Inscription Rock and Forgotten History

A sandstone outcropping in Western New Mexico called “Inscription rock” carries the marks left by four hundred years of passers by. Journalist Charles F. Lummis said of the stones at El Morro “Certainly all the other rocks in America do not, all together, hold so much of American history.” The History Guy remembers the rock that tells the history of the American Southwest.

USCGC Glacier and the Weddell Sea, 1975

The USS, later USCGC, Glacier served thirty two years in the Navy and Coast Guard. An event in 1975 serves to illustrate the risks and dangers faced by those who serve in the Earth’s polar regions.

The Great Vowel Shift

The English language underwent a dramatic change in pronunciation between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries, so much so that Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare likely would not have understood each other’s speech. The transformation was emblematic of the historical events that shaped a nation.

The History Guy recalls the Great Vowel Shift.

Black Monday: The Eighth Air Force’s 250th Combat Mission

On March 6, 1944, the US Eighth Air Force conducted the first allied daylight raid in force over the German capital. The raid represented a change in strategy and a turning point in the war. But it came at great cost. The History Guy recalls the raid that came to be called “Black Monday” for the Mighty Eighth.

With appreciation to the EAA and EAA Aviation Museum, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, also the home of the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in convention. #EAA #OSH20

The Mexican Expeditionary Air Force

Mexico’s fighter squadron 201 was the first and only time that a Mexican unit has been sent to make war on foreign soil. The squadron was called “the Aztec Eagles”. The History Guy remembers the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force.

Up: The History of the Elevator

Versions of elevators have existed for millennia. But the development of elevators safe enough to carry passengers is relatively new. The History Guy remembers the history of an invention that allowed us to build skyscrapers.

Ketchup: The History of a Condiment

To many, tomato ketchup is the quintessential American condiment. But ketchup was not invented in the United States, and did not always include tomatoes. The History Guy remembers the surprising history of ketchup.

From the video: There is perhaps no condiment considered more quintessentially American than ketchup. It lines the aisles in supermarkets and adorns countless tables in restaurants. Fast food joints have tossed packets of the stuff into bags for decades, and, while a recent survey by weber grill has sriracha passing up ketchup in condiment popularity,  ketchup is still likely to win any popularity contest if you ask your average American eight-year-old. Ketchup is certainly popular, in the US and elsewhere, although the heavily sugared tomato paste has plenty of detractors who decry it as bland, overly-sweet, or just plain gross.

Despite its modern associations, ketchup didn’t originate in America, and for centuries it wasn’t made with tomatoes at all. The history of ketchup is history that deserves to be remembered. 

Ketchup’s earliest origins take us back to south-east Asia, and its ingredients were about as far from the condiment we know today as you can get. In the early 16th century English traders in the East Indies came across a sauce called ke-tchup or ku-chiap, a fish sauce. The word likely has its roots in Southern Min, a language spoken by Chinese traders from the Fujian and Guangdong provinces, meaning “preserved fish sauce”, which had become ‘kicap’ in Malay or similar words in other south-east asian languages.

Local recipes varied, but among the earliest is recorded in a Chinese text from 544: “take the intestine, stomach, and bladder of the yellow fish, shark and mullet, and wash them well. Mix them with a moderate amount of salt and place them in a jar. Seal tightly and incubate in the sun. It will be ready in twenty days in summer, fifty days in spring or fall and a hundred days in winter.” In the next centuries, soy and bean based sauces became dominant in China, while fish sauces were popular further south.

Fish sauces proliferated throughout the region, in places like Thailand, Indonesia, and along the Mekong river, which transfers through modern Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Many recipes were centered around salted and fermented anchovies. Local sauces made of fermented fish still exist today, and in Indonesia ‘kecap’ means ‘sauce’.

It is less clear where British traders heard of the sauce. A 1732 recipe mentions Bengkulu, a city in Sumatra where the British East India Company established a presence by 1685. They may also have heard the word from Southern Min speaking traders at any of their settlements. British merchant Charles Lockyer reported in his “An Account of the Trade in India” in 1711 of seeing huge numbers of Chinese trading ships throughout the region, and that the “best ketchup comes from Tonkin”, in Northern Vietnam or China.

