This 1844 Henry Clay banner is fantastic, and any explanation I attempt won’t compare to the fine description by Heritage Auctions. They always do a lovely job with their pieces, but this is especially well-detailed:
Large cotton fabric banner from Pennsylvania, touting the Whig ticket of Henry Clay and Theodore Frelinghuysen, plus Joseph Markle, the Whig candidate for Governor. This is an early example of the “coat-tail” concept, in which Markle was clearly a believer. Numerous items from ribbons to banners carried all three candidates’ names, in the hope that Markle would ride the national ticket’s “coat-tails” to victory in the state race. (The strategy failed. Clay and Frelinghuysen lost to James K. Polk and George Dallas, and Markle lost the Pennsylvania governor’s race to Francis Skunk.)Via Heritage Auctions
The raccoon had been adopted as a Whig symbol during the 1840 election, but really came into wide use in 1844, as numerous Clay items pictured “coons.” (Some years ago we handled another Pennsylvania banner for Clay, Frelinghuysen, and Markle with a coon as the central device.) In this clever image, the Whig coons are climbing on poke weeds (a tall berry-producing plant common to Pennsylvania forests), and consuming the berries (poisonous to humans, but apparently a treat to raccoons!). The use of the poke weed is of course a play on the name of the Democratic candidate, Polk, hence the two-line ditty at the lower right hand corner.
This banner originally hung on the Hershey family barn during the 1844 campaign. Fortunately for posterity, it was moved inside, and “for generations has been hanging in the front staircase of (the) Hershey family home…”
Descendant Eloise Zimmerly Willow recalls her mother telling the story that “when Henry Clay ran for president he gave each family a lantern … a duster (coat) and top hat, which we still possess.” It is clear that this family has taken the responsibility of their stewardship of this historic banner very seriously, and for this they are to be thanked. This is one of the few banners of this era whose full provenance is known.
Right, so, then there was the time Larry Flynt tried to “solve” JFK’s assassination …
In December 1977, Hustler Magazine founder Larry Flynt purchased the LA Free Press, a California alternative/underground paper, and devoted an entire issue to trying to prove that JFK was assassinated by the CIA.
He offered a million dollars for tips via an ad on the back page, and later paid to place the million-dollar-reward ad in newspapers across the country, like the Dallas Morning News, seen in the photo above from January 8, 1978. After Flynt was shot a few weeks later, he became convinced that his own assassination attempt was related to his JFK “research”.
Citation: Flynt, Larry. [Newspaper Clipping: Help Solve JFK’s Murder: $1,000,000 Reword], Clipping, January 8, 1978; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth339362/ : accessed August 23, 2014), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Municipal Archives, Dallas, Texas.
Among the documents in the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection is a cipher dispatch attributed to Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard that outlines a plot to burn Washington, D.C., and “despatch” President Lincoln and Gen. Winfield Scott.
Beauregard’s cipher dispatch is written on blue transparent paper.
The sender created the coded message by placing the transparent sheet over a cipher sheet on which the alphabet in various combinations was printed in parallel lines.
The letters required to spell out the coded message were then circled on the transparent top sheet. When the top sheet was removed, the result was an apparently random pattern of circles and lines. The recipient read the message by placing the transparent sheet over an identical cipher sheet. Cipher sheets were changed frequently to prevent the code from being broken.
Beauregard’s decoded message is written at the bottom of the blue paper. It reads:
“I shal cros the river above Little Falls on Sunday at two AM Signal red and white rockets from Turners Hill For Gods Sake dont fail us Fire the city at all points agreed on at once Despatch Lincoln and Scott as you suggest and let the execution of our plot be perfect Beauregard”
The discovery and transcription of the message were reported in the Des Moines (Iowa) Daily State Register and the Burlington (Iowa) Weekly Hawk-Eye on April 19, 1862, and cited to the New York Evening Post. The newspapers stated that the dispatch was from Beauregard to “some Confederate in Washington” and that “the circumstances of its discovery mark it as authentic and genuine.” They went on to suggest that the dispatch demonstrated “the desperate means proposed by the rebel General for getting possession of the capital”—means that included “arson and assassination.” “The rebels,” the newspapers concluded, “stick at nothing in prosecuting their traitorous schemes.”
Yeah, well, eventually he came around to the idea, at least.
McKinley is the Man! And also there’s that other guy, who may come in handy someday …
Check out the transportation used by presidents before Air Force One. Source: Library of Congress
Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President-Designate
President Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller, the former Governor of New York, as his Vice President on August 20, 1974.
Selecting a Vice President had been one of President Ford’s main priorities after taking office. He requested recommendations from the members of his Cabinet and Congressional leaders. By the end of his first week as President he had narrowed his choice down to five candidates, and after careful deliberation he asked Rockefeller to take the position.
After announcing the nomination President Ford introduced Rockefeller for a brief press conference. “I think he will make a great teammate,” he said. “I think he will be good for the country, I think he will be good for the world, and I am looking forward to working with him.”
Vice President-designate Rockefeller fielded questions about why he accepted a job he had previously turned down during other administrations and the confirmation process. Although he didn’t know what his specific duties would be yet he stated, “I am deeply honored and should I be confirmed by the Congress, will look forward to the privilege and honor of serving the President of the United States and, as I said in the other room, through him all of the people of this great country.”
After four months of extended hearings Rockefeller was confirmed and sworn in as the 41st Vice President of the United States on December 19, 1974, becoming the second person to fill the office under the 25th Amendment.
Images: President Ford and Nelson A. Rockefeller in the Oval Office as the President prepares his message to Congress nominating Rockefeller as Vice President, 8/20/1974; Message of President Gerald R. Ford nominating Nelson A. Rockefeller to be Vice President of the United States, 08/20/1974, from the Records of the U.S. Senate.