Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Female Scientists Report a Horrifying Culture of Sexual Assault

Research labs and field sites are swarming with men who sexually harass and assault their colleagues. But when women come forward, the perpetrators aren’t punished—the victims are. http://www.marieclaire.com/career-advice/a14104684/sexual-harassment-assault-in-science-field/ by KAYLA WEBLEY ADLER and ART BY TRAVIS MCHENRY DEC 11, 2017 Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they’re in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry.” That’s what British biochemist and Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt told an audience at the World Conference of Science Journalists just two years ago. Following intense social media backlash, Hunt claimed his remark “was intended as a light-hearted ironic comment.” His defenders said the line was taken out of context, pointing to his praise of female scientists in the same speech (“science needs more women, and you should do science, despite all the obstacles”). Bad joke or not, it cost Hunt his faculty position at University College London—and pointed to an insidious problem in the world of scientific research that had persisted far too long already. Getty / Travis McHenry / Photo for illustrative purposes only From her office at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Kate Clancy, Ph.D., watched the reaction to Hunt’s comments unfold on Twitter, thinking, Same shit, another day. The 38-year-old associate professor was recalling a string of recent high-profile incidents that have made her and other women in science feel excluded, unwelcome, and like the very nature of being a woman in science “is in some way problematic,” as she puts it. There was the peer reviewer for a scientific journal who suggested that two female researchers find “one or two male biologists” to co-author and strengthen their paper. And the column published on Science magazine’s website in which a biology professor told a postdoc who asked how to handle her adviser, who frequently tried to look down her shirt, to “put up with it, with good humor if you can.” In October 2015, Buzzfeed reported that University of California, Berkeley’s Geoff Marcy, a noted astronomy professor, got away with sexually harassing students for at least a decade—despite complaints being filed against him at two different universities. (Marcy denied the allegations generally, but he apologized and has since resigned.) In January 2016, Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier aired on the House floor a 2004 investigation into renowned astronomy professor Timothy Slater by his former employer, the University of Arizona, in which Slater was revealed to have gifted a student a vibrator, told a female employee she’d “teach better if she did not wear underwear,” hosted meetings at strip clubs, and asked graduate students for sex. (Slater denies all allegations and is suing Arizona for releasing the confidential report.) A month later, Science magazine reported that paleoanthropologist Brian Richmond, curator of human origins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, was under investigation for sexually assaulting a research assistant. (Richmond said that the encounter in question was “consensual and reciprocal”; following multiple investigations by the museum, Richmond resigned last year.) Similar cases of harassment by science professors have also been reported at the California Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, the University of Rochester, and Boston University. Each time one of these incidents comes to light, and each time women in science take to social media to express empathy and anger, commenters swarm to tell them to get over it or learn how to take a joke—as if putting up with sexism, harassment, and assault is the expected price of being a female scientist. But Clancy knows it’s never just a joke, or a few bad apples, or one misguided university—and she has the data to prove it. Getty / Travis McHenry / Photo for illustrative purposes only In July 2014, Clancy and her co-authors Robin Nelson, Ph.D., Julienne Rutherford, Ph.D., and Katie Hinde, Ph.D., published the results of a survey that gauged the climate for women and men on field sites, where students and faculty at all levels across many scientific disciplines perform research. Of the 666 scientists from 32 different disciplines who completed the survey, 64 percent said they had personally experienced sexual harassment in the field and 20 percent reported having been sexually assaulted. Women were 3.5 times more likely to have experienced harassment or abuse than men, and were primarily harassed and assaulted by superiors (whereas male students were more likely to be victimized by peers). The report sent shockwaves through the scientific community. “There was a lot of outrage,” says Heather Metcalf, director of research and analysis at the Association for Women in Science. “A lot of, How is this still happening? After all this time and all of these efforts to change the culture, how can this still be so prevalent?” And worse: How many would-be female scientists are we losing as a result? 