Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Entertainment: Backward Glances (4)

Topic: Ziegfeld Follies: Midnight Frolic (1915-1922) #1

In 1915 Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., added the Midnight Frolic atop the New Amsterdam Theatre. It was ten flights up and in the heart of Times Square. Patrons applauded with little wooden hammers, snapped balloons, raced with pogo-sticks, and talked inter-table by telephone service. Zieggy spent #30,000 weekly to run the Frolic__salaries amounted to $6,400 a week, with the stars getting $700 each; the top salary for the chorus girls was $60. A cover charge of $2 was introduced for the nine o'clock performance, and for the midnight show it was upped to $3. A special performance was presented on Lincoln's birthday at five o'clock in the afternoon, but holiday patronage was nil.

The first 1915 Frlic was called Nothing But Girls, with Norah Bayes headlining the entertainment. Flo originally intended to use only eight choice beauties in the line, but he ended up with twenty-four!

Will Rogers in 1915 and Eddie Cantor both made their Ziegfeld debuts upstairs before joining the Follies. Among others who bowed in at the Midnight Frolic were Harry Richman (as a pianist__he was to wait until 1931 when Ziegfeld produced his final Follies before he worked for him again), and Frances White, the baby-talking songstress: Cliff Edwards, Bird Millman, Evan Burrows Fontaine, Muriel Hudson, Sybil Carmen, Marion Harris, Kathlyn Martyn, Edythe Baker, Odette Myrtil, Norma Terris, Mary Hay, Princess White Deer, Yvonne Shelton, Joe Frisco, Bob LaSalle, Hal Hixon, Teddie Gerard, Georgie Price, Max Fisher's Orchestra with Earl Burnette and Charles Dornberger in the personnel, Ford Dabney and his Band, Art Hickman and his Orchestra and Mlle. Spinelly and Maurice Chevalier from Paris.

The Frolic folded in 1922__because of prohibition. It was later reopened as the Dresden Roof, but in 1923 changed back to the Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic name. It was not successful. (27)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jewish Knowledge (4)

Topic: Jewish Tid-Bits Manhattan #2

In 1825, the more rcently arrived Ashkenazim, finding the Sephardic ritual unsuited to their needs, seceded from Shearith Israel and formed Congregation B'nai Jeshurun. Then followed a series of secessions. In 1828, a number of Jews left B'nai Jeshurun to organize the Anshe Chesed synagogue. Seven years later Congregation Ohabey Zedekwas created. In 1839, some members of both B'nai Jeshurun and Anshe Chesed joined forces to form Shaarey Zedek. That same year, a group of German Jews left Anshe Chesed to round Shaarey Hashamayim, and in 1842, another body of German Jews, withdrawing from the same synagogue, organized Rodeph Sholom. The next year, Beth Israel was formed by secessionists from Shaarey Zedek. Not long afterward, the founders of B'nai Jeshurun withdrew and formed Shaarey Tefila (now the West End Synagogue).

By 1860, there were said to be 27 synagogues in New York. At this time, about half of the city's Jewish population was German, a third was Polish in origina, with the remaining sixth consisting of native Jews and those born in Bohemia, Russia, Holland, England, France, Galicia and other countries.

The immigrants formed a host of mutual aid societies, and these in turn led to the organization of lodges and fraternal orders. The Independent Order B'nai B'rith was founded in 1843 at Sinsheimer's cafe, 60 Essex Street, by a group of 12 men led by Henry Jones. Seven of these may also have been among the founders of the Cultus Verein which led to the formation of Temple Emanu-El in 1845. In 1849, the Independent order Free Sons of Israel was organized, possibly by some former members of B'nai B'rith. A decade later, the Brith Abraham arose, and in 1860, the Kesher Shel Barzel (Iron Knot) was founded.

This period also saw the birth of English-Jewish and German-Jewish journalism in the U.S. The first jewish periodical in the U.S. was THE JEW, published in New York by Solomon H. Jackson, from 1823 to 1825, as a counter-measure against Christian missionary activity. The next newspaper published for New York's Jews was a German weekly, Israel's Herold, edited by Isidor Bush. It lasted only a few months. This was followed by an English-Jewish weekly. The Asmonean, published by Robert Lyon, an English Jew. Durings its existence, from 1849 to 1858. The Asmonean built up a fairly substantial following and became the first really successful English-Jewish weekly in America. (28)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (27)

Topic: That Extra Touch

It's wondrous what a hug can do.
A hug can cheer you when you're blue.
A hug can say, "I LOVE YOU SO,"
Or, "Gee, I hate to see you go."
And, "Great to see you! Where've you been?"
A hug can soothe a small child's pain
And bring a rainbow after the rain.
The hug...There's just no doubt about it.
We scarcely could survive without it!
A hug delights and warms and charms.
It must be why God gave us arms.

Hugs are great for fathers and mothers,
Sweet for sisters, swell for brothers.
And, chances are your favorite aunts
Love them more than potted plants.
Kittens crave them. Puppies love them.
Heads of State are not above them.
A hug can break the language barrier
And make your travel so much merrier.
No need to fret about your store of 'em.
So, stretch those arms without delay,
AND GIVE SOMEONE A HUG TODAY!
Anonymous

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Aging Population

Injuries


"Osteoporosis is a decrease in bone mass and strength causing increased susceptibility to fractures. It is the major cause of bone fractures in older people, especially postmenopausal women." Statistics say that more than 11 million people over the age of 65 fall every year . Falls can cause wide-ranging consequences, decreased activity and mobility, horrendous pain, loss of independence and mental depression. Many accidents happen within the home, that is why it is important to look around your home for hazards that could lead to a fall, and correct them. Preventing falls is important at any age, but it is especially important for those who have osteoporosis, because their bones are more fragile and easily broken.

Here are a few suggestions to prevent falls.