As with many of the products England imported home, they very quickly made the product their own. One of the first things the English did, from a recipe from 1736, was add beer. The recipe calls for boiling down “2 gallons of strong, stale beer and a half pound of anchovies” adding that “the stronger and staler the beer, the better the catch-up will be.” Eliza Smith’s 1727 “The Compleat Housewife” included a ketchup recipe that had a “pint of the best white wine vinegar” and shallots, ginger, and mushrooms in addition to anchovies. A Jonathan Swift poem from 3 years later reads “And, for our home-bred British cheer,/ Botargo, catsup, and caviare”. (Botargo is a fish egg dish.)

Early ketchups were made of all manner of things, such as cherries, oysters, blackberries, mushrooms, and even walnuts. For about a century mushroom ketchups with were popular in England, made by putting whole mushrooms in jars with salt. It is “traditionally thin and almost black”, and has been described as “halfway between worcestershire sauce and soy sauce”, with, of course, undercurrents of mushroom. Ketchups of all kinds can vary significantly in consistency, from watery to the thick version more familiar to modern diners. Walnut ketchup was a favorite of Jane Austen.

About the only thing that early ketchups weren’t made of were tomatoes. Tomatoes are native to western south America, and were consumed by native populations in central and south America before contact; the word Tomato come from the Aztec word “tomatl”. It isn’t clear who first brought the plants to Europe. Cortez may have brought them when he returned from capturing Tenochtitlan in 1521, but Columbus may have brought specimens back as early as 1493. They were described in mid-16th century Italy and Spain, but were often grown for ornamental purposes. Still, they grew well in the Mediterranean, and over the next century became staples in Mediterranean cooking.

The tomato came later to northern Europe and to England by the 1590s, but it gained something of a negative reputation. One reason is that Europeans recognized the fruit as a relative of nightshade, and the fruits themselves similar to nightshade berries, which are extremely toxic. While tomatoes are a part of the same family, they are, of course, perfectly safe for consumption – other nightshade family foods include eggplants, bell peppers, and chilli peppers.

The English botanist John Gerard authored the “Herball, or General History of Plants” in 1597 – and while the work is largely a translation of earlier works, Gerrard’s work became the most prevalent English book on botany in the 17th century. While Gerard knew that tomatoes were eaten in Spain and Italy, he still declared them poisonous. His views were influential enough to steer many people away, even if they didn’t think they were poisonous.

Another possibility lies in a reaction between tomatoes and pewter. Pewter plates often had a relatively high lead content, and when brought into contact with it, highly acidic foods like tomatoes can “leach” the lead, possibly causing lead poisoning.

Other English herbalists were skeptical of the plant as well: the botanist John Parkinson in 1629 called them “love apples” and said that while they were eaten in hotter climates, the English only grew them for curiosity and “the beauty of their fruit.” Another botanist, John Hill, mentioned that the English sometimes ate them in soups in 1754, but also that “there are persons who think them not wholseome”. Tomatoes did appear as ingredients in “the Arte of Cookery” by Hannah Glasse in 1758. They were growing in the Carolinas by 1710.

One of the earliest appearances of Tomato ketchup was in 1801, which is credited to Sandy Addison. Another early Tomato ketchup recipe appears in an English book in 1817 which still included half a pound of anchovies, and was included alongside walnut, mushroom, pudding, and oyster ketchups. James Mease invented a tomato ketchup in 1812, and Thomas Jefferson’s cousin Mary Randolph included a tomato recipe in her 1824 cookbook “The Virginia Housewife”. 

In 1834, Ohio physician John Cook Bennett took a different view of tomatoes: he declared they were a panacea that could cure diarrhea, indigestion, jaundice, rheumatism, and could even prevent cholera. Bennett was a physician, known also for creating an early medical diploma mill;  he sold medical degrees for $10 in the 1820s. Bennett encouraged everyone to eat tomatoes in any form, including ketchup, as they were “the most healthy material of the Materia Alimentary”.

