Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tornados & Whirlwinds - Reading Outdoors in 18th-Century America

Well, it has been a glorious day, until the weather turned to tornado warnings about an hour ago. By the way, I had suspected that tornados were usually called whirwinds in 18th-century America. As one man wrote in the 1739 Boston Newsletter, "...we had a violent Whirlwind or Tornado (as some all it)." But when I searched, I found mention of 851 torandos in American newspapers from 1733 to 1800. Whirlwinds were noted in the same newspapers 1054 times between 1719 and 1800. I was surprised.

The 1st time the English word "tornado" appeared in print was in Richard Hakluyt's (c 1552-1616) Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries in 1589, when W Towerson noted, "We had terrible thunder and lightening, with exceeding gusts of raine, called a Ternado." The term "whirlwind" had been used in print since 1340.

Well, anyway, before the high winds and storms, it would have been the perfect day here in the Chesapeake for reading outdoors. Here are a few 18th-century American ladies doing just that.

1750 Joseph Badger (American Colonial Era artist, 1798-1765) Mrs. Nathaniel Brown (Anna Porter Brown)

1750-1760 Joseph Badger (American Colonial Era artist, 1798-1765)Mrs. John Edwards (Abigail Fowle)

1755 Benjamin West (American colonial era artist, 1738-1820). Mrs Geo Ross Anne Lawler Franklin & Marshall

1764 John Singleton Copley (American Colonial Era artist, 1738-1815) detail Mary Greene Mrs Dan Hubbard

1767 James Claypoole, Jr. (American Colonial Era artist, 1743-1814) Ann Galloway Mrs Joseph Pemberton Phil Acad of Arts

1789 Ralph Earl (American artist, 1751-1801) Esther Boardman

1789-1795 George William West (American artist, 1770-1795) Sybil West Holland Mrs Francis Utie Holland

1793 James Peale (American artist, 1749-1831) Ramsey Polk Family in Cecil County MD

1798 William Clarke (American painter, fl. 1785-1806) ) Mrs William Frazer Delaware