Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Today -100: July 19, 1917: Of pickets, martial law, tetanus, and war phonographs


Woodrow Wilson is upset by the jailing of the suffragists who protested outside the White House – probably a Southern male thing. He met with their lawyer, Dudley Field Malone, and has now met for 45 minutes with the husband of one of them, who says that Wilson may push for women’s suffrage as a wartime emergency measure. Meanwhile, in the Occoquan Workhouse, the suffragists are put in with black women, as degrading a thing as the authorities can think to do (the workhouse, you will be surprised to hear, is normally segregated).

The Russian government puts Petrograd under martial law to deal with outbreaks. Cossack patrols, men in trucks firing machine guns into the crowds on Nevsky Prospect, what could go wrong? The Bolsheviks disingenuously blame counter-revolutionaries for the demonstrations, but refuse to condemn them.

Three men, probably Germans, are arrested in Kansas for supposedly trying to spread tetanus through infected sticking plasters.

Never one to miss an opportunity to cash in, Thomas Edison introduces a new “war phonograph,” a sturdy iron model that can stand up to army life, designed to be listened to outdoors.


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