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article number 529
article date 04-26-2016
copyright 2016 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Our life of 1906 … Fashion, Fraud, Parlor Socialism and San Francisco Shakes.
by Mark Sullivan

From the 1930 book, Our Times, The United States 1900 – 1925. Volume III Pre-War America.

* * *

January 4. Jacob Schiff, far-sighted New York banker, member of Kuhn, Loeb and Company, predicted that if the American monetary system were not reformed, the country would "get a panic . . . compared with which the three which have preceded would be only child’s play."

For several months call-money on the New York Stock Exchange had been fluctuating between 10 and 125 per cent, a condition which, Schiff said, was "a disgrace to a civilized community."

Ex-Secretary of the Treasury Lyman G. Gage agreed "that a stunning panic will come unless something is done." The panic came, October 21, 1907. It, with warning’s such as Mr. Schiff’s, led to a movement which in 1913 resulted in the creation by Congress of the Federal Reserve System.

Jacob Schiff.

The characteristic, at that time, of our banking system, so far as it could be called a system, was that, speaking roughly, each bank stood alone. Each had to maintain within its own vaults enough reserves to meet at any time any possible call upon it by depositors.

The result was that in proportion as need for money by borrowers and business was greatest, in that proportion was the bank obliged to withhold money; the coming of panics was, in a sense, automatic.

The change wrought by the Federal Reserve System was that, again speaking roughly, the resources of all the member banks are pooled and are available to meet the needs of each.

January 17. Marshall Field, multimillionaire dry-goods merchant of Chicago, died. He was, intoned the wealth-defending New York ’Sun,’ "the first as well as the richest citizen" of Chicago. "The red-mouthed yapping at the rich spared him."

The Sun, however, did not accurately reflect the times. In Field’s life and also after his death the hundred and forty millions he left his children was one of the subjects of querying reflection by critics over the arising of financial dynasties in America.

An occasionally expressed belief of that day, often put in words by William Jennings Bryan, was that "no man could earn a million dollars honestly"— Henry Ford was not yet upon the scene, and Bryan had not amassed from his lecturing and writing the million and a quarter of dollars that he was destined to bequeath in his will in 1925.

Marshall Field.

Marshall Field’s death and Marshall Field’s fortune were taken as a text by a gilded young Socialist, Joseph Medill Patterson, scion of one of Chicago’s wealthiest families and an heir to the Chicago Tribune.

Young Patterson wrote for Collier’s Weekly a biting analysis of the sources of the Field fortune. Of the more than 10,000 persons employed by Field, he wrote, 95 per cent received $12 a week or less.

"The female sewing-machine operators, who make the clothes which are sold in the Field establishment, get $6.75 per week . . . The makers of socks and stockings are paid: finishers, $4.75 per week of fifty-nine working hours . . . knitters, $4.75 per week of fifty-nine and one-half working hours."

The New York ’Sun,’ seeing in young Patterson’s article damage to the conservative interests for which ’The Sun’ was spokesman, and being much too astute to reply directly, sardonically and most shrewdly sent a reporter to interview the young crusader’s father, Robert W. Patterson, who was known to have the orthodox views that should go with his position as editor of the Chicago Tribune and son-in-law of its late owner, Joseph Medill. The elder Patterson talked, willingly; what he said ’The Sun’ published under the head-line:


— which paternal serenity was abundantly justified when the younger Patterson came into his patrimony; became one of the owners of the Chicago Tribune as well as of the New York Daily News and the weekly Liberty, in which positions the young Socialist of 1906 was, in 1930, decidedly not a menace to the established order.

Marshall Field’s Store, Chicago.
Feminine Fashions of the Early 1900’s. Evening dress. From a photograph by Bachrach.
Feminine Fashions of the Early 1900’s. The high collar. From a photograph by Clinedinst.

January. Wealthy young gentlemen and ladies taking up Socialism, Socialism as an incident of pink teas, current prevalence of a type later denominated by Roosevelt "parlor Socialists," inspired "Mr. Dooley" to discourse, his foil being, for this one occasion, not the familiar Mr. Hennessy (who as a Celt might have lacked the patience to listen) but Mr. Dooley’s fellow saloonkeeper on the German side of the town, Mr. Schwartzmeister:

"’Twas diff’rent in the goolden days. A gr-rand chance a Socialist had thin. If annybody undherstood him he was kilt be infuryated wurrukin-men. It was a good thing f’r him that he on’y spoke German, which is a language not gin’rally known among cultivated people, Schwartzmeister.

"They used to hold their meetin’s in a cellar in Wintworth Avnoo, an’ th’ meetin’ was most always followed be an outing in th’ pathrol wagon. ’Twas wan iv th’ spoorts to go down to see th’ Brotherhood iv Man rushed off in th’ on’y Municipal Ownership conveyance we had in thim days, an’ havin’ their spectacles busted be th’ hardy an’ loyal polis.

"’Tis far different now. No cellars f’r th’ Brotherhood iv Man, but Mrs. Vanderhankerbilk give a musical soree f’r th’ ladies iv th’ Female Billyonaires Arbeiter Verein at her iligant Fifth Avnoo mansion yisterdah afthernoon. Th’ futmen were dhressed in th’ costume iv th’ Fr-rinch Rivolution, an’ tea was served in imitation bombs.

"Th’ meet-in’ was addhressed be th’ well-known Socialist leader, J. Clarence Lumley, heir to th’ Lumley millyons. This well-known prolytariat said he had become a Socialist through studyin’ his father. He cud not believe that a system was right which allowed such a man to accumylate three hundherd millyon dollars.

"He had frequently thried to inthrest this vin’rable mossback in industhreel questions, an’ all he replied was: "Get th’ money." Th’ ladies prisint cud appreciate how foolish th’ captains iv industhree are, because they were marrid to them an’ knew what they looked like in th’ mornin’.

"Th’ time had come whin a fierce blow must be sthruck f’r human freedom. In conclusion, he wud sing th’ "Marsellaisy" an’ accompany himself on a guitar. Th’ hostess followed with a few remarks. She said Socialists were not dhreamers but practical men.

"Socialism was not a question iv th’ hour, but had come to stay as an afthernoon intertainment. It was less expinsive thin bridge, an’ no wan cud call ye down f’r ladin’ out iv th’ wrong hand.

"She had made up her mind that ivrybody must do something f’r th’ cause. It was wrong f’r her to have other people wurrukin’ f’r her; an’ she intinded to free or bounce her servants an’ go to live at a hotel. She wud do her share in th’ wurruld’s wurruk, too, an’ with this in view she was takin’ lessons in minichure paintin’.

"A lady prisint asked Mr. Lumley wud large hats be worn undher Socialism.

"He answered no, but th’ more becomin’ toque; but he wud look th’ matther up in a book be Karl Marx that he undherstood was an authority on these subjects.

"Th’ meetin’ thin adjourned afther passin’ a resolution callin’ on th’ husband iv th’ hostess to go an’ jump in th’ river.

The Rural Free Delivery as it was in the first decade, before being motorized. The horse in the illustration travelled 55,000 miles, carrying the mails, before being retired in 1928.

January 25. General Joseph Wheeler died. He had fought on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War, rising to the rank of lieutenant-general and becoming at the age of twenty-eight, senior cavalry officer.

