A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Monday, March 09, 2009

Items of Interest

AP: UK survivor of WWI trenches given French honor---
LONDON – The last British survivor of World War I's grinding trench warfare was made an officer of the French Legion of Honor on Monday.

French Ambassador Maurice Gourdault-Montagne awarded 110-year-old Harry Patch the medal at a ceremony in Patch's nursing home in Wells, 120 miles (190 kilometers) west of London, Britain's Ministry of Defense said in a statement. Patch, who served as a machine-gunner in the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele, told Gourdault-Montagne he was proud of the honor.

"Ambassador, I greatly appreciate the way your people respect the memory of those who fell, irrespective of the uniform they wore," he said in a raspy, deliberate voice. "I will wear this medal with great pride and when I eventually rejoin my mates it will be displayed in my regimental museum as a permanent reminder of the kindness of the people of France."

Patch is one of only two surviving British veterans of World War I, according to the Ministry of Defense. The second, 112-year-old Henry Allingham, served as an airman.
AP: Did a Bard contemporary brush up on Shakespeare?---
LONDON – The Bard, or not the Bard? That is the question posed by Monday's unveiling of a centuries-old portrait of a dark-eyed, handsome man in Elizabethan finery.

Experts say it is the only portrait of William Shakespeare painted during his lifetime — in effect, the sole source of our knowledge of what the great man looked like.

But they can't be certain. In the shifting sands of Shakespeare scholarship, where even the authorship of the plays is sometimes disputed, nothing is written in stone.
And also of interest in that article:
In separate discoveries that are solving other Shakespeare-related mysteries, Museum of London archaeologists said they had uncovered the foundations of the long-buried theater where Shakespeare wrote and performed as an actor.

Museum officials said the rudimentary playhouse, simply called The Theatre, was built in 1576 by actor and theater promoter James Burbage. The site, where Shakespeare performed from 1594 to 1597, now houses an abandoned warehouse.

Experts believe "Romeo and Juliet" was performed there.

The playhouse remains were found on the site of an unused warehouse in Hackney on the eastern outskirts of London. Scholars say the theater there was dismantled and moved to the site of the more famous Globe Theater after a dispute between Burbage and the landlord in 1597.

Searchers even found pottery shards decorated with the image of a man who resembled Shakespeare, but experts said this was only a passing coincidence, not an indication that the show business merchandising craze had already begun.
And an addition from 10 March 2009:

AP: Collector: Lincoln photo uncovered in Grant album---

WASHINGTON – A collector believes a photograph from a private album of Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant shows President Abraham Lincoln in front of the White House and could be the last image taken of him before he was assassinated in 1865.

If it is indeed Lincoln, it would be the only known photo of the 16th president in front of the executive mansion and a rare find, as only about 130 photos of him are known to exist. A copy of the image was provided to The Associated Press.

Grant's 38-year-old great-great-grandson, Ulysses S. Grant VI, had seen the picture before, but didn't examine it closely until late January. A tall figure in the distance caught his eye, although the man's facial features are obscured.

He called Keya Morgan, a New York-based photography collector and Lincoln aficionado, who helped identify it as Lincoln.
And more:

AP: Museum reveals engraving hidden in Lincoln watch

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