October 6, 1876: The American Library Association (ALA) is formed. The non-profit organization was formed during the Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia in 1876. During that time, there were 103 librarians who came for the “Convention of Librarians” which was held from October 4 through 6. The 90 men and 13 women met at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and at the end of the meeting, a register was passed around asking for signatures for those who wished to join as charter members of their new group – the ALA. The group was chartered in Philadelphia on this date and in Massachusetts in 1879. Today, the head office is located in Chicago. Original attendees came from as far west as Chicago and as far east as England. The aim for the new association was to enable librarians to do their work more easily and at less expense.
By the 1930s, younger members were bringing up topics which needed more attention. Among these were peace, segregation, library unions, and intellectual freedom. In response, in 1931 the Junior Members Round Table (JMRT) was formed to give them a voice. Forrest Spaulding was the director of the Des Moines (Iowa) Public Library and in 1938 he wrote the Library Bill of Rights. It was adopted by the ALA the next year and set the standard against censorship. It has been considered to be a defining moment for modern librarians and their quest for intellectual freedom and the right to read rather than government restrictions. The Rights were tested in 1940 after it was recommended that The Grapes of Wrath be banned. According to the New York Times, it was the best selling book of 1939.
Today, there are about 60,000 members of the ALA with the majority of them American. Anyone can join but its members are mostly librarians or libraries. International memberships are available and about 3.5% of the list are from other nations. Keith Michael Field has been the ALA executive director since 2002, leading the elected council and executive board. Their President is Courtney Young who is serving the current one year term. One of their most visible tasks today is their Office for Accreditation which formally reviews both American and Canadian academic institutions offering programs in library and information sciences.
The ALA’s purpose is to promote library service and librarianship. Members have the ability to join any of eleven membership divisions which deal with specialized topics. There are also seventeen round tables which are even more specific. They are committed to intellectual freedom and support privacy. Their political advocacies also lead to issues with copyright and protecting the use of public domain goods. The Library Copyright Alliance and the Association of Research Libraries and Association of College and Research Libraries bring a unified voice of over 300,000 informational professionals to protect the transference of information even in a digital age.
To provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. – ALA’s Mission Statement
There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration. – Andrew Carnegie
For the existence of a library, the fact of its existence, is, in itself and of itself, an assertion – a proposition nailed like Luther’s to the door of time. – Archibald MacLeish
Library Science is the key to all science, just as mathematics is its language – and civilization will rise or fall, depending on how well librarians do their jobs. – Robert A. Heinlein
Also on this day: Superstition – In 1945, the Cubs Curse began when a goat was kicked out of the stadium.
Bellerophone – In 1995, a new planet was discovered.
Martyrs – In 1849, the Hungarian Revolution’s martyrs were executed.
Flight 455 – In 1976, the flight ended in a fiery crash.
The Jazz Singer – In 1927, the movie debuted.
October 5, 1877: The Nez Perce War ends. Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt was born on March 3, 1840 to the leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain band of Nez Perce, indigenous peoples of the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon. In 1855, the US federal government coerced the Nez Perce to give up ancestral lands and move to the Umatilla Reservation along with the Walla Walla, Cayuse, and Umatilla tribes. All those being relocated were vehemently opposed to the move. The Nez Perce signed a Treaty which gave them the right to keep a large portion of their own lands in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon but at the cost of giving up 5.5 million acres of the their 13 million acre homeland. They would be permitted to hunt, fish, and pasture their horses on unoccupied regions of the ceded land.
Whites were not permitted on Nez Perce lands without permission but after gold was discovered in 1860, this was no longer enforced. In response to the Nez Perce indignation, the federal government again coerced the ceding of territory and left them with only 750,000 acres, or ten percent of their already reduced lands. Many of the Nez Perce did not accept the validity of the treaty and refused to be removed. Those who agreed with the treaty were mostly Christian Nez Perce while those who did not, were more traditional and lived in the Wallowa valley with Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt as their leader. We know him as Chief Joseph. Nez Perce were murdered after disputes with whites and the murders were never prosecuted. Tensions continued to rise between the two factions.
