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To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now - The New York Times
Gail Evans and Marta Ramos have one thing in common: They have each cleaned offices for one of the most innovative, profitable and all-around successful companies in the United States.

For Ms. Evans, that meant being a janitor in Building 326 at Eastman Kodak’s campus in Rochester in the early 1980s. For Ms. Ramos, that means cleaning at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., in the present day.

In the 35 years between their jobs as janitors, corporations across America have flocked to a new management theory: Focus on core competence and outsource the rest. The approach has made companies more nimble and more productive, and delivered huge profits for shareholders. It has also fueled inequality and helps explain why many working-class Americans are struggling even in an ostensibly healthy economy.
business  economics  history  employment  inequality  nytimes 
december 2017 by brendanmcfadden
‘Scenes of Solitude’ From Hudson River School Artists - The New York Times
The mere sight of 83 landscapes by the Hudson River School artists, assembled at the Albany Institute of History & Art for the first time in over 50 years, was enough to reduce one visitor to tears.
nytimes  painting  art  landscapepainting  hudsonriver  albanyinstituteofhistoryandart  history 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
The Last of the Iron Lungs
In 2013, the Post-Polio Health International (PHI) organizations estimated that there were six to eight iron lung users in the United States. Now, PHI executive director Brian Tiburzi says he doesn’t know anyone alive still using the negative-pressure ventilators. This fall, I met three polio survivors who depend on iron lungs. They are among the last few, possibly the last three.
gizmodo  health  history  medicine  ironlungs  polio 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
How Charles Goodyear became the first name in rubber - Failure Magazine
In the early 1850s, Charles Goodyear had a vision of the future—a world filled with rubber products. He envisioned books with rubber pages, ships with rubber sails and workers sitting at rubber desks, as well as countless consumer goods that ultimately achieved commercial acceptance. Ironically, he never pictured his name on a set of tires, largely because he died decades before the automobile was invented. Nevertheless, most people naturally assume that Goodyear founded the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, which was actually conceived by Frank and Charles Seiberling in 1898 and named in the deceased inventors honor.
failuremagazine  charlesgoodyear  rubber  history 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
The Photographer Who Saw America’s Monuments Hiding in Plain Sight - The New York Times
Lee Friedlander’s “The American Monument” was first published in 1976. That’s “monument” singular, though one of the many singular things about Friedlander is that he’s nothing if not a pluralist.
leefriedlander  nytimes  nytimesmag  geoffdyer  photography  history  momuments  confederatemonuments  confederatehistory  racism  whitesupremacy 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
The Improbable Origins of PowerPoint - IEEE Spectrum
Here’s the surprising story behind the software that conquered the world, one slide at a time
ieee  spectrum  powerpoint  invention  history  microsoft  technology 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
The Mystery of Mary Trump - POLITICO Magazine
Donald Trump reveres his father but almost never talks about his mother. Why not?
politico  marytrump  donaldtrump  politics  history 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
The Brief, Wondrous, High-Flying Era of Zeppelin Dining - Atlas Obscura
The Hindenburg’s fattened ducklings and caviar were essentially German propaganda.
travel  history  atlasobscura  dining  zeppelin  airtravel 
october 2017 by brendanmcfadden
To the Memory of an Amiable Child - The New York Times
The Amiable Child Monument, a small, simple urn on a pedestal surrounded by iron fence, and perhaps the only single-person private grave on city-owned land in New York City, and it has inspired a book of poetry and a contemporary mystery novel.
nytimes  amiablechildmonument  monuments  graves  newyork  history 
september 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Terrorists Among Us (1942); Detecting the Enemy Wasn't Easy Then, Either - The New York Times
Sixty years ago, a gang of four terrorists fresh from sabotage school spent a week in New York, readying themselves to wreak havoc on the transportation system, blow up stores and cripple factories. They rode the subways, bought suits, ate at the automat.

The men, Nazi spies, were caught, but not through the efforts of any sharp-eyed civilian or cunning G-man, even though the authorities were on their trail within hours of their arrival.

