Thursday, February 28, 2008

1900 Society

1900. The Boer War continues in South Africa.

1900. Johannesburg falls to the British, May 31.

1900. A "Boxer Rebellion" rocks China, beginning June 20, as foreign legations at Beijing are besieged.

1900. V.I. Lenin returns from exile, January 29, after 3 years in Siberia with his wife and mother-in-law. Goes to Switzerland where he is editor of a newspaper published in Munich for distribution in Russia.

1900. Only 3.5% of the U.S. work force is organized.

1900. Only 144 miles of U.S. roads are hard-surfaced, but by year's end there are 13,824 motor cars on the road.

1900. Firestone Tire and rubber is founded at Akron, Ohio, by Harvey Firestone who has patented a method for attaching tires to rims.

1900. The Trans-Siberian Railway opens between Moscow and Irkutsk.

1900. Illinois Central engineer Jonathan Luther "Casey" Jones pulls his six-coach Cannonball Express into Memphis on the night of April 29, learns that the engineer for the return run is ill, and volunteers to replace him. Highballing at 75 miles per hour through Mississippi to make up for lost time, Jones rounds a curve at four i the morning and sees a freight train stalled on the track ahead. Hand upon the throttle, Jones yells at his fireman to jump, plows into the freight, is killed. While the collision is only one of 27 rear-end collisions on U.S. railroads in the month of April, a ballad will make it famous.

1900. Trolley cars provide transportation in every major U.S. city.

1900. The U.S. Navy purchases the first modern submarine.

1900. Retired German general Ferdinand von Zeppelin launches the first rigid airship.

1900. A new quantum theory enunciated by German physicist Max Planck: Bodies that radiate energy do not emit the energy constantly but rather in discrete parcels which he calls quantums.

1900. Genetic laws revealed by Gregor Mendel in 1865 become generally known for the first time.

1900. A U.S. Public Health Commission headed by Major Walter Reed of the Army Medical Corps shows that the yellow fever virus is transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito.

1900. Infant mortality in the U.S. is 122 per 1000 live births; in England and Wales, 154, and in India, 232.

1900. Average age at death in the U.S. is 47.

1900. Bubonic plague strikes Honolulu in epidemic form. The first U.S. bubonic plague epidemic begins at San Francisco.

1900. The U.S. Census shows 12 million Roman Catholics, 6 million Methodists, 5 million Baptists, 1.5 million Lutherans, 1.5 million Presbyterians, 1 million Jews, 700,000 Episcopalians, 350,000 Mormons, 80,000 Christian Scientists and 75,000 Unitarians.

1900. A U.S College Entrance Examination Board is founded to screen applicants to colleges. The College Board Scholastic Aptitude Tests will be graded on a scale of 200-800 and colleges will use SAT scores as a supplement to secondary school records and other relevant information. The scores will never be more than approximate and will have a standard error of measurement in the area of 32 points.

1900. "The Great Houdini" gains wide publicity by executing an escape from London's Scotland Yard and by feats such as having himself shackled in irons, locked in a roped and weighted box, dropped overboard from a boat, and emerging with a smile before baffled audiences.

1900. One U.S. home in seven has a bathtub; showers are even rarer.

1900. A hurricane strikes Galveston, Tex., September 8, killing between 6,000 and 8,000 people.

1900. Typical U.S. food prices: sugar 4 cents a pound; eggs, 14 cents a dozen; butter 24 cents a pound. Boarding houses offer turkey dinners at 20 cents and supper or breakfast at 15 cents, but a male stenographer earns $10 a week and an unskilled girl $2.50.

1900. The hamburger is pioneered at New Haven, Conn.

1900. Kansas prohibitionist Carry Moore Nation declares that since the saloon is illegal in Kansas, any citizen has the right to destroy liquor, furniture, and fixtures in any public place selling intoxicants. She begins a campaign of hatchet-wielding through Kansas cities and towns, and although she will be arrested, fined, imprisoned, clubbed, and shot at, she will persevere.

1900. The U.S. population reaches 76 million with 10.3 million of the total foreign born, roughly 9 million black or of mixed blood, 237,000 native American Indians, 90,000 Chinese, 24,000 Japanese.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


1899. Two U.S. privates open fire on Filipino soldiers outside Manila on the night of February 4, beginning a 3-year war between U.S. troops and Filipino national forces led by Emilio Aguinaldo. U.S. forces secure Luzon November 24, but many Americans oppose the "imperialist" war.

1899. The Boer War begins in South Africa, October 12, as President Kruger of the Boer Republic acts to block suspected British moves toward acquiring the rich Transvalla with its gold mines.

1899. The United Mine Workers of America is organized under the leadership of Illinois coal miner John Mitchell.

1899. Capt. Dreyfus wins a pardon, September 19, after a French Army retrial forced by public opinion.

1899. U.S. auto production reaches 2,500, up from 1,000 last year.

1899. Aspirin, perfected by German researchers Felix Hoffman and Hermann Dreser, will be marketed by prescription under the trade name Bayer Aspirin.

1899. The School and Society by University of Chicago philosopher-psychologist John Dewey, 39, pioneers progressive education by challenging traditional teaching methods based on lectures, memorization, and mechanical drill. Dewey suggests that education is a process of acculturation, an accumulation and assimilation of experience whereby a child develops into a balanced personality with wide awareness.

1899. Scott Joplin's "Original Rag" and "Maple Leaf Rag" are the first ragtime piano pieces to appear in sheet music form. Joplin, 30, has developed a ragged-type style, heavily syncopated (shift in accent when normally weak beat is stressed), that publisher John Stark discovers and other pianists will soon exploit.

1899. The boll weevil crosses the Rio Grande from Mexico and begins to spread north and east through U.S. cotton fields. The weevil will destroy vast acreages of cotton, devastating Southern agriculture.

"Twenty-six Men and a Girl." Maksim Gorky. Russian. 1899. Story. Bakery workers' day is made when young girl comes to buy their buns. Disillusioned when a boor bets he can seduce her and he succeeds.

Uncle Vanya. Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1899. Play. Drudge manages estate for a scholar whom he admires. Becomes disillusioned. Love for the scholar's young wife is unreturned. Scholar decides to sell the estate. Drudge is unsuccessful in trying to kill the scholar. Becomes reconciled to his drudgery.

Resurrection. Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1899. Novel. Spiritual regeneration of a young nobleman. When he seduces a girl, she becomes a prostitute. He is determined to marry her. At first, she rejects him because of his reforming zeal. Finally, she accepts his friendship. Weakest of Tolstoy's major novels.

The Theory of the Leisure Class. Thorstein Veblen. American. 1899. Nonfiction. Two classes: wealthy employ themselves uselessly. The leisure class. Conspicuous leisure and conspicuous consumption. The lower classes support the whole of society. Waste - any activity not contributing to material productivity. His analysis of business cycles and emerging technocracy are increasingly prophetic.

The Awkward Age. Henry James. American/British. 1899. Novel. Emergence of an English society girl into maturity. She is a rival of her mother for the love of a young man. Disillusioned.

War Is Kind. Stephen Crane. American. 1899. Poetry. Good example of dramatic irony used by Crane in both poetry and prose.

Fables in Slang. George Ade. American. 1899. Sketches. Humorous tales illustrate the common sense of ordinary people. Rendering of contemporary American speech.

