Monday, March 31, 2008

1912 Society

1912. New Mexico and Arizona are admitted to the Union as the 47th and 48th states.

1912. Former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt bolts the Republican party to run for reelection as a Progressive (his party is called the "Bull Moose" party because Roosevelt has said he felt "fit as a bull moose"). Woodrow Wilson wins with 42% of the popular vote to Roosevelt's 28% and President Taft's 8% to give the Democrats control of the White House for the first time since 1897.

1912. Congress extends the 8-hour day to all federal employees; in private industry most workers labor 10 to 12 hours per day, 6 days per week.

1912. A minimum wage law for women and children legislated in Massachusetts is the first state law of its kind.

1912. L.L. Bean, Inc. of Freeport, ME, is founded by local merchant Leon Leonwood Bean who has invented the Maine Hunting Shoe.

1912. Electric light bulbs last longer thanks to General Electric research chemist Irving Langmuir who discovers that filling incandescent bulbs with inert gases will greatly increase the illuminating life of tungsten filaments developed by his colleague W.D. Coolidge.

1912. The S.S. Titanic of the White Star Line scrapes an iceberg in the North Atlantic on her maiden voyage, sustains a 300-foot slash and sinks in 2 1/2 hours on the night of April 15. She had been called "unsinkable," but only 711 of the 2,224 aboard survive and the lost 1,513 lost include such prominent millionaires as John Jacob Astor IV, R.H. Macy's Isidor Straus, copper heir Benjamin Guggenheim, and traction heir Harry Elkins Widener.

1912. Dutch aircraft designer Anthony Fokker introduces the Fokker aeroplane.

1912. English aeronaut Thomas Sopwith founds Sopwith Aviation at Kingston-on-Thames.

1912. The Piltdown man hoax deceives world paleontologists. An English amateur claims to have discovered the "missing link" between man and ape. The ruse will not be exposed until 1953.

1912. The first diagnosis of a heart attack in a living patient appears in the December 7 Journal of the American Medical Association.

1912. The Pituitary Body and Its Disorders by Boston surgeon Harvey Cushing advances knowledge of the pituitary gland and its relation to diabetes.

1912. The Montessori Method by Italian educator Maria Montessori describes her success at teaching slum children between the ages of 3 and 6 how to read.

1912. The Kallikak Family by U.S. psychologist Henry Goddard relates feeble mindedness to crime and causes a sensation. Goddard invented the word "moron" in 1910.

1912. An SOS in Morse code--three dots, three dashes, three dots--is adopted as a universal distress signal by an International Radio-Telegraph Conference.

1912. Pravda, the Russian word for "truth," begins publication to voice the ideas of Russia's underground Communist party with Vyacheslav Molotov as editor.

1912. Universal Pictures Corp. is created and is the first to promote the personalities of film performers as "movie stars," hiring Mary Pickford from a rival studio.

1912. Popular songs: "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee"; "When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam"; "Moonlight Bay"; "That Old Gal of Mine"; "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi."

1912. Oklahoma Indian James "Jim" Thorpe wins both the pentathlon and decathlon at the fifth Olympiad. He returns to score 25 touchdowns and 198 points for the Carlisle Indian School at Carlisle, PA, and is named halfback for the second year on Walter Camp's All-America team. Of Sac and Fox ancestry, Thorpe will lose his Olympic gold medals when he admits to having played semi-professional baseball during his summer vacation the past ear, thus losing his amateur status.

1912. The fourth down is added to U.S. football and a touchdown is given a value of six points, up from the five-point value established in 1898l

1912. The Girl Scouts of America has its beginnings at Savannah, GA, where Juliette Gordon Low starts the first troop of Girl Guides in America.

1912. Hellmann's Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise is introduced by German-American New York delicatessen owner Richard Hellmann.

1912. Oreo Biscuits are introduced by National Biscuit Company with two chocolate-flavored wafers and a cream filling.

Friday, March 28, 2008


1911. New York's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory at Washington Place and Greene Street has a fire March 25 and 146 people are killed, most of them sweatshop seamstresses who are unable to escape. The tragedy brings new demands for better working conditions.

1911. California women gain suffrage by constitutional amendment.

1911. The Purchasing Power of Money by Yale political economy professor Irving Fisher advances the thesis that prices rise in proportion to the supply of money and the velocity with which money circulates. Fisher pioneers in "indexing" the economy with price indexes, cost-of-living indexes, etc.

1911. The Supreme Court breaks up John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company trust, ruling in the case against "unreasonable" restraints of trade where a company has "purpose or intent" to exercise monopoly power in violation of the Sherman Act of 1890.

1911. The electric self-starter for motorcar and truck engines invented by C.F. Kettering improves automobile safety.

1911. The first SAE handbook on standardization is published by the 6-year-old Society of Automotive Engineers. Beginning with spark plugs and carburetor flanges, the SAE will standardize screw threads, bolts, nuts, and other automotive components.

1911. The first Indianapolis 500-mile motorcar race is held May 30.

1911. The last horse-drawn bus of the London General Omnibus Company goes out of service.

1911. Nellie Bly's 1889-1890 round-the-world record of 72 days falls to Andre Jaeger-Schmidt, who circles the earth from Paris to Paris in 39 days, 19 hours, traveling by ship and rail.

1911. The first direct telephone link between New York and Denver opens May 8.

1911. Bell & Howell's Albert S. Howell develops a continuous printer that makes copies of motion pictures automatically and economically to permit mass distribution.

