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  • Treasure of the Month
    centuries They first became popular in the United States and the United Kingdom around 1840 In the following decades spittoons were common sights in saloons hotels banks railcars gentlemen s clubs and other locations of heavy public traffic Their popularity stemmed from efforts to reduce public spitting on sidewalks streets and floors Many cities backed this effort by passing laws that prohibited public spitting anywhere except into provided spittoons Typically made from brass or ceramic spittoons were flat bottomed and weighted to reduce chances of tipping They were also cut from crystal glass and fine porcelain and spittoons that were located within top hotels were often heavily decorated such as the one on display Few spittoons had lids but some were equipped with holes to aid in cleaning Public spittoons were often filled with an antiseptic to reduce disease transmission However when cigarettes and chewing gum grew to be preferred over chewing tobacco spittoon use declined World War II saw the end of the golden age of spittoons when vast numbers were melted down in scrap drives The Hotel Galvez spittoon is made of glazed china with the Hotel Galvez emblem stamped on the side It was likely manufactured for the Hotel s first collection of fine china for its opening season in June of 1911 The Hotel Galvez set to celebrate its 100th Anniversary this next year was planned after a mysterious fire destroyed the infamous Beach Hotel at 23rd and Beach After the 1900 Storm the opening of the Hotel Galvez stood as a sign that the city had triumphed from the nation s deadliest natural disaster and was a beacon for the new tourism industry The Hotel featured a barber shop candy store drug store soda fountain and a gentleman s Bar Grill its opening year and

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2010/12-spittoon/spittoon.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    petty crimes for relative amounts of time or until an official sentence could be carried out Although the stocks are one of the most publicized and well known medieval forms of punishment most people get them confused with the pillory Stocks were meant to restrain an offender s feet while the pillory restrained the arms and head This form of punishment was commonly used across Europe from the 14th century until the mid 19th century Its use in America began with the colonists and was still practiced when Galveston was founded in 1839 Stocks were most commonly built either at the entrance to a town or on a public green and no village was considered complete without them as they were essential to law and order There were several reasons one could be confined to the stocks which might include not attending church gambling being intoxicated singing ballads fortune telling wife beating hedge tearing swearing jesting and even oversleeping Punishments could last anywhere from one hour to several days As well as being verbally abused by the general public offenders in the stocks often had an array of items thrown at them such as rotten eggs filth from the streets dead cats rats stones and other unpleasant remains The worst humiliation one could suffer though was having the bottom of one s feet exposed to the public Stocks eventually were replaced with make shift jails and other confinement buildings as they were considered a more reasonable and humane punishment Today the stocks have taken on a lighter image and are mostly found at Renaissance Fairs where the public can experience a form of stock entertainment The set of stocks displayed at the library pictured above would have accommodated three persons seated on a bench with their feet secured through holes

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2009/08-stocks/stocks.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    industry as the first animated film in Technicolor Never before had animators drawn the human form so convincingly while also entertaining an audience for an entire length of a film Snow White is known as one of the highest grossing motion pictures of its time and was only surpassed by Gone with the Wind in 1939 The original worldwide gross was 8 5 million a figure that would translate into hundreds of millions of dollars today Costing 1 4 million the film was in production for three years and utilized more than 750 artists At the Academy Awards in 1939 actress Shirley Temple presented Walt Disney with one full size Oscar along with seven dwarf Oscars For its 1993 reissue the film was the first animation film to be fully restored It was completely digitized by computer cleaned up and then printed back to film Snow White has been reissued eight times in 1944 1952 1958 1967 1975 1983 1987 and 1993 and then released on video in 1994 Cel animation is the traditional form of animation used in the production of cartoons and animated movies where each frame of a scene is meticulously drawn by hand The artistic process begins with the storyboard which illustrates the action of the script Next animators create pencil drawings that give life and movement to the characters After the drawings have been transferred onto acetate the cels are then meticulously hand painted Producing a full length feature film using the technique of cel animation would often require the use of up to or more than one million drawings to complete It was after the release of Snow White that Walt Disney Studios decided to retail their animation art through the Courvoisier Gallery which was then located in San Francisco A Courvoisier piece can

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2009/09-sneezy/cel.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    who practiced this mystical art Some gazers used a palm ball of only a few inches in diameter others preferred to use a larger ball mounted on a stand The largest flawless known quartz sphere is part of the collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D C It spans 12 9 inches in diameter and weighs close to 107 pounds Crystal gazing was developed by various cultures for a variety of purposes as early as 3000 BC The Babylonians Ancient Egyptians Hindus Greeks Mayans Incas North American Indians and Australian Aborigines all used mirrored objects pools of water or crystal balls to communicate with and receive answers from the gods and often used scrying in temples to aid diplomats in decisions to define diseases or to learn of future dangers The Druids in Celtic Britain as well as Scottish Highlanders then used these stones of power to predict distant or future events to give character analyses to tell fortunes or to help make choices about current situations and problems There are numerous literary accounts which refer to the superstitions associated with crystal balls The Orphic poem Lithica a Greek epic poem told of a magic stone sphere made of heavy black stone or metal which was used to foretell the downfall of Troy The Arabic author Haly Abou Gefar told of a golden ball used in the incantations of the Magi Dr John Dee a scientist astronomer mathematician and alchemy and divination expert was Queen Elisabeth I s consultant and commonly used crystal and crystal balls to acquire knowledge Ancient Mexican lore also tells of a god named Tezatlipuco who beheld a magic mirror which allowed him to view events throughout the world Crystal balls were also used by seers sorcerers psychics and other members of

