1879 (The People's Chronology)
French Republicans gain 58 seats in the January 5 senatorial elections but face a hostile majority in the senate and chamber. President MacMahon resigns January 30 with 1 year of his 7-year term still left to go, and is succeeded by Conservative Republican Jules Grévy, 71.
Former Spanish prime minister and regent Baldomero Esparto, principe de Vergara, dies at Logroño January 8 at age 85.
Irish home rule advocate Sir Isaac Butt dies of a stroke at his Dublin home May 5 at age 65, but the Irish Land League founded at Dublin October 21 campaigns for independence from Britain (see 1870). Nationalist Michael Davitt, 33, lost his right arm in a cotton-mill accident at age 11, was sent to Dartmoor Prison at age 24 on treason-felony charges that he arranged to ship arms into Ireland, and has recently returned from visiting his American-born mother and his siblings in the United States. The Land League's president is Protestant landowner and nationalist Charles Stewart Parnell, 33, a member of Parliament since 1875 whose mother is American, and its chief objectives are to provide tenants with fair rents, fixed tenure, and free sale, with the ultimate objective of letting farmers own their own land (see 1880).
An Austro-German alliance treaty signed October 7 has been engineered by Germany's "Iron Chancellor" Bismarck after more than a year of tension between Berlin and St. Petersburg. Former Prussian Army officer Albrecht T. E. graf von Roon has died at Berlin February 23 at age 75. The treaty promising mutual support in the event of an attack by Russia on either country will be renewed periodically until 1918.
The Zulu nation founded by Shaka in 1816 ends in a bloodbath as British breech-loading rifles kill some 8,000 Zulu warriors and wound more than 16,000 while 76 British officers and 1,007 men are killed in action, 17 officers and 330 men killed by disease, 99 officers and 1,286 men invalided home, 37 officers and 206 men wounded, nearly 1,000 Natal Xhosa corpsmen killed. The British forces have been commanded by General Frederic Augustus Thesiger, 51, 2nd Baron Chelmsford, the Zulu by Cetshwayo, 51, whose father was a half brother of the late Shaka. The Zulu War ends only after an incredible stand by the British March 29 at Rorke's Drift, where 140 soldiers0 of them incapacitatedold off 4,000 Zulu armed with spears and some rifles. Eleven Victoria Crosses (a record for any single action) will be awarded to the heroes of Rorke's Drift, but later the same day the British lose 895 out of a force of 950 plus some 550 Xhosa allies in an attack by Zulu warriors at Isandhlwana. France's Prince Imperial Louis, 23, has accompanied the British in Zululand and is killed June 2 by a Zulu assegai (spear). French Anglophobes charge that the prospective Napoleon IV was killed with the connivance of Queen Victoria. The Zulu king Cetshwayo is captured by the British August 20 and sent in ill-fitting European clothes to Cape Town. Zululand is divided into 13 separate kingdoms whose territory will eventually be absorbed in large part by Natal.
Boers in South Africa organize the anti-British Afrikaner Bund under the leadership of pastor Stephanus Jacobus Du Toit, now 32 (see 1875). It will be the Cape Colony's most important Boer political party by 1884.
The Ottoman sultan deposes his Egyptian khedive Ismail June 25 under pressure from the European powers after 16 years of profligate rule. British diplomat Evelyn Baring, 38, of the banking family, went to Egypt 2 years ago as representative of investors who held Egyptian bonds and was dismayed at the state of the country's finances; he is invited to return as British controller of the Egyptian debt. Ismail is succeeded by his son Tewfik, 27, who will rule until 1892 (see 1880).
The Afghan emir Sher Ali dies in February and is succeeded by his son Mohammed Yakub, 29, who last year signed a treaty of friendship with Russia. The Afghans repulse a mission sent by the viceroy of India, whereupon the British send an army under the command of Cawnpore (India)-born Gen. Frederick Sleigh "Little Bobs" Roberts, 48, who distinguished himself in suppressing the Indian Mutiny of 1857 to 1858. Under terms of the Treaty of Gandamak forced upon him in April, Yakub cedes his country's foreign policy to Britain and allows the British to occupy the Khyber Pass on condition that they pay an annual subsidy of £60,000; but while some British colonial authorities favor withdrawal to the Indus River, others push for an advance from Kabul through Ghazni to Kandahar. The Afghans rise against the British September 3, the British envoy Sir Louis Cavagnari and his escort are murdered, General Roberts returns and hangs some Afghans in punishment, British troops advance on Kabul, and they take it October 12. Yakub is forced to abdicate October 19, and he is succeeded by his 49-year-old cousin Abdur Rahman, who will gain recognition in 1880 and reign until 1901, playing off the British against the Russians. Roberts is besieged at Kabul, another British force in southern Afghanistan is nearly annihilated, but Roberts manages to withdraw his forces to the British fortress at Kandahar (see 1880).
Yorkshire-born New Zealand politician John Hall, 54, takes office as prime minister with a small majority and works to secure voting rights for all men, regardless of whether or not they own property. He will serve until 1882, reluctantly ordering the arrest of a leading Maori chief with whom negotiations have failed.
The War of the Pacific begins February 14 as Chilean troops occupy Antofagasta (see 1878). Bolivia proclaims a state of war, Peru refuses to guarantee neutrality, the United States is unsuccessful in its attempts at mediation, and Chilean forces proceed to occupy the entire Bolivian coast (see 1884).
