Karlheinz Weinberger

The Photography of Karlheinz Weinberger

Born in Zürich in June of 1921, Karlheinz Weinberger was a self-taught Swiss photographer who over his sixty year career documented the outsider culture of rebellious male youths and working-class men. He used the pseudonym “Jim”, taken from a popular 1930 song written by German-Austrian composer Hanns Eisler, for his photographic work from 1948 to 2000.    

From 1936 to 1939, Karlheinz Weinberger attended Zürich’s grammar school and began taking photographs with his first camera. He became a member of the Bund der Nuturfreunde (Association of Nature Enthusiasts) photography club where he developed greater skills in both photographing and processing. In 1942, Weinberger was called for military training after which he served a period of active military service. At the end of the Second World War, he gained temporary employment as a carpet and furniture salesman but also endured periods of unemployment. 

Beginning in 1948, Weinberger became an active member of Zürich’s famous underground gay club “Der Kreis (The Circle)”. He began in the mid-1950s to publish his photos in the underground gay journals “Der Kreis”, printed through the club, and “Club68” Karlheinz Weinberger, Untitled Portrait, Zurich, circa 1970s, Gelatin Silver Print, Karlheinz Weinberger Estatefounded by a small team of former Kreis members. Weinberger  published more than eighty photographs though “Der Kreis” until the journal’s last issue in 1967. It should be noted that “Der Kreis”, besides being the only gay publication to include editorial content in three languages, was the most important European journal promoting the legal and social rights of gay men at that time.

During the 1950s, Karlheinz Weinberger spent his summer holidays in the Mediterranean area where he took portraits on the coasts and islands of Italy and during later excursions into Morocco. Weinberger’s images of sailors, fishermen, beach goers, and dockworkers were later published in “Mediterranean”,  a 2021 posthumous volume, the third of a series through the Swiss publisher Sturm & Drang.

From 1955 to his retirement in 1986, Weinberger was employed in the warehouse department of the Siemens-Albis factory in Zürich; this day-time position provided the finances for his off hours’ photographic work. In 1958, Weinberger met and photographed the young rocker Jimmy Oechslin in the streets of Zürich. Oechslin introduced him to Switzerland’s growing gang culture known by the German term Halbstarker, meaning ‘half-strong’. Groups of Zürich’s young people, influenced by the many aspects of American culture, were looking for an identity of their own. They established an antiauthoritarian subculture based on American film, rock music, customized jean clothing and the riding of motorcycles. 

Intrigued by the teenagers’ edgy look as well as their attitude towards authority, Karlheinz Weinberger began documenting this post-war generation on Zürich’s streets and at local festivals. He later established an improvised portrait studio at the apartment shared with his mother. During this period, Weinberger  became the one of the first photographers granted permission to document the local chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Between 1964 and 1976, he worked as a freelancer for various sports magazines and specialized in sports reporting in Switzerland and East Germany. 

Karlheinz Weinberger, Untitled, Portrait from 2011 "Jeans", Swiss Institute, New York CitySince 1963, Weinberger presented his work in various group exhibitions in Zürich, Israel, Italy, Canada and the United States. In 1968, he won a prize for his sports photographs at the NIVON Holland competition. Weinberger’s first solo exhibition, entitled “The Hooligans 1955-1960” was held in 1980 at Zürich’s Migros Club School, a recreation and education center. The first institutional exhibition of Weinberger’s work to a wider audience was a major retrospective entitled “Intimate Stranger” held in 2000 at Zürich’s Design Museum. Consisting exclusively of vintage prints mostly developed in Weinberger’s home lab, the show documented his close, but still outsider, view of the Halbstarker gangs. This exhibition later traveled to Vancouver, Canada.

Karlheinz Weinberger passed away in December of 2006 in Zürich at the age of eighty-five. The Galerie Esther Woerdehoff is the owner of the Weinberger Estate which is housed in the Swiss Social Archives in Zürich. In February and March of 2011, the Swiss Institute at St. Marks Place in New York City held an exhibition of Weinberger’s vintage prints curated through the collaboration of the Karlheinz Weinberger Estate and Gianni Jetzer, Curator-at-large at Washington DC’s Hirshhorn Museum. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Swiss Institute published a portfolio of fifty-four images entitled “Karlheinz Weinberger: Jeans”. 