Drayman Henschel. Gerhart Hauptmann. German. 1899. Play. Man who promised to be faithful to his late wife is trapped into marriage, bullied and commits suicide.

Richard Carvel. Winston Churchill. American. 1899. Novel. One of the most popular novels ever written about the American Revolution.

McTeague. Frank Norris. American. 1899. Novel. Phony dentist kills wife and the man who has informed on his lack of credentials. However, he is handcuffed to the corpse in the desert and dies of thirst.

Stalkey and Co. Rudyard Kipling. British. 1899. Stories. Pranks and adventures of three schoolboys.

"The Blue Hotel." Stephen Crane. American. 1899. Story. Swede in the West expects violence, provokes it and is killed. Universe that cares not for man's fate?

Caesar and Cleopatra. George Bernard Shaw. British. 1899. Play. Wise, unsentimental Caesar. Cleo is a "giddy teenager." Caesar amused by Cleo, history and himself.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Whoops! I made a mistake in sequence of years. I missed 1897. Here it is.

1897. The U.S. annexes the Hawaiian Islands under terms of a June 16 treaty that is ratified by the Hawaiian Senate.

1897. Queen Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee June 22.

1897. The first Zionist Congress opens August 31 at Basel as Theodor Herzl arouses support for his dream of a Jewish homeland in Palestine that will provide a refuge for oppressed Jews worldwide.

1897. News of last year's Klondike gold discoveries reaches the U.S. in January and starts a new gold rush. By year's end the Klondike has yielded $22 million worth of gold.

1897. U.S. auto production rises to 100, up from 25 last year.

1897. The atom, believed by the ancient Greeks to be indivisible, turns out to have a nucleus orbited by one or more electrons.

1897. The parasite that causes malaria is carried by the Anopheles mosquito, says British physician Ronald Ross in famine-stricken India.

1897. A cathode-ray tube invented at Strassburg by German physicist Karl Ferdinand Bruan pioneers development of television and other electronic communications.

1897. "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus," writes New York Sun editor Francis Church in a September 21 editorial reply to reader Virginia O'Hanlon, age 8, who has written to inquire if Santa Claus really exists.

1897. A massive, ornate Library of Congress is completed at Washington, D.C.

1897. The first Boston Marathon is run April 19.

Recessional. Rudyard Kipling. British. 1897. Poetry. Celebrates the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Victoria. Warning to the British not to be overconfident in their hour of greatest glory.

What Is Art? Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1897. Nonfiction. Considered art an extension of morality. Felt it should have a morally uplifting spirit. Work of art must be simple enough for everyone, not just the well educated, to understand. Tolstoy's views became the framework for Soviet extraliterary standards by which to judge a work of art: "Socialist Realism."

The Nigger of the Narcissus. Joseph Conrad. British. 1897. Novel. Study of men's characters under stress. Black sailor dying of TB. Presence of death brings out the best and worst of the crew. Source of Conrad's famous definition of literature: "My task is by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see."

What Maisie Knew. Henry James. American/British. 1897. Novel. Twelve-year-old Maisie sees divorced parents' extra-marital infidelities. Gives her a realistic knowledge of the adult world. Chooses to live with her governess, not her parents.

The Devil's Disciple. George Bernard Shaw. British. 1897. Play. American Revolution. convention and circumstances fix one's life. In crises, people change, learn about themselves.

The Fruits of the Earth. Andre Gide. French. 1897. Poetry. Hymn to the beauty of all experience. Cast off all that is artificial or merely conventional.

"Peasants." Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1897. Story. Somber picture of peasant life in Russia. stirred debate.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


1898. The U.S. battleship Maine blows up in Havana Harbor, February 15, in an explosion that kills 258 sailors and two officers, precipitaitng a Spanish-American War that lasts for 112 days.

1898. A joint resolution of Congress, April 19, recognizes Cuban inependence, authorizes the president to demand Spanish withdrawal from the island, and disclaims any intention to annex Cuba.

1898. Congress passes a Volunteer Army Act, April 22. A Volunteer Cavalry--the "Rough Riders"--is organized by Col. Leonard Wood of the Army Medical Corps and Theodore Roosevelt.

1898. The first shots of the Spanish-American War are fired April 22; Spain declares that a state of war exists April 24.

1898. The Battle of Manila Bay, May 1, begins at 5:40 in the morning when Commander Dewey says to the captain of his flagship, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." By the time a cease-fire is ordered at 12.30 in the afternoon, all 10 ships in the Spanish squadron have been destroyed with a loss of 381 men, while eight Americans have been slightly wounded and none killed.

1898. San Juan, Puerto Rico, is bombarded May 12 by the commander-in-chief of the North Atlantic Squadron.

1898. Leading U.S. intellectuals meet at Faneuil Hall, Boston, June 15, and form an Anti-Imperialist League to oppose annexation of the Philippines in face of imperialist sentiment fired by the Battle of Manila.

1898. A joint resolution proposing annexation of the Hawaiian Islands has been introduced in the House, May 4. President McKinley signs the measure July 7, and Hawaiian sugar planters gain free access to U.S. markets.

1898. The Battle of San Juan Hill, July 1 to 2, ends in victory for U.S. forces under General Hamilton S. Hawkins, whose infantry take the hill after a charge by Col. Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.

1898. The Battle of Santiago Bay, July 3, ends with 180 Spaniards dead and 1,800 captured, while the Americans have lost only one man and sustained one wounded casualty.

1898. A peace protocol is signed with Spain, August 12, and the Treaty of Paris formally ends the war December 10. Spain withdraws from Cuba and cedes Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the U.S., which pays $20 million for the Philippines.

1898. Cuba gains her independence from Spain which loses her last dominions in the Americas.

1898. "J'Accuse!" headlines the Paris newspaper over an open letter by novelist Emile Zola. His attack forces a new trial of Capt. Freyfus, who has been sent to the penal colony called Devil's Island off the coast of French Guiana. It is revealed that the documents that convicted Dreyfus were forged by two other officers.

1898. Louisiana adopts a new constitution with a "grandfather clause" restricting permanent voting registration to whites and those blacks whose fathers and grandfathers were qualified to vote as of January 1, 1867, a clause that virtually disenfranchises blacks. Race riots and lynchings sweep the South.

1898. Canada's Klondike yields more than $10 million worth of gold.

1898. The Supreme Court establishes the right of the courts to decide the reasonablenes of U.S. railroad rates.

1898. French physical chemist Marie Curie and her husband Pierre isolate radium, the first radioactive element.

1898. Gideons International has its beginnings at Boscobel, Wis., where traveling salesmen John H. Nicholson and Sam Hill share a room at the Central Hotel and decide to form an association of Christian businessmen (excluding those in the liquor trade) and professional men to "put the word of God into the hands of the unconverted."

1898. William Randolph Hearst publishes special editions of his New York Journal from his private yacht anchored in Havana Harbor. He has sent cowboy painter Frederic Remington to Cuba earlier and when Remington cabled that everythingwas quiet and that there would be no war, had replied, "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." Journal stories inflame U.S. opinion ("Remember the Maine!" and the paper's circulation reaches 1.6 million May 2.

1898. Russian actor-producer Konstantin Stanislavski founds the Moscow Art Theater. Stanislavski's "method" will revolutionize acting with infusions of genuine emotion.

1898. More U.S. troops in the Spanish-American War die from eating contaminated meat than from battle wounds. The deaths raise a public outcry for reform of the meat packing industry.