Thirty-four years after surrendering to the Union forces, Wheeler volunteered upon the opening of the war with Spain for service in the United States Army, was commissioned Major-General and led American cavalry in Cuba.

His action attracted sentimental attention as a landmark in the passing of emotions associated with the Civil War and the restoration of national unity. A few Southerners of the type called "unreconstructed" criticised him.

At his funeral in 1906 veterans of the North stood side by side with veterans of the South in tribute; over his coffin both the Stars and Stripes and the Stars and Bars were draped.

February. A characteristic whimsicality of the American press of this time was illustrated by the cumulative accretions to a bit of verse, marine in flavor:

Flo was fond of Ebenezer -
"Eb," for short, she called her beau.
Talk of "tide of love" — great Caesar !
You should see ’em, Eb and Flo.
— Cornell Widow.

Eb and Flo they stood as sponsors
When Flo’s sister was a bride,
And when bride and groom receded
They, too, went out with the tied.
— Yonkers Statesman

When their first child came, a daughter,
The nurse, for a larger fee,
Went to someone else who sought her,
Leaving Eb and Flo at sea.
— Chicago Record-Herald.

Next came triplets, heaven bless ’em !
Ebenezer looked quite grave,
Then quoth he to his Floretta,
"This looks like a tidal wave !"
— Boston Post.

The triplets now are cutting teeth,
And, alas, it hence befalls
That in Eb and Flo’s life voyage
There are many grievous squalls.
— Rex H. Lamoman.

March 1. Woodrow Wilson, president of Princeton University, addressing the North Carolina Society, asserted that "nothing has spread socialistic feeling in this country more than the use of the automobile." The reason, he elucidated, was that "to the countryman they are a picture of arrogance of wealth, with all its independence and carelessness."

President Wilson, of Princeton, and Andrew Carnegie.

Whatever of truth there may have been in Doctor Wilson’s picture of the countryman’s feeling about the automobile, he erred in assuming that to the owner of an automobile in 1906 life was all joy and irresponsibility.

The truth was synthesized in a joke first published in the New York Sun and thereafter told countless times until its point was killed, about 1913, by mechanical progress:

A physician, starting a model insane asylum, set apart one ward especially for crazy motorists. Taking a friend thru the building, he pointed out with particular pride the automobile ward and called attention to its elegant furnishings.

"But," said the friend, " the place is empty; I don’t see any patients."

"Oh, they are all under the cots fixing the slats," explained the physician.

More seriously, Woodrow Wilson was probably correct in saying that in 1906 the farmer-owner of one or two literal horses felt resentment against and envy of the possessor of twenty horse-power in the form of an automobile. In the development that came about after 1910, however, the owner of a twenty horse-power Ford felt no conscious inferiority to, or bitter envy of, the owner of an eighty horse-power Lincoln.

The spread of the automobile was a clearly recognizable emollient of caste-consciousness, a part of that immense diffusion of wealth, and that enrichment of the average man, which came during the first quarter of the twentieth century, with effects as beneficial to society as to the individual.

March 1. The president of the Dressmakers’ Association, Miss Elizabeth White, as quoted in New York City newspapers, delivered a dictum of 1906 style:

"What’s the use of having pretty shoes and then having your dress so long nobody can see them? It is quite proper to have the skirt of a white summer dress as high as six inches from the ground. The short skirts must be full, of course, and they must have underneath them a plain petticoat with a hair cloth flounce."

- (1) Eton jacket suits worn in the Spring of 1906. From "The Ladies’ Home Journal," March, 1906.
- (2) Tailored suit of dark-blue serge for the girl of 12 to 18 for the Autumn of 1907. From "The Ladies’ Home Journal," 1907.
- (3) A one-piece dress of flat crepe with box-pleated flounce. From "Vogue" May, 1930.

March 25. A business that flourished in the era preceding bobbed hair was described in a New York Sun article appearing under the caption:


Sears-Roebuck’s catalogue for 1910, taking account of the vogue in women’s hair-dressing then current, devoted several pages to advertising the various ingenious devices necessary to get the effects decreed by fashion, among them turbans, braids, cluster puffs, pompadours, hair-rolls, switches.
Walk-Over shoe, Style No. 956. In 1908 women wore high buttoned and laced shoes. Here is a Walk-Over model for that year. From "The Theatre Magazine," September, 1906.
Woman’s shoe styles 1927. From "Scribner’s Magazine," June, 1927.

April 14. Maxim Gorky, Russian author and revolutionist, arriving in New York for the purpose of interesting America in freedom for the Russian people, was received with distinguished attention from American authors under the leadership of Mark Twain, from sympathizers with liberty, and from newspapers and public.

Mark Twain. From a photograph by Underwood & Underwood. Mark Twain.

He expressed himself as overwhelmed by the warmth of his welcome and deeply impressed by the prevalence of peace and order in America unaccompanied by display of military authority.

Seven months later, in November, Gorky departed from the United States, in a state of national feeling which may best be pictured by quoting one among hundreds of similar newspaper comments: "Maxim Gorky has left us, unwept, unhonored, and, fortunately for him, unhung."

Gorky’s fall in esteem occurred soon after his arrival, when, in the midst of the homage to him, newspapers discovered, published, and republished, with an effect of hounding,* that the lady accompanying him was not his

* Oswald Garrison Villard, editor of ’The Nation,’ having read the proofs of
this paragraph in 1930, commented: "The brutality and hypocritical ferocity of the attack on Gorky can hardly be over-stated."

Though Gorky’s friends explained that the novelist’s marital status was understood in Russia and not disapproved there, the disclosure arrayed public opinion against him. He cancelled his remaining lecture engagements and contracts for newspaper articles and slipped unobtrusively away to a little cottage in the Adirondacks.

A ’New York Times’ man who had witnessed the tumultuous welcome to Gorky on his arrival as well as his very different departure wrote, sympathetically:

"He was not well when he came here; he has grown much thinner, and he has a racking cough. His leave-taking as sad. He had been received at first with such enthusiasm, and he went away so quietly. He stood on the deck of the steamer, a big, quiet, sad, patient figure."

Gorky later, in a book ’In America,’ pictured, with Slavic violence, horrors he saw awaiting the United States, among them a revolution of the unemployed who would "spring one day upon that city [New York] with hands unfettered and unrestrained, and like rapacious marauders, reduce all to dust and ashes bricks and pearls, gold and serf-flesh, the unwashed and the idiots, the churches, the dirt-poisoned hotels, and the subtle 20-floor [sic] skyscrapers . . . yes, reduce the whole city to a muckheap, a pool of stench and human blood, into the original chaos whereout it came."

Maxim Gorky.

April 18. At 5.13 A. M., in San Francisco, an earthquake unparalleled for its violence in American history, killed hundreds of people in their sleep and injured thousands. Immediately afterward, gas from broken mains, exposed electric-light wires, and overturned stoves started scores of fires; by noon whole sections of the city were ablaze.

The temblor having damaged the water system, soldiers’ attempted to stop the spread of the conflagration by razing, with dynamite, gunpowder, and artillery, the buildings in its path, among them half a mile of mansions on the city’s finest residence street.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Northeast from Powell and Post Streets toward the Jewish Synagogue. From a photograph by Underwood & Underwood.