1. Use a bath chair or stool in the shower as well as install grab bars to get into and out of the tub..
2. Avoid using slippery socks or slippers, especially on bare floors.
3. Never walk in the dark -its much safer to turn on the light.
4. Make sure all scatter rugs have skidproof backing on them or tack them to the floor.
5. Add strips of color to edge of wooden or concrete steps to enhance the visibility of each step.
6.Take your time when going up or down the stairs, and most of all get a good grip on the handrail. Also wear appropriate glasses.
7. A soap bar is the culprit for many falls in the shower stall or tub. The best thing for this is to buy soap on a rope, or put a bar of soap in a nylon stocking with one end tied to a towel bar, also put strips in the bottom of the tub and shower.
8. Make sure all extension chords are away from walk area.
9. Keep everything within reach, to avoid falls.
10.
If you are unsteady outdoors, use a cane to negotiate sidewalk cracks and curbs.
11. Have all spills cleaned up immediately.
12. Wear clothing with suitable length, so you don't trip.

Abuse of the Elderly

Abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere. Abuse of an elder can happen in their own home, in a family's home, a boarding home, or nursing home facility.Frail, debilitated older people may at times be incapable of helping themselves at all and are subjected to neglect, physical and psychological abuse as well as financial exploitation. They too are no exception in this world of violence and abuse. Perpetrators of abuse directed toward the elderly may be their own family members, professional caregivers, etc. These abuses are present at home as well as in care facilities. Rough handling, use of physical restraints, harassment, cursing, insulting, Inadequate provision of food or water, delay of medical care, Inadequate help with hygiene or bathing , forcing them to remain in their urine and feces, by not changing their diapers.

Because elderly people are sometimes unable to hear or see well or to be as forceful physically or verbally as they used to be, they are easy targets for exploitation by family members as well as their so called care-givers. Through scamming, the elder person’s bank account is depleted, credit cards abused, their Social Security checks and pension checks that come through the mail are stolen; they are forced into signing a contract that would create a financial commitment, as well as being duped into making a will which under normal conditions would not have been done that would favor the exploiter.

Dealing with an aging elderly parent is not easy, but because you love them and respect them as your parents, you hang in there and pray for wisdom. Listening to their endless stories, nonsensical or repetitive questions can truly drive you up the wall. As people age, they start to feel left out of the normal activities of their friends and family. So please as difficult as it can be, try to be patient and above all never forget to be respectful toward your aging parent. Most of all make sure they are safe. Remember you are doing for them, what they did for you when you were younger, loving you, caring for you, making sure you had a nice warm home, and so on. Though you might not think so, life is much harder for the aging population, than it is for you. So make time today to give mom , dad or your grandparents a warm hug. Don't worry if they don't understand the reason why, at least it will make you feel good.

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net

Monday, September 15, 2008

Entertainment: Backward Glances (3)

Topic: The Ballet Dancer 1872

The ballet seems at last to have found a home in New York, and to have become one of the permanent institutions of the great city. There are several hundred girls and women in New York who earn their living by dancing in the ballets of the various theatres. The ballet-girl is a dancer, and loves dancing as an art.

The ballet girl rises about eight o'clock in the morning, and is off to rehearsal by nine. A duller, more dreary sight than a rehearsal of a ballet by daylight, and in plain dress, cannot be imagined. The theatre is dark and gloomy, the stage not much lighter, and everything is in confusion. There is a smell of escaping gas in all parts of the building. Scattered about the stage are a number of girls and women in half skirts, with fleshings on their legs, and some of them with woolen hose drawn over the fleshings to keep them warm. They are terribly jaded and hollow eyed, and they seem incapable of being interested in anything. A very different set from the smiling, graceful hours of the evening before. At a given signal the music begins, and the girls commence a series of capers which seem utterly ridiculous. It is downright hard work for the girls, however; and those who are not engaged in leaping, or pirouetting, or wriggling, are leaning against the scenery and panting with fatigue. The leader of the ballet storms and swears at them, and is made frantic by every little mistake. The rehearsal occupies several hours. If there is a matinee that day, it is kept up until it is time for the girls to dress for that performance. Between the close of the matinee, and the opening of the evening performance, there is not much time for the tired girls to rest.

Upon assembling for the evening performance, the girls are dressed by a practical costumer, whose business it is to see that each one wears her costume properly. This arranged, they pass down to the painter's room, where their cheeks, ears, and nostrils are "touched up" by an artist. Their hair is dressed by another artist, and every defect of face and figure is overcome as far as is possible. Thus adorned, the dull and jaded girl of the morning becomes, under the magical influence of the footlights, a dazzling sprite, and the object of the admiration of the half-grown boys and brainless men who crowd the front rows of orchestra seats. (29)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net

Entertainment: Backward Glances (2)

Topic: The Ziegfeld Follies 1907-1914 #2

1911 marked the first time that Raymond Hubbell, Jerome Kern, and Irving Berlin were commissioned to write special music for the series. Irving Berlin's songs were "Woodman, Woodman Spare That Tree". Leon Errol was the new comedian of the season, he specialized in wobbly legs, and became a Follies favorite.

The Ziegfeld Follies continued to be in the Jardin de Paris atop the New York theatre, renamed the Ziegfeld Moulin Rouge. "Row, Row, Row" was the year's song hit. Bert Williams, now a Follies regular, was more lively than ever and this time sang "My Landlady," "You're on the Right Road But You're Going the Wrong Way," and "Blackberrying Today". From vaudeville came a new singer. Rae Samuels, who was labeled a "blue-streak personality." She'd belt out a song and for added zip would punch the scenery with her fist to send a point home.

In this 1912 edition, Gene Buck tried his hand at a big production number featuring Lillian Lorraine. It was called "Daddy Has A Sweetheart and Mother is her Name" and over $5,000 was spent for the number on costumes alone.

