Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Battle of Midway (1942)

A color documentary short that portrays the decisive battle of Midway. The naval/air confrontation between the carrier forces of Japan and the U.S. is considered to be the turning point of World War II in the Pacific. Directed by John Ford.«

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A look back: 148 years ago, Civil War emotions boiled here

By Tim O'Neil

ST. LOUIS — In the first weeks of the Civil War, St. Louis was in a turmoil of divided loyalty. Gov. Claiborne Jackson schemed to add Missouri to the Confederacy. Congressman Frank Blair Jr. and Army Capt. Nathaniel Lyon worked to save it for the Union.

Unionists mustered volunteers to guard 36,600 weapons at the St. Louis Arsenal, on the Mississippi River at Arsenal Street. Jackson ordered state militia Gen. Daniel Frost to seize the guns. On May 8, a steamboat arrived with four cannons in boxes stamped "marble." Secessionists hauled them to Lindell Grove, a meadow on the western edge of town (now the site of St. Louis University) where Frost's militia was camped.

While strutting militiamen grandly accepted the compliments of ladies, the intense Lyon was busy. Legend has it that he donned a widow's veiled garb and rode through the militia camp. At noon on May 10 — 148 years ago Sunday — Lyon and his soldiers, many of them German immigrants, left the Arsenal for the two-hour march to Lindell Grove. They easily surrounded the militiamen, whose tents were just east of present-day Grand and Lindell boulevards.

Without a shot fired, Frost's troops surrendered and filed onto Olive Street. Hecklers had other ideas. Southern sympathizers mocked the German soldiers as "Hessians." A few threw rocks. Somebody fired shots. Union troops opened fire.

William Sherman, an area streetcar executive and future Union army hero, dove for a gully with his son, Willie, 7. Within moments, at least 28 civilians and seven soldiers lay dead or dying along Olive between Compton and Garrison avenues.

That night, three Germans were murdered downtown. The next day, another clash between soldiers and rioters at Broadway and Walnut Street cost six more lives. Federal reinforcements calmed the city, which stayed uneasily with the Union.

Frost joined the Confederate army. Lyon was killed while leading a Union army in battle near Springfield, Mo. Willie Sherman accompanied his father on the great campaign to capture Vicksburg, Miss., but contracted yellow fever and died.

On May 10, 1928, a statue of Lyon was installed at Grand and Pine Street. It was moved 32 years later to Lyon Park, next to the old arsenal, after Harriet Frost Fordyce — daughter of Gen. Frost — donated $1 million to St. Louis University. She died in 1960.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died"

"Book: Ted Kennedy could not find the words to confess in meeting with Mary Jo Kopechne's parents

In "Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died" - out today - author Edward Klein reveals that Ted visited with Mary Jo's parents twice following her death, but could never find the words to confess how the 28-year-old died.

"Ted had us come to his house in McLean [Va.], saying he wanted to talk," Mary Jo's now-deceased mother, Gwen, told Klein. "But [the visit] was uncomfortable - for all of us. Ted led us to believe he was going to explain what really happened. But when the time came, after plenty of small talk, he said he just couldn't talk about it. It was very puzzling. Twice we drove all the way down there [from Pennsylvania], and twice he couldn't talk about how our daughter died."

Mary Jo Kopechne was killed on July 18, 1969, when Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a bridge on Martha's Vineyard's Chappaquiddick Island. Although the senator swam to safety, his passenger, Mary Jo, drowned in the car. Kennedy left the scene and didn't contact authorities until the following day. He eventually pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a suspended sentence of two months in jail.

Klein writes of the incident, "The burden of guilt sat on Ted's chest like an anvil. He desperately wanted to relieve himself of the guilt, but in the end, he couldn't find the words to express his feelings. And, in fact, he would never find expiation for his guilt.""

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Europe In Worst Recession Since World War II

Here are the awful figures out of Europe:

* Germany's economy shrank by 3.8% in the first three months of the year.
* Austria's economy shrank 2.8%.
* The economy of the Netherlands shrank 2.8%.
* Spain's economy contracted by by 1.8%.
* France's economy shrank 1.2 percent.
* The UK saw a 1.9% contraction.
* Italy's economy shrank by 2.4%.


