My column in the Daily Beast: “Not Much Passes the 100-Year Test. Will Trump?”

In my time running SundayMagazine.org, it’s become increasingly apparent to me and my readers just how few of the most prominent people, places, and things from 100 years ago are still well remembered tgoday.

What does this insight reveal about who and what from this era might still be well remembered 100 years from now?

My prediction: despite how big the biggest people, places, and things seem to us at the moment, almost nothing and nobody lasts 100 years in the public’s consciousness.

Will Trump? Will Obama? Will 9/11? Will today’s technology? What about the biggest movies or songs?

I tackle these questions in my new opinion column for the Daily Beast: “Not Much Passes the 100-Year Test. Will Trump?”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/not-much-passes-the-100-year-test-will-trump

 

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Written by Jesse

June 4th, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Blog Stuff

Making Men Mentally Fit for Football

Could going out and goofing off the night before a big sports game help players perform better? Cornell football coach Al Sharpe thought so, and tested his theory before the big 1913 rivalry game versus UPenn.

Twenty times in the twenty years prior to the then-approaching battle the teams of these two great universities had met on the football gridiron, and only once had Cornell scored a victory. “Going to Philadelphia for the annual slaughter,” was the parting shot of the Ithacan villagers each year.

Then Al Sharpe took hold.

He suggested a different pre-game tactic:

Imagine their sensation when, upon ascertaining all were present, Al Sharpe addressed them substantially as follows:

“Men, I want every one of you to chase out of this hotel. Go to theatres. Do anything you fancy will entertain you. And don’t dare to show your heads in here before midnight if you expect to get into tomorrow’s game.”

Did it work?

As might be expected, the members of the Cornell football squad slept long and late on the morning of the game. In fact, they awakened only in time to consume a very late breakfast before departing for Franklin Field and their game of games. The nervous, draggy hours that had furnished other Cornell teams with nothing but worries and doubts concerning their ability to defeat the oft-conquering Pennsylvania teams had passed, and before such doubts could formulate in their minds the game had begun.

Cornell won.

The success continued:

Cornell, under Al Sharpe, won the 1914 game from Pennsylvania, also, and the 1915 game as well, and incidentally, in the last-named year, won a clean-cut victory over Harvard, a university Cornell never before had defeated on the gridiron.

Although this 1919 article was too prim to mention it, does “Do anything you fancy will entertain you” include sex? If it did, then it probably wouldn’t have hurt athletic performance either, despite a long-held myth that sex impedes subsequent athletic performance. A study last year in The Journal of Sexual Medicine by researches at California State University, San Marcos, found sex didn’t impede athletic performance.

Making Men Mentally Fit for Football: Gridiron Battles Depend Only in Part Upon Physical Condition, as Is Shown by These Anecdotes of Some Famous Coaches (PDF)

Published: Sunday, October 19, 1919

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Written by Jesse

October 17th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Sports

If the Treaty is Rejected — What Then?

Although WWI fighting ended November 1918, the Treaty of Versailles to formally end the war was registered in late October 1919. Requiring territorial changes and reparations, enough U.S. senators opposed it to prevent 2/3 passage by Congress.

Here, two U.S. senators debated the pros and cons of the treaty: Nebraska Democrat Gilbert Hitchcock in favor and Idaho Republican William Borah against.

Sen. Hitchcock, in favor:

This treaty… was secured from Germany at the cannon’s mouth. They all represent concessions which Germany would not willingly grant.

We have withdrawn our armies from Europe except a few thousand men, and have practically completed demobilization. We are through fighting, and Germany knows it. If we fail to hold her to the bargain made at Versailles when the armies were in the field and when Germany was helpless, we will be compelled to negotiate as equals and lose a large part of all that was granted in the settlement.

Sen. Borah, against:

If the treaty is rejected, the United States will be relieved at once of all obligations, legal or moral, to take part in European affairs, and we will as a people be enabled to take up at once and devote our entire time and attention to the solution of impending domestic problems.