1911. Keystone Co. is founded by Canadian-American motion picture pioneer Mack Sennett.

1911. Popular songs: "Alexander's Ragtime Band"; "Everybody's Doin' It"; "I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad"; "Memphis Blues"; "When I was Twenty-one and You Were Sweet Sixteen"; "Goodnight Ladies"; "Oh, You Beautiful Doll"; "My Melancholy Baby"; "Roamin' in the Gloamin."

1911. The Supreme Court breaks up James B. Duke's American Tobacco Co. Trust.

1911. German architect Walter Gropius designs a steel skeleton building whose only wall are glass.

1911. A paper presented to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers by Willis H. Carrier will be the basis of modern air conditioning.

1911. China's Yangtze River floods its banks in early September, killing an estimated 100,000.

1911. U.S. inventor Benjamin Holt devises an improved combine that harvests, threshes and cleans wheat.

1911. Famine reduces 30 million Russians to starvation, but 13.7 million tons of Russian grain, mostly wheat, are shipped abroad.

1911. Polish biochemist Casimir Funk at London's Lister Institute introduces the word "vitamines." If the enzymes discovered by the late Wilhelm Kuhane in 1878 are to work prperly they sometimes require coenzymes and he calls these coenzymes "vitamines."

1911. New York's Ellis Island has a record one-day influx of 11,745 immigrants. The U.S. population is at least 25% foreign-born in nearly every part of the country outside the South.

Ethan Frome. Edith Wharton. American. 1911. Novel. Typical New England village. Ethan vs. hypochondriac wife. Loves her cousin. They try suicide. Fail. They become invalids and the roles are reversed.

Hadzhi Murad. Leo Tolstoy. Russian. 1911. Novel. Cossack uprising. Leader deserts, then returns to the people, knowing they will kill him.

Jennie Gerhardt. Theodore Dreiser. American. 1911. Novel. A patient Griselda. Much misused. Patient acceptance.

Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill. Hugh Walpole. British. 1911. Novel. English boys' boarding school; inbred, tense lives of the teachers.

The New Machiavelli. H.G. Wells. British. 1911. Novel. Handbook of English political life on the eve of WWI.

Under Western Eyes. Joseph Conrad. British. 1911. Novel. Nineteenth-century Russian police state and extremist revolutionaries. Betrays fellow student who has assassinated an official. Falls in love with his sister. Confesses truth to the revolutionaries and is brutally beaten, left for dead. Returns to Russia. "Western eyes" are those of the Englishman who reads and comments on his diary.

Zuleika Dobson. Max Beerbohm. British. 1911. Novel. Fantastic, satirical novel. Oxford undergrads drown themselves for love of a beautiful young woman.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


1910. The average U.S. workingman earns less than $15 per week, working from 54 to 60 hours.

1910. Eight out of 10 U.S. blacks still live in the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, but a "great migration" begins that will bring more than 2 million blacks to the North.

1910. Women in Washington State gain the right to vote in a constitutional amendment adopted November 8.

1910. The London Daily Mail offers a 10,000 pound prize for the winner of an air race from London to Manchester. The prize goes to French aviator Louis Paulian who this year reaches a height of 4,149 feet in a plane he flies at Los Angeles.

1910. Glenn Curtiss flies from Albany to New York in 150 minutes to break the long-distance speed record and win a $10,000 prize put up by Joseph Pulitzer's New York World.

1910. Safety glass is patented by French poet-chemist Edouard Benedictus, who has accidentally knocked over a test tube lined with a film left by evaporation of a nitrocellulose mixture.

1910. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co., is founded at St. Paul, Minn.

1910. Medical Education in the United States and Canada shows that three-fourths of North American medical schools are inadequate and that only the Johns Hopkins School founded at Baltimore in 1893 is a match for the great medical schools of Europe. The Flexner Report spurs a $600 million reform program in medical education.

1910. "Every day, in every way, I'm growing better and better," says French pharmacist Emile Coue.

1910. Pathe Gazette, shown in Britain and the United States, is a pioneer film newsreel.

1910. Hallmark, Inc., has its beginnings in a wholesale card jobbing company started at Kansas City by Nebraskan Joyce Clyde Hall and his brother who will soon start dealing in greeting cards.

1910. Brooklyn Eagle cartoonist John Randolph Bray pioneers animated motion picture cartoons, using a "cel" system he has invented and that will be used by future animators.

1910. Popular songs: "Mother Machree"; "Down by the Old Mill Stream"; "Let Me Call You Sweetheart"; "Some of These Days"; "Opie--The University of Maine Stein Song."

1910. Spanish matador Juan Belmonte kills his first bull July 24 at age 18 in the new ring at El Arahal.

1910. The Boy Scouts of America is founded by U.S. painter-illustrator Daniel Carter.

1910. The Camp Fire Girls of America is founded by Luther Halsey Gulick, who helped James Naismith invent the game of basketball in 1891 at Springfield, Mass.

1910. Father's Day is observed for the first time June 19 at Spokane, Wash.

1910. Glacier National Park in Montana is created by an act of Congress, setting aside more than a million acres of lakes, peaks, glaciers, and Rocky Mountain flora and fauna.

1910. Seventy percent of U.S. bread is baked at home, down from 80% in 1890.

1910. The U.S. Immigration Commission winds up nearly 4 years of study with a 41-volume report that recommends restricting immigration, especially of unskilled labor.

Clayhanger. Arnold Bennett. British. 1910. Novel. Conflict between son and dominating, puritanical father. Descriptions of Five Towns life.

Howards End. E.M. Forster. British. 1910. Novel. Country house: brings together three important elements in English society: money, culture and the lower classes.

The History of Mr. Polly. H.G. Wells. British. 1910. Novel. Timid, middle-aged tradesman burns house, declared dead, gains freedom.