Bennett claimed he had visited European hospitals that recommended tomatoes to healing patients, but even if he was lying he wasn’t the first to talk about possible medical applications for the plant. Thomas Jefferson records that his friend Dr. John De Sequeyra thought if someone ate “An abundance of these apples would never die.” Other doctors in the early 1800s said tomatoes could cure headaches and were good against “bilious diseases”, and later many supported Bennett’s conclusions. 

Bennett published his beliefs widely in American newspapers. Papers even began reporting that the tomato cure was working. In 1836 Archibald Miles, a seller of patent medicines, met Bennett, and shortly after began selling “Dr. Miles’ Compound Extract of Tomato” pills. The pills were so popular that imitations proliferated, and even instigated a “tomato pill war” between Miles’ and a competitor, Guy Phelps, in the newspapers. Eventually, readers would learn that neither pill actually contained any tomato.  

Ketchup recipes in the early 1800s were either made at home or sold in small batches by local farmers. This changed by 1837, when Jonas Yerkes became possibly the first person to sell ketchup in bottles, by the quart and pint. Other manufacturers followed suit, but there were some problems with producing ketchup in large enough quantities to sell commercially. Tomatoes, especially in the north, had short growing seasons that required the preservation of tomato pulp that could be used year-round. With no regulation and a carelessness typical of the age, vats of stored tomato pulp became infested with mold, yeast, spores, and bacteria.

Cookbook author Pierre Blott described ketchups in 1866 as “filthy, decomposed, and putrid”. Some producers only made ketchup as a byproduct of tomato canning, using leftover pieces of tomato they sometimes swept off the floor. The ketchup was also often cooked in copper tubs, which could cause chemical reactions that made the condiment poisonous. Producers made up for these failings by filling their ketchups with preservatives like boric and salicylic acid, and added coal tar to dye the yellowish stuff red. An 1896 study of commercial ketchups determined that over 90% of them contained “injurious ingredients”. 

Enter Henry J. Heinz. Heinz formed the Heinz and Noble company with a friend in 1860, first producing horseradish in clear bottles so consumers could see the quality of the product. He would later patent his now iconic octagonal glass bottle, which had a narrow neck to prevent air contact from discoloring the product. The company grew rapidly, but went bankrupt in the aftermath of the panic of 1873.

In 1876, he formed a new company, the F & J Heinz company with his brother and a cousin, and one of their first products was Heinz Ketchup, first introduced with the spelling ‘catsup’. At the time, neither spelling was standard, but as a general rule in the 1800s British imports used the term “ketchup” with a “k”  while domestic American brands preferred ‘catsup’ with a “C”. It is partially thanks to Heinz’ decision to favor the “ketchup” spelling that would help it become the most prevalent spelling today.

His ketchup was different from the get go: while it did include some of the same preservatives and coal tar, Heinz had a goal of creating a consistent and quality product, and his use of elm bark helped to stabilize the product. His was also thicker than most ketchups of the time, and he took some inspiration from German ketchups, which combined sugar and vinegar to emphasize a sweet and sour mix of flavors. Modern ketchup increases its thickness by the addition of products like Xanthan gum – Heinz says that ketchup must flow no faster than .028 miles per hour.

Heinz was also remarkably kind to his workers, offering insurance, dining rooms, gymnasiums, and even an on-site manicurist. He opened his factory to public tours to tout its cleanliness. He felt that these aims would help public trust, and, ultimately, benefit the business. At the turn of the century, Heinz saw opportunity in the numerous poor-quality ketchups on the market if he could create a preservative free ketchup, a project he gave to his Chief Food Scientist G.F. Mason.

Mason’s solution not only revolutionized the safety of ketchup, but the taste as well – his stable combination contained vinegar, sugar, and salt. The increased vinegar helped to protect the tomato from spoilage, and the recipe gave the product a new taste.

