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A Lion in the Sand: 1900

A Lion in the Sand: 1900

Continuing our sojourn by the sea: Atlantic City circa 1900. "Sand modelling." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Do you know the Munyon Man

Munyon Remedy Company out of Scranton, PA. 'There is Hope' for consumptives. I recognized Mr. Munyon from some old shares of stock I have.

Company went down with the crash of 29 or soon after.

With all that hair

I think this may be Robert La Follette, another Populist orator of the time.

Only his sister would call him a lizard

That's because little boys can be so annoying!

Dave, thank you so much for this ongoing shore series. I'm from New Jersey, and I'm inordinately proud of my little densely-populated state of cities, shorelines, farmland, highways, and forests. We're tremendously diverse and remarkably tolerant, for the most part, being descended from Quakers at one end and Dutch merchants at the other. The joie de vivre on the faces of these bathers, the care and engagement with the world that you see in these sand sculptures, all make me proud of my 250-year New Jersey heritage.

Bravo, Garden State!

No sweat tterrance

That long hair bothered me too until I thought of him being
represented as a biblical prophet.

Images in the sand

The 1900 election explanation sounds credible enough, but person in the "There Is Hope" sculpture has way more hair than Jennings ever did. On another note, that sure looks like a rather large lizard scrabbling along the sand in the upper left section. Is it, or is it an optico/photographic illusion?

Update: on the other hand, maybe I should read all the comments before commenting. But hey! I just want to fit in here.

[He/she/it should be familiar to cryptozoologists everywhere. - Dave]

Bryan's Populists were depicted as a snake

In a popular cartoon of the time, depicting the Bryan wing as devouring the whole of the Democrat party -- represented by the Donkey then as now. I think the sculpture may be showing that the snake is killing the lion, and thus crushing the notion of the King of the Beasts cowardly or not. Embraces of negative caricatures are familiar in our politics. For example, Martin Van Buren's faction in New York State adopted the name "bucktails," which was originally meant as an insult to show them running away.

Concerning Politics

This is a stretch, but here I go anyway. The man is the Democratic presidential candidate for that year who has an anti-imperialist platform and the Republican press mimic him as "the cowardly lion": William Jennings Bryan (The hair is artistic license). The lion has killed the elephant: William McKinley and party. The snake is the devil himself as portrayed in the book of Genesis.

Pardon me for wishing myself good luck with this one.

Like sand through the hourglass

This photo immediately brought to mind sand-sculpting a little more local to me in space and time, at Revere Beach in Massachusetts.

The artistic style is strangely familiar, and the "big theme" choices for subject matter are similar. 1900's "Domestic Troubles" could easily be placed right next to 2009's "Ouroboros: Life, Rebirth, and Stuff", the second-place winner at the annual competition on Revere Beach.

Mixed Bag of Sand

The sculptor seems to be revealing his inner conflicts. Is that Fred Nietzsche? A male lion and a female snake in domestic conflict with the proverbial elephant in the room? I'll leave it to the Shorpy historians to explain what its about. On a lighter note, I thought the kid crawling in the sand on the lefft looked like an lizard rushing over to see whats going on.

Yesterday's headlines

Seeing the phrases "There is hope" and "Domestic Troubles" piqued my curiosity. Apparently this is an allegory about the 1900 presidential election, and in particular about William Jennings Byran, the populist who was reputed to have taken over the Democratic Party. The elephant at the top is a dead giveaway.

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