App(s) of the Week – Civil Engineering Magazine AND the ASCE 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

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When you attend college at West Point, a place known far and wide as an “Engineering School,” you’ll certainly be taking at least a few classes in the discipline of Civil Engineering (CE). Even the most basic CE courses, meant for non-CE majors, will have content that covers building construction, utilities, bridge design, transportation systems, and other large-scale projects – and wouldn’t it be nice to have some apps that could get you up to speed on these topics? Well – we’ve got some to suggest today!

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First, the Civil Engineering Magazine App, which does exactly what its title promises: delivers the latest issue of Civil Engineering Magazine to your device. The paper copy of the magazine, ASCE’s flagship publication, is free to members of ASCE, and available through a paid subscription to non-members – but ANYONE can create a free ASCE account and read the latest issue free via this app. Simply download the app from iTunes or Google Play, and when prompted to sign in, either create an account, or sign in with your existing membership # if you are already an ASCE member. Once you are in, the latest issue will download, and voila! The entire issue, with articles, reviews, ads and member information is at your fingertips. Read all about the latest happenings in the CE world, from projects like bridges, dams, and highways, to news about well-known firms and engineers, to insight on how Federal and State government policies affect design, construction, and the profession of Civil Engineering.

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Next, the ASCE 2013 Report Card on America’s Infrastructure.  The American Society of Civil Engineers prepares this report card periodically, and for the first time, it’s available as an interactive app for your smartphone or tablet. As a Civil Engineering student (or instructor!), it’s important to know about the current state of our country’s infrastructure, and this app will get you up to speed on just what grade the ASCE gives to our various infrastructure systems (highways, dams, drinking water, solid waste, etc.). The app provides the full content of the 2013 Report, enhanced for viewing on your device – with videos that explain the extent of our infrastructure systems and their importance to our lives, and outline where they are either succeeding or falling into disrepair, while providing links to data that further explains the conclusions of the report. With participation from government officials and noted engineers and planners, the introductory video gives a concise overview of the current condition of America’s infrastructure, and where and why much improvement is necessary. Those statements are backed up with the evidence in the report’s text and data, presented with clear and informative graphics, and with features that provide news feed updates so that the very latest information is available to the reader.

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Best features of the 2013 Report Card on America’s Infrastructure:

  • Excellent graphics, with plenty of videos and data (charts, statistics, financial information) to break up what could otherwise be a dry text-heavy report. Lots of interaction.
  • Specific information on infrastructure in each state (when available), which makes the report’s information easily relatable.
  • News feeds will provide real-time updated information on the issues and projects addressed in the report.
  • Pages can be bookmarked for easy referral, and shared via social media.

 Downsides:

  • Perhaps the greatest one is learning that America’s infrastructure, according to ASCE, is not in great shape – however: that means there’s plenty of work for engineers, both in and out of the Army, so maybe that’s the silver lining.
  • Information-heavy; although you can choose to read it a section at a time, there’s a LOT in this report, and it will take a while to get through completely.

Bottom Line:

While the CE Engineering magazine app and the 2013 Report Card are designed to deliver slightly different information, together these two apps provide a great way to stay current on the developments and state of affairs of both the engineering profession and the infrastructure we rely on as we go about our daily lives.

Further Reading:

Press release from ASCE for the 2013 Infrastructure report

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Laura Mosher, Reference and Liaison Librarian

Discover a Database – LexisNexis

 

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LexisNexis Academic is a database that faculty and students will want to examine for searching legal cases, whether federal or state. In addition, business news and up-to-date hot topics are readily searchable in full text.

COVERAGE:

  • Legal
    • Extensive legal sources for federal and state cases and statutes, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 1790
    • Federal court decisions, laws and regulations
    • State court decisions and state codes, including constitutions, court rules and attorneys general opinions
    • Verify authority with Shepard’s® Citations Service
  • News
    • Broadcast transcripts from network and major cable news sources
    • Newswire services to keep you current, since they are updated during the day
    • Blogs and videos
  • Business
    • Business information on over 80 million U.S. and international companies

SEARCHING: LexisNexisAcademic has a customized search box for beginners, and advanced search ability for more experienced searchers. Search options:

  • For beginners or for quick searches, see the large red “Academic Search” box which searches content across the combined collection of resources.