64% of scientists have been sexually harassed in the field and 20% report having been sexually assaulted. But Clancy and her coauthors knew that if they were truly going to impact the culture of their industry, quantitative research alone wouldn’t be enough. The four are back this month with a follow-up study in the American Anthropologist journal detailing just how and why such widespread abuse has persisted. They conducted in-depth interviews with 26 of the original survey respondents and identified patterns and themes: On field sites with clear codes of conduct and supervisors who enforced the rules, women thrived, but on the sites where rules did not exist or were ambiguous and there were no consequences for wrongdoers, they found instances of unwanted flirtation or physical contact and intimidation, verbal sexual advances, sexist jokes and comments about physical appearance, forced kissing, attempted rape, and rape. One respondent said field site leaders insisted on conducting conversations while naked. Another said the head of her field site “would systematically prey on women” to the point that some women in her group chose to sleep on the floor in the same room rather than their own beds: “I had to serve as a kind of bodyguard.” Getty / Travis McHenry / Photo for illustrative purposes only Confronting offenders did not deter the perpetrators’ behavior. Quite the opposite: Women were only rewarded (i.e. given the best research assignments) if they consented to harassment or sexual advances. “It became clear that I was going to have to play along a little bit,” another respondent said of her harasser. “I had a professional connection with this person, but he expected me to become his next mistress.” Many female scientists said the behavior continued even after they left the field sites and that the psychological trauma compromised their ability to revisit, analyze, and publish their data. Several of the women were able to pinpoint exactly how their abuse led to their career stalling. Five of the women said they had to leave the sciences altogether. When she was a Ph.D. student studying paleoanthropology, Jennifer (not her real name) got the opportunity of a lifetime: She was invited to spend a month at a field site in Eurasia where she’d have the chance to study fossils crucial to the understanding of human evolution. One night, she and the other scientists shook off a long day of excavation at a house on-site—drinking, dancing, singing, listening to music. Jennifer was sitting next to the male principal investigator (or P.I., as they’re commonly called) who ran the site. At some point, the lights went off. Almost as if on cue, the P.I. grabbed her and shoved his tongue in her mouth. “I don't want to say he French kissed me because that’s something two people do together,” Jennifer says. “I felt filled up.” She pushed him away, but was sure everyone in the room had witnessed the encounter. Embarrassed, she feigned tiredness and scurried to bed. Getty / Travis McHenry / Photo for illustrative purposes only For the next few weeks, the P.I. regularly grabbed her hand under the lunch table before she could swat him away. “I would just kind of politely laugh it off,” she says. “I was out of my country, I didn't speak the language, and he was the head of my project. I hardly knew him at all—I only knew him as the person in charge of all my hopes and dreams.” The head of her field site “would systematically prey on women” to the point that some of them chose to sleep on the floor in the same room rather than their own beds. Those dreams effectively ended the night of the incident. Before that, Jennifer had planned to return to the site often, for as long as six months at a time, to conduct paleoanthropological research. But that P.I. was the gatekeeper of the site, and going back would have meant enduring further harassment and assault—he’d emailed her when she got home, saying how much he missed her and couldn't wait until she returned. “I knew it was over,” she says. “I couldn't work with those fossils at all anymore—that’s six million years of human evolution. Those fossils are why I went to grad school.” Getty / Travis McHenry / Photo for illustrative purposes only Jennifer was one of the lucky ones. She had to pivot her area of focus after four years of graduate school, which delayed her Ph.D., but she was able to continue her research using fossils in Kenya at a site free of harassment. Today, she’s an associate professor of anthropology at a university in New England, but she’s never stopped thinking of other women who may not have been as fortunate. “It gnaws away at me,” she says. “I worry that it’s happened to other women; I wonder how many of them just gave up.” It’s stories like Jennifer’s that made Clancy dig deep into the darkest corners of her field. Back in 2011, she was blogging for Scientific American and was often invited to speak at universities about “how to be a woman in science.” At one such event, she ran into an old colleague. The friend used to be about two years behind Clancy in her career, but when they reconnected, the woman had yet to finish her Ph.D., while Clancy was well into a tenure-track job. Clancy asked what was holding her up. “Every time I look at my dissertation data it reminds me of when I was sexually assaulted in the field,” the woman replied. A few weeks later, Clancy had a remarkably similar conversation with another woman at a different conference. “I was like, ‘What’s going on with you?’” Clancy recounts. “And she was like, ‘Let me tell you about the systemic sexual harassment at the field site that made me completely desert this line of research.’” The women agreed to write about their experiences anonymously on Clancy’s blog. When the posts were published, the comments and emails from women who had also experienced gender discrimination and harassment on field sites—everything from always being the person designated to do the dishes to being raped by their P.I.s—came rolling in. Clancy wondered just how many female scientists’ careers had been stymied by sexism and assault. Getty / Travis McHenry / Photo for illustrative purposes only She asked Nelson, Rutherford, and Hinde if they would be willing to study the disturbing trend with her. The women agreed, but worried that doing such work as junior faculty was risky for their own careers. They considered waiting to conduct the survey until they had all secured tenure, but decided they couldn’t “in good conscience” wait. “If there is a penalty for trying to make things better and safer, then why