24. Yellow Pages
This year will be pivotal for the global Yellow Pages industry. Much like newspapers, print Yellow Pages will continue to bleed dollars to their various digital counterparts, from Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), to local search engines and combination search/listing services like Reach Local and Yodle Factors like an acceleration of the print 'fade rate' and the looming recession will contribute to the onslaught. One research firm predicts the falloff in usage of newspapers and print Yellow Pages could even reach 10% this year -- much higher than the 2%-3% fade rate seen in past years.

23. Classified Ads
The Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper classified ads might sound like just another trivial item on a long list. But this is one of those harbingers of the future that could signal the end of civilization as we know it. The argument is that if newspaper classifieds are replaced by free online listings at sites like and Google Base, then newspapers are not far behind them.

22. Movie Rental Stores
While Netflix is looking up at the moment, Blockbuster keeps closing store locations by the hundreds. It still has about 6,000 left across the world, but those keep dwindling and the stock is down considerably in 2008, especially since the company gave up a quest of Circuit City . Movie Gallery, which owned the Hollywood Video brand, closed up shop earlier this year. Countless small video chains and mom-and-pop stores have given up the ghost already.

21. Dial-up Internet Access
Dial-up connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008. The combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable high speed Internet connections and the disappearing home phone have all but pounded the final nail in the coffin of dial-up Internet access.

20. Phone Landlines
According to a survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, at the end of 2007, nearly one in six homes was cell-only and, of those homes that had landlines, one in eight only received calls on their cells.

19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs
Maryland 's icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake Bay . Last year Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million pounds) since 1945. Just four decades ago the bay produced 96 million pounds. The population is down 70% since 1990, when they first did a formal count. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay and they think they need 200 million for a sustainable population. Over-fishing, pollution, invasive species and global warming get the blame.

18. VCRs
For the better part of three decades, the VCR was a best-seller and staple in every American household until being completely decimated by the DVD, and now the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). In fact, the only remnants of the VHS age at your local Wal-Mart or Radio Shack are blank VHS tapes these days. Pre-recorded VHS tapes are largely gone and VHS decks are practically nowhere to be found. They served us so well.

17. Ash Trees
In the late 1990s, a pretty, iridescent green species of beetle, now known as the emerald ash borer, hitched a ride to North America with ash wood products imported from eastern Asia. In less than a decade, its larvae have killed millions of trees in the Midwest , and continue to spread. They've killed more than 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more lost in Ohio and Indiana . More than 7.5 billion ash trees are currently at risk.

16. Ham Radio
Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. However, proliferation of the Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the decline of amateur radio. In the past five years alone, the number of people holding active ham radio licenses has dropped by 50,000, even though Morse Code is no longer a requirement.

15. The Swimming Hole
Thanks to our litigious society, swimming holes are becoming a thing of the past. '20/20' reports that swimming hole owners, like Robert Every in High Falls, NY, are shutting them down out of worry that if someone gets hurt they'll sue. And that's exactly what happened in Seattle . The city of Bellingham was sued by Katie Hofstetter who was paralyzed in a fall at a popular swimming hole in Whatcom Falls Park . As injuries occur and lawsuits follow, expect more swimming holes to post 'Keep out!' signs.

14. Answering Machines
The increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly tied to No 20 our list -- the decline of landlines. According to USA Today, the number of homes that only use cell phones jumped 159% between 2004 and 2007. It has been particularly bad in New York ; since 2000, landline usage has dropped 55%. It's logical that as cell phones rise, many of them replacing traditional landlines, that there will be fewer answering machines.

13. Cameras That Use Film
It doesn't require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance of the film camera in America . Just look to companies like Nikon, the professional's choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006, it announced that it would stop making film cameras, pointing to the shrinking market -- only 3% of its sales in 2005, compared to 75% of sales from digital cameras and equipment.

