Friday, August 16, 2013

Your weekend send-off

IT'S THE WEEKEND at long last. Kick it off with three quick links:

  • Like to canoe-dle? Couples seeking romance took to their canoes 100 years ago. Oh the scandal of it!
  • A nearly all-male crowd gathers around “Votes for Women” protesters, August 1913. Women have been rabble-rousers for a good long time.
  • Shopping for back-to-school clothes for a fashion-forward teen? Here's what she would have worn, circa 1913-1920.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Women's Vote, 1920

Alice Paul, a leading advocate for the women's vote, sewed another star on the suffrage flag in 1920. Library of Congress.
U.S. WOMEN, AT LONG LAST, WON THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN 1920 and had their first chance to vote in a presidential election that year. 
     Yet the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage vowed to fight on, warning female voters in October 1920 that lawsuits would soon be filed, aiming to make women's ballots invalid in states that hadn't ratified the vote. Indeed, the New York Times reported that this organization claimed "men who have worked for the ratification of Nineteenth Amendment are politically unsound and not to be trusted." 
     Despite that, women voted in huge numbers that year, served as election judges and even ran as candidates. 
     As we approach Election Day 2012, let's remember that there will always be those who not only try to prevent progress but aim to take us backward. Next Tuesday, let's honor our grandmothers' and great-grandmothers' examples and vote. 
     As Carrie Chapman Catt wrote in The Woman Citizen (Nov. 13, 1920): "The election is over; woman suffrage is here forever, and on the whole, women have good and sufficient reason to be fairly well satisfied with this, their first participation in a great national contest."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Girl Scouts!

Girl scouts play in the great out of doors in 1917. Library of Congress.
Inspired by Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in Great Britain, Juliette Gordon Low gathered 18 girls and established the first Girl Scout troop in Savannah, Ga., in 1912. Today the Girl Scouts is the largest educational girls' group in the world and boasts 3 million participants in the United States. While activities have changed over the last century, scouting still aims to educate and empower girls. Check out the Girl Scout Law, circa 1912 and 2012.

The Girl Scout Law (1912)
1. A Girl Scout's Honor Is to be Trusted
2. A Girl Scout Is Loyal
3. A Girl Scout's Duty Is to be Useful and to Help Others
4. A Girl Scout is a Friend to All, and a Sister to Every Other Girl Scout No Matter to What Social Class She May Belong
5. A Girl Scout Is Courteous
6. A Girl Scout Keeps Herself Pure
7. A Girl Scout Is a Friend to Animals
8. A Girl Scout Obeys Orders
9. A Girl Scout is Cheerful
10. A Girl Scout is Thrifty

The Girl Scout Law (2012)
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Four Love Stories for Valentine's Day

Check out these headlines from 1912:

  • Will Wed Former Convict: Stenographer Defies Family for Love of Man Just Liberated
  • Won by False Love Letters: Grum, Uneducated, Got Friend to Write Miss Snell — Marriage Annulled
  • Loved and Kills Wife of Another: Then Benjamin Freed, Real Estate Broker, Shoots Himself in Mrs. Silverman’s Home

And we thought the National Enquirer and TMZ were bad. These century-old headlines are nearly as slanderous and the stories as tawdry as many articles in today's scandal sheets. 

Yet for all their hearsay, there's a good deal of charm and humor found in many love stories of yesterday. Below are my four favorite 1912 New York Times “love stories” — just in time for Valentine’s Day.

$500 Verdict for Actress: Fifty Love Letters Read in Court Net Her $10 Apiece
Hattie Hart, a Cleveland actress, was awarded in court $10 apiece for every love letter written to her by Captain Abram M. Cheeks, a retired Ohio River showman, oil operator and gold prospector. Miss Hart, 25, had sued Capt. Cheeks, 65, for $50,000, claiming a breach of promise of marriage. While he admitted falling in love with the young woman when she was playing on the showboat, Sunny South, he claimed he never proposed. (Don't you love their names!)

Loves the Best Man Best: Georgia Beauty Jilts Gilbert for Sullivan, and Elopes in Gilbert’s Auto. The headline tells the whole story and, nope, not that Gilbert and Sullivan. Said the groom, “I congratulate myself I didn’t get her. I got off lucky. I hope they will return my auto in good condition.”

Reunited by Her Novel: Woman Writer’s Confession in Her Book Brings Back Man She Loved. Seems a young woman refused to marry the man she loved “because of a certain incident in her past,” which she wouldn’t confess for fear he’d marry her in “chivalrous pity.” Much later, he read a review of a novel she had written based on her life and he knew it held her secret. Smitten all over again, he tracked her down in Spain, where they renewed their love. The article announced their upcoming marriage. (Sounds like a perfect made-for-TV love story. Lifetime, are you listening?)

But this is my absolute favorite:

Has a Surfeit of Love: Chicago Husband Flees from Home to Dodge Affectionate Wife
In the Court of Domestic Relations, the husband complained that his wife was not content to “caress him” and often followed him to his office. The judge declared, “No wife ought to interfere with her husband’s business by following him around. On the other hand, a husband ought to jolly his wife as much as possible.” 

Happy Valentine's Day. Oh, and may your love never make the papers.