would I want to be in this field?” explains Hinde, an associate professor of human evolution at Arizona State University, of her rationale. “Of course I was scared, but this is too important.” “It was really graphic and gross—he suggested not using a condom so I could feel the ridge of the head of his penis.” Clancy presented the initial results at the April 2013 meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. “I was terrified to stand up in front of a bunch of my colleagues and basically say, ‘A hefty portion of you are harassing and assaulting your students and your peers. We’re watching you now and we’re not going to let you pull that shit anymore.’” The reason those men were able to get away with for so long? So few women were sounding alarms. According to the research, called Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE)—eventually published in PLoS ONE after being rejected twice, which the women suspect was on account of the subject matter—only 13 percent of female survey respondents said they reported the harassment, and just 7 percent of women who were sexually assaulted formally came forward. Getty / Travis McHenry / Photo for illustrative purposes only That’s likely because budding female scientists have an extreme disincentive to report—doing so often means speaking out against the very people who write their letters of recommendation and fund their work. The perpetrators “are the people who have control over our careers,” says Nelson, an assistant professor of anthropology at Santa Clara University. “There’s no way for me to overstate how devastating reporting harassment or assault could be. These people are so powerful, and so the idea of bringing charges…I mean, why? You would sabotage your whole career.” A majority of the dozen victims interviewed by MarieClaire.com for this story—most of whom did not want their names published for fear of retribution—said that when they reported, the perpetrators were rarely punished. They often felt as though the person who victimized them was untouchable. Not only did their perpetrators have tenure (meaning they can only be fired for “extraordinary circumstances”), but their work brought the university millions of grant dollars and immeasurable prestige. “We have to stop privileging the science above the people who are doing it,” Hinde says. One woman, a biology undergraduate student at a small Midwestern college, told MarieClaire.com that one of her professors grabbed her breast three times while they were reviewing an exam in his office. She reported the incident to the administration, but the professor wasn’t punished—only her reputation suffered. “I’m no longer the smart girl who likes plants and trees,” she says. “I’m the girl who got groped and made trouble for her teacher.” When one 27-year-old planetary scientist reported being harassed and stalked by a visiting scholar at the observatory where she worked, the head of the department told her to “grin and bear it,” she recalls. “He said, ‘You wouldn’t want to complain about him because it could ruin his career.’” No such concern was expressed for her own. “It gnaws away at me.” The toll sexism takes on a woman’s career in the sciences isn’t always so overt. Studies have shown there are many subtle ways women are hindered: Female scientists receive less mentoring, are given fewer awards, are invited to speak at fewer conferences, and receive significantly less funding for their research. They are also less likely to be hired—in 2012, a Yale University researcher sent otherwise identical applications to faculty for lab manager jobs and found “John” was more likely to be given the position and receive a higher starting salary than “Jennifer.” Research has also shown that male professors see female students as less competent and are significantly less likely than female faculty to bring women trainees into their labs. “You can tell women, ‘Lean in, fight for yourself, fight for a raise, work hard, put in extra hours,’” Clancy says, “but at the end of the day, these are the kinds of things that are actually going to hold us back.” In 2009, a woman we’ll call Sarah was working as a research assistant in a lab where she was studying for a Ph.D. in neuroscience. One night, she was driving back to campus from a work event with the married head of her lab when, out of nowhere, he started talking about having sex with her. “It was really graphic and gross—he suggested not using a condom so I could feel the ridge of the head of his penis,” she recalls. “I was like, ‘Um, I’m just going to drop you off at your car.’” She hoped that would be the end of it. Getty / Travis McHenry / Photo for illustrative purposes only Sarah decided she would go to work the next day and act as though nothing had happened. When she was getting ready, her boss called. He asked her not to mention to anyone what had occurred. Then he said, “Don’t worry about coming in—you can take the day off.” So she stayed home. From then on, any time she did go to work, her boss was “just so awkward” and kept telling her not to come in. “I felt unwelcome, which is weird because he should be the unwelcome one,” Sarah says. “But it was his lab.” She went from working 20 hours each week to putting in five hours or less. Soon, “it was like, ‘Well, we started this project, but you are not a part of it. We are writing up this paper, but we didn't put you on it because you haven’t been here,’” Sarah remembers. By the end of her time there she’d only been listed as an author on four papers, while her male counterpart had been cited on 20. Over time, it became clear that she wasn’t going to get the job she'd wanted since first grade. “It was a sad, sad moment,” she says. “I had been investing so much of myself for so long, and then to have to say, ‘Well, that was all down the drain….’” Today, Sarah works at a pharmaceutical company as a liaison to