Archive for January, 2011

Where Sick Animals Are Cared For Like Humans

From January 29, 1911

WHERE SICK ANIMALS ARE CARED FOR LIKE HUMANS

WHERE SICK ANIMALS ARE CARED FOR LIKE HUMANS: Cornell Medical College Has an Animal Surgery and Dispensary Where Pets Are Cured in the Latest Approved Fashion. (PDF)

Veterinary medicine has been practiced for at least 4000 years. But we’ll never get tired of cute animals being treated in ways we usually think of people being treated, so let’s take a look inside this animal hospital.

She evidently felt very sick indeed, poor little thing, and there were many patients waiting in the doctor’s ante-room whose turn came before hers. She was good and quiet — unlike some of the others — but the stout German woman in whose arms she was cuddled was considerably worried.

Presently the woman, half unconsciously, began to rock back and forth and to hum a little song. Gradually the head of her ailing charge dropped on her shoulder and the small sufferer fell asleep. The German caught the eye of her smiling neighbor.

“Joost like a bay,” she said, looking down at the sleeper with beaming affection.

It was really a bit of a black and tan terrier, and the hospital was that just opened — or rather reopened — for animal surgery by the Medical College of Cornell University.

[…]

“Do, doctor, make him to be well,” says the German woman with tears in her eyes as she surrenders her diminutive black and tan, and the doctor assures her that nothing will be left undone to cure her pet.

And nothing is. Upstairs one climbs, guided by an occasional bark and the antiseptic hospital odor, and there is the room where poor doggies are made well by the surgeons, according to the most modern methods. A major operation is going on, and no less than five surgeons, all qualified to treat human beings, are grouped around a table, with attendants and a quickly moving trained nurse.”

As a relatively new pet owner myself, I’m thankful for the doctors who treat our animals. They really do become like members of the family. That we own.

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Written by David

January 28th, 2011 at 9:30 am

Old Age A Preventable Disease, Says Dr. Lorand

From January 29, 1911

OLD AGE A PREVENTABLE DISEASE, SAYS DR. LORAND

OLD AGE A PREVENTABLE DISEASE, SAYS DR. LORAND: Austrian Physician Says It Can Be Treated Like Other Maladies, and That We Can Live to the Century Mark. (PDF)

Back in June, I posted an article in which Dr. Woods Hutchinson proclaimed that nobody has ever lived to 100 (people who claimed to be that old were mistaken, he said). But today, another doctor says that he has a plan for us all to live to 100.

Just like so many others who have come since then with plans to extend your life, Dr. Arnold Lorand had a book to sell. It was called Old age deferred: the causes of old age and its postponement by hygienic and therapeutic measures. You can get a copy free through Google Books.

Dr. Lorand advises avoiding alcohol, tea, coffee, and several other things you may enjoy. But on the plus side, he recommends Swedish massage. So now you have an excuse to go get one.

Caveat: he also recommends taking arsenic. If you follow any of his recommendations, please do not follow that one.

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Written by David

January 28th, 2011 at 9:00 am

Posted in Science

The Times Review of Books to Be Issued on Sundays

From January 28, 1911

The Times Review of Books to Be Issued on Sundays

The Times Review of Books to Be Issued on Sundays (PDF)

After 14 years on Saturdays, the Times Review of Books moved to Sundays this week in 1911. This notice appeared that Saturday, with similar notices appearing throughout the week. It could bee seen as more information than the reader needs about why the section is moving, but I find it refreshingly open and honest in its discussion of circulation and advertising issues. I imagine that a similar notice today would simply be reduced to “Now On Sundays!”

In transferring to the Sunday issue The Review of Books, which has for fourteen years formed a part of the Saturday morning issue of The Times, a change is made of which the necessity, long ago foreseen, has become so urgent that it can no longer be deferred. The Review of Books will to-morrow, and henceforth, be issued with The Sunday Times.

The reasons which make this change imperative concern both The Times and its readers. Owing to the increased number of pages required for the volume of news and advertisements printed in the daily edition on Saturday, it has of late frequently become necessary to reduce the size of The Review of Books. We are unwilling to adopt permanently that way out of the difficulty. There is but one other way. It is by making The Review of Books a part of the Sunday edition. This change, by avoiding the necessity of haste, makes it possible to improve the printing and the appearance of The Review; it will thus be more acceptable to its readers and better suited to binding or laying away for reference.