As the Nez Perce were ordered off their lands and refused to move, deadlines were set and ignored. Finally Joseph and White Bird, another Nez Perce leader, joined forces and Looking Glass’s group joined with them to form a group of about 250 Nez Perce warriors and 500 women and children. They also had more than 2000 head of livestock. They engaged in a brilliant fighting retreat and covered about 1,170 miles. Small numbers of Nez Perce were able to hold off much larger American forces. Between June and October, the Nez Perce had managed to hold off about 2,000 American troops. They had fought in 18 engagements which included four major battles and at least four contested skirmishes.
At 2.20 PM on this day, Chief Joseph formally surrendered. The whites described him as the principal chief of the Nez Perce and the strategist behind the engagements. He was even called “the Red Napoleon” which was deemed to be high praise. The men who fought against the government removal did not consider him to be their chief. Rather, his younger brother Ollokot, Poker Joe (a French/Indian), and Looking Glass were considered to be those who formed the leadership of the Nez Perce while Joseph was mainly responsible for guarding the camp. It was his words which were immortalized and his name that was remember. His speech was translated by Arthur Chapman and written down by Lieutenant CES Wood, a writer and poet stationed with the American troops.
I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead.
Toohoolhoolzoote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, “Yes” or “No.” He who led the young men [Ollokot] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death.
My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are – perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead.
Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever. – Chief Joseph’s surrender speech
Also on this day: “Send Us Work” – In 1936, the Jarrow March began.
PBS – In 1970, the Public Broadcasting Service began.
No Day – In 1582, the Gregorian calendar implied a time warp.
Black Friday – In 1945, Hollywood was rocked by rioting.
The Wake Island 98 – In 1943, 98 Americans were killed on Wake Island.
October 4, 1895: The first United States Open Championship is held at Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island. The modern game of golf originated in Scotland in the 1400s although there is a game called paganica which was played by the Romans. They had a bent stick and hit a stuffed leather ball. A similar type of game was played in China between the 8th and 14th centuries. That game had people with curved sticks hitting a ball into a hole in the ground. There were a number of other games of similar intent played on the continent, but the modern game came from Scotland. It was so popular King James II banned it in order to keep his knights off the courses and practicing their archery skills. James IV lifted the ban in 1504, as he was also a player.
The majors or the four most important games played by professionals each year, began with two British and two American games, the Open and Amateur Championships in Britain and the US Open and US Amateur. The Masters Tournament was introduced in 1934 and the popularity of professional golf increased throughout the 1940s and 50s. The four major tournaments became the Masters, the US Open, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. It is imprecise to give an exact year this shifted, but Arnold Palmer’s 1960 season is a possible start.
The first US Open, played on this day, was a 36-hole competition with just a single day of play. There were ten professionals and one amateur entered. The Open was won by 21-year-old Horace Rawlins of England. He had come to the US in January to take a position at the host club. His prize was $150 (out of a total prize fund of $335) and a $50 gold medal. His club was able to display the Open Championship Cup trophy after it was presented by the USGA. The Open was dominated by Brits until the 1911 competition when John McDermott became the first American to win the prize. He was also the youngest to ever win the open at the age of 19 years, 10 months, and 14 days.
The venue for the Championship changes each year. Most of the winners since 1911 have been Americans with only six other countries taking the top prize. The reason for this may be the pervasive nature of the game in the US. There were slightly more than 35,000 golf courses in the world in 2008 and half of them were in the US. The next highest country was the UK with 8%. The top ten countries in the world account for 83% of the courses with the rest of the world having just 17%. The 2015 US Open was played over four days in June at Chambers Bay located in the state of Washington. Jordan Spieth, a 21-year-old from Dallas, Texas won the Championship by a single stroke. His prize for winning was $1,800,000 of the total of $10 million purse.
Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character. – Arnold Palmer
I know I am getting better at golf because I am hitting fewer spectators. – Gerald R. Ford
Relax? How can anybody relax and play golf? You have to grip the club don’t you? – Ben Hogan
Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness. – William Wordsworth
Also on this day: Russian Surprise – In 1957, Sputnik I was launched.
Larger Than Life – In 1927, Gutzon Borglum began work on Mount Rushmore.
Thrust2 – In 1983, a new land speed record was set – over 1,000 km/h.
Smarten Up – In 1876, Texas A&M began holding classes.
The Orient Express – In 1883, the Orient Express lines increased.
