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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Archive for January 29th, 2010
by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 Today we take a look at one of the Impressionist artists, Claude Monet. He was part of a new generation of artists in the latter part of the 19th century, especially in France, who abandoned the confines of the studio to capture the beauty of people in natural settings DIRECTLY ON CANVAS. Because they no longer controlled the conditions under which they created their masterpieces, they needed to learn to read and use light, just as photographers must do. Therefore, we find them creating studies of the same subject (e.g., Rouen Cathedral) painted at different time of day and under different lighting conditions.  GLB


“Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.”
— Claude Monet

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
— Claude Monet

“My life has been nothing but a failure.”
— Claude Monet

“I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
— Claude Monet

“No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it, and is sure of his method and composition.”
— Claude Monet

“People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love.”
— Claude Monet

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
— Georges Seurat, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”
— Claude Monet

“The older I become the more I realize of that I have to work very hard to reproduce what I search: the instantaneous. The influence of the atmosphere on the things and the light scattered throughout.”
— Claude Monet


The quotes included in this posting were taken from the public quotation site,, which does not indicate that they are covered by any special copyright restrictions. Likewise, the images included in this posting were obtained under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License from the web site which did not state any restrictions on their use. This blog makes every attempt to comply with the legal rights of copyright holders.

This posting is intended for the educational use of photographers and photography students and complies with the “educational fair use” provisions of copyright law. For readers who might wish to reuse some of these images should check out their compliance with copyright limitations that might apply to that use.



Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Claude_Monet_1899_Nadar_crop Claude Monet, also known as Oscar Claude Monet or Claude Oscar Monet, was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant).

In 1845, his family moved to Le Havre in Normandy. His father wanted him to go into the family grocery business, but Monet wanted to become an artist. His mother was a singer.

On the first of April 1851, Monet entered Le Havre secondary school of the arts. Locals knew him well for his charcoal caricatures, which he would sell for ten to twenty francs. Monet also undertook his first drawing lessons from Jacques-François Ochard, a former student of Jacques-Louis David. On the beaches of Normandy in about 1856/1857 he met fellow artist Eugène Boudin, who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Boudin taught Monet "en plein air" (outdoor) techniques for painting. Both received the influence of Johan Barthold Jongkind.

On 28 January 1857 his mother died. At the age of sixteen, he left school and went to live with his widowed childless aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre.


Claude_Monet_River_Scene_at_Bennecourt,_Seine On the Bank of the Seine,
Bennecourt (1868), an early
example of plein-air impressionism,
in which a gestural and suggestive
use of oil paint was presented as
a finished work of art.

When Monet traveled to Paris to visit the Louvre, he witnessed painters copying from the old masters. Having brought his paints and other tools with him, he would instead go and sit by a window and paint what he saw. Monet was in Paris for several years and met other young painters who would become friends and fellow impressionists; among them was Édouard Manet.

In June 1861, Monet joined the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry in Algeria for a seven-year commitment, but, two years later, after he had contracted typhoid fever, his aunt Marie-Jeanne Lecadre intervened to get him out of the army if he agreed to complete an art course at an art school. It is possible that the Dutch painter Johan Barthold Jongkind, whom Monet knew, may have prompted his aunt on this matter. Disillusioned with the traditional art taught at art schools, in 1862 Monet became a student of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frédéric Bazille and Alfred Sisley. Together they shared new approaches to art, painting the effects of light en plein air with broken color and rapid brushstrokes, in what later came to be known as Impressionism.

Monet’s Camille or The Woman in the Green Dress (La femme à la robe verte), painted in 1866, brought him recognition and was one of many works featuring his future wife, Camille Doncieux; she was the model for the figures in The Woman in the Garden of the following year, as well as for On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt, 1868, pictured here. Shortly thereafter, Camille became pregnant and gave birth to their first child, Jean.

Franco-Prussian War, Impressionism, and Argenteuil

Claude_Monet,_Impression,_soleil_levant,_1872 Impression, Sunrise (Impression,
soleil levant) (1872).