For three days the holocaust continued, wiping out fully half the city and rendering two hundred thousand people homeless.

The country’s sympathy responded with money, food, medicines, doctors, and nurses. Congress, at the request of President Roosevelt, appropriated $2,500,000. From abroad came many offers of help; these the President declined.

The people of San Francisco faced their situation with characteristic spirit; a despatch from the city to a New York paper saying: "She’s crippled, thirsty, hungry, and broke; she has a few whole churches, only half her schoolhouses; not one French restaurant; not a theatre; she is full of people without homes, jobs or clothes; she is the worst bunged-up town that ever was.4 But the spirit of her is something to bring tears to an American’s eyes."

As a local poet put it, in a characteristic American spirit : "Where the buildings that are standing sort of blink and blindly stare . . . At the damnedest finest ruins ever gazed on anywhere."

The San Francisco Earthquake. All buildings shown in the photograph were the same day destroyed by the conflagration following the earthquake. From a photograph by Arnold Genthe, New York.

Wallace Irwin, having read in the proofs this reference to the San Francisco earthquake, wrote me:

"General Fred Funston was in command at the Presidio. When the earthquake came and the first smoke began to rise, he marched all available troops into the city at once, established martial law, and got busy. He did this on his own responsibility, without waiting for instructions from Washington.

"So the disaster was efficiently policed; and further he furnished men who could handle explosives. No one can estimate how much the city owes to his prompt and super-efficient action.

"Survivors have often told me of Funston’s dramatic entry. The disaster ; the fires rising; a series of lighter shocks ; the police inadequate in numbers ; the Fire Chief dead in his own fire house ; the people just standing round in groups as though paralyzed.

"Then, at about 8 o’clock in the morning, comes a regiment of U. S. infantry four abreast, picking its way through the debris of Market Street — and everyone woke to life."

Last of the Heretics

April 18. At Batavia, N. Y., began the trial for heresy of the Reverend Algernon Sidney Crapsey, an event which engaged the attention of the modern world as intently and, because of modern mechanisms of news dissemination, much more generally, than any of the long series of similar trials that went back through the Middle Ages to the early centuries of the Christian Church.

The historic background of the event, its arguments over points of ancient canonical law, its citations of Arius and Athanasius, the eminence of the counsel, lay and ecclesiastic, who accused and defended the whole atmosphere of a medieval religious inquisition which the trial had, interested people of all creeds and, most of all perhaps, people of no creed.

Equally wide-spread was another kind of interest, which saw the attempt to unfrock a clergyman as the oppression of an individual human being by authority and organization.

Doctor Crapsey, rector in 1906 of St. Andrew’s Protestant Episcopal Church, Rochester, N. Y., had during his early years in the ministry regarded himself as a "ritualist," as "High-Church," normal fruit of his education (at the General Theological Seminary, New York City), which had included instruction in Dogmatic Theology, Old Testament Exegesis, the Hebrew language, the Greek version of the New Testament, Church History, Ecclesiastical Law, and Liturgiology.

In the leisure of his early pastorates, however, he had explored secular literature; his temperament, naturally susceptible, had, he said later, "been influenced by the master minds of Darwin and Karl Marx," as well as by Renan, and he had become what was described, in a then new terminology of religious controversy, as a "rationalist."

The Rev. Algernon S. Crapsey. From a photograph by Dudley Howe, Rochester, N. Y. Left: At the time of his trial (1906) for heresy. Right: In 1924. Both photographs are by courtesy of the ’New York World.’

During 1905, Doctor Crapsey, whose habit was to write out his addresses a day in advance of delivery "for the most part without lifting pen from paper except to dip it in the ink,"* gave a series of talks on Sunday evenings in his church setting forth the "advanced" beliefs he held on religious doctrine.

* Doctor Crapsey, in his autobiography, twice uses this phrase to describe the expedition with which he prepared his sermons, a method he characterized in afterthought as "hazardous in the extreme" -- meaning, apparently, that if he had thought twice about it he would not have said the words that changed him from an obscure clergyman to a figure that, for a time, held the attention of the world.

One of the talks, or lectures, bore the title, suggestive of the temper of all of them, "The Commercialized Church in the Commercialized State." In the last one of the series, called "The Present State of the Church," delivered February 18, 1905, he boldly took issue with a tenet of most Christian churches except the Unitarian:

"In the light of scientific research the founder of Christianity, Jesus the son of Joseph, no longer stands apart from the common destiny of man, in life and death, but he is in all things physical like as we are, born as we are born. . . . Scientific history proves to us that the fact of his miraculous birth was unknown to himself, unknown to his mother, and unknown to the whole Christian community of the first generation."

That was an application to the New Testament of a form of interpretation currently known as "Higher Criticism." Higher criticism, the reading of the Scriptures in the light of and by the tests of modern historical knowledge and scientific hypothesis, had been applied to the chapters of Genesis and to other parts of the Old Testament, without great offense to, or at least with tolerance upon the part of, many church authorities.

"Doctor Crapsey’s lectures, published as a book under the title "Religion and Politics," became a part of his offense."

Crapsey’s application of the new criticism to the Biblical account of the birth of Christ created a furor; the lecture, "reproduced in whole or in part by nearly every paper in the United States . . . [and] telegraphed almost in full to England," led to an outburst of excited sermons and indignant editorial comment in every part of the Christian world.

Doctor Crapsey’s bishop "made an immediate demand upon me that I either repudiate what had been published as my utterance, or I should make formal retraction." Crapsey refused.

After indictment by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Western New York, Crapsey’s trial before an ecclesiastical court of five clergymen, opening in the parish-home of a church in the quiet country town of Batavia, was transferred, for the better accommodation of newspapermen and the crowds of curious, to the county court-house.

Crapsey’s lay counsel included two men distinguished throughout the country as lawyers, scholars and public figures — Edward M. Shepard, once a reform Democratic candidate for mayor of Greater New York, often suggested as Democratic candidate for the Presidency, author of a biography of Martin Van Buren; and James Breck Perkins, member of Congress and author of several French histories, among them, "France Under Richelieu and Mazarin."

Crapsey’s ecclesiastical counsel included Doctor Elwood Worcester of Boston and Doctor Samuel McComb. For the accusers, the ecclesiastical counsel was Doctor Francis J. Hall, Professor of Dogmatic Theology in the Western Theological Seminary.

Lay counsel for the prosecution included John Lord O’Brien, a distinguished lawyer and public official of Buffalo, N. Y. One of the lawyers for the Church, in making the opening address for the prosecution, said:

"All we hear of this defendant is most lovely and Christ-like, but that makes his crime all the greater; he, an officer of his church, in his official capacity, denies the fundamental doctrines of his church, in his pulpit he denies the creed; for this offense we demand from this court a verdict of guilty, with the consequences that follow."

The judgment of the court was, in effect, that it could not "permit a clergyman of the church to use the pulpit of the church to defame the creed of the church." The decision, sustained by the Court of Review, was followed by the formal ceremonial of deposal on December 5, 1906.

