Thursday, March 13, 2014

Today -100: March 13, 1914: Ton Jo

The NY state Senate rejects a bill to make insanity and confinement to an institution for more than a decade a legal cause for divorce.

Sacramento and three surrounding counties come to an agreement for dealing with the “hobo army” of the unemployed. If they agree to be dispersed in groups no larger than 50, their rail fare will be paid (up to 50 miles). They will not be permitted to march in a group, and if they refuse, well...

Mary Richardson is sentenced to six months for slashing the Rokeby Venus (“malicious damage to a picture”), although of course she will hunger strike. This is the maximum sentence for damaging a work of art in a public museum; had it been privately owned she could have gotten two years. Had it been a window she could have gotten 18 months.

Pres. Wilson’s daughter Eleanor Wilson is engaged to Treasury Secretary William Gibbs McAdoo. She’s 24, he’s 50 and even in 1914 they knew that was icky.

Danish political parties come to an agreement on a suffrage bill removing property qualifications and giving the vote to women.

The front page of Le Figaro features a photograph of a 13-year-old letter written by Finance Minister (and former prime minister) Joseph Caillaux to his future first wife while she was still married to her first husband, although Le Fig doesn’t disclose to whom the letter was written or that it was supplied to the paper by the bitter former Madame Caillaux, who he divorced a few years back to marry a woman he also lured away from her husband, because he was just that French and that studly.

The letter, signed Ton Jo (your Jo), includes some political tittle-tattle about Caillaux (who was finance minister then too) sabotaging a tax bill he publicly supported; the date of the letter is not shown in the reproduction in order to mislead readers into thinking that it was a recent letter about current tax debates. Le Fig’s editor Gaston Calmette was a bit of a dick and has been pursuing a vendetta against Caillaux for some time.

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