The name Henry Antheil, Jr, is on a tombstone in Riverview Cemetery, but he is not buried there. Henry, the younger brother of avant-garde composer George Antheil, was a Trenton, New Jersey native who joined the U.S. Foreign service as a cipher clerk and was posted in Helsinki, Finland, at the beginning of World War II. Henry Antheil, Jr., could be considered an early American casualty of both World War II and the Cold War.
As the Nazis advanced on Paris, the Soviet Union moved towards taking over the Baltic country of Estonia. On June 14, 1940, the 27 year old Antheil was sent to pick up several diplomatic pouches from the American legation in Estonia’s capital. He then board a Finnish commercial airplane, the Kaleva, to return to Finland. Less than ten minutes after the Kaleva took off from Estonia, two Soviet bombers intercepted it and shot it out of the sky. Almost immediately, a Soviet submarine arrived at the crash location and seized the diplomatic pouches. There were no survivors. The plane has never been recovered.Continue reading “The Kaleva Incident and the Death of Henry Antheil, Jr.”
From the National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian: Jazz Age archaeologist Jesse Walter Fewkes and co-workers showing off their anti-mosquito gear while working at the Weeden Island archaeological site in Florida, 1923.
In 1927, the Folsom site in New Mexico, which contained the distinctive fluted stone points of the same name directly associated with an extinct species of bison, was identified by archaeologists as the first Paleoindian site. In conjunction with the similar, but earlier, Clovis fluted points found at Blackwater Draw a few years later, these two sites provided clear evidence that humans had been present in the United States since the end of the Pleistocene.
As these discoveries became publicized and archaeologists looked for more examples of early sites, it soon became apparent that fluted points had been found in many states by amateur antiquarians, often as surface finds. Without good contextual data, however, no one had realized how old these points actually were.
You may known Marguerite Harrison from the silent-film era documentary Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life, which she made with the two men who later went on to make King Kong. In 1925, the same year Grass was released, she and three other women formed The Society of Woman Geographers. The story of The Intrepid ’20s Women Who Formed an All-Female Global Exploration Society, by April White, is at Atlas Obscura.
In 1919, James Henry Breasted, archaeologist and founder of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, embarked on a year-long trip through the Middle East. His goal was to identify research opportunities throughout the area, and to obtain artifacts to bring back to Chicago. The story (from a 2010 exhibition at the Institute) was told in Archaeology Magazine.
Jazz provoked reactions ranging from devotion to abhorrence when the idea, and then the sound, of the music first entered the consciousness of the British public in the aftermath of the First World War. Visiting American groups such as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the Southern Syncopated Orchestra offered Britons their first chance to experience the music live.
The growing interest in jazz brought black and white musicians, artists and audiences together, and was crucial in influencing changes in British society, moving from stereotypes descended from the minstrel show to a more nuanced understanding of and interest in African American and black British culture.
The exhibition brings together painting, prints, cartoons, textiles and ceramics, moving film, instruments and the all-important jazz sound, to explicitly examine the influence of jazz on British art, design and wider society.
By digging at the site of the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson in 1929, Engineer Donald Page gets the nod as Tucson, Arizona’s first historical archaeologist. That was his only excavation, and less than ten years later, his life took a tragic/stupid turn (alcohol and a handgun were involved). See Donald Page: Tucson’s Tragic First Historical Archaeologist by Homer Thiel.