While this change has been long in contemplation, it has been deferred, out of regard to the interests both of readers and of advertisers, until the circulation of The Sunday Times should approximate that of the daily issue, thus continuing to give The Review of Books a circulation much larger than that of any other publication in the world devoted to the news of books and the discussion of their contents. Of this great circulation, pre-eminently a home circulation, The Review of Books, forming a part of the Sunday issue, will have the full benefit.

Moreover, it is believed that, issued on Sunday, The Review of Books will have an enhanced value for pleasure and instruction. It will be read with more thoughtful attention on a day when release from the cares and demands of week-day vocations leaves the reader free to enjoy its pages. As a part of the Sunday edition it will give new interest and value to that issue of The Times, and will itself, we are confident, be read with profit and satisfaction.

Today the New York Times Book Review remains published on Sundays, but has the further distinction of being the only section* in the Times that you can subscribe to separately from the rest of the paper.

*as far as I know.

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Written by David

January 26th, 2011 at 11:38 am

Posted in Business,Literature

Why Don’t College Women Marry? Only One-Third Of Wellesley Graduates Wed

From January 22, 1911

WHY DONT COLLEGE WOMEN MARRY? ONLY ONE-THIRD OF WELLESLEY GRADUATES WED

WHY DON’T COLLEGE WOMEN MARRY? ONLY ONE-THIRD OF WELLESLEY GRADUATES WED: Interesting Facts Gathered from the Records of Other Institutions, Together with Some Analysis of Them. (PDF)

Oh, sure. I could make the obvious joke about Wellesley girls not getting married because they’re all lesbians. But instead I’ll just point you to the 2001 Rolling Stone article by Jay Dixit called The Highly-Charged Erotic Life of the Wellesley Girl and you can make your own jokes.

True, 90 years passed between the two articles, and the atmosphere at Wellesley was probably quite a bit different back then, but Dixit’s article is a more interesting look at the school than this one. Here’s an excerpt from his article:

Sandra North explains the process: “For a while, someone might go around telling people she’s asexual, saying, `I’m not attracted to anyone,’ which sometimes is a cover for starting to become attracted to women.” If she develops a crush on somebody, she might check the woman’s “résumé,” the electronic profile on Wellesley’s e-mail system. “That’s actually a pretty big part of Wellesley’s sex culture,” says Sandra. “That’s where a lot of flirtation goes on.” It can also act as an informal registry of who’s straight and who’s gay or experimenting. “One girl wrote on her resume, ‘I am now open to dating women. If you want to talk to me, here’s my extension,’” Sandra explains.

It helps that dating women is so convenient. “You just run upstairs and there’s your girlfriend,” says Jess. “Here, you can practically have an apartment set up with your girlfriend. At most coed places, a girl would probably have trouble getting a room with her boyfriend.”

And the atmosphere is so open that even the more conservative groups on campus tend to be socially liberal. Sarah Spurgeon, a member of the Wellesley Republicans, says, “I don’t care what someone does in their bedroom or whom they marry, and I also think women should be able to play like men do in the battle of the sexes. It is simply a matter of personal freedom.” Heather Gay says, “It’s an environment where being a lesbian is considered almost cool.” Growing up, Heather was always embarrassed about her name. “But once I came out at Wellesley, it became a big joke,” she recalls. “We’d have posters advertising the Café Hoop that would say BE GAY and just have a big picture of my face.”

That’s a good one to add to your Instapaper reading list.

cc: longform.org

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Written by David

January 21st, 2011 at 9:30 am

Senator F. D. Roosevelt, Chief Insurgent At Albany

From January 22, 1911

SENATOR F. D. ROOSEVELT, CHIEF INSURGENT AT ALBANY

SENATOR F. D. ROOSEVELT, CHIEF INSURGENT AT ALBANY: He’s a Fifth Cousin of the Colonel, and He Stepped Into the spotlight the First Day He Took His Seat as Leader of the Independent Democrats. (PDF)

100 years ago this month, future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was sworn into his first political office, as a new member of New York’s State Senate. The Sunday Magazine ran this flattering profile of the young politician, just shy of his 30th birthday.

