Archive for October, 2016

Indian No Longer Called a Vanishing Race

From October 29, 1916

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Indian No Longer Called a Vanishing Race: Educational Campaign Among the Red Men Has Raised Birth Rate and Lowered Death Rate – Reservations Self-Supporting (PDF)

Back in 1916 even a publication as respected as the New York Times had no problem calling the demographic “red men.” Even Disney would do so with the Peter Pan song “What Makes the Red Man Red?” in 1953, and Washington’s NFL team still uses a variant on that name to this day.

According to the 1916 article, the improvements in Native American birth rate and health came about over the previous three years in large part due to the health education campaign of Cato Sells, Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs from 1913-1921, which today is an agency housed within the U.S. Department of the Interior.

After a period in which the population was shrinking, in 1916 the total number of births in the group was 6,092 compared to 4,570 deaths. The total “Indian population” at the time was 209,221. Those trends must have continued, because today the total American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) alone population is 2.9 million, or about 0.9 percent of the U.S. population, according to the National Congress of American Indians.

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Written by Jesse

October 28th, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Posted in Life,Science

Cause of Seasickness Discovered at Last?

From October 29, 1916

cause-of-seasickness-discovered-at-lastCause of Seasickness Discovered at Last?: Ailment Is a Form of Vertigo and Results from a Disturbance in the Ear, According to Two Physicians Who Have Made Tests (PDF)

Physicians Dr. Lewis Fisher and Dr. Isaac H. Jones published an article “Vertigo and Seasickness, Their Relation to the Ear” in the New York Medical Journal in 1916, claiming that the condition was related to “a disturbance in the ear.” That is why “Persons in whom the mechanism has been destroyed — deaf-mutes, for instance — never suffer from mal de mer.”

Their hypothesis basically still holds up today. WebMD says, “You get motion sickness when one part of your balance-sensing system (your inner ear , eyes, and sensory nerves) senses that your body is moving, but the other parts don’t. For example, if you are in the cabin of a moving ship, your inner ear may sense the motion of waves, but your eyes don’t see any movement.”

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Written by Jesse

October 27th, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Posted in Science

What Can an Actor Do When He Retires?

From October 29, 1916

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What Can an Actor Do When He Retires?: E.H. Sothern Answers in Humorous Vein the Question So Often Asked, Using as Interlocutor the Ghost of Gamaliel Ratsey (PDF)

The famed (at the time) actor E.H. Sothern had recently retired from the stage in 1916, which was of course the only real form of acting for anybody who spoke words, since the first film with sound The Jazz Singer wouldn’t come out until 1927. Sothern penned an essay in which he answered the title question of “What Can an Actor Do When He Retires?” through a fictional conversation he has with the ghost of Gamaliel Ratsey, a famous thief and criminal of the Shakespearean era who was hanged in 1605 but not before he famously once robbed a troupe of Shakespearean actors.

The article’s subtitle calling the piece “humorous” is definitely subject to interpretation. You can see that the photograph of the author certainly doesn’t make him look like the life of the party, although to be fair people smiling in photos was a rare if not nonexistent phenomenon back then. Perhaps the funniest line in the article describes Ratsey’s introduction:

The visitor produced out of the void two huge horse-pistols and leveled them at my head.

“Get up!” said he, “and play me a scene or I’ll blow your brains out.”

This kind of invitation is vastly persuasive.

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Written by Jesse

October 26th, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Entertainment,Humor

Will the Brunette Race Eliminate the Blond?

From October 22, 1916

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Will the Brunette Race Eliminate the Blond?: Latter Has Lost Ground Steadily Both in This Country and Europe for Centuries, Says Expert (PDF)

Hair color was apparently a large enough worry a century ago that some feared an extinction of blonds. That was the worry at the time of Madison Grant, a Trustee of the American Museum of Natural History and Councilor of the American Geographical Society, in his cringeworthy-title-in-retrospect book “The Passing of the Great Race.” Today, about 2 percent of the world’s population is blond, though that’s about 16 percent in the United States.