The 1942 case has been discussed recently because it provided the legal template for the Bush administration's proposed military tribunals for war criminals. But the mundane details of the Nazis' stay in New York also illustrate just how difficult detecting the enemy can be, even during the heightened alert of wartime and a government's constant admonitions that loose lips sink ships.
terrorism  worldwarII  germany  spies  saboteurs  nytimes  nytimesmag  history  terrorists  wars 
september 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Tragedies and Triumphs: Canadians Tell Their Family Histories - The New York Times
July 1 is the 150th anniversary of Canada’s founding as a nation. It will be a day celebrated by newcomers seeking economic opportunity or refuge from war, immigrants of several generations and descendants of arrivals from more than a hundred years ago. For aboriginal peoples, who remain subjected to discriminatory policies, the anniversary is not one to celebrate.
canada  history  discrimination  nytimes 
september 2017 by brendanmcfadden
The Long History of Terrified Americans Fleeing to Canada
Today, the farmers who work the verdant fields of Buxton, a small farming community in southern Ontario about an hour’s drive from Detroit, are mostly white. But a visitor in the 1850s would have found its neat rows of corn and golden wheat being tended by black farmers—free and formerly enslaved Americans who had fled the United States.
splinter  canada  slavery  history  border 
august 2017 by brendanmcfadden
A Story of Slavery in Modern America - The Atlantic
She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.
theatlantic  history  slavery  alextizon  humantrafficking  philippines 
june 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Fifty Years of Music and Politics in Berlin, East and West - The New York Times
Paul Hockenos has written a detailed, doggedly researched, personally involved history of Berlin’s political and musical underground over the last 50 years. “Berlin Calling” should be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about the German capital’s still-hip music and street politics, and to get a flavor of that turbulent city’s dark history and stubborn spirit.
berlin  germany  ironcurtain  history  paulhockenos  books  music  protest 
june 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Putting Cowboys — and Their Industry — in True Historical Context - The New York Times
In the 1870s, there was no faster way to fortune than to set up as a cattle baron in the American West. Or so the boosters promised. “Cattle is one of those investments men cannot pay too much for,” one promoter declared, since the worst that could happen was that the animals would “multiply, replenish and grow out of a bad bargain.”
theamericanwest  thewest  cowboys  cattle  nonfiction  books  christopherknowlton  history 
june 2017 by brendanmcfadden
When L.A. Was Empty: Wide-Open SoCal Landscapes - KCET
Early photographs of Los Angeles surprise for many reasons, but often what's most striking is how empty the city looks. Open countryside surrounds familiar landmarks. Busy intersections appear as dusty crossroads.
losangeles  california  history 
june 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Infernal Machines: The Bombing of the Los Angeles Times and L.A.'s First 'Crime of the Century' - KCET
It never fails to astound me. The tales we remember collectively. And the stories we forget. I first learned of the 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times on a walk around Hollywood Forever Cemetery. There, next to graves of the Otises and Chandlers, is a grand monument to "Our martyred men," the 20 employees of the Los Angeles Times who had lost their lives in the early morning hours of Saturday, October 1, 1910. There is a list of the deceased, fourteen of whose remains are buried beneath the monument. They had been hard at work at the Times' headquarters, often called "The Fortress," on the northeast corner of First and Broadway, when a series of dry blasts starting at 1:07 a.m. shook downtown Los Angeles to its foundations.
losangeles  history  latimes  terrorism  domesticterrorism  socialism  bombing 
june 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Atomic John - The New Yorker
A truck driver uncovers secrets about the first nuclear bombs.
thenewyorker  nuclearbomb  nuclear  history  johncostermullen  science 
june 2017 by brendanmcfadden
The Hidden Radicalism of Southern Food - The New York Times
AMERICA reacts with vigor to the South, for the nation has long recognized its deepest problems here. H. L. Mencken parodied a poverty-wrecked and racism-ruined South as “The Sahara of the Bozart.” Modern debates about malnutrition have shifted from hunger to obesity. Different Southern deserts have come into focus.
