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.

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