Letters to Lucius L. Littauer, Curtis Guild, and Albion W. Tourgée, 1901
By: Theodore Roosevelt
Date: October 24, October 28, and November 8, 1901
Source: Roosevelt, Theodore. The Selected Letters of Theodore Roosevelt. H.W. Brands, ed. New York: Cooper Square, 2001, 273–274.
About the Author: Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) entered politics at age 23. Famously energetic, he held numerous positions. In 1898, he fought in the Spanish-American War with the "Rough Riders" volunteer cavalry regiment that he had formed. He was elected governor of New York that same year. In 1900, he was elected vice president of the United States. When President McKinley (served 1897–1901) was assassinated in 1901, Roosevelt became president. Serving until 1909, President Roosevelt is famous for his efforts to regulate business, break up monoplies, and conserve the nation's natural spaces. His strong foreign policy included interventions in Latin America, beginning the Panama Canal, and negotiating peace between Japan and Russia. Roosevelt ran for president in 1912 as the Progressive candidate but was defeated. Out of office, he continued to be an influential national figure and an author.
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"The Road Problem"
By: William Jennings Bryan
Source: Bryan, William Jennings. "The Road Problem." In Proceedings of the National Good Roads Convention, Held at St. Louis, Mo., April 27 to 29, 1903. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1903.
About the Author: William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925), a leading Democratic and Populist reformer, was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1896, 1900, and 1908. Most closely associated with the movement for the free coinage of silver (an inflationary strategy to ease the debt pressure on farmers), Bryan was a gifted orator, able to rouse his supporters to great passion. With the prosperity that followed the Spanish-American War (1898), Bryan's association with free silver and Midwestern agricultural interests hurt his political prestige. Nonetheless, he remained a popular and powerful Democratic leader up to his death.
In 1900, the United States had a transportation system that was the envy of the modern world. The country had nearly 200,000 miles of railroad track and plenty of rolling stock and locomotives. It was blessed with outstanding water transportation, as well. An extensive network of navigable rivers and critical canals covered much of the country. The Great...
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"What Is a Lynching?"
By: Ray Stannard Baker
Date: February 1905
Source: Baker, Ray Stannard. "What Is a Lynching? A Study of Mob Justice, South and North." McClure's Magazine 24, no. 4, February 1905, 430.
About the Author: Ray Stannard Baker (1870–1946) was a muckraking journalist, noted for his investigative articles for McClure's Magazine. He began his literary career in Chicago, joining McClure's in 1898. In 1906, Baker, along with Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell, and William Allen White, left McClure's and founded American Magazine, with which Baker remained until 1915, when he obtained a position in the administration of Woodrow Wilson (served 1913–1921). An active supporter of Wilson, Baker produced several major works on the president, including the eight-volume authorized biography Woodrow Wilson: Life and Letters, and coedited (with William Dodd) the six-volume The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson.
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"The Niagara Movement"
By: W.E.B. Du Bois
Date: September 1905
Source: DuBois, W.E.B. "The Niagara Movement." The Voice of the Negro 2, no. 9, September 1905, 619–622. Reprinted in Foner, Philip S., ed. W.E.B. Du Bois Speaks: Speeches and Addresses 1890–1919. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970, 144–149.
About the Author: William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868–1963) was a leading intellectual activist for black rights in the United States and worldwide. After receiving a doctorate from Harvard, Du Bois authored The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches (1903), which established him as a leader in the struggle for black equality. His positions were in sharp contrast to those of Booker T. Washington, the most prominent African American of the time. Du Bois was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and editor of its publication, The Crisis, from 1910 until his resignation in 1934. Increasingly radical and global in perspective, and active in African affairs for many years, Du Bois became gradually estranged from the civil rights movement in America. He renounced his U.S. citizenship and become a citizen of Ghana shortly before his death.
The hope that came...
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Emporia and New York
By: William Allen White
Source: White, William Allen. Emporia and New York. New York: Phillips, 1906.
About the Author: William Allen White (1868–1944) was born in Kansas, where he spent most of his life. He became nationally known as editor of the Emporia Gazette and as an author and contributor to national magazines and newspapers. White wrote of the virtues of small-town America while taking an active role in national Progressive politics. A close friend and supporter of President Theodore Roosevelt (served 1901–1909), White was in many ways a prototypical Progressive. An old-stock Protestant of the solid middle class, he was optimistic about the country's future and cognizant of the need for reform to ensure that the American promise was available to all citizens.
The beginning of the twentieth century was a pivotal period in American history. The country was becoming increasingly urbanized, and its prosperity was becoming more dependent on the industrial sector and less on agriculture. Nonetheless, the majority of Americans continued to live on farms and in small towns. According to the 1900 census, the population was 76 million, of which nearly 40 million lived in rural areas,...
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By: Eleanor B. Clapp
Source: Clapp, Eleanor B. The Courtesies: A Book of Etiquette for Every Day. New York: A.S. Barnes, 1906, 115; 119–127.
