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.

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