Those who looked closely at the law-maker behind desk 26 saw a young man with the finely chiseled face of a Roman patrician, only with a ruddier glow of health on it. Nature has left much unfinished in modeling the face of the Roosevelt of greater fame. On the face of this Roosevelt, younger in years and in public service, she has lavished all her refining processes until much of the elementary strength has been lost in the sculpturing.

Senator Roosevelt is less than 30. He is tall and lithe. With his handsome face and his form of supple strength he could make a fortune on the stage and set the matinée girl’s heart throbbing with subtle and happy emotion. But no one would suspect behind that highly polished exterior the quiet force and determination that now are sending cold shivers down the spine of Tammany’s striped mascot.

It’s a great read, especially since we know what became of him. And, as a bonus, if you download the PDF you’ll also receive an article about morris dances, the popular dance of yore that was just now reaching the States.

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Written by David

January 21st, 2011 at 9:00 am

Posted in Politics

Answers To Queries Asked By Readers Of The Times

From January 22, 1911

ANSWERS TO QUERIES ASKED BY READERS OF THE TIMES

ANSWERS TO QUERIES ASKED BY READERS OF THE TIMES (PDF)

The New York Times has a history of answering reader questions in columns like Science Q&A and the F.Y.I. feature of the NY/Region section (available in two paperback compilations called The Curious New Yorker and Only In New York).

This article is one early example of a column that ran at least as far back as 1908, often under the name “Queries From The Curious And Answers To Them.”

Here are the rules for submitting a question to the “Queries” column:

This department does not pretend to be infallible. It will endeavor, however, to answer questions sent to it by Times readers to the best of its ability, reserving the right to ignore all that are trifling, or of concern only to the questioner.

To receive attention, every query must bear the name and address of the person sending it. This does not necessarily mean it will be published; only the initials will be used if the questioner so desires. No attention will be paid to queries in which this rule is not followed.

Hundreds of letters are received by this department every week, and it is obviously impossible to answer the writers intelligently through the mails. This is done only in exceptional cases.

Questions concerning the correctness of English sentences will NOT be answered for the reason that the proper reference books are available for the public generally.

Questions as to the value of coins and stamps will invariably be ignored.

And here is a sample question and answer from this week’s column:

Have our scientists ever definitely proved the theory that there are canals on the planet Mars? I am led to ask this question for the reason that I read an article on the subject recently in which the writer, supposedly a man well informed on the subject, appeared to accept the theory as a fact. For my own part, I have always supposed that it was a question admitting of much doubt and one that must forever remain unsettled.

Although the “Canals of Mrs” have long been a subject of discussion among astronomers, it would be incorrect to suppose that there has been any consensus of opinion that these canals actually exist. In fact the most distinguished astronomers look on them as purely mythical and certainly no one has ever come forward with any proof that the marks seen on the planet with powerful telescopes are actually inland waterways…

For a broader look at the column, here’s a sampling of questions asked of the Times over a four year period:

“Kindly let me know whether a Hebrew or a Catholic can be nominated for the Presidency of the United States.”

“Who deserves the credit of being called the discoverer of the art of photography? When and where were the first pictures made?”

“Where is the body of Christopher Columbus buried? Is its present resting place the original grave or was it transferred?”

“Is there any way by which we can determine approximately how old the earth is? I have read and heard the most divergent statements on this question, and am wondering if any one has ever reached what might be called even a fairly accurate conclusion.”

“Is the plural of money ‘monies’ or ‘moneys,’ or is either correct?”

“Has any one — scientist or philosopher — ever attempted to calculate the number of hairs on the human head? We are told by the Good Book that every hair on the head is numbered, but for my part I have never seen any figures on the subject. Can The Times gratify my curiosity?

“We expect to go to Los Angeles or San Francisco, Cal., to live for one year, beginning next month. Would you kindly tell us whether or not it would be advisable to take a set of furs there? In other words, is it cold enough there during the Winter to make furs a necessity?”

“Who was the first Poet Laureate of England, and how did the creation of the title come about?”

“How many pounds in the average bale of cotton?”

“Has a foreigner the right to own real estate in the State of New York?”

“Are Japanese who are born in this country American citizens?”

“Which city in the United States was the first to adopt electricity for street lighting?”

“Please publish the names of the President, of the Vice President, and of the Cabinet.”