After the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War (19 July 1870), Monet took refuge in England in September 1870. While there, he studied the works of John Constable and Joseph Mallord William Turner, both of whose landscapes would serve to inspire Monet’s innovations in the study of color. In the Spring of 1871, Monet’s works were refused authorisation for inclusion in the Royal Academy exhibition.

In May 1871, he left London to live in Zaandam, in the Netherlands, where he made twenty-five paintings (and the police suspected him of revolutionary activities). He also paid a first visit to nearby Amsterdam. In October or November 1871, he returned to France. Monet lived from December 1871 to 1878 at Argenteuil, a village on the right bank of the Seine river near Paris, and a popular Sunday-outing destination for Parisians, where he painted some of his best known works. In 1874, he briefly returned to Holland.

Pierre_August_Renoir,_Claude_Monet_Reading Pierre-Auguste Renoir,
Claude Monet Reading,

In 1872, he painted Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant) depicting a Le Havre landscape. It hung in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and is now displayed in the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris. From the painting’s title, art critic Louis Leroy coined the term "Impressionism", which he intended as disparagement but which the Impressionists appropriated for themselves.

Also in this exhibition was a painting titled Boulevard des Capucines, a painting of the boulevard done from the photographer Nadar’s apartment at no. 35. There were, however, two paintings by Monet of the boulevard: one is now in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, the other in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. It has never become clear which painting appeared in the groundbreaking 1874 exhibition, though more recently the Moscow picture has been favoured.

Monet and Camille Doncieux had married just before the war (28 June 1870) and, after their excursion to London and Zaandam, they had moved to Argenteuil, in December 1871. It was during this time that Monet painted various works of modern life. Camille became ill in 1876. They had a second son, Michel, on 17 March 1878, (Jean was born in 1867). This second child weakened her already fading health. In that same year, he moved to the village of Vétheuil. On 5 September 1879, Camille Monet died of tuberculosis at the age of thirty-two; Monet painted her on her death bed.

Later life

Clémentel_monet_in_seinen_gaerten_20008_1 Claude Monet, in his garden,
by Étienne Clémentel,
c. 1917

After several difficult months following the death of Camille, a grief-stricken Monet (resolving never to be mired in poverty again) began in earnest to create some of his best paintings of the 19th century. During the early 1880s, Monet painted several groups of landscapes and seascapes in what he considered to be campaigns to document the French countryside. His extensive campaigns evolved into his series’ paintings.

Camille Monet had become ill with tuberculosis in 1876. Pregnant with her second child she gave birth to Michel Monet in March 1878. In 1878 the Monets temporarily moved into the home of Ernest Hoschedé, (1837-1891), a wealthy department store owner and patron of the arts. Both families then shared a house in Vétheuil during the summer. After her husband (Ernest Hoschedé) became bankrupt, and left in 1878 for Belgium, in September 1879, and while Monet continued to live in the house in Vétheuil; Alice Hoschedé helped Monet to raise his two sons, Jean and Michel, by taking them to Paris to live alongside her own six children. They were Blanche Hoschedé Monet, (She eventually married Jean Monet), Germaine, Suzanne Hoschedé, Marthe, Jean-Pierre, and Jacques.

In the spring of 1880, Alice Hoschedé and all the children left Paris and rejoined Monet still living in the house in Vétheuil. In 1881, all of them moved to Poissy which Monet hated. In April 1883, from the window of the little train between Vernon and Gasny he discovered Giverny. They then moved to Vernon, then to a house in Giverny, Eure, in Upper Normandy, where he planted a large garden where he painted for much of the rest of his life. Following the death of her estranged husband, Alice Hoschedé married Claude Monet in 1892.


488px-'Port-Goulphar,_Belle-Île',_oil_on_canvas_painting_by_Claude_Monet,_1887 Port-Goulphar, Belle Île, 1887,
Art Gallery of New South Wales

At the beginning of May 1883, Monet and his large family rented a house and 2 acres (8,100 m2) from a local landowner. The house was situated near the main road between the towns of Vernon and Gasny at Giverny. There was a barn that doubled as a painting studio, orchards and a small garden. The house was close enough to the local schools for the children to attend and the surrounding landscape offered an endless array of suitable motifs for Monet’s work. The family worked and built up the gardens and Monet’s fortunes began to change for the better as his dealer Paul Durand-Ruel had increasing success in selling his paintings. By November 1890, Monet was prosperous enough to buy the house, the surrounding buildings and the land for his gardens.