In 1913 the Ziegfeld Follies moved into the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd street, where it was to enjoy its greatest popularity. Ann Pennington joined Ziegfeld in 1913, an became one of his strongest dancing personalities. Dimpled knees and long tresses were her trademark. A new comic, Frank Tinney, joined the Follies that season. He was a very popular comedian of the city. Also in 1913 Flo divorced Anna Held. She said there was no point in having a marriage, with all those girls at his beck and call.

1914 was the last of the early Follies. On April 11, 1914 Billie Burke became Mrs. Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. in Hoboken, N.J.. (27)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net

Jewish Knowledge (3)

Topic: Jewish Tid-Bits Manhattan #1

The beginnings of the first Jewish congregation in North America, Congregation Shearith Israel, go back to shortly after the settlement of the first Jewish pilgrims in 1654, when the Jews, forbidden to hold public religious services, congregated in their homes. The first Jewish cemetery, no longer existent, was established in 1656. The congregation was Sephardic, and the Spanish and Portuguese Jews were in the majority for about 40 years. As early as 1695, however, the Jewish community was already about half Sephardic, half Ashkenazic, contrary to the popular belief that New York Jewry in colonial times was decidedly Sephardic. This belief may have arisen from the fact that the Sephardic ritual was maintained in the synagogue.

In 1682, the second Jewish cemetery in New York was purchased. Known as the Chatham Square Cemetery, it is the second oldest existing Jewish cemetery in the U.S. today, antedated only by the cemetery in New Port, R.I.

One of the first Jews to serve in the military in British North America was Joseph Isacks, who took part in King William's War (1689-1697). Isacks enlisted in the militia before 1690. Whether he marched north with the invaders or stayed to guard the town is not known. By trade, Isacks was a butcher, but unlike Asser Levy, the butcher of earlier years, he was not very successful.

On December 19, 1728, several leaders of the congregation acquired a small piece of land on Mill Street, and in 1730 the first synagogue building in North America was dedicated. By 1729, Ashkenazic Jews constituted a majority of the congregants, and the presidency passed into the hands of a "German" Jew, Jacob Franks, a prominent merchant and a member of the Jewish family which was most active in army contracting during colonial days.

Hayman Levy, a merchant who sold army good in a store on Bayard Street during the French and Indian War, commissioned privateers, and traded in furs with the Indians, was elected president of the congregation in September 1756, but refused to accept office, probably becuse of his business responsibilities. In 1767, he was acting president, however, and after the Revolution was president when the religious community started life anew.

In 1768, the 22 year old Gershom Mendes Seixas was elected Hazzan of the congregation to succeed Joseph Jessurun Pinto. Seixas thus became the first native-born Jewish minister in America. (28)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net

Entertainment: Backward Glances (1)

Topic: The Ziegfeld Follies 1907-1914 #1

On July 8, 1907, the first Follies opened. This first edition cost $13,000 to produce and the weekly upkeep was $1,800. The show was originally presented in the Jardin de Paris on the roof of the new York Theatre. Florence Ziegfeld was paid $200 per week by the firm of Klaw & Erlanger to manage this roof show. Anna Held is credited with having given him the idea of stressing beautiful American girls in a revue, which totaled about 50. Julian Mitchell, was the initial stager of the Follies.

Annabelle Whitford was the first girl to be spotlighted for her startling beauty. Mlle. Dazie, a popular ballerina of the period and a versatile performer was also included in the cast. Grace LaRue was prima donna of this first edition and one of her better numbers was "Miss Giner from Jamaica."

After its debut on the roof it was moved to the Liberty Theatre and Norah Bayes, a star in her own right even in 1907, joined the cast. The receipts were comparatively low, even in this new setting.

During 1908, Ziegfeld had his first Follies song hit. It was "Shine on Harvest Moon" and Norah Bayes and Jack Norworth introduced it. They also wrote it. Also in 1908 the name of F. Ziegfeld, Jr.'s name went above the Follies title for the first time. One of the main novelty numbers of the Follies was "Take Me Around in a Taxicab," which presented the girls on parade with taximeters attached to their shoulders flicking "On" and "Off" as they crossed the footlights. In 1908 the show piled up about 120 performances.

Lillian Lorraine entered the Follies fold in 1909 and was immediately hailed as the #1 beauty queen, she was Ziegfeld's first real dazzler. She became Flo's new romance.

Bert Williams and Fannie Brice made their debuts in the Follies in 1910. The first song that Fannie Brice sang was ""Goodbye Becky Cohen" by a newcomer, Irving Berlin, which was his first song for Ziegfeld. Fannie Brice's style of singing ranged from Yiddish to ragtime. Bert Williams was the first negro to mingle with Broadway's elite. Appearing in tails as well as tatters, his repertoire included "That Minor Strain," "I'll Lend You Everything I've Got Except My Wife," and "You're Gwine to Get Something What You Don't Expect."

One of the most daring feature of the Ziegfeld's show for 1910 was when he had the girls take a dip in the swimming tank to emerge in their snug, dripping suits and then run off the stage. This was downright bold, since in 1910 women's legs were not bare. Also in 1910 a new dance was introduced in the show, "The Pensacola Mooch," which was more or less a shuffle. Anna held was the considered the hot sex-kitten on Broadway in 1910. (27)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net or miriam@thehistorybox.com

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jewish Knowledge A-Z #2


Topic: Letter K

Kaddish

"Holy," a prayer in Aramaic, originally used for closing a sermon, then taken over into the synagogue and used for closing a portion of a synagogue service, and in recent cent. used also as a mourner's prayer. It is basically a prayer for the speedy coming of the Messianic era and the recognition of God's supremacy throughout the world.

The opening phrases of what is known as "the Lord's prayer" (Matthew vi., ix., and x) are quoted from it, transferred from indirect to direct address. A number of paragraphs, some in Hebrew, some in Aramaic, have been added to it during the early cent. of the common era to adapt it for use on different occasions in the synagogue service, in the cemetery or in the Beth Hamidrash. As a mourner's prayer, the Kaddish is among the best known of all Jewish prayers. Though in its traditional form it contains no reference to the dead or to mourning, the mourner recites it daily at public morning, afternoon and evening services during the first 11 months of bereavement for a parent (or other close relative) and also on every subsequent jahrzeit. In this usage it is a sublime expression of faith in the ultimate Messianic comfort and healing of all suffering mankind.