Heinz’ preservative free ketchup was on the market by 1906, when he produced five million bottles of the stuff. The recipe had a downside though: it made his ketchup ten or twenty cents more expensive than his competitors. This, coupled with his desire to market Heinz as the leader in safe food manufacturing, led him to be a leader in support of the Food and Drug Act. Heinz’ son Howard argued to President Roosevelt that though the regulation might cost companies money, it would “inspire confidence in commercially prepared foods”. 

The passage of the act and success of the Heinz company seems to vindicate his strategy. Heinz ketchup has a 60% market share in the US, and greater in the UK. For Americans, ketchup is almost an institution, an integral part of 4th of July cookouts, partner to classic American foods, and available freely in little packets at fast food restaurants. The military has spent billions on ketchup to keep soldiers in the red stuff, which has come in handy for the sometimes less than appetizing meals they’ve had to eat. Ketchup has even been to space.

But perhaps no place symbolizes America’s relationship with ketchup better than the world’s largest catsup bottle, a unique painted water tower built in 1949 next to a now defunct ketchup bottling plant outside of Collinsville, Illinois. 

Despite its close relationship with Americans, tomato ketchup is enjoyed throughout the world, and the US doesn’t even necessarily eat the most per capita – in 2013 the US was tied for fifth, behind the UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Canada. In Canada, Heinz bottles have even had a recipe for ‘ketchup cake’ on the back, which I can only hope tastes better than it sounds.  

Ketchup as we understand it today owes a lot to history, and of course, to Heinz, who has become the standard for the taste and consistency of commercial ketchup. In fact, the thickness of ketchup actually makes it a non-Newtonian fluid, or a fluid with a viscosity that is variable based on applied force. It also has a unique shear-thinning property. This means that hitting a bottle of ketchup actually decreases its viscosity, allowing it to flow faster out of the bottle, although it is an… imperfect art.

While the perfect way to get ketchup out of a glass bottle is a subject of some debate, Heinz recommends aiming for the ‘57’ on the glass neck. As for that 57 – Heinz chose the number as he thought it felt iconic and ‘lucky’, and was inspired by an ad for shoes he saw in an elevator, promising 21 styles of shoes. When he introduced it his company was already producing 60 different products.

Despite its sometimes pedestrian reputation, ketchup has a global and interesting history, and one, we’re sure, will add flavor to the human experience well into the future.

Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith, Prohibition Agents

The History Guy remembers two of the best detectives and Prohibition agents in history, Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith. Their ingenious use of disguises to bust bootleggers during Prohibition is history that deserves to be remembered.

Picasso’s Many Muses and the Cost of Genius

Pablo Picasso was one of the most important and prolific artists of the twentieth century. But his art came at a price for those who loved him. The History Guy recalls the many loves of Pablo Picasso.

From the video: Pablo Picasso, a prolific and ground-breaking artist of thousands of paintings, sculptures and other works, displayed his genius from an early age. Throughout his life, his art moved through various and distinct stages, and so did his love life. He reportedly said, “There are only two kinds of women, goddesses and doormats.”

The women Picasso adored appeared in his works, some bore his children, and almost all the affairs ended tragically. So tragically, in fact, that there seemed to be a dark side to loving the artist. Picasso’s granddaughter, Marina Picasso, wrote in her memoir: “His brilliant oeuvre demanded human sacrifices. He needed the blood of those who loved him — people who thought they loved a human being, whereas they really loved Picasso.”

The lives of the many muses of Pablo Picasso deserve to be remembered.

Picasso said, “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope!’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.” He learned the basics of art at his father’s studio but his talents surpassed his father’s abilities when he was still young. Picasso’s first word, according to his family, was a shortened form of “pencil”.

Picasso created compulsively, drawing and sketching for hours at a time until collapsing, exhausted, to rest and then start again. His prodigious talent earned Picasso a spot at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando but he dropped out soon after being admitted. Picasso moved to Paris where he honed his abilities even further and made friends with many of the artists there. He lived in poverty with the bohemians of Paris, burning some of his early creations to stay warm.