The public, following the case, did not distinguish between two questions, whether Christ was or was not divinely conceived, and whether an official of an organization has a right to deny fundamental principles of the organization and at the same time insist upon continuing an official.

One indignant clergyman, addressing Doctor Crapsey at a meeting, charged : "You are not basing your dogma on the infallible authority of the church, you are basing it on your own fallible reason."

SIDE NOTE: Doctor McComb, Irish by birth, provided the one touch of comedy that occurred during the trial, by saying, in a gathering prone to detect violations of nicety in language, "If it please the court, we are in the presence of three alternatives."

Doctor Crapsey and his wife, paying a quiet visit of farewell to the church where he had ministered for twenty-seven years, walked up and down the empty aisle, crying.

Most poignant of their experiences was their moving from the rectory, their home, in which their six children had been born and two had died, to a house provided for the unfrocked clergyman without cost by a generous stranger who was not a member of his church and had never seen him.

More than twenty years later, Crapsey, completing his autobiography under the title "The Last of the Heretics," wrote, with perhaps more self-pity than the circumstances need have called for : "There is no more, pitiable object than an unfrocked priest . . . if he be a married man his wife and children are the greatest sufferers; he has the glory of his martyrdom, they suffer in silence and obscurity the consequence of that martyrdom."

In the same autobiography he set down, apparently in pride, that "I was the first man in this country to publicly apply the principle of the higher criticism to the New Testament stories."

April 27. Ground was broken for Gary, a fiat city decreed by the United States Steel Corporation (and named after its head), on the shores of Lake Michigan east of Chicago.

The conditions which normally determine the planless birth and growth of cities were entirely lacking on the desolate sand plain where Gary rose; there was no harbor, no labor supply, no raw materials, no ore, no coal.

Some of these lacks were overcome, and the rest cancelled out, by careful engineering:
- a harbor slip almost a mile long was dug inland from the lake edge, wide and deep enough to permit manoeuvring by fleets of great cigar-shaped ore-carriers from the Lake Superior region;
- great foundries and steel-mills erected;
- thousands of workmen’s homes built;
- sewage, electric light, water, and gas systems installed;
- millions of cubic yards of fertile soil brought from distant places to cover the sterile sand wastes and permit the planting of grass and trees;
- a system of public-school education inaugurated which attracted wide attention and was taken as a model by other cities.

By 1930, twenty-five years after its founding, Gary had a population of almost 100,000.

Gary, Indiana, when under construction.

Harry Thaw

June 25. At 11 o’clock in the evening, on the roof of Madison Square Garden, New York City, the comedy "Mamzelle Champagne" was concluding its first performance.

A soloist had finished singing "I Could Love a Million Girls," when a young man in evening clothes left his seat near the stage and walked toward the rear of the audience. He was recognized by many as Harry Kendall Thaw, a familiar figure at first-night theatrical performances.

Sitting alone at a table was Stanford White, fifty-three years old, America’s most famous architect. Thaw drew a revolver from under his coat, held the muzzle close to White’s head, and shot him, three times. White fell to the floor, instantly dead.

Thaw walked back, holding his hands above his head and letting his revolver hang down, as if to signify to the audience that he intended to shoot no more; a fireman disarmed him. Somebody sent for a policeman, who arrested Thaw and took him, without resistance, to a near-by police station.

Harry Thaw was the scion of a Pittsburgh, Penn., coal, steel and railroad fortune, the son of William Thaw, in his lifetime a director of the Pennsylvania and other railroads, a generous endower of art and education, his money the source of fellowships in science at Harvard and Princeton Universities.

The son, Harry had long been known on Broadway as a profligate spender; in a career of some dozen years after coming of age he had left, in what was known as the "White Light" part of New York City, and in Paris as well, a wake of lurid stories and newspaper publicity about wrecked cafes, a cab-horse ridden at breakneck speed down Broadway, another horse ridden up the steps of the Union League club-house, cigars lighted with five-dollar bills, lavish entertainments of chorus girls, a dinner in Paris that had cost eight thousand dollars exclusive of costly gifts of jewelry to women guests.

The murdered man, Stanford. White, in association with his firm, McKim, Mead and White, had designed the Washington Arch, New York City, and the Columbia University Library; he had designed the buildings of the University of New York, the new buildings of the University of Virginia, the Madison Square Presbyterian Church in New York, the Detroit Savings Bank, the battle monument at West Point, the Metropolitan and Century clubhouses in New York, and the Madison Square Garden, in the tower of which he lived and upon the roof-garden of which he was murdered.

Thaw said he shot, among several reasons, to save his young wife from the elderly White’s attentions.

The circumstances leading up to the murder, the life-stories of the wastrel murderer, the voluptuary victim, and the "lady in the case," who had formerly been a chorus girl and artists’ model, as recited in literally thousands of newspaper columns with a welter of detail in which fact was interwoven with theatricality, composed for the America of the day a drama such as stage nor fiction ever provided, a Clarissa Harlowe romance with all the physiological details of eighteenth-century frankness.

For months and years the story exceeded, in the sensational quality of its climaxes, as well as in the number of persons who eagerly followed it through the press, any melodrama that went by the name of melodrama.

SIDE NOTE: The necessary limitation upon space in this history forbids amplification of Thaw’s charges against White; it forbids also mention of the partial defense of White by Richard Harding Davis — it forbids, indeed, any but the briefest epitome of the more essential details of a murder which, in the circumstances that attended it, may reasonably be described as the most sensational in the history of a country in which murders are numerous and murder trials dramatic.

Stanford White. Courtesy of the New York ’World.’

The hardly less spectacular and rather more important aspect of the Thaw case lay in the demonstration it provided, before the eyes of the public during a period covering nearly twenty years, of how long and how successfully atonement may be averted by a murderer who has much money, supplemented in this case by the practically endless financial resources of a doting mother.

Thaw was indicted for murder in the first degree, and the opening one of literally more than a score of trials and legal proceedings began January 22, 1907. The prosecutor was the District Attorney of New York County, William Travers Jerome, able as a lawyer, high in the esteem of the public, attractive and powerful in personality, resourceful and effective in his methods with juries and judges — in the Thaw case, the forces on the side of the law were much better equipped to achieve conviction than in any average murder trial.

William Travers Jerome at the time he was District Attorney. Courtesy of the New York ’World.’

On the side of Thaw, the six major counsel included one imported from San Francisco because of a Pacific Coast reputation he had built up for an emotional way he had with juries, Delphin Delmas, whose oratorical arts in the Thaw case struck the East as overdone.

Delmas told the jury that Thaw "struck for the purity of the wives and homes of America." Coining a new phrase (which instantly passed into universal use) he said Thaw had had a "brain-storm." Amplifying his plea for the benefit of the "unwritten law," Delmas invented a new category
of mental aberration — not to be called a disease because it was creditable to those who had it.

Delmas said that Thaw had shot White during a fit of "dementia Americana," a form of mental furor presumed to be confined
to persons of the male sex living between the twenty-fifth and forty-ninth parallels of latitude and between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, indigenous to the United States, where it is at all times endemic, and not to be found in less admirable nations.

The trial, after being under way for several weeks, was halted upon application by District Attorney Jerome, who asked that a commission be appointed to inquire into Thaw’s sanity. The commission pronounced Thaw sane, the trial proceeded, and the case went to the jury on April 10, 1907.