doctors. “I don’t do research—I just talk about other people’s research,” she says. “I do enjoy it, but it’s not what I dreamed of. I’m no longer a scientist.” Budding female scientists have an extreme disincentive to report—doing so often means speaking out against the very people who write their letters of recommendation and fund their work. We may never know just how many potential female scientists like Sarah we’re losing. But we do know this: Between 2014 and 2015, women obtained 59 percent of bachelor’s degrees in the biological sciences and 38.5 percent of bachelor’s degrees in the physical sciences. (Tell that to anyone who claims women just aren’t interested in science.) But while women graduate in equal numbers, they don’t make it to the highest ranks in equal numbers. Only 21 percent of professors across the sciences are female. According to the Census, male science and engineering graduates are employed at twice the rate women are. Getty / Travis McHenry / Photo for illustrative purposes only But for all the downsides, the good news is that, thanks to Clancy and her colleagues, these issues are finally being discussed and reform is on the way. It’s too soon to say what measures may come from their follow-up study, but already a number of disciplines—including archeology, astronomy, physics, and ecology—have conducted or are planning similar surveys specific to their research sites. Most are finding comparably high levels of misconduct. In response, organizations that fund research, like NASA and the National Science Foundation, have made public statements that they will not tolerate harassment at grantee institutions and programs. The American Association of Physical Anthropologists drafted a new code of ethics. A group of professors at universities nationwide is working to develop sexual harassment bystander intervention training for the earth, space, and environmental sciences. Change may also come at the legislative level. Representative Speier has introduced a bill requiring schools to share information about disciplinary proceedings so that when perpetrators move colleges, their indiscretions follow them. “It’s a thrill to feel like we are really making a difference,” says Rutherford, an associate professor in the department of women, children, and family health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “I hear from people who say, ‘I can now have this conversation with the people who are in a position to change things, and they have to respect it because it’s on paper in black and white.’” Hinde adds that she’s heard from colleagues who have implemented sexual harassment policies at their field sites and has had “men email me and tell me they had marginalized someone in the past and they aren’t going to do it anymore.” That’s key, Rutherford says, because if the culture doesn’t change, we’ll never know what might happen if female scientists are allowed to reach their full potential. “What if women didn’t have to be so vigilant all the time? What if you didn't have to smile, have a thick skin, keep it to yourself, look over your shoulder, or be careful about who’s in the lab at the end of the night,” she posits. “How much more could women achieve?”

Monday, 11 December 2017

Noted and Beloved Ethnobotanist and Herbal Medicine Advocate Jim Duke Dies at 88

ABC ADVISORY Dear ABC Member: It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that Jim Duke, PhD, died at his home last evening. He was 88 and had been in declining health in recent months. He was a brilliant, dedicated, funny, and humble man, who earned the admiration, respect, and love of thousands of scientists and herbal enthusiasts. On his computer most of the day, he was an author of hundreds of articles, an estimated three dozen books, both popular and technical. He was an avid compiler of botanical data from all types of sources for his “Father Nature’s Farmacy” database, and, a humble botanist who preferred to walk barefoot in his extensive herb garden, or, when possible, in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Jim was one of the three founders of ABC in 1988 (along with the late Norman Farnsworth, PhD, and myself) and served on its Board of Trustees, in the last years as a Director Emeritus (he would call it “Director Demeritus”). Jim’s huge body of work, his love of plants and people, his sense of humor, and his generosity of spirit are positive examples for all of us. I join with all of ABC and the extended herbal community in sending heartfelt condolences to his wife Peggy, daughter Cissy, and son John. He will live on in his good works and in the hearts of all of us who cherish his blessed memory. ABC will be releasing an extensive tribute to Jim and his life very soon. For now, I direct you to fellow botanist and long-time Jim Duke collaborator Steven Foster’s personal comments and brief biography of Jim, immediately below. Respectfully, Mark Blumenthal It is with great sadness to learn the news of the passing of one of the giants of the herbal movement of the past century, James A. Duke, PhD, who died peacefully on the evening of December 10, 2017. Jim, as he was known to all, served as one of the founding members of the Board of Trustees of the American Botanical Council. His impact and inspiration for the last three generations of all aspects of the herbal community cannot be overstated. Perhaps more than any other individual, Jim Duke, personified the coalescing of science with traditional knowledge on medicinal plants, which he freely shared with passion and heart. He was a prolific "compiler" as he referred to himself, of data on medicinal plants, which he shared an estimated three dozen books, both popular and technical. Jim Duke, was a key figure of the “herbal renaissance,” a phrase coined by Paul Lee, PhD. He was a renaissance man in the broadest sense. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, on April 4, 1929, Jim Duke was a bluegrass fiddler by age 16, even appearing at the Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville, Tennessee. An interest in plants was not far behind his interest in music. In 1955, he took a degree in botany from the University of North Carolina. In 1961, the same institution conferred a doctorate in botany upon him. Postgraduate work took him to Washington University and Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. It was there where he developed what was, as he put it, “my overriding interest — neotropical ethnobotany.” Early in Duke’s career with Missouri Botanical Garden, his work took him to Panama where he penned painstaking technical descriptions of plants in 11 plants families for the Flora of Panama, project, published in the Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. During his years in Panama he also studied the ethnobotany of the Choco and Cuna native groups. The Choco are a forest people who lived scattered along rivers, and the Cuna live in villages. Another fruit of these years was his first book — Isthmian Ethnobotanical Dictionary, a 96-page handbook describing medicinal plants of the Central American isthmus. In 1963, Jim Duke took a position with the USDA in Beltsville, Maryland, focusing on tropical ecology, especially seedling ecology. From 1965 to 1971, he worked on ecological and ethnological research in Panama and Colombia for Battelle Columbus Laboratories. Duke returned to USDA in 1971 where he worked on crop diversification, creating a database called the “Crop Diversification Matrix” with extensive biological, ecological, and economic data on thousands of cultivated crops. His interest in medicinal plants never waned no matter what unrelated tasks government bureaucrats pushed his way. In 1977, he became Chief of the Medicinal Plant Laboratory at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, and then Chief of USDA’s Economic Botany Laboratory. At the time, USDA was under contract with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to collect plant materials from all over the world for screening for anti-cancer activity. After the program ended in 1981, Jim Duke continued his work at USDA as Chief of the Germplasm Resources Laboratory, collecting data and plant material on food crops from around the world. During the Reagan Administration, he was also charged with the unenviable, and as Jim Duke himself admits, “impossible” task of finding a replacement crop in the Andes for coca, the ancient Inca stimulant and source of its abused alkaloid, cocaine. Dr. Duke retired from USDA in September of 1995, but retirement was in name only. —Steven Foster

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lepidium meyenii (syn. L. peruvianum) FAMILY NAME: Brassicaceae/Cruciferae COMMON NAME: maca


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Botanical Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Pruritus: a Systematic Review

Current Dermatology Reports December 2017, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 248–255 | Cite as Authors Authors and affiliations Jonathan G. BonchakEmail authorShalini TharejaSuephy C. ChenCassandra L. Quave 1. 2. 3. Itch (E Lerner, Section Editor) First Online: 19 October 2017 2 Shares 10 Downloads Part of the following topical collections: Topical Collection on Itch Abstract Purpose of Review Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used by patients who suffer from chronic pruritus, but there is little data on the efficacy or antipruritic mechanism of these interventions. This review assesses the current understanding of the clinical efficacy and purported mechanisms of CAM therapy for pruritic skin disease, and serves as a basis for further investigation into the pharmacological basis of plant-based CAM for pruritus and patient motivations in the adoption of these types of therapies. Recent Findings To assess the current state of the literature, we queried multiple databases for reports of botanical CAM therapies for pruritic skin conditions. Numerous in vitro and animal studies show positive results, but antipruritic effects in human trials are varied. Many of these topical and systemic therapies have demonstrated measurable impact on inflammatory pathways, including some that are known to be crucial in transmission of itch signaling. Summary CAM is a frequently utilized but somewhat poorly understood intervention for chronic pruritus, though our understanding of the impact of these therapies on pruritus has improved in recent years. Further studies into the mechanism and efficacy of CAM-based therapies for chronic pruritus, and patient attitudes towards these practices, are warranted. Keywords Pruritus Itch CAM Complementary Alternative Botanical Permissions Tables contained herein are original and not previously published elsewhere. This article is part of the Topical Collection on Itch Notes Compliance with Ethical Standards Conflict of Interest The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors. References Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance 1. Sirois FM. Motivations for consulting complementary and alternative medicine practitioners: a comparison of consumers from 1997–8 and 2005. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2008;8:16. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar 2. Testerman J, Patient K. Motivations for using complementary and alternative medicine. Complement Health Pract Rev. 2004;9:81–92. CrossRefGoogle Scholar 3. Caspi O, Koithan M, Criddle MW. 