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  • Advanced searchers can limit their searches by clicking on Advanced Options to limit by date, source and content type.

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MOST HELPFUL FEATURES

  • Hot Topic Links are updated as news happens; a great place to start your research
  • Source Directory allows you to use Find to search by keyword or Browse to limit your search by publication type
  • Check out the widgets LexisNexis has already created, which make it super easy to search. For example, in the NEWS widget you can limit your search by publication, wire service or even blogs. The BUSINESS widget lets you get at company information by name or ticker symbol. Search legal cases easily by citation, using the LEGAL widget—or, if you should happen to know the parties involved, such as Miranda v. Arizona, you could easily get these results:

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REFERENCES

  • Click on Create Permanent Link to the right of the center of your screen

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to obtain a permanent link for your document, so that you can return to it at a later time and provide an accurate reference for an assignment .

Please contact us if you have need assistance using this resource.

Contents contributed by Manja Yirka, Continuing Resources Librarian

App of the Week – Flipboard

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

For those of flipboardus who get our news online, we tend to either go directly to our designated news sources one at a time, or absorb several headlines while scrolling through social media feeds. Flipboard wants to be the app you didn’t know you needed–your one-stop, personalized source for news and more.

 

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Flipboard is an aesthetically pleasing magazine-style news-aggregator that can also include stories/photos gleaned from your social media feeds (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, to name a few). The app has been around for a few years now, but it continues to gain users at an incredible clip (250,000 a day), while continually adding to and improving its features.

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 Most helpful features:

  • You can choose from over 34,000(!) “topics” that are already curated for you, such as sports or science.
  • Add your favorite blogs, or any other kind of feed, and “flip” it to a particular board or new “magazine.”
  • You can share articles through email, text, and other social media outlets right in Flipboard.
  • A new element, called Daily Edition, is a curated summary of big headlines that arrives at 7 am local time, and updates automatically throughout the day.
  • You are able to export a story to your “read it later” app of choice, such as Pocket, Evernote, etc.
  • You can mute sources you never want to see news from.
  • There are lots of nice customizing features, such as the ability to choose which browser a news story opens in.
  • There is a social component, where you can follow fellow Flipboard users, comment and like stories, “reflip” their stories, and more.
  • You can get push notifications (or turn them off) for almost every interaction – likes, comments, “reflips,” breaking news, etc.

 Downsides:

  • You can’t simply use it as a visual RSS reader, where you only add the feeds you’re interested in–it’s much more than that, but you can follow individual news sources you don’t want to miss.
  • You can’t read articles offline within the app, but as mentioned earlier, you can export them to your favorite “read it later” app.

Bottom line:

Flipboard has over one million users who curate and aggregate their news sources in the form of virtual magazines, which are easy to flip through, read, save, and share. If you curate your personal news feed through Flipboard, let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

Flipboard (for iPad) Review

Flipboard 3.0 lands as personalised, smartphone-centric update

Flipboard debuts a big redesign and The Daily Edition, a morning news section

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian

 

Flirtation Walk

The lower pathway from Kosciusko’s Garden leads the visitor on a delightful walk to Gee’s Point. (image courtesy of USMA Library’s Special Collection and Archives Department)

The lower pathway from Kosciusko’s Garden leads the visitor on a delightful walk to Gee’s Point. (image courtesy of USMA Library’s Special Collection and Archives Department)

Order No. 32 of the Academic Regulations, dated May 6, 1843, extended the prescribed geographic limits for cadets “to include the new walk commencing near the flag staff, thence descending in the rear of the chain battery, by Gee’s Point thru Kosciusko’s Garden and joining the road to the Hospital opposite the south end of the Academy Building.  The Superintendent hopes he may not have occasion to withdraw this indulgence in consequence of any improprieties – and that all will exert themselves to secure this recreation to the Corps by effectually arresting any attempt to evade the regulation of the Academy.”

In the 1840’s this pathway was referred to as the ”hanging walk” to Kosciusko’s Garden, a pleasant place for strolling and dreaming and chatting about furlough plans. Perhaps a more appropriate name was “Chain Battery Walk,” for it led down to the site of the old battery guarding the chain which stretched across the Hudson River during the Revolutionary War. To cadets, whose exclusive preserve it was, the area became known as Flirtation Walk, a place of relative privacy on a crowded post.