He is remembered for, among other accomplishments, as being one of the co-founders of cubism. The unique art movement is considered by some art historians to be one of the most influential art developments of the 20th century. Cubism takes every day objects or scenes, breaks them into their component parts, and then examines those parts from different viewpoints, creating geometric shapes and surreal designs.

The creations evoke a strong response in the viewer, which seems to be unique to each person because of the way the human brain struggles to fill in the blanks left by the artist. Picasso seemed to innately understand this one-of-a-kind interaction between art and everyone who views it. He said, “The picture lives only through the man who is looking at it.”

One of Picasso’s first muses, Fernande Olivier, met the artist during his struggling, early years in Paris. Olivier, born Amélie Lang in June 1881, had a difficult past. She was born out of wedlock, which was far more problematic during her lifetime than today, and raised by an aunt and uncle. When they arranged a marriage for her, Olivier ran away and married a man of her choice, who was abusive. She fled this marriage and hid from her husband in Paris, changing her name to complete her escape.

Olivier met Picasso in 1904 when she was modeling for many of the artists of Paris. She has been described as “strikingly beautiful” and caught the eye of many of the bohemians with her lovely features. Picasso said he used Olivier as the model in sixty of his creations, including the model for the sculpture “Head of a Woman” and as one of the women in his provocative and ground-breaking work, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”. The rest of the women in the portrait, he claimed, were prostitutes.

“Les Demoiselles” shocked the art world with French artist Henri Matisse proclaiming the portrait was “not only a crime against art but a personal affront.” Despite or perhaps because of the visceral reactions to the creation, Picasso and his art was catapulted onto the world stage.

Olivier and Picasso’s love affair lasted for seven years. She adopted a 13-year-old girl in order to create a family with the artist perhaps in an effort to secure his affections for herself, but Olivier returned the child to the orphanage after she discovered graphic and nude sketches of the girl by Picasso. Olivier ended their relationship soon after. Later in life and struggling to escape poverty, she published a series of articles about her relationship with Picasso, who had gone on to such incredible fame.

Picasso sued to prevent the publication of the articles and was eventually successful. Forgotten, now-deaf and suffering from crippling arthritis, Olivier lived off of a small pension from the artist until she died at the age of 85 in 1966.

Marcelle Humbert, who was called Eva Gouel by Picasso, was Olivier’s friend and Picasso’s next notable relationship. Like most of his relationships, Picasso was obsessed with Gouel and was known to have signed some of his works “I love Eva” during their time together.

Gouel, for her part, helped organize and clean Picasso’s home, except for his studio, which he refused to straighten. She was also helpful to the artist in his business enterprises, assisting in the sales of pieces and encouraging Picasso to add more color to his creations.

She was with Picasso for four years and seemed to experience little of his more negative moods. Gouel said, “To look at him, you would think he would be violent, but he is really like a lamb.” Sadly, Gouel developed tuberculosis and died at age 30. Picasso was despondent, but found comfort in the arms of Gaby Lespinasse, a 27 year old who lived nearby.

Picasso didn’t introduce Lespinasse to his friends and few knew the two even had a romance until the 1950’s, when Lespinasse sold a few of the paintings the artist had gifted to her during that time. The affair was kept a secret, not just because it began when Gouel was on her deathbed, but also because Lespinasse was in a relationship with an American named Henry Lespinasse, whom she married a year later.

Picasso gave Lespinasse some wooden beads, and a few paintings, one which had a passionate scrap of paper attached to the frame which read: ‘I have asked the good God for your hand.” Other watercolors and sketches of rooms, which the pair were said to have used during their affair, had erotic inscriptions by the artist. But Lespinasse was believed to have etched out the inscriptions in order to protect her reputation.