Whatever we should see fit or think proper to do in the way of friendly assistance, advice, or support for other peoples anywhere, we should be able to do of our own volition and in our own way, relieved entirely of the embarrassment of carrying forward the plans and schemes of other nations.

Two Senate votes were taken on November 19, 1919, exactly a month after this article’s publication. One vote rejected the treaty 41-51, the other vote later in the day rejected the treaty 39-55.

However, enough other nations signed the treaty that it went into effect regardless. This is similar to other international agreements during the Trump administration, such as the Paris climate accords, which remain in effect with almost every nation besides the U.S. still party to its provisions.

Also, clearly 1919 was an era when referring to “Hitchcock” by last name alone — as this article does — meant the Nebraska senator Gilbert, not the film director Alfred.

If the Treaty is Rejected — What Then?: The Question Answered by Hitchcock and Borah (PDF)

Published: October 19, 1919

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Written by Jesse

October 16th, 2019 at 12:43 pm

Putting American Women “On Another Footing”

A 1919 campaign sought to end high heeled shoes for women. Clearly, it didn’t work.

No other country except China has set itself up seriously as a rival to America in the business of mutilating women’s feet, and China has reformed. Footbinding is obsolete there, or at least obsolescent. In the United States footbinding by a somewhat more modern process, with the aid of high-heeled and pointed shoes, continues almost unabated. The female of the species hereabout is becoming a one-toed, sharp-footed animal.

Sometimes, alas, fashion and style win out over health. I’ve always suspected that for the opposite sex, wearing a tie for 8+ hours a day slightly chokes your throat and may hurt breathing or your respiratory system.

Putting American Women “On Another Footing”: Campaign Is Under Way Against the High Heel and the Pointed Toe, Which Are Accused of Deforming the Female of the Species (PDF)

Published: Sunday, October 12, 1919

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October 11th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Golden Apples in the Great Northwest

1849 was the California gold rush. The early 20th century was the Texas oil boom. 1919 was… the Pacific Northwest apple boom?!

Orchards which a few years ago could be purchased for $200 and $300 an acre are today bringing $2,000 to $2,500 an acre. Boxes of apples which the grower considered profitable if sold at 75 cents and $1 per box, a good profit, are today selling at $3 and $5. There are indications that by Winter a higher price will be paid.

What about today? According to USApple, the top 10 apple-producing states today include all three which could be considered the Pacific Northwest: Washington at #1, California at #5, and Oregon at #8.

Golden Apples in the Great Northwest: Boom Has Struck Fruit-Growing Country, Indians and Ranchers Are Investing Sudden Profits in Motor Cars, and Some Trolley Lines Are Going Out of Business (PDF)

Published: Sunday, October 12, 1919

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Written by Jesse

October 10th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Food

The Awakening Middle Class – by Thomas R. Marshall, Vice President

In 1919, as now, the vice president was a former Indiana governor. Though Mike Pence is Republican and Thomas R. Marshall was a Democrat, there were also some similarities.

For example, Marshall originally turned down Woodrow Wilson’s running mate offer, while Pence strongly considered stepping down as Donald Trump’s running mate in the wake of the “Access Hollywood” scandal. (The Republican National Committee also considered replacing Trump with Pence at the top of the ticket, and adding former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as running mate.)

In this September 1919 article, Marshall suggested that Americans should all come together despite their differences such as wealth gaps.

The old methods of legislation must stop, or the Republic must die. The war, ostensibly if not really, wiped out for us the political, hyphenated American; the war will have been in vain if it shall not also have wiped out for us the hyphenated, economic American, and has not taught us that, from him who has most to him who has least, as the days go by, individual right will grow less and invidual duty will grow larger.

The apocalyptic warning that the country must follow Marshall’s recommendation “or the Republic must die” is a hyperbolic phrasing very unlike the comparatively soft-spoken Pence — but very much like the bombastic rhetoric of Pence’s boss.

The most consequential — or depending on one’s view, least consequential — aspect of Marshall’s eight-year vice president took place the same week this article of his published. On October 2, 1919, President Wilson suffered a debilitating stroke. Wilson’s Secretary of State, as well as both the Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress, wanted Marshall to step in as acting president.