Trelawny of the Wells. Arthur Wing Pinero. British. 1898. Play. Actress becomes engaged to an aristocrat. When she returns to the stage, he becomes an actor, too.

"The Open Boat." Stephen Crane. American. 1898. Story. Escape from a sinking ship. Three survive. One dies, just as he is about to reach safety.

The Turn of the Screw. Henry James. American/British. 1898. Novel. Governess vs. children who are malevolently inspired by two ghosts.

"The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky." Stephen Crane. American. 1898. Story. Gunfighter faces a sheriff who has no gun. Realizes that the old days are over.

The War of the Worlds. H.G. Wells. British. 1898. SciFi. Invasion of England by Martians. Radio dramatization caused panic in 1938 in the U.S.

La Gioconda. Gabriele D'Annunzio. Italian. 1898. Play. Model for brilliant sculptor. He leaves his wife for her, believing that she is the real inspiration for his art.

"J'accuse" ("I Accuse"). Emile Zola. French. 1898. Letter. Open letter to the president of France denouncing the Dreyfus affair.

"The Ballad of Reading Gaol." Oscar Wilde. British. 1898. Poetry. Story of a man condemned to die, based on the author's experiences in prison.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008



1896. The Supreme Court upholds racial segregation, May 18, sustaining a Louisiana "Jim Crow car law" in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. The Court lays down the doctrine that states may provide blacks with "separate but equal" facilities for educaiton, transportation, and public accommodations. Justice John Harlan says, "The Constitution is color-blind" in a lone but vigorous dissenting opinon, but the majority ruling sets off a wave of new segregation measures that designate drinking fountains, public benches, rest rooms, railroad cars, hospitals and theater sections "Colored" or "Whites Only."

1896. Idaho women gainsuffrage through an amendment to the state constitution.

1896. A gold rush to Canada's Klondike near the Alaskan border begins following the August 17 strike by U.S. prospector George washington Carmack.

1896. The Stanley Steamer is introduced at Newton, Mass., by Francis Edgar Stanley and his twin brother Freeling.

1896. French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity in uranium.

1896. "The Yellow Kid" appears in Joseph Pulitzer's New York World in March. The one-panel cartoon by Richard F. Outcault will appear in strip form in Hearst's New York Journal beginning October 24 of next year in the Journal's Sunday color supplement. Pulitzer and Hearst will battle over rights to the cartoon, and the contest for readership between the two will be marked by sensationalism that will be called "yellow journalism," a term that will be applied to other sensationalist papers.

1896. The Olympic Games of ancient Greece are revived through the efforts of Greek nationalists and of French educator-sportsman Pierre de Fredy who obtained support two years ago for bringing back the games banned by the Romans in 194 A.D. The first modern Olympiad opens at Athens with 484 contestants from 13 nations to begin a quadrennial event that will be broadened to include athletic events undreamed of by the Greeks of ancient times.

1896. A Japanese earthquake and seismic wave June 15 kill an estimated 22,000.

"My Lost Youth." H. W. Longfellow. American. 1896. Poem. "A boy's will is the wind's will...," etc.

The Sunken Bell. Gerhart Hauptmann. German. 1896. Verse Drama. Artist caught between the world of nature and man, between paganism and Christianity. Experiences life of bliss on mountain with a beautiful sprite. Returns to earth. Realizes he cannot exist in either world, accepts lethal poison and dies.

The Sea Gull. Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1896. Play. Failed writer kills a seagull as a symbol of his destroyed love for an actress. She leaves him for another lover; abandoned, she returns when he is successful, but compares herself to the dead seagull, destroyed by a man's mere momentary whim. She leaves him again and he succeeds in his second attempt at suicide

Quo Vadis? H. Sienkiewicz. Polish. 1896. Novel. Rome of Nero and early Christian martyrs. Petronius represents dying paganism. Richly colorful life of ancient Rome. Christian girl eventually marries her converted seducer.

Ubu Roi. Alfred Jarry. French. 1896. Play. Satirizes tendency of successful bourgeois to abuse their authority and become complacent. Anticipates Dada movement and Theatre of the Absurd.

La Ronde. Arthur Schnitzler. Austrian. 1896. Play. Ten scenes, each ending before ten couples have sexual intercouse. Interlocking. Circular. Begins and ends with a prostitute. Symbolizes the unending, frenetic quality and sameness of erotic behavior.

Weir of Hermiston. Robert Louis Stevenson. British. 1896. Novel. Battle of wills between father and son with father, a judge, convicting his son of murder and condemning him to death. Son rescued by relatives of his lover for whom he had murdered. Unfinihsed at his death. Promised to be his masterpiece.

The Country of the Pointed Firs. Sarah Orne Jewett. American. 1896. Stories. Maine seaport town from the point of view of a summer resident. Townspeople sympathetically drawn.

An Oucast of the Islands. Joseph Conrad. British. 1896. Novel. Marries native girl and is shot by her.

"My Life." Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1896. Story. Member of intelligentsia becomes a laborer. Criticism of Tolstoy?

John Gabriel Borkman. Henrik Ibsen. Norwegian. 1896. Play. Story of a man who sacrificed love for ambition. The unforgivable sin is to murder love in a human soul.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


1895. The name Rhodesia is given to the territory of the South Africa Co., south of the Zambezi River to honor the prime minister of the Cape Colony, Cecil Rhodes.

1895. Russian Marxist Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, 25, travels to Geneva, goes on to Zurich, Berlin, and Paris, returns with illegal literature in a false-bottomed trunk, organizes strikes and prints anti-government leaflets and manifestoes, is arrested and will be exiled to Siberia for 3 years in 1897. Ulyanov will adopt the pseudonym Lenin.

1895. The "diesel" engine invented by German engineer Rudolf Diesel operates on a petroeum fuel less highly refined and less costly than gasoline.

1895. The first U.S. pneumatic tires are produced by the Hartford Rubber Works at Hartford, Conn.

1895. The first U.S. automobile race takes place Thanksgiving Day on 53.5-mile course between Chicago and Milwaukee. Herman Kohlsaat's Chicago Times-Herald has offered a $2,000 first prize, some 80 constestants enter, only six are able to start, average speed over the snowy roads is 5.25 miles per hour, and the winner is James Franklin Duryea, driving the only American-made gasoline-powered entry. The car also has Hartford pneumatic tires.

1895. The X-ray or roentgen ray, discovered by Bavarian physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, will revolutioize diagnostic medicine by making it possible to photograph the inner organs and bone structures of animals and humans.

1895. Guglielmo Marconi, 21, pioneers wireless telegraphy. In September he transmits a message to his brother who is out of sight beyond a hill.

1895. The first theater showing of motion pictures takes place March 22 in Paris where members of the Societe d'Encouragement a' l' Industrie Nationale see a film of workers leaving the Lumiere factory at Lyons for their dinner hour. The cinematograph of inventors Louis and Auguste Lumiere is a vast improvement over the kinetoscope peepshow introduced last year by Thomas Edison, whose film can be viewed by only one person at a time. The Lumieres' 16-frame-per-second mechanism will be the standard for films for decades.

1895. The first commercial presentation of a film on a screen takes place May 20 at New York. An audience in a converted store at 153 Broadway views a 4-minute film of a boxing match.

1895. "America the Beautiful" by Wellesley College English professor Katharine Lee Bates will be set to the music of Samuel A. Ward's "Materna" and become an unofficial national anthem.

