The Oxbow

View from Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm known as The Oxbow, is a seminal landscape painting by Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School. The painting depicts a Romantic panorama of the Connecticut River Valley just after a thunderstorm, it has been interpreted as a confrontation between civilization. Between 1833 and 1836, American painter and putative "founder" of The Hudson River School, Thomas Cole, had been hard at work on his series of paintings The Course of Empire; the work was commissioned by New York patron Luman Reed, who had met Cole in 1832, the two held a friendship based on Reed's generosity in buying Cole's paintings. Reed requested The Course of Empire to comprise no less than five paintings of a historic composition. Cole himself was excited by such a project, but doubt began to set in by the end of 1835; the work was slow and laborious, Cole found great difficulty in painting the figures. Reed had begun to notice Cole was becoming lonely and depressed, suggested that he suspend work on The Course of Empire and paint something, more in his element for the April 1836 opening of the National Academy of Design's annual exhibition.

Cole, in replying to Reed in a letter, stated that he felt obliged to finish the series as Reed had been so generous in his support, instead suggested that he complete the last painting in the series and display that at the exhibition. Reed however, did not like the idea, as he thought it might spoil the unveiling of the series as a whole, he suggested instead that he paint a picture much like the completed second painting in the series, The Pastoral State. This depicted a peaceful setting which Reed thought "no man produced a more pleasing landscape in a more pleasing season." Responding in a letter in March 1836, Cole agreed to take Reed's advice and paint a picture for the exhibition, writing: Fancy pictures sell & they take more time than views so I have determined to paint one of the latter. I have commenced a view from Mt. Holyoke—it is about the finest scene I have in my sketchbook & is well known—it will be novel and I think effective—I could not find a subject similar to your second picture & time would not allow me to invent one.

Cole comments that he used a larger canvas, as he was not able to ready a smaller frame in time for the exhibition, moreover felt compelled to make a statement with the one painting he was to present. The painting moves from a dark wilderness with shattered tree trunks on rugged cliffs in the foreground covered with violent rain clouds on the left to a light-filled and peaceful, cultivated landscape on the right, which borders the tranquility of the bending Connecticut River; the view Cole sought to paint was a difficult one, as its panoramic breadth extended beyond the width of typical landscape paintings of the period. To solve this problem, Cole stitched together two separate views from Mt. Holyoke, creating a synthetic, rather than a faithful, image of the scene. On the hill in the far background, logging scars in the forest can be observed, which appear to form Hebrew letters; this was first noticed by Matthew Baigell. It reads as Noah If viewed upside down, as if from God's perspective, the word Shaddai is formed, "The Almighty."

Cole gives himself a tiny self-portrait sitting on the rocks in the foreground with his easel. Cole sold the painting at the exhibition to merchant in the China trade. In 1838 he lent it to the Dunlap Benefit Exhibition, to the third annual exhibition of the Artists' Fund Society, held in New York in 1862. With his death in 1874, the painting was acquired from his estate by Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage, wife of Russell Sage. Olivia Sage was a known philanthropist, her transfer of The Oxbow to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1908 would seem rather natural. However, she may have been inspired by a similar gesture in 1904 by Samuel P. Avery, Jr. who donated The Titan's Goblet, another of Cole's well-known paintings, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Furthermore, Olivia Sage's attorney, Robert W. DeForest, was a secretary on the Board of Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum; the painting today resides in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. View from Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow.

Ice hockey at the 1948 Winter Olympics

The men's ice hockey tournament at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, was the 6th Olympic Championship serving as the 15th World Championships and the 26th European Championships. Canada, represented by the Ottawa RCAF Flyers team of Canadian Armed Forces personnel, won its fifth Olympic gold medal and 12th World Championship. Highest finishing European team Czechoslovakia won the silver medal and its eighth European Championship. Bibi Torriani played for Switzerland which won the bronze medal, became the first ice hockey player to recite the Olympic Oath on behalf of all athletes; the tournament was marred by controversy. The United States sent two hockey teams to compete in St. Moritz, which nearly caused the cancellation of the entire tournament. At the center of the issue was amateurism. One team was sponsored by the United States Olympic Committee; the USOC was responsible for determining American participation in the Games. The other team was sponsored by the Amateur Hockey Association of the United States and the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace.