“Are there any classes in drawing for adults in the public High Schools evenings?”

“What day did Nov. 13, 1875 fall on?”

“When was the obelisk on Central Park brought to New York, and on what ship? What is the significance of an obelisk?”

“Which is correct: ‘Two teaspoonfuls is the same as one,’ or ‘Two teaspoonfuls are the same as one’?”

“In order to settle a dispute, please tell me what is the height of the Singer Building and the Eiffel Tower?”

“Where can I take a swim near Twenty-eighth Street and the East River?”

“Is it true that there are places in the world where rain never falls? I have traveled rather extensively in various parts of it, but must say that I have never discovered a place where the drouth was perpetual.”

“Please tell me the name of the city in which we live. I have always supposed that it was simply New York, but find that some of my friends think it is New York City in the strict sense.”

For the answers to these and many other questions, download this 6.5MB PDF in which I’ve compiled a sample of “Query” columns from 1908-1912.

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Written by David

January 20th, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Mrs. John A. Logan Criticises The Man Of The Period

From January 22, 1911

MRS. JOHN A. LOGAN CRITICISES THE MAN OF THE PERIOD

MRS. JOHN A. LOGAN CRITICISES THE MAN OF THE PERIOD: If Women Are Deteriorating, Men Are Doing So Still More Rapidly — Fatally Infected by Selfishness and Greed. (PDF)

About a month ago, the Sunday Magazine ran an article by Mrs. John A. Logan in which she criticized the women of the era for how they dressed, raised their kids, and generally behaved. There was such an overwhelming response that she’s back again to criticize the men.

For the most part, she sees men as too motivated by money and vanity in ways that earlier generations were not. I can see that as a valid criticism, I suppose. But then she brings this out:

“Another growing trait, and one which is not admirable, is evidenced continually here in Washington. I suppose Department clerks are normal samples of the young man of the period. Well, there is a practice common among Department clerks which seems significant of real degeneration to me. Plenty of them marry young co-clerks in secret, so that the girls may keep on working, retain their clerical positions, and continue to draw salary. If the marriages were public the girls would lose their clerical positions. Young men, it seems to me, are more and more willing to let their wives earn money, and to accept the half-home of a boarding-house, or the no-home of an ill-kept flat in consequence, for the sake of the salaries they draw. It is another and a striking symptom of chivalry’s decline in the United States. The boy in high-school takes it for granted that his girl sweetheart is to learn stenography, or something, by which to earn a living for herself. Yes, you men are rapidly forgetting all the chivalry of your grandfathers. The man who lets his wife earn money shows by doing so a definite deterioration peculiar to the time. He, himself, by doing so, has made a long step toward becoming a mere weakling, and such weaklings are getting to be as characteristic of American men, as the fine and chivalrous type was in the days one by. There was a time when the American man would have been horrified, as long as he was strong and well, at the mere thought of letting his wife go out to earn, but that time has, apparently gone by.

“This has had a most unfortunate effect on the male character and has increased the American woman’s desire for independence. The Creator intended women to be dependent; people should not marry if each does not expect to take a rightful share of the responsibility — the man’s to earn, the woman’s to keep up the home.”

Independent women in the workplace? That’s crazy! For more curmudgeonly views on the topic, see Andy Rooney and this 1944 training film from the U.S. Office of Education about working women.

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Written by David

January 20th, 2011 at 11:27 am

Posted in Debate,Life

What A Rich Man Learned In Living With Hoboes

From January 15, 1911

WHAT A RICH MAN LEARNED IN LIVING WITH HOBOES

WHAT A RICH MAN LEARNED IN LIVING WITH HOBOES: Edwin A. Brown of Denver Tells of His Experiences as a Tramp and Suggests Radical Measures for Helping Homeless Human Beings. (PDF)

A rich man living with hoboes? That sounds like the plot of a Mel Brooks movie (because it is the plot of a Mel Brooks movie).

The article is actually considerably less funny. It’s by Edwin A. Brown, a wealthy man who spent “years studying the lives and conditions of the great floating body of homeless men in the United States by going among them, living with them, and sharing their every hardship and disadvantage.”