Kedushah

The prayer beginning "Holly, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts," recited aloud in the repetition of the Amidah. This responsive reading was probably in vogue at least a cent. before the destruction of the Temple.

Kerioh

"Rending of garment." An ancient symbol of grief or mourning still in vogue. The left coat lapel is cut on the death of a near relative.

Kiddush

"Sanctification." The ushering in of the Sabbath and Festivals, proclaiming its holiness through reciting a blessing over wine, is very ancient. The head of the household lifts up a cup of wine at the meal table or else stands before two loaves of white wheat bread (Challos) and pronounces two benedictions (a) over the wine or bread: (b) expression of thanks to God for the Sabbath, a day of rest and joy. In many homes the "Kiddush" is also repeated before the Sabbath noon meal, and in orthodox synagogues it is chanted Friday night during the service.

Kiddush Ha-Shem

"Sanctification of the Name." The highest ethical standard of Judaism. The glorifying of God by martyrdom, sacrifice for Jewish honor; nobility of conduct, dictated by the highest religious impulse. Its antonym is Hillul ha-Shem: Any act which slurs the name of the Jews as a group, disloyalty, or conduct which traduces the race or the faith is condemned as Hillul ha-Shem. i.e., desecration of the Name.

Kiddushin

"Betrothal." The word is currently applied to marriage, not engagement, though the treatise in the Mishnah so titled is devoted to the whole procedure of sanctifying the bride to her husband.

Kittl

A white robe worn by the pious at New Year, Day of Atonement and Seder services, and used as a burial shroud.

Kodashim

Fifth order or section of the Mishnah, and probably one of its oldest treatises of regulations, as it relates to the details of the sacrifices, the privileges and duties of the priests, and all other matters connected with the temple service. (22)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net or miriam@thehistorybox.com

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ethnic Groups (1)

Topic: The Chinese Immigrant Experience

During the early into mid-nineteenth century, there was an exodus of unskilled male workers from China, who migrated to California and the western states seeking work. These Chinese newcomers were young, half of them unmarried, and they hoped to return soon with enough to take care of their families. These men would find work in mines, railroads, and farmlands. The Gold Rush on the west coast was the prime attraction to the Chinese immigrants. For the Chinese women that came into this country, few such opportunities existed. Many would be forced into becoming prostitutes.

The American miners and laborers in California soon began to resent these hard working Chinese. Competing with their extreme thriftiness and willingness to labor for low wages, they were branded as coolies. The Americans accused them of robbing the white laborer of his bread. Hate was directed against the Chinese immigrants especially when an economic depression hit the United States in the 1870s. The public was in an uproar, demanding control of the influx of Chinese immigrants, resulting in Congress passing The Chinese Exclusion Act; May 6, 1882.

The Chinese were not readily accepted by the United States. They were allowed into this country only grudgingly.

"The number of Chinese who came to the United States from 1848 to 1852, when they began to come as a result of the gold discoveries, is estimated at 10,000. From 1852 to 1854 the excess of arrivals over departures amounted to 31,861. During the next 15 years the annual departures were about as great as the annual arrivals; 1868 showed a net gain of 6876, and from that year down to 1876 the net gain was about 11,000 per annum. "(14)

" Early Asian immigrants often fled homeland tragedies only to encounter harsh repression and legalized discrimination upon their arrival in the United States."

From 50,000 Chinese in 1860 , immigration to America increased to 108,000 by 1880. The Chinese immigrants were employed to build the Transcontinental Railroad. "The Union Pacific began construction of their rail in Omaha, Nebraska working west. The Central Pacific began in Sacramento, California working towards the East. The Transcontinental Railroad was a vision of a country but was put into practice by the 'Big Four': Collis P. Huntington, Charles Cocker, Leland Stanford and Mark Hopkins. The benefits of this railroad were enormous for the country and the businesses involved. The railroad companies received between 16,000 and 48,000 per mile of track in land grants and subsidies.The Chinese worked under grueling and treacherous conditions for less money than their white counterparts. However, this great American accomplishment could not have been achieved without the extraordinary effort of Chinese-Americans. ( 26)

Most of the (poorly treated) immigrants went to California, while others went to live in New York. The West Coast Gold Rush was the prime attraction to many Chinese immigrants. Mine owners and railroad builders imported the Chinese to work in the mines and to help build the railroads. Heightened racial tensions remained at explosive levels between the white settlers in California that were miners and laborers, and the hard working Chinese who were their competitors whose extreme thriftiness and willingness to labor for low wages were threatening. The Chinese were branded as coolies, which represented an inferior or servile class of people.

Tens of thousands of Chinese were employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific. The Chinese would take whatever job was available, no matter the low wages, such as houseboys, laundrymen, gardeners and fishermen etc. The Chinese immigrants found it very hard in the beginning to assimilate to the American culture. "Chinese sojourners maintained a psychological and social separateness from American society by maintaining the values, norms, and attitudes of their homeland, and men still dressed according to Chinese custom with long queues (braids), felt slippers, cotton blouses, and little round hats" (24).

"Since very few Chinese women were allowed to join their husbands in the United States and Chinese men were forbidden by law to marry whites, there was little opportunity for them to have families and many of the immigrants returned to China or to other more hospitable places. By 1924, the total number of Chinese in the United States had dropped to fewer than 62,000" (24).

Their shortages of women led them to intermarry with South European whites, Indians and Mexicans, the intermarriages resulting in California passing a law in 1903 banning interracial marriages. "In 1882, President Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act suspending the coming of Chinese laborers for ten years; this eventually became permanent and providing for stringent rules of enforcement.

