If you need someone to ask directions, the job goes to a woman. It was ever thus. In exploring its archive of school girl art, the Maine Historical Society has found hiding among the samplers two excellent maps, products of the Cony Female Academy. The academy, one of many in Maine in the 1800s, “catered exclusively to the education and refinement of girls and young women.” As seeking directions for their embarrassed beaus or husbands was to be their lot in life, mapmaking was ideal preparation.
Is there a bigger cliché in art than the lonely barn? (Well, maybe a picturesque fishing shack on a harbor.) But something becomes a cliché because it was done so well the first time. That’s the case with Edward Hopper, who painted barns during the summer of 1927 and the ‘30s in and around South Royalton, Vt. Those paintings are now on display at the Middlebury College Museum of Art through Aug. 11. Hopper’s Vermont paintings are also the subject of a new book, “Edward Hopper in Vermont,” by Bonnie Tocher Clause. Read about it in this Mountain Times story By Nancy Price Graff.
New England weather may be unpredictable, but at least New Englanders don’t have to worry about tornadoes. Uh, well, strike that. The Connecticut Historical Society is publishing some timely reflections on tornadoes in the Nutmeg State, including some captivating images. One of the earliest tornadoes on record in Connecticut? 1648.
Today’s Flashback Photo comes from the British Museum. It dates from 1904, when the Russians and the Japanese were sideways with each other over Japan’s desire to keep Russia out of its neighborhood. This Japanese print mocks the Russian Navy as string of limping fish during the war. The whole shooting match came to an end at peace talks in September 1905 in New Castle, N.H., at the Hotel Wentworth, a grand hotel in the Second Empire style. The peace treaty that resulted was named (or misnamed) the Treaty of Portsmouth. The hotel fell into disrepair, but local preservationists eventually got their act together and rescued the place from complete collapse.