However, since Marshall disagreed with Wilson many policy issues, he was kept in the dark about the true extent of Wilson’s dire condition so that he would not assume any “acting president” responsibilities. Marshall himself never personally met with Wilson during his period of near-incapacitation. It is said that First Lady Edith Wilson in many ways essentially ran the White House and executive branch during this period.

Marshall had a sense of humor about the whole ordeal, sending his successor as vice president Calvin Coolidge a letter of “sincere condolences” for being elected to the position.

The Awakening Middle Class: By Thomas R. Marshall, Vice President of United States (PDF)

Published: Sunday, October 5, 1919

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Written by Jesse

October 1st, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Politics

Business Before Pleasure on the Wire

In 1919, NYC had 3+ million telephone calls daily — more than the system could handle. “The strain at times is tremendous, and we hear many complaints of the inadequacy of the service, the slowness of operators in responding, and the tardiness of making connections.”

In an era where calls required an operator to connect the two parties, the rise in calls was outstripping the rise in operators.

As a matter of engineering record it now takes about ten seconds on the average to get the echo of “Number, please,” and from twenty-five to thirty seconds on the average to get a connection. The operators are far less numerous than they should be; it takes a year to train one so that she will have “poise on the board,” or, in other words, so that she will not lose her head in emergencies, and equipment lacking on account of the war embargoes is just being got in. In the halcyon days Central used to answer on an average in three seconds, but then the burden on the switchboards was not so heavy.

 

Indeed, 82 years later, the same issue still existed to an extent. There were numerous reports of NYC residents unable to get their phone calls through on 9/11, because the system was jammed.

Business Before Pleasure on the Wire: Effect of ‘Phone Philandering on the Call Frequency Curve of the City and Some Suggested Mitigations (PDF)

Published: Sunday, September 28, 1919

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Written by Jesse

September 29th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Life,Technology

Plans for a Roosevelt Memorial at Oyster Bay

Mere months after President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1919 death, memorials were planned at his home in Oyster Bay, New York and also Washington, D.C.

Interestingly, this 1919 article about the man refers to him more than once as “Colonel Roosevelt,” despite his having served as president. This implies the military title was considered the higher honor, especially in that patriotic environment immediately after World War I.

That’s almost impossible to imagine today — even if a general or similar military officer ever becomes president again, surely they would forever more be referred to as “President.”

The New York memorial Sagamore Hill officially dedicated in 1928, while the D.C. memorial became Teddy Roosevelt Island and was not dedicated until 1967. The latter is less than a mile from where I live, and is lovely to walk to, especially around this time of year.

Plans for a Roosevelt Memorial at Oyster Bay: Half Mile of Shore with Elms and Monumental Structures Would Become a Sort of National Grove of Academus (PDF)

Published: Sunday, September 28, 1919

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Written by Jesse

September 27th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Development

Conspiracy of Silence Against Jazz

By September 1919, jazz was really starting to permeate the country. Some were not thrilled, as in this article which described the genre as “that negation of rhythmical sound and motion.”

The close-up dancing offended the sensibilities of many, such as the article’s author Robert J. Cole:

If there is one thing the dance of the moment lacks it is distance. Distance, enchantment, glamour. And without these it can never hope to snare the favoring attention of those to whom the dance, in spite of all the hurly-burly, yet lives a glory and a gleam in the ideal vision of art.

Of course, by 2019, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll are probably the two older genres most cited by those who claim that modern music is terrible.

The first printed use of the word “jazz” in a musical context was in 1916. The word’s earliest appearance in the New York Times, according to a search in the newspaper’s archives sorted by date, appears to be a September 1917 reference to “Bagpipers, a jazz band” at a tennis exhibition.