About the Author: Eleanor Bassett Clapp was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. From 1896 to 1911 she was an editor of McCall's Magazine. She was a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines.
Domestic servants have existed since the beginning of civilization and have been in America since the establishment of the first settlements. In an age before electricity and the many home conveniences it made possible, before permanent press clothes and prepared foods, it is difficult to imagine the effort required to run even a modest home. Whenever possible—that is, when finances would allow—help was brought in to cook, clean, launder, iron, and tend the children. No self-respecting middle-class husband would subject his spouse to the drudgery of domestic chores if he could afford to hire help.
The demand for domestic help grew rapidly after the Civil War (1861–1865) as the growing urban and suburban middle class required assistance to manage their substantial households. Women became increasingly involved in community affairs....
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"The Corner Stone Laid"
By: Miamisburg News
Date: July 15, 1909
Source: Miamisburg News, Miamisburg, Ohio, July 15, 1909.
About the Publication: The Miamisburg News issued its first paper on April 1, 1880. One of four early newspapers reporting on the small town of Miamisburg in southwestern Ohio, the News covered all significant local events. The publisher and editor, Charles Kinder, was a descendant of one of the city's oldest families, and he followed in the footsteps of his uncle, also a newspaper publisher in Ottawa, Ohio. Kinder, in addition to publishing the newspaper, was mayor and postmaster, and his motto was that "Every small city needs good streets, good libraries, first-class schools, good citizenship, in the securing of which the local newspaper can and does aid more than any other agency." Though currently owned by a different publisher, the Miamisburg News continues to report on the local events for the citizens of Miamisburg.
Andrew Carnegie is one of America's great rags-to-riches stories. The son of a handloom weaver from Scotland, Carnegie came to Allegheny, Pennsylvania, with his family in 1848 at the age of seven. Starting work at 12, Carnegie was successful in the railroad...
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The Chautauqua Movement
"Miami Valley Chautauqua Opens Friday, July 16th"; "Chautauqua"
By: Miamisburg News
Date: July 1909; July 22, 1909
Source: "Miami Valley Chautauqua Opens Friday, July 16th"; "Chautauqua." Miamisburg News, July 1909; July 22, 1909.
About the Publication: The Miamisburg News issued its first paper on April 1, 1880. One of four early newspapers reporting on the small town of Miamisburg in southwest Ohio, the News covered all significant local events. Its publisher, Charles Kinder, was a descendant of one of the city's oldest families, and he followed in the footsteps of his uncle, also a newspaper publisher in Ottawa, Ohio. Though currently owned by a different publisher, the Miamisburg News continues to report the local events for the citizens of Miamisburg.
Chautauqua is the name of a lake and county in southwest New York that became the original site of a cultural and educational phenomenon called the Chautauqua movement. The movement has three distinct components: the original site at Lake Chautauqua in New York; other Chautauqua sites located across the country, and traveling Chautauquas that first appeared in the early 1900s. All of these...
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The Anti-Saloon League Year Book
By: Anti-Saloon League
Source: Cherrington, Ernest Hurst, ed. The Anti-Saloon
League Year Book: An Encyclopedia of Facts and Figures Dealing with the Liquor Traffic and the Temperance Reform. Columbus, Ohio: The Anti-Saloon League, 1909, 31, 79–80, 125–128, 135.
About the Organization: The Anti-Saloon League was established in 1893 in Oberlin, Ohio, as a prohibition organization. It became a national association in 1895 and, along with the Women's Christian Temperance Union, led the crusade against drink that resulted in the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning the sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages in the United States. The Anti-Saloon League continued after the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1933, merging with other temperance societies in 1950 to form the National Temperance League.
The Temperance Movement began early in the nineteenth century, but did not begin to achieve national prominence until after 1825. Initially centered in New England and upstate New York, temperance was one of several major reform movements that emerged from the revivalist urge that swept that area in the 1820s and 1830s. Others included abolitionism and women's...
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Ohio Electric Railway "The Way to Go"
By: The Ohio Electric Railway Company
Date: February 1910
Source: The Ohio Electric Railway Company. Ohio Electric Railway "The Way to Go." Cincinnati: Roessler Brothers, 1910.
About the Organization: The Ohio Electric Railway Company, formed in 1907 with the consolidation of 14 smaller interurban railways, was one of Ohio's largest interurban systems. It connected Toledo, Lima, Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati, providing efficient passenger service to scores of small towns in western Ohio. The line evolved into the Cincinnati and Lake Erie Railroad and expanded its services. However, business conditions of the 1930s led to the complete replacement of interurbans with buses by 1939. The company changed its name to Cincinnati & Lake Erie Transportation, and it was absorbed by the Greyhound system in 1947.
Interurbans were electric-powered trains. From the early 1890s until the 1950s, they provided fast, efficient, middle-distance transportation (usually less than 40 miles) for millions of riders each year. Although some were pulled by freight engines, most interurbans were self-propelled passenger cars, the largest of which were comparable to standard railroad passenger cars both in design and (nearly) in...