The Notebooks of Malte Laurides. Rainer Maria Rilke. German. 1910. Novel. Collection of diary entries of a Danish poet in Paris. Suffering, squalor, experience. Symbolic repetition of the story of the prodigal son.

Monday, March 24, 2008


1909. The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is organized at New York.

1909. The Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution providing for an income tax is submitted to the 46 states for ratification.

1909. The first transcontinental U.S. motorcar race pits two Model T Fords against an Acme, an Itala, a Shawmut, and a Stearns (which fails to start). Five cars leave New York, June 2, and a Ford wins the race, arriving at the Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition in Seattle, June 22.

1909. One Iowa farmer in 34 has a motorcar, while in New York City only one family in 190 has one.

1909. Synthetic rubber is produced by German chemist Karl Hoffman.

1909. The nucleic acids RNA and DNA discovered by Russian-American chemist Phoebus Levene will be the basis of major genetic discoveries.

1909. Austrian pathologist Karl Landsteiner looks into the reasons why donors' blood sometimes causes clotting in recipients' blood; he establishes the existence of different blood types, O, A, B and AB. Knowledge of compatibility will make blood transfusions safe.

1909. Landsteiner isolates the poliomyelitis virus.

1909. The United States Copyright Law passed by Congress March 4 takes effect July 1, protecting U.S. authors, publishers and composers under terms that will remain unchanged for 68 years. The law gives copyright owners exclusive rights "to print, reprint, publish, copy and vend the copyrighted work." The courts will develop an ill-defined doctrine of "fair use" by which to decide cases involving charges of copyright infringement, taking into account the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount of material copied and the effect of the use on the copyright owner's potential market.

1909. A futurist manifesto published by Italian poet-publicist Emilio Filippo Tommaso Marinetti advocates rejection of the past, including abandonment of syntax and grammatical rules.

1909. Popular songs: "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now"; "Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet"; "Casey Jones"; "On Wisconsin."

1909. A field goal in football receives a value of 3 points, down from 4 in 1904, 5 in 1883.

1909. Colorado is the most irrigated state in the nation with more than 3 million acres under irrigation.

1909. Hawaiian Pineapple's James Dole summons his competitors to a meeting as a glut of pineapple production depresses prices. The growers agree to undertake a program of advertising to win acceptance for canned pineapple in the big eastern U.S. markets, the first advertising campaign for a commodity by any growers' association.

1909. Strawberries are frozen for market in the Pacific Northwest.

"A Retrieved Reformation." O. Henry. American. 1909. Story. Reformed safe cracker reveals his past when he opens a safe in an emergency.

Ann Veronica. H. G. Wells. British. 1909. Novel. Heroine's struggle for independence, sexual freedom and equality with men.

"Casey Jones." Seibert and Newton. American. 1909. Poem. American ballad about train wreck, the Cannonball Express (1900). Driver born in Cayce, Ky., hence the nickname.

The Hostage. Paul Claudel. French. 1909. Verse drama. Aristocratic woman sacrifices herself and marries a former servant. She hates him but dies by a bullet meant for him.

Personnae. Ezra Pound. American. 1909. Poetry. "Masks of the Actor." Indebtedness to the monologues of Browning.

Strait is the Gate. Andre Gide. French. 1909. Novel. Heroine seeks mystic joy by self-renunciation, but never achieves what she seeks.

Three Lives. Gertrude Stein. American. 1909. Stories. Three character studies of women. Kindly, domineering German serving woman. Uneducated, sensitive black girl. Feebleminded young German maid.

Tono-Bungay. H.G. Wells. British. 1909. Novel. Uncle makes fortune from quack medicine. Narrator observes.

Friday, March 21, 2008


1908. President Roosevelt adheres to the tradition against a third term. Republicans nominate Roosevelt's secretary of war William Howard Taft who easily defeats his Democratic rival William Jennings Bryan.

1908. The Danbury Hatters' Case (Loewe v. Lawlor) brings a Supreme Court ruling that the Sherman Act of 1890 applies to combinations of labor as well as management. The court rules that a nationwide secondary boycott against D.E. Loewe & Co. by the United Hatters of North America in support of a striking Danbury, Conn., local is a conspiracy in restraint of trade.

1908. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) established as a division of the Department of Justice will be used in many cases against labor organizers.

1908. Thomas J. Watson makes a presentation to National Cash Register salesmen and writes the word "THINK" at the head of every sheet of paper. NCR president J.H. Patterson sees the presentation and orders that "THINK" signs be made up for every NCR office.

1908. The Model T Ford introduced August 12 will soon out sell all other motorcars. Cost: $850.

1908. General Motors is created September 16 by W.C. Durant who brings other auto makers together into a holding company. His bankers tell him that Henry Ford's company is not worth the $8 million in cash that Ford demands, so Ford does not join.

1908. There are 200,000 cars on the road up from 8,000 in 1900.

1908. A New York-to-Paris motorcar race sponsored by the New York Times and Le Matin begins February 12 at Times Square.

1908. Wilbur Wright completes a flying machine for the War Department. It crashes September 17, killing Lieut. Thomas A. Selfridge. But Wright will repair the plane, it will pass U.S. Army tests in June of next year and the Wright brothers will obtain the first government contract by producing a plane that can carry two men, fly for 60 minutes, and reach a speed of 40 miles per hour.

1908. Wilbur Wright wins the Michelin Cup in France by completing a 77-mile flight December 21 in 2 hours, 20 minutes.

1908. Swiss-born French chemist Jacques Brandenberger patents cellophane, a transparent wrapping material.

1908. The Geiger Counter developed by German physicist Hans Geiger and New Zealand-born British physicist Ernest Rutherford at Manchester University detects radioactive radiation.