A second Cuban rebellion against Spain begins in August as Calixto García mounts a makeshift insurgent army (see 1878). Superior Spanish forces will put down La Guerra Chiquita (The Little War) by the fall of next year (see 1894; human rights, 1886).
Former Confederate Army general John Bell Hood dies in poverty at New Orleans August 30 at age 58; Admiral Hiram Paulding, U.S. Navy (ret.), at his farm near Huntington, New York, October 20 at age 80; former Union Army general Joseph Hooker at Garden City, New York, October 31 at age 64.
Human Rights, Social Justice
Congress gives women the right to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court and upstate New York-born lawyer Belva Ann Lockwood (née Burnett) does so March 3. Now 48, her second husband died 2 years ago at age 73; she has previously been denied a petition to plead a case in the high court on the basis of custom but has persuaded sympathetic congressmen to support a measure, insisting that if women have the right to practice law they are entitled to pursue legal matters to the country's highest courts.
Major John Wesley Powell appoints Pennsylvania-born Smithsonian Institution ethnologist Frank Hamilton Cushing, 21, to the Bureau of American Ethnology and takes him on an expedition to Arizona Territory, where he will live with a leader of the Zuni Pueblo in the Salt River Valley in order to gain a fuller understanding of the tribe's crafts, customs, daily life, and religion.
Ute tribesmen at the White River Reservation in Colorado murder Indian agent Nathan C. Meeker and other whites September 29. Dead at age 62, Meeker had been trying to get the Ute to adopt the white man's notions of land ownership and agriculture.
Social reformer Angelina Grimké dies at Hyde Park, outside Boston, October 26 at age 74.
A large exodus of Southern blacks to Kansas begins as restrictions against former slaves increase in states of the old Confederacy. Black migrants to Kansas early in this decade have founded the town of Nicodemus (and some have become cowboys), but their numbers have been insignificant as compared with the 6,000 freed people from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, who respond to the leadership of Henry Adams and Benjamin "Pap" Singleton, who have selected Kansas because few blacks can afford the transportation to Liberia. Rumors (unfounded) have spread that the federal government has set the entire state of Kansas aside as a black enclave and will pay each family that moves there $500, but while many blacks remember John Brown and regard Kansas as a modern Canaan, and those who cannot afford boat or railroad fare walk all the way, Southern whites resist their departure lest there be a labor shortage.
New York-born explorer George Washington De Long, 34, embarks from San Francisco in July aboard the Jeanette with a view to reaching the North Pole. Having served on a polar expedition that sailed around Greenland 6 years ago, he heads toward Wrangel Island (which many believe is a large land mass extending northward to the pole; see 1824), sails through the Bering Strait, but becomes trapped in the pack ice east of Wrangel September 5. New York-born naval engineer George W. (Wallace) Melville, 38, uses ingenious means to keep the vessel afloat (but see 1881).
U.S. specie (gold and silver) payments resume January 1 for the first time since the end of 1861. Leadville, Colorado, becomes the world's largest silver camp with more than 30 producing mines, 10 large smelters, and an output of nearly $15 million (see 1874; Bland-Allison Act, 1878).
The Arrears of Pension Act approved by Congress January 25 provides for retroactive payments to Civil War veterans.
Germany's policy of free trade ends July 13 with a new protective tariff law. German industry has been depressed since the financial crisis of 1873 with its ensuing recession, imports from foreign producers have hurt German agriculture, and protectionism will spur development of German industry, transportation, and foreign trade (see 1914).
The Provincial Miners' Association founded secretly in August by coal workers at Springhill, Nova Scotia, is the first trade union to be organized in North America (see energy [explosion], 1891).
The U.S. economic contraction that began in 1873 finally ends, and an era of finance capitalism that will last for more than half a century begins as immigration, industrialization, and railroad construction fuel a new boom. The United States will overtake Britain as the world's largest manufacturer by 1900, but in that period there will be six expansions, six recessions, and the nation will never have more than 3 years without a recession (see financial panic, 1893).
Progress and Poverty by Philadelphia-born New York economist Henry George, 40, points out that while America has become richer and richer most Americans have become poorer and poorer. Since land values represent monopoly power, says George, a "single tax" should be imposed on landowners that would provide all the revenue needed by government and would free industry from taxes (see Boisguilbert, 1705). George has met with Michael Davitt on the Irish nationalist's visit to America.
Aetna Life Insurance Company is founded at Hartford, Connecticut, with Morgan Gardner Bulkeley, 42, as its first president.
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York begins offering small policies for wage-earners and pioneers mass insurance coverage in an age of high mortality (see 1868). Agents collect small weekly premiums in cash from the working classes who most need insurance protection. The company will attract 554 English agents who will emigrate with their families, and within 3 years Metropolitan Life will have increased the number of its district offices from three to 50 (see real estate [Tower], 1909).
London banker (and first Jewish M.P.) Lionel Nathan Rothschild dies June 2 at age 70; financier Daniel Drew in obscurity at New York September 18 at age 82, having gone bankrupt in 1876 after contributing handsomely to the Methodist Church and establishing the Drew Theological Seminary at Madison, N.J., and the Drew Seminary for Young Ladies at his native Carmel, N.Y.; English industrialist and reformer Titus Salt dies at Bradford December 29 at age 76, having given away most of his once vast fortune to worthy causes.