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21/11/2017 LAURENCETOTELIN 2 COMMENTS By Charlie Taverner (Birkbeck, University of London) This post is part of the European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food (IEHCA) series “Summer University on Food and Drink Studies” Across early modern Europe, wandering food sellers were a multimedia phenomenon. From the sixteenth century, artists captured street vendors in poems, plays, songs and – most famously – printed pictures. The cries, as the genre of visual art became known, showed hawkers selling everything from artichokes and apples, oranges to oysters, turnips to tripe. For historians, a suite of such images, like Marcellus Laroon’s 1687 ‘The Cryes of the City of London Drawne after the Life’, seems a gift. Its characters open a window on rarely represented parts of everyday life: city streets and food. Helped by early historians, the cries have been entrenched in urban legend. In Victorian England, Charles Hindley collected hundreds of the ‘ancient and far-famed London Cries’. He saw these traders as timeless symbols of the metropolis, from ‘the days of Queen Elizabeth’ to his own. Just two years ago, The Gentle Author of Spitalfields claimed the cries revealed an essential truth about such sellers: ‘… they do not need your sympathy, they only want your respect – and your money.’ Such romance has risks, as scholars, especially art historians, have warned. Sean Shesgreen, in his comprehensive survey of the English cries tradition, argued the images were not ‘transparent reflections of historical reality’. From the late seventeenth century, he suggested, the cries ‘inexorably evolve in the direction, not of increasing realism, but of increasing idealism’. In her lecture to the IEHCA’s summer school this year, Valérie Boudier proposed a sounder approach for using early modern pictures of food. Breaking down vibrant works, such as Vincenzo Campi’s ‘The Bean Eaters’ and Annibale Carracci’s ‘Butcher’s Shop’, she suggested food historians interrogate not the images’ truthfulness, but the artistic conventions and symbolic meanings they contain. Marcellus Laroon, ‘Crab Crab any Crab’, 1688. British Museum, London. This approach can be applied to Laroon’s suite. Take, for example, his crab seller. At first glance, the picture reveals much about the women who peddled seafood in seventeenth-century London, perhaps nearby the artist’s Covent Garden workshop. Looking for information on the food trade, we might draw out the crab seller’s age, clothes, shallow basket, and purposeful stride. Most obviously – as we are interested in food – we could look more closely at the dozens of crustaceans, balanced on her head. But in several ways the crab seller is not, as the suite’s title claims, ‘Drawn after the Life’. Many of Laroon’s characters have the same face, which makes them more mannequins than people. They are extracted from the street and set against a blank background. Notice too that the crab seller’s cry, printed at the page bottom, is translated into French and Italian. It reminds us these images, priced at half a guinea for the set of up to 74, were destined for an international market, with copies surviving in Paris and Amsterdam. Influences also flowed the other way. Not only was Laroon Dutch-born and –trained, his suite owed a debt, in its structure and the resemblance of its characters, to a Parisian set, drawn a year or two earlier by Jean-Baptiste Bonnart. The briefest scan through a survey of the European cries, such as Karen Beall’s 1975 bibliography, shows that common characters, selling familiar foods, cropped up time and again across the continent. So, what can such images reveal? If we concentrate on form, it seems that artists and their audiences were interested in order. By arranging the criers in a grid, suite or illustrated book, they were classifying the street life of the city. Boisterous wanderers were dragged into the rigidity of the artist’s system. This tendency is part of a broader interest, across Europe at this time, of representing social groups in quasi-scientific hierarchies. But the structure also hints at a particular urban concern: contemporaries, especially in London and Paris, were grappling with the disorientating complexity of their fast-expanding cities. With the crab-seller, we could also consider gender. In the cries, many roving vendors were drawn as young, attractive women, even if the actual labour split was more balanced. In an image like the crab-seller, two ideas are in tension. In one view, female hawkers are legitimate business folk, who keep the city fed; in another, they are scorned as temptresses, whose siren-like calls, such as ‘Crab Crab any Crab’, are stuffed with innuendo. On the streets of London, women traders had a similarly ambiguous position, as Eleanor Hubbard has argued. They were watched with suspicion on the margins of official markets, but also feared as food-selling rivals. Depictions of those that sold food are deep, valuable sources, if they are used carefully. Bound up in artistic traditions, they cannot tell us what and how people ate, in the manner of a photograph. But, by concentrating on the symbols used and the way these images were produced, we can unpick past attitudes to not just food – but nascent metropolitan life. References Beall, Karen. Kaufrufe und Straßenhändler: Eine Bibliographie / Cries and Itinerant Trades: A Bibliography. Hamburg: Hauswedell, 1975. Hindley, Charles. A History of the Cries of London (Ancient & Modern). London, 1884. Hubbard, Eleanor. City Women: Money, Sex and the Social Order in Early Modern London. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Shesgreen, Sean. Images of the outcast: The urban poor in the Cries of London. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002. Charlie Taverner is a PhD student at Birkbeck, University of London. His project examines the experience of selling food in the street in early modern London, with particular focus on urban space and informality. Trained as a journalist, he has covered business, food and agriculture for British magazines and newspapers. He blogs at http://moveablefeasts.tumblr.com/ and tweets @charlietaverner.

1899: King and Queen, the Diving Quadrupeds of Coney Island, Brooklyn

Posted: 7th May 2015 by The Hatching Cat in Animal Attractions, Horse Tales T Fred Lane, an employee of J.W. Gorman, is pictured holding the reigns of King and Queen sometime around 1906. Photo courtesy of Jane Petersen. King and Queen high diving horses “King and Queen are pink-skinned and have black eyes, a very pretty combination, coupled with almost milk-white coats that shimmer in the sunlight like the moire silk of a bridal dress.”—The Strand Magazine, Volume 19 (January – June 1900). A while back, I wrote about Topsy, the elephant that was executed by electrocution in 1903 at the brand-new Luna Park in Coney Island. In this post, I’m going to tell you another old tale of Coney Island that would make most animal lovers cringe today, and, I hope, would lead to an arrest on charges of animal cruelty. In August 1899, Captain Paul Boyton, the owner of Sea Lion Park and the famous Shooting-the-Chutes aquatic toboggan slide, introduced a new act to Coney Island. Billed as the amazing high diving horses, King and Queen were two pure white Arabian horses who had a knack for diving on their own from great heights into almost any body of water. King diving horse Crystal Palace 1902 In 1902, King and Queen took part in a photo shoot at the Crystal Palace in London. Here, one of the horses gets ready to walk up the incline ramp to the diving platform. According to one report, King and Queen were the direct descendants of Linden Tree and Leopard, two Arabian horses that were presented as gifts to President Ulysses S. Grant by Ismail Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt, in May 1879. Another more reliable source – The Strand Magazine, an illustrated monthly published in London – says the horses grew up wild and free in the Everglades of Florida. I don’t know if I believe that one either. King diving horse George Holloway reportedly tried to train 85 of his horses to dive into water, but all of his efforts failed. Every horse “dove” with his or her head held high — more like a leap — unlike King and Queen, who could dive in a more human-like vertical position. What we do know, as confirmed by both The Strand and Brooklyn’s own Daily Eagle, is that King and Queen were born sometime around 1895 and were trained and owned by George Frederick Holloway, an avid horse breeder with 80 acres of pastureland in Bancroft, Iowa. As George Holloway tells the story in a Daily Eagle article dated August 30, 1899: “When King and Queen were small colts they were kept in one pasture and their mothers in another. A river and a high bluff intervented (sic) and it was considered that no animal could get from one pasture to another, so no fence was built. The colts had not been in the pasture many days before I found them one morning in the lower pasture with their mothers. It was such a puzzle to me as to how they got there that I decided to watch King and Queen one night. I found that the colts jumped from the high bluffs into the river below and swam the shallow water.” Recognizing a potential money-making opportunity, George began training the colts to dive from gradually increasing heights. “The most remarkable thing about the performance was that the horses came to like it, and on more than one occasion when the door of their stable had been left open they escaped from their loose boxes and remounted the chute and took the dive on their own accord,” George told the Eagle. He said no whips or prodding had ever been used and he rewarded the horses only with kindness. King and Queen, diving horses When a venue didn’t have access to a lake, like shown here or at Sea Lion Park, the horses would dive into a portable 12-foot deep tank, which was fitted into an excavation on the site. The water was kept at 65 to 85 degrees, depending on the season, with steam pipes used to warm the water in cooler months. When Paul Boyton heard about the diving horse act, he immediately got in touch with George and his nephew John Whalen, who was now managing the horses and taking the act on the road. The horses made their Coney Island debut in August 1899, performing twice a day for thousands of people at Sea Lion Park by diving from a 32-foot tall platform into about 20 feet of water in the Shooting-the Chutes lagoon. It was during one of these performances that King almost lost his life. As the story goes, Paul kept several huge turtles in the lagoon – along with the sea lions – and one day a turtle popped up only a few feet away from where King had just struck the water. Had King’s head hit the hard shell, it may have been lights out for both horse and turtle. King and Queen, the diving horses I’m not totally convinced that the horses really enjoyed diving (although who knows?), but I do believe that when they weren’t performing they were probably very well cared for by John Whalen. Oh, but it gets better. When the turtle refused to budge from that spot in the lake, they lowered a dynamite cartridge directly over where they turtle had sunk and fired away. The poor turtle was blown from its home, and although it supposedly was not physically harmed, it was an