In 1934 a commercial film entitled Flirtation Walk was released. It starred Dick Powell as a soldier in love with a general’s daughter, played by Ruby Keeler.  You can check out a copy of this film from the Library’s media collection and read more about this film and others regarding West Point here.

Contents contributed by Alicia Mauldin Ware, Archives Curator.

App of the Week – Unstuck

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Have you ever unstuckprocrastinated on a project or goal so long that you don’t even know where to start? Do you feel frozen, unmotivated, or uninspired? Are you simply tired or lazy, or is it something more? This week’s app, Unstuck, vows to help you “live better every day,” by allowing you to analyze the obstacles in your path to productivity, growth, and change. Unstuck uses a question and answer system to diagnose your “stuck moments,” then offers specific guidance and action you can take to move forward with your life. Stuck moments can be anything–they can be completely mundane, such as procrastinating on a homework assignment, or they can be part of larger goals or milestones, like pursuing a leadership position or buying a house.

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toolsMost helpful features:

  • Aesthetically pleasing and easy to use – simply choose “New Stuck,” and answer the questions by tapping, dragging, or typing. The format makes it pretty fun to use!
  • In addition to the main stuck moment question-and-answer, the app provides 11 free tools and 50+ tips to get you started on a course of action
  • Allows you to factor in other people into your stuck moment, and uses a further line of inquiry to help describe those relationships
  • If you want to share your stuck moment publicly, you can upload photos and voice recordings
  • You can share your stuck moment diagnosis by posting it to Facebook, Twitter, or sending it through email, all within the app

Downsides:

  • After your first stuck moment guidance, the app continually compels you to register, which is a little annoying–but registering allow you to save up to 10 stuck moments and revisit them anytime.
  • Will definitely take several minutes to get through, especially if you’re honest and add in each layer carefully

Bottom Line:

This is one of those hands-on apps you simply must download and try out for yourself – I know I haven’t even seen half of what the app has to offer in terms of advice and resources. Using Unstuck will require a little bit of time, but if you’re procrastinating anyway, why not try it out and see if it makes a difference? As always, if you check it out, we’d love to know what you think.

Further Reading:

Unstuck: The iPad Productivity App of the Year

Unstuck: Find Your Motivation and Be Inspired

App Review: Unstuck for iPad

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian

App of the Week – NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Happy Hallbiblion_frankenstein.previewoween! This week’s app highlights an incredibly in-depth, innovative resource from the New York Public Library–an interactive online exhibit called NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein.

Whether you’re reading Frankenstein for class, teaching the novel, or simply looking to explore new layers of a classic, culturally-influential text, NYPL Biblion: Frankenstein has something for everyone.

The app is fairly easy to navigate, but its structure is meant to encourage exploration, so the format isn’t linear. When your iPad is in portrait mode, you can scroll through various themes, and tap on each to find accompanying articles/galleries/resources on that theme: Creation & Remix, Cultural Interpretations of Frankenstein, Shelley’s Ghost, and Outsiders. If you’re a student working on your Frankenstein essay, the critical essays are a can’t-miss feature.

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If you flip the iPad to landscape mode, you’ll find primary source documents like Mary Shelley’s handwritten draft of Frankenstein, a scanned prologue of the 1831 edition, Percy’s Shelley’s early handwritten poems, correspondence and other short works. Unfortunately, the handwritten sources are fairly difficult to read, but the app has zoom-in capabilities, as wells as typed transcripts for most of them. frankenstein2

 

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This is the second app in the Biblion series. In 2011, the New York Public Library released NYPL Biblion: World’s Fair, highlighting a detailed history of the fair with its new interactive iPad format. Reviews praised it for “[bringing] history into life” and thoroughly exploring the historical significance of the event. We encourage you to check out both apps in the series thus far, and immerse yourself in these collections.

The only real downside of the this incredible free resource is that there is no search function – you must sift through the app “manually” to find what you’re looking for. However, I think that’s probably a crucial part of the design – after all, “not all those who wander are lost.”

Further Reading:

NYPL’s Biblion ‘Frankenstein’: annotating one of literature’s greatest monsters

Educade: NYPL Biblion Frankenstein

Did the New York Public Library Just Build the Magazine App of the Future?