F. W. Woolworth Company has its beginnings at Watertown, New York, where store clerk Frank Winfield Woolworth, 27, persuades his employer to install a counter at which all goods are priced at 5¢. He then induces one of the firm's principals to lend him $400 with which to open a Utica store at which all items are priced at 5¢. The store fails in 3 months, but the same partner stakes Woolworth to try a five-and-dime store at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which opens June 21 and proves successful. Stores opened by Woolworth at Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and York, Pennsylvania, and at Newark, New Jersey, will have indifferent success, but when he opens five-and-dimes at Buffalo, Erie, Scranton, and some other cities Woolworth will tap the low-income market and begin to build a worldwide chain of open-shelf, self-service stores that will employ thousands of women.
The May Company is founded at Leadville, Colorado, by German-born merchant David May, 26, who has left his Hartford City, Indiana, clothing-store job with $25,000 and gone west to seek a cure for his asthma. Starting with a store of board framework covered with muslin, May sells out his stock within a few weeks as Leadville booms overnight from a town of 500 to one of 25,000 in the wake of the 1874 silver strike (see Denver store, 1888).
Philadelphia merchant John Wanamaker places the first full-page U.S. department store newspaper advertisement.
National Cash Register (NCR) has its beginnings in a register patented November 4 by Dayton, Ohio, saloon-keeper James J. "Jake" Ritty, whose health has been undermined by anxiety over his bartenders' pilfering. Ritty took a sea voyage to Europe to recover and was inspired by a recording device on the steamship marking the revolutions of the vessel's propeller and giving its officers a complete and accurate daily record of the ship's speed. "Ritty's Incorruptible Cashier" in its first version merely registers the amount of each cash transaction on a dial, but a second model elevates a small plate to display the amounts so that both clerk and customer may see it. The inventor and his brother will develop an improved model that records each day's transactions on a paper roll that can be checked by a store owner against the amount of cash in the cashbox, Ritty and John Birch will receive a patent on the new register January 30, 1883, but manufacturing it will prove too big a job and Ritty will sell his business and patent rights for $1,001 (see Patterson, 1884).
Sir Joseph Swan demonstrates a carbon-filament light bulb to 700 people at Newcastle-upon-Tyne February 5 while Thomas A. Edison experiments with filaments of platinum, carbonized paper, bamboo thread, and other substances (see 1878). The incandescent bulb demonstrated by Edison October 21 has a loop of cotton thread impregnated with lamp black and baked for hours in a carbonizing oven. Developed with help from 26-year-old College of New Jersey (Princeton) graduate Frances R. (Robbins) Upton, who joined Edison's laboratory in December of last year after obtaining his master's degree in science, this vacuum light bulb employs glass from the Corning Glass Works and is much like the one pioneered by German chemist Herman Sprengel in 1865; after it has burned for 45 hours Edison is sure it will burn for at least 100. Granted a U.S. patent (#223,898) November 1, the bulb is announced December 21. Edison Electric Company stock soars, and the inventor says that electricity will make lighting so cheap that only the rich will be able to afford candles. But candlewax, whale oil, coal oil, coal gas, and kerosene will continue to light the world until the development of dynamos, fuses, and sockets (see 1880; 1882).
Cleveland and San Francisco install streetlighting systems that employ arc-lamps created by Euclid, Ohio-born inventor Charles F. (Francis) Brush, 30, who has devised a method for stabilizing the electric arc between carbon electrodes and last year used it to light Wanamaker's Department Store at Philadelphia (see 1880; Yablochkov, 1876; Paris, 1841).
Cortland, New York-born electrical wizard Elmer Ambrose Sperry, 19, invents an improved dynamo and a new type of arc lamp (see gyroscope, 1910).
The French conglomerate Thomson S.A. has its beginnings in a partnership formed at Philadelphia by English-born electrical engineer Elihu Thomson, 26, and his Virginia-born fellow high school science teacher Edwin (James) Houston, 32, who open a factory to manufacture arc-lighting equipment they have designed and patented. Their LaCrosse, Wisconsin-born student Edwin W. (Wilbur) Rice, now 17, will join them next year when they quit teaching and leave Philadelphia to join the American Electric Company of New Britain, Connecticut, which has a new plant with better capability to develop their equipment (see Thompson-Houston, 1883).
San Francisco financial interests merge four California oil wells and a refinery to create Pacific Coast Oil Company, whose production will soon go entirely to John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company (see 1900) but which eventually will become Chevron Corp.
New Orleans begins to boom again after more than a decade in which accumulated silt (450 million tons per year) has made the Mississippi River impassable for ocean-going ships and made the city America's 11th busiest port instead of second. Engineer James B. Eads, now 59, persuaded Congress 5 years ago to fund a Mississippi River project to control the waterway's direction and speed of flow by means of a jetty system (Congress agreed to his proposition that he be paid $10 million if he was successful and nothing if he failed), much of his workforce has fallen victim to malaria and yellow fever, but his jetties extend 12,000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, and they have forced the river to create a channel that is 30 feet deep at its mouth, carrying sediment far out into the Gulf. Eads's work will restore the city's position as a seaport second in importance only to New York.
An International Congress of Geographical Scientists meets at Paris and votes to support a plan by Suez Canal promoter Ferdinand de Lesseps, now 74, to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. Engineers familiar with the terrain question the plan, which calls for a canal without locks, but Lesseps insists that none is needed, that the distance involved is half the length at Suez, and that problems presented by the torrential Chagres River and the Culebra cut can be solved as they arise (see 1883).