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2009/10-crystal/ball.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    to fight a fire in the nearby vicinity The number of buckets a home or business was required to own was determined by its potential risk of fire The first fire apparatus in America was built in 1743 beginning the era of hand pumpers These early fire engines were designed to spray water with more force and accuracy than the bucket brigades Firemen had to pull these early hand pumpers manually from the fire houses to the buildings ablaze Firefighters operated hand pumped fire engines with duel pumping arms that when pushed up and down would draw water out of the tub into a pressure chamber and then out through the hose The addition of pressure allowed the water to keep a continuous flow With this design bucket brigades were still used to continuously supply the tubs with water The action of pumping the arms was known as working on the brakes It required eight men or more to operate the arms on early equipment and in a matter of minutes the men would succumb to exhaustion Galveston s Fire Department began in 1843 as a bucket brigade with a small group of volunteer fire fighters when the city was still young Known as the Galveston Hook and Ladder Company No 1 this bucket brigade used water from the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay as well as the underground and overhead cisterns to serve the community The firemen wore red shirts and white belts and often marched in town parades The Firemen s Grand Parade was held on San Jacinto Day with a large parade through downtown Galveston Click the newspaper clipping below to view a portion of the Galveston Daily News coverage of the fire companies in the parade The invention of pressurized fire hydrants allowed hand pumpers

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2009/11-pumper/pumper.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    of their guests The first Gelateria ice cream shop in the United States was established in New York in 1770 and this iced cream dessert became a favorite dish among colonials The ice cream industry as it is known today was wholly developed on American soil and the past few centuries have brought several improvements to this creamy confection These include the addition of salt to the iced cream which lowered and controlled the temperature of the ingredients as well as the invention of wooden bucket freezers with rotary paddles Augustus Jackson a former White House chef was given the title father of ice cream because he created several popular ice cream methods and flavors in 1832 In 1846 Nancy Johnson patented a hand cranked freezer that established the basic method of making ice cream that is still used today The first large scale commercial ice cream plant was established in 1851 It was the introduction of mechanical refrigeration that made ice cream commercially distributable Purity Ice Cream Co Texas oldest ice cream company was a family operation which opened in 1889 However there is an on going debate concerning who were the original founders of the company It was either both owned and operated by the Brynston family from inception or it was started by Mr Jerry Sullivan and his partner Mr Ben Willis before it was sold to the Brynston family Regardless of the true founder Purity ice cream was so popular in Galveston County that few drugstore soda fountains or neighborhood grocery stores carried any other brand name Every location proudly displayed the Purity neon signs The factory on 1202 Postoffice churned eighteen flavors each made from cream bought from Lufkin TX During its heyday this relatively small plant manufactured 5 000 gallons of ice cream per

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2009/12-purity/purity.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    The tsubas were collected by Mr George Sealy II and were donated to the library in 1940 A tsuba is the protective hand guard plate of a Japanese sword The tsuba served several functional purposes First it kept the blade and the hilt of the sword in balance Second it prevented an opponent s blade from injuring the sword holder s hand Third the tsuba helped the warrior guide his weapon back into its scabbard Tsubas were also means of communicating a warrior s social status The designs chosen often signified one s clan school or belief system Tsubas were made by skilled artisans whose sole vocation was the crafting of these sword guards Often tsubas were lavishly ornamented and were passed down as heirlooms by one generation to the next Sometimes a family crest was used as part of the design on a tsuba Other motifs that appear on tsuba are animals plants mythological figures or religious images In its simplest form the tsuba was a plain unadorned plate Many tsuba were quite a bit more embellished and featured surface texturing elaborate openwork designs and decorative inlay or overlay Styles were primarily determined by the time period region and

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2008/01-tsuba/tsuba.htm (2016-04-26)
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  • Treasure of the Month
    from 1938 through 1949 were prepared by fashion designers at the Emile Robin studio in San Antonio Texas Robin was a well known interior decorator set designer and float manufacturer in San Antonio during the first half of the twentieth century In addition to creating spectacular costumes for Galveston s Mardi Gras Emile Robin and his brother Marcel designed and built many of the parade floats used for San Antonio s famous Fiesta celebrations The French born brothers trained at the illustrious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris Galveston s first Mardi Gras celebration was held in 1967 Events included lavish masquerade balls elaborate theatrical performances and grand parades Mardi Gras was discontinued during the time of World War II but it resumed in 1949 City sponsored Mardi Gras celebrations ended after the mid 1950s because they were too expensive to continue In 1985 Galvestonians George and Cynthia Mitchell launched a revival of Mardi Gras and it has been a great success for the past twenty years The twelve day event still includes the traditional street parades theatrical performances and galas However art exhibits live music and sporting events have also become part of the Mardi Gras celebration Today more

    Original URL path: http://rosenberg-library-museum.org/displays/treasure/2008/02-mardigras/mardigras.htm (2016-04-26)
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