Olga Khokhlova, a tall Russian ballerina, was the next notable muse in Picasso’s life. He met her after designing the set and costumes for a ballet Khokhlova was performing in. Shortly after she began a relationship with Picasso, Khokhlova injured her foot and, though it healed after some time, she never danced in public again. Nearly a decade younger than Picasso, Khokhlova was descended from Russian nobility and expected a commitment of marriage from Picasso before she would sleep with him. He acquiesced and Khoklova gave him his first child, a boy they named Paulo.

Khoklova believed in a well-run household and disliked Picasso’s more bohemian friends. She hired a chauffeur to drive the artist around and insisted he live more like the famous artist he was becoming. Khoklove was a jealous wife, but couldn’t prevent Picasso from having numerous affairs.

The unhappy marriage peaked when Khoklova discovered Picasso had been in a ten-year-long affair with the girl next door named Marie-Therese Walter. The relationship had started when Walter was only 17 and now she was pregnant with Picasso’s child. Khoklova demanded a divorce, which Picasso was unwilling to give. Instead, she relocated to France and remained technically married to the artist for the rest of her life. Khoklova developed cancer and died in 1955. Towards the end of her life, she asked to see Picasso again, but the artist did not go to see her or attend her funeral.

Marie-Therese Walter, a French woman, gave birth to Picasso’s daughter, Maya, in September 1935. Walter’s depictions in Picasso’s works are noted for the bright colors he used. She is credited as the muse for a collection of 100 etchings that Picasso called the “Vollard Suite”. Her pregnancy with Picasso’s child was captured by the artist in his work, “Le Reve” or The Dream. Their child, Maya, was the model for Picasso’s Cubism-styled portrait called “Maya with Doll”.

Picasso moved in with Walter for a period of time, but two months after the birth of Maya, he met Dora Maar, his next muse. He carried on affairs with both women, then 26 and 28 years old to the artist’s 54 years. There’s an apocryphal story that Walter came to Picasso’s studio when Maar was there and the two had a literal wrestling match over who would be with the artist. Picasso was said to have remarked the wrestling match over his attention was a “choice memory”. Later, Picasso and the women denied this incident had ever happened.

Picasso went on to pursue his relationship with Maar and many others. When Khoklova died in 1955, Picasso called Walter and asked her to marry him. She refused. Despite being younger than Picasso, Walter woudn’t long outlive him, committing suicide in October 1977, a mere four years after the artist’s natural death. There was speculation that she committed the act because of her lingering attachment to Picasso.

Dora Maar, whom Picasso considered more of an intellectual equal than Walter, worked closely with the artist. She was a talented painter and photographer, notably photographing the disastrous results on many Americans of the 1929 crash on Wall Street. Maar opened a studio in Paris, working in commercial photography for a time. She also held solo exhibits and her work was published in Parisian magazines.

Maar’s birth name was Henriette Theodora Markovitch and she was raised in Argentina by Croatian and French parents. The promising photographer was introduced to Picasso in 1936, shortly after she was working as a set photographer on the film, The Crime of Monsieur Lange.

Journalist Jean-Paul Crespelle described Maar and Picasso’s first meeting in a cafe:  “She kept driving a small pointed pen-knife between her fingers into the wood of the table. Sometimes she missed and a drop of blood appeared between the roses embroidered on her black gloves. Picasso asked Dora to give him the gloves and locked them up in the showcase he kept for his mementos.”

During their nine year affair, Maar was a muse for and worked with Picasso on some of his art. Maar painted a few of the pieces of Picasso’s masterwork “Guernica”, a work in which he started to express his feelings about war and its horrors. She also documented “Guernica’s” creation.

Maar also acted as the model for Monument à Apollinaire, Picasso’s tribute to the french poet Guillaume Apollinaire.

The portraits Picasso created of Maar were noticeably darker than those for his previous muse, Walter. One of the more famous ones, “the weeping woman”, was depicting Maar. Picasso said, he thought Maar was “always a weeping woman for him”. Part of Maar’s misery may have been due to the fact that she was unable to have children. When Picasso eventually left Maar for his next muse, she sought therapy including electroshock treatments to soothe her heartache and deep depression. Maar expressed the darkness in her heart when she said: “After Picasso, only God.”

