Friday, April 20, 2018

Today -100: April 20, 1918: Of ground, disloyalists, enemy aliens and spies

Headline of the Day -100: 

“Yup, looks like dirt alright,” he says.

In Collinsville, Oklahoma, a mob hangs one Henry Rheimer, though not to death, for refusing orders from a Committee of Defense Council to fly a US flag every day for the rest of the war. Hang a flag or get hanged, I guess. Also, his son is a conscientious objector.

By the way, the article about that uses the word “disloyalist,” which, while the OED dates it to 1885, seems to be new to the US.

Under a new extension of the Espionage Act,  enemy alien women will now be treated equally (yay!) with enemy alien men (boo!). Required to register with the police, banned from docks, wharves, the District of Columbia, etc.

Headline of the Day -100:  

That’s according to Norman White of the Secret Service, testifying before the Senate Military Affairs Committee. Actually, 20,000 is just an estimate of the number of aliens who have failed to register. White also says Germans are selling heroin to soldiers and sailors. He complains that spies keep being released on bail and fleeing to Mexico, or just going to ground.

Don't see comments? Click on the post title to view or post comments.


  1. My blog ( also covers the 1918 beat (although magazines more than then Times), but I somehow didn’t come across yours until recently. I’m enjoying it a lot. I wrote about the enemy alien gender equality issue recently in a post on accused spies Despina Storch and Agnes Smedley (who I see you also wrote about). They couldn’t prosecute Storch because the law hadn’t been changed yet, so they decided to deport her to France and sent her to Ellis island, where she died of pneumonia.

  2. I hadn't come across your blog either, although I will definitely be following it now. I have already left a comment correcting a minor error, er, sorry about that.

  3. I'm glad to have the company of a fellow traveler through 1918. We seem to have similar taste in NYT news. I've already noticed a few items that you posted that I saved but didn't end up doing anything with, like the daylight savings time ceremony. Good to know it didn't go unobserved! And thanks for the correction, which I've made.