farming  history  gardening  food  culture  nytimes  johntedge  southernfood 
june 2017 by brendanmcfadden
My President Was Black - The Atlantic
A history of the first African American White House—and of what came next
tanehisicoates  theatlantic  history  politics  obama  barackobama  michelleobama  the  obamas  race  racism 
may 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Shanghai Dwellings Vanish, and With Them, a Way of Life - The New York Times
China’s Communist Party celebrated its 95th birthday this summer with a lavish First of July gala at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. In Shanghai, where the First National Congress took place in 1921, the occasion was noted in a more subdued way, with the promotion of a digital map of the important sites of the party’s heroic early years in foreign-occupied Shanghai.

A problem for anyone contemplating a real-life pilgrimage to the urban shrines of the Communist Party: Much of the historic city depicted on the virtual map has been wiped off the real map of Shanghai by two decades of breakneck development. The few remaining buildings, among them Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s modest tile-roofed mansion in the former French Concession, stand in the shadows of 30- or 40-story towers.
china  shanghai  development  architecture  history  communism  nytimes 
may 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Oregon Was Founded As a Racist Utopia
When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the only state in the Union admitted with a constitution that forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there. It was illegal for black people even to move to the state until 1926. Oregon’s founding is part of the forgotten history of racism in the American west.
gizmodo  oregon  racism  segregation  history 
october 2016 by brendanmcfadden
Barack Obama and Doris Kearns Goodwin: The Ultimate Exit Interview
As his two-term presidency draws to a close, Barack Obama is looking back—at the legacies of his predecessors, as well as his own—and forward, to the freedom of life after the White House. In a wide-ranging conversation with one of the nation’s foremost presidential historians, he talks about his ambitions, frustrations, and the decisions that still haunt him.
vanityfair  barackobama  doriskearnsgoodwin  interview  politics  presidentialhistory  history 
october 2016 by brendanmcfadden
Leopold II of Belgium
Leopold II was the second King of the Belgians, known for the founding and exploitation of the Congo Free State as a private venture.
leopoldII  belgium  history  congofreestate  slavery  genocide  congo  africa  wikipedia 
october 2016 by brendanmcfadden
CityDig: This Iconic Map Shows off L.A.'s More Mysterious Corners - Los Angeles ...
Just in case you needed directions the Rollerdrome or the Johanna Smith Pleasure Ship.
lamagazine  losangeles  maps  history 
february 2016 by brendanmcfadden
Who invented the piano? Google doodle marks Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthd...
Cristofori’s entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica notes that little is known of his life and that his invention was not well known in his lifetime
theguardian  bartolomeocristofori  music  piano  history 
january 2016 by brendanmcfadden
Finding Yaangna, the Ancestral Village of LA's Native People
Los Angeles has the largest Native American population in the US, but of all the tribes represented here, the fewest people belong to the region's own Gabrieleno/Tongva communities. "The first nations people of the Los Angeles Basin covered a significant expanse of territory, reaching north to Malibu, traveling into the southern sectors of Orange County and east into Riverside County, including the four Southern Channel Islands," writes Cindi Moar Alvitre in her LAtitudes essay "Coyote Tours," but their "principal ancestral village" was Yaangna, which "moved along the Los Angeles River for countless generations, before the water was confined and silenced within a concrete sarcophagus, separating the people from that which gives life."
curbed  curbedla  losangeles  yaangna  nativeamericans  history 
january 2016 by brendanmcfadden
The Legacy of a Camera-Toting Huckster
Beginning in the 1930s the Texas-born filmmaker Melton Barker spent nearly four decades scurrying across America with a script and a camera, methodically making and remaking the same two-reel film. This might seem like a story of creative obsession — a compulsive monomaniac so intent on achieving aesthetic perfection that he became subsumed by his work — but Barker, one of at least several itinerant filmmakers working in the first half of the 20th century, was more huckster than auteur.
