Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

New York’s Fine New Library Nearly Completed

From December 11, 1910

NEW YORKS FINE NEW LIBRARY NEARLY COMPLETED

NEW YORK’S FINE NEW LIBRARY NEARLY COMPLETED: Will Be Ready Before the Contract Time, and Needs Only the Interior Furnishings (PDF)

Because I’ve done so much research for this website in the microforms room of this building at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, I was especially delighted to come across this article. It’s interesting to see the famous reading room totally empty of furniture.

After ten years of actual construction and an expenditure of upward of $9,000,000, New York’s new public library has been completed.

It is not to be opened for use until May of next year because the furniture has to be installed, and that cannot be done before the middle of April. But the last stroke of the builder’s hammer has already fallen. Bag and baggage, the building himself has been turned out, and at present the mechanical equipment of the structure, such as printing presses, type-setting machines, and book stacks are being installed.

But for the lack of furniture the building could be thrown open in a month.

Before the main branch of the New York Public Library was built, the entire block was occupied by the Croton Reservoir, a tall above-ground reservoir in the middle of the city. People could go for a stroll on top of the surrounding wall. The reservoir was torn down around 1900, and the library was built in its place.

In the article, a representative from the architectural firm which designed the building looks forward to today:

A century hence… the classic perfection herein attained by the artisans of the Hayden ateliers will have rendered this work, then softened with the passing of time, an antique that will be much appreciated.

He was specifically referring to a wood carving inside the building, but the same could have been said of the building itself. Unfortunately, the building has softened a bit too much with the passing of time, and has needed renovation. The interior restoration has already been finished, and the exterior renovation is currently underway. I assume it will be finished in time for the building’s centennial next year.

The main branch of the NYPL (now officially named the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

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Written by David

December 10th, 2010 at 9:00 am

Modern Woman Getting Nearer The Perfect Figure

From December 4, 1910

MODERN WOMAN GETTING NEARER THE PERFECT FIGURE

MODERN WOMAN GETTING NEARER THE PERFECT FIGURE: Dr. Dudley A. Sargent of Harvard Denies that She Is Getting Masculine, But She Is Getting More Sensible. (PDF)

The woman pictured on the top left is Annette Kellermann, an Austrian professional swimmer. She was so renowned for being a “perfectly proportioned woman” that she eventually wrote a book and health plan so that, as her ad says, “you CAN have a figure as perfect as mine!”

Dr. Dudley Allen Sargent, the focus of this article, agrees that she has just about the most ideal figure he has ever studied.

In all seriousness, the doctor isn’t as nutty in his assessment of the ideal figure as I imagined he would be (although his method of examining thousands of bodies in search of the ideal figure must have raised some eyebrows or snickers). His focus is on health, and his advice makes sense. He explains that corsets, which were all the rage, are unhealthy. And he encourages women to do the same kinds of exercise as men.

I couldn’t decide what to excerpt, so I encourage you give the whole article a read.

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Written by David

December 3rd, 2010 at 9:45 am

The Psychology Of Baseball Discussed By A. G. Spalding

From November 13, 1910

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BASEBALL DISCUSSED BY A. G. SPALDING

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BASEBALL Discussed by A. G. SPALDING: The Game Elevates and Fits the American Character — It Brings Into Play the Emotional and Moral as Well as the Physical Side of Man’s Nature. (PDF)

By 1910, Albert Spalding had been a Major League Baseball player and manager, and had launched the Spalding line of sports equipment. At 60 years old, just five years before he would die, he gave the Times Magazine this wonderful and lengthy answer about why he loves baseball in response to a question about the psychology of baseball.

“The psychology of baseball?” he said thoughtfully. “I confess that the ‘psychology of baseball’ is a new one on me.

“I take it that you are trying to find out what effect the game has on the mind, and what effect the mind has on the game. The general impression among those who do not know, and, although there are several million people in this country who do know, still, there remain a few who don’t, is that baseball is simply a form of physical exercise which is interesting to watch and to take part in. Those who have played the game know well that it is more — much more. They know that it is quite as much a mental as it is a physical exercise.

“As a matter of plain fact, it is much more a mental exercise than a mere physical sport. There is really no other form of outdoor sport which constantly demands such accurate co-ordination between the mind and body as this National game of ours. And that is rather fine, when you come to think about it.

“Baseball elevates, and it fits the American character. The emotional and moral as well as the physical side of a man’s nature are brought into play by baseball. I know of no other medium which, as completely as baseball, joins the physical, mental, emotional, and moral sides of a man’s composite being into a complete and homogeneous whole. And there is nothing better calculated than baseball to give a growing boy self-pose, and self-reliance, confidence, inoffensive and entirely proper aggressiveness, general manliness. Baseball is a man maker.”

If you’re a baseball fan, it’s well worth reading the whole article. Mr. Spalding explains how baseball helps shape a man morally as well as physically, and how the skills translate to a man’s later life and business affairs. His wife and nephew both weigh in on the topic, too.

In related news, The Onion has an editorial this week by Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay called “If I Had One Piece Of Advice For Today’s Youth, It Would Be To Throw A Baseball Really, Really Well.”

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Written by David

November 12th, 2010 at 9:30 am

Posted in Life,Recreation,Sports

Scientific Croquet A Popular Pastime For Men In Central Park

From October 23, 1910

SCIENTIFIC CROQUET A POPULAR PASTIME FOR MEN IN CENTRAL PARK

SCIENTIFIC CROQUET A POPULAR PASTIME FOR MEN IN CENTRAL PARK: The Union Croquet Club Has Played There for a Quarter of a Century — Its Oldest Active Player Is Eight-Five. (PDF)

If you’re like me, you played croquet a few times as a kid, but have no idea what scientific croquet is. Well, it turns out that scientific croquet is the less wimpy version of croquet. Instead of grass, it’s played on a hard, smooth surface. While regular old croquet was enjoyed by men, women, and children alike, scientific croquet was for hardcore players only.

As a 1954 article from Sports Illustrated explains, scientific croquet later became known simply as roque because it is the heart of the game: c(roque)t.

If you’re interested in playing croquet in Central Park, the New York Croquet Club has free sessions every Monday from May through September just north of the Sheep Meadow.

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Written by David

October 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 am

Posted in Recreation,Sports

Many Pitfalls For The Unwary In Buying Antiques

From October 2, 1910

MANY PITFALLS FOR THE UNWARY IN BUYING ANTIQUES

MANY PITFALLS FOR THE UNWARY IN BUYING ANTIQUES: Cunning Dealers Ready to Impose on the Ignorance of Collectors. Buyers Do Not Take Precautions to Establish Genuineness of “Curios.” (PDF)

A great read for anyone who’s a fan of the Antiques Roadshow on PBS. A lot of the advice back then still stands today, like the suggestion that you “make your antique furniture a means, not an end.”

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Written by David

October 6th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Posted in Art,Recreation

Here At Last Is The Arctic Auto-Sleigh

From August 28, 1910

HERE AT LAST IS THE ARCTIC AUTO-SLEIGH

HERE AT LAST IS THE ARCTIC AUTO-SLEIGH: Alaskan Gold Hunter, After Nine Years’ Work, Invents a Machine for Speeding Over Snow-Clad Passes (PDF)

Inventor Charles E. S. Burch was one of the lucky few people who actually struck it rich in the northwestern Gold Rush of 1896. He spent nine years using his wealth to develop a vehicle to carry people across the snow, and finally came up with this design, using threaded wheels on the engine, and sled rails on the passenger car.

Here’s a video of an awesome Russian off-road and snow vehicle that uses a similar threaded propulsion system. Seriously, it’s awesome. Go watch it.

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Written by David

August 27th, 2010 at 10:00 am

The New Wright Five-Passenger Biplane For Cross-Country Flights

From August 21, 1910

THE NEW WRIGHT FIVE-PASSENGER BIPLANE FOR CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHTS

THE NEW WRIGHT FIVE-PASSENGER BIPLANE FOR CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHTS (PDF)

The fact that a five-passenger flight will shortly become an accomplished fact has interested the aviation world. In the new craft there is nothing in front of the driver’s seat. The front elevating planes are gone, and the two main planes catch the air in initial contact, so far as the aeroplane is concerned. The elevating plane — there is only one — is behind the rear rudder, and thus one of the earliest features of the aeroplane passes out of existence in this new type.

Another first for the Wright Brothers!

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Written by David

August 20th, 2010 at 10:00 am

The Loeb College Of Politeness For Customs Officers

From July 31, 1910

THE LOEB COLLEGE OF POLITENESS FOR CUSTOMS OFFICERS

THE LOEB COLLEGE OF POLITENESS FOR CUSTOMS OFFICERS: It’s First Class Was Just Graduated After a Course that It Is Hoped Will Silence Many Complaints of Tourists from Abroad. (PDF)

An interesting look at rules for customs officers, with particular attention paid to how they should handle a lady’s dainties when going through her bags:

The pupil is also taught to handle the most costly lace, lingerie, and gowns in a way which will leave no cause for complaint from the owner…

“You must be circumspect in your dealings with women,” says the text book. “Remember you come into contact with their most intimate possessions and that your observations and findings should be as sacred and confidential as the privileged communications of a profession. Neither by work nor action, look or gesture must you overstep any of the conventional proprieties that govern the relations of the sexes, if you value your position and your reputation as a man.”

Sidebar: I noticed that the dek uses the conjunction it’s when it should have used the possessive pronoun its. I thought it strange that this slipped by, so I did some research. Apparently, until a few hundred years ago it’s was in fact the proper possessive form for it. You abbreviated it is as ’tis. In the 19th century, ’tis was seen as archaic, and there was a period of overlap before our current usage became the norm. (Sources: 1, 2).

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Written by David

July 30th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Posted in Life,Recreation

How Long Should A Man’s Vacation Be?

From July 31, 1910

HOW LONG SHOULD A MANS VACATION BE?

HOW LONG SHOULD A MAN’S VACATION BE? President Taft Says Every One Should Have Three Months — What Big Employers of Labor and Men of Affairs Think on the Subject. (PDF)

President Taft said that Americans should get take two or three months vacation in the summer:

“The American People,” said he, “have found out that there is such a thing as exhausting the capital of one’s health and constitution, and that two or three months’ vacation after the hard and nervous strain to which one is subjected during the Autumn and Spring are necessary in order to enable one to continue his work the next year with that energy and effectiveness which it ought to have.”

So the New York Times Magazine asked several prominent businessmen what they thought of the proposal. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t like it.

William Ellis Corey, President of US Steel: “I am of the opinion that two or three months, as suggested by the President, is entirely too long under ordinary circumstances.”

John Dustin Archibold, VP of Standard Oil: “For people who conserve their powers carefully in their current work, reasonably short periods ought to suffice.”

John Wanamaker, former Postmaster General: “I cannot see the President’s two or three months idea at all, except to repeat that it should not be taken too seriously.”

And so on. I’m not sure how many vacation days Taft himself took during his Presidency, but these days the media keeps track of Presidential vacations pretty closely.

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Written by David

July 30th, 2010 at 9:45 am

Posted in Politics,Recreation