Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tall, Slim & Erect

Tall, Slim & Erect. My, this is a fun site! It consists of portraits of American presidents as 2" tall, plastic figurines. All the American Presidents from Washington to Nixon are included. The site is by Alex Forman.

The site creator noted, "One day in summer, I ran across a small wooden box at a flea market. It was filled with 2-inch tall plastic figurines of the American Presidents, from Washington to Nixon. They had been collected individually, hand painted, and lovingly stored together by some unknown person (showing the simple craze of the collector). One thing that struck me about these souvenir objects—my “models”—was how even in miniature, their gestures belied attitudes of entitlement; their poses, perfect public bearing. Intended to glorify the men, they symbolize the way that presidents lose their individuality as they become defined by an institution. James Madison was five foot four inches, our shortest president. Lincoln was six foot four, our tallest. But both men, here, are two-inches tall. Restoring these miniatures to life-size I explore multiple representations of our national leaders: they are portrayed variously as stately and vulnerable, humane and even otherworldly. "

Each president also has a short biography included. None are very long but they all have a few tidbits of interesting facts. For example, the William Henry Harrison articles read, "Tall, slim and erect, [Harrison] made an impressive figure in the saddle.At sixty-eight, Harrison was the oldest President to be inaugurated and the first to die in office (exactly one month after his inauguration). A notice in the papers announced Harrison would shake no hands at his inauguration: his arm was sore and his hand was swollen from campaigning. I can not bear this, don't trouble me. He delivered a forty minute inauguration speech (written incidentally by Daniel Webster) in the rain with no overcoat. d. April 4, 1841 at 68 of Pneumonia."


elementaryhistoryteacher said...

This is just too wonderful for words. I explored a bit and can't wait to go back for more. There's alot of information here that's very interesting. Great find!

teachmehistory said...

Never knew that info about Harrison. I wonder if he died early b/c he only ate Dairy?

Jennie W said...

I always figured that Harrison died early b/c he insisted on that long speech IN THE RAIN. Big surprise that he got pneumonia! I read somewhere that he gave such a long (and very erudite) to prove that he was more than just a general.