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian

 

Ghostly Apparitions at West Point

Basement in Quarters 100.

Basement in Quarters 100, which is purported to be inhabited by the ghost of Thayer’s Irish maid, Molly. (Photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives Department of USMA Library ca. 1965.)

Sleepy Hollow isn’t the only place in the Hudson Valley with sightings of ghostly apparitions and stories of otherworldly beings. According to legend, the old Morrison House (Quarters 107B) on Professors’ Row is sometimes inhabited by the ghost of a woman. One story claims that two servants who lived in the house in the 1920s became so frightened that they ran screaming from their room in the middle of the night. Father O’Keefe was called in to do an exorcism which reportedly sent the ghost to live under a railroad bridge on the east side of the Hudson.

Colonel Thayer’s quarters, in what is the current basement of Quarters 100, are also purported to be inhabited by the ghost of Thayer’s Irish maid, Molly. This female specter is said to muss the bedcovers in the “orderly room” and has even been accused of “borrowing” items and moving guests’ possessions. Perhaps she is unhappy about having extra visitors in the house.

In October of 1972, husband and wife team, Ed and Lorraine Warren, visited West Point to lecture on the supernatural. During that same visit the Warrens were asked to visit the Superintendent’s Quarters to investigate some unusual activity. Following the evening lecture the Warrens and a small group of officers and spouses returned to Quarters 100. Lorraine Warren closed her eyes and felt the presence of the ghost of a nineteenth-century soldier named Greer.

During this same month two first-year cadets, O’Connor & Victor, living in room 4714 in the 47th division, felt the presence of a phantom they described as a thin soldier, perhaps 5’ 6” in height, wearing a frayed full-dress coat and carrying a musket. On a subsequent evening upper- classmen slept in the room, and they too reported feeling the sensation of something otherworldly. The temperature of the room dropped from 27C to -18C. First Captain Joe Tallman and Deputy Brigade Commander Gary Newsom, who spent the night of November 6th in room 4714, were unmolested by the spirit. However, Cadet Jim O’Connor reported seeing the ghost on the wall of the room where he was staying. Perhaps the ghost was spooked by the upperclassmen.

Naval Academy Midshipman, William Gravell claimed responsibility for the ghost, saying he had created it using a slide, cheese cloth and a flashlight. West Point Cadets were not convinced by Gravell’s story. What do you think?

Content contributed by Elaine McConnell, Rare Books Curator

Staff Profile: Barbara Maroney-French

barbaraBarbara Maroney-French joined the United States Military Academy Library staff in June of this year, as Facility Support Assistant in our Administration Services Division.

This is Barbara’s second “tour” at West Point. Her first tour lasted 23 years, from 1977-2000, during which she progressed from a clerk-typist position in the USCC to Publications Coordinator/Editorial Advisor in Cadet Activities. It seems West Point is in her blood. Her parents met while working in the same office at West Point before getting married. Later, her mother was assigned to the Law Department which was located in the West Academic Building (now Pershing Barracks). Her dad held many supply/maintenance-related positions retiring as maintenance officer at the motor pool. Barbara’s maternal grandparents worked here as well–her grandmother, as a seamstress in the uniform factory and grandfather as a mechanic. She spent summers swimming in Delafield Pond with her best friend, whose father was a retired Air Force officer, and tagged along on trips to the commissary (then housed in Building 667). Her brother currently works on the Garrison side as a management analyst and his two sons were summer employees in DPW. Barbara’s husband of 17 years, Richard, now works at Association of Graduates as Vice President of IT.

In 2000, after the birth of her son, Barbara made a difficult decision to leave West Point, taking time to raise her children and work various jobs closer to home. Once her daughter and son were in school, she volunteered at her church and the kids’ elementary school PTA and worked part-time nearby. She wore many hats at two not-for-profit organizations: from 2005 until 2012 she was the Box Office Assistant and Development Assistant at the Paramount Center for the Arts; from 2007-2014 she worked as Administrative Manager for Copland House, Aaron Copland’s home, located in Westchester County.

During the last 14 years, working jobs outside of the government, Barbara honed her customer service skills and polished her website design and social media skills.

