Author Archives: Dr. B

Foothill Open School (FOS)

Back in the 1970s I attended Foothill Open School, in Monrovia, California. FOS was a private school that a group of parents started in, I think, 1971. I am looking for others who taught at or attended FOS, or the parents of children who went to the school. I am interested in finding out what impact that early open school experience had on us in later life. I would also love to hear from other people who attended alternative and experimental schools in the 1960s and 1970s. If you know of anyone, please send them my way!

Markets in the Early Twentieth Century

I have been re-reading Jane Ziegelman’s 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement.


It is a great book for learning about the foodways of tenement dwellers and the connections between food, lifestyle, and identity.

The following is an early Edison film of “A Ghetto Market” (1903)

This is a fish market, and I especially like the vendors tearing up newsprint to wrap customers’ purchases. New York markets were especially well supplied, if somewhat chaotic and run down.


Dancing and Amusement Parks at the Turn of the 20th Century

As we have been reading Kathy Peiss’s Cheap Amusements in my Honors 201B class I decided to post some brief video of popular dances and amusement parks mentioned in the book.

Here is Edison’s 1903 film of a Tough Dance (Speiling)

Here is another short of the Bowery Waltz

Here are Vernon and Irene Castle performing the Castle Walk in 1915

For a view of Coney Island see “Rube and Mandy at Coney Island” (Edison, 1903)

Here is another early Edison film, Boarding School Girls at Coney Island, 1905

These early films are amazing sources, allowing us to visualize the dances and amusements Peiss describes in the book.

Just for fun, here is a clip from Downton Abbey showing the “Grizzly Bear” being danced in the servant’s hall.

Recent Stories of Interest from Around the Web

The following are links to a few recent news stories and features from around the web that may be of interest…

The first is from a teacher who reflects on her experiences teaching for a for profit virtual charter school.

This feature article investigates the rise of toast as an artisanal food trend in San Francisco.

And finally, this article about a meeting of the elders of organic farming at Eselen that explores the problems of the increasing age of farmers and their difficulties passing on their farms to the next generation.


A New Semester

As the new semester is about to begin my thoughts have turned to syllabi and other teaching related items. This blog is foremost among them. I shall be checking in regularly with ideas that occur to me after class, additional news and other information that might be of interest, and new photos for the gallery page!

I hope to see you soon!