October 3, 1838: Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak dies. His father, Pyesa, was the tribal medicine man for the Sauk people, an Algonquian language group of Native Americans who lived along the St. Lawrence River. They were driven out of their original territories by the Iroquois League and headed to modern day Michigan and settled around Saginaw Bay. They were neighbors with the Ojibwe and Ottawa people who called them Ozaagii which the French called Sac and the English called Sauk. Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak was born in 1767 and his name translates to “be a large black hawk” which is why we call him Black Hawk. He was born at Saukenuk, today Rock Island, Illinois. It was the summer lodging place of the tribe and during the winters, they moved across the Mississippi River to hunt and trap.
At age 15, Black Hawk went on his first raid and made his first kill. His success was limited until at age 19, he led 200 men in a successful raid against the Osage. He then joined his father in a raid against the Cherokee. His father was injured and as he died, he gave his medicine bundle to his son assuring Black Hawk an important role in the tribe. After suitable mourning, Black Hawk led more raiding or war parties against various enemies. His tribe did not have a civil leader or chiefs, but Black Hawk was a “war chief” (a more accurate designation would be war captain).
During the War of 1812, Black Hawk was a 45 year old leader who had about 200 men under his command. He supported the British in the hopes of driving back the settlers moving into lands he felt were unfairly obtained. The validity of the Treaty of St. Louis which Quashquame (the civil representative) signed had not been approved by the tribe and was therefore, according to their laws, invalid. The American settlers did not care. The Sauk and Fox tribes were moved west of the Mississippi regardless which meant Black Hawk’s birthplace was lost to the tribe. It was their sacred burial island as well as summer retreat.
Black Hawk led a war against the US which lasted from May to August 1832, which the Sauk lost. The doomed war led to defeat, but also to Black Hawk’s capture. He was held at St. Louis for eight months. He was then taken East to meet with President Andrew Jackson via a rather circuitous route which allowed him to see the vastly superior technology of the settlers. He was imprisoned for a few weeks and then returned along a different route. While in captivity, he dictated his life’s story to Antoine LeClaire. The autobiography was published in 1833 in Cincinnati, Ohio and became a best seller. He returned to Iowa and as he grew older attempted to reconcile with old enemies. He became ill in late September and died after a two week illness on this day. He was buried along the Des Moines River.
I found by that treaty, that all of the country east of the Mississippi, and south of Jefferson was ceded to the United States for one thousand dollars a year.
I could say much more respecting this treaty, but I will not at this time. It has been the origin of all our serious difficulties with the whites.
It has pleased the Great Spirit that I am here today— I have eaten with my white friends. The earth is our mother— we are now on it, with the Great spirit above us; it is good.
Rock River was a beautiful country. I liked my towns, my cornfields and the home of my people. I fought for it. It is now yours. Keep it as we did— it will produce you good crops. – all from Black Hawk
Also on this day: Captain Jack – In 1873, Captain Jack was executed.
Siegfried & Roy – In 2003, Roy Horn was critically injured by one of his tigers.
Treasure House – In 1955, Captain Kangaroo premiered.
Cease and Desist – In 1712, Rob Roy MacGregor had a warrant issued for his arrest.
State of Iraq – In 1932, Iraq was granted independence from Great Britain.
October 2, 1980: The first time since the US Civil War, a member of Congress is expelled. Michael Joseph Myers was a politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to entering politics, he was a longshoreman. He was first elected a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1971 and served until 1976 when he took his seat in the US House of Representatives. He was regarded as a “maverick” from the beginning of his time in office. Is first brush with the law came in 1979 when he beat up a security guard and a 19-year-old female cashier as they rode in an elevator. The two had complained about his loud music at a party. He punched and kicked them and eventually was convicted of disorderly conduct (after pleading no contest to the charges) and got a six month suspended sentence.
On August 22, 1979 Myers was videotaped accepting a $50,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent. As part of the Abscam investigation, he was heard on tape saying, “Money talks and bullshit walks.” The FBI’s sting operation code named Abscam, a contraction of “Arab scam” was a two year investigation which initially targeted trafficking in stolen property and corruption of businessmen. It was later used to investigate public corruption. The FBI was helped by the Justice Department and a convicted con-man and videotaped various politicians taking bribes from a fraudulent Arabian company in return for political favors.