12. Incandescent Bulbs
Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt (or, yikes, 100-watt) bulb was the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement and all-things-sustainable-energy crowd, the Compact Fluorescent Light bulb (CFL) is largely replacing the older, Edison-era incandescent bulb. The EPA reports that 2007 sales for Energy Star CFLs nearly doubled from 2006, and these sales accounted for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. light bulb market. And according to USA Today, a new energy bill plans to phase out incandescent bulbs in the next four to 12 years.

11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys
BowlingBalls.US claims there are still 60 million Americans who bowl at least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone bowling alleys. Today most new bowling alleys are part of facilities for all types or recreation including laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, video game arcades, climbing walls and glow miniature golf. Bowling lanes also have been added to many non-traditional venues such as adult communities, hotels and resorts, and gambling casinos.

10. The Milkman
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1950, over half of the milk delivered was to the home in quart bottles, by 1963, it was about a third and by 2001, it represented only 0.4% percent. Nowadays most milk is sold through supermarkets in gallon jugs. The steady decline in home-delivered milk is blamed, of course, on the rise of the supermarket, better home refrigeration and longer-lasting milk. Although some milkmen still make the rounds in pockets of the U.S. , they are certainly a dying breed.

9. Hand-Written Letters
In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion e-mails were sent each day. Two million each second. By November of 2007, an estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80% of the world's population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004, half-a-trillion text messages were sent, and the number has no doubt increased exponentially since then. So where amongst this gorge of gabble is there room for the elegant, polite hand-written letter?

8. Wild Horses
It is estimated that 100 years ago, as many as two million horses were roaming free within the United States . In 2001, National Geographic News estimated that the wild horse population had decreased to about 50,000 head. Currently, the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory board states that there are 32,000 free roaming horses in ten Western states, with half of them residing in Nevada . The Bureau of Land Management is seeking to reduce the total number of free range horses to 27,000, possibly by selective euthanasia.

7. Personal Checks
According to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of consumers plan to decrease their use of checks over the next two years, while a net 14% plan to increase their use of PIN debit. Bill payment remains the last stronghold of paper-based payments -- for the time being. Checks continue to be the most commonly used bill payment method, with 71% of consumers paying at least one recurring bill per month by writing a check. However, on a bill-by-bill basis, checks account for only 49% of consumers' recurring bill payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in 2003).

6. Drive-in Theaters
During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005. Only one reopened in 2005 and five reopened in 2006, so there isn't much of a movement toward reviving the closed ones.

5. Mumps & Measles
Despite what's been in the news lately, the measles and mumps actually, truly are disappearing from the United States . In 1964, 212,000 cases of mumps were reported in the U.S. By 1983, this figure had dropped to 3,000, thanks to a vigorous vaccination program. Prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine, approximately half a million cases of measles were reported in the U.S. annually, resulting in 450 deaths. In 2005, only 66 cases were recorded.

4. Honey Bees
Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing America is so dire; plummeting so enormously; and so necessary to the survival of our food supply as the honey bee. Very scary. 'Colony Collapse Disorder,' or CCD, has spread throughout the U.S. and Europe over the past few years, wiping out 50% to 90% of the colonies of many beekeepers -- and along with it, their livelihood.

3. News Magazines and TV News
While the TV evening newscasts haven't gone anywhere over the last several decades, their audiences have. In 1984, in a story about the diminishing returns of the evening news, the New York Times reported that all three network evening-news programs combined had only 40.9 million viewers. Fast forward to 2008, and what they have today is half that.

2. Analog TV
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 85% of homes in the U.S. get their television programming through cable or satellite providers. For the remaining 15% -- or 13 million individuals -- who are using rabbit ears or a large outdoor antenna to get their local stations, change is in the air. If you are one of these people you'll need to get a new TV or a converter box in order to get the new stations which will only be broadcast in digital.

