plep Archive

19th July
Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African. 'According to his famous autobiography, written in 1789, Olaudah Equiano (c.1745-1797) was born in what is now Nigeria. Kidnapped and sold into slavery in childhood, he was taken as a slave to the New World. As a slave to a captain in the Royal Navy, and later to a Quaker merchant, he eventually earned the price of his own freedom by careful trading and saving. As a seaman, he travelled the world, from the Mediterranean to the North Pole. Coming to London, he became involved in the movement to abolish the slave trade, an involvement which led to him writing and publishing The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African (1789) a strongly abolitionist autobiography ... '

Ignatius Sancho: African Man of Letters. 'Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780) is thought to have been born a slave on a ship crossing the Atlantic from Africa to the West Indies. His earliest memories were of Greenwich, near London, where he worked as a child slave. He persuaded the powerful Montagu family to employ him as their butler, an important position, before retiring to run a grocery shop in Westminster. He composed music, appeared on the stage, and entertained many famous figures of literary and artistic London. The first African we know of to vote in a British election, he wrote a large number of letters which were collected and published in 1782, two years after his death ... '

Medicine Buddha and the Karma of Healing. Buddhist art.

Jesus on a Tortilla. 'No one realized at the time, but the 1977 appearance of Jesus Christ on a flour tortilla set the international standard for miracle sightings. Once confined to obscure grotto appearances, the Tortilla was the crossover miracle that put God in the Extra Value Meal of the average American. '
'Now, no object is too outrageous for an Almighty (or Virgin Mary) cameo. He's materialized on a Pizza Hut billboard in a plate of spaghetti; on a bowling alley chimney; reflected from a porch light onto a car bumper (until the light was turned off and the car moved); on a diner place mat; and even on a dead priest's shoe. '
'But the Miracle Tortilla was the first to fully wrap around the collective pop subconscious ... '

Road Cheese. Journey through the American Midwest. 'It's a legit souvenir, not just a badge of Wisconsin sports fanaticism. The bright yellow sponge wedges are sold at tourist attractions, like coonskin caps in Frontier Villages and Indian headdresses at Trading Posts. And since we're off to visit the cheesiest sights in the land of milk and mosquitos, well, that hat will come in handy ... '

Symphony of Speed. 'New York to San Francisco. Six days; 4,200 miles; fifty tourist attractions, carefully chosen for their potential to enlighten. Over-compression? Hardly. No pain, no gain. '

Northwest Jitters. 'We left Seattle, WA, on a six day, three thousand mile voyage which proved that the Pacific Northwest was Chock-Full-Of-Nuts jammed with great stuff. The excuse we made to our homebound wives was that we just had to see the fabled "Oxen Statue That Pees," in Three Forks, MT. But by rising early, not stopping at dusk, and driving as fast as the law allows, we managed to visit 50 other skewed attractions, too. '

Deserted Farms in Black and White. Via the Museum of Online Museums.

1920s and 1930s Florida in Postcards. Via the Museum of Online Museums.

1974 Weight Watchers Recipe Cards. Via the Museum of Online Museums.

Uncle Sam Image Gallery. American icon, in his many guises.

African Postcards. 1890-1930.

Central Asian Postcards. Central Asian civilisations.

17th and 18th Century Japan Postcards.

Annals of the Choson Dynasty Postcards. Korea, 1392-1863.

Hungarian Historic Postcards.

Russian State Library Postcards.

Latin American Photographic Postcards.

Suez Canal Postcards.

Early Twentieth Century Egyptian Postcards.

Time. Virtual tour of time and timekeeping.

All Aboard the Silver Streak. 'The 1930s were a difficult time for the passenger rail industry. People who traveled around the country preferred the comfort, freedom, and novelty of the automobile. Rail industry income from transporting freight also decreased because of the Great Depression.'
'In order to revive passenger rail travel, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q) Railroad decided to make a new train from the inside out. The result was the Burlington Zephyr, renamed the Pioneer Zephyr in 1936. Its diesel-electric power plant, streamlined design, and lightweight stainless steel made it fast, sleek, and efficient ... '

The U-505 Submarine. 'The U-505 is a German World War II Type-IXc Unterseeboot (submarine) that was captured in battle on the high seas by boarding parties from the USS Guadalcanal task group 22.3 on 4 June 1944. '

18th July
A Personal Record of Hiroshima A-bomb Survival.
'The Terao memoir and responses posted in personal computer communication group COARA.'

Wilson Snowflake Bentley - Photographer of Snowflakes.
"Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated., When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind."

Snow Crystal Photo Collections. Snowflakes.

