Not every Dakotan welcomed Doane Robinson's idea to invite Gutzon Borglum to carve Mount Rushmore into sculpture. A professor at the University of South Dakota, John Tjaden, wrote a poem about the project which was published in local newspapers in 1926:
When God made our matchless playground,
He did not intend that man should
even in his wildest ravings
dare to come with hammer, chisel,
block and tackle, pick and mallet,
to profane His age-old record,
to profane the face of Rushmore
by his puny, pygmy scratches.
Why should man presume to alter
the Creator's masterpieces,
wrought in everlasting granite,
wrought by forces so titanic
that no scientist can measure,
that no human mind can master?
And to think that man, presumptive,
should deface and mutilate them!
Men and women, 'tis your duty
to lift your earnest voices,
to the end that all our people
forthwith band themselves together
to preserve from desecration
finished products from God's workshop
and placed by that Master-Artist
in the playground of the Dakota.
From Smith, Rex Alan. The Carving of Mount Rushmore. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985, pp. 116-7.
This stunning film portrait of Yosemite National Park uses the 1851 diary of the first expedition of soldiers into the Native American territory.
When an earthen dam broke without warning, a small city in Pennsylvania was swept away in a wall of water over 30 feet high.
Today one of the most-recognized figures in American literary history, poet Walt Whitman was denounced by critics in his own time.
Native Alaskans, oil company representatives, environmentalists, politicians, and others tell the story of the 800-mile pipeline.
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Vivid memories of those trapped in the terrifying temblor of 1906 that killed thousands of Californians.
The coal miners' battle for dignity led to the largest armed insurrection since the American Civil War.
The contradictory history of a dam that became a statement of American power and prestige.