Portrait: Baron Munchausen

31 January 2024 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  10 minutes

Munchhausen Museum in the former Schulenburg (residential tower) in Bodenwerder © JoachimKohler-HB/cc-by-sa-4.0

Munchhausen Museum in the former Schulenburg (residential tower) in Bodenwerder © JoachimKohler-HB/cc-by-sa-4.0

Baron Munchausen is a fictional German nobleman created by the German writer Rudolf Erich Raspe in his 1785 book Baron Munchausen’s Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia. The character is loosely based on baron Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchhausen.   read more…

Portrait: Walt Disney, an American animator, film producer, and entrepreneur

2 December 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  8 minutes

Walt Disney with film roll and Mickey Mouse on his right arm, 1935 © Library of Congress

Walt Disney with film roll and Mickey Mouse on his right arm, 1935 © Library of Congress

Walter Elias Disney was an American animator, film producer, and entrepreneur. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, he holds the record for most Academy Awards earned and nominations by an individual. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress and have also been named as some of the greatest films ever by the American Film Institute.   read more…

Portrait: Montesquieu, a French judge, man of letters, historian, and political philosopher

22 November 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  33 minutes

Statue of Baron de Montesquieu in Bordeaux © Als33120/cc-by-a-4.0

Statue of Baron de Montesquieu in Bordeaux © Als33120/cc-by-a-4.0

Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, man of letters, historian, and political philosopher. He is the principal source of the theory of separation of powers, which is implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He is also known for doing more than any other author to secure the place of the word despotism in the political lexicon. His anonymously published The Spirit of Law (1748), which was received well in both Great Britain and the American colonies, influenced the Founding Fathers of the United States in drafting the U.S. Constitution.   read more…

Portrait: Raymond Loewy, a French-born American industrial designer

25 October 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Design & Products, Portrait Reading Time:  8 minutes

1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner © Tysto

1953 Studebaker Commander Starliner © Tysto

Raymond Loewy was a French-born American industrial designer who achieved fame for the magnitude of his design efforts across a variety of industries. He was recognized for this by Time magazine and featured on its cover on October 31, 1949.   read more…

Portrait: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a British writer and physician

27 September 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  6 minutes

Arthur Conan Doyle by Walter Benington, 1914 © RR Auction

Arthur Conan Doyle by Walter Benington, 1914 © RR Auction

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KStJ, DL was a British writer and physician. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are milestones in the field of crime fiction.   read more…

Portrait: Alfred Dreyfus, a French artillery officer

23 August 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  13 minutes

Alfred Dreyfus © bildindex.de

Alfred Dreyfus © bildindex.de

Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer of Jewish ancestry from Alsace whose trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became one of the most polarizing political dramas in modern French history. The incident has gone down in history as the Dreyfus affair, the reverberations from which were felt throughout Europe. It ultimately ended with Dreyfus’ complete exoneration. The case remains interesting to this day because it is based on allegations, assumptions and circumstantial evidence without any real probative value, making it a political issue, including in the Jewish community of France itself, which has an impact into modern times. No matter from which direction you look at the affair, there is always a residual doubt and thus an indissolubility. The material for exciting, entertaining and complex cinema films with the possibility of shooting numerous sequels, but for Alfred Dreyfus himself and his family, of course, pure disaster.   read more…

Portrait: Salman Schocken, a German Jewish publisher, co-founder of the Schocken Department Store chain, and Zionist

26 July 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait, Shopping Reading Time:  11 minutes

Salman Schocken © haaretz.co.il - Alfred Bernheim

Salman Schocken © haaretz.co.il – Alfred Bernheim

Salman Schocken was a German Jewish publisher, and co-founder of the large Kaufhaus Schocken chain of department stores in Germany. Stripped of his citizenship and forced to sell his company by the German government, he immigrated to Mandatory Palestine in 1934, where he purchased the newspaper Haaretz (which is still majority-owned by his descendants).   read more…

Portrait: Johann Sebastian Bach, a German composer and musician

21 June 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  8 minutes

Johann Sebastian Bach in 1746 by Elias Gottlob Haussmann © jsbach.net

Johann Sebastian Bach in 1746 by Elias Gottlob Haussmann © jsbach.net

Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician of the late Baroque period. He is known for his orchestral music such as the Brandenburg Concertos; instrumental compositions such as the Cello Suites; keyboard works such as the Goldberg Variations and The Well-Tempered Clavier; organ works such as the Schübler Chorales and the Toccata and Fugue in D minor; and vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers in the history of Western music.   read more…

Portrait: Max Planck, originator of quantum theory

24 May 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  7 minutes

Max Planck, c. 1930 © library.si.edu - Transocean Berlin

Max Planck, c. 1930 © library.si.edu – Transocean Berlin

Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck ForMemRS was a German theoretical physicist whose discovery of energy quanta won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.   read more…

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