In August of 2017 in conjunction with a large retrospective exhibition at Les Rencontres d’Arles, the German publisher Steidl released French and English editions of “Swiss Rebels”, a collection of Weinberger’s homoerotic images of rockers, bikers, construction workers and athletes. In 2018, publisher Starm & Drang released “Karlheinz Weinberger: Sports” , a collection of work discovered after the artist’s death in 2006. The volume, the second in its series, included one hundred-thirty images taken from thousands of negatives, slides and prints that documented bike races, wrestling matches and weight-lifting events.

Notes: The online magazine on contemporary culture Kvadrat Interwoven has an excellent article on Karlheinz Weinberger’s early career written by Larissa Kasper. This article can be located at: http://kvadratinterwoven.com/foto-jim-zurich

A timeline of Karlheinz Weinberger’s life is available at the Gallery Esther Woerdehoff site, the executor of his estate. This information is located at: https://ewgalerie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Weinberger_en-2022.pdf

Second Insert Image: Karlheinz Weinberger, Untitled Portrait, Zürich, circa 1970s, Gelatin Silver Print, Karlheinz Weinberger Estate

Fourth Insert Image: Karlheinz Weinberger, Untitled, Portrait from 2011 “Jeans”, Swiss Institute, New York City

David Lebe

The Photography of David Lebe

Born in Manhattan, New York in 1948, David Lebe is an American photographer whose work includes both figurative and still life images. His initial education began at the progressive, elementary-level City & Country School in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and later at Harlem’s High School of Music and Art. During these years, Lebe frequently visited New York City’s many art museums, particularly drawn to the Museum of Modern Art’s photographic exhibitions. His exposure to the photographs of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and Robert Frank, among others, generated a life-long passion for street photography.

David Lebe is best known for his experimental images. Among the techniques used are pinhole cameras, photograms made by placing objects directly on photographic paper and then exposing it to light, hand-painted photographs, and light drawings, an old technique which entails using a moving light source during a long-exposure photograph. In his photography, Lebe explores the issues of gay identity, homoeroticism, and living with AIDS. 

From 1966 to 1970, David Lebe attended the Philadelphia College of Art where he studied photography under Ray K. Metzker, known for his bold experimental, black and white cityscapes; Tom Porett, who pioneered work in the extended photograph, multi-media and digital photographic processes: and Barbara Blondeau, best known for her strip-print images created through different winding speeds, and various lighting and masking techniques. 

During  his studies with Barbara Blondeau in 1969 and 1970, Lebe began to experiment with pinhole cameras and built his own devices with multiple apertures which enabled him to record panoramic views from different angles. For his senior thesis, he created “Form Without Substance”, a series of high-contrast images with strong black shadows which were taken in Philadelphia and his childhood area of Manhattan.Two years after graduation, Lebe accepted a teaching position at the Philadelphia College of Art, where he taught photography until 1990. During his tenure, he exhibited his photography in private galleries and museums. 

A dissatisfaction with the results of color film printing led David Lebe to begin hand-coloring his gelatin silver prints, photograms and pinhole images, and traditional photographs. His first collection of these works was the 1974-75 “Unphotographs”, a series of meticulously hand-painted portraits and self-portraits. After the purchase of a townhouse and studio space in Philadelphia, Lebe began to create several series of photograms using plant material collected from his gardens and country excursions. His “Specimens” series featured plants, bones and other material combined into hybrid forms; the “Garden Series” contained images of plant material dissected and reassembled; “Landscapes” placed the hybrid forms in hand-painted settings.

In early 1976 still living in a cramped apartment in Philadelphia, Lebe created his first black and white light drawing . Standing before a 35mm camera on a tripod, he made a long exposure using a flashlight to draw an outline of his naked body and embellished it with points and lines of light throughout the room. This technique, originally used by photographers Étienne-Jules Marey and Georges Demeny in the 1800s, developed over time to include other people, objects and their surroundings. The long exposure time allowed Lebe to enter these images with his subjects and create events rather than moments of time. 

In 1987, following the death of a friend from AIDS and just before his own HIV diagnosis, David Lebe produced “Scribbles”, abstract images drawn freehand with a flashlight and which often featured light emerging from a glass vase. In 1989, David Lebe began a series of four shoots depicting adult film star and author Scott O’Hara. These sessions contained both nude and erotic images which, while documenting the effects of AIDS on O’Hara’s body, also presented his determination to embrace his personal sexual pleasure.

In 1989, Lebe met the ceramic artist and horticulturist Jack Potter. The two began a relationship that has continued to endure for over thirty years. Both men were HIV-positive when they met. They altered their lifestyle, their eating habits, and moved to the rural Columbia County of New York in 1993. The transition from city to country life inspired Lebe to create the still-life series “Food for Thought”, arrangements of various vegetables and foods shot against black background, sometimes with spirals of light around them. 

Despite their efforts at a healthy diet and lifestyle, both David Lebe and Jack Potter began to decline in their health in the mid-1990s. In 1994, Lebe documented his lover Jack’s daily self-care regimen with a series of small, intimate black and white portraits. In his 1996-97 “Jack’s Garden”, he made detailed studies of the gardens Potter had cultivated on the property. In 1996, Lebe and Potter began the newly designed combination-drug therapy that was showing success in extending the lives of HIV-positive patients. 

By 2004, David Lebe fully embraced digital photography and continued to photograph the environment around his and Jack’s home. He also began making new color prints of older work, including his early pinhole prints. In 2013, he started his ongoing series “ShadowLife”, images of shadows and reflections illuminated by early morning light streaming through the house’s windows, thus continuing his earlier studies of shadows. In May of 2019, Lebe had his first solo museum exhibition, “Long Light”, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which featured one hundred-forty five images spanning five decades. The exhibition represented both a historic achievement for an artist with AIDS and an important resistance to the dangerous tendency to historicize the disease.

David Lebe’s photography can be found in many private and public collections, which include, among others, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California; the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City; Houston’s Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe’s New Mexico History Museum, the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and a major collection of his work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Images of David Lebe’s work, prints for sale, and quotes from Lebe can be found at the artist’s site located at: https://davidlebe.com

Top Insert Image: David Lebe, “Unzippered, Paul, Philadelphis”, 1981, Light Drawomg Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Second Insert Image: David Lebe, “Self Portrait, Philadelphia”, 1981, Hand-Colored Light Drawing, Silver Gelatin Print

Third Insert Image: David Lebe, “Socks, (Renato, Philadelphia)”, 1983, Hand-Colored Light Drawing, Silver Gelatin Print

Fourth Insert Image: David Lebe, “Underpants, 1981, Light Drawomg Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Fifth Insert Image: David Lebe, “Paul After, 1981, Light Drawomg Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Bottom Insert Image: David Lebe, “Avalon (Barry Kohn, Boardwalk, Avalon, New Jersey)”, 1980,  Light Drawing Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Herbert List

Photography by Herbert List

Herbert List was a classically educated artist who combined his fascination with  Surrealism and Classicism with his love for photography. His austere, classically posed black and white compositions, particularly his Greek and Italian homoerotic nudes, became a prominent influence on both fashion and contemporary photography. 

Born in Hamburg, Germany, in October of 1903 to a wealthy business family, Herbert List  studied art and literature between 1921 and 1923 at the University of Heidelberg. In 1923, he began to travel for the family’s coffee business, Kaffee-Import Firma List & Heineken. List made contacts and visited plantations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil and El Salvador; during this four year period, he began to record his travels photographically.  

Through his connections to the European avant-garde, List became associated with  American photographer Andreas Bernhard, known for his dynamic black and white city scenes and natural structures. Bernhard  introduced him to the Rolleiflex camera which allowed for more sophisticated compositions. Beginning in 1930, influenced by the Bauhaus artists and  the emerging surrealist movement, List began photographing still life and portraits of friends, often employing draped fabrics, masks, and double exposures. 

