Category Archives: History

Books, A Photographic History of Iowa 1860-1920

1- An Iowa Album by Mary BennettI don’t remember where I got one of the books in your bookcase, but I’m glad that I have it especially after I flipped through its pages and found inside a wonderful sampling of over 375 historical black & white images that are reminders of days forever gone.

The name of this book is ”An Iowa Album, A Photographic History 1860-1920 by Mary Bennett” and all the images are reflections of a cultural past that preserves the lives of past generations.

The photographs in this book come from the photograph collection of the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City. The history for this period begins with the American Indians and the land in chapter one. It continues with a photographic history of Iowa’s settlement and countryside showing cows near a lake with planting of the corn along with the gathering of shocks of grain from the farms. The towns and the neighborhoods with community life in the early 1900’s remind us that children back then brought their lunch to school in pails.

I’ve never been to Iowa, but after reading this book and looking at these historical images, maybe I will visit that state some day.  What town or city should I visit first?

2-1 An Iowa Album by Mary Bennett

The cover of the book is a photograph described as “a nutting party in Hebard’s grove, Red Oak, ca. 1895-1905” by  Leonard Schwinn, photographer; 5×7 glass plate negative, Leonard Schwinn Collection. (I wonder if those nuts are Northern Pecans)…On page 318, in the Notes on the Photograph Collections’ section, it describes Leonard A. Schwinn (1861-1936) “as a photographer dedicated to recording not only his family’s recreational activities, but also life of his community in Red Oak.”

Written by Mary Gilmartin, September 9, 2013



September 9, 2013 · 12:03 am

History, Visiting National Historical Sites in Atlanta, Georgia

The Historical Fire Station No. 6 built-in 1894 was used by the AFD, Atlanta Fire Department, until it closed in 1991. Inside you will find a 1927 LaFrance fire engine on display. This building is located down the street from where Martin Luther King  Jr  was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929.

In 1980 the National Historic Site was established to preserve the places where Martin Luther King Jr was born, lived, worked, worshiped and the final resting place of Dr. King, Jr. This past week I visited The King Center, Freedom Hall and saw Dr. and Mrs. King’s Tomb. I registered for the tour to see the house where he was born. Although photographs are not allowed inside the home, I left with visual images and learned a lot about this period of history.

8- MLK Historical Center - NPS 201314- MLK Historical Center - NPS 20139- MLK Historical Center - NPS 2013

10- MLK Historical Center - NPS 201313- MLK Historical Center - NPS 201311- MLK Historical Center - NPS 20136- MLK Historical Center - NPS 20134- MLK Historical Center - NPS 20132- MLK Historical Center - NPS 20133- MLK Historical Center - NPS 20131- MLK Historical Center - NPS 20135- MLK Historical Center - NPS 201315- MLK Historical Center - NPS 2013A book on exhibit that belonged to Dr. King

Written and Photographed by Mary Gilmartin, August 14, 2013


August 14, 2013 · 9:28 pm

The Old Gristmill and The Covered Bridge

Gristmill at Stone Mountain Park 2013

Once upon a time “The Old Gristmill” was a place where you would find someone grinding cornmeal to sell to the visitors.  Now-a-days when you visit Stone Mountain Park you will find this building empty, but this wheel still turns reminding us of its purpose.

Wheel of Gristmill

Sideview of Gristmill at Stone Mountain Park

And, perhaps after you have your picnic underneath the trees on the hill overlooking The Old Gristmill,” then you will venture beyond it walking along the trail beside the lake. At the end of your walk you will discover The Covered Bridge.”

1-Walk in Park

2-Covered bridgeAnd,  then you will walk across the covered bridge to the other side where you will find yourself on Indian Island.

3-Walk across covered bridge

1-Covered Bridge in Fall

And, after your tour of the small island you will walk back across the bridge and follow the walking trail that will bring you back to The Gristmill.” where your adventure started.

Written and Photographed by Mary Gilmartin, June 19, 2013


Filed under History, Walking

Authors: Carl Sandburg and “Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years”

One of the old books on a shelf in my home library is written by Carl Sandburg. It’s the 1926 Edition of “Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years, Volumes One and Two”. Inside this book are 34 illustrations from photographs, and many cartoons, sketches, maps and letters. Below is one of the photographs.

Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years by Carl Sandburg-Log CabinLog Cabin the twenty-year-old Abe Lincoln helped his father build on Goose Nest Prairie in Coles County, Illinois,  from original photograph in the Barrett Collection Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years by Carl Sandburg A. Lincoln is written on the outside of my book’s cover. Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years by Carl Sandburg-Inside book The photograph on the left of the title page is the “Jackknife signature of Abe Lincoln on his ax handle, New Salem, Illinois, 1834. Original in Oliver R. Barrett Collection, Chicago

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born on February 12, 1809 and died on April 15, 1865. His earliest memories were of this home and, in particular, of a flash flood that once washed away the corn and pumpkin seeds he had helped his father plant. His father, Thomas Lincoln, a descendant of a weaver’s apprentice, migrated from England to Massachusetts in 1637. Source: Britannica

The author, Carl Sandburg, wrote two books about Abraham Lincoln: “Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, 2 volumes” (1926) ,which is a popular biography and Abraham Lincoln: “The War Years, 4 vol.” (1939; Pulitzer Prize in history, 1940). Source: Britannica

Written by Mary Gilmartin, June 2, 2013


Filed under Authors, History

Photography, Black & White (1947)

Sometimes I find old black & white photographs in a shop for sale and buy them. Recently  I found three  8 x 10’s dated 1947.  Even though I don’t know anybody in these photographs, I found them interesting because they came with a story taped on the bottom about a work accident that occurred with one industrial worker.

Below is a watercolor painting of a street scene in New Orleans from 1947. Someone had glued it on the back of one of these photographs.

B 004

B 003

B 005

“4. ANN FORST (2214), a coil winder at Archer, makes no effort to hide her emotion as she points to the goggles that protected her eyes when they were hit by a falling brake arm. (September 1947)”

B 006(The Accident Record)—is missing

Written by Mary Gilmartin, May 23, 2013


Filed under Art, History, Photography