An excerpt:

My idea of the tramp was that he was such by preference, a conception due to the humorous cartoons in the papers, stage representations of “Weary Willies,” and various fantastic newspaper and magazine articles on tramp customs, life, sign language, etc. I went first directly to the kilns and spent a night with the men, moving out with them at daybreak, and to my astonishment nearly all of them had a common destination, the principal cluster of employment offices of the city.

That day and often, often since, I have seen men huddled before the offices in the bitterest weather, their pockets and stomachs empty, few of them half-sufficiently clad, but all of them eager to take on any sort of work, no matter how heavy it might be or what the wages, just so that the ycould win for themselves the necessities of life. Men such as these are worth saving…

There are many times when the homeless must creep in anywhere that shelter is to be found. Usually the places left open are spots too repulsive to need a guard. Often, often have I gone after midnight into stables in out-of-the-way places in the cities and, half-buried in the dung heaps, where the decay makes warmth and there is a certain softness, I have found clusters of miserable human beings. Is it any wonder that death and disease are rife among them? Once I discovered a boy and his beautiful dog, both tramps, lying in such a bed. They had been there three days and nights undisturbed, the boy too ill with pneumonia to get out where he could get help, the dog sticking close by his side.

In a wreck last year on the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton four tramps were killed in a smashed lumber car, and the Coroner was gravely puzzled because two of them gave evidences of having been dead some time before they were crushed by the shifting timbers. Investigation showed that they had been frozen at least two days previous while they slept in the Detroit yards, the bodies were hauled into another State, and two other men perished with the already dead without knowing of their proximity…

There is no end to the tales I might tell, but enough. If what I have said has brought conviction, then it is time that earnestly, emphatically I urge the only remedy. For the criminals and the depraved, houses with bars if you will. For the incapacitated asylums and hospitals, also. But for the honest, willing workingman without work or a home, something more merciful than free lodging houses from which he must move on. The question of what that something should be is not a very difficult one to answer…

Private charity cannot be depending upon to boost the half million Americans who are under the shelf of life over the edge to a foothold in society. A big public movement must do it. The method is to give the wanderer… a chance to get strong, clothes to keep him warm and hold up his sense of decency, and a job that will buy him a roof and food. If he fails to go on then, well — he belongs in the hopeless tenth.

Brown eventually turned his experience into a book called Broke: The Man Without The Dime, which you can get as a pdf or other ebook format by following that link to Google Books.

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Written by David

January 14th, 2011 at 9:30 am

Posted in Adventure,Life

A County Where Selling Votes Is Universal

From January 15, 1911

A COUNTY WHERE SELLING VOTES IS UNIVERSAL

A COUNTY WHERE SELLING VOTES IS UNIVERSAL: Even the Women of Adams County, Ohio, Market the Ballots of Their Husbands, Sons and Sweethearts — A Minister Among the Guilty. (PDF)

This scandal is shocking enough that I’m surprised it doesn’t come up during election years. It’s a small but ugly anecdote in American history, and I can find very little mention of it online. For the most part it seems to have been swept under the rug.

For decades, the nice people of Adams County, Ohio openly sold their votes to the highest bidder.

The air in Adams County is clean and bracing. The stars shine larger there in the frosty Winter nights than they do in the cities. Men live close to the soil. It seems like a place set apart for the good things in life, but it is the rottenest borough in the civilized world.

The country folk there are simple. The men wear faded blue shirts, felt boots, and slouch hats. They drive little box buggies through the country. They look innocent. But they do like to boodle

Elections were clean in the county until thirty years ago when “Calico Charley” Foster ran for Governor. He sent agents through the county buying votes. The traffic was a secret one then, done in whispers and in the dark. Votes sold for $1.

Elections came and were bought. The citizens had a taste of boodle money and they liked it. In the 80s elections became more openly corrupt. Politicians still talk about the “good times” of the 1887 election. That year Ed P. Leedom and Ed Silcutt, two Federal office holders, came from Washington with a carpet bag full of bank notes. Thirty thousand dollars was spent to carry Adams County Democratic that year…

The stories of past campaigns are told, with names, by the actors in them. The stories, for pure civic turpitude, would make a burglar turn pale with envy, but the matter of fact way in which they are related is astounding. One of these citizens who unblushingly tells of his boodle experience is perhaps the wealthiest man in the county. he is certainly the most influential. He was willing to talk if his name were not used.

