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Page 93 text:
The Uncle Sam Chronicles
In 1923, Joseph Babcock transliterated an
ancient Chinese game and copyrighted it as
Mah Jongg. Mah Jongg was a flash fad. The
whole country played it for several months,
then the bottom dropped out, leaving S2
million in unsalable Mah Jongg boards in the
hands of retailers.
The twin crazes of prohibition and bootlegging
totally dominated the 1920's, engrossing the
entire population, but with the onset of the
Great Depression, hysterical frivolity took on
unforeseen dimensions. Flagpole sitting
became a national sport, and college students
took to swallowing hundreds of live goldfish at
a single sitting. While never as popular,
phonograph record eating provided
Chain letters promising huge fortunes were
circulated widely during the depression. and
the whole country began playing miniature
World War II provided a sobering influence.
The population put aside the frantic
pursuits of the previous two decades
and began saving string and aluminum foil, and
blacking out huge cities at night. By the end of
the war, America was ready for Frank Sinatra,
the biggest heartthrob since Rudolph
Valentino. Frankie faded, but was soon
followed by Johnny Raye, Frankie Laine, Eddie
Fisher, Julius LaRosa, Pat Boone, Elvis Presley,
Ricky Nelson, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash,
Robert Goulet and Alice Cooper.
Fess Parker showed up in 1955 on Walt
Disney's TV program as Davy Crockett, and
caused every kid in the country to go out and
buy a coonskin hat. These were worn while
hula hooping, trampolining and go-karting.
Comic books peaked in the 1950's, and pogo
sticks, stilts, and yoyos underwent semiannual
Backyard bomb shelters heralded the 1960's, a
decade of political consciousness that was
captioned by pithy bumper stickers of every
persuasion. Frisbees were thrown everywhere,
underground newspapers were published. and
rock music became even more a part of
The 60's were years of unrest, assassinations,
turmoil, riots and social change. They left
America stunned, tired and ready for the 70's
and the decade's biggest fad: nostalgia for the
remnants of every other decade of the century.
WQEQK IES MJJCCDIRFE
June 17, 1896. George Harpo and
Frank Samuelson leave New York City in
a rowboat. VA Y
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July 31, 1896. George Harpo and
August 29, 1896. The chef of New York
Chinatown leader Li Hung-Chang invents
1897. T.S. Wheatcraft of Rush, Pennsylvania,
introduces the vending machine. His machine
dispenses hot, salted peanuts.
April 24, 1898. The I.LS.S. Maine is sunk in
Cuba. War breaks out between the United States
I May 1, 1898. The United States fleet sinks
the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay, The Philippines.
No American ships are damaged and no
Americans are injured.
Iuly 1, 1898. 7,000 American troops, including
the Rough Riders under Colonel Teddy
. . , S J l-l'll.
Frank Samuelson row their boat into the Roosevelt capture an nan I
Scilly Islands offithe coast of England.
July 7, 1898. Hawaii is annexed.
July 3, 1898. More of the Spanish fleet is
destroyed off Cuba. American casualities:
one killed, one wounded.
December 10, 1898. Spain cedes Cuba.
Puerto Rico, Guam and The Philippines to
the United States.
1900. First automat opens in New York City.
1900. The Otis Elevator Company of
New York City displays the first escalator at
the Paris Exposition.
1900. Motorcycle patented. I ,
March 13, 1901. Benjamin Harrison dies.
September 6, 1901. President William McKinley
is shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the
Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. McKinley
dies on September 14 and is succeeded by
Page 92 text:
The Uncle Sam Chronicles
As a young nation, America didn't have all
that much time for fads and crazes, since
most of us were more concerned with
mundane things like clearing fields. building
cabins. farming. raising children and working.
When people did get together for a little fun,
well. there were always witch trials, or killing
buffalo from the observation car of a
transcontinental train. George Washington and
Thomas Jefferson were patrons of cock
fighting, and by the mid-1800's phrenology
became popular. Generally, however, there
just wasn't very much to do. Leisure industries
didn't boom until the 40 hour work-week
Cycling was introduced in the l86O's. The first
were unicycles known as Flying Yankee
Wheels. They were popularized by gymnasts.
but sales dropped when people began to
discover that it took a gymnast to ride one.
High-wheeled bicycles followed, and the taller
a rider was. the bigger a front wheel he could
straddle. Short men took up tricycles. By the
turn of the century the bicycles back wheel
was the same size as the front and bicycling
became the first true fad. followed quickly by
roller skating, and then roller polo, which was
a kind of ice hockey on wheels.
When the Civil War ended, fighting men
brought home a wide assortment of diseases,
and an insatiable demand for remedies and
patent medicines. Cures were invented for liver
ailment, falling hair, tuberculosis, flabbiness,
impotency, indigestion, cancer, polio, and
warts. You could order any of them from a
wholesale house in Chicago or St. Louis, for
25C plus postage and handling. Two reasons
for the popularity of these remedies were the
most common ingredients: alcohol and opium.
Even if people weren't actually cured, at least
they didn't care so much.