During the 1890s, Monet built a greenhouse and a second studio, a spacious building well lit with skylights. Beginning in the 1880s and 1890s through the end of his life in 1926, Monet worked on "series" paintings, in which a subject was depicted in varying light and weather conditions. His first series exhibited as such was of Haystacks, painted from different points of view and at different times of the day. Fifteen of the paintings were exhibited at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in 1891. He later produced several series of paintings including: Rouen Cathedral, Poplars, the Parliament, Mornings on the Seine, and the Water Lilies that were painted on his property at Giverny.

Monet was exceptionally fond of painting controlled nature: his own gardens in Giverny, with its water lilies, pond, and bridge. He also painted up and down the banks of the Seine, producing paintings such as Break-up of the ice on the Seine.

He wrote daily instructions to his gardening staff, precise designs and layouts for plantings, and invoices for his floral purchases and his collection of botany books. As Monet’s wealth grew, his garden evolved. He remained its architect, even after he hired seven gardeners.

Charing_Cross_Bridge,_Monet Charing Cross Bridge, 1899, Collection Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza,
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum,

Between 1883 and 1908, Monet traveled to the Mediterranean, where he painted landmarks, landscapes, and seascapes, such as Bordighera. He painted an important series of paintings in Venice, Italy, and in London he painted two important series—views of Parliament and views of Charing Cross Bridge. His second wife, Alice, died in 1911 and his oldest son Jean, who had married Alice’s daughter Blanche, Monet’s particular favourite, died in 1914. After his wife died, Blanche looked after and cared for him. It was during this time that Monet began to develop the first signs of cataracts.

During World War I, in which his younger son Michel served and his friend and admirer Clemenceau led the French nation, Monet painted a series of Weeping Willow trees as homage to the French fallen soldiers. In 1923, he underwent two operations to remove his cataracts: the paintings done while the cataracts affected his vision have a general reddish tone, which is characteristic of the vision of cataract victims. It may also be that after surgery he was able to see certain ultraviolet wavelengths of light that are normally excluded by the lens of the eye, this may have had an effect on the colors he perceived. After his operations, he even repainted some of these paintings, with bluer water lilies than before the operation.

Monet and the Study of Light

So far we have seen and presented Monet’s painting works. As photography enthusiasts, what does this mean for us? The answer to that question lies in the studies that he made about the effects of light. Painters, before the time of the Impressionists like Monet, brought their subjects into the studio, or sketches of landscapes into the studio. They would then paint during a limited period of the day so they could use the same lighting from one sitting to the next.

The Impressionists broke with that tradition by going into the countryside, en plein aire, to paint their canvases. This allowed them to capture nature in all of its changing glory. This led Monet to paint the same objects repeatedly in different lighting conditions. Monet used the façade of the cathedral in Rouen as one of these objects. He would paint it in morning light, in the bright sun, in hazy sun, at sunset. In this way, he studied the “moods” of the cathedral at the various times of day.

We, as photographers, learn very quickly that the time of day greatly affects the scenes that we photograph. This comes through in the tonality of both black and white photos and color photos; we can capture both the content and the mood of our subjects by attending to the lighting. So let’s continue our examination of Monet.  GLB

Fernandez, on his blog “TheArtWolf”, describes the differences light makes on the Rouen Cathedral. We incorporate some of his observations here:

The representation of a same pictorial object at different moments with the aim of observing the changes caused by the natural light was not new for Monet, who between 1890 and 1891 had already created a series of 15 canvases representing a group of haystacks in the outskirts of Giverny. These haystacks are painted under the summer sun, in the sunset or in the dusk; at the end of the summer, in the heat of winter or in the early spring. The paintings must be seen more like an interest for the dynamic nature that for a pictorial-scientist theory (Monet himself declared that "I have always hated those awful theories"). The series was praised by the critics and was a great commercial success. Wassily Kandinsky had the opportunity of seeing one of these haystacks in an exhibition in Moscow in 1895, and was impressed to the point of suggesting it as the first abstract painting of the Art history: "And suddenly, for the first time, I saw a picture. I read in the catalogue that was a haystack, but I could not recognize it (.) I realized that there the object of the picture was missed (.) What I had perfectly present was the unsuspected -and until then hidden- power of the palette"

