Episode 150: Live: James Sullivan and the 1904 Olympics

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Is this a metaphor for Hitler?


Live with new Friend of the Dollop: Rory Scovel

All the World’s a Fair: Visions of Empire at American International Expositions, 1876-1916 * Robert W. Rydell

food inventions debuted at this World’s Fair:

Geronimo, birth name Goyathlay, Apache Nation, at indians.org (1829-1909)–Here’s an appropriate quote from him, given how he was treated at this World’s Fair:

I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.


Cook, Theodore Andrea (May 1909). The Fourth Olympiad London 1908 Official Report (PDF).

James P. Sullivan, Irish-American Olympian

Jessie Tarbox Beals: America’s first female photojournalist, ladies and gentlemen:

I fucking love this picture. I may frame it.

Biography at the Library of Congress:

In 1904, the Buffalo newspapers sent Jessie to the opening of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Mo., and Alfred went along to print her photographs. Other professional women photographers working at the fair included Frances Benjamin Johnston and Emme and Mamie Gerhard. As a latecomer, Jessie was denied an exhibition press pass, but, relying on her ability to hustle, she persuaded the exhibition office to grant her a permit to photograph at the fairgrounds before the exposition opened. Pass in hand, she ignored the limitations and photographed at every opportunity. She ultimately became the official photographer at the Fair for the New York HeraldTribune, and Leslie’s Weekly, three Buffalo newspapers, and all the local St. Louis papers, as well as the Fair’s own publicity department. She climbed ladders and floated in hot air balloons to get her shots. 

Jessie thought like a news photographer. Reversing the traditional newspaper approach, she often generated photographs for which a writer would be assigned later. She developed several story ideas at the Fair, such as similarities in the role of motherhood in different cultures, for which newspapers then wrote stories. She also anticipated the use of series of photos or picture stories with which U.S. magazines and newspapers of the 1930s would replace single images.

Jessie created additional opportunities for herself by making pictures of dignitaries attending the Fair. She captured a photo of William Howard Taft outside the Philippine Building at the Fair. She interrupted President Theodore Roosevelt on his tour of the Fair to make his photograph and followed him throughout the day, making more than 30 photographs. Her aggressiveness paid off when she gained credentials as a member of his Presidential party and accompanied him to a reunion of the Rough Riders in San Antonio in March 1905.

You DO YOU, Jessie.

Every so often, I find an original document for this website that makes me exclaim out loud. Here’s one of them–serendipity, baby:

Jessie Beals' photo of President Taft
William Howard Taft, at the World’s Fair-Louisiana Purchase Hoo-Ha-1904 Olympics That Never Ended, taken (and signed!) by Jessie Tarbox Beale

Isn’t that cooooooool?

The Games: A Global History of the Olympics * David Goldblatt

Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics * Jules Boykoff

The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games * Tony Perrottet — That’s right, naked. Now imagine this cluster of a World’s Fair/Olympic mashup that lasted for more than half a year with ball sweat and flapping limp dicks everywhere? And puffed wheat cereal debuted? Kellogg’s wet dream.

Guess who else was at this cluster of an Olympics? Our very own Bricklayer Bill from episode 47.

Bricklayer Bill
Look how over it Bill looks. Mystery solved: it’s because he took part in SEVEN months of Olympics nonsense.

And here’s where that nifty tag group plugin pays off: here’s all the tags I’ve filed under Olympiad, have fun:

Band names from this episode:

  • Fancy Diving
  • Girltop
  • Athletic News
  • Household Methods
  • Department of Exploitation (think Depeche Mode meets Bauhaus)
  • Anthropology Days
  • Rock Fight

Cultural references from this episode:

…and David Letterman drinking raw eggs with Sylvester Stallone because, of course, Rocky: The Musical

And one more thing: The World’s Largest Cedar Bucket. You’re welcome.

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