Born in New Ulm, Minnesota, Wanda Gág grew up hearing the fairy tales of her parents’ native Bohemia, in a household filled with music and literature.
Her father was an artist who supported the family by decorating houses and churches, and he encouraged her interest in art. She attended art school in St. Paul and Minneapolis, and won a scholarship to study at the Art Students League in New York in 1917.
Although first and foremost a printmaker (she had one-woman shows at the New York Public Library and the Weyhe Gallery, and was featured in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum, New York during the 1930s and 1940s), her true fame rests with her children’s books.
Millions of Cats won the Newbery Honor Award in 1929, and The ABC Bunny was given the same honor in 1934.
Her art grew out of her Bohemian heritage, yet is distinctly her own, using bold, strong, lines and sinuous forms which make inanimate objects terrifyingly alive, and living creatures — such as her cats, her mice, and herself, whimsically engaging.
In his “Notes on the Spiral Press” Joseph Blumenthal remembered Wanda Gág.
Writing about the calendars they sent to friends of the press in the 1920s (each decorated with six woodcuts by young American printmakers), he recalled that “Wanda Gág made heroes of subjects in our printshop, to the dismay of our compositors and pressmen who thought wheels should really be round.”
Between 1908 and 1911, the photographer and social reformer Lewis Hine travelled the U.S. for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) documenting child labor — in factories, textile mills, canneries, and coal mines — focusing in particular on the Carolina Piedmont.
Amongst the hundreds of photographs he made in this time is this unique set of composite photographs of Southern cotton mill workers.
Each image was created by purposively rephotographing several workers upon the same photographic plate. The idea of overlaying portraits in this way was not without precedent.
The technique was invented in 1880s by Sir Francis Galton who used multiple exposures to create an “average” portrait from many different faces.
For Galton, the primary purpose of the method was so as to advance his views on human ideal types, and it could be argued that Hine used it in a similar way (albeit divorced from the somewhat suspect context of phrenology), to generalise his observations regarding the damaging physical effects of the back-breaking factory work on young bodies.
However, the fact that Hine overlays faces of quite different physicality perhaps implies a subtler motive, one perhaps more orientated around the haunting quality of the final image.
The composites were never published in Hine’s lifetime, although the portraits of the same children used in the process do appear in posters for the NCLC alongside such headlines as “Making Human Junk: Shall Industry Be Allowed To Put This Cost On Society?”.
In general, Hine’s heart-rending images from his time with the NCLC — often the result of putting himself at great personal danger — helped to influence the change in several laws, including the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act of 1916.
Reshevsky was born at Ozorków near Łódź (in Poland). He learned to play chess at age four, and was soon acclaimed as a child prodigy.
At age eight he was beating accomplished players with ease, and giving simultaneous exhibitions. In November 1920, his parents moved to the U.S. to make a living exhibiting their child.
Reshevsky played thousands of games in exhibitions all over the U.S. He played in the 1922 New York Masters tournament; at that stage he was likely the youngest player to have competed in a strong tournament.
In his youth, Reshevsky did not attend school, and his parents appeared in District Court in Manhattan facing a charge of improper guardianship.
However, Julius Rosenwald, wealthy co-owner of Sears, Roebuck and Company in Chicago, soon afterwards became Reshevsky’s benefactor; Rosenwald guaranteed Reshevsky’s future on condition that he would complete his education.
Reshevsky never became a truly professional chess player.
He gave up competitive chess for seven years, from 1924 to 1931, to complete his secondary education. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1934 with a degree in accounting, and supported himself and his family by working as an accountant.
His 1941 marriage to Norma Mindick produced three children.
Reshevsky was a devout Orthodox Jew and would not play on the Jewish Sabbath; his games were scheduled accordingly.
Zoe Williams and her children Thurston and Harper, with friend Thomas, in front of the ‘weird’ Cholmondeley Ladies.
Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian
by Zoe Williams
I took my children to Tate Britain in open defiance of the artist Jake Chapman, who says taking kids to galleries is a “total waste of time”.
I think it opens up a different kind of conversation: at home, I often feel like I’m interrogating my children (What did you do at school? Who was fun, who annoyed you, what did the teacher say, how come you were sad?) and they’re always finding new and inventive ways to evade me. Gaze “not at each other, but in the same direction”, wrote Seamus Heaney.
We went to Tate Modern over the summer for a general look around; unhappily, I had taken them to McDonald’s on the way, and they each (my two and their two cousins) let go of a helium Happy Meal balloon in the Turbine Hall.
“That’s probably the first time that has ever happened,” said an attendant, as we watched the balloons lodge themselves in the rafters.
Before that, I’d taken them to the Schwitters in Britain show at Tate Britain, on which occasion my youngest, then three, insisted on wearing her cha-cha heels. Yes, I put my toddler in high heels, what of it? People actually went up to her and asked her about them.
The problem on both those occasions was not my children, but other people. A drizzly Monday morning with no one else about was much mellower. I had my two – Harper, five, and Thurston, six, and Thurston’s friend Thomas, seven.
Thomas took a puckish delight in pointing out everything that either was a naked person or looked like one: to the determined eye, it turns out, this includes all art. It took in Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s Red Stone Dancer, the terrifying sculptures of Jacob Epstein, and everything by Henry Moore.
Thurston was keenly vigilant in case I saw any penises. Whether that was for my own propriety or because it would be embarrassing for the world to know that I might have seen one before, I have no idea.
We all had a long chat by Frederic Leighton’s Athlete Wrestling With a Python – who would win? Could the python’s venom drop on to his arm and kill him, even as he throttled it? Everyone thought The Cholmondeley Ladies looked “weird”.