The Orient goes into service for the Peninsular & Orient Line's Australian passenger traffic. The largest ocean liner afloat except for the 26-year-old Great Eastern and the first to be lighted by electricity, the 445-foot iron vessel is a 11,500-ton single-screw steamship, but four square-rigged masts supplement her three-cylinder, 5,400-horsepower engine.
A meeting of the Canadian Institute at Toronto February 18 hears a proposal from engineer Sandford Fleming for standard time zones (see 1854). Fleming missed a train in Ireland because of confusion over time, he has been surveying possible routes for a trans-Canadian railway, and he has come to realize that the extreme length of such a railway dictates a need for standardizing time along the route. Now 51, Fleming will become known as the "father of standard time" (see U.S. railroads, 1883).
Electricity drives a railroad locomotive for the first time, at Berlin.
Gale-force winds blow down the center span of Scotland's 16-month-old Firth of Tay Bridge December 28 while a North British Railway train is crossing, 75 lives are lost, and a court of inquiry blames the disaster on inadequate supervision during construction and faulty design by English civil engineer Sir Thomas Bouch, 57, who will die next year (see Firth of Forth Bridge, 1890).
New York's steam-powered Third Avenue El reaches 129th Street 1 year after reaching 67th Street.
Lawyer George B. Selden files for a patent on a road vehicle to be powered by an internal combustion engine (see 1876; 1895; Benz, 1885).
Scottish-born Brooklyn, New York, printer Robert Gair, 40, pioneers the low-priced cardboard carton. After serving in the Union Army he set up a factory in New York's Reade Street that not only produces paper bags for grocers, department stores, millers, seedmen, and other merchants but also imprints the bags with the merchants' names. When one of his workers allows a metal rule on the press to slip up so that the paper is not only printed but cut, Gair capitalizes on the blunder and designs a metal die that uses a sharp metal rule set high to cut cardboard while blunt rules are set lower to crease the cardboard for folding into cartons. Buying a secondhand press for $30, Gair fits his rules to create a machine that can cut and crease 750 sheets per hour, each sheet providing 10 carton blanks to permit production of 7,500 cartons per hour.
Power-loom developer Erastus B. Bigelow dies at his Boston home December 6 at age 65.
"Concerning Groups of Permutable Elements" ("Uber Gruppen von Vertauschbaren elementen") by German mathematician (Ferdinand) Georg Frobenius, 29, is published in collaboration with Ludwig Stickleberger. Frobenius's work on group theory will prove useful in applications to quantum mechanics (see Planck, 1900).
Austrian physicist Josef Stefan, 44, at the University of Vienna formulates a law stating that the radiant energy of a blackbody is proportional to the fourth power of its temperature. A "blackbody" is a theoretical object that absorbs all radiation falling upon it, and Stefan's law, derived empirically, pioneers an understanding of blackbody radiation (see Wien, 1893); the law will be derived theoretically by Ludwig Boltzmann in 1884, become known as the Stefan-Boltzmann law, and give rise to the quantum idea of radiation (see Planck, 1900).
German anatomist Walther Flemming, 36, at the University of Kiel uses aniline dyes to visualize cell structures. Applying stains to cells killed at various stages of division (he will call it mitosis), he finds that a certain class of dyes reveals a threadlike material in the nucleus, and by studying a series of slides under his microscope establishes the sequence of changes that occur in the nucleus during cell division. He demonstrates that the threads (they will later be called chromosomes) shorten and appear to split longitudinally into two halves which move to opposite sides of the cell (see 1882).
Glassblower-inventor Heinrich Geissler dies at Bonn January 24 at age 64; mathematician-physicist James Clerk Maxwell at Cambridge, England, November 5 at age 47.
British physician William Murrell finds that nitroglycerin relieves the chest pains (angina pectoris) of people with heart disease (see 1768; Parry, 1799; amyl nitrate, 1867). Discovered in 1847 and used as an explosive by miners and railroad engineers digging tunnels, nitroglycerin will later be shown to give up nitric oxide, a molecule involved in the control of the smooth muscles in the walls of blood vessels, and thus serve as a vasodilator, activating other chemicals that relax, in turn, the muscles of damaged vessels and thus make it easier for the heart to obtain oxygen and pump blood through the vessels.
The gonococcus bacterium involved in the sexual transmission of gonorrhea is discovered under the microscope by German physician Albert Ludwig Siegmund Neisser, 24. Doctors generally believe that gonorrhea is endemic in women and that vaginal discharges are evidence of the disease; they dismiss suggestions that women contract gonorrheal infections from their husbands. So-called "pox" doctors who treat men for gonorrhea and syphilis often conspire with their patients to keep the men's wives and fiancées unaware of the nature of the men's illness (see 1876).
Berlin-born surgeon-urologist Maximilian Nitze, 30, pioneers modern endoscopy (see Desormeaux, 1853; Kussmaul, 1868); with help from Viennese instrument maker Josef Leiter, 49, and one of Thomas Edison's new incandescent bulbs, he constructs a cystoscope (he calls it a Blasenspiegel, or bladder mirror) for examining the inside of the urinary bladder and introducing medication into it.
Connecticut-born physician George (Miller) Beard, 40, delivers an address before the Baltimore Medical and Chirurgical Society on the subject of "American Nervousness: Its Philosophy and Treatment." He calls the new disease "neurasthenia" and says it affects particularly "brain workers" and those obliged to live under the stress of disadvantageous circumstances; it will soon become a mark of status in America, with fashionable women comparing symptoms, physicians, and health spas as they conform to the idealized view of woman as invalid. Many a woman uses neurasthenia as a way to play on her husband's sympathy, avoiding the need to satisfy his sexual demands.