There were over 30 political figures investigated with six member of the House and one from the Senate of the US Congress convicted. Others in high offices outside the federal government were also involved. Melvin Weinberg, a convicted swindler exchanged his help for being kept out of prison. He and his girlfriend helped the FBI create a fake company called Abdul Enterprises. FBI agents posed a Arab sheikhs who were hoping to invest millions of dollars in the US. One of their early stings was waylaid when they were told that a good investment would be casinos in New Jersey and they could get the necessary licenses for a price. The investigation switched from crooked businessmen to crooked politicians.
Myers was introduced to the Abdul agents by Angelo Errichetti, mayor of Camden, New Jersey. Errichetti was the first politician to be caught in the Abscam net. Myers was the first Congressperson to be convicted. A vote was taken in the House as to whether or not to expel Myers and with a vote of 376 to 30 (with the rest abstaining, including other Representatives also caught up in the case), he was the first to be kicked out since 1861. Other politicians either lost their 1980 election bids or retired from their positions. Myers was convicted of bribery and conspiracy and was sentenced to three years in prison in 1981.
Wait a minute, what you are suggesting may be illegal. – Larry Pressler when offered a bribe
I do not consider myself a hero… what have we come to if turning down a bribe is ‘heroic’? – Larry Pressler
I’ve got larceny in my blood. I’d take it in a goddamn minute. – John Jenrette when an undercover FBI agent offered a bribe
I’m not interested, I’m sorry. At this point… – John Murtha when offered a bribe
Also on this day: HMS Beagle – In 1836, Charles Darwin returned to England.
Forgiveness – In 2006, Charles Carl Roberts murdered five young girls at an Amish schoolhouse.
Queen Mary vs Curacao – In 1942, the two British ships collided.
Aw, Nuts! – In 1950, Peanuts began.
Parsley Massacre – In 1937, Rafeal Trujillo called for mass murder.
October 1, 1843: The News of the World first sees print. John Browne Bell began his newspaper in London and charged just three pence (equal to £1.1 today), making it the cheapest paper of the time. He was aiming for the market of the newly literate working classes. His offerings were geared to them and so his news was often titillating and shocking. He offered news of the crimes of the day and the sources were transcripts of police descriptions – offering up the doings of the brothels, streetwalkers and “immoral” woman (and the men they were immoral with). Always a weekly paper, it wasn’t long before News of the World was the most widely read Sunday paper with early sales around 12,000 copies a week.
Laws changed and with the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1855 and the duty on paper in 1861, the prices for other papers dropped. News of the World did not, however, follow suit and kept their price the same. Readership dropped and it was no longer the leading Sunday tabloid. Although numbers increased to 30,000 the percentage was less and they fell out of the lead by 1880. The Bell family sold to Henry Lascelles Carr in 1891. Already the owner of the Welsh Western Mail, he put his nephew in charge of the London tabloid. He held that post for 50 years. It was George Riddell who was the mastermind behind the paper’s growth. He reorganized its national distribution using local agents. The paper was hailed by some as a “very fine paper indeed” but like everything, it had detractors.
Sales increased and by 1912 circulation was 2 million. By the early 1920s it was up to 3 million and by 1939 it was at 4 million. With the success of News of the World, other British papers of similar style also began publication. After more than 75 years printing in London, Manchester became the seat of printing. As the print shop in Derby Street became unusable, it was moved to Thomson House and when that happened, the Empire News was forced to close as the shop couldn’t print both. In theory, they were merged since they couldn’t handle their print load otherwise. The paper’s motto was “All human life is there” and by 1903 it had become linked with sporting events from darts to golf to snooker. By 1950, it was the biggest paper in the world selling 8,441,000 copies weekly and with some weeks spiking over 9 million.
Rupert Murdoch purchased the paper in 1969 after a yearlong battle with Robert Maxwell. Murdoch was criticized on a David Frost show in the late summer and it was the first of many scandals associated with the paper under Murdoch’s rule. As “journalism” grew less ethical at the paper, more bad press came with it and on July 7, 2011 it was announced the last edition after 168 years in print would be the July 10th edition. Their phone hacking scandal was too much for the public to bear. It was announced the paper would donate all profits, 74 pence of each £1 cover price, would go to “good causes” and advertising space would be given to charities. Shutting the paper down cost News Group Newspapers about £240 million. The government has denied any role in the decision to close the paper and James Murdoch has said they are cooperating fully with ongoing police investigations.