Trading Cards swept the nation in the mid-
1880's, depicting baseball players, politicians,
and music hall performers. Playing cards were
circulated with caricatures of political figures,
and there were even trading cards that
pictured patent medicines.
Jazz music's journey up the Mississippi from
New Orleans to Chicago is well chronicled,
but by the turn of the Twentieth Century it
was another indigenous musical form. Ragtime,
that was sweeping the country. Nothing
remotely as popular appeared on the musical
scene until Bill Haley, Fats Domino, Chuck
Berry and their friends blew open the l950's.
AFTER THE LDA?
June, 1888. George Eastman patents and
registers his Kodak No. l, a camera which uses
roll film and does not require a tripod or table
1889. Elizabeth Cochrane. a reporter for the
New York World using the name Nellie Bly.
travels around the world in 72 days.
February 22, 1889. The Territories of North
Dakota. South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming
1890. There are 125,000 miles of railroads
in the United States.
.Iuly 10, 1890. Wyoming becomes the first state
to grant suffrage to women.
August 6, 1890. William Kemmler, the convicted
murderer of Matilda Ziegler, becomes the first
man to be electrocuted. The electrocution
takes place at Auburn Prison. New York.
October 14, 1890. Dwight D. Eisenhower born.
September 28, 1891. Herman Melville' dies.
1892. James Naismith introduces basketball
at the YMCA Training School in Springfield,
Massachusetts. The peachubasket employed
retains its bottom so that the ball must be
removed by hand after each successful goal.
1893. The New York World publishes the first
comic strip, entitled "1-logarfs Alley." The
first successful serial strip, ','The Yellow Kid,"
May 10, 1893. Locomotive 999 of the New York
Central attains a speed of more than 112 miles
Summer, 1893. The Chicago World's Fair.
Iune 9, 1893. Cole Porter born in Peru, Indiana.
1894. Colonel Royal Page Davidson creates
the first military bicycle corps at Northwestern
Military Academy, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Sixteen cadets ride bicycles equipped with clips
for carrying rifles.
1895. William George Morgan of the
Holyoke, Massachusetts YMCA invents
May 6, 1896. Samuel Pierpont Langley's
26-pound, 16-foot airplane makes the first
heavier-than-air propelled flight. Langley's
airplane is powered by a one-horsepower
May 30, 1896. Henry Wells of Springfield,
Massachusetts, driving a Duryea Motor Wagon
strikes Evylyn Thomas. who is riding a bicycle,
causing the first automobile accident. Wells
is incarcerated overnight awaiting a report
on Ms. Thomas's injuries.
Page 94 text:
The Uncle Sam Chronicles
September 12, 1901. King Camp Gillette
organizes a company for the manufacture of
safety razors. ln 1903 he sells 51 razors.
October 24, 1901. A.E. Taylor becomes the
first man to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
November 16, 1901. A.C. Bostwich drives
60 miles per hour at Ocean Parkway
in Brooklyn. '
December 5, 1901. Walt Disney born.
December 16, 1901. Margaret Mead born.
August 25, 1902. An Arabic daily newspaper,
Al-Hoda is published in Philadelphia.
1903. New York Stock Exchange built.
1903. "The Great Train Robbery" is the first
motion picture with a plot.
December 16, 1903. The Majestic Theatre in
New York employs usherettes.
December 17, 1903. Orville Wright pilots a
745-pound airplane 852 feet in 59 seconds.
Average speed is 31 miles an hour.
January 9, 1904. George Balanchine born.
May 4, 1904. Work begins on the Panama Canal.
December 27, 1904. Marlene Dietrich born.
1906. Upton Sinclair's The Jungle exposes
conditions in the Chicago stockyards and
April 14, 1906. Teddy Roosevelt coins the
term "muckraker" to describe Sinclair and
his fellow crusading writers.
April' 18-19, 1906. San Francisco earthquake
and fire kill 452.
October 11, 1906. The San Francisco School
Board orders segregation of all Japanese.
Chinese and Korean children into separate
1907. There are 236.900 miles of railroads in
operation in the United States.
1907. A.L.R. Locke is the first black
1907. Electric washing machine marketed
January 23, 1907. Charles Curtis of Kansas
is the first native American to serve in
March 9, 1907. Indiana enacts legalization of
June 18, 1903. E.P. Fetch and Marcus Krarup
leave San Francisco in a one-cylinder Packard.
August 21, 1903. E.P. Fetch and Marcus Krarup
arrive in New York City.
June 30, 1906. Pure Food and Drug Act passes.
i ,Q .
Not all these famous women play mzlsictzl instruments
1. lvlarianne Moore is considered the leading
woman poet. 2. Dorothea Dir awakened America
to the plight of the mentally ill. 3. Amelia Earhart
flew the Atlantic alone in 1932. 4- Louisa May Alcott
wrote Little Women. 5. Georgia OLKeefe is a
leading abstract painter. 6. Maria Mitchell
discovered a comet and was the -hrs! woman
elected to the Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Z Lydia Maria Child was a writer who championed
the abolitionist cause. 8. Margaret Clapp won a
Pulitzer Prize and was president of Wellesley
College. 9. Eleanor Roosevelt was chairwoman of
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