1895. The Gillette razor has its beginnings in a proposal by U.S. bottle stopper salesman King Camp Gillette for a disposable razor blade.

1895. The word "calorie" is applied to food for the first time by Wesleyan University professor Wilbur Olin Atwater.

1895. Canned foods are shown to keep from spoiling not because air has been driven out of the container but because bacteria have been killed or inhibited in their growth.

1895. The first U.S. pizzeria opens in New York at 53 1/2 Spring Street.

The Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of the American Civil War. Stephen Crane. American. 1895. Novel. Psychological study of fear. Romantic notions about war are soon destroyed. "Red badge" is from the gun butt of a fellow soldier. Merges with the body of soldiers.

"Waltzing Matilda." Andrew Barton Paterson. Australian. 1895. Ballad. Swagman (hobo) steals and butchers a jambuck (sheep) leaps to death in a billabong (pond after heavy rains) when pursued by squatter (landowner) and police. Pack bouncing as he hikes is nicknamed "Waltzing Matilda." Rollicking verse epitomizes Australian gusto. Theme is of little man against repressive Establishment. Australia's unofficial national anthem.

Jude the Obscure. Thomas Hardy. British. 1895. Novel. Dramatizes conflict between carnal and spiritual life. Traces Jude's life from boyhood aspiration of intellectual achievment to miserable early death.

The Black Riders and Other Lines. Stephen Crane. American. 1895. Poetry. Inspired by Emily Dickinson. After watching waves beat on the shore, dreamed of black horses coming from the surf.

Light o' Love. Arthur Schnitzler. German. 1895. Play. Man torn between two women, one of low, the other of high social standing.

The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar Wilde. British. 1895. Play. Satire of the British nobility and clergy. Apparently lower class, Worthing is found to have had noble parents.

The Black Tulip. Alexandre Dumas. French. 1895. Historical Romance. Set in Holland in the 17th century. Tale revolves about the struggle between two political factions.

The Time Machine. H. G. Wells. British. 1895. SciFi. Travels into the future and visits stages in the evolutionary degeneration of life.

Jean Santeui (unfinished). Marcel Proust. French. 1895/99. Novel. Adapted version of his own life to 1895. Characters, incidents prototypes of Remembrance....

Monday, February 18, 2008


1894. Russia's Aleksandr III dies and is succeeded by hhis son who will reign until 1917 as Nicholas II, the last Romanov monarch.

1894. The Republic of Hawaii is proclaimed July 4 with Judge Sanford Ballard Dole as president.

1894. Strikes cripple U.S. railroads as economic depression continues. President Cleveland takes the position that the government has authority only to keep order, thus effectively supporting the railroad operators and their strikebreakers.

1894. Some 750,000 U.S. workers strike during the year for higher wages and shorter hour.

1894. Coxey's Army arrives at Washington, D.C., April 30, after a 36-day march of unemployed workers from Massillon, Ohio, led by sandstone quarry operator Jacob Coxey, 40. The 400 marchers demand that public works be started to provide employment and the $50 million in paper money be issued, but Coxey is arrested for walking on the grass and forced to leave the Capitol grounds.

1894. Congress votes June 28 to make Labor Day a legal holiday, setting aside the Monday after the first Sunday in September to honor the contribution of labor.

1894. A French court martial convicts Army captain Alfred Dreyfus, 35, of having passed military information to German agents. Dreyfus will later be proved innocent, but the Dreyfus case adds to the growing anit-Semitism in France.

1894. Viennese journalist Theodore Herzl, 34, covers the Dreyfus trial and hears the Paris mob cry, "Death to the Jews!" He lays the foundations of political Zionism with his book The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Question.

1894. Texas gunslinger John Wesley Hardin is killed while playing poker at El Paso. He has insulted Marshal John Selman who shoots him in the back of the head at the Acme Saloon.

1894. Some 6, 576 New York slum dwellers are found to be living in windowless inside rooms. Landlords have installed air shafts to circumvent an 1879 law passed to ban such inside rooms, but the shafts are used in many cases as garbage chutes.

The Prisoner of Zenda. Anthony Hope Hawkins. British. 1894. Romance. Hero impersonates imprisoned king, secures his release, and, selflessly, gives him also the hand of his beloved princess.

The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson. Mark Twaiin. American. 1894. Novel. Pudd'nhead is a combination of wisdom and eccentricity. White, mulatto children switched at birth. Mulatto is a scoundrel, finally convicted of murder by fingerprints. Epigrams.

Trilby. George DuMaurier. French. 1894. Novel. Under the influence of Svengali's mesmeric powers, woman becomes a great singer. Loses her voice when he suddenly dies of heart failure. She dies soon after.

Effi Briest. Theodor Fontane. German. 1894. Novel. Effi is impetuous, spontaneous and open. She is married to a cold, calculating, rational Prussian husband. She is seduced by a mustachioed gambling ladies' man. Husband duels and wins. Effie is sent home to her parents without her children. She enjoys the simple pleasures of everyday life in the days before her death. German realism. On a par with Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina.

Traveller from Altruria. William Dean Howells. American. 1894. Novel. Returned from a utopia, traveler contrasts it with the American system.

Arms and the Man. George Bernard Shaw. British. 1894. Play. Set in Bulgaria. Satirizes romantic attitudes about war. Libretto of The Chocolate Soldier is based on it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


1893. Hawaiian annexationists overthrow Queen Liliukoalani with support from U.S. minister John Stevens. Armed marines from the U.S.S. Boston are landed to "protect" U.S. interests; the queen abdicates under duress after reigning less than 2 years.

1893. The Pullman Palace Car Co. reduces wages by one-fourth, obliging workers to labor for almost nothing while charging them full rents in company housing at Pullman, Ill., and charging inflated prices at company food stores.

1893. The American Railway Union is founded by socialist Eugene V. Debs.

1893. New Zealand adopts suffrage for women, the first country to do so.

1893. Anti-Semitism mounts in France as Jews are blamed for the collapse in 1889 of the Panama Canal Co., whose bankruptcy has cost many French investors their savings.

1893. Britain's Labour Party is founded by socialists who include Scotsman James Keir Hardie.

1893. "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" by University of Wisconsin historian Frederick Jackson Turner observes that the frontier has been the source of the individualism, self-reliance, inventiveness and restless energy so characteristic of Americans, but that is now ending.

1893. Detroit machinist Henry Ford, 30, road tests his first motorcar in April.

1893. Chicago surgeon Daniel Hale Williams performs the world's first open-heart surgery, saving the life of a street fighter with a knife wound in an artery near the heart.

1893. A survey of Brooklyn, NY, schools reveals that 18 classes have 90 to 100 students each, while one classroom is jammed with 158.

1893. The Stanley Cup ice hockey trophy has its beginnings in a silver cup presented to the winner of an amateur Canadian hockey match. Frederick arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston, has purchased the cup. It will be replaced by a $14,000 silver bowl and it will be the North American professional hockey trophy beginning in 1910.

1893. The world's first Ferris wheel goes up at the Chicago fair.

1893. Lizzie Borden makes headlines in June when she goes on trial at Fall River, Mass. Spinster Lizzie Andrew Borden, 32, is charged with having killed her stepmother and then her father on the morning of August 4, last year; the sensational trial boosts newspaper circulation figures to new heights. The jury finally rules to acquit, but street urchins chant, "Lizzie Borden took an axe/ And gaver her mother forty whacks./ And when she saw what she had done/ She gave her father forty-one."

