Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Today -100: May 19, 1910: Of comets, duels, and cross-dressing

The Earth passes through the tail of Halley’s Comet, nothing in particular happens. Some astronomers sound kind of disappointed.

If you’re keeping track of the people the NYT claims were made hysterical by the comet, to previous stories about women, the French and Chicagoans, add Mexicans (“For ten days superstitious Mexicans have sought to avert the impending disaster with music, incantations, and weird ceremonies, and many have spent day and night in prayer”), Russians, the “poorer Dutch and colored people” in South Africa, Puerto Ricans, steerage passengers on the Germania, foreigners in NY (“The Italians yelled with fright, and several of them fell on their knees”), and Southern Negroes.

The president of the Russian Duma, Alexander Guchkoff, and Count Uvarof, a deputy, are imprisoned in Peter and Paul Fortress for 4 weeks and 3 weeks respectively for dueling.

Wellesley issues a rule that no photographs be taken of students wearing male garb (in college plays).

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