"Chlorosis" affects many Western women (it combines the symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia and mild hysteria), but pulmonary tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death among both women and men in most countries. Despite evidence produced 12 years ago by Jean Antoine Villemin, tuberculosis is not considered contagious and is, in fact, romanticized: healthy women drink vinegar or eat arsenic in an effort to attain the pallor and blazing eyes of the tuberculosis victim (see 1882).
Lydia Pinkham's face appears for the first time on the label of her patented Vegetable Compound, which bears the statements, "Health of Woman is the Hope of the Race" and "Women Can Sympathize with Women" (see 1876). Her company spends $1 million per year in advertising, and the ads invite readers to write to Mrs. Pinkham (see 1881).
Russian pathologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, 30, shows with studies on dogs that the stomach produces gastric juices even without the introduction of food. Pavlov will proceed to develop the concept of acquired, or conditioned, reflex.
The Church of Christ, Scientist is chartered at Boston by Mary Baker Eddy to teach the spiritual and metaphysical system of Christian Science (see 1875; newspaper, 1908).
John Humphrey Noyes of the Oneida Community decamps for Canada June 23 after 31 years of religiously defying laws against adultery and fornication (see 1851). His community has prospered by selling traps and spoons of its own manufacture, its members have been free to have sexual relations without regard to marriage, and Noyes himself, now 67, has been the "first husband" to most of the Community's 12- and 13-year-old girls; young men and women have been expected to accept older members as sexual partners at least some of the time, women generally have had sexual relations only when and with whom they pleased and to have only as many children as suited them, couples who fell in love and stopped circulating sexually have been accused of "idolatry," and some have rebelled against the association's rules.
The encyclical "Aeterni Patris" ("Eternal Father") issued by Pope Leo XIII August 4 lends support to Thomism, the philosophy of the medieval theologian St. Thomas Aquinas, that will soon become the dominant and official viewpoint of the Church.
The White Fathers Mission established by Roman Catholic missionaries in Buganda (later part of Uganda) is the first such mission to be opened in Bantu-speaking Africa (but see 1885).
Canadians observe their first Thanksgiving Day November 6; the day will be observed on a Monday in October beginning in 1931 (see food [U.S. Thanksgiving], 1863; retail trade, 1939).
Somerville College opens at Oxford for the education of women, taking its name from the late Scottish scientific writer Mary Somerville, who died 7 years ago at age 92. Lady Margaret Hall opens at Oxford.
Radcliffe College has its beginnings in classes for women started at Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, 51, widow of the late naturalist Louis Agassiz (see 1894).
Carlisle Training and Industrial School for Indians is founded at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, by former U.S. Army officer Richard Henry Pratt, 39, who starts the first non-reservation school for Native American children and works to reshape them according to white standards (see Friends of the Indian, 1883).
Asahi Shimbun begins publication at Osaka January 25 with four pages at a lower price than the city's other four dailies. Editors can be jailed for "dangerous thoughts" under a libel law passed in 1875, but founder Ryohei Murayama will prosper.
The 12-year-old Atlanta Constitution gets a new editor: Henry W. (Woodfin) Grady, 28, has served as Atlanta correspondent for James Gordon Bennett's New York Herald and proclaimed the emergence of a "new South." State senator Evan P. (Park) Howell, now 39, bought an interest in the Constitution 3 years ago and hired Grady, who has obtained a $20,000 loan from Atlantic Cable pioneer Cyrus Field to buy a one-fourth interest; Grady will increase the paper's vitality, and his 10-year term as editor will be marked by public speeches aimed at turning Southern eyes to the future.
Former Godey's Lady's Book editor Sarah Josepha Hale dies at Philadelphia April 30 at age 90.
The world's first commercial telephone exchange opens at New Haven, Connecticut, January 28 and it publishes the world's first telephone directory February 21 with 21 listings (see 1877). California's first exchange opens at San Francisco February 17, New York State's first exchange at Albany March 18, the first in Massachusetts at Lowell April 19, the first outside the United States at Hamilton, Ontario, July 15.
New York merchants urge Bell Telephone Company to open its exchange for calls at 5 o'clock in the morning rather than 8 and to remain open later than 6 o'clock in the evening (Fulton Fish Market dealers lead the appeal).
Bell Telephone Company files suit September 12 against American Speaking Telephone Company CEO Peter A. Dowd, who heads a Western Union Company subsidiary. The purpose of the suit is to protect Alexander Graham Bell's patents against infringement by telephones based on patents issued to Elisha Gray and Thomas A. Edison.
Washington, D.C., gets its first telephones to be connected to a central switchboard December 1, linking the White House, the Capitol, the Associated Press, the Treasury Department, and the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb (later Gallaudet College). President Hayes makes the first telephone call from the White House; talking to inventor Alexander Graham Bell, he says, "Please speak more slowly."
The multiple switchboard invented by Chicago engineer Leroy B. Firman can handle 1,000 subscribers at once. Firman will receive a patent in January 1882 and assign it to Western Electric Company; it will make the telephone a commercial success, helping it to increase the number of U.S. telephone subscribers from 50,000 in 1880 to 250,000 in 1890.
French interests lay the U.S. end of a new Atlantic Cable at North Eastham, Massachusetts (see Field, 1869).
Telegraphy pioneer Sir William F. Cooke dies at Surrey June 25 at age 73.