1893. Salt Lake City's Mormon Temple is completed on the site ordained for its construction by Brigham Young in 1847.

1893. America's buffalo herd falls to 1,090 as market hunters continue to exterminate the animals.

"The Hound of Heaven." Francis Thompson. British. 1893. Poetry. "Autobiography" of a fugitive from God's redemptive love.

The Second Mrs. Tanqueray. Arthur Wing Pinero. British. 1893. Play. Woman with a past tries to warn her husband that his daughter is involved with a former lover. His daughter charges her with her past and she commits suicide.

Death and the Fool. Hugo Von Hofmannstahl. German. 1893. Play. Three dead people whom he had treated with indifference appear to a nobleman on his approaching death.

Magda. Hermann Sudermann. German. 1893. Play. Conflict between the mores of provincial bourgeoisie and the bohemian life of urban artists.

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Stephen Crane. American. 1893. Novel. Darwinian jungle of New York streets; daughter of brutal father, drunken mother; seduced by Pete, disowned by mother. Prostitute. In despair, suicide. Episodic. Irony. In '96 version, less melodrama. First realistic American novel. Doomed by family, environmental forces, unable to escape.

Hannele. Gerhart Hauptmann. German. 1893. Play. Dying girl hallucinates, turning the wretched almshouse and its dreary inhabitants into a fairy-tale paradise. Dies.

Mrs. Warren's Profession. George Bernard Shaw. British. 1893. Play. Relationship between a madam and her duaghter whom she has supported in style.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


1892. President Harrison loses his bid for reelection. Grover Cleveland succeeds him.

1892. Homestead, Pa., steel workers strike the Carnegie-Phipps mill in June and are refused a union contract by managing head Henry Clay Frick who calls in Pinkerton guards to suppress the strike. Men are shot on both sides. Frick himself is shot and stabbed by Polish-American anarchist Alexander Berkman, but recovers. Union organizers are dismissed and the men go back to working their 12-hour shifts after nearly 5 months of work stoppage.

1892. A presidential proclamation opens some 3 million acres of former Arapaho and Cheyenne lands in Oklahoma to settlement.

1892. Economic depression begins in the U.S. but the country has 4,000 millionaires, up from fewer than 20 in 1840.

1892. A gasoline buggy produced at Springfield, Mass., by Charles and Franklin Duryea may be the first U.S. motor car.

1892. French atuo makers Rene Panhard and E.C. Levassor produce the first motorcar to be equipped with pneumatic tires.

1892. The American School of Osteopathy is founded at Kirksville, Mo., by Andrew T. Still. His practice eschews use of drugs. It will spread quickly, and most states will eventually accord it legal recognition equivalent to that of orthodox medical practice.

1892. A "pledge of allegiance" for U.S. school children to recite October 12 in commemoration of the discovery of America 400 years ago is written by former clergyman Francis Bellamy.

1892. James John "Gentleman Jim" Corbett, 26, scores a knockout in the 21st round September 7 at New Orleans to take the heavyweight title from the "Boston Strong Boy" John L. Sullivan in the first title-match prizefight to be fought with padded gloves.

1892. The Dalton gang from Oklahoma Territory arrives at Coffeyville, Kan., the morning of October 5 intending to rob two banks, but the aroused townspeople meet the gang with heavy gunfire. Former train robbers Robert Dalton and his brother Grattan fall dead.

1892. The Sierra Club is founded by John Muir and others to protect America's natural environment.

1892. The New York legislature creates Adirondack Park, setting aside the nation's largest forest reserve.

1892. The Populist party polls more than a million votes in the U.S. presidential election as farmers register their protest against the railroads and against farm machine makers.

1892. The first successful U.S. gasoline tractor is produced by Waterloo, Iowa, farmer John Froelich.

1892. Famine cripples Russia, but by late January some 3 billion barrels of U.S. flour are enroute to relieve the starvation that is killing millions.

1892. New York's immigrant receiving station moves to Ellis Island.

"Ward No. 6." Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1892. Story. Gradual disintegration of the head of a mental hospital. Neglects the miserable condition of his patients. Withdraws into private study, thought, alcohol. Finally unable to communicate with anyone. Unscrupulous assistant has him committed and he experiences the miserable treatment for which he has been responsible. Realization of his part in the horror comes just before his death.

The Weavers. Gerhart Hauptmann. German. 1892. Play. Silesian weavers' rebellion in 1844. Their ghastly conditions and economic plight. One version is in dialect; the other version in High German. The weavers are the collective hero.

Barrack-Room Ballads. Rudyard Kipling. British. 1892. Poetry. Celebrates the British soldier and army life thorughout the Empire. Ballad meters. Cockney diction.

"Fuzzy Wuzzy." Rudyard Kipling. British. 1892. Poem. Celebrates the bushy-haired warriors of Sudan who fought Gordon and Kitchener.

The Master Builder. Henrik Ibsen. Norwegian. 1892. Play. Spirit of the artist trying to surpass its limitations. Conflict of one's needs and the needs of others. Fear of being crushed by a new generation of architects as he crushed builders before himn. Tries to build a castle in the air but falls to his death.

Pelleas et Melisande. Maurice Maeterlinck. Belgian. 1892. Play. Girl found wandering in the forest is married to her rescuer, but she falls in love with his brother.

"Gunga Din." Rudyard Kipling. British. 1892. Poem. In praise of a Hindu water-carrier for a British Indian regiment.

Lady Windermere's Fan. Oscar Wilde. British. 1892. Play. Lady W's mother saves her from the rash step of running away with Lord Darlington.

In the Midst of life. Ambrose Bierce. American. 1892. Stories (26). Life subject to accident, coicidence. Twist endings.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


1891. Hawaii's king, David Kalakahua dies at age 54 and is succeeded by his sister who will reign until 1893 as Queen Lydia Liliuokalani.

1891. The papal encyclical Rerum novarum by Leo XIII points out that employers have important moral duties as members of the possessing class and that one of society's first duties is to improve the position of the workers.

1891. The world's first old age pension plan goes into effect in Germany.

1891. U.S. workers strike throughout the year for higher wages and shorter hours.

1891. A New Orleans lynch mob breaks into a city jail and kills 11 Italian immigrants who have been acquitted for murder--the worst lynching in U.S. history.

1891. Oklahoma Territory lands ceded to the U.S. by the Sauk, Fox, and Potawatomie are opened to white settlement by a presidential proclamation, covering 900,000 acres.

1891. Construction begins at Vladivostok on a Trans-Siberian Railway.

1891. The University of Chicago is founded with help from merchant Marshall Field, but most of the funding comes from oilman John D. Rockefeller.

1891. Carnegie Hall opens May 5 in New York with a concert conducted in part by Petr Ilich Tchaikovsky.

1891. John Joseph McGraw, 18, joins the Baltimore Orioles to begin a 41-year career in major league baseball.

1891. Basketball is invented at Springfield, Mass. by Canadian-American physical education director James Naismith who is taking a course at the YMCA Training School in Springfield and who has been assigned with his classmates the project of inventing a game that will occupy students between the football and baseball seasons. Naismith sets up fruit baskets atop ladders and establishes rules that will be used in the first publicly held game in March of next year and will never be substantially changed.