In her free time, Barbara loves doing family activities, working out, cooking and baking, photography, gardening, volunteering at a local animal shelter, and sewing.

Barbara says, “I know I made the right decision to stay home with both my children during the formative years.” And we’re glad she has returned to West Point. You’ll probably see her around the library making sure the Haig Room and collaborative classrooms are in tip-top shape for the next event, camera in hand, with a post on the library blog soon to follow.

Contents contributed by Manja Yirka, Continuing Resources Librarian

App of the Week – Mindly

We are continuing a series called App of the Week, wherein we recommend the best apps to support the academic experience. Please let us know what you think, and feel free to provide suggestions for apps we should review.

Have yappiconou ever been brainstorming for a paper or project, felt stuck, and needed a different way to look at your work? If you’ve ever drawn word bubbles to connect concepts and visualize a project, then you’ve created a basic mind map. Mind maps are a great visual organization tool, and an effective way to tackle any thinking or learning task, especially outlining research papers, creating presentations, and studying concepts for exams.

After contemplating the benefits of mind mapping and noticing a price tag on most mind mapping software, I hoped to find a free app that would suit my brainstorming/organizing needs–and serve as a great tool for students, too. Mindly is a relatively new app that appears to fit the bill.

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 Most helpful features:

  • Very easy to use – double tap on a circle to add text, change the color, or add an icon.
  • Tapping on a subtopic takes the subtopic to a new part of the screen, where you can add other associations, like notes or links (see photo above).
  • Design – if you’re a space nerd like me, you’ll probably appreciate the elegant, “planetary” look of the map.
  • The ability to use emoji icons, attach web links, photos, or notes to each topic/concept – perfect for organizing sources for a project
  • Great for group projects; map out a strategy with your teammates
  • With the free version, you can email your map, print it (with a printer that supports AirPrint), or save as PDF. Other files types and options are available with the paid version.
  • You can utilize your documents from any device with Mindly installed, via iCloud storage
  • You can have up to 3 maps with the free version, and unlimited elements with the paid. If you think you’ll be using different maps constantly, it may be worth the upgrade. If not, you can delete maps as you go along.

Downsides:

The free app is technically limited – you can unlock more features with the paid version of Mindly ($6.99), which gives you unlimited maps/elements and allows you to have the full version on all of your devices.

Bottom line:

Mindly’s simple, sleek features and user-friendly interface make it an effective way to visualize and map out any project. Check it out, show us your maps, and let us know what you think!

Further Reading:

How to Use Mind Maps to Unleash Your Brain’s Creativity and Potential

Mindly Makes Mind Mapping Simple and Beautiful on Small Screens

Mindly app review: Putting ideas in orbit

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. No endorsement or recommendation of any specific products or services is intended or implied.

Contents contributed by Lauren Dodd Hall, Circulation Librarian

Pictures from Panama – Celebrating the Centennial

Jonas Lie, The Gates of Pedro Miguel, 1913.  Oil on canvas. (West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy; Anonymous gift in honor of MG George W. Goethals  (USMA 1880), chief engineer of the Panama Canal)

Jonas Lie, “The Gates of Pedro Miguel,” 1913. Oil on canvas. (West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy; Anonymous gift in honor of MG George W. Goethals (USMA 1880), chief engineer of the Panama Canal)

Opening at the West Point Museum in early December 2014, the exhibition Pictures from Panama celebrates the centennial anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal and features a selection of artists who captured the construction of the canal in all of its glory and communicated the massive scale of this virtually incomprehensible feat of engineering to American audiences. This exhibition highlights a variety of paintings, prints, watercolors and photographs from the collections of the West Point Museum and the Special Collections and Archives Department of the United States Military Academy Library.

