It’s that time of year when publications come up with their annual top ten roundups, so I figure I should contribute to the genre. Here, then, is my list of Top Ten New York Times Sunday Magazine Articles From 1910 (Not Including Articles Prior To March 20 Because I Didn’t Start This Blog Until Then).
It was very difficult to pick just ten out of the 179 articles I’ve posted since I started this blog. I tried to pick some that are funny, some that are historically important, and some that are just plain interesting. They are presented in no particular order.
1) Circus Clown A Serious Person Out Of The Ring
I love this interview with Slivers the Clown in which he laments that clowns just get no respect. It inspired me to look up whatever happened to Slivers, and that’s when I found out about his dark downward spiral. If you’re intrigued by a story of love, death, and circus clowns, give this one a read.
2) Rathbone Ends Long List Of Lincoln Party Tragedies
It never occurred to me that there were other people in the booth with the Lincolns when Abe was shot, so I was fascinated to read about the other couple that was there with them. Imagine how scarred they must have been by the experience. There you are, the guests of the President and First Lady, when all of a sudden the President is shot in the head as he sits right there next to you. This article tells what happened to that other couple, and everyone else who stepped foot in the booth that night. Without giving too much away, let me just say that their darkest days were yet to come.
3) Was Queen Elizabeth A Famous Imposter?
Bram Stoker, most famous for having written Dracula, believed that when Queen Elizabeth was a little girl, she died and was secretly replaced by a little boy named Neville and nobody ever knew. This article describes how he thinks it went down.
4) Wireless Wonder Aged 14 Amazes Senate Committee
If this kid were born 70 years later, he would have been building computers in his garage. Instead, he built radios in his garage, and imagined a day when people would use handheld devices to make wireless phone calls. A proponent of keeping the airwaves open, he testified before congress on the topic in his role as the president of the first amateur radio club in America. It’s a great story about a smart kid, and one of the first articles that inspired me to look up what ever happened to the person. Being able to look into our past to see what happened next feels a bit like looking into the future from 1910.
5) Wooed a “Marjorie Daw” For Fourteen Long Years
Today we sometimes hear stories of sad and lonely people conned out of their savings by an online lover who turns out not to be who they claimed to be. This is the story of a man who falls for the same scam by mail. He spends 14 years strung along by an imaginary girlfriend who takes him for all he’s got. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
6) How Those Amusing Freak Moving Pictures Are Made
The motion picture industry was still young, but already people were figuring out how to do special effects. This article reveals the secrets of some popular effects films.
7) No Immortality Of The Soul, Says Thomas A Edison
This article kicked off several weeks of back and forth articles on the existence of an afterlife. First, Edison reflects on a friend’s death and mentions that he believes there is no soul. The next week, people wrote in to either agree or disagree. Several more articles were published, with scientists and laymen declaring the soul’s existence or non-existence.
8) First Account Of The Conquering Of Mt. McKinley
The early 20th Century was full of exploration firsts. Both poles were reached within a few years of each other, and airplanes were allowing people to venture further and faster than ever before. But I think this exploration achievement is far more interesting than the others because it was achieved by a group of laypeople who had no climbing experience. Or was it? There were so many lies and false claims of summiting Mt. McKinley already made, that there was reason to be suspicious.
9) Night In A Fascinating Square That Never Sleeps
This is a very well written description of a full night spent in Times Square. It describes the people, the sounds, the sights, etc. If you’ve ever been in Times Square during the week hours of the night, you’ll recognize the feeling. It’s easy to read this and relate to the author.
10) Charles K. Hamilton Tells How To Run An Aeroplane
In the seven years since the Wright Brothers made their first flight, airplanes became a popular hobby for the wealthy and adventurous. Most weeks, the Magazine had at least one article about airplanes. Someone was always doing something new: either flying an airplane further, faster, or somewhere they’ve never gone before. So I chose this article to represent all the others. It’s a very readable description of exactly how to fly an airplane, complete with illustrations.
I just realized I accidentally ended up with 11 articles on my list. So this one’s a bonus:
11) A Proposed Plan For An Invariable Calendar
Maybe it’s not that big a deal that every year has a different calendar. January 1 falls on a different day of the week each year, and we’ve still managed to get by. But I can’t help imagine what it would be like if this plan had actually been adopted. What if every year, every date was always the same day of the week? Would life be any easier, or would it just be different in this minor way? At any rate, I thought this proposed calendar was kind of clever.