1908. Ex-Lax Co. is founded by Hungarian-American pharmacist Max Kiss. It contains phenolphthalein.

1908. The first professional school of journalism opens at the University of Missouri.

1908. "Mutt and Jeff" in William Randolph Hearst's San Francisco Examiner is the first comic strip to appear daily with the same cartoon figures.

1908. Popular songs: 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game"; "It's a Long Way to Tipperary."

1908. Columbia Phonograph Co. introduces the first two-sided disks.

1908. The Boy Scouts of Britain is founded under the leadership of Boer War hero Robert Stephenson Smyth, Baron Baden-Powell.

1908. Mother's Day is observed for the first time at Philadelphia.

1908. Grand Canyon National Monument is created by President Roosevelt who acts under provisions of the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect Arizona's spectacular canyon from private land speculators.

1908. President Roosevelt calls a White House Conference on Conservation to publicize the cause.

1908. An earthquake rocks Sicily, December 28, killing some 75,000 in and about Messina in the worst quake ever recorded in Europe.

1908. Half of all Americans live on farms or in towns of less than 2,500, and the country has 6 million farms.

The Man Who Was Thursday. G.K. Chesterton. British. 1908. Novel. Allegory of anarchists, spies and detectives. Theme: the primacy and sanctity of order.

The Old Wives' Tale. Arnold Bennett. British. 1908. Novel. Two sisters go separate ways; reunited in old age; sense of passing time. Sympathetic picture of ordinary women's lives.

Penguin Island. Anatole France. French. 1908. Novel. Satire on French history; semi-blind monk baptizes penguins thinking they are people.

A Room with a View. E.M. Forster. British. 1908. Novel. Italy represents forces of true passion. Love between upper and lower classes.

The Wind in the Willows. Kenneth Grahame. British. 1908. Fantasy. Characters are Mole, Water Rat, Mr. Toad; portrait of English countryside.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


1907. Oklahoma is admitted to the Union as the 46th state.

1907. Austria institutes universal direct suffrage.

1907. Norway grants suffrage for women, June 14.

1907. New York City horsecars give way to motorbuses, but most urban transit is by electric trolley car, "el," and subway.

1907. The first long-distance motorcar rally begins June 10 as five cars leave Beijing for Paris.

1907. Bubonic plague kills 1.3 million in India.

1907. Rube Goldberg starts work with the New York Evening Journal to begin a career as cartoonist; he will often show elaborate machines he has devised to perform simple tasks and his ludicrous inventions will appear for nearly 60 years.

1907. Popular songs: "Glow Worm"; "On the Road to Mandelay"; "The Caissons Go Rolling Along."

1907. Australian long-distance swimmer Annette Kellerman, 22, is arrested for indecent exposure at Boston's Revere Beach where she has appeared in a skirtless one-piece bathing suit.

1907. The Hoover Vacuum Cleaner has its beginnings in an electric vacuum cleaner invented by J. Murray Spangler. U.S. industrialist W. H. Hoover will manufacture Spangler's machine.

1907. President Roosevelt signs a proclamation creating 16 million acres of new forests in the five states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming, forests that cannot be cut for timber. Before the Roosevelt administration expires early in 1909, it will have set aside 132 million acres in forest reserves.

1907. Nearly 1.29 million immigrants enter the United States, a new record that will not be surpassed.

Cautionary Tales. Hilaire Belloc. British. 1907. Poetry. Mock-heroic verses about fearful fates of children who chew string, tell lies, bang doors, etc.

Chamber Music. James Joyce. Irish. 1907. Poetry. Love poems. Influence of Elizabethan poets and Yeats.

The Education of Henry Adams. Henry Adams. American. 1907. Autobiography. Uses himself as a model of modern man searching for coherence in a fragmented universe.

"The Last Leaf." O. Henry. American. 1907. Story. Sick woman decides to live until last leaf drops off wall of building she can see from her sickbed. It never drops. It was painted on the wall by a friendly artist. She recovers.

The Longest Journey. EM Forster. British. 1907. Novel. Notable for picture of intellectual and social life of Cambridge students.

Mother. Maksim Gorky. Russian. 1907. Novel. Marxist propaganda. Mother is regenerated as she involves herself in the revolutionary movement.

The Playboy of the Western World. John Millington Synge. Irish. 1907. Play. Son is lionized after he thinks he killed his bullying father. Feelings of townspeople reversed when he fights with him again. Fierce humor offended Irish patriots. "Playboy riots' at the Abbey Theatre.

The Secret Agent. Joseph Conrad. British. 1907. Novel. Agent persuades brother-in-law to blow up observatory. Blows himself up by accident. Agent's wife kills agent because of her brother's death, commits suicide. Anarchists.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


1906. Johannesburg lawyer Mohandas K. Gandhi, 37, speaks at a mass meeting in the Empire Theater and launches a campaign of nonviolent resistance to protest discrimination against Indians in South Africa.

1906. The North American Review reports that more Americans have been killed by motorcars in 5 months than died in the Spanish-American War.

1906. Princeton University president (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson says of the motorcar, "Nothing has spread socialistic feeling in this country more than the use of the automobile To the countryman, they are a picture of the arrogance of wealth, with all its independence and carelessness."

1906. "The men with the muckrakes are often indispensable to the well-being of society," says President Roosevelt. His reference is to John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress; "a man who could look no way but downwards, with a muckrake in his hand."