Conspiracy of Silence Against Jazz: Exponents of the True Poetry of Motion Seemed to Agree with That Young Author, Daisy Ashford, That Least Said Soonest Mended (PDF)

Published: Sunday, September 21, 1919

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Written by Jesse

September 19th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Music

The Revel of Luxury

The Roaring Twenties arguably started in 1919. WWI ended in November 1918, there was peace, times were good, and people of all classes spent like crazy:

If luxury and leisure have conspired to set a pace of money spending hitherto undreamed of, this dissipation hitherto ascribed so exclusively to New York society has become diffused and general. There is nothing sectional about the exuberance of today. Vacationists from the smaller cities of the South and West have vied with the man from Wall Street in the distribution of easily acquired wealth. There is nothing in it to rekindle class hatred, so effectually effaced during the period of war, for the reason that there is “class” now among the masses. Railroad wage-earners boasted a two-million-dollar relief fund before hinting of a strike. The man from the forge is buying diamonds; clerks bet a cool thousand on the races, and the farmer who has not already bought an automobile is planning to do so with the singing of the next harvest song.

It’s hard to believe what a 180º difference this had been from the war years, which had still been raging less than 365 days prior:

Pleasure, pleasure! Who can turn churlishly from all these contemplations of luxury and give heed to the cry about the high cost of living? Who can take seriously the wail of hard times when blacksmiths are joining the jeweled ranks?

Is this the America that stopped every wheel just one year ago when the Government needed gasoline?

Good times. And not too different from 2019, actually, with unemployment at or near 21st century its low and Americans spending tons of money. Including money they don’t have — see the record levels set in 2019 for student loan debt, auto loan debt, and mortgage debt.

The Revel of Luxury: Summer Season’s Record of Money-Spending by Americans Who Can Afford the High Cost of High Living (PDF)

Published: Sunday, September 21, 1919

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Written by Jesse

September 18th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Life

Does a University Career Offer “No Future”?

In 1919, as the smartest ditched academia for the private sector, had professors’ salaries gotten too low? The average professor then earned $41K in today’s money. Average professor salaries are much higher now, but the problem persists — or has grown.

Edwin F. Gay, Dean of Harvard Business School penned an essay on the subject. As the article notes, “after Jan. 1 [he] will forsake educational pursuits to manage the New York Evening Post.” His assessment:

“High thinking and low living” may have been the teacher’s traditional habit, but when the living falls too low, even the high thinking youngster must look elsewhere for the exercise of his talent.

He writes that at an unnamed “one of the greatest of our Western State universities,” the average professor’s salary in 1918 was $2,438. Using historical inflation data, that would be the equivalent of $41,425 now. (And if anything, given the university’s presumably-elite status, that was presumably meant to represent the higher end of professors’ salaries at the time.)

In 2018, the American Association of University Professors found that the average salary was $104,820 for a full professor, $81,274 for an associate professor, and $70,791 for an assistant professor.

In other words, the salary did indeed go up. But the same concerns about the best and the brightest largely going into the private sector instead of academia persist. Indeed, it’s likely a bigger concern now than back in 1919, given the explosion of such lucrative intelligence-based fields as the tech sector and Silicon Valley.

Does a University Career Offer “No Future”?: Failure to Pay Professors Decent Salaries Presents Grave Problem– World of Business Is Drawing Them Away (PDF)

Published: Sunday, September 14, 1919

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Written by Jesse

September 12th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Education

Suffrage Index of Good and Bad Governors

Once women’s right to vote passed Congress, it still needed to pass 36 state legislatures. One Kentucky legislator only voted for it because “My wife is a strong suffragette and weighs 200 pounds” so “I am forced as a matter of self-defense.”

This is from a Kentucky member, who was asked to write to the Governor to call an extra session of the Legislature: “As my wife is a strong suffragette and weighs 200 pounds and being very clever with the rolling pin, I am forced as a matter of self-defense to answer in the affirmative.”

Progress in the states stalled for an interesting reason: after Congress passed it in June 1919, many state legislators — most not full-time professional politicians — had to tend to their farms.

Maud Younger, Chairman of the Lobby Committee of the National Woman’s Party: “You would be surprised at how many we have been held up by the farmers busy with their crops. We got nine states to ratify in June, but only four in July and only one in August. In the West so many of the members of the Legislatures are farmers. It used to be lawyers. In one Western state, I am told, all the members of the legislature are farmers or have important farm connections.”

