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.

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