There have been dark moments in American History which traces back to intolerance and prejudices by the American people against immigrants of which still exist in these current days. Often stereotyped and discriminated against, many Chinese immigrants suffered verbal and physical abuse because they were "different."

"The Chinese Must Go!!!"
The Chinese Massacre of 1871

Also there have been descriminatory Lawmaking and Restrictions on Chinese Immigrants
Chae Chan Ping v. U.S., 130 U.S. 581 (1889): This case involved a resident non citizen who left the U.S. with a document allowing his return: Congress voided the reentry documents while Chae Chan Ping was on the boat back to the U.S. Fong Yue Ting V. U.S.,149 U.S. 698 (1893)

Senator George C. Perkins of California, in response to the outcry from his body of voters in 1906 , exclaimed: "The Chinese must go! Bringing with them slavery, concubinage, prostitution, the opium vice, the disease of leprosy, the offensive and defensive organization of clans and guilds, the lowest standard of living known, and a detestation of the people with whom they live and with whom they will not even leave their bones when dead, they form a community within a community and there live the Chinese life " (25).

Others disagreed vigorously: "It is unfortunate that local prejudices against the Chinese-American were permitted to mar an otherwise praise-worthy record." (Harvey Wish)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net or miriam@thehistorybox.com

Jewish Knowledge (2)

Topic: The First Jewish colony on Manhattan Island

It was the fact of the dominance of Holland that attracted the Jewish people fleeing from Portuguese persecutions in Brazil to the Dutch settlement in North America.

It was really in September, 1654, that a little company of twenty-three Jews reached New Amsterdam, but Peter Stuyvesant was then the Governor, and he did not fancy this invasion of his domain by infidel Jews. The appeal of the Jews to the West India Company was so well received by its Directors that in April, 1655, an official grant of privileges of residence and rights was sent to the Governor, and he was compelled to yield to the orders of his superiors. From that day to this the Jewish people have played no unimportant part in the life of New Amsterdam, New York, and of the United States at large.

It was persecution which drove the Jews from Spain and Portugal to Holland, and when they had settled in some of the Dutch possessions in the New World the transfer of authority to Portugal again forced them out. It is probable that one or two Jews were already settled in New Amsterdam when this colony reached there, but from the arrival of the refugees from Brazil dates the real beginning of the Jewish community, which received the grant of a piece of land for a burial ground so early as 1656. This was on the New Bowery, near Oliver Street, and was added to from time to time later.

The Jews at once sought the rights of citizenship, keeping guard when permitted and trading far up the Hudson River. One of them, Asser Levy, purchased the ground upon which Albany now stands. They were enterprising merchants, entering at once into the fur trade, while some acted as bakers and butchers in the little metropolis.

Some of the Jewish settlers removed to Newport as early as 1655, and there is a record of fifteen families arriving there in 1658, importing the first degrees of Masonry. They scattered, too, into Maryland, where their rights were sharply restricted, and it is probably due to their efforts for rights that Maryland was one of the first colonies to adopt religious toleration as the basis of the State. It was only a matter of time now for the Jews to follow all the tracks of colonization, and they appear in Pennsylvania and along the Southern coast. This element was made up almost exclusively of the Spanish or Portuguese Jews, men of culture and means, merchants of broad ideas who differed from the Christian settlers only in attending religious services on Saturday rather than Sunday and in the special character of these and their home ceremonials. (23)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net or miriam@thehistorybox.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (36)

Topic: First Mayor of Brooklyn

GEORGE HALL

The first Mayor of Brooklyn. He was born in New York, of Irish parents, September 21, 1795, and when he was yet an infant his father purchased a small farm at Flatbush. After receiving a good English education George learned his father's trade, that of painter and glazier, which he followed for some years. When a young man he was noted for his convivial habits, and was often heard to sing the praises of "Cruiskeen Lawn," but in after years and up to the time of his death he was more extensively known as a rigid temperance man. The first office held by him was that of one of the trustees of the village of Brooklyn in 1826. While in that position he was so strong in his "efforts to exclude hogs from the streets, and to shut up the shops of unlicensed liquor dealers," that he aroused considerable opposition to himself, and when, in 1833, he was a candidate for President of the village, he had a narrow escape from defeat. The following year he was elected Mayor of the city, and served one year, discharging the duties of his office faithfully and conscientiously. In 1844 he was a temperance candidate for Mayor, and in the following year the Whig nominee for the same office, but was defeated both times. When the Know Nothing party was formed, Mr. Hall joined it, and in 1854, on the occasion of the first election for Mayor after the consolidation of Williamsburgh with Brooklyn, was its candidate for that office. His opponent was Martin Kalbfleisch, who, being of Dutch birth, was strongly opposed by the Know Nothings. As an offset to this opposition, a rumor was started to the effect that Mr. Hall himself was born in Ireland, but he proved that he was born in New York, shortly after his parents came to this country. He was elected for two years, and thus became the first Mayor after consolidation, as he had been the first after the incorporation of the city. During his term of office the cholera prevailed here to such an extent as to cause a panic, but Mayor Hall, by prompt measures, did much to prevent the spread of the disease and allay the fears of the people. He went right into the thickest of the scourge, caused the prompt removal of victims, had the houses cleaned out, and took other measures to suppress the disease, in which he was successful; but he was attacked by the disease and only saved himself by resisting it to the utmost, fairly "fighting it off." For his noble efforts in behalf of the people he was presented by his fellow citizens with the house No. 37 Livingston street, in which he afterward lived and died. Mr. Hall last ran for office as the Republican candidate for Register, in 1861, but was defeated. He was for several years President of the Fireman's Trust Insurance Company, which position secured him a moderate competency. His death took place April 16, 1868, and his funeral was one of the largest that has ever taken place in this city. Mr. Hall was strong in will, firm in opinion and generous in nature. There are two portraits of him among the Mayors of Brooklyn. The first one represents him when Mayor in 1834, and shows a man about forty years of age, with dark brown hair, rounded head with good forehead, full, but not fat face, small side whiskers, kindly eyes and firm mouth. The second picture was taken twenty years later, when he was again Mayor, and is, in the general outline, the same as the first; but age has whitened the hair, wrinkled the face and made even firmer the firm mouth. It represents him as he is remembered by many people who saw him on the streets five or six years ago.

