Roundtable

The Rest Is History

Funding a famous statue, working in the twenty-first-century office, and insulting every president.

By Angela Serratore

Friday, September 09, 2016

The Statue of Liberty Arrives in New York Harbor, June 20, 1885, by Edward Moran, 1885.

• Funding the Statue of Liberty: “Beginning in 1875, images of the statue’s fragmented head, hands, and torso emerged to form comprehensive documentation of its construction. They were part of a carefully orchestrated campaign by its designer, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, to build worldwide excitement — and, of course, draw money, in order to make the mammoth work a reality (an early precedent of today’s ubiquitous Kickstarters).” (Hyperallergic)

• The brief life and work of Amy Levy, a Jewish novelist in Victorian England. (Tablet)

• A nineteenth-century Japanese dollmaker’s uncanny masterwork: “The legend is that Masakichi completed this particular doll in 1885, when he was desperately in love, but was dying of tuberculosis. He decided to make a lifelike statue in his own image to gift to his beloved so that she might always remember him. As he wasted away, he labored in his studio, surrounded by mirrors so that he could see every part of his body. He forged the statue out of 2,000 pieces of wood, recreating every curve and crevice. He drilled small holes into the doll’s skin to act as follicles, then plucked the corresponding hair out of his own body and inserted the strands into the doll. He did this with the hair on his head, but also his eyebrows, body hair and pubic hair.” (Atlas Obscura)

• Was Frankenstein inspired by algae? Maybe! (Public Domain Review)

• “Across these diverse spaces, the two most consistent design principles are openness and a banishment of personal clutter. The new office presents itself as the interior design equivalent of everyone’s friend. It is comfortable and always available, a temporary platform onto which workers alight for meetings and some deskwork before fluttering off to another meeting, the home office, another job. But importantly, leave no trace behind. Remember: You have never been here.” (The New Republic)

• “Useless Grant,” “Rutherfraud,” “Light-Bulb Lyndon,” and other insulting presidential nicknames. (The Awl)