Once the National Socialist Party was in control of Germany, the Gestapo began to pay attention to Herbert List’s openly gay lifestyle and Jewish heritage. In 1936, he left Germany for Paris and decided to begin a professional career as a photographer. During 1937 List maintained a studio in London and held his first solo show at Galerie du Chasseur d’Images, the first Paris gallery dedicated to photography.  Starting in 1936 with a reference from fashion photographer George Hoyningen-Huene to Harper’s Bazaar magazine, List began a three year period working as a fashion photographer for various magazines, including Verve, Vogue, and Life.

Dissatisfied  with fashion photography, List returned to his still life and portraiture  work. He traveled throughout Greece from 1937 to 1939 where he took photographs of ancient temples, sculptures and landscapes; two hundred of these photographs would be published in his 1953 “Licht Über Hellas: Eine Symphonie in Bildern”. During this time, List supported himself with work for magazines and the press, and by doing portraiture work. 

Working in Athens, Herbert List hoped to escape World War II; however, when troops invaded Greece, he was forced in 1941 to return to Germany, where, due to a grandparent’s Jewish heritage, he was denied the ability to work or publish professionally. Near the end of the war in 1944, despite his Jewish heritage, he was drafted into the German military and served in Norway as a map designer. A trip to Paris during his military service allowed him the opportunity to photograph images of Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, and other artists.

After the war, List continued to live in Munich until 1960, where he photographed its ruins and produced freelance photo essays for newspapers and magazines such as Look, Picture Post, Heute, and Harper’s Bazaar. List was made art editor in 1948 for the Swiss-German language, daily free newspaper Heute, which was published by the Allied Forces. In 1951 through an invitation by photojournalist Robert Capa, he started contributing photographs to Magnum, an international photographic cooperative. 

Through the next decade Herbert List focused his interest on photographing life in Italy. where he shot photo essays, street scenes, architectural views, and portraits using a 35 mm camera and a telephoto lens. His work became more spontaneous and was influenced by the Italian neorealist film movement and the work of his Magnum colleague Henri Cartier-Bresson. List ’s travels for his photographic work was extensive, including trips to Spain, France, Mexico, and the Caribbean. 

List’s publications include “Rom”, a collection of his work in Rome, published in Munich in 1950:“Caribia”, his Caribbean Island series published in 1958: “Nigeria”, published in 1963; and “Napoli”,  a 1962  collaboration with Italian director Vittorio de Sica. List is best known for his  1988 book “Junge Männer”, a collection of seventy images of young men lounging in the sun, wrestling, or gazing at the camera. The introduction of the book was written by English novelist Stephen Spender, who fictionalized List as Joachim Lenz in his novel “The Temple”. 

Herbert List passed away in Munich on the 4th of April in 1975. His archive of photographs, originally part of the Ratjen Collection, is now housed in the National Gallery in Washington DC. His work is held in many private and public collections, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston’s Museum of Fine Art, Kunsthaus Zürich, Cologne’s Museum Ludwig, Munich;s Stadtmaueum, and the Musée Picasso in Paris.

Insert Images:

Herbert List, “Self Portrait, Herrsching”, 1947, Silver Gelatin Print

Herbert List, “Man and Dog”, 1939, Gelatin Silver Print

Photographer Unknown, “Herbert List and Max Scheler, Venice”, 1952, Silver Gelatin Print, Mas Scheler Estate

Herbert List, “Young Man Under Reed Roof, Torremolinos”, 1951, Gelatin Silver Print

Rotimi Fani-Kayode

The Photographic Work of Rotimi Fani-Kayode

Photographer Rotimi Fani-Kayode, the son of a chieftain of Ife, the ancestral capital of the Yoruba people, was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1955, He moved at the age of eleven, with his family to Brighton, England, in order to escape the Nigerian Civil War. Fani-Kayode studied at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and later at the Pratt Institute in New York, where he earned his MFA in 1983. 