The notable events during Mayor Hall's first term were, a financial panic; the introduction of omnibuses; a proposition, which was decided to be feasible, to furnish the city "with water from the springs at the Wallabout, at a cost of $100,000, including reservoirs, pumping engine, and eleven miles of pipe;" the decision, at a public meeting, to purchase the present site of the City Hall at $50,000, and the permission to the Jamaica Railroad Company to use Atlantic avenue for railroad purposes. (21)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net or miriam@thehistorybox.com

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (25)

Topic: The Irish-American Community

During the first part of the nineteenth century there was a general movement to divide farms into small holdings. The lands were increasingly held by absentee landlords, who endeavored to obtain the highest possible rents. The large number of middlemen who held land under the lords and acted as their agents made the condition of the peasantry still worse. Many of Ireland's great portions of land were confiscated by the English. The Irish had no desire to improve their farms, since all their efforts would automatically revert to the landlord. The industrial activity of Ireland was largely confined to agriculture.

The Irish people relied heavily on potatoes for their diet and their economy. When disease ruined their crops, they had nothing else to rely on, and the most attractive option was for them to emigrate to America. These Irish refugees faced incredible hardships during the early 1800s. As a result of the potato crop failure during 1845-1847, Ireland suffered from a famine where approximately one and a half million of people died. Between 1847 and 1860 more than 1,000,000 Irish immigrants passed through the port of New York. Those that arrived were fortunate in having accumulated the passage money. They either had a relative to help them or their passage was financed by a "smooth operator."

Because the price of the passage would cost anywhere from $12.50 to $25.00 a head, those who were penniless had to borrow the money from whoever would pay for their transportation. Such poor people started the journey in bad physical condition, worsened by their treatment during their voyage. One ship, referred to as a Coffin Ship for instance, registered more than 200 who died from disease and starvation during the long and perilous trip.

Numerous Irish refugees came to the United States as indentured servants. Once in the United States, they had to look for work, leading them to labor several years to pay off their debt to the lender (the loan shark), before they could be free of this obligation. These Irish immigrants were forced to accept low-paying jobs and live in deplorable conditions, such as lean to shanties and cellars of dilapidated unsanitary buildings in the slum areas .

The potato famine of the 1840s sent a steady stream of Irish immigrants to the U.S., most of whom didn't have money to buy land out west. These immigrants settled in the city of New York, which was the chief port of entry. The unskilled and unlettered Irishmen, pushing aside the American Negroes, their chief competitors in the labor market, went to work on construction gangs, finding jobs building the Erie Canal, which "employed 3000 Irish in 1818, as well as laying railroad tracks."

Everywhere they went in response to the want ads, the anti-Irish sentiment loomed. Employers posted signs, "No Irish Need Apply" which eventually disappeared over the years as new ethnic groups immigrated to America and were targeted by the anti-immigrant sentiment. New prejudice substituted for old prejudice. But through their persistence, the Irish refugees would find employment in the mills and factories that were along the waterways. "The 363 mile long Erie Canal was built from 1817 to 1825 at a cost of $7 million. The digging was largely done by Irish immigrants, attracted to the backbreaking labor by wages of $8 to $12 a month or 50 cents a day." Many times their wages as low as 50 cents a day. The Irish immigrants who worked on the canal would usually remain, establishing an Irish presence in that area.

The Catholic Church grew rapidly as a result of Irish and German immigration, which began in the thirties and forties and reached a peak after the Civil War. St. Joseph's Seminary was established in Troy in 1864 to educate native priests. The diocese of Rochester was organized in 1866, the diocese of Ogdensburg in 1872, and the diocese of Syracuse in 1886, Bishop McCloskey, the first bishop of the Albany diocese, became the first American cardinal in 1875. St. Bernard's Seminary was established in Rochester and St. Joseph's in Yonkers in 1896. Irish immigrants, as they achieved a degree of economic well-being with accompanying leisure, gave vent to their love of sports and recreation.

Between 1820 and 1920 more than 5,000,000 Irish immigrants reached American shores. In 1860 alone more than 46,000 Irish immigrants went to Boston to work in the copper and brass foundries, locomotive works and factories.

"Thousands of Irish immigrants settled in New York City to work as teamsters, day laborers, streetcar conductors, and shipyard mechanics. Others pushed up the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys to the brick kilns at Haverstraw, the iron works and quarries at Saugerties, and the mills and factories in Albany, Troy, and Utica. The Irish have made the political field largely their own; they have played a conspicuous part in civil and commercial life. The Irish, with their genius for politics, have, since the succession of Irish governors-Dongan, Bellomont, Cornbury, Cosby-in Colonial days, played an active part in the evolution of our particular brand of democracy." (14)

The Irish fiercely loved America but never gave up their allegiance to Ireland and most of all their hatred of the English. Though many were ridiculed and discriminated against in this country because of their Catholic religion, the Irish learned to laugh and joke even amid the most painful circumstances of their lives. The Irish -Americans, often despised, heroically fought in many of our wars, always moving forward in this country, undaunted by poverty, illiteracy and severe hardships. They have gained respect and great admiration from the American people as they give place to a new image of leading and productive citizens, successful business people, political figures, doctors, nurses, actors and actresses, writers, historians, inventors, defenders of women rights, musicians, opera singers, composers, teachers and much more. John F. Kennedy was the first Irish Catholic president that the United States ever had.