“Frequently I handle $16,000 in an election,” he said coolly. “It is the only way you can carry an election here. I back candidates as other men back racehorses. It’s fun to win. Wrong? It is the only way, I tell you. The voters demand money. They won’t vote unless they get it.”

In a town where that’s the norm, reaching voting age was like hitting the jackpot:

One of the leaders in the vote-buying movement [says], “Adams County people look upon the matter of buying and selling votes as a business proposition. The average boy waits patiently until he is 21. He knows that after he has become of age he will be able to get sufficient money every year from the party workers to buy his Fall suit. He does not lie, steal, gamble or drink to a greater extent than the boy of the city. His vices are few.

“He knows that he can sell his votes and still keep his position in society. But he also knows that if he breaks other laws he will be ostracized. He takes money from the election worker without a quiver of conscience and takes a prominent part in the next prayer meeting following election day.”

The man who finally blew the whistle was a federal judge named Blair. He had served as Chairman of the county’s Democratic and Republican committees, and he quietly watched this go on for a long time. He even bought votes himself. But at the end of 1910, he convened a Grand Jury to finally put an end to Adams County’s vote sale.

“I have seen the Mayor of West Union, the prosecuting attorney, and other officials watch a farmer’s vote auctioned. He stood on a soap box in the Public Square and the politicians bid against one another.

“When I was Chairman of the Democratic Committee frequently we made agreements to have clean elections. But, while we might have one clean election, the boodlers would kick over the traces the next year.

“These people down here, many of them, do not realize they are doing wrong when they sell their votes. It is a custom. They won’t go to the polls unless they are paid.

“When I was a young fellow, anxious to get ahead, I bought some votes. But I always felt mean when I did it, and I quit. I made up my mind I would break up the practice, and I’m going to if I have to disfranchise every voter in the county.”

Judge Blair put a notice in the newspaper encouraging people to confess voluntarily in order to avoid jail when they are eventually discovered anyway. People came by the hundreds, hoping that they might be able to just pay a small fine and keep their bribe money. As many as 180 indictments were brought in a single day, and the final number totaled more than 1,000.

That’s more than 1,000 people in a single county indicted for selling their votes. And yet today, with all the stories in the news every election cycle about voter fraud and disenfranchisement, I’ve never heard about this incident before.

Scandalous.

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Written by David

January 14th, 2011 at 9:00 am

Strangest Poison Mystery In Criminal Annals

From January 15, 1911

STRANGEST POISON MYSTERY IN CRIMINAL ANNALS

STRANGEST POISON MYSTERY IN CRIMINAL ANNALS: The Elosser Case in Cumberland, Md., Makes a Commonplace Little City Memorable Among the Records of Unsolved Murder Cases. (PDF)

It’s quite a whodunnit. See if you can figure it out. Charles Twigg and Grace Elosser were, by all accounts, in love. They were to be married on New Year’s Day. But the night before the wedding, they were both found dead.

“Charlie is the best man that ever lived,” she said to an intimate friend on the morning of the day of her death. “And I am the happiest girl in the world to get such a treasure.”

Such was Grace Elosser as she appeared to friends and acquaintances within two hours just preceding her mysterious death.

And a fitting complement to this attractive girl was the young man to whom she was so soon to be wedded, Charles E. Twigg. Losing his heart to her in the Indian Summer of the last Autumn, his impetuous wooing soon won her for himself.

So what happened? How, a day before the wedding, did they both end up dead? Let’s look at the sequence of events:

[Twigg] arrived in Cumberland shortly after noon that 31st day of December. And it is now that the mystery commences, a mystery so baffling that now, after the lapse of nearly a fortnight, the officials of Cumberland are compelled to admit they are as much in the dark as they were when they first grappled with the case.

When he reached Cumberland, he, with all the ardor of a young and eager lover, sought his sweetheart over the telephone. She laughingly told him that she was up to her eyes in the work of preparation for their marriage on the next day, and did not have a moment’s time for him that afternoon. Upon which Twigg, as any devoted lover might do, begged for a quarter hour’s interview. Of course the sweetheart could not resist such importunity — and Twigg hurried up to the Elosser home.

All the evidence goes to show that Miss Grace Elosser and Twigg acted on that meeting a short hour before their tragic deaths just as two fond lovers would act in meeting the day before their nuptials.