1. The Family Farm
Since the 1930s, the number of family farms has been declining rapidly. According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the nation in 1950, but this number had declined to 2.1 million by the 2003 farm census (data from the 2007 census hasn't yet been published). Ninety-one percent of the U.S. farms are small family farms.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Mystery of Everett Ruess

The Mystery of Everett Ruess

By Gregory McNamee on History

“I have seen almost more beauty than I can bear,” Everett Ruess wrote of the canyonlands of the Colorado Plateau, in that stark, rocky country where Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico meet, immediately after first having wandered through them in the early 1930s.

When he wrote those words, Everett Ruess was not quite 17 years old. He had left his parents’ Hollywood home to wander the world. Along the way he arrived at Big Sur and met the famed photographer Edward Weston, who urged the boy to develop his considerable, though untrained, talents as artist and poet.

Ruess heeded Weston and went to find inspiration in the desert. He journeyed to the Navajo nation and sought out John Wetherill, the trader who had discovered many ancient Ancestral Puebloan sites. Wetherill, suspicious of the strange, footloose youth, pointed him to a remote spot 45 miles from the nearest postbox, and there Everett made his home.

He read the classics. He explored ancient places—Cedar Mesa, Keet Seel, Chaco Canyon—and the rock mazes of the Colorado River and its tributaries. He painted, made block prints, and wrote essays, poems, and affectionate letters to his family and friends.

He left the canyonlands after a year of freedom in the hope of finding professional training in the arts. He lasted out a miserable semester at UCLA and then set out for the Sierra and San Francisco, passed the time with Weston, Ansel Adams, and Dorothy Lange. He returned to the desert in the spring of 1934. Following the Kaiparowits Plateau—about as remote a place as then existed in North America—he explored the Escalante River country of southern Utah. In November, he wrote a letter to his family, saying, “As to when I shall visit civilization, it will not be soon, I think.” Then he disappeared.

No search party would ever catch up to him. One team found an inscription on a canyon wall: “NEMO 1934.” Nemo, no one, what Odysseus (in the Latin translation that Everett knew) said to Polyphemus while fleeing the giant’s cave.

In his 1984 book Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty, Western historian W. L. Rusho reviewed several theories that had been floated about the young man’s disappearance. One speculation was that the boy fell to his death near Hole-in-the-Rock and was swept away by the waters of the Escalante River. Others suggested foul play. Still others supposed Everett to be alive and well and living secure in some labyrinthine hermitage, rather in the way that Butch Cassidy, the famed outlaw from those parts, was supposedly spotted in various desert venues long after being gunned down in Bolivia.

In the early 1970s, a Navajo Indian man told his granddaughter about an incident many years before. He had witnessed three young Ute Indians chase down a white man, kill him, and steal his mules. The Navajo man had buried the body but then, averse in the Navajo way to mentions of death, kept silent about what he had seen for nearly 40 years before speaking about it.

Thirty-five more years passed. The granddaughter confided the story to her brother. They went to the place their grandfather had spoken of, and there they found a shattered skull.

Reports David Roberts in the current issue of National Geographic Adventure, DNA tests of the remains and of Everett Ruess’s living relatives indicate with certainty that the skull and nearby bones were his. Moreover, a reconstruction of the broken skull reveals the smiling face that Dorothea Lange captured on film three-quarters of a century earlier.

Everett Ruess’s retreat into the back of beyond has long fascinated literary desert rats. Prefiguring another ill-starred escape into nature, a tale told in actor-director Sean Penn’s 2007 film Into the Wild, it remains an inspiration of a kind—if, in the end, a tragedy, and with questions yet unanswered.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A protest against Racism and Discrimination

The most curious document has just been discovered by archeologists working in the rubble left behind in a suburb of Munich in Germany. The document is a statement dated August 23, 1944. It was evidently issued by the Reichsamt gegen Rassismus und Benachteiligung, which means the Reich's Bureau against Racism and Discrimination.
Here is the translation:

The Reich's Bureau against Racism and Discrimination

August 23, 1944
German Comrades and Citizens:

On behalf of the Reich's Bureau against Racism and Discrimination, I have been asked to formulate this letter of protest concerning insensitivity and racism in the Third Reich. The request came several weeks ago but I was only able to compose the statement on behalf of the Bureau now that I am on leave from my military post as a guard at the camp in Birkenau.