Sources Utilized to Document A Little Taste of History

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net

A Little Taste Of History (35)

Topic: Selected Indians of New York State #2

Henry O'Bale

Henry O 'Bale, Gas-so- wah-doh, * was a son of Cornplanter and was also born at Canawaugus. He was generally addressed as Major O'Bale. In person he was a portly and fine looking, and his manners were not without polish. He was placed at school in New Jersey by Benjamin Bouton, and graduated at Dartmouth, college. He was somewhat boastful of his courage. In early times, while at the Mansion house in Avon, some question arose one day between him and Doctor Ensworth. O 'Bale was told that nothing short of a duel would adjust the matter. The ground was paced off, and principals and seconds took their places. Word was given and O'Bale fired. The Doctor reserved his charge and walking close up to his opponent fired point blank at his heart. O'Bale, supposing himself shot, fell into the arms of his second, but recovered on learning that the pistols had been loaded with blank charges, a fact of which the Doctor had been duly apprised. While not wanting in honesty, O'Bale's business transactions were not always marked by that scrupulous promptitude so agreeable to early merchants. Colonel Lyman had trusted O'Bale for goods and went down to Canawaugus to remind him that the debt was past due. "Oh, yes," said the Major, "I will pay you at once. Mr. Hosmer owes me. You know him of course, and I '11 go to him and get the money." He went, but forgot to return, and, after two or three similar attempts, the debt was earned to loss account. Of his advantages of parentage and education the Major did not fully avail himself. He was fond of the Genesee country and was one of the last of the natives to quit this region.

Handsome Lake

Handsome Lake, Ga-nyu-da-i-yuh, the Peace Prophet, was a half-brother of Cornplanter, as already stated.He stood high with his people both as a medicine-man and a spiritual guide. Mr. Horsford was told of a young Indian girl of Squakie Hill, who was cured by him of a dangerous illness. All remedies failing, the friends despatched a runner to the Prophet, with the clothes of the afflicted squaw. He took them, laid a handful of tobacco upon the fire, and, as it burned, offered an address to the Great Spirit. After a moment's silence he observed, looking at the clothes, "This affliction is a punishment to her for wickedly drowning a nest of young robins, and, a few hours later, for repeating the offence. Two young deer must be killed — a yearling buick and yearling doe — the whole of both must be boiled at once and the entire village be called to the feast, and then to dance." Some days were spent in finding the deer, when the directions of the Prophet were complied with, and the girl recovered at once. In person the Prophet was of medium size, of goodly presence, and of modest and quiet demeanor.

Little Beard

Little Beard, Si-gwa-ah-doh-gwih, resided at the town to which he gave his name. He was noted both as a warrior and councilor, and for great firmness and zeal, and, though not an orator, was a fluent talker. Physically, he was a favorable specimen of the Indian chieftain, rather below the medium size, yet straight and firm. In faith a pagan, he always awarded respectful attention to the views of Christian teachers. Border annals show how fierce hia nature was, yet, after the
Revolution, he proved friendly to the pioneers and was esteemed by them for his good faith. No Indian was better informed, none more sociable than he, and with none could an hour be more profitably spent. He conversed with good sense on the events of the colonial wars, and the future of his nice, and though it is a fact well established that he not only consented to the death of the scouts, Boyd and Parker, and quite likely suggested the exquisite tortures to which these devoted soldiers were subjected, yet, it must be recollected, he was chief of the village menaced by Sullivan's army. Moreover, he took these two men in the act of securing information that would enable the American General to march directly to the destruction of his peoples' homes, possibly to put to death any of them who chanced to fall into his hands, facts which serve to mitigate, perhaps, though by no means to excuse this act of almost unparalleled barbarity. In a drunken quarrel at the old Stimson tavern in Leicester, in 1806, Little Beard was thrown from the outer door, and, falling upon the steps, received an injury from which, as he was advanced in years, he shortly died. The great eclipse, which occurred soon after his death, filled the Indians with superstitious fears. The manner of his taking off could not but give him offence, the natives thought, and they imagined he was about to darken the sun", so that their corn could not grow. The hunters assembled and shot arrows and bullets at the obscured luminary, while others screamed, shouted, and drummed, until the brightness was fully restored. (20)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net or miriam@thehistorybox.com

A Little Taste Of History (34)

Topic: Important Businessmen From Queens Borough #2

DAVID L. VAN NOSTRAND, one of Queens County's most eminent citizens, the son of Albert and Harriet Williams Van Nostrand, was born at Little Neck, Queens County, August 3o, 1851, and was educated at the public school of Little Neck. His father's family consisted of seven children, the former also a native of Little Neck, who at his maturity became a farmer. Completing his education at the age of seventeen, David L. began his business career as a grocer's clerk at Mineola, L.I., and for three years devoted himself to learning the rudiments of mercantile life, when he returned to Little Neck, and continued in the same capacity for one year, then opened his own grocery store, and for a number of years was the leading and most popular grocery merchant of the latter place. His keen business intellect determined him to enter a broader and more extensive field, so he finally disposed of his grocer's affairs and opened a coal and feed business at Little Neck, which he conducted so successfully that he opened a branch establishment, and by his square dealing to all of his host of patrons, he finally became one of the most successful and wealthiest residents of the place of his nativity. As a Democrat in political faith, his unswerving integrity and his methodical and prudent business methods were so highly appreciated by his fellow townspeople, that the Democratic party nominated him for justice of the peace in 1880. He was triumphantly elected to the honorable position, and retained the office for nine years, when the party nominated and elected him supervisor in 1889, in which office he served faithfully and with distinction for six consecutive terms ; on his second term he was unanimously elected as president of the board. During this long period of public service Mr. Van Nostrand won the plaudits of his fellow citizens and had, by his accurate knowledge of square business dealing with his neighbors and patrons and his active interest in public affairs, attracted the attention of the citizens of the entire county of Queens, who pointed to him as one of its most loyal and faithful public servants. His name and his administrations became so popular throughout the county that the Democratic County Convention of 1903 unanimously nominated him county clerk and the people and party of the county elected him by a rousing majority. In this responsible and most important office in the Borough of Queens, Mr. Van Nostrand conducted it with that same practical business methods that had heretofore characterized all of his important public duties. In entering upon his term as county clerk he introduced a thorough and systematic method in every department of his office, that was not only beneficial to the public, the lawyers, and searchers, but invaluable to the county and
state. On January 1, 1907, when his term expired, he turned over to his successor one of the best conducted departments of the borough, that was brought up to a higher state of perfection than ever before, under Mr. Van Nostrand's management and three years' administration. On November 9, 1883, Mr. Van Nostrand married Miss Mary E. Fleet. The result of this happy union was one daughter, Viola, now a young lady of brilliant attainments and of social distinction among Queens County's leading families. Mr. Van Nostrand and his family are leading members of the Reformed Church ; he is president of the First National Bank of Jamaica, L.I.;a member of the Niantic Club, Oakland Golf Club, Knickerbocker Yacht Club, and also one of the leading members of Cornucopia Lodge, F. & A.M. In his domestic affairs, he is devoted to his interesting family, who occupy the beautiful and stately homestead on the corner of Broadway and Parsons Avenue, Flushing, and are held in the highest esteem by the leading families of Queens County. In 1877 Mr. Van Nostrand was elected to the Board of Common Council, and served as long as that body was in existence.