Claude_Monet_-_Graystaks_I But with the Cathedral series Monet goes even beyond: Here the aim is not to represent a tangible model -as it happened in the haystacks ones- under different luminance and climatic conditions. In the Rouen Cathedral series, the authentic protagonist is not the architectonic model, in a certain sense "despised" by Monet, who use a point of view extremely nearby, of such form that the architecture, due to the almost complete absence of perspective, loses its grandeur and it’s even sectioned in the towers and pinnacles: so the building is here not more than a background, an "excuse", to show the authentic protagonist of the composition: the power of the painting to represent the dynamic quality of the light and the atmosphere, capable of giving life to something so stony and inanimate as the imposing facade of the Gothic Cathedral. That what Kandinsky was able to decipher in the haystacks is here more than evident.

Evidently, among the 31 canvases of the Cathedral series there are more differences than those caused by the different conditions of light and atmosphere. Monet chose five different points of view – two from the square and three from different rooms in the building opposite to the Cathedral- representing the Cathedral’s portal (frontally or with the point of view slightly displaced to the right), or the portal and the d’Albane tower (to the left of the portal), but always conserving that unusually nearby point of view. 25 of these views are dated 1894, another one is dated 1893, and five are signed but not dated. However, as Monet finished most of views in his workshop, it’s more important the date in which each canvas was started (mostly 1892 and 1893). The election of the palette reflects the different shades in which the daily light was dyeing the Cathedral facade: form the smooth blues of the morning (fig 2 and 3) to the vivid ochre and golden shades in the soleil pictures (fig 4, 5, 6 and 7) and browns and greys in the cloudy days (fig 8 and 9)

rouen_cathedral-1 Figure 1
View of the Rouen Cathedral’s portal nowadays

monet_rouen_1893_matin_orsay 2 Figure 2
Claude Monet: The Portal of Rouen Cathedral in
morning light, harmony in blue. 1894.
Paris, Musée d’Orsay

monet_rouen_1894_west_facade_washington 3 Figure 3
Claude Monet: The Portal of Rouen Cathedral in
morning light, harmony in blue. 1894.
Washington, National Gallery of Art

Claude_Monet_033 Figure 4
Claude Monet: The Portal of Rouen Cathedral (soleil),
harmony in blue and gold. 1894.
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art

monet_rouen_1893_orsay 5Figure 5
Claude Monet: The Portal of Rouen Cathedral (soleil),
harmony in blue and gold. 1893.
Paris, Musée d’Orsay

monet_rouen_1894_soleil_washington 6Figure 6
Claude Monet: The Portal of Rouen Cathedral and
the tower d’Albane (soleil), harmony in blue and gold. 1894. Washington, National Gallery of Art

monet_rouen_1892_soleil_marmottan 7Figure 7
Claude Monet: The Portal of Rouen Cathedral
at afternoon. 1892.
Paris, Musée Marmottan

monet_rouen_1892_gris_orsay 8Figure 8
Claude Monet: The Portal of Rouen Cathedral,
the Portal on a grey day. 1892.
Paris, Musée d’Orsay

monet_rouen_1894_brune 9 Figure 9
Claude Monet: The Portal of Rouen Cathedral,
"le Portal vu de face", harmony in brown. 1894.
Paris, Musée d’Orsay



Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Clarence John Laughlin…

Wikipedia: Claude Monet and Rouen Cathedral…

Web Sites and Blogs:

Web Site: Claude Monet… Claude Monet — The Rouen Cathedral… Claude Monet…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 It is not unusual for similar solutions to a problem to emerge from two different research centers/laboratories at about the same time. That is science at its best; it is the role of the Internet in today’s society. It is interesting, then, that the critical technology necessary for ARPANet and the Internet emerged from two researchers at about the same time: Paul Baran in the US and Donald Davies in the UK both developed schemes for “Packet Switching”. While Baran has generally be credited for this development, the name derives from the work of Davies! Today we look at Donald Davies contributions to the development of “Packet Switching” and the Internet as a wholeGLB


“Well, you may have got there first, but I got the name.”
— Donald Davies

“Although shy, Davies’s intellectual powers commanded respect. He was a leader, and also liked.”
— Jack Schofield, Guardian Obituary,

“[Davies] explored packet switching in their laboratory, but Donald could not convince the British to fund a wide area network experiment. His papers, however, did show the importance of packet switching for computer communication.”
Internet Society Obituary

“Davies said he had realized that it was inefficient for a computer to send an entire file to another computer in an uninterrupted stream of data, ‘chiefly because computer traffic is ‘bursty’ with long periods of silence.’ ‘”
Internet Society Obituary

“The idea [Packet Switching] also transformed the economics of communications. You no longer needed to make a long-distance call to send data across the world, only to call the network’s nearest node – which today is usually a local internet service provider.”
— Jack Schofield, Guardian Obituary,

“He was an ideas man, and didn’t follow through. It wasn’t that he couldn’t have, it was just that he chose to move on to the next idea. But one of his key features was that he would pick things up well before other people realised they were going to be important.”
— Brian Oakley, Britain’s Strategic Computer Research Initiative

“So, in November 1965, I conceived the use of a purpose-designed network employing packet switching in which the stream of bits is broken up into short messages, or ‘packets,’ that find their way individually to the destination, where they are reassembled into the original stream.”
Internet Society Obituary


Wizards of the Internet: Donald Davies (UK)

davies_donald Donald Watts Davies, CBE FRS (June 7, 1924 – May 28, 2000) was a Welsh computer scientist who was a co-inventor of packet switching (and originator of the term), along with Paul Baran in the US.

Davies was born in Treorchy in the Rhondda Valley, Wales. His father, a clerk at a coalmine, died a few months later, and his mother took Donald and his twin sister back to her home town of Portsmouth, where he went to school.


At Imperial College, London, he gained BSc degrees in physics in 1943 and mathematics in 1947, both with first class honours; he was awarded the Lubbock Memorial Prize as the leading mathematician of his year at London University in 1947. In between the two degrees he worked at Birmingham University on atomic research as an assistant to Klaus Fuchs, and at ICI Billingham.

He joined the war effort working as an assistant to Klaus Fuchs. on the nuclear weapons Tube Alloys project at Birmingham University. He then returned to Imperial taking a first class degree in mathematics (1947); he was also awarded the Lubbock memorial Prize as the outstanding mathematician of his year.

During his last year at university he attended a lecture by John Womersley, superintendent of the mathematics division of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), about the ACE digital computer which was being developed there. Excited by the potential of the new technology, he immediately applied to join the group, and in September 1947 he joined the laboratory as a member of the small team, which was led by Alan Turing of Bletchley Park fame.

Working with Turing

The group’s work, based on Turing’s design, eventually led to the Pilot ACE computer, which ran its first program on May 10, 1950; it was one of the first four or five electronic stored-program digital computers in the world, and certainly the first in London. Along with Ted Newman, Jim Wilkinson and others, Davies had played an important part in the detailed design and development of the machine, and its successor, the full-scale ACE.

ace1950 From 1947, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory where Alan Turing was designing the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) computer. It is said that Davies spotted mistakes in Turing’s seminal 1936 paper On Computable Numbers, much to Turing’s annoyance. These were perhaps some of the first "programming" errors in existence, even if they were for a theoretical computer, the universal Turing machine. The ACE project was overambitious and foundered, leading to Turing’s departure. Davies took the project over and concentrated on delivering the less ambitious Pilot ACE computer, which first worked in May 1950. A commercial spin-off, DEUCE was manufactured by English Electric Computers and became one of the best-selling machines of the 1950s.

Packet Switching

Davies then worked for a while on applications such as traffic simulation and machine translation. In the early 1960s, he worked on Government technology initiatives designed to stimulate the British computer industry.