film  conmen  cons  nytimes  movies  history 
january 2016 by brendanmcfadden
Return to Black Mountain College
Artists from Josef Albers to Robert Rauschenberg gathered at Black Mountain College, leaving a legacy that a new exhibition examines.
art  blackmountaincollege  wallstreetjournal  performance  history  artexhibtion 
november 2015 by brendanmcfadden
Ansel Adams’s Images of Japanese Internment Camp Manzanar
The photographer was not supposed to capture the barbed wire surrounding the Manzanar War Relocation Center, but he found a way to show the truth.
theatlantic  anseladams  photography  worldwarII  internmentcamps  japanese  history  photojournalism 
november 2015 by brendanmcfadden
An Architectural Walking Tour of South LA's Stately and Historic West Adams Boul...
West Adams Boulevard runs through what were the some of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Los Angeles at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Doctors, successful entrepreneurs, lawyers, and well-off widows commissioned houses here in styles ranging from Italian Gothic to Alpine Craftsman, and though those neighborhoods have, like the rest of the city, seen highs and lows, there are still so many grand homes that have survived along the boulevard.
curbedla  history  architecture  walkingtour  losangeles  california  westadams 
november 2015 by brendanmcfadden
Map: The Strange and Wonderful Lost Amusement Parks of LA
Once upon a time, from the early days of the city until as late as the 1970s and '80s, Los Angeles was home to dozens of more freewheeling amusement parks, where new attractions were added every season and you could ride an alligator, see a macaw on rollerskates, descend into Dante's hell, watch a Civil War sea battle reenactment, drink free beer, and even get medical care for your baby, in between riding the rollercoasters and eating cotton candy.
curbedla  amusementparks  losangeles  history  maps 
november 2015 by brendanmcfadden
Thirty Years of the Austin Film Society: An Interview with Richard Linklater
In 1985, six years before the release of Slacker, Richard Linklater's iconic portrait of a generation, the Texan filmmaker founded the Austin Film Society.
richardlinklater  austinfilmsociety  film  cinema  history  interview  criterion 
november 2015 by brendanmcfadden
How did African Americans discover they were being “redlined”?
As early as 1934, black borrowers across the country complained to the black press and to civil rights groups of being turned away from federally insured banks and government offices. A general lack of transparency about home finance and within the government housing apparatus, however, made it difficult to discern a national trend.
history  talkingpointsmemo  segregation  redlining  maps  racism 
august 2015 by brendanmcfadden
To Live and Dine in L.A.
“To Live and Dine in L.A.” showcases the vast menu collection of the Los Angeles Public Library and celebrates the rich, as-of-yet-untold, history of restaurants and food in the City of Angels. Beginning Saturday, June 13, the project will include a major exhibition at Central Library and the publication of the first book to explore the colorful history of restaurants and menus in Los Angeles (Angel City Press), written and edited by USC Annenberg Professor Josh Kun.
losangeles  losangelespubliclibrary  exhibit  menus  food  culture  restaurants  history  toliveanddineinla 
august 2015 by brendanmcfadden
Mt. Washington's Famed Modern Pilot House Asks $1.125M
Before architects A. Quincy Jones and Whitney Smith, and engineer Edgardo Contini went to work on Brentwood's renowned Modern architecture community Crestwood Hills, they built this aptly named Pilot House in Mt. Washington (itself an "architecturally blessed" enclave) to show "how well-designed homes could be built on steep hillside lots."
curbedla  realestate  architecture  mtwashington  losangeles  history 
august 2015 by brendanmcfadden
Book Review - The Lost Cyclist - By David V. Herlihy
...Those were the days when Frank Lenz, a 24-year-old wheelman, departed New York in 1892 to round the globe — a trip grippingly detailed in David Herlihy’s “Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance.”
nytimes  bookreview  thelostcyclist  history 
april 2015 by brendanmcfadden
Where the Bodies Are Buried
Gerry Adams has long denied being a member of the I.R.A. But his former compatriots claim that he authorized murder.