1906. U.S. inventor Lee De Forest, develops a three-electrode vacuum tube amplifier that will be the basis of an electronics revolution. His Audion will permit the development of radio.

1906. Popular Songs: "China Town, My China Town"; "School Days"; "Anchors Aweigh."

1906. The forward pass is legalized in football.

1906. "Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance" becomes a sportswriter catchphrase to denote efficient teamwork.

1906. The permanent wave introduced by London hair-dresser Charles Nestle takes 8 to 12 hours and costs $1,000.

1906. New York architect Stanford White is shot dead June 25 at the roof garden restaurant atop Madison Square Garden, which he designed in 1889. His murderer is Pittsburgh millionaire Harry K. Thaw whose wife Evelyn Nesbit Thaw was a chorus girl and White's mistress before her marriage. Thaw will win acquittal on an insanity plea.

1906. The murder of Cortland, NY, factory girl Grace Brown, 19, makes world headlines in July. A capsized rowboat found in Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks the morning of July 13 leads to a search, a boy of 13 spots a young woman's body in 8 feet of water and police arrest Chester Gillett, 22, at a nearby resort hotel and charge him with murder. Theodore Dreiser will write An American Tragedy in which he will suggest that the American dream of wealth and leisure caused the young man to commit the murder.

1906. The San Francisco earthquake, April 18, is the worst ever to hit an American city. The tremor of the San Andreas fault at 5:13 A.M. and its ensuing 3-day fire destroy two-thirds of the city, kill an estimated 2,500, leave 250,00 homeless and destroy property estimated at more than $400 million.

1906. A British School Meals Act passed by the Liberal government provides free meals for children, many of whom have been unable to profit from their education because they have come to school without their breakfast.

1906. The Heyburn Bill regulates food producers, and its prohibitions are against selling diseased meat, decomposed foods, or dangerously adulterated foods, and it requires only that labels give truthful descriptions of contents.

1906. The 'hot dog" gets its name from a cartoon by Chicago cartoonist Thomas Aloysius "Tad" Dorgan who shows a dachshund inside a frankfurter bun.

The Forsyte Saga. John Galsworthy. British. 1906. Novels. Large upper-middle-class London family of conventional, materialistic businessmen. Marital issues.

The Four Million. O. Henry. American. 1906. Stories. 25 short stories. Rebuttal to New York high society's "Four Hundred."

"The Gift of the Magi." O. Henry. American. 1906. Story. He sells his watch to buy her combs for her hair; she has hair cut off to buy him a watch fob.

The Jungle. Upton Sinclair. American. 1906. Novel. Grim account of life in the Chicago stockyards.

Monday, March 17, 2008

1905 Literature

The Girl of the Golden West. David Belasco. American. 1905. Play. Heroine is a courageous saloonkeeper in Western mining camp who falls in love with an outlaw.

The House of Mirth. Edith Wharton. American. 1905. Novel. Intent is to satirize weaknesses of New York society. Lily Bart tries to climb the social ladder.

Kipps. HG Wells. British. 1905. Novel. Draper's apprentice, suddenly wealthy, learns that he cannot live in high society.

Major Barbara. George Bernard Shaw. British. 1905. Play. Major in Salvation Army refuses to accept money from her millionaire father, owner of an armaments company, and resigns. Learns that poverty, not sin, breeds crime. All money is tainted. Use it for good ends. The poor are not blessed, nor necessarily evil, but cursed. Use money to free the poor from poverty.

The Scarlet Pimpernel. Baronness Orczy. British. 1905. Novel. Adventure story of the French Revolution. Fop is really the savior of condemned aristocrats.

Where Angels Fear to Tread. EM Forster. British. 1905. Novel. Set n Italy. Effect of the land and culture on insular British personalities.

White Fang. Jack London. American. 1905. Novel. Reversion of tame dog to the wild. Brutally beaten by first owner who wants a ferocious dog. Rescued by mining engineer who domesticates him. Wounded while defending master's family against an escaped convict.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

1905 Society

1905. A Russian revolution begins. Peasants seize their landlords' land, crops, and livestock.

1905. Russian sailors aboard the armored cruiser Potemkin mutiny in July at Odessa, a general strike is called in October and on October 17 Nicholas II is obliged to grant a constitution, establish a parliament (Duma), and grant civil liberties to placate the people.

1905. V.I. Lenin returns from exile. The czar withdraws his concessions one by one; the revolt begun December 9 under the leadership of the Moscow Soviet is bloodily repressed by Christmas.

1905. New pogroms begin in Russia. Terrorists of the anti-Semitic "Black Hundreds" will kill an estimated 50,000 Jews by 1909.

1905. English suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst begins propagandizing her cause with sensationalist methods that will include arson, bombing, hunger strikes, and window smashing.

1905. "Sensible and responsible women do not want to to vote," writes former president Grover Cleveland in the April Ladies' Home Journal.

1905. The Wright brothers improve their flying machine of 1903 to the point where they can fly a full circle of 24.5 miles in 38 minutes, a feat they demonstrate at Dayton, Ohio.

1905. Swiss theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, 26, at Bern, publishes a paper on the special theory of relativity that revises traditionally held Newtonian views of space and time.

1905. German surgeon Heinrich Braun introduces Novocain into clinical use.

1905. Compulsory vaccination laws are upheld by the Supreme Court which rules in the case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts that enacting and enforcing such laws is within the police power of any state.

L.C. Smith & Brothers sells its first typewriter to the New York Tribune for the paper's newsroom. The Syracuse, NY, firm will for years be the largest producer of typewriters. In 1995, they will file for bankruptcy, the victim of changing technology--the computer and word processing.