The conceptual breakthrough advantage of packet switching was "enabling more with less" through packet-level multi-tasking — routing multiple communications over the same wire at the same time — enabling the construction of data networks at much lower cost with greater throughput, flexibility, and robustness. The following sections provide more information.

In 1966 he returned to the NPL at Teddington just outside London, where he headed and transformed its computing activity. He became interested in data communications following a visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he saw that a significant problem with the new time-sharing computer systems was the cost of keeping a phone connection open for each user[2]. He first presented his ideas on packet switching at a conference in Edinburgh on 5 August 1968.

In 1970, Davies helped build a packet switched network called the Mark I to serve the NPL in the UK. It was replaced with the Mark II in 1973, and remained in operation until 1986, influencing other research in the UK and Europe. Larry Roberts of the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the United States became aware of the idea, and built it into the Arpanet, which evolved into the Internet.

Davies relinquished his management responsibilities in 1979 to return to research. He became particularly interested in computer network security. He retired from the NPL in 1984, becoming a security consultant to the banking industry.

Davies was appointed a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society in 1975, a CBE in 1983 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1987.


The London Times summarized his career as follows:

Donald Davies Scientist who enabled computers to talk to each other, and so made the Internet possible

After working with Alan Turing, the scientific genius who first conceptualised computer programming, Donald Davies went on to make one of the crucial breakthroughs that made possible modern computer communications. He pioneered packet-switching, which enables the exchange of information between computers, without which the Internet could not function.

When Davies was recommended for a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in 1954, his senior officer described him as "outstanding not only in intellectual power but also in the range of his scientific, technical and general knowledge. He is equally unusual in his ability to apply this knowledge to mechanical and electrical design and even to the actual construction of complex equipment. He is, for example, one of the very small number of persons who could draw up a complete logical design of an electronic computer, realize this design in actual circuitry, assemble it himself (with a high probability that it would work as designed) and then program it and use it for the solution of computational problems." This breadth of interest and ability was a hallmark of his career.

Davies was author or joint author of four influential books in his areas of expertise, notably Computer Networks and their Protocols published in 1973. His contributions, in particular his work on packet-switching, were recognized by the British Computer Society, which conferred on him the John Player Award in 1974 and a Distinguished Fellowship in 1975; he became its technical vice-president in 1983. He was appointed CBE in 1983 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1987. He was a visiting professor at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College in 1987.

His versatility and his fascination with intellectual challenges and puzzles are evident in his private interests as well as in his formal computer work. Over the years these interests included the design and construction of noughts-and-crosses machines, which were considerable attractions at the annual NPL children’s parties (the game was the subject of his first published paper, in 1950); historic cryptographic machines, particularly the German machines of the Second World War; and all puzzles and games capable of mathematical analysis.

His last project showed that his technical skills remained undiminished: he developed a simulator of the Pilot ACE for a modern personal computer, which was demonstrated earlier this month at a conference celebrating the machine’s 50th anniversary, although sadly illness prevented Davies from attending.



Katie Hafner & Matthew Lyon. (1998) Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet. Simon & Schuster

Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

ARPANet can be found at…

The Internet can be found at…

Donald Davies can be found at…

Other Web Sites:

Charles Babbage Institute Collections: Donald Davies…

History Computing Project: Donald Davies…

Guardian Obituary: Donald Davies – Simple Idea that made the internet possible…

Internet Society: Obituary for Donald Davies…

by Gerald Boerner


JerryPhoto_8x8_P1010031 For all of us who grew up with our heroes being major league baseball players, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown was Mecca. I know that I aspired to become a major league ball player and achieve that lofty status; alas, I took a road more traveled, but that’s another story. Those whose career achievements were outstanding, whose leadership skills legend, and who served as role models for all of us in the bleachers or in front of the radio or TV. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame was something to be admired and inspired by. As grown men, it still is…  GLB