It all worked out in the end. Less than a year later, in August 1920, Tennessee would become the 36th state to approve the constitutional amendment — making it official.

 

Suffrage Index of Good and Bad Governors: How the Card System Which Forced Congress Into Line Is Being Used to Expedite Ratification by States (PDF)

Published: Sunday, September 7, 1919

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Written by Jesse

September 7th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Politics

Lafayette, Citizen of America

Foreign male heirs of Marquis de Lafayette, the French military officer who led the colonies in Revolutionary War battles, were to be granted Maryland citizenship in perpetuity by a 1784 state law. Would that stand in the federal government’s eyes?

In 1919, when this New York Times article was written, the answer was still unclear — but it was clarified soon enough, based on two cases in 1936 and 1955.

The first was Count René de Chambrun, whose claim was rejected on an individual basis by the State Department. The second was Count Edward Perrone di San Martino, where the State Department officially ruled that any foreign male heir of Lafayette could be only granted honorary citizenship, which didn’t officially count for legal purposes.

Of course, modern audiences know Lafayette best from the insanely fast-rapping portrayal by Daveed Diggs in Hamilton:

Lafayette, Citizen of America: Maryland Legislature Conferred Franchise Upon Him and His Male Heirs Forever — He Rests in American Soil (PDF)

Published: Sunday, September 7, 1919

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Written by Jesse

September 6th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in History,Politics

Laboratory of Dry Law Enforcement

Government in 1919 began testing seized substances to determine if they violated Prohibition by containing too much alcohol. Medicines, after all, could contain some — but at a certain point the “medicine” would become illegal.

Many attempts are being made to evade the prohibition law by disguising alcoholic beverages as patent medicines. Some of those discovered are practically all alcohol, with only a little flavoring, like Jamaica ginger, as a disguise. Toilet waters [meaning perfumes and not literal toilet water] are also exmployed as a mask for intoxicating drinks, with a higher percentage of alcohol hidden from the detection of the inexpert by some strong perfume.

The ruling of the bureau is that all alcoholic mixtures sold as medicine must contain at least one drug of recognized therapeutic value; that only so much alcohol may be used as is required by the nature of the mixture as a medicine, and that it shall not be used as a beverage.

The bureau referenced was the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Internal Revenue, the precursor to today’s IRS. As much as you already hate the IRS for taking half your paycheck, imagine if they were still taking away your alcohol too.

 

Laboratory of Dry Law Enforcement: Washington Busy With Batteries of Test Tubes and Retorts Trying to Keep Track of New Ways of Camouflaging Alcohol as a Beverage (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 31, 1919

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Written by Jesse

August 27th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Our Twenty-one Generals of Forty Years and Under

In World War I, 21 men were promoted to General at age 40 or younger. The youngest was John N. Hodges, at 34.

Another was Douglas MacArthur at 38, who would go on to far greater acclaim in World War II as General of the Army and leader of U.S. forces in Japan.

How many generals are 40 or younger today? That appears surprisingly difficult to find out.

The lowest such level is a one-star general, also known as a brigadier general. There are currently more than 400 brigadier generals, and I was unable to find a definitive list of even their names, let alone their ages as well. Searching for things like ‘youngest brigadier general’ didn’t turn up any answers, either. The main results for such searches were primarily about Galusha Pennypacker, the youngest brigadier general ever, who reached that rank at age 20 during the Civil War.

If anybody has an answer, please reply in the comments.

Our Twenty-one Generals of Forty Years and Under: Youthful Brigadiers to Whom the Great War Brought Rapid Promotion in Different Branches of the Army (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 24, 1919

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Written by Jesse

August 22nd, 2019 at 11:19 am

Posted in Military / War

Skyrockets and Flares as Aids to Our Fighters

While telephone and radio had become widespread by WWI, different colored fireworks were also used to send coded messages.

While the telephone was extensively employed for communication purposes, absolute reliance was not placed on it, and the troops were profusely equipped with numerous methods of night signaling. The code was changed from day to day, and great attention was paid to drilling the men in the use of pyrotechnic signals. The chief advantage lay in the rapidity of sending and receiving. There was no carrying of messages: there was no ambiguity of language, and there was no “listening in” on the part of the enemy.

