Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Are We All Going Crazy Because Of The City’s Noises?

From August 20, 1911

ARE WE ALL GOING CRAZY BECAUSE OF THE CITY NOISES?

ARE WE ALL GOING CRAZY BECAUSE OF THE CITY’S NOISES? Doctor’s Include This Among Causes of Insanity — This City Said to be the Noisiest in the World — Most of the RAcket Is Needless and, All of It Is Injurious to Health. (PDF)

“In our railroad trains, for instance, we permit youths to pass backward and forward through the cars vociferously attracting attention to the wares they have for sale… Automobiles dash through our streets sounding their horns when there is no reason whatever for their doing so, while the machiens are permitted to disturb the public through the failure on the part of chauffeurs to silence the ‘mufflers.’ Church bells are rung without real need, street car gongs are sounded incessantly without occasion…”

Add to that milkmen and their noisy clanky bottles, kids playing in public, and bells on business doors. Is it the noise that makes people crazy? Or is it crazy to let every little noise get on your nerves?

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Written by David

August 16th, 2011 at 9:00 am

Posted in Life

A Modern Skyscraper Romance

From August 13, 1911

A MODERN SKYSCRAPER ROMANCE

A MODERN SKYSCRAPER ROMANCE: It Was Rudely Shattered However, When the Heroine Talked. (PDF)

In New York, we see people live their lives through windows across streets or courtyards. A few weeks ago the magazine ran a heartwarming story about a couple whose lives were observed by a woman across the street. Here’s another tale of people interacting through windows across from each other, this time with a surprise ending rudely spoiled by the subhead.

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Written by David

August 8th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life

Sure Sign Of Woman’s Emancipation In The Increased Size Of Her Shoes

From July 23, 1911

SURE SIGN OF WOMAN'S EMANCIPATION IN THE INCREASED SIZE OF HER SHOES

SURE SIGN OF WOMAN’S EMANCIPATION IN THE INCREASED SIZE OF HER SHOES: Because She Swims, Walks, Plays Golf and Tennis and Works for a Living, She Can No Longer Pose as Wasp-Waisted and Tiny-Footed. (PDF)

Shoe manufacturers don’t make small-sized shoes for women any more. They say women’s feet have grown bigger in the last fifteen or twenty years. Small feet, of course, are only comparative. A small foot for a woman twenty years ago was 2 or 2½. Now it is said that there are few if any 2 or 2½ feet of narrow width, say, AA or A.

All this was revealed at a fair that the shoe manufacturers of America held in Boston about a week ago. The leading manufacturers had exhibits there, and they had observed in turn that the demand for small-size shoes for women had been declining year by year until now it had practically passed out.

One had stopped making the small shoes for women altogether. Consulting his competitor at the fair, which is an annual event with the great manufacturers, he learned that his competitor was not making the old-time small sizes either. This led to a canvass and this astonishing fact was developed:

The average size of shoes that women wear to-day is 4 to 5, whereas the average size twenty years ago was 3 to 5. The No. 2 size in women’s shoes, not uncommon twenty years ago, and almost usual twenty years before that among fashionable ladies, had entirely disappeared.

According to a 2002 article in Slate, the average women’s shoe size had gone up to 5½ in the 1940s, a 6 in the ’60s, and a 7½ in the ’70s. In the ’80s it was 8 to 8½. The article says that “the best-selling sizes at Manolo Blahnik — the Holy Grail of the shoe-obsessed — are 7.5 to 8.”

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Written by David

July 22nd, 2011 at 10:30 am

Posted in Life,Recreation,Sports

When “Lost In New York” Was Too Well Acted

From July 23, 1911

WHEN LOST IN NEW YORK WAS TOO WELL ACTED

WHEN “LOST IN NEW YORK” WAS TOO WELL ACTED (PDF)

When I first came to New York, I never really got lost except when I emerged from the subway disoriented. I didn’t yet know the landmarks that would tell me which way I’m facing. Oh, and I also got lost the first time I tried to simply cross Central Park. I didn’t yet know that there’s only one straight path in the whole park, and it didn’t go where I needed to go.

This article is the story of one man’s story after getting lost in New York on his first day here.

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Written by David

July 18th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Life

How New York Looks From A Downtown Roof

From July 23, 1911

HOW NEW YORK LOOKS FROM A DOWNTOWN ROOF

HOW NEW YORK LOOKS FROM A DOWNTOWN ROOF (PDF)

While it was still novel to look around from atop a tall building, here’s a description of what that was like back in 1911.

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Written by David

July 18th, 2011 at 9:30 am

Posted in Development,Life

For The Sightseer In New York: “There’s The Aquarium”

From July 16, 1911

FOR THE SIGHTSEER IN NEW YORK: THERE'S THE AQUARIUM

FOR THE SIGHTSEER IN NEW YORK: “THERE’S THE AQUARIUM”: Some Interesting Features, Human and Piscine, to Be Found at the Battery Park Establishment on a Sunday Afternoon. (PDF)

Amusing look at the personalities of people and animals that one can find at the city’s aquarium back when it was still in Battery Park.

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Written by David

July 13th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life,Nature,Recreation

“How I Broke The Liberty Bell” — By The Boy Who Broke It

From July 16, 1911

HOW I BROKE THE LIBERTY BELL -- BY THE BOY WHO BROKE IT

“HOW I BROKE THE LIBERTY BELL” — BY THE BOY WHO BROKE IT: He Is a Pretty Old Boy Now, Being 86 Years of Age — Says All the Histories Are Wrong, and Tells How He and Other Schoolboys Cracked the Famous Bell. (PDF)

You may think you know how the liberty bell cracked, having learned one of the generally accepted stories in school. Perhaps you heard that it cracked while tolling the funeral of Chief Justice John Marshall, or when it rang in honor of Henry Clay’s visit to Philadelphia. But you haven’t heard the real story.

Now, more than three-quarters of a century after the old bell was silenced, comes a man who declares that none of the more or less accepted versions of how it came to be cracked is correct: that his version alone is the true explanation of the incident. For more than fifty years, he declares, he as been reading in newspapers and elsewhere all the various conflicting stories of the accident, but, inasmuch as his has been an extremely busy life, he has never bothered his head overmuch about them until quite recently.

The short version: A bunch of kids were walking near the old State House when the janitor called out to them to come over and have some fun ringing the bell. They did, and it broke.

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Written by David

July 12th, 2011 at 9:51 am

Posted in Life

The American Student Acquiring A Uniform Face

From July 9, 1911

THE AMERICAN STUDENT ACQUIRING A UNIFORM FACE

THE AMERICAN STUDENT ACQUIRING A UNIFORM FACE: Mayor Gaynor’s Statement to That Effect Starts a Discussion — A Distinct American College Type Being Developed, Unlike the European University Man (PDF)

The two faces in the middle of the page are composites of 25 boys and 25 girls, to create the “typical” student face. In modern times, this has been done digitally to interesting effects. I wonder if this is the earliest known example of such a composite.

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Written by David

July 7th, 2011 at 11:30 am

The Hold-Up Game As New York’s Tip-Hunting Cormorants Play It

From July 9, 1911

THE HOLD-UP GAME AS NEW YORK'S TIP-HUNTING CORMORANTS PLAY IT

THE HOLD-UP GAME AS NEW YORK’S TIP-HUNTING CORMORANTS PLAY IT: How People in This City Are Forced to Spend Money for Needless and Worthless Services (PDF)

The squeegee man who washes your windshield and demands a tip is engaging in an old tradition.

“Have a light, Sir?”

It is a small boy, smutty-faced and keen-eyed, who says it as he steps up with a flaming match in hand — a light for your cigar or cigarette when you come through the theatre entrance.

No, the youngster is not interested personally in your comfort. In fact, he doesn’t care a rap whether you get the light or not — except that it comes from him. He expects a “tip” for his effort. It is simply one of the first steps in the “hold-up” game that runs riot in Manhattan.

[…]

One small urchin — he wasn’t over a dozen years old — told a Times reporter that he “pulled down” about $10 a week at the apparently simple match-lighting stunt.

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Written by David

July 6th, 2011 at 11:30 am

Posted in Business,Life

The Scandal Of Organized And Expensive Charity

From July 9, 1911

THE SCANDAL OF ORGANIZED AND EXPENSIVE CHARITY

THE SCANDAL OF ORGANIZED AND EXPENSIVE CHARITY: High Salaries, Swollen Payrolls, Huge Expenses — Extravagance Steadily mounting — “It Costs Them $2 to Give Away $1,” Say the Poor. (PDF)

Today, organizations like GuideStar can help you determine if a charity you’re considering donating to is one that uses their money efficiently.

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Written by David

July 6th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life,Politics

The Psychology Of The Typewriter Error

From July 9, 1911

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE TYPEWRITER ERROR

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE TYPEWRITER ERROR (PDF)

An interesting look at typos from a time when typewriters were still relatively new.

The typist who composes as he operates has a threefold responsibility, for as the cells of ideation respond to the command of the will while thoughts are conceived, shaped, and transmitted, the fingers must be quick to transcribe and the vision sharp as well for punctuation and mechanical detail.

The three controls must be nicely balanced, for a laxness in muscle control results int he omission of letters, sometimes even of whole words, and spacing is obliterated, one word being run into another. A laxness of visual control results in a period being placed in the middle of a sentence in place of a comma or semicolon, or of the use of a small letter instead of a capital. The period being the emphatic stop is the one most often substituted for those of finer gradation.

I had three typos (that I noticed) when transcribing that excerpt. They were all letter transpositions.

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Written by David

July 5th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life,Technology

Indians Have A Celebration Of Their Own July 4

From July 2, 1911

INDIANS HAVE A CELEBRATION OF THEIR OWN JULY 4

INDIANS HAVE A CELEBRATION OF THEIR OWN JULY 4: They Call It Give-Away Day Among the Dakotas and the Sioux Tribes, and They Give Presents to Those They Wish to Honor. (PDF)

At first I had some trouble finding information about Give-Away Day apart from this article. I did find general information about a Native American Give-Away tradition, including a blog post on the topic, and even a Christmas book called The Give-Away: A Christmas Story in the Native American Tradition. But as a July 4 tradition, I couldn’t find much. It sounded a little odd that Sioux and Dakota Indians just happened to celebrate the 4th of July. I suspected the article may have been mistaken.

Then I found a chapter from a textbook by the Montana Historical Society [pdf] which describes how agents of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs discouraged traditional ceremonies among the Native Americans. So instead, the Natives adopted their own versions of American holidays:

Even honest agents thought they were helping Indians by forcing them to abandon their traditional cultures and to adopt mainstream (majority) American culture. Agents pressured tribal members to change their social customs, dress in European-style clothing, live in rectangular houses, become Christian, send their children to school, and learn farming and ranching the Euro-American way.

Agents often outlawed Indian religious ceremonies like the Sun Dance. They discouraged give-away ceremonies, a traditional practice of honoring the Creator by giving away food, blankets, horses, and other forms of wealth. If people performed their traditional practices or religious rituals, they could lose their food rations or be arrested. They also were not allowed to leave their reservations without a pass…

Montana’s Indians knew they needed to learn new skills and find new ways to support themselves. But they refused to abandon their tribal identities and cultural traditions to survive.

They performed give-aways and held religious ceremonies in secret. They turned patriotic and religious holidays—like the Fourth of July and Easter—into celebrations of their own traditions.

In 1898 the tribes of the Flathead Reservation held their first Fourth of July pow-wow (an American Indian celebration). They staged parades, held contests, sang and drummed together, and danced traditional dances like the War Dance and the Snake Dance deep into the night. Indians on other reservations also held celebrations on July 4. The organizers assured the reservation agent that these gatherings were purely social, but they actually performed important religious and tribal ceremonies.

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Written by David

June 30th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life,Religion

How To Celebrate “A Safe And Sane Fourth” — A Series Of Contrasts

From June 25, 1911

HOW TO CELEBRATE A SANE AND SAFE FOURTH -- A SERIES OF CONTRASTS

HOW TO CELEBRATE “A SAFE AND SANE FOURTH” — A SERIES OF CONTRASTS: The Sage Foundation Puts a Thrilling Drama of the Old-time Celebration in Moving Pictures. (PDF)

The Sage Foundation put together a movie explaining how to have fun on the Fourth of July without fireworks. Instead of lecturing about the dangers of fireworks, the movie is a “stirring drama” that still gets its message across.

Not always, when gay and frivolous youth flocks to the moving-picture show, can you say that it is going merely to pass an idle hour and watch some too-too thrilling drama of wild adventure. Sometimes the young people have their minds improved even as their pulses are stirred. And at any time now, if you happen to have inexpensive theatrical tastes and patronize the five and ten cent palaces, you are likely to see a fine new addition to the sort of thing the big firms advertise as educational drama, nothing less than a plea for a “safe and sane Fourth” staged in such fashion as to attract good folk who positively refuse to read circulars, pamphlets, or any pages of the magazines that aren’t fiction.

It is a good idea and well carried out. There is no prosy argument in favor of the abolition of the insidious cannon cracker and the fatal pin-wheel. There is a stirring drama of love and danger, with a moral attached so cleverly that the audience has swallowed it before the fact that they are being educated up to a new idea has come to cloud their enjoyment. It is an idea of the Sage foundation, and when last accounted for it was doing well over the whole moving-picture circuit.

The article goes on to describe the film. If you’re even thinking about playing with dangerous fireworks this year, you should really give the article a read.

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Written by David

June 24th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life,Recreation

How Famous Persons Of History Made Their Wills

From June 25, 1911

HOW FAMOUS PERSONS OF HISTORY MADE THEIR WILLS

HOW FAMOUS PERSONS OF HISTORY MADE THEIR WILLS: Testamentary Documents of Queen Caroline, Lord Chesterfield, John Dryden, Lord Neslon, Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin and Others Show Little Difference from the Wills of Less Noted Folk. (PDF)

Missing from this article is an examination of the last will and testament of Arthur Durham Muldoon.

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Written by David

June 23rd, 2011 at 9:30 am

Posted in Life

Millionaire To Make His Home On A 95-Foot Yacht

From June 25, 1911

MILLIONAIRE TO MAKE HIS HOME ON A 95-FOOT YACHT

MILLIONAIRE TO MAKE HIS HOME ON A 95-FOOT YACHT: James B. Hammond Is Building the Lounger II., According to His Own Notions, with a Garage and an Aquarium Aboard and State-rooms Artificially Cooled. (PDF)

Forget about the yacht for a moment. James B. Hammond was a millionaire who made his fortune with his invention, a typewriter you can read about at the Virtual Typewriter Museum.

This article describes Hammond as an eccentric millionaire. The yacht is just a small part of this profile.

“They call me eccentric,” he said, in a tone of deep disgust for those who said this, “but I really do not see why a man is not privileged to live his own life in his own way.”

Seated in a high adjustable chair in a big room, chiefly conspicuous for its view of the Hudson, Mr. Hammond was found in amiable companionship with his dog and his canary…

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Written by David

June 21st, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life,Technology

The Tale Of The Little Dancing Slipper Maker And His Wife

From June 25, 1911

THE TALE OF THE LITTLE DANCING SLIPPER MAKER AND HIS WIFE

THE TALE OF THE LITTLE DANCING SLIPPER MAKER AND HIS WIFE (PDF)

One of the little joys of living in a crowded city is the voyeuristic pleasure of seeing life in other people’s apartments through windows across from yours. This is a sweet story about one particular voyeur’s view. Here is how it begins:

They have gone away now, those neighbors of mine, the little shoe-maker who made the dancing slippers and his pretty wife. They never let me know. They never said good-bye, perhaps because we had never spoken, but one morning I looked out of my kitchen window and there was their flat below sad and empty, the windows staring up at me like hollow eyes.

