Friday, November 2, 2007


1842. The Treaty of Nanjing ends the Opium War that began in 1839, opening China to wholesale exploitation by the Western powers. China cedes Hong Kong to Britain.

1842.The Webster-Ashburton Treaty signed by U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster and Baron Ashburton Alexander Baring, finalizes the Maine-Canadian border.

1842. The owner of a fugitive slave may recover him under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, the Supreme Court rules.

1842. Britain's Mines Act takes effect, prohibiting employment in mines of women, girls and boys under age 10.

1842. Massachusetts enacts a child labor law that limits the working hours of children under 12 to 10 hours per day.

1842. The Oregon Trail mapped by U.S. army lieutenant John Charles Fremont will take thousands of emigrants westward.

1842. Jefferson, GA., physician Crawford Williamson Long performs the first recorded operation under general anesthesia.

1842. Notre Dame University is founded at South Bend, by French Catholic missionary Edward Frederick Sorin.

1842. Villanova University is founded by Roman Catholics at Philadelphia.

1842. "Tom Thumb" is exhibited by P.T. Barnum who has discovered the midget Charles Sherwood Stratton at Bridgeport, Conn., and will use him to gain world prominence. Stratton will stand no taller than 25 inches until he is in his teens, and at maturity will be no more than 40 inches tall with a weight of 70 pounds. Queen Victoria will give him the title General Tom Thumb.

1842. Gimbels department stores have their beginnings in a Vincennes, Ind., trading post opened by American peddler Adam Gimbel.

1842. Hamburg is largely destroyed by a fire that rages in the German city from May 5 to 7 and in 100 hours ravages 4,219 buildings that include 2,000 dwellings.


"My Last Duchess." Robert Browning. British. 1842. Poetry. Renaissance Duke suggests that his wife died because she did not appreciate the honor of marrying him.

"The Overcoat." Nikolay Gogol. Russian. 1842. Story. Major development in Russian realism. Poor copyist loves his new overcoat. He is robbed, dies heartbroken. Outbreak of overcoat robberies follows his death. His ghost?

Dead Souls. Nikolay Gogol. Russian. 1842. Novel. Archswindler Pavel Chichikov. "Buys" serfs who have died since last census. Was Gogol a realist or fantasist?

Lays of Ancient Rome. Thomas Babington Macaulay. British. 1842. Ballads. Chief ballads are "Horatius," "The Battle of Lake Regilius," and "Virginia."

"The Pit and the Pendulum." Edgar Allan Poe. American. 1842. Story. Condemned by the Inquisition, narrator narrowly escapes death.

Consuelo. George Sand. British. 1842. Novel. Gypsy girl raised in the streets of Venice becomes successful opera singer.

"Break, Break, Break." Alfred Lord Tennyson. British. 1842. Poetry. Inspired by the death of his friend Arthur Hallam.


Source for “Society”: The People’s Chronology. James Trager. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1992. Source for “Literature”: Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia. Fourth Edition. Ed. Bruce Murphy. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.

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