The family accorded them the parlor and left them to themselves. In half an hour Mrs. Elosser entered upon them, apologizing for her intrusion by explaining that the seamstress who was engaged on Grace’s wedding dress desired to speak with her over the telephone. Twigg, during Grace’s absence at the wire, engaged Mrs. Elosser in such airy and light talk as a young man would indulge in with his prospective mother-in-law when his mind was filled with thoughts of the important event of the next day. When Grace returned, Mrs. Elosser left, playfully shaking her finger at the couple as they sat cosily on the divan and warning them that time was too precious to spend in loverlike endearments when there was so much in the way of preparation for the wedding.

That was the last seen in life of Grace Elosser or Charles Twigg. Nearly an hour later Mrs. Elosser, desiring to know what definite arrangements the couple had determined on in the matter of their wedding tour, went to the door of the parlor and softly knocked.

“I knocked on the door with a smile on my face, said Mrs. Elosser to the representative of The Times, “for when I had been in the parlor before both Grace and Charlie Twigg seemed so supremely happy that I could not but smile at the recollection of it. I gave a short knock and entered without waiting a reply. The doorway though which I entered is on the same wall as that against which was the sofa whereon Grace and Charlie sat. I did not fully enter the room, but merely thrust in my head, saying as I did so, ‘Grace, dear, I want to ask you something. You won’t mind my coming in, will you?’

“And then I stopped. There was a silence in the room, a queer, strange silence. Looking towards the sofa I saw the odd, strange attitudes of my daughter and her betrothed. It looked as though they had fallen asleep, but in a most grotesque position.

“Mr. Twigg’s head had fallen over on Grace’s shoulder, while her head was thrown back against the wall with the face turned upward. Their hands were tightly clasped. Grace’s other hand hung down by the side of the sofa, listless and dead.”

Ghastly. So what happened? The options were a double-suicide, or a murder-suicide, or perhaps a double-murder. An autopsy showed poison in their systems. They both seemed so happy that suicide made little sense. So who could have done it? And how? Charlie had once fancied Grace’s younger sister, May. Could she have poisoned them, perhaps out of jealousy?

Was the poison in their wine? Charlie had been chewing gum. Perhaps it was poisoned, and he inadvertently spread the poison with his kiss.

A few weeks after this article was published, the culprit was discovered:

A doctor named Littlefield heard that there was a small gas stove in the parlor in which the bodies were found. He was studying carbon monoxide poisoning and suspected that this might have been the culprit. So to test his theory, a cat was locked in a box, and the box was put on the sofa. Everything in the room was set as it was when the couple died, and then the door to the room was closed.

Ninety minutes later — the same amount of time the couple was alone in the room — the door was reopened and the cat was found dead. The experiment was repeated, with the same conclusion.

In February, State’s Attorney Jack Robb announced that no particular person was believed to be responsible for their deaths.

Perhaps now would be a good time to check the battery on your carbon monoxide alarm.

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Written by David

January 13th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in True Crime

Famous Aquarium To Be Enlarged

From January 15, 1911

FAMOUS AQUARIUM TO BE ENLARGED

FAMOUS AQUARIUM TO BE ENLARGED: Plans Ready for a Much Larger Structure Needed to Accommodate the Ever-Increasing Throngs of Visitors. (PDF)

A nearly identical story ran in local media last month, because here in 2011 the New York Aquarium is once again about to undergo a major face lift. But a lot has happened between now and then. Here’s a bit of history of the New York Aquarium:

1808: A fort is built on a small island just off lower Manhattan. Known as the West Battery, it was intended to protect New York from British forces in the years leading up to the war of 1812, but it ultimately never saw any action.

1815: The fort is renamed Castle Clinton after Mayor DeWitt Clinton.

1821: The Army stops using it as a fort and leases it to NYC.

1824: NYC reopens the fort an entertainment venue called Castle Garden.

1853: The marsh separating the island from Manhattan is filled in.

1855-1890: Castle Garden is repurposed as an immigrant processing facility. The interior was gutted by a fire in 1870, but the brick walls remained standing.

1896: Castle Garden is turned over to the Parks Department, which repurposes it as an aquarium.

1911: This article is published about the aquarium’s expansion to accommodate more visitors.