Ernest “Red” Hallen, Gatun Middle Locks. Construction of Center Wall, Looking North, from Upper Lock, February 15, 1911.  Gelatin silver print. (United States Military Academy Library, West Point, NY; Gift of MG George W. Goethals  (USMA 1880), chief engineer of the Panama Canal)

Ernest “Red” Hallen, “Gatun Middle Locks. Construction of Center Wall, Looking North, from Upper Lock,” February 15, 1911. Gelatin silver print. (USMA Library Special Collections and Archives Department, West Point, NY; Gift of MG George W. Goethals (USMA 1880), chief engineer of the Panama Canal)

Ernest “Red” Hallen, Gatun Upper Locks. View Looking North, Showing Progress of Construction of Upper Guard Gates in the East Chamber, August 5, 1911.  Gelatin silver print. (United States Military Academy Library, West Point, NY; Gift of MG George W. Goethals  (USMA 1880), chief engineer of the Panama Canal)

Ernest “Red” Hallen, “Gatun Upper Locks. View Looking North, Showing Progress of Construction of Upper Guard Gates in the East Chamber,” August 5, 1911. Gelatin silver print. [USMA Library Special Collections and Archives Department,, West Point, NY; Gift of MG George W. Goethals (USMA 1880), chief engineer of the Panama Canal]

The Panama Canal was the largest construction project ever carried out by the United States when it took over the endeavor from the French in 1904. When the canal officially opened on August 15, 1914, it was the pinnacle achievement of the American industrial revolution culminating in the connection of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The canal was beneficial both economically and strategically to the United States, opening a new route for international commerce, providing a more efficient means for our military to move from one ocean to the other, and positioning America as a dominant power on the world stage.

The sheer size and scope of this project, even by today’s standards, seemed insurmountable. Ultimately, the waterway became a symbol of American pride and identity. The canal and its construction were mainstays of American discourse for well over twenty years. In order to document this marvel, artists, both invited and uninvited, visited the Canal Zone during construction and translated what they saw and experienced into a variety of mediums.

Most artists who visited the Canal Zone were given access to more iconic sites within the construction area to work. However, photographer Ernest Hallen was allowed unprecedented access to all areas of the site and, as a result, gave the American people an incredible perspective of the canal construction from start to finish. In 1907, at the age of 32, Ernest “Red” Hallen was appointed the official photographer of the Panama Canal project by the Isthmian Canal Commission, the American body overseeing the construction of the canal. Hallen remained on site until he retired from federal service in 1937, documenting every aspect of the construction, operation and the surrounding landscape at the Canal Zone. His resulting black and white photographs were published in the newspapers and magazines back home, which, for many Americans, were the only sources to witness the construction of this incredible engineering achievement.

Unlike the convenient and instantly gratifying digital photography used today, photography at the beginning of the 20th century was just beginning to flourish as both a documentary source and an art form. The camera, itself, was a bulky apparatus that had to be transported and set up from site to site. Additionally, the process to create a photograph was manually intensive and time consuming.

Ernest “Red” Hallen, Close View of Slide at Culebra-on-the-dump. Looking South, June 1912.  Gelatin silver print. (United States Military Academy Library, West Point, NY; Gift of MG George W. Goethals  (USMA 1880), chief engineer of the Panama Canal)

Ernest “Red” Hallen, “Close View of Slide at Culebra-on-the-dump. Looking South, June 1912.” Gelatin silver print. [USMA Library Special Collections and Archives Department, West Point, NY; Gift of MG George W. Goethals (USMA 1880), chief engineer of the Panama Canal]

Over his thirty-year career, Hallen produced more than 16,000 photographs of the Canal Zone and the surrounding environment. The images are remarkable because they thoroughly document the canal construction and offer great insight into the redevelopment of the landscape, construction methods, use of the completed canal and the life of the Panamanian population in the Canal Zone over a span of thirty years. Hallen would often return to the same area on multiple occasions to photograph the progress made at a particular site. While the photographs primarily served a documentary purpose, they are raw, highly dramatic images, which, intentionally or not, are beautifully artistic in their composition.

The small selection of Hallen’s oeuvre featured in the exhibition Pictures from Panama at the West Point Museum is from the collection of Major General George Goethals, chief engineer of the Panama Canal and a West Point graduate (Class of 1880). Goethals’ collection of Hallen’s photographs is the most comprehensive and complete set of Hallen’s work, comprising 45 volumes of images, all printed by Hallen, himself. Goethals gave this wonderful collection to the Library at the United States Military Academy. The photographs provide superb visual insight into the construction of the Panama Canal and are great examples of American photography.

*Pictures from Panama opens at the West Point Museum in early December 2014. Please see the Museum Facebook page for exact dates and times: www.facebook.com/westpointmuseum.

Contents contributed by Marlana Cook, Curator of Art, West Point Museum