After graduating, Fani-Kayode returned to England, settling permanently, to pursue a career in photography.  A prominent figure in the Black British art scene, he was a founding member and the first chairman of Autograph ABP, the Association of Black Photographers, in 1968. During the height of the AIDS crisis and in response to the homophobia in both England and his home country of Nigeria, Fani-Kayode photographed images that called attention to the politics of race, dignified queer black culture and homoerotic desire, and explored cultural differences and identity.

Using ancestral rituals and multi-layered symbolism joined with archetypal motifs from both African and European cultures, Fani-Kayode depicted the black male body as the focal point to probe the boundaries of erotic and spiritual fantasy, and sexual and cultural differences. He saw his work as a way to explore the position of the black body in the imagery of the Western cultures and to contest the narrowness of the Yoruba mindset in terms of homosexuality. Fani-Kayode , using the dramatic lighting of chiaroscuro and the transformation of Yoruba mythological symbols and rituals, presented intimate moments of queer sexuality as a means of personal and political survival.

Rotimi Fani-Kayode’s photographs have been exhibited internationally since 1985, with numerous solo exhibitions in London, Boston, New York, and Cape Town. In 2003, his work was featured in the African Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale and, in 2011, in ARS 11 at the Kiasma-Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Finland. Fani-Kayode’s work is represented in the collections of numerous institutions and private collectors including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Walther Family Foundation, Harvard University’s Hutchins Center, and the Kiasma-Museum of Contemporary Art, among others.

One of the most significant names in the history of black photography, Rotimi Fani-Kayode’s career was cut short by his untimely death at the age of thirty-four in December 1989. Many of his photographs were created in collaboration with his late partner Alex Hirst and are collected in the posthumous 1996 publication “Rotimi Fani-Kayode and Alex Hirst: Photographs”. His work is represented by Autograph ABP, London.

“My identity has been constructed from my own sense of otherness, whether cultural, racial or sexual. The three aspects are not separate within me. Photography is the tool by which I feel most confident in expressing myself. It is photography therefore – Black, African, homosexual photography – which I must use not just as an instrument, but as a weapon if I am to resist attacks on my integrity and, indeed, my existence on my own terms.  — Rotimi Fani-Kayode, “Traces of Ecstasy”, Ten-8, Number 28, 1988.

Note: All photographic work shown was a collaborative effort by Rotimi Fani-Kayode and Alex Hirst.  Images reblogged with thanks to Autograph ABP, London.

Luke Austin

Luke Austin, “Self-Portrait”, 2018

Australian-born and now living in Los Angeles, Luke Austin started out as a photographer doing photo shoots of bands and musicians, later moving to portraits representing his own gay community. Working with his Instagram app, he has traveled the world and shot many photo shoots of over a hundred men in different cities. Austin has gone from a large Instagram following to becoming a published photographer with his series of “Mini Beau Books” and his latest book “LEWA”, a photographic study of race, masculinity, and sexuality.

Austin has recently shown at a solo 2018 exhibit “LEWA” at PT Gallery in Berlin, the 2018 “Queer Biennial” group show at Navel in Los Angeles, and the 2017 “Home” group show at the Stonewall National Museum and Archives, in Florida.

His work can be seen at his gallery in Los Angeles and at his site: www.lukeaustinphoto.com,

Image reblogged with many thanks to https://doctordee.tumblr.com



Calendar: December 9

A Year: Day to Day Men: 9th of December

An Anchor on Black Cord

The animated television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” made its television debut on the Columbia Broadcasting System, CBS, on the ninth of December in 1965. Produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez, it was the first television special based on the comic strip “Peanuts”, written and drawn by American cartoonist Charles Schulz. The television special won an Emmy Award in 1966. 

Charles Schulz is widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists in history and a major influence for other cartoonists. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in November of 1922, he always loved drawing through his early formative years. Drafted into the United States Army, Schulz served as a staff sergeant with the 20th Armored Division in the European theater during World War ii. For being under fire, he received the Combat Infantry Badge. 

