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Total Eclipse of the Sun Next Saturday

We all remember the total solar eclipse last August, which passed over the United States. June 1918 saw one as well, starting in Washington state and moving southeast until it reached Florida. Actually, it started in a rather unusual way, as this contemporary article described:

And here comes an odd point about this eclipse; it really begins at sunrise on June 9, at the Island of Borodino, off the coast of Japan, and rushes out across the Pacific; then the circle of shadow (the point of the moon’s shadow-cone) crosses the “road to yesterday” (the 180th meridian of longitude) and finds itself on June 8, reaching our Pacific Coast in what is there the afternoon.

No word on whether Woodrow Wilson looked directly into the sun during the eclipse, as our current president did.

Total Eclipse of the Sun Next Saturday: Jet Disk Will Move Swiftly from Pacific Coast Southeastward Across Continent — Partly Visible in New York Early in the Evening (PDF)

Published: Sunday, June 2, 1918

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Written by Jesse

May 31st, 2018 at 10:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Is Spelling Reform, Ten Years Old, a Success?

From August 27, 1916

Is Spelling Reform

Is Spelling Reform, Ten Years Old, a Success?: Professor Brander Matthews Finds That the Public Has Had a Change of Heart and Is No Longer Contemptuously Hostile (PDF)

In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt tried to shorten the spellings of about 300 words. Although the presidential directive was overturned by Congress, there was still a surge of support for this measure pushed by the Simplified Spelling Board. This article checked in a decade later to see whether most of the shortened spellings took off. But what about a century later?

In 2016, we indeed use honor instead of honourcheck instead of cheque or checquehiccup instead of hiccoughmaneuver instead of manoeuvre, and plow instead of plough. But we haven’t substituted stedfast for steadfast, or wo for woe.

I particularly enjoyed this masterfully crafted sentence from the 1916 article, about proposed spelling changes:

But thru and thruout aroused the most excited protests. They were denounced as diabolical specimens of orthographic mayhem.

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Written by Jesse

August 27th, 2016 at 11:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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