Registered Users: Since it has been necessary to restrict certain images to protect the site from complaints from people unaccustomed to our subject matter, as of today, there are 200 registered users with full access to the site in addition to a handful of site editors and administrators.
Yahoo Account Holders: One complaint is that yahoo.com seems to be overzealous in blocking automated emails from this site (all WordPress sites, actually). The emails don’t even appear in the junk folder. The only way to see these missing emails is to login to your email account directly and rummage through the spam folder. As a result, it has been an extra hassle registering those users.
Public Posts: In order to protect all unreviewed posts, they were all made private until I could go through them all and set each image to the proper status. Until a post is made public, keyword searches and saved URLs will not work. As of today only the first year of posts are left to be reviewed (I was working through the posts backwards). Because Pip was, at the time, doing one post a day, that still means a lot of posts to review so it will be a couple of weeks before all posts are publicly viewable. Since there have been a lot of images to go through, I may have made some mistakes, so if you think I have made a mistake with an image status, please let me know. Understand that some images are restricted at an artist’s request or to protect a model from stigma until she reaches the age of majority. In that case, I will usually indicate something to that effect at the beginning of the post.
New Writers: First of all, I would like to thank Moko for keeping the home fires burning with a couple new posts each month. He is discovering—like I did years ago—that the more you research, the more leads you find! But I am especially pleased that new writers like Marlin, Bob, Amanda and Zeklullaby have been producing new articles. I hope they find this process rewarding and are encouraged to continue; there is still a lot of material to get through. And if our adversaries can manage to leave us be for a bit, I might find time to get some posts up myself!
The Coppertone Girl: Pip was recently having a conversation with someone about the Coppertone baby and decided to do some research. One interesting item ihe found s a Coppertone commercial from 1990 posted on YouTube. He doesn’t remember having seen that spot at the time, but it definitely marked the end of an era. There’s a real little girl of 3 or 4 years going shirtless in it, and it hints at—but doesn’t quite imitate—the famous ad with bare-bottomed 3-year-old Cheri Brand, the daughter of the ad’s artist, Joyce Ballantyne Brand. There’s also a transcript of an interview with Cheri on NPR’s website. Another YouTube video outlines the history of the image and how it gradually became more and more modest.
Demise of the Century Project: Reader Jerrold has reported that Frank Cordelle of ‘The Century Project’ died last October. At the time I wrote that article, he objected to our focus on the young girls in his publication. To secure his cooperation, I did the post without images. With our new ability to protect images, we can at least make them available to registered users. Scanning and posting the intended images has recently been on my to-do list.
Strange Fruit: I consider myself an educated person and yet I manage to find that I am ignorant of many events of historic import. This is perhaps not surprising given the tense race relations in the United States and consequent bias of US History textbooks. A case in point is a controversial song first sung by Billie Holiday in 1939. At the time, lynching of Black people was still common and, in protest, she sang a song called Strange Fruit. Yes, this metaphor refers to the appearance of dead Black bodies hanging from tree branches after being subjected to various forms of torture and humiliation. The children were hardest hit because apart from those who traumatized then orphaned, often Black children themselves were fair game as victims. In an effort to find images to illustrate this story, I discovered a strange dichotomy. Some images were documentary and were used in civil rights movements to illustrate injustice but many more were taken by the attackers as a trophy and squirreled away in private photo collections to this day. Perhaps it is not surprising that Holiday received harassment for her audacity to bring such a subject to the public. At the time, there was still a strong effort to keep Black people in their place and so this form of protest was not considered acceptable by the establishment. In fact, Harry J. Anslinger, the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics seems to have gone out of his way to make Holiday’s life miserable, even having his men plant narcotics in her room so they would have a pretense to arrest her. Unsurprisingly, juries believed law enforcement’s story hook, line and sinker and Holiday would lose on court case after another.
Your Government Money at Work: I noticed a weird item while listening to a podcast about the life of Osama bin Laden. When his compound was finally stormed—and bin Laden himself killed—it was the military’s task to collect various items from the site for archiving. Among the materials was an extensive video collection. Somehow, it became the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) job to digitize it all and make it available to the public. A few items were excluded because they were subject to active copyright by companies like Disney. The entire list can be viewed here. Some items are unsurprising as they pertained one way or another to terrorist attacks, Jewish-Muslim animosity, the Koran or Islamic customs and practices. But, amusingly, conventional Western fare was discovered such as Disney films and episodes of Tom and Jerry. The odd thing that caught my attention was a short film of two post-toddler girls fighting (VID-001841). There isn’t much to it and it is not known if the girls are some relation to bin Laden. The troubling thing for me was that whoever was filming did not have the impulse to break the girls up.
US Postal History: I have run into this item a few times and have now listened to a podcast that went into a little more detail. When the United States Postal Service was first established, it had very simple rules. As often happens, people game the system and stricter rules are gradually implemented. But at first, customers could send anything they wanted so long as it weighed less than 50 pounds (22.68 kg). That’s right; some people sent their infant or toddler girls through the post—applying the appropriate postage on a sleeve attached to the girl’s wrist, for instance. In most cases, this was not some kind of human trafficking, but a cost-effective way to send a child to her grandparent’s house which was often on some local rural route nearby. Usually the postman was known personally and could be trusted to complete the delivery with his charge unharmed. The most extreme case was a child sent from Pensacola, FL to a relative in Virginia. As the FBI had not yet been established, prohibiting such activities was not exactly enforceable.