In late 1945 upon his return to Minnesota, Schulz did lettering work for a Roman Catholic comic magazine “Timeless Topix”. In July of 1946, he was employed at Art Instruction, Inc. where he reviewed and graded students’ artwork. Schulz’s first group of regular cartoons, a weekly series of one-panel jokes called “Li’l Folks”, was published from June of 1947 to January of 1950 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It was in this series that a character with the name Charlie Brown and a dog quite like Snoopy first appeared. 

In January of 1950, United Feature Syndicate became interested in Schulz’s “Li’l Folks”. Schulz had expanded the strip to four panels, a version the syndicate preferred. However, due to legal reasons, the syndicate changed the name to “Peanuts”. The comic strip’s first appearance was in seven newspapers on the second of October in 1950. Its appearance on the weekly Sunday page debuted on the sixth of January in 1952. The “Peanuts” strip eventually became one of the most popular comic strips of all time, as well as one of the most influential.

During the entire run of “Peanuts”, Charles Schulz took only one vacation, a five-week break in late 1997 to celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday. Many of the ideas for the characters in the strip were taken from family members and close friends, such as Peppermint Patty who was inspired by his cousin Patricia and the peppermint candies Schulz kept in his house. Charles Schulz was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian medal the United States legislature can bestow. He also received the Silver Buffalo Award, the highest adult award given by the Boy Scouts of America, as well as a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, adjacent to the Star of Walt Disney.

Calendar: December 8

A Year: Day to Day Men: 8th of December

Saturday Morning After Shower

On the eighth of December in 1881, Vienna’s Ring Theater was destroyed by a gaslight fire that killed three hundred and eighty-four people.

The popular Ring Theater in Vienna, Austria was built between 1872 and 1874 by architect Heinrich von Förster from plans drawn by Emil Ritter. Opening in January of 1874 under the direction of operatic tenor and actor Albin Swoboda Sr, it was originally the Opéra Comique. In September of 1878, it changed its name to the Ring Theater and its focus to spoken plays and variety presentations as well as German and Italian operas. 

As the footprint of the theater was small and it was intended for an audience of seventeen hundred, the architect designed the theater with four levels. On the eight of December in 1881, a fire began shortly before a performance of “Les Contes Fantastiques d’Hoffmann”, a French libretto written by composer Jacques Offenbach. The theater’s entire interior was engulfed in flames and collapsed; three hundred and eight-four people perished. In 1882, new regulations for theaters were passed regarding public safety provisions, including outward-opening doors, safety curtains and the fireproofing of the theater sets. 

The Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary Franz Joseph used his private funds to build an apartment building on the site of the demolished Ring Theater. Although a private residence, it supported worthy public causes. This building also suffered a fire in 1945 with heavy damages and eventually collapsed in 1951.

Between the years 1969 and 1974, an office building occupied the site and served as the federal headquarters for the Vienna police and federal security guards: a plaque commemorating the fire is installed on the police headquarters. The original Attic-styled statues from the Ring Theater are now in Vienna’s Pötzleinsdorfer Schlosspark, a sprawling natural preserve with statues, wildlife areas and a small farm. 

Calendar: December 4

A Year: Day to Day Men: 4th of December 

Lost in Thought

On the fourth day of December in 1872, the American-registered merchant brigantine, Mary Celeste, was discovered adrift and deserted in the Atlantic Ocean off the Azores Islands. 

The Mary Celeste was built in Spencer’s Island, Nova Scotia, and launched in 1861 under British registration as the “Amazon”. Seven years later, she was transferred to American ownership and renamed the “Mary Celeste”. She was a brigantine, a two-masted sailing vessel with a fully square-rigged foremast and at least two sails on her main mast: a square topsail and a gaff sail behind the mast. The Mary Celeste had a single deck, tonnage of 198.42 gross tons and a length of 30.3 meters. After her salvage in 1872, the Mary Celeste was rebuilt with a second deck and  additional depth; her tonnage was increased to 282.28 gross tons. 

In October of 1867, the “Amazon” was driven ashore during a storm and was so badly damaged that her owners abandoned her as a wreck. She was eventually acquired by a New York mariner Richard Haines who restored her and registered with the Collector of the Port of New York as an American vessel named “Mary Celeste”. The ship was seized by Haines’s creditors and sold to a consortium headed by James H. Winchester. Early in 1872, the Mary Celeste underwent a major refit which enlarged her considerably. 