Sadly, Picasso was said to have physically abused Maar during their relationship and teased Maar about his new women after their relationship ended. He also shared erotic artwork he had sketched of Maar’s body, though she wanted to keep the works private. He bought Maar a house that she lived in for a time. She died a virtual recluse at age 89 in July 1997. Since her death, the world is just now beginning to rediscover Maar’s paintings.

When she was with Picasso, he insisted she paint in his favored cubistic-style. But later, during Maar’s time away from the artist, she was able to paint in her own style, preferring landscapes. A retrospective of Maar’s work was shown in Paris from June through July this year.

Francoise Gilot, a talented and ambidextrous painter, met Picasso in the spring of 1943. Picasso was at a restaurant with Maar and friends, while Gilot sat at another table with her own friends. He brought over a bowl of cherries and introduced himself to the beautiful young woman, who was only 21 years old at that time. A few years later, Gilot and Picasso moved in together and she bore the artist two children. She served as the model for the painting “La Femme-Fleur”.

Their relationship ended in 1953 with Gilot walking away from the artist, one of the few if only women in Picasso’s life to do so. She wrote a book about their time together. “Life With Picasso” was incredibly popular and sold over one million copies in its first year. Picasso tried to prevent the book’s publication, but failed. He reportedly was so enraged over the book, he disinherited he and Gilot’s two children because of it. “Life With Picasso” was republished by the New York Review of Books Classics in June 2019.

Perhaps in retaliation, Picasso told the art dealers he worked with not to purchase any paintings by Gilot in an effort to stall her career, but she continued to paint. Gilot went on to design sets and costumes for productions at the Guggenheim. She married artist Luc Simon in 1955, but they divorced in 1962. Then she married Jonas Salk, the researcher behind one of the first successful polio vaccines.

Gilot, in her nineties now, is still alive and exhibiting her art. In a feature interview in June of this year by Thessaly La Force for the new york times magazine, Gilot said: “The most important thing in life is to be true to yourself. You can be true to others, if you have time.”

Picasso saw his final muse, Jacqueline Roque, at a party in 1961. He was 72 years old and she was 26. She refused to date him at first, knowing his poor reputation with women, but he ardently pursued her. He sent her a rose every day until she relented.

Roque’s childhood was rather tragic. Her father abandoned the family when she was very young and her mother died when Roque was only 18. She married at 19 and had a daughter, but Roque’s first marriage didn’t last.

When she finally agreed to have a relationship with Picasso, she told him if he took another muse, she’d leave him in a heartbeat. They married in March 1961 and remained together until Picasso’s death. He created more portraits of Roque than any of his other muses. 

When the artist died in 1973 at age 91, witnesses said Roque was so upset, she slept on the snow-covered grave where they buried Picasso’s body. She never got along with Picasso’s four children and argued with the rest of the family over Picasso’s property. Roque endured life without Picasso until 1986 when she committed suicide.

Picasso is arguably one of the most prolific artists in history, almost manically creating artwork during his entire life which lasted 91 years. The genius of his vision remains clear, years after his death.

The women who modeled for him and inspired some of his most famous works, have largely lived in the shadow of his mammoth talent. In May 2015, Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) sold for $179.4 million dollars, the highest price ever paid for an artwork up until that time. That’s not even considering the cost of the broken hearts and lives Picasso left in his wake.


In a Canadian Leopard 2 – they wouldn’t let me in alone for fear I might leave with it,
so there’s another guy in there, too

In 2019, The History Guy was invited to Bovington to the Tank Museum to film one of their episodes of Top 5 Tanks. Receiving an email from one of his favorite museums was a highlight of his blossoming career as The History Guy.

In 2020, he will be returning to the Tank Museum during their Tankfest as a speaker and avid tank enthusiast. You can see some of his travelogues on his YouTube channel, and even more as a patron on

We also urge you to consider being a patron of the Tank Museum here: