Saturday, October 04, 2008

Monkeys, Banks Deposits and Civil Rights

Two quick historical items, both courtesy of Boing Boing.

First, some really nice photographs taken during the Scopes Monkey Trial. I didn't realize it was so hot one day that the trial was moved out of the courthouse and held outdoors. The description of the photograph reproduced above states:
William Jennings Bryan (seated at left) being interrogated by Clarence Seward Darrow, during the trial of the State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, July 20, 1925. That Monday afternoon, because of the extreme heat, Judge Raulston moved court proceedings outdoors. The session was held on a platform that had been erected at the front of the Rhea County Courthouse to accommodate ministers who wanted to preach during the time of the trial. Defense lawyers for Scopes (John R. Neal, Arthur Garfield Hays, and Dudley Field Malone) are visible seated to the extreme right. One of the men at left, with his back to the photographer, appears to be Scopes. The court reporters are seated at the table.

Second, early sound recordings -- early as in 1908 -- of presidential candidates William Jennings Bryan and William Howard Taft. Bryan speaks on "Guaranty of Bank Deposits," and Taft addresses "Rights and Progress of the Negroes." The newfangled medium seems to have intimidated both men a bit, but it's still fascinating to hear these voices from the past. I only wish we'd unearth recordings of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster!

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