Happy Friday to everyone! Here are some of my favourites from this week:
Pin of the Week
Street View, Movie Camera in Memorial Court, 1914-1918.
One of my favourite Street Views this week comes from The Stanford University Archives, of an early movie camera shoot on the University grounds. This fantastic angle utilizes Google’s recent project to Street View university campuses, with Stanford being among the first.
Movie Camera in Memorial Court, 1914-1918.
This is a wonderful snapshot of early film history, as well as campus life. In the early 20th century, film was only getting on its feet with the more wide-spread distribution of silents in Hollywood; it is great to see a candid from this era of film in a more localized setting in Stanford. These are the origins of the student television crews reporting campus life today, and the digital-camera-wielding parents whose sons and daughters reluctantly let them film their university visit. We also get a sense of how much has changed with the wonderful WWI-era fashions, especially on the boy standing next to the early movie camera. These outfits are certainly fancier than the average shorts and t-shirt-wearing California students today!
To see more photos like these, visit The Stanford Archive’s Channel.
Pinner of the Week
Pinner of the Week is user KateMasheder, who has pinned some fantastic stories and photos of her English and Irish ancestors. As someone who can hardly find family photos dating before 1950, KateMasheder’s photos are a treasure-trove of family history. From her grandparents on picnics in the 1920’s to her great-grandfather’s shopfront in London’s East End, she charts over a century of her family’s story. In addition, she has pinned many interesting photos of unknown people and places spanning the same time period.
KateMasheder also asks the rest of the Historypin community to engage in these histories, asking for some help in solving some family mysteries. For example, she asks if anyone knows the precise location her grandmother’s childhood home near Martinstown, Northern Ireland (below), and whether or not it still exists. I love when users ask one another to become history detectives; in utilizing the entire Historypin community, you never know who might be out there with an answer!
Lisbreen Cottage, County Antrim, 1885 - 1915. Click the photo if you think you know the modern-day location...
Browse her Channel here.
Story of the Week
West Side Story promotional shoot, New York City, 1957. (Friedman-Abeles Collection/NYPL)
This past Wednesday marked the 55th anniversary of the Broadway opening of West Side Story, conceived by choreographer Jerome Robbins, written by playwright Arthur Laurents and composed by Leonard Bernstein. Originally entitled East Side Story and centering around Jewish and Catholic star-crossed lovers, the final production developed into how we know it today: a tale of love across the divide of two street gangs, one Latin and one white-ethnic. The change in story also brought about a new-up-and-coming lyricist, the now legendary Stephen Sondheim, who enlisted the help of Broadway producer Hal Prince to help save the controversial show. It eventually opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957.
The musical’s iconic promotional shot, made for the original cast album cover, shows Tony (Larry Kert) playfully chasing after his girlfriend Maria (Carol Lawrence), on a block of four-and five-story tenement buildings; this area, in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, is similar to the one in which Maria might have called home in the musical, set in the mid-1950’s. Photographer by Leo Friedman, who captured some of Broadway’s greatest hits over the course of his career, tried various locations for this shoot. “We shot for days,” recalls Lawrence. “All around Central Parkóup and down staircases, jumping through greenery. Everything.”
West 56th Street today.(click for larger)
The eventual West Side location, just a few blocks from Friedman’s studio, allowed the photographer to contrast the gritty neighborhood with the boundless optimism of the young lovers. Lawrence further recalls the marathon-like day: “Leo may remember it as an easy shot because he was standing still, but we must have run up and down that street 300 times on a very hot summer day,” she says with a laugh. “We didn’t have any police help, so there were pedestrians going by. We even knocked down a little old lady and got yelled at. I was a dancer and Larry was an athlete, so we were in good shape. But we were in better shape after that picture.”