The jurors were out forty-seven hours; seven of them voted for a verdict of murder in the first degree, but they were at last compelled to report disagreement.

In the second trial, beginning January 6, 1908, Thaw’s defense relied upon a formal plea of insanity. To prove Thaw’s chronic and constitutional paranoia, his mother took the stand.

The jury, after being out twenty-five hours, reported a verdict: "Not guilty because insane." The judge committed Thaw to the State hospital for the criminal insane.

In the status Thaw now had before the law, he had been tried in a trial that had gone the full length to verdict by the jury; therefore he could never be put in jeopardy of his life again (for that crime).

He had been found insane, and as a criminal lunatic was confined in an institution for that class; but if in the future he could establish that he was not insane, or that he had recovered from his insanity, he would go free.

In this state of facts, began an extraordinary series of actions — legal, non-legal and illegal, to get Thaw out of the insane asylum. During year after year hardly a month passed without the spectacle of newspapers reeking with the beginning or the course or the end of one or another attempt in Thaw’s behalf, initiated by himself, or by his mother, or by the lawyers whose ingenuity the mother’s money was able to hire.

In only one instance — and that did not touch the courts — was there a charge of bribery or money improperly used. The frequence and persistence of Thaw’s presence in the courts was brought about by his lawyers’ taking advantage of accepted legal procedures. What Thaw had that other murderers had not was money to keep up an endless testing of the law to find a weak link, a complaisant court, an amiable jury, or a technicality.

May 6, 1908, Thaw secured a writ of habeas corpus; the court dismissed it, saying Thaw’s release would be "dangerous to the public."

June 13, 1908, he applied for transfer from the hospital for the criminal insane to the homoeopathic hospital for the insane; the court refused it.

June 29, 1908, he demanded a jury trial to determine his sanity; the court refused it.

January 4, 1909, he appealed this decision; the appellate court denied the appeal.

August 26, 1909, he carried the appeal to the highest court of New York State; this court likewise denied the appeal.

December 30, 1909, he carried his appeal to the United States Supreme Court; this court likewise, the fourth in order, denied his appeal.

Meantime, July 14, 1909, Thaw made a second use of habeas corpus; the courts dismissed it.

April 15, 1912, he made a third attempt to get free through habeas corpus, and a third time the court refused.

November 22, 191 2, Thaw gave $25,000 to a lawyer to influence public officials to obtain his release — the lawyer was tried, convicted and sentenced to prison.

March 1, 1913, Thaw a fourth time availed himself of habeas corpus, and again the court dismissed the writ.

May 15, 1913, Thaw appeared in court as a witness against the lawyer whom he had employed to bribe in his behalf, saying that he hoped by his bearing and testimony to prove to the court and to the public that he was sane.

August 17, 1913, Thaw walked through the gates of the hospital while they were open to admit a milkman, stepped into a waiting automobile, and vanished.

Two days later, being found in Canada, he began a series of proceedings under the laws of that country to resist extradition to the United States.

District Attorney Jerome, who had gone to Canada to conduct the fight to get Thaw back, was arrested — as a gambler; he had playfully thrown dice for small coins with some newspapermen.

September 1o, 1913, Thaw was deported from Canada and upon arrival in New Hampshire was arrested; in the New Hampshire courts he resisted return to the jurisdiction of New York State.

November 19, 1913, in New Hampshire, he was freed of a charge under which he was being temporarily detained, and immediately rearrested.

December 22, 1914, he was delivered to the jurisdiction of the New York courts.

Meantime, October 24, 1913, he had been indicted in New York for conspiracy, in connection with his escape from the hospital for the criminal insane.

January 25, 1915, he was back in the jurisdiction of New York, and in prison.

July 16, 1915, at the close of a jury trial on his sanity, he was declared sane and released.

April 20, 1916, he secured a divorce from his wife.

Early in 1917 he was indicted for a new crime, abducting and whipping a boy.

January 11, 1917, he was adjudged insane; for safety’s sake, as a fugitive from New York, he accepted commitment to an insane asylum in Pennsylvania.

In August, 1923, he was given a vacation from the asylum and allowed to visit his mother.

In 1924 the case against Thaw arising out of his assault on a boy was settled by his mother, out of court.

In April, 1924, he had, in Pennsylvania, another trial for his sanity. On May 20, 1924, he was finally released as sane.

Let us pass on, hastily.

July 21. Russell Sage died, aged eighty-nine.

Russell Sage. Courtesy of the New York ’World.’

"Every country village," said the New York ’Evening Post,’ "has its keen money-lender, ready to screw the last cent from his neighbors, on mortgage or note. Russell Sage was this village skinflint writ large.

"He operated in the market of the continent, but the magnitude of the enterprises in which he shared did not expand his mind or quicken his sense of responsibility.

"From the individual in his grip he relentlessly exacted the pound of flesh; and he never made even a pretense of reparation in the form of public benefactions. He wanted money; he got it; he kept it."

What ’The Evening Post’ could not know, in writing its harsh obituary, was that Sage’s entire fortune, amounting to between $60,000,000 and $80,000,000 was destined to be given by his widow to humanitarian causes.

Russell Sage’s "brown stone front" house at 506 (left) Fifth Ave., New York. Courtesy of the New York ’World.’

July 27. Secretary of State Root, addressing the Pan-American Conference of American Republics at Rio de Janeiro, made a statement of the policy of the United States toward other American countries that was destined to rank as one of the great pronouncements of American statesmen:

"We wish no victories but those of peace, no territory except our own, and no sovereignty except sovereignty over ourselves, which we deem independence.

"The smallest and weakest member of the family of nations is entitled to the respect of the greatest empire, and we deem the observance of that respect the chief guaranty of the weak against the oppression of the strong.

"We neither claim nor desire rights, privileges, or powers we do not freely concede to every American republic. We wish to increase our prosperity, expand our trade, and grow in wealth and wisdom, but our conception of, the true way to accomplish this is not to pull down others and profit by their ruin, but to help all our friends to common prosperity and to growth, that we may all become greater and stronger together.

"Within a few months for the first time the recognized possessors of every foot of soil on the American Continent can be, and I hope will be, represented with acknowledged rights as equal sovereign states at the great World’s Congress at The Hague. This will be the formal and final acceptance of the declaration that no part of the American Continent is to be deemed subject to colonization."

Elihu Root about 1903. From a photograph (C) by Clinedinst, Washington, D. C.

August 14. At Brownsville, Texas, negro soldiers of the United States Army rioted, killing and wounding several citizens. Inspector-General of the Army E. A. Garlington, a South Carolinian, investigated but failed to discover the offenders who, he said, "appeared to stand together to resist the detection of the guilty."

Garlington recommended to President Roosevelt the discharge, without honor, of every member of the three colored companies stationed at Brownsville and their debarment from re-enlistment and from employment in any capacity by the government.

Roosevelt approved Garlington’s drastic recommendations and on November 26 they were put in effect.

Immediately arose discussion, argument, vituperation. Senator Foraker of Ohio, making himself the champion of the dismissed soldiers, began a prolonged fight for their reinstatement.