“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
— Babe Ruth

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”
— Babe Ruth

“I never said most of the things I said.”
— Yogi Berra

“I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary.”
— Yogi Berra

“I ain’t ever had a job, I just always played baseball.”
— Satchel Paige

“I am convinced that God wanted me to be a baseball player.”
— Roberto Clemente

“How can you think and hit at the same time?”
— Yogi Berra

“If you’re playing baseball and thinking about managing, you’re crazy. You’d be better off thinking about being an owner.”
— Casey Stengel

“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.”
— Jackie Robinson

“The triple is the most exciting play in baseball. Home runs win a lot of games, but I never understood why fans are so obsessed with them.”
— Hank Aaron

“As far as I’m concerned, Aaron is the best ball player of my era. He is to baseball of the last fifteen years what Joe DiMaggio was before him. He’s never received the credit he’s due.”
— Mickey Mantle

“How to hit home runs: I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball… The harder you grip the bat, the more you can swing it through the ball, and the farther the ball will go. I swing big, with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can.”
— Babe Ruth

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

NB_HOF_logo The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of baseball-related artifacts and exhibits, and the honoring of persons who have excelled in playing, managing, and serving the sport. The Hall’s motto is “Preserving History, Honoring Excellence, Connecting Generations”.

The word Cooperstown is often used as shorthand (or a metonym) for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, just as the expression “Hall of Fame” is understood to mean the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame was dedicated on June 12, 1939 by Lee Ferrick Andrews, grandson of Edward Clark, who was a founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Stephen C. Clark was owner of a local hotel and sought to bring tourists to Cooperstown, which had been suffering economically when the Great Depression significantly reduced the local tourist trade and the Prohibition devastated the local hops industry. The erroneous claim that U.S. Civil War hero Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, a claim made by former National League president Abraham G. Mills and his 1905 Mills Commission, was instrumental in the early marketing of the Hall.

Baseball_Hof The Entrance to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

An $8 million library and research facility opened in 1994. Dale Petroskey became the organization’s president in 1999.

In 2002, Baseball As America was launched, a traveling exhibit that toured ten American museums over six years. The Hall of Fame has also sponsored educational programming on the Internet to bring the Hall of Fame to schoolchildren who might not visit. The Hall and Museum completed a series of renovations in spring 2005. The Hall of Fame also presents an annual exhibit at FanFest at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Jeff Idelson replaced Petroskey as president on April 16, 2008. He had been acting as president since March 25, 2008, when his predecessor was forced to resign for “fail[ing] to exercise proper fiduciary responsibility” while making “judgments that were not in the best interest of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.”


Among baseball fans, “Hall of Fame” means not only the museum and facility in Cooperstown, but the pantheon of players, managers, umpires, executives, and pioneers who have been enshrined in the Hall. The first five men elected were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson, named in 1936. As of January 2010, 292 individuals had been elected to the Hall of Fame, including 203 former Major League players, 35 Negro Leaguers, 19 managers, 9 umpires, and 26 pioneers, executives, and organizers. The newest members are Joe Gordon, Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson; the induction class of 2010 will consist of player Andre Dawson, umpire Doug Harvey and manager Whitey Herzog. In addition to honoring Hall of Fame inductees, the National Baseball Hall of Fame has presented 30 men with the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting, and 57 with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for excellence in baseball writing. While Frick and Spink Award honorees are not members of the Hall of Fame, they are recognized in an exhibit in the Hall of Fame’s library.

Selection process

Plaque_first Plaques of the First Class
of Inductees

Players are currently inducted into the Hall of Fame through election by either the Baseball Writers Association of America (or BBWAA), or the Veterans Committee, which is now composed of living Hall of Famers; additional special committees, some including recipients of the two major awards, are also regularly formed to make selections. Five years after retirement, any player with 10 years of major league experience who passes a screening committee (which removes from consideration players of clearly lesser qualification) is eligible to be elected by BBWAA members with 10 years’ membership or more. From a final ballot typically including 25–40 candidates, each writer may vote for up to 10 players; until the late 1950s, voters were advised to cast votes for the maximum 10 candidates. Any player named on 75% or more of all ballots cast is elected. A player who is named on fewer than 5% of ballots is dropped from future elections. In some instances, the screening committee had restored their names to later ballots, but in the mid-1990s, dropped players were made permanently ineligible for Hall of Fame consideration, even by the Veterans Committee. A 2001 change in the election procedures restored the eligibility of these dropped players; while their names will not appear on future BBWAA ballots, they may be considered by the Veterans Committee.