The Union School of Stenography and Typewriting opens at New York; started by schoolteacher Mary Foot Seymour, 33, it is the first U.S. secretarial school whose students are all women. Only 5 percent of copyists, bookkeepers, accountants, and office clerks are women, but Seymour has taught herself shorthand and become a court reporter. She has hired women to transcribe her notes into longhand, but sees that it will save time if they can be transcribed directly on a typewriter. Women office workers will far outnumber men by the end of the century.
San Francisco Chronicle editor Charles De Young, now 32, shoots and kills a clergyman who has declared his candidacy for mayor and denounced De Young's candidate (De Young is removed to safety but will himself be shot dead by the mayor's son next year).
Scholar James Murray signs a contract March 1 with the Philological Society of London agreeing to edit The New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (see 1878). He issues a new, four-page appeal for volunteers to assist him in the project and builds a corrugated iron shed on the grounds of the Mill Hill School, in Middlesex, where he has been teaching (see 1884).
Nonfiction: Woman and Socialism (Die Frau und der Sozialismus) by German socialist (Ferdinand) August Bebel, 39, whose work will be translated into all leading languages. It holds capitalism responsible for woman's historic subjection to man, and while it supports feminist demands for legal and political rights it argues that complete emancipation can come only through the overthrow of the capitalist system. Class antagonisms among women, Bebel says, are mitigated somewhat by the fact that all women share certain common interests, and while they "march in separate armies" they may nevertheless "strike a united blow" in the fight for equal rights; Histoire de France by French historian Antoine (-Elisabeth-Cléophas) Dareste de la Chavanne, 58 (ninth and final volume, the first having appeared in 1865); Defence of Philosophic Doubt by Scottish-born British intellectual Arthur James Balfour, 31, who tries to show that scientific knowledge is no less dependent upon an act of faith than is theology.
Fiction: The Egoist by George Meredith; Daisy Miller by Henry James, whose novelette will be more popular during his lifetime than anything else he will write; The Red Room (Roda rummer) by Swedish novelist August Strindberg, 30; Creole Days (stories) by New Orleans writer George Washington Cable, 35, who angers Southerners with his criticism of slavery, prison conditions, and the mistreatment of blacks; "The Tar Baby" by Atlanta Constitution staff writer Uncle Remus (Joel Chandler Harris), 30, who has perfected a written form of the black dialect heard on Georgia plantations.
Poetry: The Northern Flowers (Les Fleurs boréales) and The Snow Birds (Les Oixeaux de neige) by Louis-Honoré Fréchette, who returned from Chicago to his native Lévis in 1871. The French Academy next year will award him its coveted Prix Montyon, making him the first Canadian ever to be so honored.
French-Canadian poet Octave Crémazie dies at Le Havre, France, January 16 at age 51.
Juvenile: Under the Window by English book illustrator Catherine ("Kate") Greenaway, 33, of the Illustrated London News. Her "toy-book" will popularize early 19th century costumes for childrenswear.
Painting: Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando and Les Rosiers à Wargemont by Pierre-Auguste Renoir; Vétheuil in Winter by Claude Monet; The Outer Boulevards, Snow Effect by Camille Pissarro; The Cup of Tea, Woman and Child Driving (Lydia Cassatt with a niece of Edgar Degas), Lydia in a Loge Wearing a Pearl Necklace, and Lydia Leaning on Her Arms Seated in a Loge by Mary Cassatt, who has come to admire Degas and begins exhibiting her work with the Impressionists; A la Bourse by Edgar Degas, who finds himself stuck with heavy debts left by his late father and will broaden his output to include paintings of café singers, laundry women, and prostitutes as well as ballet dancers; The Spanish Dance by Florence-born U.S. painter John Singer Sargent, 25, who visited his parents' homeland 3 years ago to obtain U.S. citizenship but quickly returned to Europe. Honoré Daumier dies at Valmondois February 11 at age 70 in a cottage given him by the late J. P. C. Corot; George Caleb Bingham dies of cholera at Kansas City July 7 at age 68.
The Chicago Art Institute is founded.
Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron dies at Kalutara, Ceylon, January 26 at age 63. She and her husband came out to Ceylon in 1875 with almost no money but with photographic equipment, two coffins, and a cow.
The Seed Dry Plate introduced by English-born St. Louis photographer Miles A. (Ainscoe) Seed, 36, is a sensitively prepared plate that can be carried anywhere, exposed, and developed later at the photographer's leisure. The dry plate will make the wet plate obsolete and reduce the use of chemicals. Seed will incorporate his dry-plate company in July 1883 and sell it in 1902 to Eastman Kodak (see Eastman, 1880).
Theater: A Doll House (or A Doll's House; Et dukkehjem) by Henrik Ibsen 1/21 at Copenhagen's Royal Theater; Hearts of Oak by actor-playwright James A. Herne (originally James Ahern), 40, and San Francisco-born playwright-producer David Belasco, 25, 3/29 at New York's Fifth Avenue Theater, with Herne, Katharine Corcoran Herne, 22 (James's wife in her New York debut). Herne has made his reputation playing with his sister-in-law Lucille Western in the tear-jerker East Lynne; he and Belasco have rewritten the play Chums adapted from Henry J. Leslie's English drama The Mariner Compass (to 4/24, but the mawkish drama will be a perennial favorite). The play's composite cast represents a departure from the stock-company system that will be obsolete by the end of the century; Ada Rehan, now 19, makes her New York debut in May in L'Assomoir and soon becomes the leading lady for Augustin Daly's repertory company, playing opposite John Drew; Massachusetts-born actor Otis Skinner, 21, makes his New York debut at Niblo's Gardens. He will play more than 325 parts in addition to many Shakespearean roles in the course of a notable career; Wives by Bronson Howard (an adaptation of a 17th century play by Molière) 10/18 at Daly's Theater, New York (Augustin Daly has converted the old Broadway Theater into a new house bearing his name); The Heart Is Not Stone (Serdtse ne kamen) by Aleksandr Ostrovsky 11/21 at St. Petersburg's Alexandrinsky Theater.
