Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Today -100: January 1, 1919: There are old wrongs to be righted

The 73 Sinn Féiners elected to the British Parliament plan to constitute themselves as a National Assembly in Dublin and proclaim an independent Irish republic. Or at least the ones who aren’t in British prisons, which is c.34 (with more in exile in the US).

French President Georges Clemenceau says France will only consider reducing its arms if and when the League of Nations proves a success. He is explicitly distancing himself from Woodrow Wilson’s League-first policy, saying “America is very far from Germany, but France is very near,” adding ominously, “There are old wrongs to be righted.”

Evidently there’s a Bolshevik “coup” in German Silesia.

Poland is preparing a military campaign along its Russian border with “Reds and Ruthenians.”

Bombs explode at the Philadelphia homes of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Robert von Moschzisker, acting Police Chief William Mills, and president of the Chamber of Commerce Ernest T. Trigg, which is as chamber-of-commercey a name as you could hope for. The police arrest some anarchists, as was the custom, muttering darkly about a nation-wide terrorist plot.

Fred Toney, pitcher for the New York Giants is sentenced to 4 months under the Mann Act (crossing state lines to have consensual sex with a woman not his wife). And he’ll go on trial, again, for evading the draft (claiming his wife was dependent on his salary when they were estranged and he wasn’t, maybe, supporting her). I’m sure this will be the biggest scandal baseball sees this year.

Interesting summary of 1919 and its lasting effects on the US by Ted Widmer. On a quick read, only one small mistake jumped out at me. Can you spot it?

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  1. OK, I give up. I've read this article three times now and still can't find the mistake. You could argue that Prohibition started in 1918 (or 1920) rather than 1919, or that the Republican congress wasn't all that newly elected when it rejected the League of Nations, but I'm guessing that you found something more significant. What is it???

  2. "a kind of music most Americans had never heard, soon to be known as jazz". It was already known as jazz.

    I said it was a small mistake.

  3. I thought as I was reading that that could be it, but I wasn't sure. Now that I look into it, I see that jazz starts creeping up on Google Ngram in about 1915 and that there are two entries under "jazz music" in the 1915-18 Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature--in Current Opinion and Literary Digest, not exactly avant-garde publications.

  4. Last November, I think, a NYT editorial said something about Rosika Schwimmer bringing jazz to diplomacy, and I got curious. I think that reference was to the word's baseball meaning (where it originated), but I found a reference to the music in early 1918 in the Times (and again recently in a parade for returning black soldiers).