Over the next thirty years, hundreds of thousands of visitors came through the aquarium at Castle Garden, and it became one of New York City’s most popular attractions. And then Robert Moses came along.

1941: Robert Moses had a plan to build a tunnel from Battery Park to Brooklyn, and Castle Garden was in the way. So he planned to have it torn down. The first step was getting rid of those fish.

Time magazine reported:

When New York’s Park Commissioner Robert Moses decided that the Aquarium must go, protests poured in. But sardonic Bob Moses is not easily swayed. Said he: “In the new plan for Battery Park the Aquarium is an ugly wart on the main axis leading straight to the Statue of Liberty… There is… more honest-to-God romance any early morning in the Fulton Fish Market… than in the Aquarium in a month of Sundays…”

The fish were moved out. Some went to other aquariums. Most fish, and the Sea Lions, went to the Bronx Zoo temporarily until a new aquarium could be built at Coney Island.

1946: Castle Garden is designated as a National Monument, and it doesn’t get torn down. Today it houses the ticket office for the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

1957: The New York Aquarium opens in Coney Island.

2010: The aquarium plans a facelift and expansion for its current location. The overhaul is expected to be finished in 2015 and will add a shark exhibit, and access to the Coney Island boardwalk.

The Wildlife Conservation Society projects that after the overhaul, annual visitors will increase from 750,000 to a million.

2 comments

Written by David

January 13th, 2011 at 9:30 am

Posted in Development,Nature

Mixing things up a little

Based on feedback I’ve received from readers, I’m going to experiment a little bit over the next few weeks with the timing of posts. When an issue of the Sunday Magazine has several especially interesting or long articles, or when there are just a lot of articles to publish that week, I will post some of them early instead of lumping them all together on Fridays.

So keep an eye out for two articles today. One is about the development of a city landmark, and one is a true crime murder mystery.

Two more articles will go up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Written by David

January 13th, 2011 at 9:00 am

Posted in Blog Stuff

New York Telephone Company Ad

From January 8, 1911

New York Telephone Company Ad

This ad appeared in the Sunday Times just a few weeks after the Magazine ran an article explaining how the telephone system works. That article, from December 4, quoted a recent telephone census that said New York had 310,000 phones. This ad shows that figure dates back to 1908.

The ad claims that the usefulness of your telephone service is measured by the number of people with whom it enables you to talk, and the class of people it reaches. What exactly were they trying to say? Was there a tiered phone service system in 1910, where lower class people had an inferior service that only allowed them to talk to each other?

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Written by David

January 7th, 2011 at 9:30 am

And Now — Beware The Cat

From January 8, 1911

AND NOW -- BEWARE THE CAT

AND NOW — BEWARE THE CAT: From Cleveland Comes the News That Pussy Spreads Tuberculosis. (PDF)

Get your mind out of the gutter.

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Written by David

January 7th, 2011 at 9:15 am

Posted in Nature,Science

Did You Know That Household Service Is A Problem?

From January 8, 1911

DID YOU KNOW THAT HOUSEHOLD SERVICE IS A PROBLEM?

DID YOU KNOW THAT HOUSEHOLD SERVICE IS A PROBLEM? It Is, and a Government Official Marshals Some Impressive Facts to Prove That It Is Not the Less a Labor Question Because There Is No Housekeepers’ Union. (PDF)

According to the article, housekeepers were “the largest occupational group outside of farmers and agricultural laborers; that is more than four times as large as the total number of miners” and yet nobody had studied the conditions of housekeepers as the other industries had been studied. Their living conditions, working hours, days off, etc, were all unregulated.

The article is interesting, but I especially enjoyed the illustrations which depict a servant’s “palatial apartment” and imagines the awkwardness of a maid dining with her employers. The bottom drawing shows “The Breakfast Table Of the Future,” where a servant has been replaced by a machine.

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Written by David

January 7th, 2011 at 9:00 am

Posted in Business,Life

If you enjoy SundayMagazine, please take this very short survey.

I’ve been thinking about how SundayMagazine should evolve in the new year. It would be very helpful to me if you could take this brief survey about how you like things as they are now. The survey should only take you a couple minutes to complete.

I appreciate your participation.

David

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Written by David

January 6th, 2011 at 10:41 am

Posted in Blog Stuff