1905. Les Fauves create a sensation at the Salon d' Automne in Paris with paintings that free color to speak with new and unprecedented intensity. Artists who include Henri Matisse are called by critic Louis Vauxcelles "wild bests."

1905. Isadora Duncan, 27, opens a dancing school for children at Berlin. The U.S. dancer has developed a spontaneous style that tries to synthesize music, poetry and elements of nature.

1895. "Claire de Lune" by Claude Debussy is published as part of a suite for piano.

1905. Popular songs: "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie"; "May Gal Sal or They Called Her Frivolous Sal"; "Daddy's Little Girl"; "In MY Merry Oldsmobile"; "I Don't Care"; "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree."

1905. Ty Cobb signs with the Detroit Tigers to begin an outstanding baseball career.

1905. The Massachusetts legislature rejects a bill that would require patent medicine bottles to carry labels showing their ingredients.

1905. Upton Sinclair exposes U.S. meat-packing conditions in The Jungle. The 308-page best seller has eight pages devoted to such matters as casual meat inspection, lamb and mutton that is really goat meat, deviled ham that is really red-dyed minced tripe, sausage that contains rats killed by poisoned bread, and lard that sometimes contains the remains of employees who have fallen into the boiling vats. Many readers turn vegetarian, sales of meat products fall off, and Congress is aroused.

Monday, March 10, 2008


1904. Japanese naval forces attack Port Arthur in southern Manchuria, bottling up a Russian squadron and launching the first war in which armored battleships, self-propelled torpedoes, and land mines, quick-firing artillery, and modern machine guns will be used.

1904. Marie Curie discovers two new radioactive elements--radium and polonium.

1904. U.S. consul Edward H. Thompson discovers ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico's Yucatan.

1904. Helen Keller is graduated magna cum laude from Radcliffe College at age 23, and begins to write about blindness, a subject taboo in women's magazines because so many cases are related to venereal disease. Keller has learned to speak in Boston's Horace Mann School for the Deaf by feeling the position of the tongue and lips of others, making sounds and imitating the lip and tongue motions. She has learned to lip-read by placing here fingers on the lips and throat of the speaker while the words spoken were spelled out on the palm of her hand.

1904. The Christ of the Andes is dedicated at Uspallato Pass on the Chilean-Argentine border to honor the peaceful settlement of disputes between the two countries.

1904. Popular song: "Frankie and Johnny."

1904. Cy Young pitches the first major league "perfect" game, May 5, for the Boston Red Sox, facing 27 batters in nine innings and not letting one of them reach first base.

1904. Harvard builds the first cement football stadium. It holds 40,000 as college football grows to become a major spectator sport.

1904. An International Exposition opens a year late at St. Louis to commemorate the centennial of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.

1904. The Gillette razor is patented, November 15.

1904. The New York Times moves into a new 25-story Times Tower at Broadway and 42nd Street, December 31, and Longacre Square becomes Times Square. The midnight fireworks display that mark the move will become in modified form a New Year's Eve tradition.

1904. Tea bags are pioneered by New York tea and coffee shop merchant Thomas Sullivan.

1904. Postum Co. introduces Elijah's Manna; the name arouses the wrath of clergymen. Britain denies C. W. Post a trademark for his new corn flakes and quickly renames them Post Toasties.

The Cherry Orchard. Anton Chekhov. Russian 1904. Play. Landowning family about to lose estate and beloved cherry orchard. They fail to see life realistically.

The Golden Bowl. Henry James. American/British. 1904. Novel. Daughter marries prince. Friend marries father. Friend had had affair with prince.

Green Mansions. Wm. Henry Hudson. British. 1904. Romance. Romance of South American tropics. Jungle girl becomes human, but killed by savages.

John Bull's Other Island (i.e., Ireland). George Bernard Shaw. British. 1904. Play. Two men represent England and Ireland. In the end, roles are reversed.

Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres. Henry Adams. American. 1904. Nonfiction. Western man was unified by faith in the 13th century, a coherent world view.

Nostromo. Joseph Conrad. British. 1904. Novel. Silver is the center of the novel; corrupts, destroys; reveals strengths, weaknesses of characters and ruling passions. "Incorruptible"Nostromo is corruptible.

The Sea Wolf. Jack London. American. 1904. Novel. Ruthless ship captain dominates and thwarts literary critic and poet who are in his power. Shipwreck. Deserted islands. Indomitable, angry, blind, paralyzed Wolf Larsen.

Jean Christophe. Romain Rolland. French. 1904/12. Ten Novels. Musician travels through France and Germany observing and criticizing contemporary civilization.

Friday, March 7, 2008


1903. A manifesto by Czar Nicholas II concedes reforms, including religious freedom, but resentment against the czar mounts as famine takes a heavy toll.

1903. Bolsheviks (extremists) led by V.I. Lenin split off from Mensheviks (moderates) at the London Congress of the Social Democratic party.

1903. Britain's WSPU (Women's Social and Political Union) is founded by Emmeline Goulden Pankhurst and like-minded women who meet at Pankhurst's house and begin to work to achieve their goal of voting rights for women.

1903. A new bottle-blowing machine permits volume production of electric light bulbs, whose high cost has discouraged widespread use of electric lighting.

1903. The Wright brothers make the first sustained manned flights in a controlled gasoline-powered aircraft.

1903. The electrocardiograph pioneered by Dutch physiologist Willem Einthoven will expand knowledge of the heart's functioning and be used routinely to examine patients with potential or actual heart disease.