Opera: Eugen Onegin 3/29 at the Moscow Conservatory, with music by Petr Ilich Tchaikovsky, libretto from the Aleksandr Pushkin poem of 1832; Maine-born soprano Lilian Nordica (née Norton), 22, makes her debut in June at Milan singing the role of Donna Elvira in the 1787 Mozart opera Don Giovanni; The Pirates of Penzance (or The Slave of Duty) 12/31 at New York's Fifth Avenue Theater, with Gilbert and Sullivan arias that include "Model of a Modern Major-General" and "A Policeman's Lot Is Not a Happy One." (Absent any international copyright laws, some 17 productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas have been produced in America without recompense to Gilbert or Sullivan, and they have given their latest work its premiere at New York in order to obtain copyright protection [see Berne convention, 1886)].
Geneva's Grand Théâtre opens with a performance of the 1829 Rossini opera Guillaume Tell. Designed in neo-baroque style, the house has an ornate façade, nearly 1,500 seats, interior columns, pediments, and statuary, marble and crystal chandeliers, and excellent acoustics.
Dancer-choreographer August Bournonville dies at his native Copenhagen November 30 at age 74, having directed the Royal Danish Ballet for nearly 50 years.
First performances: Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra by Johannes Brahms 1/1 at Leipzig's Gewandhaus; Slavonic Dances by Czech composer Antonin Dvorák, 37, 5/16 at Prague. Dvorák won his first public acclaim 6 years ago with the patriotic hymn "Die Erben des weissen Berges;" Variations on a Roccco Theme for Cello and Orchestra by Petr Ilich Tchaikovsky 6/8 at Wiesbaden; Suite No. 1 in D major by Tchaikovsky in December at St. Petersburg.
Dictionary of Music and Musicians is published in its first edition by London musicologist-biblical scholar-civil engineer George Grove, 59.
Vaudeville: The Mulligan Guards' Ball 1/13 at New York's Théâtre Comique with Ed Harrigan and Tony Hart, who opened in a vaudeville show at Chicago's Academy of Music in mid-July of 1873 and have toured the country mocking the pretensions of men who wear military uniforms. Harrigan and Hart will dominate U.S. vaudeville until Hart dies in 1891, Dan Collyer will replace Hart, and the new team will continue for another 5 years.
Popular songs: "In The Evening by the Moonlight" by James Bland, who introduces the song with Callender's Original Georgia Minstrels and also writes "Oh Dem Golden Slippers"; "Alouette" is published for the first time in A Pocket Song Book for the Use of Students and Graduates of McGill College at Montreal.
New York's Madison Square Garden gets its name May 30 as railroad heir William K. Vanderbilt, 30, acquires the 5-year-old Gilmore's Garden, renames it, and announces that it will be used primarily as an athletic center. The Garden will be the scene of the National Horse Show beginning in 1884 and it will be acquired in 1887 by a syndicate of horse show sponsors, including financier J. P. Morgan, who will buy the Garden for $400,000 in 1890 and supplant it with a splendid structure of yellow brick and Pompeiian terra cotta designed by architect Stanford White (see 1925).
Rev. John Hartley, 30, wins in Wimbledon singles tennis play.
Ivory Soap has its origin in the White Soap introduced by Cincinnati's 52-year-old Procter & Gamble Company, whose chemists have perfected a hard, white, floating soap after an employee accidentally left a kettle running through the lunch hour and the increased agitation allowed more air than usual to become incorporated into the mix. Harley Procter, now 22, will be inspired to rename the soap Ivory while reading a psalm in church in 1882 and beginning in December of that year P&G will advertise Ivory aggressively with the slogan "99 and 44/100% pure."
Scott Paper Company is founded at Chester, Pennsylvania, where the wholesale house started by E. Irving and Clarence Scott will become a converter in 1885 and specialize in the manufacture of paper towels, paper napkins, and rolls of perforated toilet tissue (see 1890; Gayetty, 1857).
Socialite Peggy Eaton dies at her native Washington, D.C., November 8 at age 83.
Architecture, Real Estate
McKim, Mead & White is established by New York architects Charles Follen McKim, 32, William Rutherford Mead, 33, and Stanford White, 26.
France's Cathedral of St. Stephen at Limoges is completed after 603 years of construction.
New York's new St. Patrick's Cathedral is dedicated by John Cardinal McCloskey May 25 after 26 years of planning and construction. Designed in the shape of a Latin cross by James Renwick, the white marble structure is 332 feet long and 174 feet wide. It occupies a full block at the outskirts of the city on the east side of Fifth Avenue (50th Street to 51st), and it will remain the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and the seat of the Archdiocese of New York. The circular rose window above its entrance is 26 feet in diameter, its nave is 108 feet long and 48 feet wide, its sanctuary has a bronze baldachin 57 feet high, its spires will not be completed until 1888 (the north tower will hold the cathedral's 19 bells and the spires will dominate Manhattan's skyline until the 1930s), and its Lady Chapel will be added in 1906.
