Thursday, January 7, 2010

Old is new again...

The universe may be expanding but history seems to repeat itself. I knew I was old when my childhood toys - My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake - cycled back around to be enjoyed by a new generation of tots. A few years ago when I saw the return of ankle boots, I cringed. I firmly believe '80s fashion does not need to be repeated (nor do my childhood photos in said fashion need to be produced)...

But things have a way of turning up even after they have seemingly faded off into the gloaming. According to News Blaze, the Library of Congress has recently put nearly 60,000 books online from the depths of its collection. These books, deemed to brittle to handle, were carefully digitized by specialists using newly invented techniques and posted online for the public's (free) enjoyment. The books include first-person historical accounts from the eighteenth and nineteen centuries as well as a trove of genealogical data among others.

The New York Times has been doing something similar of late, delving into its dining archives and recycling found material into posts to its Diners' Journal blog. They have republished articles examining the public's hatred of garlic and how one turn-of-the-twentieth-century housewife put together a Christmas dinner on $2.50. This past Wednesday's installment examined the menus and dining traditions of the Ichthyophagous Club. Peopled by some of the more prominent members of New York society, the club was committed to the sea delicacies that were, at that point in time, out of favor with the general populace. The dining club received a tremendous amount of publicity from the Times and is credited with introducing such things as skate and whitebait to the general appetite.

And CBS reported on a nice mix of old and new when it profiled an Amish barn raising. Not necessarily news since the Plain Folk have been doing it for hundreds of years. But this time, hundreds of Amish locals turned up to help rebuild John Helmstetter's barn after it was burned to the ground. Long a landmark in western Maryland for train buffs, one in particular - Carl Franz - helped raise $41,000 to pay what Helmstetter's insurance wouldn't to rebuild the structure.

(Photo courtesy of The New York Times)


Anonymous said...

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!


Megan said...


Thanks for the compliment. I'm really glad you enjoy the blog. :)