People who read the tabloids deserve to be lied to. – Jerry Seinfeld
Well, I’ve had my fair share in Britain of battling the tabloids. – Elton John
The world is disgracefully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain. – Ronald Firbank
Humiliation is a guest that only comes to those who have made ready his resting-place, and will give him a fair welcome. … No one can disgrace you save yourself. – Ouida
Also on this day: Yosemite National Park – In 1890, US Congress created Yosemite National Park.
The March King – In 1880, John Philip Sousa became the leader of the United States Marine Band.
Superhighway – In 1940, the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened.
Bright Idea – In 1946, Mensa was formed.
Thrilla in Manila – In 1975, Ali and Frazier battled it out.
* “Final NOTW cover” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Final_NOTW_cover.jpeg#/media/File:Final_NOTW_cover.jpeg
September 30, 1915: For the first time, ground-to-air fire brings down an aircraft. During World War I, Serbian Army troops watched as three aircraft neared Kragujevac. The soldiers fired at the planes with machine guns but were not able to keep them from dropping 45 bombs over the city. Military installations and railroads were hit as were many other civilian targets. As the city was being bombed, Private Radoje Ljutovac fired his cannon at the enemy and managed to bring one of the planes down. The plane crashed in the city and both men aboard were killed. The cannon Ljutovac used was not designed as an anti-aircraft gun but it was a slightly modified Turkish cannon captured in 1912 during the First Balkan War.
Before the Great War broke out, Britain realized the need to protect themselves from aerial attack. In the July 8, 1914 edition of the New York Times, it was reported the British government intended to build towers, each armed with two “quick-firing guns of special design”, all along the coast and encircling naval installations as well as other particularly vulnerable points. By December 1914, the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve was manning AA guns and searchlights which were placed at nine ports. The Royal Garrison Artillery was responsible for AA defense in the field. The tactic of firing on planes was well established and the practice spread quickly as a defense against attacks from above.
Between the two World Wars, it was realized that battles would not just be fought on the ground or at sea. The air was also a battlefield. Many countries developed an Air Force to supply this need for any future confrontations. But with every tactic to secure superiority, a countermeasure is also developed and so anti-aircraft guns were seen as necessary equipment and vital for national safety as well as for protection both at sea and on the ground. After studying the effects of AA guns during the Great War, there were five major areas to work on to improve the equipment.
AA guns are still in use today but they are being replaced by missiles. The onetime best AA gun, the GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm seven-barrel Gatling gun is being replaced by new systems such as the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile which is both smaller and faster and allows for mid-flight course correction, another name for guidance. These are being thwarted by stealth technology as they need a longer flight path, something the stealth feature mitigates. Detection ranges are shorter and there is not enough time to intercept the plane – that’s if the plane is seen at all. Detection systems are then the key to success and these are also being updated. There are other ways on the books to try and halt attacks from the air. World Peace seems a distant dream.
A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack. One defends when his strength is inadequate; he attacks when it is abundant. – Sun Tzu
War, except in self-defense, is a failure of moral imagination. – Bill Moyers
The best missile defense system of all would be a just and lasting peace. – Hillary Rodham Clinton
Also on this day: Meet the Flintstones – In 1960, The Flintstones came to prime time television.
FBI HQ – In 1975, The J. Edgar Hoover Building was dedicated.
Farm Work – In 1962, the first meeting of the National Farm Workers Association took place.
Magic – In 1791, The Magic Flute premiered.
Rebellion – In 1955, James Dean died.
September 29, 1940: A mid-air collision takes place over Brocklesby, New South Wales. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) opened a flight training school in July 1940 to train pilots for combat during World War II. No. 2 Service Flying Training School was based at RAAF Station Forest Hill near Wagga Wagga, NSW. At the time, pilots were being trained on Avro Ansons, a British twin-engined aircraft use throughout the British Empire by their forces. The planes were primarily used for training and on this day, two planes took off from the base for a cross-country training exercise.
Tail number N4876 was piloted by Leonard Fuller (22) and Menzies Sinclair (27) was navigator. The second plane, tail number L9162, was piloted by Jack Hewson (19) with Hugh Fraser (27) as navigator. All men were classified as Leading Aircraftmen. The planes were to travel to Corowa, then to Narrandera, and then return to Forest Hill. They were at an altitude of 1,000 feet and making a banking turn when Fuller lost sight of Hewson’s aircraft which was beneath him. They collided in mid-air. It was described as a grinding crash and bang. The propellers struck each other and bit into the engine cowlings. The two planes remained wedged together with the lower plane’s turrets rammed into the upper plane’s left wing root.