More Snow Crystal Photography.
'I would also like to state that this short article is an introduction to an amazing topic that can easily absorb a whole life of study. The many aspects of the "simple ice crystal" are nothing but complex, intriguing, and fascinating. I encourage serious students to look up the two references below as a starting point. It would take several text books to cover all the aspects of just ice, not to mention the complex nature of liquid water. '

The Vanishing Tattoo. 'A global odyssey in search of the last authentic tattoos'. Tribal tattoos; many interesting images and pieces here. Good site.

Drawings of the Transit of Venus by Captain James Cook and Charles Green.

Scrolls from the Dead Sea.
'The exhibition Scrolls From the Dead Sea: The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Scholarship brings before the American people a selection from the scrolls which have been the subject of intense public interest. Over the years questions have be en raised about the scrolls' authenticity, about the people who hid them away, about the period in which they lived, about the secrets the scrolls reveal, and about the intentions of the scrolls' custodians in restricting access. The Library's exhibition describes the historical context of the scrolls and the Qumran community from whence they may have originated; it also relates the story of their discovery 2,000 years later ... '

Lysistrata - Illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. Not suitable for work!

The Art of Aubrey Beardsley.

Harajuku: Fads and Fashions for the Young. Many images.
'Situated almost in the middle of Tokyo, Harajuku is one of the most exciting and fashionable places in the busy metropolis. Many young people flock to Harajuku, some of them starting fads that spread to other parts of the nation. Needless to say, Harajuku is a popular spot for tourists and teenagers on school trips ... '

Three Men in a Boat and on the Bummel - The Story.
'Basil Boothroyd, a celebrated editor of Punch, once regaled his fellow-humorist, the young Miles Kington, with the story of a disastrous visit to Wigan where he'd been invited to give an after-dinner speech. One terrible mishap had followed another in the course of the trip and the amused Kington asked Boothroyd if the story was true. "Never," admonished Boothroyd, "never ask a humorist if things really happened." "Yes, but did they?" persisted Kington. "Not in that order," admitted Boothroyd, "not all on the same day - and not all of it to me." That's all you need to know about Three Men in a Boat and Three Men on the Bummel ... '
Via the Jerome K. Jerome Society.

Three Men in a Boat. Scanned and formatted from the 1909 edition.

Balaclava 'is a large model of a small aeronef-style flying machine of the type described by George Griffith, Jules Verne, and other period authors ... '

The Dancing Partner by Jerome K. Jerome, 1893.
' "This story," commenced MacShaugnassy, "comes from Furtwangen, a small town in the Black Forest. There lived there a very wonderful old fellow named Nicholaus Geibel. His business was the making of mechanical toys, at which work he had acquired an almost European reputation. He made rabbits that would emerge from the heart of a cabbage, flop their ears, smooth their whiskers, and disappear again; cats that would wash their faces, and mew so naturally that dogs would mistake them for real cats and fly at them; dolls with phonographs concealed within them, that would raise their hats and say, 'Good morning; how do you do?' and some that would even sing a song ... '

Vatican Exhibit: Rome Reborn.
'Rome now is one of the grandest cities in the world. Millions of pilgrims and tourists come every year to admire, and be awed by, its treasures of architecture, art, and history. But is was not always this way. By the fourteenth century, the great ancient city had dwindled to a miserable village. Perhaps 20,000 people clung to the ruins despite the ravages of disease and robber barons. Popes and cardinals had fled to Avignon in southern France. Rome was dwarfed in wealth and power by the great commercial cities and territorial states farther north, from Florence to Venice. In the Renaissance, however, the popes returned to the See of Saint Peter. Popes and cardinals straightened streets, raised bridges across the Tiber, provided hospitals, fountains, and new churches for the public and splendid palaces and gardens for themselves. They drew on all the riches of Renaissance art and architecture to adorn the urban fabric, which they saw as a tangible proof of the power and glory of the church. And they attracted pilgrims from all of Christian Europe, whose alms and living expenses made the city rich once more ... '

International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Namgyal Monastery and Institute of Buddhist Studies.

Pata-Chitras of Orissa.

The Musical Telegraph of 1876. Via Eclogues.

Life Magazine Covers. Via Sugar & Spicy.

Clara Bow. "Profile of the legendary silent film star whose on-screen sexuality was shocking for its day. Bow enjoyed unparalleled fame and popularity, but her career was over by the time she was 30. The former "It" girl spent the next 30 years of her life struggling with mental illness and living as a recluse." Via Sugar & Spicy.

Body Painting Festival Gallery. Thanks to madamjujujive.

Atlanta, Before Being Burnt. Panoramic photo. Via MeFi.