1891. Tight money conditions bankrupt Kansas farmers. Some 18,000 prairie schooners (covered wagons) cross the Mississippi headed back east.

1891. Russian crops fail, reducing millions to starvation.

1891. President Harrison responds to an appeal by Cassius Marcellus Clay, who was Abraham Lincoln's minister to Russia. Harrison orders U.S. flour to be shipped to the Russians.

Main-Traveled Roads. Hamlin Garland. American. 1891. Stories. Set in Dakotas, Iowa; local color, realistic. Grim lives of farmers at the mercy of the elements and rapacious landlords. "Under the Lion's Paw."

Tess of the D'urbervilles; a Pure Woman. Thomas Hardy. British. 1891. Novel. Working for wealthy woman, Tess is forced into sexual relations and becomes pregnant. She falls in love with the rector's son. On the eve of their wedding, they make utual confessions. He expects to be forgiven, but he cannot forgive her past. She returns to her wealthy seducer and kills him. Flees with her true love. She is caught and executed.

New Grub Street. George Gissing. British. 1891. Novel. Grim, realistic treatment of the struggles and compromises of the modern literary world. Success goes to the critic with no moral or artistic integrity.

The Countess Cathleen. William Butler Yeats. Irish. 1891. Verse Drama. Countess sells her soul to the devil for the souls of the starving Irish peasants. God saves her soul in the end.

Gosta Berlings Saga. Selma Lagerlof. Swedish. 1891 Novel. Magnetic, impulsive, temperamental hero involves himself and those attracted to him in misfortune.

The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde. British. 1891. Novel. Painting mirrors a man's moral degeneration.

Monday, February 11, 2008


1890. Kaiser Wilhelm forces Bismarck to resign as prime minister. He is caricatured for having "dropped the pilot" who united the German states and inaugurated signal reforms in German society.

1890. The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 by U.S. naval officer-historian Alfred T. Mahan demonstrates the decisive role of naval strength and will have enormous influence in encouraging the world powers to devleop powerful navies.

1890. Cecil Rhodes becomes prime minister of Africa's Cape Colony.

1890. The United Mine Workers of America is organized as an affiliate of the AF of L.

1890. Mississippi institutes a poll tax, literacy tests, and other measures designed to restrict voting by blacks. Other Southern states will impose similar restrictions.

1890. The "Battle" of Wounded Knee, December 29, ends the last major Indian resistance to white settlement in America. Nearly 500 well-armed U.S. troopers massacre an estimated 300 out of 350 Sioux men, women and children in South Dakota.

1890. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act curtails the powers of U.S. business monopolies.

1890. Nellie Bly boards the S.S. Oceanic at Yokohama January 7 and sails for San Francisco after having crossed the Atlantic, Europe and Asia in her well-publicized attempt to girdle the earth in fewer than 80 days. The New York World reporter is advised at San Francisco that the purser has left the ship's bill of health at Yokohama and that nobody may leave the ship for 2 weeks. She threatens to jump overboard and swim. She is put on a tug and taken ashore. Her train across the continent detours to avoid blizzards and is almost derailed when it hits a handcar, but she pulls into Jersey City at 3:41 in the afternoon of January 25 after a journey of 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, 14 seconds.

1890. Railroad-related accidents kill 10,000 Americans and seriously injure 80,000.

1890. The U.S. has 125,000 miles of railroad in operation, Britain 20,073 miles, and Russia, 19,000.

1890. U.S. engineer Herman Hollerith pioneers punchcard processing by adapting techniques employed in the Jacquard loom of 1801 and the player piano of 1876 to devise a system for punching holes in sheets of paper to record U.S. census statistics.

1890. Only 3% of Americans age 18 to 21 attend college. The figure will rise to 8% by 1930.

1890. Cy Young signs with the Cleveland team of the National League to begin an outstanding pitching career that will continue for nearly 23 years. He will be the first pitcher to win 500 games.

1890. The first Army-Navy football game begins a long rivalry.

1890. How the Other Half Lives by New York Evening Sun police reporter Jacob August Riis portrays slum life and the conditions that make for crime, vice and disease.

1890. New York introduces the electric chair for capital punishment. It is considered more modern and humane than hanging.

1890. Yosemite National Park is created by act of Congress, which also creates Sequoia National Park.

1890. Cattlemen and sheep hereders engage in open conflict as the once "inexhaustible" range of 17 western states and territories becomes fully stocked with 26 million head of cattle and 20 million head of sheep competing for grass on the prairie.

1890. Milk is pasteurized by law in many U.S. communities despite opposition by some dairy interests and people who call pasteurization "unnatural."

1890. Peanut butter is invented by a St. Louis physician who has developed the butter as a health food.

1890. Canada Dry ginger ale has its beginnings in a small Tronto plant opened by local pharmacist John J. McLaughlin.

1890. The U.S. population reaches 62.9 million with two-thirds of it rural, down from 90% rural in 1840.

Thais. Anatole France. French. 1890. Novel. Debauched man becomes a monk, converts a courtesan who joins the convent. Can't withstand his dreams of her and urges her to flee the convent. She dies. Abbess is horrified by the savagery finally revealed on his face.

Youma. Lafcadio Hearn. American. 1890. Novel. Black girl's devotion to the daughter of her dead mistress during a slave insurrection in Martinique.

"The Raggedy Man." James W. Riley. American. 1890. Poetry. Hoosier dialect. Boy's admiration for the farm's hired man.

"Narcissus Speaks." Paul Valery. French. 1890. Poetry. Narcissus in love with his reflection in water symbolizes the self seeking its own perfect image.

A Hazard of New Fortunes. Wm. Dean Howells. American. 1890. Novel. Plot focuses on a newly rich family's social, moral difficulties in scaling the New York social ladder.

Hedda Gabler. Henrik Ibsen. Norwegian. 1890. Play. Ruthless, neurotic woman borred with dull scholarly husband; destroys others and then herself with a bullet.

The Golden Bough. George Frazer. Scottish. 1890/1915. Nonfiction. Comparative religion and mythology. Cross-cultural analysis. Archetypal elements in religion and magic.

Friday, February 8, 2008


1889. The British South Africa Co. headed by Cecil Rhodes receives almost unlimited rights and powers of government in the area north of the Transvaal and west of Mozambique.

1889. The first Pan-American Conference opens October 2 at Washington, D.C., to cement relations among Western Hemisphere nations.

1889. Oklahoma Territory lands formerly reserved for Native Americans are opened to white homesteaders at high noon April 22, and a race begins to stake land claims. "Sooners," who have entered the territory prematurely, claim prior rights in many areas.

1889. Electric lights are installed at the White House, but neither President Harrison nor his wife will touch the switches.

1889. France's Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interoceanique goes bankrupt after having spent the equivalent of $287 million in an effort to build a Panama Canal. Thousands lose their savings in the canal company's collapse.

1889. Nellie Bly leaves Hoboken, NJ, November 14, in an attempt to outdo the hero of the 1873 Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days. New York World reporter Elizabeth "Nellie Bly" Cochrane, 22, has earlier feigned madness in a successful attempt to gain admission for 10 days to New York's insane asylum on Blackwell's Island.

1889. The Mayo Clinic has its beginning in Rochester, Minn.

1889. The Wall Street Journal begins publication July 8.

1889. Boston pugilist John L. Sullivan, 30, defeats Jake Kilrain at Richburg, Miss. in July. The 75-round fight lasts for 2 hours, 16 minutes in 106-degree heat; it is the last major bare-knuckle prizefight.