The LIHG was responsible for approving the participation of national hockey teams at the Olympics. The AAU refused to support the AHAUS's team because they believed that its players were "openly paid salaries" and at the time, the Olympics were for amateur players. No resolution was reached before the Games and both teams arrived at St. Moritz ready to play; this created a tense showdown between the future IOC president Avery Brundage, the LIHG, the Swiss organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee. The IOC was responsible for the overall running of the Games; the IOC ruled that neither team could compete. This incensed the LIHG, which threatened to boycott the Olympics ending the hockey tournament; the parties agreed to allow the AHAUS team to play but they would receive no official ranking in the Olympic tournament, they would not be eligible to win a medal. Because this tournament was the LIHG World Championship, they maintained a fourth place in that ranking. Austria Canada Czechoslovakia Great Britain Italy Poland Switzerland Sweden United States The tournament was run in a round-robin format with nine teams participating.

The Canadians had one tie against the team from Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia won seven games; the tournament was decided on goal average. Canada outscored their opponents 69:5; the Czechoslovakia team outscored their opponents 80:18. On the final day the Swiss watched the Czechoslovaks beat the Americans dashing their gold medal aspirations, lost their opportunity for silver in a loss to Canada, finishing with a bronze. * United States team was not eligible for a final ranking. Only eight teams are ranked. January 30 Switzerland 5–4 USA Canada 3–1 Sweden Poland 7–5 Austria Czechoslovakia 22–3 Italy January 31 USA 23–4 Poland Czechoslovakia 6–3 Sweden Switzerland 16–0 Italy United Kingdom 5–4 Austria February 1 Canada 3–0 United Kingdom USA 31–1 Italy Switzerland 11–2 Austria Czechoslovakia 13–1 Poland February 2 Sweden 7–1 Austria Canada 15–0 Poland Czechoslovakia 11–4 United Kingdom February 3 Canada 21–1 Italy USA 5–2 Sweden February 4 Czechoslovakia 17–3 Austria Poland 13–7 Italy Switzerland 12–3 United Kingdom February 5 Austria 16–5 Italy United Kingdom 7–2 Poland Switzerland 8–2 Sweden Canada 12–3 USA February 6 Switzerland 14–0 Poland Canada 0–0 Czechoslovakia Sweden 4–3 United Kingdom USA 13–2 Austria February 7 USA 4–3 United Kingdom Czechoslovakia 7–1 Switzerland Canada 12–0 Austria Sweden 23–0 Italy February 8 United Kingdom 14–7 Italy Czechoslovakia 4–3 USA Canada 3–0 Switzerland Sweden 13–2 Poland RCAF Flyers Ice hockey at the 1948 Winter Olympics – Rosters Findling, John E..

Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement. Westport CT.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-32278-3. Retrieved 2009-03-30. Jeux Olympiques de Saint-Moritz 1948 Ishockey VM OS 1947–1954

USS Avenger (1863)

USS Avenger was a large steamer with powerful guns acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy as a gunboat in support of the Union Navy blockade of Confederate waterways; because of her large size, she was used, at times, as a cargo ship. On 7 December 1863, the U. S. War Department transferred to the Navy two wooden-hulled, side-wheel rams being built at New Albany, for the Army's Mississippi Marine Brigade. On that day, as he was reporting having taken possession of these still-unfinished vessels, Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter—who commanded the Mississippi Squadron—suggested that they be named Avenger and Vindicator. On 19 December, the larger ship, was assigned to the squadron's Third District, responsible for controlling the Mississippi River between Natchez and the mouth of the Red River. Completed late in February 1864, this ram dropped down the Ohio River and was commissioned at Cairo, Illinois, on the 29th of that month, Acting Volunteer Lt. Charles A. Wright in command.