Many Northern papers, some for one reason and some for another, treated the various developments in the episode with head-lines raucously critical of the President.

The negro press, in a frenzy of indignation, metaphorically turned black in the face. Said the negro New York Age:

"It is carrying into the Federal Government the demand of the Southern white devils that innocent and law-abiding black men shall help the legal authorities spy out and deliver practically to the mob black men alleged to have committed one sort of crime . . . It is an outrage upon the rights of citizens who are entitled in civil life to trial by jury and in military life to trial by court-martial . . ."

Roosevelt, sure he was right, or almost right, stuck by his guns. The criticism of him by Foraker and other public men in and out of the Senate he termed "academic"; that by newspapers he ignored.

To visitors calling to intercede for soldiers with good records among those discharged, Roosevelt said, "Show me evidence of non-participation," and promised to make exceptions to his order against reinstatement.

Congress, nearly three years later, created a court of inquiry composed of Army officers to investigate and report the names of soldiers eligible for re-enlistment. The court reported the names of fourteen innocent, all of whom re-enlisted.

August 23. Estrada Palma, President of Cuba during the four years that country had been an independent Republic, asked the United States for aid to quell a seriously threatening revolt that had grown out of a dispute over elections.

Roosevelt, a sincere friend of the Cuban people and an ardent well-wisher for the success of their experiment in self-government, held off, hoping that the quarrelling factions might settle their differences amicably.

At the end of three weeks, however, the increasingly numerous reports of burnings and lootings in various parts of the Island convinced Roosevelt that further delay was unwise, and he summoned Secretary of War Taft, Secretary of the Navy Bonaparte, and Assistant Secretary of State Bacon to Oyster Bay for a consultation.

Immediately thereafter Taft and Bacon left for Havana where, unfortunately, Taft’s tact and skill as a conciliator failed to bring the government and the revolutionists into peaceable agreement.

On September 29, one day after President Palma had resigned his office, leaving the government without an executive head, Taft reluctantly proclaimed intervention by the United States.

The revolutionists now returned to their homes and the people, once again feeling secure in their persons and property, returned to their normal ways of life. On October 12, thirteen days after he had taken over the government, Taft relinquished it to Charles E. Magoon, and himself returned to Washington.

August 29. William Jennings Bryan, arriving in New York after an eight months’ tour of the world, was met in the harbor by a delegation of his "home-folks," one of whom, James Dahlman, Mayor of Omaha, Neb., lassoed him from the deck of a tug. Crowds lining both sides of Broadway cheered him as he rode from the dock to his hotel.

Delegation of "home-folks" meeting Bryan. Mayor Dahlman of Omaha, Neb., carrying a lasso.

As an incident of his home-coming, Democratic leaders arranged an immense meeting in Madison Square Garden, at which Bryan delivered one of his best-known but least fortunate speeches, declaring that the railroads should be government owned.

October 15. The San Francisco Board of Education excluded Japanese from the public schools of that city on the ground that many of the Japanese pupils were adults and as such should not he taught in schools designed for and patronized by white children. The Board maintained a separate school for the free education of Orientals, largely attended by Koreans and Chinese, and the Japanese were invited to avail themselves of its facilities.

The Board’s action stirred angry feeling in Japan. President Roosevelt was seriously embarrassed.

Because of the peculiar construction of the American governmental system, by which the individual states retain jurisdiction over affairs within their borders, the President was powerless to do more than exert pressure upon California. He sent a member of his cabinet, Secretary of the Navy Metcalf, a Californian, to San Francisco; later Mayor Schmitz and members of the San Francisco School Board went to see Roosevelt at Washington.

After much criticism of Roosevelt by California newspapers, and much criticism of California by newspapers elsewhere in the country, a compromise was arranged providing for the admission of Japanese children to San Francisco schools, while Japan undertook by its own regulations to limit emigration of its subjects to the United States to the merchant and student classes only, preventing the coming of coolies.

November 15. Mayor Eugene Schmitz of San Francisco and "Abe" Ruef, political boss of the city, were indicted on five bills charging extortion, following exposure of sensational corruption.

The trial brought three men to national fame, Francis J. Heney, who conducted the prosecution until incapacitated by an attempt to murder him, Hiram W. Johnson, who succeeded Heney-as prosecutor, and William J. Burns, the detective who unearthed the evidence.

Other events of 1906, important, colorful, or otherwise interesting, included:

January 21. President G. Stanley Hall of Clark University, deploring a trend of the day, said that the Bible was "less read in the home than it was a few years ago; the number of children who have a fair knowledge of it is growing smaller."

January. A great new hotel in Atlantic City, the Traymore, advertised: "Completely appointed with every modern equipment; twenty-five private baths; capacity 450."

February 3. Colonel George B. M. Harvey, editor of Harper’s Weekly, at a Lotos Club dinner in honor of President Woodrow Wilson of Princeton, proposed Dr. Wilson as the next Democratic candidate for President of the United States.

February 17. Literally world-wide attention was focussed upon the wedding of Miss Alice Lee Roosevelt, eldest daughter of President Roosevelt, to Nicholas Longworth, a young Congressman from Cincinnati, Ohio, in the East Room of the White House. A color vogue associated with Miss Roosevelt, "Alice blue," was conspicuous in the aigrettes, cloak-linings, and gowns of women guests.

Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Longworth shortly after their wedding.

February 27. Professor Samuel P. Langley, distinguished scientist and pioneer in aviation experiments, died.

March 8. Six hundred Moros were killed in battle with American troops and constabulary near Jolo.

April. The United States won the Olympic Games at Athens with a score of 75 points. England was second with 41; Sweden third with 28.

May 1. The Night and Day Bank, open at all hours (except between midnight Saturday and midnight Sunday), was inaugurated.

May 21. The action of Mrs. J. B. Henderson, widow of ex-Senator Henderson of Missouri, a woman of social prominence in Washington, in emptying the contents of her wine cellar into the street, was extolled at a meeting of the Frances E. Willard Union as "a tremendous step in advance."

May 23. Edward Payson Weston, professional pedestrian 68 years old, walked from Philadelphia to New York, ninety-six miles, in twenty-three hours and thirty-one minutes, beating his own record of twenty-three hours forty-nine minutes made in 1863.

At Reno (Nev.), Joe Gans won from Battling Nelson in forty-two rounds on a foul, Sept. 3, 1906.

May 25. Contracts involving $35,000,000 were awarded by the Pennsylvania Railroad for the construction of a terminal station in New York City.

June 10. Thousands of followers of the Christian Science faith attended the dedication of the First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, one of the largest religious structures in the United States.

June 15. Roy Knabenshue’s sailing around the dome of the Capitol at Washington in his dirigible balloon caused so many Representatives and Senators to leave their desks to watch the strange sight that for an hour both Houses lacked a quorum.

June 16. President Roosevelt signed the bill granting statehood to Oklahoma and Indian Territory; "Roosevelt" he wrote with an eagle’s quill
from Oklahoma.

August 13. The Pennsylvania Railroad announced that all passenger cars going into service in the future on its lines would be of steel. The company’s wooden coaches receded to backwater branches from which they finally disappeared in 1928.