1903. "Typhoid Mary" gets her name as New York has an outbreak of typhoid fever with 1,300 cases reported. The epidemic is traced to one Mary Mallon, a carrier of the disease (but not a victim) who takes jobs that involve handling food, often using assumed names. Typhoid Mary refuses to stop, will be placed under detention in 1915, and will remain confined until her death in 1938.

1903. Pulitzer prizes have their beginning.

1903. Film: Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery is the first motion picture to tell a complete story. The 12-minute film establishes a pattern of suspense drama that future movie makers will follow.

1903. Popular songs: "Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider"; "Sweet Adeline"; "Waltzing Matilda."

1903. Russia's harvest fails again. Since millions live at the edge of starvation even in the best of years, the crop failure produces famine that kills millions.

1903. Sanka Coffee is introduced by German coffee importer Ludwig Roselius who has received a shipload of beans that were soaked with seawater by a storm and who has turned the beans over to researchers. They have perfected a process to remove caffeine from coffee beans without affecting the flavor of the beans and Roselius has named the product Sanka, using a contraction of the French sans caffeine.

1903. Milton Hershey breaks ground at Derry Church, 13 miles east of Harrisburg, PA, for a chocolate factory whose products will dominate the chocolate candy and beverage industry.

1903. Members of the New York Riding Club assemble at Louis Sherry's 5-year-old Fifth Avenue restaurant for a dinner given by millionaire horseman C.K.G. Billings. The floor of the banquet room is sodded, and the guests sit on their horses, eating off small tables attached to their saddles while sipping champagne from tubes connected to their saddlebags.

The Ambassadors. Henry James. American/British. 1903. Novel. Strether refuses to take Chad back to America from Paris because "Live all you can; it's a mistake not to."

The Call of the Wild. Jack London. American. 1903. Novel. Dog adapts in Klondike to survive.

Candida. George Bernard Shaw. British. 1903. Play. Marriage. Man's strength rests wholly on his wife.

The Pit. Frank Norris. American. 1903. Novel. Attempt to corner the Chicago wheat market in the "Pit" of the stock exchange.

The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft. George Gissing. British. 1903. Novel. Diary divided into spring, summer, autumn, winter. Reflections on the human condition.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Kate Douglas Wiggin. American. 1903. Children's Story. Goes to live with maiden aunts, one of whom is a trial.

Rose Bernd. Gerhart Hauptmann. German. 1903. Play. Has child outside of wedlock. Murders it. Everyone who has used her, deserts her.

Tonio Kroger. Thomas Mann. German. 1903. Novel. Artist wants to be normal; realizes he can't be and that this conflict is the source of his art.

Typhoon. Joseph Conrad. British. 1903. Novel. Stolid sea captain rides out tempest, brings crew and cargo to safety.

The Way of All Flesh. Samuel Butler. British. 1903. Novel. Father is pious bully of a clergyman. Mother is docile, sanctimonious. Neither is a sympathetic character or lovable. Theme: relations between parents and children. Satirical criticism of middle-class English family life. Ernest's misadventures. Finally devotes his life to literature and wins self-respect and genuine success.

Thursday, March 6, 2008



1902. Cuba gains Independence from Spain, May 20, and establishes a republic.

1902. Saudi Arabia has her beginnings as Bedouin Warrior Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud sets himself up as leader of an Arab nationalist movement.

1902. United Mine Workers leader John Mitchell leads his 147,000 anthracite coal workers out of the pits May 12 to begin a 5-month strike that cripples the U.S.

1902. President Roosevelt brings about a settlement of the coal strike. While the strikers gain pay raises, they do not win recognition of their union as bargaining agent for their rights.

1902. President Roosevelt works through his attorney general Philander C. Knox to institute antitrust proceedings against various U.S. corporations.

1902. The American Automobile Association (AAA) is founded and will provide members with emergency road service, help them plan tours and work in behalf of new highway construction.

1902. Rayon is patented by U.S. chemist A.D. Little.

1902. Mendel's Principles of Heredity--A Defence by English biologist William Bateson introduces the term genetics.

1902. Cecil Rhodes dies in South Africa at age 49 leaving a bequest to endow 3-year Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford University.

1902. Crayola brand crayons are introduced by the Easton, PA, firm Binney and Smith.

1902. Barnum's Animal Crackers are introduced by the National Biscuit Co.

1902. Pepsi-Cola Co. is founded in North Carolina.

1902. Horn and Hardart Baking Co.'s Automat opens in Philadelphia's Chestnut Street. The first automatic restaurant is popular. Patrons drop nickels into slots to open glass doors and obtain food from compartments that are refilled by employees behind the scenes.

1902. Immigration to the United States sets new records. Most of the arrivals are from Italy, Austro-Hungary and Russia.


Anna of the Five Towns. Arnold Bennett. British. 1902. Novel. Naturalistic account of ordinary woman's life. Repressive effects of Wesleyan religion.

"Heart of Darkness." Joseph Conrad. British. 1902. Story. The "heart of darkness" is the jungle and the primitive subconscious heart of man.

The Immoralist. Andre Gide. French. 1902. Tale. Effects of rising above the conventions of good and evil.

Just So Stories. Rudyard Kipling. British. 1902. Stories. Why the leopard has spots, etc.

The Lower Depths. Maksim Gorky. Russian. 1902. Play. Derelicts in sleazy flophouse. Whether to live without illusions on one's own strength or to shield oneself from pain of life by accepting romanticized view of the world.

Peter Pan. J.M. Barrie. British. 1902. Fantasy. ...Or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up.

Rebellion in the Backlands. Euclides da Cunha. Brazilian. 1902. Novel? Chief classic of Brazilian literature. "Bible" of Brazilian nationality. Defies classification: treatise and novel. Rebels against central government. Description of hinterland: drought-ridden, backward, poverty-stricken inhabitants.