17th July
Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time.

Griffin and Sabine. 'Intrigue turns to danger and romance turns to passion as Matthew Sedon and Isabella de Reims, lovers separated by continents, struggle to make sense of a world beyond experience. Only the guidance of Griffin Moss and Sabine Strohemexperienced navigators of myth and realitycan keep them safe. In Egypt, mysterious forces vie to keep Matthew away from his archaeological dig just as he is about to make a vital discovery, one that may explain his increasingly strange and strong connection with Sabine. In the boulevards of Paris, under Griffin's tutelage, Isabella learns to trust her own powerful instincts.'

The History of Leprosy Project. "History is our guide to the future, for there can be no vision without a sense of history" Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, UN, 1998.

The History of Phrenology on the Web. Reading head bumps.
'Welcome to the most comprehensive website for the history of phrenologythe most popular Victorian science. This site provides an accurate overview of phrenology, the largest collection of phrenological images, and many digitized primary sources relevant not only to the history of phrenology, but also to the history of naturalism and evolutionary thought ... '

Every Man His Own Doctor. Popular medicine in early America.
Highlights and images.

The Diamond Sutra: The World's Earliest Dated Printed Book. 'This scroll was found in 1907 by the archaeologist Sir Marc Aurel Stein in a walled-up cave at the 'Caves of the Thousand Buddhas', near Dunhuang, in North-West China. It was one of a small number of printed items among many thousands of manuscripts, comprising a library which must have been sealed up in about AD 1000. Although not the earliest example of blockprinting, it is the earliest which bears an actual date. The colophon, at the inner end, reads: `Reverently [caused to be] made for universal free distribution by Wang Jie on behalf of his two parents on the 13th of the 4th moon of the 9th year of Xiantong [i.e. 11th May, AD 868]' ... '

Heavens' Embroidered Cloths: One Thousand Years of Chinese Textiles.

Guanyin. 'Represented in the pose of royal ease and richly ornamented, this popular deity is the Bodhisattva of Compassion, popularly worshipped in China as Guanyin. '

Krishna - The Divine Lover in Indian Art. 'The major gods in Indian art traditions have all been given consorts. They are rarely described as celibate recluses. In their incarnate form they are explicit in their demonstrative attraction for the opposite sex. The goddesses do not lag behind. Their love for their husbands or lovers is often portrayed in an assertively earthy and sensual manner. Gods and goddesses represent a conscious duality, complementing each other ... '

Mona Lisa Images for a Modern World.

Silent Movie Stars in the Nude. Via Silent Ladies & Gents.

Baghdad Bulletin. Via Monkey Media Report.

Self Works: Diaries, Scrapbooks, and other Autobiographical Efforts. Via wood s lot.

Max Beckmann: The Roaring Twenties in Germany. Via iconomy.

Narnia Book Covers. Via mysterium.

Indian Devotional Paintings. Via Via neurastenia.

Hawaiiana. Via Via neurastenia.

Manabu Yamanaka. Via Cup of Chicha.

George W. Bush's Resume. 'Accomplishments as president: Attacked and took over two countries.'

Peanuts Tarot.

A Galactic Collision.

When Mice Collide. 'These two galaxies are pulling each other apart. '

The Sikh Religion, 1909.
'This is one of the first (and still one of the few) comprehensive books about the Sikh religion in the English language. MacAuliffe had extensive access to manuscripts of the Sikh sacred writings (the Granth), as well as support from Sikh scholars and leaders of the time. This volume covers Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. '

Codex Seraphinianus. 'Strange and Extraordinary Representations of Animals and Plants and Hellish Incarnations of Normal Items from the Annals of Naturalist/Unnaturalist Luigi Serafini.'
'This web site is dedicated to giving information (what little there is) on the weirdest book in the world, the CODEX SERAPHINIANUS. The Codex is a collection of original artwork by Italian artist Luigi Serafini, presented as a travalogue or scientific study of an alien world. Unlike such alien worlds as Darwin IV in Barlowe's Expedition, which one might find in a science fiction novel, the world in the Codex is obviously some kind of perverse reflection of our own. All of the Codex is presented entirely in an obscure alien writing. This writing, in combination with the bizarre pictures, is what finally puts the Codex in its own league for weirdness. For instance, on one page is a "Rosetta Stone" - only it just translates Codex script into another alien language. A lecturer presenting the "Stone" is nonchalantly stabbing a red blob inside of it while he points out aspects of the script. The whole effect is unimaginable, even after several "readings", and I intend to stop failing to describe it now. Follow the links below for some images and more information. '

The Huey P. Newton Foundation at

FBI: Freedom of Information Act: Black Panther Party. 'These records report the investigtion of the Winston Salem, North Carolina, chapter of the Black Panther Party.'