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Written by Jesse

October 21st, 2016 at 11:29 am

Posted in Life,Science

Spent 22 Years Collecting 15,000 Similes

From October 22, 1916

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Spent 22 Years Collecting 15,000 Similes: Frank J. Wilstach’s Ardent and Relentless Hunt for This Elusive Figure of Speech Results in a Remarkable Collection (PDF)

Lexicographer Frank J. Wilstach Wilstach spent 22 years compiling all the similes he could find. Some of them still hold up a century later: “Cold as an enthusiastic New England audience.” Some of them don’t: “Had about as much chance as a Prohibition candidate in a Democratic ward.”

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Written by Jesse

October 20th, 2016 at 11:26 am

Posted in Literature

George Bernard Shaw On Anglo-American Relations

From October 22, 1916

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George Bernard Shaw On Anglo-American Relations: Famous Writer Discusses Attitude of Great Britain Toward United States with His Customary Frankness and Brilliancy (PDF)

This passage was interesting:

British hypocrisy is not real hypocrisy, because its first condition is that it shall not deceive. In English public life it is is a point of honor, when once the truth is so apparent that there can be no possible deception, to get up and lie about it. A man who tells the truth unnecessarily is not considered a gentleman. A man who tells a lie that is believed is considered a liar. The perfect gentleman does not give pain to his audience. He says what they like to hear. He proclaims the thing that ought to be, the nice thing, the good-natured thing. And that is never the thing that is. As nobody is taken in except the people who want to be taken in, nobody objects. Very often that is the condition of the entire audience, representing therein the entire nation.

Can any British readers please reply in the comments as to whether this descriptions still describes England in 2016?

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Written by Jesse

October 19th, 2016 at 11:25 am

Posted in Life

Italy Proud of Soldier-Poet Killed in Action

From October 8, 1916

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Italy Proud of Soldier-Poet Killed in Action: Giosue Borsi’s “Letters from the Front” and “Spiritual Colloquies” Are Considered Remarkable Products of Days of War (PDF)

After the poet Giosue Borsi was killed during World War I in November 1915, a letter he wrote to his mother in event of his death, his “Letter to his Mother” went around the world and was translated into many languages — the 1916 equivalent of going viral. Much of the letter is reprinted in the above article, but one passage I found particularly tragically beautiful:

With this beautiful and praiseworthy past, fulfilling the most desired of all duties as a good citizen toward the land that gave him birth, I depart, in the midst of the tears of all those that love me, from a life toward which I felt weary and disgusted. I leave the failings of life, I leave sin, I leave the sad and afflicted spectacle of the small and momentary triumphs of evil over good.

 

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Written by Jesse

October 7th, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Literature,War

Scenic Surgery for “Old Man of Mountains”

From October 8, 1916

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Scenic Surgery for “Old Man of Mountains” — Forehead of Famous Profile on Mount Cannon, New Hampshire, Has Been Secured by Bolts to Prevent It from Tumbling Into Space (PDF)

The famed natural formation that many believed look like the silhouette of a man was at risk of collapsing in 1916, so work was done to secure it. The inevitable was delayed by 87 years, with the formation eventually collapsing in 2003. Here are before and after photos, taken by Jim Cole of the Associated Press:

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Written by Jesse

October 6th, 2016 at 5:49 pm

Posted in Nature

New System of Physical Training in Schools

From October 1, 1916

New System of Physical Training in Schools: Not Merely Gymnastics and Athletics, But Medical Inspection and the Teaching of Health Habits Involved in Dr. Finley’s Plan (PDF)

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Instituting physical education requirements was all the rage around 1916, with 97 percent of four-year universities having a physical education requirement in 1920. By 2013, according to Oregon State University researcher Brad Cardinal, that number had declined to an all-time low of 39 percent.

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Written by Jesse

October 2nd, 2016 at 10:53 pm

Posted in Education,Recreation

New Russia Is Individualistic and Imaginative

From October 1, 1916

New Russia Is Individualistic and Imaginative: Colonel Golejewski, Military Attache to the Russian Embassy, Tells of the Great Similarities Between His Countrymen and Ours (PDF)

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In 1916, Russia was being praised as “individualistic.” Only two years later in 1918 the Bolshevik Communists became the ruling party, and instituted a “ban on factions” in 1921.

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Written by Jesse

October 1st, 2016 at 10:51 pm

Posted in Politics