northernireland  history  ireland  gerryadams  ira  sinnfein  thenewyorker 
april 2015 by brendanmcfadden
25 Photos of the Los Angeles River Before It Was Paved in 1938
This is the year and especially the summer of the Los Angeles River--on January 1, it officially became a river again (not just a flood control channel); this May it opened for recreation for the first time in 75 years; at the end of this month the Army Corps of Engineers will announce their plans for some kind of enormous makeover that could involve unpaving large sections; and it finally just feels like there's a critical mass of politicians, planners, architects, and plain old Angelenos who are working to make the river great.
history  losangeles  photographs  curbedla  losangelesriver  river 
april 2015 by brendanmcfadden
Who Will Revive Old Hollywood's San Berdoo Resort Getaway?
The six-story Art Deco resort where Hollywood elites went in the '30s and '40s to honeymoon, enjoy the natural hot springs, and frolic in a wavy-edged pool is poised for a long-awaited revival in glorious San Bernardino, says the LA Times.
curbedla  losangeles  history  architecture 
february 2015 by brendanmcfadden
My Great-Great-Aunt Discovered Francium. And It Killed Her.
Just after Christmas of 1938, a young woman named Marguerite Perey — then 29, with a plain, open face, her eyes intent upon her work — sat at a bench in the Radium Institute of Paris, a brick mansion near the Jardin du Luxembourg....
nytimes  nytimesmag  francium  science  chemistry  history 
december 2014 by brendanmcfadden
How the Evolution of L.A.'s Broadway Traces the Life of the City
In the 1930s, an Angeleno looking for a night of entertainment could roll out of his rented room in a rambling old Victorian manse (which had long ago been converted into a boarding house), hand the landlord a sawbuck for his rent and amble over to the upper station of Angel's Flight, his long shadow preceding him as the sun began its lazy, languorous descent into twilight.
losangeles  downtown  broadway  city  curbedlosangeles  urban  cities  history 
november 2014 by brendanmcfadden
The Knowledge, London's Legendary Taxi-Driver Test, Puts Up a Fight in the Age o...
The examination to become a London cabby is possibly the most difficult test in the world — demanding years of study to memorize the labyrinthine city’s 25,000 streets and any business or landmark on them. As GPS and Uber imperil this tradition, is there an argument for learning as an end in itself?
london  taxi  theknowledge  test  history  culture 
november 2014 by brendanmcfadden
California Fool’s Gold – Exploring Westlake, Garden Spot of the Old Westside
Los Angeles‘s Westlake neighborhood is home to more people than the entire populations of well-known California cities like Berkeley, Inglewood, Burbank, Compton, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara.
losangeles  neighborhoods  westlake  california  cities  history 
october 2014 by brendanmcfadden
Long Ago, a Pilot Landed on an Uptown Street. That's Where the Bar Was
A plane sat on 191st Street in 1956 after its wings were removed for shipment. The pilot landed the craft on St. Nicholas Avenue, rear, as part of a barroom bet.Credit
history  newyork  nytimes 
october 2014 by brendanmcfadden
Civil War massacre launched reparations debate
On a rainy night in early 1865, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton arrived in Savannah, Ga. — which the Union had captured weeks earlier — with a question: What should become of newly free black people? It was a question that many in power had been asking for some time. What was different this time was to whom the question was posed: the newly free black people themselves.
thewashingtonpost  civilwar  history  reparations  race 
september 2014 by brendanmcfadden
Franklin McMahon: The Man Who Drew History
The rise and fall of American presidents, a benchmark case for the civil rights movement and a crucial sixties anti-war Trial... Franklin McMahon has been there - and drawn it. Peter Lyle talks to the artist-reporter
franklinmcmahon  art  history  artist  drawing  thedailytelegraph 
september 2014 by brendanmcfadden
In Living Color: The Forgotten 19th-Century Photo Technology that Romanticized A...