1889. The first All-America football team selected by Yale athletic director Walter Camp.

1889. The Flexible Flyer sled introduced by Philadelphia farm-equipment maker Sam Leeds Allen has runners that can be flexed over their entire length to permit turns twice as tight at twice the speed possible with other sleds.

1889. Former Texas outlaw Belle Starr is shot dead February 3 in Oklahoma Territory by person or persons unknown.

1889. The Eiffel Tower designed by French engineer Alexander Eiffel is completed at Paris for the Universal Exhibition that opens May 6.

1889. New York's first real skyscraper opens September 27, a 13-story structure.

1889. The Johnstown Flood May 31 kills 2,000 to 5,000 Pennsylvanians in a city of 30,000. An earthen dam 90 feet high on the Conemaugh River has given way 14 miles away in the mountains, a torrent of water roars down on the city at 50 miles per hour, and its force toses a 48-ton locomotive 1 mile.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Mark Twain. American. 1889. Novel. Blow sends Yankee back to the days of King Arthjur. His Yankee ingenuity and "know how" vs. medieval superstition.

"A Dreary Story." Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1889. Story. Difficulty of real communication btween people. Professor and his ward see life as fragmented, aimless and worthless. Despair. They fail to communicate to each other and remain isolated.

"The Man Who Would Be King." Rudyard Kipling. British. 1889. Story. Man sets himself up as god/king. He is betrayed, tortured and killed.

"Crossing the Bar." Alfred Lord Tennyson. British. 1889. Poetry. Metaphor for death; putting out to sea on a calm evening.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


1888. "We Germans fear God, and nothing else in the world," says Bismarck in a speech to the Reichstag at Berlin.

1888. Wilhelm I dies at Berlin, less thant 2 weeks before his 91st birthday, after a 27-year reign of Prussia and Germany that has seen the unification of Germany under Bismarck.

1888. U.S. voters elect Indiana Republican Benjamin Harrison, 55, grandson of the ninth president William Henry Harrison.

1888. The first sucessful electric trolley cars go into service at Richmond, Va.

1888. A suez Canal Convention signed at Constantinople October 29 declares the canal to be free and open to merchant ships and warships in war and peace.

1888. U.S. inventor John Robert Gregg introduces a new shorthand system he calls "Light Line Phonography." It will largely replace the Pitman system in America.

1888. The National Geographic begins publication in October at Washington, D.C.

1888. "Casey at the Bat" appears June 3 in the San Francisco Examiner which pays Ernest Lawrence Thayer, 24, $5 for his contribution. The comic verse about baseball will be popularized by comedian-singer William DeWolf Hopper, 30, who will recite it thousands of times to enthusiastic audiences.

1888. The Kodak camera ("You Press the Button, We Do the Rest") introduced by George Eastman revolutionizes photography by making it possible for any amateur to take satisfactory snapshots. Eastman will explain the name Kodak by saying, "I knew a trade name must be short, vigorous, incapable of bein misspelled to an extent that will destroy its identitiy, and, in order to satisfy the trademark laws, it must mean nothing."

1888. "There are only about four hundred people in New York society," says social arbiter Ward McAllister. In 1872, he organized the Patriarchs, a group comprised of the heads of New York's oldest families on whose approval social aspirants depend.

1888. Jack the Ripper makes headlines.

1888. The Washington Monument that will remain the world's tallest masonry structure is completed at Washington, D.C., after 40 years of construction.

1888. The blizzard that strikes the U.S. Northeast in March comes on the heels of the mildest winter in 17 years and follows a warm spell in which buds have opened on trees in New York's Central Park. New York's temperature drops to 10 degrees March 12 and winds off the Atlantic build up to 48 miles per hour, bringing unpredicted snow which continues off and on into the early morning of Wednesday, March 14. The 3-day accumulation totals 20.9 inches, but snowdrifts 15 to 20 feet high bring traffic to a standstill. Washington is isolated from the world for more than a day, 200 ships are lost or grounded from Chesapeake Bay north, at least 100 seamen die in the the "Great White Hurricane," pedestrians and horses freeze to death in the streets, and at least 400 die, including former U.S. Senator from New York, Roscoe Conkling, who catches pneumonia and dies in mid-April.

Miss Julie. August Strindberg. Swedish. 1888. Play. Love-hate relationship of men and women; Julie is brought up to hate men. She seduces the footman, which creates conflicts in her, and she commits suicide.

We'll to the Woods No More. Edouard Dujardin. French. 1888. Novel. First example of an interior monologue and the stream of consciousness. Thoughts, impressions of Dan Prince as he walks the streets, meets friends, sits in a restaurant, rides in a carriage or visits an actress. Influenced by Wagner's leitmotif, Browning's monologues, and the psychological monologues of Dostoevsky.

The Soil. Emile Zola. French. 1888. Novel. Deals with greed for land. Peasants are portrayed with merciless realism.

The Aspern Papers. Henry James. American/British. 1888. Novel. Narrator tries to gain possession of a collection of a famous poet's papers held by the poet's former mistress. When he can gain them at the expense of marrying her niece, he cannot pay that price.

Soldiers Three. Rudyard Kipling. British. 1888. Stories. Stories of Anglo-Indian life.

Plain Tales from the Hills. Rudyard Kipling. British. 1888. Stories. Stories of life in India.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


1887. Bismarck warns Europe against war, January 11, in a speech advocating a much larger German army while France is agitated by nationalist sentiment and demands for revenge against her victor in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.

1887. A "Jim Crow" law passed by the Florida legislature requires segregation of black railway passengers from white.

1887. "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely," writes Lord Acton, a liberal Roman Catholic and a leader of the opposition to the papal dogma of infallibility.

1887. The Perkins Institution founded in 1829 receives a request from telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell to examine 6-year-old Helen Keller who lost her sight and hearing at 19 months of age. Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan, 20, of the Perkins Institution travels to the Keller home, starts work with young Helen, March 2, and quickly teaches her to feel objects and associate them with words spelled out by finger signals on the palm of her hand. Helen soon can feel raised words on cardboard and make her own sentences by arranging words in a frame.

1887. Esperanto is invented by Polish oculist-philologist Lazarus Zemenhof who hopes his universal language will help achieve world peace and understanding.

1887. The first U.S. social register is published by New York golf promoter Louis Keller.

1887. Richard Sears moves to Chicago, hires watchmaker Alvah C. Roebuck and sells watches through clubs and by mail order.

The Father. August Strindberg. Swedish. 1887. Play. Psychological antagonism between men and women. Females of the family dominate the captain, driving him mad and to his death.

Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle. British. 1887/1927. Detective Stories. Brilliant, eccentric detective; analytic; master of the violiin and obscure sciences. Also has a cocaine habit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


1886. The Haymarket Massacre at Chicago gives the U.S. labor movement its first martyrs and marks the beginnings of May Day as a worldwide revolutionary memorial day. Chicago police fire into a crowd of strikers May 1, killing four and wounding many others.

1886. Labor agitation for an 8-hour day and better working conditions makes this the peak year for strikes in 19th-century America.

1886. The new American Federation of Labor (AF of L) is founded undere the leadership of Samuel Gompers.

1886. A streetcar strike ties up New York City public transit completely until motormen settle for $2 for a 12-hour day with a half hour off for lunch.

