Mary Cassatt II

Lead: In 1877 in Paris, France, young American artist Mary Cassatt received an invitation from Edgar Degas, one of the most celebrated of French Impressionist.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1877, Philadelphian Mary Cassatt had settled permanently in Paris. Although her paintings had been accepted by the prestigious but conventional Paris Salon for several years, she grew contemptuous of the jury system of the Salon after one of her finest portraits was rejected because it was too bright and then accepted the following year after she deliberately darkened the background to make it look more academic.

 

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Mary Cassatt I

Lead: In 1866, twenty-two year old Philadelphia artist, Mary Cassatt, against her family’s wishes, moved to Paris. There she became the only American invited to exhibit her works with the “impressionists.”

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Cassatt was born in western Pennsylvania in 1844. She first studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts but soon recognized the limitations of study in America, particularly for women, and decided to move to Europe. In Paris, Cassatt studied independently at the Louvre and Ecole des Beaux-Arts until she was forced to leave Paris in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War. Cassatt spent two years traveling throughout Europe studying great painters and then in her thirtieth year, returned to Paris, established a studio and settled permanently.

 

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John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath

Lead: In 1939 John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath, perhaps the major American novel of the Great Depression. Its publication, however, was not without controversy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: John Ernst Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, a rural community 100 miles south of San Francisco. As a child he observed the hard life of itinerant and migrant farm workers and his boyhood home became the setting of much of his work. Beginning in 1935 with Tortilla Flat, In Dubious Battle, and Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck proved himself an acute observer of social conflict and pain. Yet it was with The Grapes of Wrath that he reached the pinnacle of his literary craft. Much of the material in the novel came from a series of investigative articles the author wrote for the San Francisco News on the plight of the “Oakies,” emigrants from the mid-west dust bowl – Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas. In The Grapes of Wrath Steinbeck wove an elegant, semi-documentary narrative telling the story of the Joads, a 1930s Depression era farm family from Oklahoma. Seeking a better life, they had migrated to California only to find themselves caught in the same cycle of poverty and hopelessness they had left behind. The struggles and hardships of the working poor it seemed are rarely relieved by a change in geography.

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Wilhelm’s Great Fleet – III

Lead: Having set out to build a large battle fleet, in the early 1900s Kaiser Wilhelm II and his German advisors sparked a naval construction race that helped bring the world to war.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the late 1800s the still unchallenged dominant world power was Great Britain. Its empire covered a quarter of the globe, but this empire was a sea empire made possible by the greatest navy the world had known to that time. This navy provided security for international commerce, protected the imperial lifeline to the Far East and shielded the home islands from invasion. When in the 1890s the German Emperor and his ministers set out to build a Navy to rival his British cousins, without realizing it, they threatened the very survival of Britain.

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Wilhelm’s Great Fleet – II

Lead: Already wielding dominant military power in late 19th century continental Europe, German leaders, especially Kaiser Wilhelm II, began to plan for global power projected by a great battle fleet.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1890 the President of the U.S. Naval War College, Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, published The Influence of Sea Power in History, 1660-1783. In this volume and its sequel he made two arguments. First, he implied that dominant seapower from the Romans to the British made for strategic economic, political and military supremacy. Secondly, he claimed such power only could be achieved with a heavily armed battle fleet. One of Mahan’s most enthusiastic students was the young emperor of Germany, Wilhelm II. His fascination with naval power, especially British naval power, was fired when he spent many youthful summers visiting his grandmother, Queen Victoria, at her summer home, Osborne, on the Solent near the great Portsmouth Naval Base in the south of England. Wilhelm’s began to dream of a German Navy to rival that of his British cousins.

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Wilhelm’s Great Fleet – I

Lead: Of the many complex causes of the Great War, none was more catalytic than the enigmatic, insecure, brilliant yet erratic Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: As the nineteenth century drew to a close the great powers of continental Europe were coming to grips with growing popular political aspirations. Mass democracy taking its inspiration from the French Revolution, from the writings of liberals and socialists and from the experience of the North American colossus was forcing the ruling dynasties and their attending aristocrats to surrender an ever-growing  portion of their power. Some leaders, such as German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, understood how to manipulate this new force. Others, such as the young Kaiser were soon captured by it.

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Florence and the Black Plague – Part II

Lead: In the summer of 1348, the Black Plague swept through populous Florence, Italy, killing over one half the population.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Black Plague or Black Death was actually two major bacterial epidemics. The Bubonic Plague, the most common, was spread by fleas from person to person and involved “buboes,” (Latin for swollen lymph glands) which could swell to the size of eggs, giving the infected a grotesque appearance. The Pneumonic Plague (involving the lungs) was less common, occurring in about one in four plague cases, and was spread by respiratory droplets from an infected person. Because the victims of the plague often turned a purplish color due to broken blood vessels (causing bruises) or respiratory failure, which changed the color of the complexion, the term “Black Death” or “Black Plague” was used to describe the epidemics. After an abrupt onset of symptoms, which included chills, fever, nausea, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes in the upper thigh, armpit, and neck, death usually resulted in about four days.

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Florence and the Black Plague – Part I

Lead: In During the summer of 1348, the growth and activity of the most celebrated city of the Italian Renaissance came to a sudden halt due to an epidemic called the Black Plague (or Black Death).

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Picturesque Florence, Italy, located in the province of Tuscany at the foothills of the Apennines Mountains, is divided by the Arno River. In the early history of Florence, during the Roman rule, Julius Caesar (in 59 BC) named the small colony he set up on the Arno “Florentia,” Latin for blossoming.

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