Tag Archives: SOCIAL HISTORY

Lucius Beebe, famous American railway buff & historian, was a self-described hedonist.

From the 1930s until his death in 1966, he was the image of a celebrity. An author, journalist, historian, raconteur, gourmet and bon vivant extraordinary – this amazing personality was one of the first gay men to have a publicly open relationship.   Columnist Walter Winchell called him “Luscious Lucius.” Beebe is perhaps best known for having coined the term ... Read More »

John Ringling North is the Circus King – Part 2

If John Ringling North had not come on the scene to run the family business in 1937, Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey might not have ever made it into the 21st Century to have its last performance tonight on Long Island. He seemed the only one to have the business and showman sense to run the show amongst the younger family ... Read More »

John Ringling North a combination of “Diamond Jim” Brady and “Bet a Million Gates”! – Part 3

As president of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey during the heyday of the famed Big-Top and traveling circus which will have its final performance tonight in Long Island, New York, John Ringling North received a rather modest salary.  But what North might have been lacking the substance of a millionaire, the consciously displayed the form. North was a glittering ... Read More »

North’s Showmanship at Madison Square Gardens and the end of the Ringling family business – Part 4

John Ringling North knew that every season was vital to the circus to open its season at New York’s Madison Square Gardens, not only because of the big box office but because of the national media attention. Opening night would always benefit a charity with stars such as Marylyn Monroe, Marlena Dietrich or even Hopalong Cassidy as guest headliners. Critics ... Read More »

ZIM LINE – Israel’s Passenger and Cruise company in the 1950s and 1960s

Zim Lines began passenger service connecting Israel with Mediterranean ports began after the State of  Israel was established in 1948 and for 20 years they operated an excellent sea transportation fleet of ships In the early 1950s, Zim became a member of the North Atlantic Passenger Conference and bought Home Lines Argentina; the former Norwegian liner Bergensfjord; for its first ... Read More »

Throwback Thursday – Elvis Presley on the train from New York to Memphis in 1956.

“Elvis who?” Photographer Alfred Wertheimer recalls uttering that very question in early 1956. A publicist from RCA Victor Records had contacted him, asking if he was available to photograph a young singer named Elvis Presley. “I’d never heard of the man,” Wertheimer told TIME Magazine in an article 40 years later. “He didn’t have a gold record yet.” (By the end ... Read More »

Mid-Century Liners: The M/V Aureol – Liverpool to West Africa

Elder Dempster Lines was one of the UK’s largest shipping companies, and during its 150-year history, it operated more than 500 ships. Based in the historic port of Liverpool it was the major shipping line to serve West Africa. As well as its cargo ships, the Elder Dempster Lines operated three ocean liners on a scheduled service to Ghana and ... Read More »

Ships and Liners of Messageries Maritimes

Messageries Maritimes was a French merchant shipping company. It was originally created in 1851 as Messageries Nationales, later called Messageries impériales, and from 1871, Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes, casually known as “MesMar” or by its initials “MM”. Its rectangular house flag, with the letters MM on a white background and red corners, was famous in shipping circles, especially on the ... Read More »

SP’s Streamliner COAST DAYLIGHT – The most beautiful train in the world

The Southern Pacific’s Streamliner Coast Daylight was the West’s finest train into the 1950s, linking Los Angeles and San Francisco in a glorious daylight trip, streaking along the edge of the Pacific Ocean for more than a hundred breathless miles. Chair car passengers had full access to the Coffee Shop, Diner, and Tavern cars. The two Parlor cars were restricted ... Read More »