On 12 March, Avenger—carrying dispatches and a cargo of ordnance stores—headed downstream to join a powerful naval force which Porter had led up the Red River to cooperate with Union Army troops pushing through Louisiana in a northwesterly direction toward Shreveport, Louisiana. The major objectives of the Red River campaign were: the establishment of a Union foothold in Texas to weaken Confederate strength west of the Mississippi River, the impeding of French interventionism in Mexico, the acquisition of cotton for idle textile mills in the North. However, when Avenger reached a point only some six miles below Cairo, she encountered an upward-bound merchant steamer whose pilot attempted to pass her on the wrong side of the stream; the two vessels collided, Avenger suffered considerable damage to her starboard side. Although she was able to continue on down the Mississippi River, the ram lost nearly a day at Memphis, undergoing repairs, her trip downriver revealed defects in her machinery which slowed her progress, but she reached the mouth of the Red River on the 16th.

There, orders from Porter awaited. After coaling, she arrived back at Cairo on the 23d. There, Wright's report of her engineering difficulties resulted in a survey of the ship; the inspectors recommended that a set of blowers be installed to increase the efficiency of her boilers. While this work was being performed by the repair ship Samson, it was discovered that the ship's port boilers were badly burned and required repairs. After temporary remedies were made, Avenger entered the Red River on 2 April carrying messages upstream. Two days she took station at the mouth of the Black River and, on the 7th, she entered the Ouachita River in an expedition commanded by Lt. Comdr. James P. Foster in the side-wheel ram Lafayette; the Union warships ascended that tributary as high as Ouachita City and confiscated some 3,000 bales of cotton. They stood down the Ouachita River on the 12th and returned to the Mississippi River when they learned that the famous Confederate cavalry commander, Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest, had attacked Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

Foster, accompanied by Avenger and Choctaw, ascended the Mississippi River to check Forrest. However, at Memphis he learned that, after pillaging Fort Pillow, the dreaded Southern raider had abandoned the fallen Union stronghold and retired inland. Therefore, Avenger—which had been suffering engine trouble—was free to remain at Memphis for repairs which lasted through the end of April; the ram returned to the mouth of the Red River where she was assigned to guard the coaling barge stationed there. She was relieved by Nymph on 3 May and proceeded to the mouth of the Black River with additional coal barges in tow. There she was again relieved and steamed upriver to join Forest Rose on patrol in the vicinity of Fort deRussy. At that fort, Avenger exchanged shots with Southern sharpshooters on 12 May; the ram returned to the mouth of the Red River on 17 May to coal and continued downriver to Simmesport, Louisiana, to embark Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, the commander of the Army forces involved in the Red River expedition, for passage to New Orleans, Louisiana.

The advance of his troops had been checked at the Battle of Pleasant Hill and a shortage of ammunition and water had forced him to withdraw. In May, Avenger was stationed at Morganza and carried out blockading duties between Morganza and Donaldsonville, Louisiana through November, when she was ordered to help in patrolling the Mississippi River between Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi. On 21 November 1864, after spotting a skiff crossing the river at Bruinsburg, Avenger shelled the area and sent a landing party ashore which found contraband concealed in the undergrowth; the landing party captured several Confederate soldiers and confiscated 154 rifles with bayonets, several skiffs and wagons. She continued to operate in the Mississippi River and, in March 1865, was stationed off Cole's Creek to prevent Confederate troops and supplies from crossing the river; the patrols were intensified in late April and early May in the effort to capture Jefferson Davis, believed to be attempting to escape across the Mississippi river.

After the President of the defeated Confederacy was captured in Georgia on 10 May, the naval forces employed in blockade duties were reduced. In Ju