An example in battle: signaling to your troops an imminent gas attack using green fireworks.

For instance, on some special night, green might be the signal for gas. When the advanced positions detected gas, a green light was shot up from the Véry pistol, this signal was relayed from the trenches with V.B. cartridges, and eventually a rocket ascended high into the heavens, expelling at the height of its trajectory a little green light suspended from a paper parachute. More detailed information eventually found its way over the telephone communication. A similar signal the next night might call for the barrage.

Hey, if it works, it works. The newest tech isn’t always the best way to communicate.

Skyrockets and Flares as Aids to Our Fighters: Uncle Sam Had to Learn How to Make Fireworks When He Got Into the War, Because Telephones and Wireless Were Inadequate for Communication at the Front (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 17, 1919

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Written by Jesse

August 16th, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Posted in Military / War

Self-Determination for American Red Man

A 1919 bill approved by a House committee would have given Native Americans full citizenship rights. Alas, it took another five years to be enacted into law.

It is the position of those Indians who have attained citizenship after an arduous struggle for their rights that the shackles of paternalism have been on their race long enough. On the average, they say, the Indian is just as well equipped to look after himself as is the man of any other strain. Sometimes, they add, he is much better equipped than many of the aliens who have in recent years landed on these shores.

And needless to say, the 1919 headline referring to “the red man” is certainly anachronistic to modern ears.

The article also mentions that the Native American population at the time was 336,243, or about 0.3% of the U.S. population.

Since that time, the group’s percentage of the population has at minimum tripled. The 2010 Census had the “American Indian and Native Alaskan alone” population at 2.9 million, or 0.9% of the population. If including people who listed themselves as American Indian or Native Alaskan in combination with other races, the number rises to 5.2 million, or 1.7% of the population.

Rep. Charles D. Carter (D-OK3) introduced the 1919 bill, which passed the House Committee on Indian Affairs. But it would take another five years until the Indian Citizenship Act would become law, after being introduced by Rep. Homer P. Snyder (R-NY33) — hence the law’s colloquial name of the Snyder Act.

However, many states kept dragging their feet for decades afterwards. New Mexico became the last state to allow Native Americans to vote in 1962.

In fact, a number of racist federal laws dealing with Native Americans are still technically on the books today. These include laws which allow for forced labor of Native Americans and for the president to unilaterally declare any federal government treaty with a tribe as null and void.

Just this week, I wrote an article for GovTrack Insider about the RESPECT Act, which would repeal all or part of 11 such laws. It’s bipartisan legislation with the full title Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes (RESPECT) Act.

Self-Determination for American Red Man: Native Race Proposed for Full Citizenship in a Bill Now Before Congress (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 10, 1919

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Written by Jesse

August 7th, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Debate,Politics

Betting on Horse Races, Then and Now

In 1919, horse race betting was banned in every state. How times have changes. Horse betting is now legal in 41 states.

If you’re wondering, what are the places where it still remains illegal? Interestingly, it doesn’t appear to fall along partisan lines, with a curious mix of red states, blue states, and swing states still outlawing the practice: Alaska, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington D.C.

(In 1919, Kentucky and Maryland were the only two states which allowed an adjacent form of horse race betting called pari-mutuel, in which people bet against each other rather than against the race track.)

 

Betting on Horse Races, Then and Now: Following the Sport in New York Is Difficult, and the Odds Are Shorter Than in Old Days, but the System Is Little Changed — Advantages of Pari-Mutuel Method (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 3, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 31st, 2019 at 12:01 pm

Posted in Sports

The World Metropolis: New York or London?

In 1919, London’s long-held title as “the world metropolis” was threatened by the sharp rise of New York City. Which would win out?

There are a few ways to measure this.

By population, it looked like greater New York would soon overtaken Greater London around 1932:

Indeed, today the NYC metropolitan area is much larger than London’s, at 23.8 million versus 14.1 million. However, the NYC area only ranks #10 in the world and London only ranks #29. The Delhi, India area tops the list with 46.0 million people.

