Victorian Era ladies and gents had a fetish for feathers. More than 5 million birds were being massacred yearly to satisfy the booming North American millinery trade. Along Manhattan's Ladies' Mile — the principal shopping district in New York, centered on Broadway and Twenty-Third Street — retail stores sold the feathers of snowy egrets, white ibises, and great blue herons. Once dense egret bird colonies were wiped out in Florida. Some women even wanted a stuffed owl head on their bonnets and a full hummingbird wrapped in bejeweled vegetation as a brooch. And fly fishing - Fishermen caused ruffled feathers too. Click on the "read more" to find out why!
What do airplanes have to do with Aunt Daisy? Living in Alsace-Lorraine on the Western Front during the war, and rebuilding Vitrimont after German bombings - she had first-hand experience with these planes, even writing about visiting the airbase near the forest of Parroy. She also knew a few fliers. One pilot married Ethel Mary Crocker and flew over the Vitrimont church on her wedding day "dropping" flowers for the bride and groom. More on this gentleman in a later post - for now if you're interested watch the short compilation of film below - Aéroplanes of the first world war - believe me your first bike had more metal parts!
This rare war film footage from 1914 to 1917 records aviation before the US officially entered the war and highlights the planes in use with names reflecting early pioneers and designers in the industry (see more airplane WWI history and list click "Read More" below).
This view from Nob Hill looking up Taylor at Jackson to Vallejo Street - is half a block from the summit of Russian Hill. The true summit lies at Vallejo between Taylor and Jones. Also seen here are the cross streets of Pacific Avenue and Broadway. Ina Coolbrith Park is located just across the Vallejo stairs from this house.
Today the 225 step Vallejo Stairs are on both sides of Taylor Street. "The House of the Flag" is on the SE corner of the Vallejo stairs and Taylor Street. It was named a San Francisco landmark in 1972 and has become part of the lore of this special neighborhood which was home to a coterie of the most creative and interesting San Franciscans of their time. It also largely survived the fire and has many pre-earthquake buildings still standing watch from the top of Russian Hill.
The story of The American Relief Committee (ARC) 1914
Imagine you are on your Grand Tour of Europe in 1914. La Dee Da, life is wonderful. Until it isn't. Uh oh! Imagine, overnight, war breaks out. No phones, no airplanes, no ATM's, no credit cards, most trans-Atlantic ships have ceased operations, and the ones that are leaving - are leaving from England.
There you are in Florence, Italy with 150,000 lire. YOU! The daughter/son of a robber-baron (ooops sorry! Philanthropist) with positively scads of money back home in reliable J.P. Morgan & Co. But your letter of credit is worthless without a bank - and all the London banks are closed. Why does this matter? Because to exchange money and to transact almost any financial matter in 1914 required it to pass through London Banks. You can't get your money, and no-one can send you any.
Click "Read More" to see Daisy in 1914 and learn more about how stranded Americans got home!
Imagine it's 1914, and you are in The Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Real Wild West Show touring Europe. You are from Oklahoma, completely dependent on the show for your meals, lodging and return ticket home. Now imagine war breaks out. Remember it's 1914 and you have no phones, no airplanes, no ATM's, no credit cards, all trans-Atlantic ships have ceased operations, and the banks are closed. And your Show troop, along with an estimated 120,000 Americans, are all trying to leave.
It happened. This is just one story of one group of stranded Americans. But it's a doozy! The book "Tante Daisy" has a great story about George White Eagle (pictured above left) who marries a Brit in London to be able to bring his new wife and her son back to America. Daisy helps organize an impromptu wedding reception Read how the other Americans got home here.
To learn more about The Miller Wild West Show story click "Read More"
Madeleine Marie Louise Chevrillon Saint-René Taillandier was a woman of letters and French philanthropist. Sister of André Chevrillon and niece of Hippolyte Taine, she married the diplomat Georges Saint-René Taillandier. In 1920, Edith Wharton asked her to translate her novel The Age of Innocence.
Nothing is more fun than digging around the Internet and finding a research gem! This week there have been plenty. Today's find comes from the National Archives, a virtual treasure trove of fun. I was looking for footage of Nancy, Luneville and Vitrimont during World War I. Well I found it! And in a search for General DeBuyer I also found Daisy and Herbert Hoover visiting the Citroen Munitions Plant. She was referred to as Madame La General.
So I found what I didn't know I was looking for ... film of Daisy! It's silent, so don't fiddle with your volume. It starts with an overview of the lunch break, then pans to show the VIP table of visitors at about 1:10.
Some stories that couldn't make the book in full ... but need to be told! Editors welcomed - sign up below.