Yearly Archives: 2014

‘The Death of Floyd Collins’ documentary now in production

Floyd Collins represented the adventurous spirit of 1920s Americana. He was a man who dreamed of fame and fortune, and sought to find them within the subterranean tunnels of America’s heartland. Unfortunately, he became a cautionary tale for those who dared to risk everything in the hopes of attaining these earthly goals.

As with our previous films, The Death of Floyd Collins combines archival footage, rare photographs, recreations and interviews with people who are close to the story. One of our interviews is with Floyd’s niece, Mildred Collins, who as a baby was present at Sand Cave during the attempted rescue. “I remember the song that came out on the radio after the tragedy,” says Mildred Collins. “It was called The Death of Floyd Collins, and we had a record of it that we‘d play on our record player. One day my daddy (Andy Lee Collins, who was one of Floyd‘s brothers) came home and caught us listening to it, and he took it off the record player and broke it. He didn‘t like us listening to that song because it brought back bad memories


Death and Memory: Abraham Lincoln In American Culture

Many of the items in the exhibit are paper products—posters, counter cards, photographs, and ephemera. During Lincoln’s time high speed printing presses increased the production of books, papers, and other items. This to meet the demands of an increasingly educated middle class. Even Lincoln read Dime Novels, when he tired of Shakespeare, but they came to him, as well as printed materials to millions of Americans, by train. Webs of railroads crisscrossed the nation, linking America as it had never been joined before. Lincoln was the most successful corporate attorney in Illinois, specializing in railroads. The railroads that carried the nation’s commerce were the railroads that Lincoln’s army relied on during the war. Machines that like others, so fascinated the 16th President that he became a champion of the Monitor ironclad, and the Spencer repeating rifle.

The real memory and true accomplishments of Lincoln remain today because they represent the greatness of one individual in a time of great turmoil. No matter how commonplace or silly the artifacts associated with Abraham Lincoln are, or how they are viewed by today’s Americans, they were created, and exist, because Lincoln is embedded forever in the national memory.

Lincoln advertising and art, from the exhibit.


We didn’t trim a tree at home; we didn’t have any trimming

“I don’t think I was ever any more excited than on that last day at school before Christmas when Miss Dumire asked three of us girls to untrim the tree. She gave each of us a box and said, ‘Try to put the same amount in each box.’ So we were careful, helping each other […]


There’s more than one definition of fruitcake in Appalachia

Yes, it’s heavy as a brick, and lasts long enough that you can re-gift it year after year without anyone commenting on its shelf life having expired. Blame the Scots. Early versions of the rich style fruitcake, such as what we know today as Scottish Black Bun, date from the Middle Ages, and were luxuries […]

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