They lived there a year across from me, and I rejoiced in them, and then to go away without telling me good-bye!

They had comforted me, too. Whenever I wearied of the wrangling of the court of a hundred windows, giving upon my den, I went into my kitchen and looked down at them for comfort.

He was anything but pretty, short, squat, nearly bald, almost misshapen; but she was pretty as a picture, standing in her kitchen by the tubs, peeling potatoes, getting some dainty morsel ready for the shoemaker to eat, standing there in her short ruffled skirt and her little pink kimono in her gem of a kitchen.

He sat in the little back room, the long narrow window of the bathroom between them. He sat at a table in a thin vest in the Summer time covered by his leather apron, in the Winter with a light coat on, sat there working all day long and sometimes into the night, sewing the dancing slippers, turning them, finishing them, and standing them in rows on the table before him so that I could sometimes see the toes, sometimes the whole slipper.

Graceful high-heeled satin and kid slippers of various shapes and sizes and colors, pink, light blue, light green, elephant’s breath, and mouse colored. Some were white, too.

Once I took pains to go to the front door of that building and there on a sign I read his name, under it in nice gilt letters:

“Dancing slippers.”

The story takes a turn, but I won’t spoil it for you. It’s a very sweet story.

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Written by David

June 20th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life

Rich Americans Reviving The Roman Fad For “Baths”

From May 28, 1911

RICH AMERICANS REVIVING THE ROMAN FAD FOR BATHS

RICH AMERICANS REVIVING THE ROMAN FAD FOR “BATHS”: Modern Thermae That Rival Anything They Had in Rome to Byzantium — Big and Splendid Buildings Erected Just So That Croesus and His Friends Can Wash Themselves in Comfort. (PDF)

The rest of this post is unwritten because I’m a brand new dad and need to focus on that for a bit. But please feel free to read the article and make your own comments.

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Written by David

May 25th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life

Is The World Going Crazy, And Is Liquor Doing It?

From May 21, 1911

IS THE WORLD GOING CRAZY, AND IS LIQUOR DOING IT?

IS THE WORLD GOING CRAZY, AND IS LIQUOR DOING IT? Dr. Albert W. Ferris, Head of This State’s Commission in Lunacy, Says Insanity Is Increasing and Gives the Reasons — The High Tension of Modern Living Partly Responsible. (PDF)

Did you know that New York had a Commission in Lunacy? It still exists as the New York State Hospital Commission, but was called the Commission in Lunacy until 1912. It was vested with “”exclusive jurisdiction over all institutions for the care and treatment of the insane, epileptics and idiots.”

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Written by David

May 16th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life

The Remarkable Confessions Of A Country Parson

From May 14, 1911

THE REMARKABLE CONFESSIONS OF A COUNTRY PARSON

THE REMARKABLE CONFESSIONS OF A COUNTRY PARSON: Actual Experiences of a Preacher Show Not Only the Hardships of Service, But the Lack of Business Principles in Some Small Congregations. (PDF)

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Written by David

May 13th, 2011 at 11:00 am

Posted in Life,Religion

Thousands Seek “The House With The Blue Front”

From May 14, 1911

THOUSANDS SEEK THE HOUSE WITH THE BLUE FRONT

THOUSANDS SEEK “THE HOUSE WITH THE BLUE FRONT” Milk Stations of New York Now Strikingly Marked So That Any Mother with an Ill Child May Find Help Quickly (PDF)

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Written by David

May 12th, 2011 at 11:00 am

Posted in Life