Friday, September 29, 2017

Charles Bales 1890's, Bloomington, Illinois

Charles Ransom Bales was born in 1848 in Blue River, Indiana to parents Seth and Margaret Bales. Bales lived in Bloomington, Illinois for most of his life where he was known as an expert penman and taught penmanship for many years.

 In 1903 he began dabbling in alternative medicine and advertised his "Vitapathic treatments" in the local paper. Vitapathy was, in the founder John Bunyan Campbell's own words, "A religious scientific system of health and life, for body and soul, with all-healing spirit power." Vitapaths believed, among other things, in immortality and the power of electrical treatments. Bales claimed in his ad that if he could not cure his subject's ailments, they would not have to pay. Later, in 1905 and 1907, he is listed in the Bloomington directory as an osteopath, a practice that involved massage and manipulative treatments of bone and tissue. He finally retired from medicine around 1911, when he is listed as a card writer.  Charles Bales died in 1915 in California.

If you know who this may be, let us know in the comments!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Benjamin Pitman 1870's-1880's, Cincinnati, Ohio

The back reads:
"Benn Pitman
Courtroom reporter
in Lincoln Conspiracy
Introduced shorthand
system invented by
his brother."

This is my 100th post and almost the 6th anniversary of this blog! To celebrate the occasion I wanted to post a special photograph I've had for a while but never got around to putting on here.

Born in England in 1822, Benjamin "Benn" Pitman assisted his brother Issac in developing a system of shorthand, which he went onto popularize in America by publishing numerous textbooks and founding the Phonographic Institute. During the Civil War he served as a Union soldier before becoming a reporter and acting as the stenographer on the Lincoln assassination trials, during which he used the Pitman system of shorthand. In 1873 Pitman became involved in the arts and crafts movement in Cincinnati, Ohio and introduced the "Pitman School of Wood Carving" He promoted wood carving and other decorative arts as a new profession for women.

He also lived in an incredible house that served as a showcase for his students work as well as his own (here are some great pictures of it!). The house is still lived in today.

It's been an amazing 6 years running this blog. Here's to another 100 photographs!