The Virginian. Owen Wister. American. 1902. Novel. Cowboy life in Wyoming, prototype of the modern western. "When you call me that, smile!" First walkdown in American literature.

The Wings of the Dove. Henry James. American/British. 1902. Novel. Woman urges her lover to become interested in a dying friend who falls in love with him. Her goal in encouraging this friendship with her dying friend was to inherit her money. She leaves him the money. He refuses to accept it and the relationship of the original lovers ends.

"Youth." Joseph Conrad. British. 1902. Story. From mature memory, looks back on first dangerous voyage; on youthful emotion and illusion.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


1901. Queen Victoria dies January 22 at age 81 after a reign of nearly 64 years.

1901. "Speak softly and carry a big stick," says Vice-president Roosevelt, laying down a rule for U.S. foreign policy.

1901. President McKinley is shot at point-blank range, September 6, by Polish-American anarchist Leon Czolgosz. Teddy Roosevelt at age 42 becomes the youngest chief executive in the nation's history. Mark Hanna calls him "that damned cowboy."

1901. The Mercedes motorcar introduced by German auto maker Gottlieb Daimler is named for the 11-year-old daughter of Emil Jellinek, Austrian consul at Nice.

1901. New York City streetcars and elevators are converted to electric power, but horsecars continue to move up and down Fifth Avenue.

1901. Nobel Prizes are awarded for the first time from a fund established by Alfred B. Nobel of 1866 dynamite fame.

1901. Life expectancy at birth for U.S. white males is 48.23 years, for white females, 51.08 years.

1901. Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic wireless message, December 12, in Newfoundalnd. An English telegrapher at Cornwall has tapped out the letter "S" and Marconi picks it up with a kite antenna.

1901. Baseball's American League is organized.

1901. The first practical electric vacuum cleaner is invented.

1901. Harlem will become America's largest black community--a model community until overcrowding in the 1920s turns it into a ghetto.

1901. Berberi kills thousands in the Philippines following introduction of polished white rice by U.S. occupation authorities.

Buddenbrooks. Thomas Mann. German. 1901. Novel. Material and spiritual decline of a prosperous patrician family. Art = decadence.

The Crisis. Winston Churchill. American. 1901. Novel. Inevitability of the Civil War although neither side wanted it.

The Dance of Death. August Strindberg. Swedish. 1901. Play. Love-hate relationship between husband and wife.

Kim. Rudyard Kipling. British. 1901. Novel. Brilliant descriptions of Indian scenes and sympathetic portraits of people.

The Octopus. Frank Norris. American. 1901. Novel. Struggle between the California wheat farmers and the railroad.

The Sacred Fount. Henry James. American/British. 1901. Novel. Narrator's theory: IN unequal marriages or liaisons, older, weaker partner is replenished; younger, stronger personality becomes depleted.

The Book of Small Souls. Louis Couperus. Dutch. 1901. Novel. Van Lowe family, large and diverse group, with little in common but pleasing Granny Lowe.

The Three Sisters. Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1901. Play. Dull existence in small provincial garrison town. One drab day to the next. Diversions with officers and dream of going to Moscow keep the sisters going. When regiment leaves, the sisters are left as they were. Frustrated by their attempt to escape this way of life.

Jerusalem. Selma Lagerlof. Swedish. 1901/2. Stories. Relationship of family to farm sold to pay for a trip to Jerusalem.

Monday, March 3, 2008

1900 Literature

"Ariel." Jose Enrique Rodo. Spanish. 1900. Essay. Aspire to spirituality, idealism, rationality symbolized by Shakespeare's Ariel (Tempest).

Dom Casmurro. Joachim de Assis Machado. Brazil. 1900. Novel. "Mr. Peevish." Middle class lawyer reflects on his adolescence and his youthful romance.

The Flame of Life. Gabriele D'Annunzio. Italian. 1900. Novel. Passion consumes and destroys both lovers. Based on novelist's affair with Eleanora Duse.

"In the Ravine." Anton Chekhov. Russian. 1900. Story. Brutal lives of the peasantry in a small provincial town.

Leutnant Gustl. Arthur Schnitzler. German. 1900. Novel. Early experiment in the stream of consciousness. Mind of conceited officer who must decide between suicide or resignation for lost honor. Satire on the military honor code.

Lord Jim. Joseph Conrad. British. 1900. Novel. Lifelong effort to atone for an act of instinctive cowardice. Wandering outcast. Betrayed by whites who kill Jim's best friend, the son of an old chief. Jim gives himself up to tribal justice and regains honor as he loses his life.

"The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg." Mark Twain. American. 1900. Story. Comic story with grim ending. People abandon their integrity to gain a treasure that turns out to be lead.

Sister Carrie. Theodore Dreiser. American. 1900. Novel. Innocent country girl exposed to the impersonal cruelty of Chicago in the 1890s. Rescued first by a traveling salesman. Then a wealthy married man embezzles funds and takes her to New York. As her star rises, his sinks. He commits suicide, a destitute Bowery bum.

When We Dead Awaken. Henrik Ibsen. Norwegian. 1900. Play. Artist had feared to love because he thought it would interfere with his art. Meets again the model for his masterpiece. She says they have both been dead for many years. To regain the spirit of life, they go up into the mountains and are swallowed up in a storm. Spiritual death is the price of denying love.

Whilomville Stories. Stephen Crane. American. 1900. Stories. Thirteen stories set in a town thought to be Port Jervis, New York. Realistic, unsentimental sketches of childhood. Less nostalgic than most stories about childhood.