Monday, April 28, 2014

Showing the Flag

U.S.S. Wilmington

Caught in a storm off the coast of Luzon on the night of December 20, 1915, the U.S.S. Wilmington rolled 61 degrees, dangerously close to the point where she would capsize. Having narrowly survived the worst roll in her forty-eight years of service, the naval vessel arrived in Manila the next day, safely completing the three-day passage from Hong Kong. The light-draft gunboat was part of the U.S. Asiatic Squadron, charged with defending the Philippines and with upholding the Open Door Policy in China. Typhoons posed one of the greatest threats to the American warships as they sailed from port to port, establishing an authoritative presence in the region by “showing the flag.” Twenty-three holiday menus from the Wilmington reveal the rituals and rhythm of this naval patrol in the early twentieth century.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Life & Times of Antonio Sivori (Part IV)

New York City, 

Antonio Savori achieved some degree of notoriety during his lifetime. He was perhaps best known for the charity balls he catered at the Academy of Music. Located on East 14th Street at Irving Place, this theater was was situated only one block off Union Square, the center of New Yorks social life until the early 1880s. Featuring a lavish white and gold interior illuminated by thousands of gaslights, the venue was used for operas, concerts, and even high society balls by removing the 4,000 crimson-velvet seats to create a large dance floor.