Both engines on the upper plane were knocked out. The lower plane’s engines were working at full power. Fuller, the pilot of the upper plane, was able to control both planes with his ailerons and flaps and began looking for a place to attempt a landing. Both navigators were able to bail out immediately. Hewson, the pilot in the lower plane, had been injured during the impact but he, too, managed to bail. Fuller flew about five miles after the collision before he was able to find a large field where he managed to set down the two planes. The planes slid along the bumpy grass for about 200 yards before coming to stop. Fuller proclaimed the landing had been better than those he had been able to make the day before when practicing at the airfield.
The accident made the news worldwide and Fuller was honored as a hero. Not only did he keep the planes from crashing and causing harm to those on the ground, but he managed to save about £40,000 in military hardware as the top plane was able to be removed and returned to service. The lower plane was used as an instructional airframe. Hewson’s injury was treated and he returned to service and was discharged in 1946. Sinclair survived the war, Fraser and his crew were killed on January 1, 1942 during another training exercise. Fuller became a decorated pilot and after seeing action and was posted back home as a flying instructor. He died on March 18, 1944 when his bike collided with a bus.
Well, sir, I did everything we’ve been told to do in a forced landing—land as close as possible to habitation or a farmhouse and, if possible, land into the wind. I did all that. There’s the farmhouse, and I did a couple of circuits and landed into the wind. She was pretty heavy on the controls, though! – Leonard Fuller
It’s amazing what one can do when one doesn’t know what one can’t do. – Jim Davis
Even against the greatest of odds, there is something in the human spirit — a magic blend of skill, faith, and valor — that can lift men from certain defeat to incredible victory. – Walter Lord
One of man’s most amazing self-deceptions is his pretense of having self-control while his life flies apart before his very eyes. – Vernon Howard
Also on this day: Come Up and See Me Some Time – In 1650, the first documented dating service opened in England.
Physics – In 1954, CERN was established.
The Met – In 1829, the Metropolitan Police of London was formed.
What a Headache – In 1982, the Tylenol murders began.
SEPAW – In 1966, the Chevrolet Camero was put on the market.
September 28, 1885: The Montreal smallpox riot begins. A train had been to Chicago, where a smallpox epidemic was in progress and arrived at Bonaventure Station after a stop in Toronto. The conductor was running a fever and he had blisters on his hands and face. Smallpox is a virus and even now is difficult to treat. At the time, there was nothing to do but pray for a cure. Dr. William Hingston was Montreal’s former mayor (1875-77) and a smallpox expert. He had been involved in the epidemic of 1872-75. The virus is very easily transmitted and the disease had a high mortality rate. When the blisters affect blood vessels, the patient can hemorrhage to death. The blisters can form anywhere and left scars on those who survived. If the corneas were affected, the patient was blinded.
The need to contain the epidemic was paramount. But there were few options available. The patient needed care, but the disease was communicable. If they were brought to the hospital, they had to be quarantined or else they and their caregivers had to be quarantined at home. There was another option. A smallpox vaccine existed. Local doctors were divided as to whether or not mandatory vaccination should be carried out across the city. The vaccine was created years before and had proved effective against contracting the disease, and if already exposed, lessening the symptoms of the disease.
The vaccine was offered for free but the poor and less educated residents were loathe to submit to the public health measures. If approached, they refused. The French print newspapers and a few doctors insisted the vaccinations were unneeded. Children in a local orphanage were vaccinated but the conditions were appalling and while they didn’t contract smallpox, many became ill due to unsanitary conditions. The city was in peril. The ten day incubation period meant that people who felt fine were contagious and capable of spreading this often fatal disease. More people were getting sick and dying. Something had to be done. The authorities went to the newspapers and explained the necessity of getting a vaccine.
