Sunday, May 15, 2011

Vintage Mississippi River

I spent a little bit of the evening doing a little searching for vintage Mississippi River material because of the interest it seemed to spark in this forum over the last day or so. The basic gist in most materials that you dig into is that while times and technology have changed, the perception and cold hard facts don't change. Not rocket science for sure, but still interesting to root through some history and see some older depictions that are so relevant this week.

Here are a few interesting items that I stumbled on while poking around and doing some reading. Click on each of the images below to see higher resolution versions.

The following image is from an 1882 Harper's cartoon.
In it, King Neptune releases his ruthless force through the deluge of the Mississippi River, engulfing tiny villages along its unrestrained path. In the background, the female personification of the South seeks the protection of Columbia (representing the federal government).
Strange, when I look at Neptune, he definitely looks like he is at the mercy of the force he has unleashed. Very apropos, but not mentioned in the formal explanation of the cartoon. Am I reading too much into it?

The following cartoon is called Old Man River, and I found it on the History of Geology. This cartoon is from 1927 and was published in a paper called the Ledger. That's Herbert Hoover in the background proposing higher levees.

Less cartoon-ish but interesting nonetheless is this image below from Popular Science Monthly, dated June of 1928 (you just have to love Google books sometimes). This is a map of the Mississippi River that exaggerates the height of the Mississippi in comparison to the surrounding land.

The article goes on to describe the theory as to why this is the case...and how it is this height which is the systemic problem causing continual flooding.

Finally, in a true piece of randomness, as I paged through this same 1928 publication, I stumbled across the article below. Now I am not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination but I could swear that this might be the hint of microwave dinners galore. Pretty neat.

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