Every few centuries, someone rediscovers America. After the first humans arrived from Asia roughly 15,000 years ago, Vikings touched down in Newfoundland in the year 1000. Half a millennium later, Christopher Columbus spotted a small island in what is now the Bahamas, and in 1769, Gaspar de Portolà was the first European to gaze upon San Francisco Bay, whose indigenous people had remained hidden behind a thick wall of fog throughout most of America’s Colonial era.
collectorsweekly  photography  history  america  thewest 
september 2014 by brendanmcfadden
Making Up Hollywood
The story of Max Factor, a Polish immigrant who revolutionized Hollywood cosmetics starting in the 1920s, and his “Beauty Calibrator” machine.
makeup  hollywood  movies  history  maxfactor 
july 2014 by brendanmcfadden
Big Water
The California Dream is made possible by old water and big water. Unfortunately, the former doesn’t care about us, and the latter’s running dry. A native reports from the wine country, where fires loom.
history  california  water  themorningnews 
july 2014 by brendanmcfadden
The Short Flight Of El Pájaro, The Cuban Legend Who Played His Only Game In The ...
On May 16, 1913, revered shortstop Alfredo Cabrera played his one and only Major League Baseball game at Ebbets Field. Here’s how a Canary Islander-turned-Cuban hero spent years earning his brief chance at American stardom — and what happened after it was over.
baseball  sports  history  cuba  alfredocabrera 
july 2014 by brendanmcfadden
Newly discovered building remains may be linked to old LA Times offices
Construction and development towards the expansion of Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles found a possible link to Los Angeles a century ago.
latimes  losangeles  california  downtown  kpcc  history  architecture 
july 2014 by brendanmcfadden
Hail Dayton
The legacy of the Scopes trial on one Tennesse town.
tennessee  oxfordamerican  southern  culture  scopes  trial  history 
june 2014 by brendanmcfadden
Pete Hamill's Eyewitness Account of Robert Kennedy's Assassination
It was, of course, two minutes to midnight an the Embassy Room of the Ambassador Hotel was rowdy with triumph. Red and blue balloons drifted up through three golden chandeliers to bump against a gilded ceiling. Young girls with plastic Kennedy boaters chanted like some lost reedy chorus from an old Ray Charles record. The crowd was squashed against the bandstand, a smear of black faces and Mexican-American faces and bearded faces and Beverly Hills faces crowned with purple hair. Eleven tv cameras were turning, their bright blue arclights changing the crowd into a sweaty stew. Up on the bandstand, with his wife standing just behind him, was Robert Kennedy.
petehamill  village  rfk  robertkennedy  history  assassination  1968 
june 2014 by brendanmcfadden
Three-Eight Charlie
Three-Eight Charlie is the story of Jerrie Mock’s record-setting flight as the first woman to solo around the world in 1964 in a single-engine Cessna 180. It’s an insightful and well written account that includes intrigue and heroism, and discusses the cultures and geography of the world at the time. This book is a great read for aviation enthusiasts as well as young people, and anyone with big dreams.
homage  paperback  book  literature  jerriemock  flight  airplanes  1964  history 
june 2014 by brendanmcfadden
A Rebel's Recollections
A Confederate soldier’s point of view on the Civil War.
theatlantic  civilawar  history 
december 2013 by brendanmcfadden
The Girl Who Started It All
Forty years ago, a determined college kid took on the all-male Boston marathon--and pioneered a running movement. Here, in an excerpt from her new book, Marathon Woman, Kathrine Switzer looks back on the day that changed a sport.
history  runnersworld  bostonmarathon  kathrineswitzer  womensrights  running 
june 2013 by brendanmcfadden
Moon Men: The Private Lives of Neil Armstrong and Pals in “Togethersville”
Neil Armstrong and his fellow astronauts were the stars of the Sixties, but it wasn’t always a smooth ride for their wives, writes Lily Koppel.
togethersville  history  outerspace  astronauts  nasa  texas  houston  lilykoppel  thedailybeast 
may 2013 by brendanmcfadden
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