All the votes have been counted and the winner is…. Penny!
Penny’s caption won our hearts and received the most thumbs up in Past is Present‘s first humorous what-caption-would-you-write contest.
Her submission had the added bonus of connecting to the original post on Slate, before the hype by AAS’s curator of Graphic Arts, Lauren Hewes. Feel free to give your acceptance speech as a comment on this post, Penny!
Honorable mentions should go to our other nominees, especially Sharlene for “Little Lawrence finds out too late that although slate is rock, it will break when thrown to ground during a temper tantrum” and Ken Richardson (who posted the first comment) for “I don’t want to look like daddy!!” You can check out all the caption comments by clicking here.
On a related note, Past is Present has been giving away enough awards lately that we need to have a name for our prizes. Does anyone have an idea for a good name for our antiquarian-glory-only prizes? We can promise you in return your very own one of our name-to-be-determined awards in the category of neologisms. Here are a few further thoughts to spark your collective creative spirit.
Abbreviations are always a good source of award names. For example, a good friend of AAS created the Rellas, or Research Library Awards, which she awarded to various institutions on her blog, AuntieQuarian. We could go in a similar direction with something like the PiPs.
Awards tap in to the part of us all that likes to be recognized for our abilities. In the nineteenth-century, rewards of merit were the hot pedagogical teaching tool. If you search AAS’s online catalog for the genre rewards of merit you will find almost 2,000 examples, many of which are digitized in our digital partner Readex’s American Broadsides & Ephemera.
The awards you really wanted to get in early America, though, was a Premiums. That’s because Premiums meant money. They were most often awarded for agriculture, but in 1796 the American Philosophical Society announced they would award premiums “to the authors of the best performances, inventions, or improvements, relative to certain specific subjects of useful knowledge.” By 1806, the APS was laying out conditions for their Magellanic and extra-Magellanic Premiums. The Magellanic Premium was named in honor of the donor of the fund, Dr. John Hyacinth De Magellan of London, and the recipient of the second award apparently had to be extra-Magellanic. You would have to read their pamphlet of conditions to find out exactly what that would entail.
Sometimes an award has a boring name like the Academy Awards and so needs to be spiced up with a fun nickname like the Oscars. In our case, I guess our awards could be familiarly called the Isaiahs, in honor of AAS’s founder, Isaiah Thomas.
Here at Past is Present we can’t promise a parade of designer dresses like the Academy Awards, but we can promise to keep the awards coming. So send us all your best ideas for names and once again all the Past is Present readers can vote for their favorites. The voting will be open to all, which is more than the Oscars can say!