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Exeat: Day 122/84: Vanilla Ice Cream Day ... but more still

National Vanilla Ice Cream Day. Yes, it comes around each July 23rd. And it's vanilla that is the most common flavouring in North America; many consider vanilla ice cream to be their default flavour. Intriguingly, Thomas Jefferson’s vanilla ice cream recipe is as renowned as he is as Third President of the United States. He 'discovered' vanilla flavour while visiting France and was widely remembered for jotting down recipes! His handwritten copy of a vanilla ice cream recipe dates to the 1780s and only ten copies remain - one in the Library of Congress with a cookie recipe on the flip side. Today the ice cream parlour at Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota serves that very same recipe so that anyone can have a taste.

Mount Rushmore needs explanation … more than Jefferson's vanilla ice cream! The National Memorial, a massive sculpture carved into Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, was completed in 1941 under the direction of Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln. Their 60ft high granite faces depict four U.S. presidents considered at that time to be especially noteworthy - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Washington represents the country's birth, Jefferson its growth, Lincoln the preservation of the Union after the Civil War, and Roosevelt the development of the nation. The last president Borglum chose was Theodore Roosevelt was suggested by then President Calvin Coolidge who insisted that at least there be two Republicans and at least one Democrat and because of Theodore Roosevelt's introduction of the National Park Service. That's a Service which the President had been inspired to establish by none other than our own John Muir of Dunbar!
2million tourists today! South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of noted figures into the mountains of the Black Hills of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. His initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles because of the poor quality of the granite and strong opposition from the Lakota (Sioux) who consider the Black Hills to be sacred ground; it was originally included in the Great Sioux Reservation which was broken up after gold was discovered in the Black Hills. The mountain into which it was carved is known to the Lakota Sioux as Six Grandfathers … so there might be scope for Donald Trump still? The sculptor and tribal representatives settled on Mount Rushmore which has the advantage of facing southeast for maximum sun exposure. Early advocates wanted it to feature American West heroes such as Lewis and Clark, their expedition guide Sacagawea, Oglala Lakota chief Red Cloud, Buffalo Bill Cody and Oglala Lakota chief Crazy Horse. But Borglum insisted on the four Presidents. Their costumed representation below shows Lincoln right and Washington left standing next to Jefferson. He was the third President of the United States and the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence. His Scottish ancestry came from his mother Jane Randolph, and as a child he was strongly influenced by his tutor Mr Douglass, a Scottish clergyman. This influence appears to have continued into adulthood. The Declaration of Independence of 1776 bore striking similarities to the Arbroath Declaration written in 1320, with an underlying foundation of clear Scottish principles. 700th Anniversary Celebrations in Arbroath have been postponed by the pandemic but not before our own colleague, the redoubtable Andrew Crummy, had created a new community tapestry design.



Published Date: July 22nd 2020


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