Another way is by the size of the area’s economy, or gross domestic product (GDP). New York City’s again ranks higher than London’s, at at estimated $1.71 trillion versus $595 billion. NYC “only” ranks #2 and London ranks #10 by this metric. Tokyo, Japan tops the list with $1.89 trillion.

Another way, even though it is far less quantitative or objective, is just by what “feels right.” For example, even though U.S. News and World Report technically ranked Princeton as the country’s best university this year according to the specific metrics they used in their tabulation, almost anybody in real life would tell you that the country’s best university is either Harvard or Yale.

Similarly, if any international readers will excuse this author’s American bias, New York City just “feels like” the world’s metropolis.

 

The World Metropolis: New York or London?: Twin Wonder Cities Will Tie in Population in 1932, British Journalist Believes, and Wall Street Will Become the Partner, Not the Rival, of Lombard Street (PDF)

Published: Sunday, August 3, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 30th, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Posted in Debate,Development

If We Should Enter Mexico, How Big an Army?

After June 1919’s Battle of Ciudad Juárez, the second-biggest battle of the 1910s Mexican Border War conflict, was America’s military too depleted following WWI’s recent end?

Foremost is the question whether Congress, in cutting off 175,000 men from the number asked for by the War Department, has reduced the force for the remainder of the fiscal year to a desirable point. This situation, however, as indicated by inquiry at Washington, is not bothering military men; they think that even with the army pared down, as it will be after Oct. 1, there will be an ample force to cope with whatever condition may arise in regard to Mexico.

Turns out the Battle of Ciudad Juárez was the last battle of the Mexican Border War. (A series of military conflicts along the U.S.-Mexico border from 1910 to 1919, it was not technically an official war.)

 

If We Should Enter Mexico, How Big an Army?: Estimates at Washington Range from 50,000 to 200,000, Dependent on the Political Situation Across the Border — Prolonged Guerrilla Warfare Possible (PDF)

Published: Sunday, July 27, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 25th, 2019 at 11:01 am

Posted in Military / War

The Corner Where Traffic Cop and Fairies Meet

In 1919, Benjamin de Casseres described New York Public Library children’s section as a world apart from the hustle and bustle just outside its walls at 42nd St. and 5th Ave.:

Forty-second Street and Fifth Avenue… is, as we all know, right in the very heart of practical, jazzing, money-scrambling little old New York. Only, and still more wonderful to relate, one suddenly disappears through a wall of solid marble into this little kingdom of what Peter Pan called the Never-Never Land, and those who can accomplish this miracle are not only your little believing Alices and Peters but any work-a-day person regardless of age, opinion or previous condition of incertitude about such miracles.

The quiet solitutde was the opposites of the pandemonium mere feet or yards away:

The contrast between the rip-roaring movement outside, with the jumble of autos, trolley cars, traffic cops, show windows, and moving care-laden and fashionable throns and this room is astonishing, and, if one is sentimental and imaginative, almost eerie. Here, in one step from the street, was a transposed world of silent adventure, flower decorated alcoves, fantastically colored panels and plates, and a great many kiddies of all ages, ranging from the tiny tot to boys and girls of 12 and 13 years, bent over books of strange and bloody deeds and fairy stories.

Which made re-entering the real world a tremendous letdown:

I went back into the dazzling light of Fifth Avenue, but the flash from the wheels and the sparkle on the cop’s badge and the long array of buildings stretching either way on the avenue seemed to me unreal and of no importance, and that room in the library that I had just left behind was the real thing, and the Fairy Godmother and the little heads concentrated on another world seemed to contain the thing we are all seeking.

That library at 42nd Street and 5th Avenute is still thriving: the Mid-Manhattan Library, featuring its Children’s Center with 40,000 volumes.

 

The Corner Where Traffic Cop and Fairies Meet: Just a Few Steps from Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street: Wonderland, With All Its Miracles (PDF)

Published: Sunday, July 27, 1919

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Written by Jesse

July 24th, 2019 at 11:01 am

Posted in Books,Life