1886. The last major Indian war in the U.S. ends September 4 with the capture by U.S. troops of the Apache chief Geronimo after 4 years of warfare on the Mexican border.

1886. A gold rush to South Africa's Transvaal follows discovery of the yellow metal on the Witwatersrand.

1886. German inventor Paul O. Gottlieb Nipkov pioneers television with his rotating scanning device.

1886. The tuxedo dinner jacket worn by tobacco heir Griswold Lorillard October 10 at the Autumn Ball of the Tuxedo Park Country Club at Tuxedo, NY, is a short black coat with satin lapels modeled on the English smoking jacket. It will replace the tailcoat worn until now at evening social affairs.

1886. Sears, Roebuck has its beginnings at North Redwood, Minn.

1886. North Dakota rancher Theodore Rooseveolt, 28, sustains heavy losses, gives up and returns to New York to enter politics.

1886. Maxwell House coffee gets its name. The 17-year-old hotel at Nashville, Tenn., serves its guests coffee made from the blend perfected by Joel Cheek who is persuaded by the praise of the guests to market his blend unde the name Maxwell House.

1886. Dr. Pepper is introduced as "The King of Beverages, Free from Caffeine" by Waco, Tex., chemist R.S. Lazenby.

1886. The Staue of Liberty dedicated October 28 on Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor has been designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and presened by the people of France.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Robert Louis Stevenson. British. 1886. Novel. Dual personality. Tries to separate good and evil into two distinctive personalities. Unmitigated evil personality predominates. Commits suicide.

The Power of Darkness. Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1886. Play. Peasant drama showing their faults and vices. Epigraph of the play: "When one claw is caught, the whole bird is doomed."

The Princess Casamassina. Henry James. American/British. 1886. Novel. Radical makes way into upper class society. Grows to appreciate civilization. Rather than commit assassination, he commits suicide.

Kidnapped. Robert Louis Stevenson. British. 1886. Historical Novel. Adventures of David Balfour and Alan Breck, a Jacobite, considered one of Stevenson's most interesting characters.

Beyond Good and Evil. Friedrich Nietzsche. German. 1886. Nonfiction. Aphorisms. No human values are absolute. Value distinctions like good/evil are artificial and traditional.

Little Lord Fauntleroy. Frances Hodgson Burnett. British/American. 1886. Children's Story. Disinherited for marrying an American, the father dies and his son goes to England where he wins the hearts of everyone.

The Mayor of Casterbridge. Thomas Hardy. British. 1886. Novel. Man sells wife and child whilie drunk. Swears off drinking. Tries unsuccessfully to find his family. Years later, he is mayor and retribution comes as his wife and child by a second husband return.

The Bostonians. Henry James. American/British. 1886. Novel. Satirically portrays a strong-minded Boston feminist, representing a new generation of "do-gooders."

"The Death of Ivan Ilyich." Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1886. Story. Thoughts on life, death by a dying man. Accepts death as part of the natural order of things.

Dr. Doolittle. Hugh Lofting. British/American. 1886/87. Children's Literature. Kindly, resourceful doctor. First man to learn the languages of the animals.

Monday, February 4, 2008


1885. Anti-Chinese rioting breaks out in the Washington Territory.

1885. The world's first successful gasoline-driven motor vehicle reaches a speed of 9 miles per hour at Mannheim. German engineer Karl Benz has built the single-cylinder, chain-drive three-wheeler.

1885. English-American electrical engineer Leo Daft installs the world's first electric trolley line at Baltimore using double overhead wires from which the passenger cars draw electricity through a small carriage called a "troller."

1885. The first-class U.S. postal rate doubles to 2 cents after a century.

1885. English scientist Francis Galton devises an identification system based on fingerprints. He proves that fingerprints are permanent and no two people ever have the same prints.

1885. Chicago's Home Insurance Building at LaSalle and Monroe Streets is the world's firsst skyscraper, a 10-story marble structure.

The Rise of Silas Lapham. Wm. Dean Howells. American. 1885. Novel. Self-reliant business man becomes wealthy, moves to Boston; embarrases himself in attempt to be accepted by the social elite. Eventually sees himself for what he is.

Germinal. Emile Zola. French. 1885. Novel. Bitter suffering of workers in French mines. Pleads for social reform. Sympathy for the lower classes.

"Little Orphant Annie." James Whitcomb Riley. American. 1885. Poem. Hoosier dialect. Orphant Annie tells hair-raising tales about goblins.

Marius the Epicurean. Walter Pater. British. 1885. Romance. Roman noble at the time of Marcus Aurelius. Records ideas rather than events. Drawn to Christianity.

"The Swan." Sephane Mallarme. French. 1885. Poetry. Swan trapped in frozen lake; held in pure, mysterious state of unrealized possibility. Can't fly.

A Child's Garden of Verses. Robert Louis Stevenson. British. 1885. Poetry. Written from the child's point of view. "My Shadow." "The Lamplighter."

Friday, February 1, 2008


1884. Congress establishes a Bureau of Labor in the Department of the Interior as severe coal strikes occur in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

1884. Montgomery Ward issues a 249-page catalog offering nearly 10,000 items.

1884. Electric streetcars employing overhead wires appear in Germany.

1884. New York physician Edward Trudeau pioneers open-air treatment of tuberculosis in America.

1884. The Fabian Society founded in January by young London intellectuals aims to reconstruct society "in accordance with the highest moral responsibilities." Recognizing that deciding what courses to pursue will require "long taking of counsel," they take the name Fabian from the 3rd century B.C. Roman statesman Quintus Fabius Maximus, called "Cunctator" (delayer) because of his cautious delaying tactics against Hannibal. George Bernard Shaw joins in May as does Beatrix Potter ("Peter Rabbit").

1884. The Waterman pen invented by New York insurance man Lewis Waterman is the first practical fountain pen.

1884. Overhand pitching gains acceptance for the first time in major league baseball, but a batter will be allowed until 1887 to call for a high pitch or a low pitch.

1884. The first roller coaster opens at Coney Island, NY.

1884. Chinese farm workers account for half of California's agricultural labor force, up from 10% in 1870. The chinese have raised dikes at the mouths of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers and are reclaiming millions of acres of rich farm lands.

With Fire and Sword. Henryk Sienkiewicz. Polish. 1884. Novel. Trilogy. History of Poland from 1648 to end of 17th century. War between Poland and the Ukraine. Poland vs. Sweden. Poland vs. Turkey. Best seller in Poland.

Ramona. Helen Hunt Jackson. American. 1884. Romance. Ramona. Of mixed Scottish and Indian blood, Ramona marries an American Indian. Harassed by whites, he dies tragically. Novel helped change American attitudes toward native Americans.

Esther. Henry Adams. American. 1884. Novel. Esther, free-thinking painter, falls for clergyman. Alienated by his orthodox views, she breaks engagement.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain. American. 1884. Novel. Picaresque. Adventures on a raft on the Mississippi River. Life of the river. Social commentary. Portrays vividly the moral blindness of the respectable slave-holding society's decaying social order.

Against the Grain (Against Nature). Karl Huysmans. French. 1884. Novel. The quest of the decadent hero for the rare and perverse in sensation. Seeks release from the ennui of existence.

Obiter Dicta. Augustine Birrell. British. 1884. Essays. Three books of essays. "Incidental comments."