emotional wreck for about a week. (You can’t make this stuff up.) The American Mutoscope and Biograph Company Scores a Hit With the Diving Ponies That summer, New York cinematographer Frederick S. Armitage directed a short film for the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company (AMB) featuring the diving horses at Coney Island. In 1902, the AMB Picture Catalogue said of the film: “This picture has created a sensation wherever it has been shown. It is one of the popular ‘hits’ of the Biograph. Taken at Paul Boynton’s chutes at Coney Island, and shows Prof. G.H. Holloway’s trained horses diving into the water from a platform 35 feet high. Their action is purely voluntary, there being no mechanical aids or impulses whatever.” Frederick S. Armitage Frederick S. Armitage spent much of his career working as a cinematographer and director for AMB, creating more than 400 short films, many of them about life in New York City. One of his most famous films was a time-lapse film showing the demolition of the Star Theatre near Union Square in 1902. The AMB Company was founded in 1895 by William Kennedy Dickson, an inventor who worked at Thomas Edison’s laboratory and who helped pioneer the technology of capturing moving images on film. In its early years, AMB produced “actualities” or documentary footage of actual persons, places and events. Each film was usually less than two minutes long. Originally headquartered in New Jersey, the company’s first studio was located on the roof of the Roosevelt Building at 841 Broadway (also known as the Hackett Carhart Building, for the menswear company that occupied much of the building at that time). In 1906, the company moved to a brownstone at 11 East 14th Street near Union Square (the brownstone was torn down in the 1960s), and in 1913, AMB relocated again to 807 East 175th Street in the Bronx (now the site of a New York City Department of Sanitation garage.) Roosevelt Building Six small buildings on Cornelius Roosevelt’s property at Broadway and 13th Street were demolished to make way for the Roosevelt Building in 1893. Despite a big fire in 1903 that destroyed the top stories, the building is still standing, and, having been recently restored,looks almost the same today as it did over 100 years ago. The Roosevelt Building The Roosevelt Building was constructed in 1893 on land that was once a garden on the Broadway estate of Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt’s grandfather. (And prior to that, the land was part of the 40-acre Elias Brevoort farm.) Cornelius Roosevelt’s mansion, located on the southwest corner of 14th Street, was demolished following his death in 1871 and replaced by the Domestic Sewing Machine Company building. American Mutoscope and Biograph Company The AMB studio set-up on the roof of the Broadway Building was similar to Thomas Edison’s “Black Maria” studio in West Orange, New Jersey, with the studio “box” mounted on a circular track to allow for the best possible sunlight. As late as 1988, the foundations of this machinery were still extant; however a bird’s-eye view of the roof on Google Earth today does not show anything that looks like a remnant of this studio. Cornelius Roosevelt mansion In this photograph, Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession is passing down Broadway on April 25, 1865. The mansion (with the flag) across from Union Square was the home of Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt. If you zoom in on the second-floor window, you can actually see two boys watching the procession. They are Teddy Roosevelt, six years old, and his brother, Elliott, four. Back to the Diving Horses After starring in the AMB documentary filmed at Coney Island, King and Queen spent many more years touring the country and performing their high-dive feat at numerous parks and arenas. Sometime around 1902 the horses were sold to William H. O’Neill of Boston. By 1906, they were owned by J. W. Gorman, who signed them up to perform at Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey, Revere Beach in Massachusetts, and many other venues. King and Queen Revere Beach Here you can see the horse diving into a portable tank at the Revere Beach Carnival in 1906. Over the years, other diving horse acts came and went, but none of the horses ever dove head-first into the water on their own accord as did King and Queen. Today, there is still a diving horse show at Magic Forest Amusement Park in Lake George, New York, but these horses “dive” only nine feet — and it looks like they go feet first. Incidentally, in October 1915, the S.P.C.A. charged several employees of the Fox Film Corporation in New York — including renowned veterinarian Dr. Martin J. Potter (of the Thespian Horse College at Ben Hur Stables) — for filming a horse and rider diving 83 feet from the Ausable Chasm at Lake Placid, New York. The rider broke his leg. The horse was not injured. According to Jane Petersen, a distant relative of the horse’s caretaker, Fred Lane, King died in 1924 and was buried on her family’s property in Falmouth, Maine. She sent me a photo of his carved headstone, below. kingjanepeterson

How hemp saved a steeltown