Under special circumstances, certain players may be deemed eligible for induction even though they have not met all requirements. This resulted in the induction of Addie Joss, who was elected in 1978 despite only playing in nine seasons due to his death from meningitis. Additionally, if an otherwise eligible player dies before his fifth year of retirement, then that player may be placed on the ballot at the first election at least six months after his death. Roberto Clemente’s induction in 1973 set the precedent when the writers chose to put him up for consideration after his death on New Year’s Eve, 1972.

family-vacations-cooperstown The Baseball Hall of Fame’s mission is to preserve history,
honor excellence, and connect generations.

The five-year waiting period was established in 1954 after an evolutionary process. In 1936 all players were eligible, including active ones. From the 1937 election until the 1945 election, there was no waiting period, so any retired player was eligible, but writers were discouraged from voting for current major leaguers. Since there was no formal rule preventing a writer from casting a ballot for an active player, the scribes did not always comply with the informal guideline; Joe DiMaggio received a vote in 1945, for example. From the 1946 election until the 1954 election, an official one-year waiting period was in effect. (DiMaggio, for example, retired after the 1951 season and was first eligible in the 1953 election.) The modern rule establishing a wait of five years was passed in 1954, although an exception was made for Joe DiMaggio because of his high level of previous support, thus permitting him to be elected within four years of his retirement.

Contrary to popular belief, no formal exception was made for Lou Gehrig, other than to hold a special one-man election for him. There was no waiting period at that time and Gehrig met all other qualifications, so he would have been eligible for the next regular election after he retired during the 1939 season, but the BBWAA decided to hold a special election at the 1939 Winter Meetings in Cincinnati, specifically to elect Gehrig (most likely because it was known that he was terminally ill, making it uncertain that he would live long enough to see another election). Nobody else was on that ballot, and the numerical results have never been made public. Since no elections were held in 1940 or 1941, the special election permitted Gehrig to enter the Hall while still alive.


Official Dedication, 1939:
Back row: Honus Wagner, Grover Cleveland Alexander,
Tris Speaker, Nap Lajoie, George Sisler, Walter Johnson;
Front row: Eddie Collins, Babe Ruth, Connie Mack, Cy YoungIf a player fails to be elected by the BBWAA within 20 years of his retirement from active play, he may be selected by the Veterans Committee, which now holds elections for players only for induction in odd-numbered years. However, only players whose careers began in 1943 or later will be eligible for election by the main Veterans Committee, in accordance with changes to the voting process for that body instituted in July 2007. These changes also established three separate committees to select other figures:

Players of the Negro Leagues have also been considered at various times, beginning in 1971. In 2005 the Hall completed a study on African American players between the late 19th century and the integration of the major leagues in 1947, and conducted a special election for such players in February 2006; seventeen figures from the Negro Leagues were chosen in that election, in addition to the eighteen previously selected.

Predictably, the selection process catalyzes endless debate among baseball fans over the merits of various candidates. Even players already elected remain for years the subjects of discussions as to whether their elections were deserved or in error. For example, Bill James’ book Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? goes into detail about who he believes does and does not belong in the Hall of Fame.

Other Events on this Day
  • In 1843…
    William McKinley, the twenty-fifth U.L. president, is born in Niles, Ohio.
  • In 1861…
    Kansas becomes the thirty-fourth state.
  • In 1900…
    The American League is organized in Philadelphia with eight baseball teams.
  • In 1936…
    The first five inductees into baseball’s Hall of Fame, including Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, are named in Cooperstown, New York.
  • In 1944…
    The USS Missouri, the Navy’s last battleship, is launched in New York City.    



Dates and events based on:

William J. Bennett and John Cribb, (2008) The American Patriot’s Almanac Daily Readings on America. (Kindle Edition)

Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum can be found at…

Web Sites and Blogs: Baseball Quotes… Hall of Fame History…