Monthly Archives: June 2017

June 30

Showmanship and Mass Frenzy: Blondin’s Niagara Stunt

On the 30th of June 1859, French acrobat Charles Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope. “About 25,000 thrill-seekers arrived by train and steamer and dispersed on the American or Canadian side of the falls (…) Both banks grew “fairly black” with swarms of spectators, among them statesmen, judges, clerics, generals, members of Congress, capitalists, […]

June 29

James Van Der Zee: Life and Death in Harlem

On the 29th of June 1886, the largely self-taught African American photographer James Van Der Zee was born in Lenox, Massachusetts. He became the leading photographer of the Harlem Renaissance, also known as the New Negro Movement or the New Negro Renaissance – the cultural movement that spanned the 1920s. The term New Negro was […]

June 28

The Wings of Rubens’ Virgin as Woman of the Apocalypse

On the 28th of June 1577, Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens was born in Siegen, Westphalia (now Germany). The Getty Museum in Los Angeles holds one his more unusual works, an oil sketch entitled Blessed Virgin Mary as Woman of the Apocalypse (ca. 1623-24, Oil on panel, 25 x 19 3/8 in). The piece is […]

June 27

Beyond Sound and Vision: Helen Keller and the Story of Her Life

On the 27th of June 1880, the remarkable American author, political activist, and lecturer Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. In her autobiography The Story of My Life, which she wrote aged twenty-two, Keller recalls her early years: “The beginning of my life was simple and much like every other little life. I came, […]

June 26

WWII Heroines: Violette Szabo

On the 26th of June 1921, Violette Szabo, daughter of an English cabbie and a French dressmaker was born in Paris. Raised in Britain, she married at a young age, but lost her husband when he was killed fighting against the Germans, leaving behind a young daughter. A skilled shot with a rifle who could speak […]

June 25

George Orwell’s Childhood Recollections

On the 25th of June 1903, English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic Eric Arthur Blair, known by the pen name George Orwell, was born in Motihari, Bengal Presidency, British India. Regarded as one of the most influential English writers of the twentieth century, he is best known for the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), in which he […]

June 24

Imogen Cunningham’s Sensual Photography

On the 24th of June 1976, American photographer Imogen Cunningham died in San Francisco, California at the grand age of 93. Best known for her portraits, nudes and images of plant life, Cunningham started her studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. “Her earliest prints were made in the tradition of Pictorialism, a style of […]