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Sears, Roebuck Home Builder's Catalog
By: Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Source: Sears, Roebuck and Co. Sears, Roebuck Home Builder's Catalog: The Complete Illustrated 1910 Edition. New York: Dover Publications, 1990.
About the Organization: Richard W. Sears (1863–1914) founded the R.W. Sears Watch Company, a mail-order business based in Minneapolis, in 1886. Sears moved to Chicago and hired watchmaker Alvah C. Roebuck (1864–1948) in 1887. After selling the watch business, Sears and Roebuck formed a mail-order business selling general merchandise. Their famous catalog carried a broad array of modestly priced goods conveniently available to the country's farmers and villagers for the first time. The automobile, which gave rural customers much greater mobility, caused the company to rethink its sales strategy, and in 1925 Sears opened its first retail store. Within a few years the retail business passed mail-order revenues, and for most of the next fifty years Sears was the nation's largest retailer.
Housing shortages have been common throughout most of America's history. From the time the first Europeans arrived in the New World and for the next 300 years thereafter, Americans were continually moving west into unsettled...
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"Seven Years of Child Labor Reform"
By: Owen R. Lovejoy
Source: National Child Labor Committee. "Seven Years of Child Labor Reform." Uniform Child Labor Laws: Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Conference, Birmingham, Alabama, March 9–12, 1911. New York: National Child Labor Committee 1911, 31–38.
About the Author: Owen R. Lovejoy (1866–1961), minister and social worker, was one of the leading spokespersons in the opposition to child labor. Born near Grand Rapids, Michigan, Lovejoy was educated at Albion College and became a minister in 1891. He was asked to report on the conditions in the anthracite fields of eastern Pennsylvania during the 1902 coal strike, and in doing so he observed children working in the mines. In 1904, the newly formed National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) asked him to return to the area to study the conditions of child labor. As a result of that report, Lovejoy joined the NCLC and in 1907 became the organization's general secretary, a position he held until 1926. Lovejoy remained active in child labor and welfare issues until his retirement in 1937.
Child labor was a part of life in pre-industrial society. On farms children were assigned chores as soon as they were able and were expected to contribute to the...
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The House on Henry Street
Nonfiction work, Photograph
By: Lillian Wald
Source: Wald, Lillian. The House on Henry Street. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1915. Reprint, New York: Dover Publications, 1971, 57–62.
About the Author: Lillian Wald (1867–1940) was a nurse and social worker who started her career serving the downtrodden of New York's Lower East Side, establishing the Henry Street Settlement in 1895. She later became a public health official, teacher, author, editor, women's rights activist, and founder of the Visiting Nurse Society. Wald persuaded President Theodore Roosevelt (served 1901–1909) to create a Federal Children's Bureau to protect the rights of children, helped form the Women's Trade Union to protect the rights of women, and lobbied for workplace health inspections to protect the rights of workers. Her visionary social service programs have been a model for similar programs worldwide.
Urban population at the beginning of the twentieth century was increasing at an astounding rate. In the fifty years between 1870 and 1920, the population of America's towns and cities grew from ten million to fifty million. People came from America's farm communities to find work where factories were springing up rapidly....
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"Bring Playgrounds to Detroit"
By: Clara B. Arthur
Source: Arthur, Clara B. "Bring Playgrounds to Detroit." Clara B. Arthur Papers. Detroit, Mich.: Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library.
About the Author: Clara B. Arthur (1858–1929) was a prominent social activist in Detroit. Her deep concern for the welfare of women and children led to the development of visionary public programs and changes in the city's political system. An important leader of the Woman's Suffrage Movement, Arthur served as president or vice president of the Michigan Equal Suffrage Association from 1896 to 1913. She used her superior organizational skills and patient tenacity to persevere despite many early defeats. Her efforts paid off as she eventually brought playgrounds and public bath houses to Detroit, helped effect changes in labor conditions for women and children, and improved conditions for tuberculosis victims. In her retirement, she saw full suffrage for women become a reality with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.
The Playground Movement grew out of a concern, beginning in the middle 1800s, for children to have wholesome alternatives for their leisure time. Until the industrial boom following the Civil War...
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By: Francis Donovan
Date: January 5, 1939
Source: Donovan, Francis. Connecticut Clockmaker. Living Lore in New England series, Works Progress Administration. Reproduced in American Life Histories: Manuscripts From the Federal Writers' Project, 1936–1940. American Memory digital primary source collection, Library of Congress. Available online at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wpaintro/wpahome.html; website home page: http://memory.loc.gov (accessed March 11, 2003).
About the Author: Little is known about Francis Donovan, other than his participation in the Federal Writer's Project. An outgrowth of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Federal Writer's Project was an attempt to shift government subsidy of private labor to utilize skilled professionals. The other two projects supported theater and the arts. The WPA was the brainchild of its director, Harry Hopkins, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who envisioned it as a means of administering federal relief funds to the unemployed by giving them meaningful work.
The very first automobile was released in 1893, an internal-combustion vehicle introduced...
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