September 22. In one of the worst race riots in the history of the South a frenzied mob of white people, incensed by several recent attacks by negroes on white women, ran riot for five hours in Atlanta, killing a score of negroes and wounding hundreds more.

September 30. President Joseph F. Smith of the Mormon Church was arrested charged with living unlawfully with wives to the number of five. Not long before, said newspaper despatches, his forty-third child had been born.

October 10. Southern negroes filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission a complaint against the forcing of negroes holding interstate tickets to ride in "Jim Crow" cars.

November 15. President Roosevelt visited the city of Panama, the first occasion of an American President setting foot on foreign soil.

December 5. Jews in New York demanded that the school board prohibit Christmas compositions or instructions concerning Yuletide in public schools.

December 10. President Roosevelt was officially informed that the Norwegian Parliament had awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing the war between Russia and Japan to an end. The President announced he would donate the prize, amounting to $37,000, to the advancement of industrial peace.

Books of 1906

Books popular during 1906 included:
- "The Future of America," in which H. G. Wells entertainingly recorded observations on contemporary phases of the United States as he found it during a visit. . . .
- "The Jungle," by Upton Sinclair. . . .
- The Conquest of Canaan," by Booth Tarkington. . . .
- "White Fang," by Jack London. . . .
- "Lady Baltimore," by Owen Wister. . . .
- "The Spoilers," by Rex Beach. . . .
- "Coniston," in which Winston Churchill, departing from romance of colonial America, wrote about a New England political boss named "Jethro Bass."

The Theatre in 1906

William Vaughn Moody had beautifully written, and Henry Miller and Margaret Anglin in 1906 superbly acted, "The Great Divide," a drama of the Southwest, portraying "the rough right of might in conflict with self-righteous Puritanism," which, said John Corbin, "sets a new mark in the American drama"; another cultivated critic, James S. Metcalfe, said that "Miss Anglin has scored what seems to be a fixed position among the stars."

That judgment, as of the day, about what constituted the most important dramatic event of 1906, might be queried by an estimate made with the benefit of a quarter-century of perspective.

In influence upon the evolution of the stage and upon American thought, possibly more important was the fact that 1906 was a high tide of George Bernard Shaw. His sardonic reversal of accepted ways of thinking, his mocking impiety toward cherished traditions and reverences, his violent attacks upon familiar conventionalities, were part of a broad wave of iconoclastic influence, which included the plays of Henrik Ibsen, the influence of Darwin trickling down among the masses, and the wide-spread reading, by Americans brought up in an austere Christian religion, of an Oriental philosophy of life and death alluringly expressed in Omar Khayyam.

These and other causes accounted largely for the beginning of new ways of thought in America which, when they became common twenty years later, were incorrectly attributed to the Great War, and to subsequent and contemporary authors, such as Eugene O’Neill.

During 1906, or the dramatic season 1905-6, six plays by Shaw were on the New York stage:
- "Caesar and Cleopatra," played by Mr. Forbes-Robertson and Miss Gertrude Elliott;
- "Arms and the Man," produced and played by Arnold Daly;
- "Man and Superman," played by Robert Loraine;
- "John Bull’s Other Island" was a failure;
- "Mrs. Warren’s Profession" was denounced by newspapers and clergymen and banned by the police.

Bizarrely, "Cashel Byron’s Profession" was produced with an ex-prize-fighter, James J. Corbett, in the star part, causing a facetious critic to say that the "ex-champion had a mill with Bernard Shaw and knocked him out in three rounds."

Margaret Anglin. From the Albert Davis Collection.

Other important or interesting aspects of the stage in 1906 included the continued popularity of "The Lion and the Mouse," in which playwright Charles Klein "daringly and brilliantly dramatized, in thinly veiled form," the current popular conception — which was the melodramatic conception — of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., "unscrupulous, self-satisfied, cold-blooded man of money, who allows nothing, not even his own honor, not even a man’s life, to stand between him and his financial" purposes.

"The Lion and the Mouse," by running for two years in New York City, while four other companies played it throughout the country, made a record that, up to 1906, had not been equalled in the history of the American stage.

At continued high tide also was Maude Adams in James Barrie’s "Peter Pan"; women and children went to see it over and over — a New York seamstress was said to have sought in 47 attendances the escape from reality to illusion that "Peter Pan" provided.

Equally popular, for different reasons and to another type of audience, was "The Chorus Lady," written by James Forbes and made engaging by Rose Stahl who, as "an ill-favored but waywise and humorously right minded veteran of the musical stage standing guard over a pretty but light headed younger sister who is in the toils of a gay deceiver," gave out worldly wisdom in pungent slang:

"If a girl’s good she’s good anywhere. But, say, if you’re scrimping along on twenty per, and the next girl to you in your dressin’-room comes down to the show shop every night in a benzine wagon in ermine capes and diamonds big as oysters, it ain’t religion so much as a firm grip on home and mother that makes you sit tight an’ keep on handin’ out the frozen mit an’ the icy eye to the man behind the bank-roll."

Mme. Sarah Bernhardt, by this time a venerable actress, appearing in a repertoire of French plays (including of course "Camille"), was described gallantly by Mark Twain, then seventy, as the youngest person of his acquaintance — except himself. . .

. . . Madame Bernhardt, in gracious Gallic riposte, said that of all Americans, next to George Washington, Mark Twain was the greatest.

James O’Neill,’ having played Edmund Dantes in "Monte Cristo" 4,802 times, declared he would not appear again in that role after the close of the current season.

James O’Neill. From the Albert Davis Collection.

Mme. Alla Nazimova, who had come to America with a much-praised band
of Russian actors, played, in English, Ibsen’s "Hedda Gabler"; Mme. Nazimova "can draw herself up like a serpent, with a quick, boneless heave that begins nobody can say exactly where, until, though she is but of medium height, she seems to tower over everybody on the stage."

Alla Nazimova. From the Albert Davis Collection.

Mrs. Minnie Maddern Fiske acted in Langdon Mitchell’s "The New York Idea" — the "idea" being to follow your whim and let the divorce court do the rest, and the play following the fortunes of an off-again-on-again couple to whom New York was a city bounded on the north, east, south and west by the State of Divorce.

Miss Ruth St. Denis, a dancer, one of the most charming ever on the American stage, by her skill as well as by her "personality of chaste and exquisite grace," conveyed to audiences a height and delicacy of exaltation not exceeded by music, poetry or any other of the arts, an ecstasy that persons who had sat enraptured before her tried to express by saying it was like Mendelssohn’s songs without words.

Tall, sinuate, supple as a willow, lithe as a tuning-fork, she "suggested the vestal quite as much as the artist in flesh and fibre"; her face, poised upon her slender form, had "the delicacy of a flower, and its beauty, as of a tryst of earth and heaven." *

* The quotations are from John Corbin.

Miss St. Denis’s programme in the season of 1906 was "Hindoo dances," including "The Spirit of the Incense" and "The Snake Charmer."

Ruth St. Denis. From the Albert Davis Collection.

Mme. Yvette Guilbert sang, in costumes of the various periods, "Chansons Pompadour and DuBarry," "Chansons Crinoline," "Chansons Modernes" and "English Songs," the latter including: "Mary Was a Housemaid," "The Keys of Heaven," "The Dumb Wife Cured."

