Thursday, February 28, 2013

Outdoor Classroom

Today's picture shows an outdoor classroom at the Tuskegee Institute. The students are being trained in the finer points of Botany. I continue to be impressed by the dress and decorum of students back at this time. The picture was taken about 1900.


I am happy to announce that our trip to DFW was successful, and we were able to safely see the lovely Ms. EAM through the final leg of her trip home. We got home about 9:00 last night. I am sure it will take her a few days to recover from the trip, and then I am excited to hear from her many stories of her life in East Africa.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Furniture Making

Tuskegee Week continues here at OPOD with this picture of a furniture making class at the Tuskegee Institute. The hats are curious to me and I wonder if they were related to the specific class, or part of a school uniform. The picture was taken in 1900.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Today's picture shows the reading room at the Tuskegee Institute. It was taken in 1902. It is striking to me the differences between this picture and what you would find today. One of the things is that these people appear to be dressing for success. They are dressing like the people they want to become. One of the distressing things I find about many young people today is that somehow it has become cool to be a thug. You dress like a thug because you want to be a thug, because the thugs are the cool people. I am not exactly sure when that happened, but wish it were different. Yes, I have the privilege to work with some extraordinary young people, but I am distressed by what I see as a growing trend among young people to imitate behavior that is ultimately destructive to themselves and society.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tuskegee, Alabama

Welcome to Tuskegee, Alabama Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at pictures from this Old South town over the last 100 years. We start with this picture from around 1900's. It shows a group of men preparing to serve food at an outdoor event. As the week goes on, we will be looking at different aspects of life in this area.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Radio Controlled Planes

Today's picture is from 1944, and it shows a boy playing with a Radio Controlled Airplane. I think this is a great toy, which is a lot of fun, and very educational. Just think of all the things a young person learns by building and flying a model airplane. They learn to read blueprints, follow instructions, use tools, and to be precise and accurate in their work. They learn about engines, electronics, and aerodynamics. They learn that through hard work and patience you are paid off in the end with a product that is fun and exciting. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Model Airplane

Today's picture is from 1942, but it looks like it could have been from my childhood in the 1960's. The picture was taken in Robstown, Texas, and shows boy making a model airplane, and a girl watches. Really reminds me of simpler times.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Another great hobby I can remember growing up was carving, or what we called "Whittling". This was getting a knife, and a piece of wood, and making a toy. You can see this young man has just carved a nice canoe with a jack knife. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Erector Set

Today's picture shows a boy building a crane with an Erector Set. The picture was taken in 1924. One of the things I remember about my childhood is that most of my toys involved building, making, growing, or fixing something. The toys really required what today educators call "Critical Thinking" and "Higher Level Learning". Starting out with Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys and Erector Sets, you basically had a pile of parts, and you had to make something. There were diagrams of things you could make that they had designed, but after that you could venture out on your own, creating your own designs and ideas. Chemistry sets were fun to play with, while at the same time very educational. Then, you grew into even harder "toys" like model airplanes, where you made flying airplanes out of balsa wood, tissue paper and rubber bands.

If you are a parent, I encourage you to throw out the Xbox and playstations, and get back to toys that require children to think, plan, build, and create. Not video games, which are primarily wiring the brain to shoot, kill, destroy. As parents, how did we ever let ourselves be deceived to let that trash in our homes?

Monday, February 18, 2013

London Bombing

Toy Week continues with this gripping photograph of a young child after a German Air Raid Bombing on London. The child is sitting alone in the ruble with his stuffed animal. Looking at the child's face, I am reminded of the British term of "Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip". You can see the child is terrified, but yet is holding back tears. Truly a remarkable photograph.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Eskimo with Toy

Today we have a picture that shows an Eskimo man with a small toy boat he has made for his son. The boat shows an amazing amount of detail and precision. I wonder what type of tools he had to work with to make such a fine piece? The picture was taken in the early 1900's.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Boy's Toys

Last week was Doll Week, and this week we will look at Boy's Toys. We start with this picture of young men playing with a model airplane. I can remember growing up, the great thing about our toys is that they almost always involved building something, making something, growing something, fixing something, or doing something outside. Today, sadly, most young men sit in their rooms and twiddle their thumbs as they pretend to kill massive amounts of people on their Xbox's and playstations. I hope you all will share memories of your favorite toys growing up.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dolls on the Prairie

We wrap up Doll Week with this picture of two small children playing with a doll. The picture was taken in 1936, so this would have been right at the height of the Great Depression. The picture was taken in Iowa, and the land looks very dry.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Indian Dolls

I am excited to show this picture today, because I have really never seen anything like it in the past. The picture shows Indian Children playing with dolls and miniature Tipis. I had just never imagined children building miniature versions of their camp. What an intriguing image.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Girls with Dolls

Today's picture shows two girls playing with dolls. These children appear to be very well off, as the dolls are new and fancy, and there is a nice toy truck on the ground as well. The picture was taken around 1920.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Girl With Doll

Today's picture shows a young girl with her doll. We don't have much information on the picture, except that it was taken in 1941. The picture looks to be on a farm or some other rural setting.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Baby Strollers

This is a classic picture of bygone days in America. The picture was taken in 1941 in Caldwell Idaho, and shows two little girls taking their dolls for a walk in baby strollers. While the picture was taken in 1941, it looks just like I remember things growing up in the 1960's. This was a much simpler time, and one I really miss.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Children Playing with Dolls

Today's picture is from 1909, and it shows children and Doll Sleighs. The picture was taken at the Mid-Winter Carnival at Upper Saranac Lake in New York.

Now, this is my question . . . why do little girls like dolls so much? Is it a DNA thing, and women are born to be nurturing, or is it they like them because that is what they are given, and that is what they learn to like?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Rag Doll

Welcome to Doll Week here at OPOD where we will look at children and their dolls. We start with this picture of a young girl and her rag doll. The picture was taken in 1852, so we can see the tradition of girls and dolls go way back. I hope this week you will share your memories of your favorite doll growing up.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Woman by a Spring

We finish out the week with this picture of a woman by a spring of water. The picture was taken in 1925 by on the Sinai. It looks like some sheep or goats in  the background, so perhaps she is a shepherdess.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Sinai

Today's picture shows an Oasis in the Sinai. The picture was taken in the 1920's. I like the old car, and can imagine how refreshing it was to come upon an oasis after traveling in an un-air-conditioned car.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Car in the Desert

Today's picture shows a group of men in the Desert of Arabia in an automobile. The picture was taken in 1926. I love pictures like this that have a mix of the old world, and the encroachment of technology on an old way of life. Something sort of sad to me about these types of pictures. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Druze Sheikh

Today's picture was taken in 1925 in the Arabian Desert. The picture shows a Druze Sheikh that had led the Hauran Revolt. The revolt resulted in horrific genocide as the Druze were brutally punished for their rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. Druze were scattered to various places, including the Arabian Desert.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bedouin Chief

Today's picture is from 1936, and it shows a Bedouin Chief from the Arabian Desert. He is a Druze, which is a religious sect that I don't completely understand.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Sinai

Today's picture is a hand tinted photograph of a caravan of Camels in the Sinai Desert in Egypt. I love this picture as it captures the excitement and adventure of the nomadic life of these people 100 years ago.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Waiting on the Bus

We wrap up Rat Race Week with this picture of a group of people waiting on a bus to take them home after a long day at work. The picture was taken in Baltimore, Maryland in 1943.