We German citizens of conscience have decided to speak out against an intolerable expression of racism! We refer of course to the wearing of some tee-shirts with barbarous slogans and photographs by Allied troops currently involved in the aggression against the Third Reich. In recent days, we have seen photographs and numerous eyewitnesses have come forward to describe American and British troops in France, Belgium and Holland who were seen in local pubs and cafes during their free hours wearing tee-shirts that carried insensitive epithets about Germans and Germany. One showed a Wiener Schnitzel lying on a guillotine with its tip being sliced off. Another showed Allied soldiers urinating into Bavarian beer mugs. Others contained the derogatory terms 'Kraut' and 'Gerry' and even 'Hun.' Anti-German graffiti is showing up more and more frequently on the walls of Dutch and Belgian public buildings.

There were bumper stickers to be seen on the backs of some American and British tanks and other vehicles that cheered the dropping of incendiary bombs on German citizens. And posters being placed in the towns of French villages under the military occupation of the Allied imperialist forces showed German cities in flames with accompanying slogans celebrating the fires. This is even without beginning to describe the insensitive anti-German rhetoric and behavior of the Soviet Red Army soldiers.

I think we can all agree that this sort of thing is intolerable. We call upon the League of Nations to convene a special assembly to denounce the racism and intolerance being displayed by Allied soldiers. We also ask that the Pope speak up.

There is no doubt that this entire war was caused by the racial intolerance and bigotry of American, British and Russian soldiers, not to mention the thuggish French and Yugoslav partisans. These people simply refuse to accept Germans as fellow human beings, entitled to respect and dignity. Our Bureau is striving to stamp out racism in the New Middle Europe by demanding that all such graffiti, posters, and tee-shirts be banned at once. Only when these expressions of anti-German intolerance and racism are removed will there be any hope for tranquility!

On behalf of the Reichsamt gegen Rassismus und Benachteiligung

Hans Schikelgruber, Hauptamtsleiter

Forensic probe affirms image is Lincoln

Features in 'Portrait of Young Man' match 16th president
In 1987, Albert who was then living in Paris, sought the opinion of Dr. Claude N. Frechette, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the American Hospital in Paris, to examine a daguerreotype Kaplan believed was the first known photographic image ever made of the youthful future-president Abraham Lincoln.

As WND reported, Kaplan purchased the daguerreotype in 1977 from a group of 100 being sold by an art gallery on 57th Street in New York City. The sales receipt described the daguerreotype simply as "Portrait of a Young Man."

Frechette presented his findings in a 13-page footnoted forensic report entitled "The Kaplan Daguerreotype of Abraham Lincoln." It has been archived on a website Kaplan created for research materials on Lincoln and the daguerreotypes that he has collected over the past three decades.

"The evidence speaks for itself," Frechette concluded after an extensive analysis. "The nature and substantial number of identical characteristics of the man in the Kaplan daguerreotype, and those of Lincoln, tell us profoundly that the young man in the Kaplan daguerreotype is Abraham Lincoln."

At the start of his analysis, Frechette described the Kaplan daguerreotype as "a print of an exceptionally high quality, 19th century daguerreotype of a robust, confident-looking and smartly dressed young man."

Admitting the examination was of a150-year old case, Frechette explained, "The most objective approach in examining a century-and-a-half old image seemed to be that of a plastic surgeon who evaluates pre- and post-operative photographs and anthropomorphic data of patients with cranio-facial deformities."

Since both the Kaplan daguerreotype taken in the early 1840s and the Meserve #1 daguerreotype image made in 1848 feature the left side of Lincoln's face, Frechette selected for close scrutiny 15 of the known Lincoln images with poses that also featured the left side of his face.

Particularly useful because of the angle of Lincoln's head in the pose was a photograph made by an unknown photographer at Matthew Brady's gallery in Washington, D.C., taken around 1862.

