Saturday, December 05, 2009

Today -100: December 6, 1909: Of peppermint, normal women, and kings carrying coal


Bridgeport, Ohio, where the tin plate strike erupted into violence, is now under martial law, occupied by 1,500 militiamen.

John Kipp of the Warren County (NJ) Almshouse is about to turn 103 years old. The secret of his longevity: peppermint.

Charles W. Eliot, who has just retired after 40 years as president of Harvard, says that home-making should be the crowning desire of every woman, who should only exercise their intellect on the problems presented by home-making, companionship with her husband, and the vital problems of the rearing of children. He acknowledges that “exceptional” women can and do follow male professions, but such women, as a rule, contribute less to society than, you know, “normal” women. Only 100 years from Eliot to Lawrence Summers.

Mrs. Alva Belmont of the suffragist Political Equality Association hired the Hippodrome for a mass meeting (8,000, capacity) in support of the shirtwaist strike. Top city officials were invited to attend, but from the mayor down they all seemed to have more pressing business elsewhere. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw told the audience, which the NYT estimates as 85% female, that “Our cause [women’s suffrage] is your cause, and your cause is our cause.”

George Bernard Shaw was evidently considering visiting the US but has decided not to, and the NYT is sarcastically thrilled. “The threat of his coming has been hanging over us, and now that it is lifted our hearts should be appreciably lighter.” (They don’t do sarcasm a fraction as well as Shaw does.) Shaw is just a tad too critical of the US for the Times’s taste, one gathers.

An editorial disparages William Jennings Bryan’s plan to make prohibition into a national issue as “an unreasonable, even an absurd and ridiculous, thing,” but makes clear that it doesn’t condemn the Prohibitionist movement itself (so long as it stays on the local level).

France will prosecute a priest for placing a state school under an interdict.

King Gustave of Sweden disguised himself as a stevedore and spent a day carrying sacks of coal around to see what conditions among the workers are like. What’s the Swedish for “condescending publicity stunt”?

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