Bobby Seale's Homepage. Black Panther Party founder.

Interview with Bobby Seale for CNN. 'Bobby Seale was the chairman and co-founder, along with Huey Newton, of the Black Panther Party, an organization formed in 1966 to guard against police brutality in black neighborhoods and provide social services. Eventually the party developed into a militant Marxist revolutionary group with thousands of members in several major cities. In 1969, Seale, as one of the "Chicago Eight," was charged with conspiracy to incite riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Charges against him were eventually dropped, but not before he had been bound and gagged to silence his courtroom outbursts. In 1970-71 he was tried for the torture-murder of former Panther Alex Rackley, who was suspected of being a police informant. That trial ended in a hung jury, and afterward, Seale moderated his more militant views, leaving the Panthers altogether in 1974. He was interviewed for the COLD WAR series in August 1996. '

The Tripatourium. LSD blotter art.
'The Tripatourium (Trip-a-tour-e-um) is quickly becoming a centralized location for all things psychedelic. We are dedicated to offering a quality line of unusual items for our patrons. Our main goal is to generate an affordable line of collectable artwork for the fans. Too many times are there great pieces of merchandise priced far out of reach of the average human. Through our service we will offer limited edition items priced for the average collector. This way we can all share and enjoy.'

Four more years. Cartoon.

16th July
Antognoni Brunhoso. 'I was born in Angola, in the city of Malange on the 7th January 1962, one year after the start of the Angolan revolution and the struggle for independence. I lived in Lunda, the Tchokwe region, in the village Camaxilo. In 1975 I celebrated the independence of Angola in Malange and also experienced the beginning of the civil war. At the end of the year I moved to Luanda and saw the ocean for the first time. I stayed in the capital until 1978. In March 1978 I went to Portugal where I studied and lived for a decade. My journeys brought me to Amsterdam to further develop my art.'

4 Ways to Say No! Anti-war mail art by Clemente Padin.

JCM Artistamp Gallery. 'This Gallery is dedicated to exhibiting a variety of Artistamp images from around the world with an emphasis on the very earliest and the most recent creations. As well, the Gallery presents the Artistamp images and Cyberstamps of Jas.'

The Red Victorian. A peaceful world and historic b&b in San Francisco. Fab site.

Kenelm Digby: The Naturalist's Companion. Vintage natural history illustrations, from 1810-17.

The Drawings of Edward Charles Close. Early 19th century.

Korean Ceramics.

Korean Buddhist Painting.

Artistamps of Hans Rudi Fricker.

World Trade Centre Explosion. 'As we crossed Broadway, we heard sirens, then saw smoke, and heard rumblings about the World Trade Center being on fire. Then we turned the corner of Wooster Street and saw a big hole in the side of it.'

Ginger Meggs. Popular Australian cartoon strip.

The Findhorn Community. Virtual tour of an intentional, New Age community in Scotland. Postcards.
'The land in the caravan park was sandy and dry but he persevered. Dorothy discovered she was able to intuitively contact the overlighting spirits of plants - devas - who gave her instructions on how to make the most of their fledgling garden. Again Peter translated this guidance into action, and with amazing results. From the barren sandy soil of the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park grew huge plants, herbs and flowers of dozens of kinds, most famously the now-legendary 40-pound cabbages. Word spread, horticultural experts came and were stunned, and the garden at Findhorn became famous.'

Paris at Midnight. Via iconomy.

Lawrence Northey's Robot Art. Via iconomy.

J.S. Bach. Via Bifurcated Rivets.

M.C. Escher. Via neurastenia.

Chinese Missionary and Natural History Museum. Via Eye of the Goof.

Thanks for the Cattle! 'This site is inspired by the New York Times article (see "Press" link for other sources) about the Masai village in southern Kenya who donated 14 head of cattle to the US in sorrow over the 9/11 attacks. This is a place where you can say "thanks" to the villagers who made the donation. ' Via WarFilter.

1915: Synagogue in Olmutz on Old Postcard.

1916: Merry Xmas! Czech greetings card.

Fuzhou: Tea Packers. Vintage postcard.

Cambodian Olympia Stamps on an Airmail from Phnom Penh.

Yuri Gagarin, Comrade Kosmonaut: Soviet Postcard from 1961.

1909: Old African Stereo Photo: Fetish to Keep Off Devils.

Juvenile Slave: Two Old Postcards from Africa.

Stepford Citizen Syndrome: Top 10 Signs Your Neighbour is Brainwashed.