Frechette re-photographed the three images and adjusted their sizes to standardize the distance between the pupils in Lincoln's eyes.

He then began a detailed examination of the features in each of the three photographs, concluding that the vertical dimensions of the mandible, maxilla, nose length and the positions of the orbits of the face shown in the Kaplan daguerreotype were the same as those of the face of Abraham Lincoln.

"Lincoln clearly had a unique face with a large forehead, a penetrating gaze, prominent cheek bones, a strong nose and a well-outlined jaw," Frechette wrote. "The moles on his face were also characteristic features."

In addition to the measurements Frechette made of Lincoln's facial features, he noted the similarity in facial characteristics, among which are the following:

* Regarding the mole on Lincoln's right cheek, Frechette wrote: "A faint circular shadow appears at the lower portion of the middle third of the right nasolabial crease, which is the precise location of Lincoln's characteristic nevus (prominent right mole) seen in later Lincoln images.

* In the Kaplan daguerreotype, the hair appears to be dark and thick. The style is identical to that worn by Lincoln in his early and late portraits. There is a characteristic "tuft" on the right, above the ear. The top of the left ear is totally covered by hair that is purposely combed forward, as it is in many Lincoln photographs.

* The forehead is broad and high, and the hairline in the left temporal region is also identical to those in later photographs.

* The eyebrows are heavy and have two different hair patterns, similar to the eyebrows in later photographs of Lincoln. The medial (inner) portion is dark and linear whereas the lateral (outer) half is more bushy. The left eyebrow, the one fully seen, extends over the entire length of the superior orbital

* The philtral columns (the edges of the vertical groove in the upper lip) are well marked and extend to the base of the nose in the Kaplan daguerreotype, a prominent feature in Lincoln photographs.

* In the Kaplan daguerreotype, the left half of the upper lip is somewhat thicker than the right – another prominent feature in Lincoln photographs.

Frechette's detailed discussion of facial features regarding the lips, cheeks and ears are presented in his paper archived on the website.

Frechette found important similarities when examining Lincoln's eyes.

At the age of 10, Lincoln was kicked by a horse, sustaining a major head trauma on the left side, with a loss of consciousness. As a result, Lincoln suffered from diplopia (double vision) and exophoria (outward deviation) of the left eye, both due to partial paralysis of the small eye muscles.

Frechette noted three fairly technical points regarding Lincoln's eyes, which he considered important in deriving his conclusion that the young man of the Kaplan daguerreotype was Lincoln:

* The gentleman in the Kaplan daguerreotype has a rare condition, bilateral ptosis (drooping eyelids), evident in many photographs of Lincoln.

* Two other findings are characteristic: the lateral extension of the free border of the upper lid beyond the outer corner of the eye (lateral commissure), and the well-defined upper and lower superficial heads of the medial canthal tendon, which attaches the inner corner of the eye commissure. The upper segment is easily seen in all Lincoln portraits, whereas the lower branch is only occasionally seen because of shadows or poor photographic depth-of-field. Photographic presentations of these features are rarely seen in pictures of individuals, but are seen in known Lincoln portraits and in the Kaplan image.

* There is a phenomenon known as Hirschbert's test of corneal light reflex, a white dot seen in both eyes that reflects the prime source of illumination. Usually the dots are located in the same spot in both eyes (with regard to the iris, or "black of the eye"). However, in the Kaplan, and in the other Lincoln images, this is not true. The left eye's gaze is in fact slightly more lateral, placing the dot in that eye toward the inside.

Kaplan noted that several Lincoln contemporaries recorded their observations of the deep-set nature of Lincoln's eyes, a characteristic Kaplan found as well in his daguerreotype.

Frechette also commented that numerous accounts have revealed that Lincoln underwent a noticeable change in his physical appearance beginning in January 1841, as a result of the grave emotional crisis that coincided with his reported failure to go through with his scheduled marriage to Mary Todd, leaving her literally waiting for him at the altar.

"This emotional crisis, just one of a series of such episodes to plague him throughout his life, was the cause of Lincoln losing a considerable amount of weight," Frechette wrote.