Explained in the papers was the treatment of smallpox patients with forced entry into a newly reopened hospital explicitly to treat smallpox. Those who refuse were taken by force. On this day, after the papers came out, the people in poorer neighborhoods began to rebel against both the forced hospitalizations and the vaccinations. They began to gather and throw stones and break windows of pharmacies and doctors’ offices where vaccines were freely available. They also attacked City Hall. Rioting continued into the night despite a strong police presence and shots fired. Compliance was impossible to enforce. About 9,000 people contracted the disease in Montreal alone. Of those, 3.234 died. More were taken ill and died in neighboring towns.
A higher rate of urgency does not imply ever-present panic, anxiety, or fear. It means a state in which complacency is virtually absent. – John Kotter
The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is. – Winston Churchill
If everything is God’s will, then so is the invention of the vaccine, just like the seatbelt. – Els Borst
Education is the vaccine for violence. – Edward James Olmos
Also on this day: Victory – In 1781, George Washington began his assault on Yorktown, the last battle of the Revolutionary War.
Hostage Taking – In 1975, the Spaghetti House siege began.
Black Sox – In 1920, eight Chicago White Sox players were indicted.
Races – In 1919, the Omaha Race Riots began.
Nice Guys Finish Last – In 935, Good King Wenceslaus was killed.
September 27, 1777: The city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the capital of the United States for one day. The town was originally called Hickory Town but the name was changed when John Wright renamed it after Lancaster in England. The city’s symbol is the red rose as is the House of Lancaster. The colonial town was part of the 1682 Penn’s Woods Charter. It was laid out by James Hamilton in 1734, was incorporated as a borough in 1742, and incorporated as a city in 1818. And during the American Revolutionary War it became the capital of the fledgling country when Philadelphia was captured by the British and the Continental Congress fled there. The next day, they moved even farther afield and went to York, Pennsylvania.
In 1799, Lancaster became the capital of Pennsylvania and remained so until 1812 when it was moved to Harrisburg. Although Harrisburg remains the capital today and is larger in area (11.4 compared to 7.9 square miles), Lancaster has a larger population (59,322 compared to 49,528). The first paved road in the US was the former Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike and it remains today as part of US Route 30. The paved road opened in 1795 and had been designed by John Loudon McAdam and it was there that asphalt was called macadam. The city is also famous for its Lancaster County Prison which was built in 1851 and is still in use today. It was the site for public hangings until 1912. The prison was styled after the Lancaster Castle in England.
After its brief stint as national capital, the borough became an iron-foundry center. Two of the most important items used by those settlers out west were made in Lancaster. The first was the Conestoga wagon named for the Conestoga River which runs through Lancaster and the second was the Pennsylvania long rifle. William Henry was the gun’s designer, but he went on to other ventures and was a US Congressman and a leader during the Revolutionary War. Meriwether Lewis came to Lancaster before he and Clark began their momentous journey. He came to study with Andrew Ellicott, a famous surveyor, in order to learn how to plot latitude and longitude. Woolworth opened his first successful five and dime store in Lancaster.
Lancaster’s economic base has shifted. Shopping has become a major source of revenue as gentrification spreads and a series of specialty shops, boutiques, bars, and clubs have opened downtown. “Gallery Row” was opened in 2005 and has led the city to be a destination spot for those interested in art. Unused polluted areas are also being given a facelift and the old brownfields are being turned into parks and playing fields. The largest employer remains Lancaster General Hospital. The Mayor is Rick Gray. While the city itself is small, the metro area covers 802 square miles and has about a half million people living there.
Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever. – Napoleon Bonaparte
Mark how fleeting and paltry is the estate of man: yesterday in embryo, tomorrow a mummy or ashes. So for the hair’s breadth of time assigned to thee live rationally, and part with life cheerfully, as drops the ripe olive, extolling the season that bore it and the tree that matured it. – Marcus Aurelius
The glory that goes with wealth is fleeting and fragile; virtue is a possession glorious and eternal. – Sallust
How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks. – Dorothy L. Sayers
Also on this day: Tonight – In 1954, the Tonight show premiered.
Jesuits – In 1540, the Society of Jesus was formed.
Liberty Ship – In 1941, the SS Patrick Henry launched.
Aquarius – In 1968, Hair opened in London.
Help Wanted – Again – In 1590, Pope Urban VII died.
* “Lancaster Pennsylvania downtown” by Randolph Carney – japanese. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lancaster_Pennsylvania_downtown.jpg#/media/File:Lancaster_Pennsylvania_downtown.jpg