Congress Hall opens at Cape May, New Jersey, with more than half of its 106 rooms overlooking the Atlantic Ocean across manicured lawns. Its lobby has a black-and-white marble floor and yellow walls; ocean breezes make the hotel attractive to summer visitors.
The New York State legislature at Albany enacts a Tenement House Law that requires every apartment bedroom to have a window. The legislature expands the authority of New York City's 9-year-old Board of Health to oversee construction of tenement housing. The trade journal Plumber and Sanitary Engineer sponsored a competition last year for the best design of a tenement to fit a standard building lot measuring 100 feet by 25, the winner was New York-born architect James E. Ware, and his model "dumbbell" tenement design will quickly become the standard. Five to seven stories high, the tenements will have 14 rooms per floor, with two four-room apartments in front, two three-room apartments in back, and two toilets near the center of each floor to be shared by the tenants. The bedrooms will all have windows, but 10 of the 14 rooms will open onto air shafts only three to five feet wide, created by indenting the hallway sections of abutting tenements; little light or air will reach the apartments, and when the air shafts become filled with refuse they will become fire hazards (see 1901; Flagg, 1893).
Architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc dies at Lausanne September 17 at age 65.
The Boston park system completed to designs by Frederick Law Olmsted provides an "emerald necklace" for the city.
Detroit acquires Belle Isle in the Detroit River for $200,000 and will reclaim land to enlarge the 768-acre island into a 985-acre park.
Congress establishes the Mississippi River Commission to control flooding by means of a levee system. In the next 33 years the Commission will build 1,500 miles of levees.
Buffalo hunters kill the last of the Southern bison herd at Buffalo Springs, Texas (see Grant, 1875; North Dakota, 1883).
The U.S. Fish Commission places carp in Wisconsin lakes (see shad, 1871; salmon, 1875). The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) lives up to 25 years in the wild (up to 40 in captivity), can survive in waters above 90° F., and can even withstand freezing for short periodsowers that will help it to proliferate in U.S. inland waters, growing to weights of roughly 30 pounds and providing a new food source.
The Y. O. Ranch acquired April 13 in the Texas hill country 100 miles northwest of San Antonio will grow to encompass nearly 600,000 acres. French-born Kerrville storekeeper and Texas Ranger Charles A. (Armand) Schreiner purchases the property and will expand it some 80 miles northwest to Menard, raising longhorns and (later) Herefords. The Y. O. will remain in the Schreiner family into the 21st century but will shrink in size to fewer than 50,000 acres.
Britain has her worst harvest of the century, crops fail throughout Europe, demand for U.S. wheat raises prices, and the high prices bring prosperity to U.S. farmers, who increase their wheat acreage as railroads build new lines to give farmers easier access to markets.
Hedging of wheat stocks by trading in futures begins on the Chicago Board of Trade that was established in 1848 (see 1872; Leiter, 1897; Nonfiction [Norris], 1903).
The perfected twine binder patented by John F. Appleby February 18 answers the objections of farmers to self-binders that use metal wire (see 1872; knotting device, 1878). Further refinements will provide a twine binder that will be used with various reapers through most of the 20th century.
Cyrus McCormick's reaper sells for $1,500 in the United States, up from $150 in 1861, and there are complaints that the reaper is costlier at home than in Europe (see 1875; Northwest Alliance, 1880).
Ireland's potato crop fails again as in 1846 and the widespread hunger produces agrarian unrest.
India has a poor crop and much of the harvest is consumed by rats which will plague many districts in the next 2 years and will always consume a significant portion of the nation's grain stores. Famine continues in China.
Food And Drink
The first milk bottles appear at Brooklyn, New York, where the Echo Farms Dairy delivers milk in glass bottles instead of measuring it into the pitchers of housewives and serving-maids from barrels carried in milk wagons. Some competitors will soon follow suit (see Borden, 1885) but Boston's Hood Dairy will not use bottles until 1897.
Hungarian engineers invited to America by Cadwallader C. Washburn of Washburn, Crosby Company install steel rollers in a new Minneapolis flour mill (see 1866; Gold Medal, 1880).
Wheatena whole wheat cooked cereal is introduced by a small bakery owner on New York's Mulberry Street; the baker grinds the wheat, sells it in labeled packages, and advertises it in newspapers to compete with oatmeal (see Quaker, 1877).
Saccharin (benzosulfamide) is discovered accidentally at Baltimore's new Johns Hopkins University by New York-born chemist Ira Remsen, 33, and his German-born student Constantin Fahlberg, 29, who are investigating the reactions of a class of coal tar derivatives (toluene sulfamides). They will publish a scientific description of the new compound in February 1880 calling special attention to its sweetness. Fahlberg will file a patent claim without mention of Remsen's contribution and return to Germany, where he will obtain financial backing and organize a company to produce his noncaloric sugar substitute "saccharine"t least 300 times sweeter than sugar and a boon to diabetics (see Monsanto, 1901; Wiley, 1907; sodium cyclamate, 1937).
Thomas Lipton's British grocery store chain makes him a millionaire at age 29 (see 1871; 1890).
Swiss scientist Herman Fol observes a spermatozoan penetrating an egg, confirming Oscar Hertwig's 1875 conclusion that a single male cell performs the act of fertilization.
President Hayes vetoes an act of Congress restricting Chinese immigration, calling it a violation of the 1868 Burlingame Treaty (see Exclusion Treaty, 1880).