In October of 1872, Captain Benjamin Spooner Briggs took command of the Mary Celeste for her first voyage following her extensive refit. As the voyage was to Genoa, Italy, Briggs arranged for his wife and infant daughter to accompany him, but left his school-aged son in the care of his grandmother. Satisfied with his ship and crew, the Mary Celeste was loaded on the twentieth of October with a cargo of seventeen-hundred barrels of alcohol. On November 5th, the ship left the pier with Briggs, his wife and daughter and seven crew members. 

On November 15th in 1872, the Canadian brigantine “Dei Gratia” left New York harbor with a cargo destined for Genoa, Italy. She followed the same general route as the Mary Celeste, only eight days behind. On December 4th at a point midway between the Azores and the coast of Portugal, the helmsman of the Dei Gratia reported a vessel with an odd set to her sails heading erratically towards their ship. Seeing no one on deck and receiving no replies to their signals, Captain Morehouse sent the first and second mates to investigate. The ship was deserted, the sails poorly set with some missing, and much of the rigging was damaged.

While the main hatch was secure, the other hatches of the Mary Celeste were open with the covers on deck. The ship’s single lifeboat was gone and the glass cover of the ship’s compass was shattered. There was a meter of water in the hold but that was not an alarming amount for the size of the vessel. The last entry in the daily log was November 25th, nine days earlier. While personal items in Captain Brigg’s cabin was scattered, gallery equipment was neatly stowed and there were ample provisions in the stores. With no signs of fire or violence, the missing lifeboat indicated an orderly departure from the ship. 

Captain Morehouse divided his crew of eight men to sail the Mary Celeste and the Dei Gratia to Gibraltar. The weather was calm but the progress, being under-crewed, was slow. A series of hearings were held at the Salvage Court in Gibraltar beginning in the middle of December. Various theories, based on testimonies from the Dei Gratia crew, were presented from mutiny and murder to conspiracy of fraud, due to the fact that the Mary Celeste was heavily over-insured. Fact and fiction became entwined over the decades with no determination as to the cause of the missing crew. At Spenser’s Island, the site of Mary Celeste’s original construction, a commemorative monument for her lost crew was erected as well as a memorial outdoor cinema theater. 

Calendar: February 1

Year: Day to Day Men: February 1

A Pose for Spring

February 1st of 1884 marks the publishing of volume one of “The Oxford English Dictionary”, designed to provide an inventory of English words in use since the mid-twelfth century. The ten-volume set was not completely published until April of 1928. The definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary, mostly in order of historical occurrence, are illustrated with approximately two-million four-hundred thousand quotations from English-language literature and records. 

In 1857, London’s Philological Society suggested the publication of the dictionary and the collection of materials quickly followed. With the appointment of Scottish lexicographer Sir James Murray as editor in chief, editorial work began in 1879. Murray, during his time as editor, was responsible for approximately half of the dictionary. This included all entries from the letter a through d, h through k, and all entries in the letters k,o,p and t.  Three more editors succeeded Murray during the course of the printing: British philologist and lexicographer Henry Bradley, Scottish language and literature professor William Alexander Craigie, and Charles Talbut Onions who became an Oxford lecturer and held the post of Fellow Librarian.

The original inventory of English words was entitled “A New English Dictionary on Historical Principals”, a twelve volume set with a one volume supplement. The 1884-1928 ten-volume edition “The Oxford English Dictionary”, initially edited by Murray and others, was the corrected and updated revision of the original set. In 1933, “The Oxford English Dictionary” was reissued again as a twelve volume set accompanied by a one volume supplement. A four-volume “Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary” that treated new words in English use, was printed between 1972 and 1986.

The second full edition of “The Oxford English Dictionary”, known as OED2, was published in 1989 by the Oxford University Press. Two more volumes of additions were added in 1993 and 1997, and work was begun on a complete revision of the entire body of work for a projected third edition.