In grand opera, Geraldine Farrar made her American debut, having first, said ’The Theatre Magazine,’ "made slaves of half the population of Berlin."

Oscar Hammerstein opened in New York City, on December 3, 1906, a second opera-house, the Manhattan, rival to the Metropolitan, producing a preponderance of French and Italian operas in contrast with the Metropolitan’s emphasis upon German.

The new opera house lasted until the close of the theatrical season 1909-10, when Hammerstein sold out to the Metropolitan Company, agreeing not to produce opera again in New York City.

Geraldine Farrar as Carmen. From the Albert Davis Collection.

There had been for many years two — not two, a team, of Jewish comedians, their names as inseparably coupled as Damon and Pythias, as "Haig & Haig," as "Amos ’n’ Andy," as, indeed, "ham and eggs".

In the current talk of the day they were not "Weber and Fields" but "Weber-’n’-fields." Their jokes, the humorous stage conversations they built up, depended upon the complementary contributions of their separate personalities.

Weber, small, fat, naïve, susceptible to alarums, would sadly draw out the insides of his empty pockets, saying: "I got notdings." Such bankruptcy, tragic to Weber, was to the shrewd, slender, resourceful Fields, merely opportunity: "You got notdings, I got notdings, ve both got notdings — den ye vill form a trust."

After many years the two had a disagreement, some seriousness or other of private personality behind the facade of the public one — what it was about was the subject of far more speculation and concern in New York than the contemporary falling out of Russia and Japan.

To a distinguished scholar who was then the dramatic critic of the ’New York Sun,’ John Corbin, the separation of Weber and Fields portended tragedy, the doom of low comedy, "one of the richest gifts of the muses." Sadly Corbin reviewed the succession of racial dynasties:

"The day of the negro minstrel is long over; then came the Irish invasion and in its train Harrigan and Hart; this is the era of the Jew." And since Weber and Fields, as a team the greatest of Jewish comedians, had now gone separate ways, Mr. Corbin anxiously asked, "Is low comedy doomed?"

"The fact is," he said, "these two artists were born brothers; neither, without the other, is more than a poor fraction of himself."

In 1906 Fields, minus Weber, but supported by a company justly described as all-star, since it included Peter F. Dailey, Blanche Ring, Edna Wallace Hopper and Vernon Castle, played "About Town" and "The Great Decide" (burlesque of "The Great Divide").

Weber, minus Fields, but with a cast which included Charles A. Bigelow, Marie Dressler, Trixie Friganza and Bonnie Magin, played, in the spring of 1906, "Twiddle-Twaddle," described as "a merry-go-round of mirth, melody
and madness, in two goes."

In the fall Weber played "Dream City" — dialogue and lyrics by Edgar Smith, music by Victor Herbert — with a cast which included Cecilia Loftus, as well as Will T. Hodge in the role of "Seth Hubbs, village hackman and the oracle of Malaria Center."

In 1906:

. . . Richard Mansfield acted Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale in "The Scarlet Letter"

. . . John Drew and Margaret Illington in Arthur W. Pinero’s "His House in Order"

. . . William Gillette in a comedy-drama by himself entitled "Clarice"

. . . Mrs. Sarah Cowell Le Moyne in Browning’s "Pippa Passes," produced under the direction of Henry Miller

Henry Miller. From the Albert Davis Collection.

. . . Annie Russell as "Puck" in "A Midsummer Night’s Dream"

. . . Virginia Harned in Victorien Sardou’s "The Love Letter"

. . . James K. Hackett and Mary Mannering in "The House of Silence"

. . . Henry Miller in "Grierson’s Way" by H. V. Esmond

. . . Henrietta Crosman in "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" and in "Madeline," with a cast which included Guy Standing

. . . John Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore in "Pantaloon," a one-act play by James M. Barrie

. . . Eleanor Robson in four new plays, including "The Girl Who Has Everything" and "Nurse Marjorie" and "Susan in Search of a Husband"

. . . Viola Allen, soon to be lost to the stage, in "Cymbeline"

. . . William H. Crane in "The American Lord"

William H. Crane. From the Albert Davis Collection.

. . . Otis Skinner in "The Duel"

Otis Skinner, in "The Honor of the Family."

. . . Blanche Walsh in "The Kreutzer Sonata," which, in the original Yiddish, had already run for almost a year on the Bowery

. . . Henry Woodruff in "Brown of Harvard"

. . . Benjamin Chapin in "Lincoln," described on the programme as "a drama of life in the White House in war times" — "war times" meaning, in that period, Civil War times

. . . Nat Goodwin in "The Genius," written by William C. and Cecil de Mille

. . . Raymond Hitchcock in "The Galloper" by Richard Harding Davis

. . . Fritzi Scheff in "Mlle. Modiste"

. . . Francis Wilson in a farce called "The Mountain Climber"

. . . Montgomery and Stone in "The Red Mill"

. . . Fay Templeton in George M. Cohan’s "Forty-five Minutes from Broadway"

. . . Louis Mann and Clara Lipman in "Julie Bonbon"

. . . May Irwin, coming toward the close of her stage career, in "Mrs. Wilson, That’s All"; and Lillian Russell, likewise approaching her final exit to private life, in "Barbara’s Millions" by Paul M. Potter.

"The Man of the Hour" by George Broadhurst

. . "Brewster’s Millions" produced by Frederick Thompson and Winchell Smith

. . . "The Hypocrites" by Henry Arthur Jones, which, so said a headline of the day, "flays conventional moralities"

. . . "The Fascinating Mr. Vanderveldt" by Alfred Sutro

. . . Winston Churchill’s "The Crossing," dramatized by Louis Evans Shipman

. . . "The Man on the Box" by Harold MacGrath

. . . "The Embassy Ball," written by Augustus Thomas to fit Lawrence d’Orsay

. . . "The Rose of the Rancho" by David Belasco and Richard Walton Tully, the leading role played by Charles Richman

. . . Mrs. Edith Wharton’s "House of Mirth," dramatized by herself and Clyde Fitch

. . . "Mr. Hopkinson" by R. C. Carton, a farcical satire on greed for money in the British aristocracy

. . . A first adventure by a distinguished novelist, Winston Churchill, into playwriting, entitled "The Title Mart."

On the last day of the year, at the Herald Square Theatre, New York City, began a comedy of fantasy by B. M. Dix and E. H. Sutherland, "The Road to Yesterday."

The "B. M." stood for Beulah Marie. At that time it was thought that feminine authorship of a play was a handicap in getting the attention of the public. Mary Roberts Rinehart has told me that when she wrote her early plays she deemed it prudent to describe herself as "Roberts Reinhart."

On the other hand, Mr. Clayton Hamilton doubts if there was any wide-spread feeling that a woman could not write a successful play. Mr. Hamilton cites, as examples of women playwrights of this time or before who were in one degree or another successful, Madeline Lucette Riley, author of "An American Citizen," in which Nat Goodwin starred during the 1890’s ; and Marguerite Merrington and Rachel Crothers.

Mr. Hamilton adds, "women playwrights in America were unusual before 1900 merely because any American playwrights were unusual."

Fritzi Scheff. From the Albert Davis Collection.
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