DANIEL S. JONES, a merchant and an old and honored citizen of Flushing for the past twenty years, was born at Stony Brook, Suffolk County, N.Y., in 1841. He received a careful education at St. James Academy in Smithtown, L.I. Mr. Jones is vice-president of the Long Island City Savings Bank: a member of the Advisory Board of the Flushing Branch Corn Exchange Bank; he was formerly a vestryman of St. George's Church of Flushing; is a vestryman of St. Caroline's Church at Setauket, L.I., and a member of F. & A.M. In politics Mr. Jones is a Democrat but has never cared to hold public office. In 1874 he married Anna C, daughter of James S. Evans, D.D. Two children were born to the union, Lillian E. (deceased), and Johanna L., wife of Harvey K. Lines of No. 28 Sanford Avenue, Flushing.

RUPERT BARNES THOMAS, president and treasurer of the Lay & Way Company, New York, was born in Brooklyn, May n, 1866. He was educated in the public schools of Brooklyn and High School of New York City. Politically, he stands on the platform of the Democratic party. He is commissioner of the Board of Education of New York and a member of the Committees on finance, sites and athletics. He attends the Congregational Church. On October 13, 1887, he married Miss Mary Titus Broas. Four children are living, viz. : Rupert Broas, Gerald Provost. Katharine Ridgely and Ina Mary. (19)

Sources Utilized to Document A Little Taste of History

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net or miriam@thehistorybox.com

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (33)

Topic: Selected Indians of New York State #1

Red Jacket

Red Jacket, Sa-go-ye-wat-hah,* lived, fora time, on the Ewing place, just south of Fall Brook and half a mile east of the Genesee. His relations with tribesmen along the river were intimate and his visits here frequent and prolonged . His sagacity and wisdom are as well known as his great oratorical gifts. In these respects, this noted chieftain had no superior among the best of his race. He was not a warrior, though he led a company of Senecas against the British in the war of 1812 ; but he was a negotiator, the diplomat of his nation. Toward the close of life he became intemperate. On one occasion, the government having business with the Indians, sent an agent to Buffalo, who there met Red Jacket as the representative of the Senecas. The day fixed upon came, but the chief failed to put in an appearance. Horatio Jones, who was to act as interpreter, after a long search, found him in a low tavern quite drunk. The porter, who was about shutting up the house for the night, was preparing to put him out of doors when Jones interposed.

As soon as the effects of the liquor were slept off, the chief wanted more, but was denied. He was reminded of his neglect of the public business, and of the regret his course must cause the President. Red Jacket's under lip dropped for a moment, a peculiarity of his when annoyed ; then, raising himself in his stately way, he said, with a motion of his hand as if to wave off the reproach, "all will blow over, I guess." In a quarrel at Canandaigua in early days, an Indian killed a white man. A rising young lawyer, whose subsequent business career was a distinguished one, conducted the prosecution, Red Jacket the defence. In his appeal to the jury, the orator of nature rose to high eloquence, and, though speaking through an interpreter, jury, court, and spectators were all won to his cause. Captain Jones said it was quite impossible for him to preserve the full force and beauty of this address.

The opposing advocate never again appeared at the bar, for, said he, " if a heathen red-skin's voice can so bewitch men's reason, what call is there for either argument or law." Red Jacket obstinately refused to use the English language, and was a pagan in religion, manifesting, through life, an unyielding hostility to the efforts of missionaries to christianise his people. Thatcher says a young clergyman once made a zealous effort to enlighten the chief in spiritual matters. He listened attentively. When it came his turn, he said, " If you white people murdered the Saviour, make it up for yourselves. We had nothing to do with it. Had he come among us we should have treated him better." He retained his prejudice against the Christian religion down to a short time before his death, when, it is believed, his views underwent a radical change, and he died in the faith and was buried with Christian rites. Dining one day at Horatio Jones's, Red Jacket emptied a imp of suit into his tea, mistaking it for sugar. The mistake passed without remark, though not unnoticed by the guests. The chief, however, coolly stirred the beverage until the salt was dissolved and then swallowed the whole in his own imperturable way, giving not the least sign that it was otherwise than palatable. Red Jacket was not sufficiently identified with this region to justify a formal sketch of him here, but it will not be out of place to refer to the fate that awaited his bones. At death, his remains were buried in the Indian grounds on Buffalo creek, a simple marble slab marking the spot. By degrees, relic hunters had clipped away the memorial stone until little or nothing remained to indicate the resting place of the famous chieftain. At length an unauthorized person of his own race* exhumed his bones and carried them to Buffalo. A Seneca, who chanced then to be in the city, took possession and carried them to the Cattaraugus reservation to a female relative of Red Jacket's, who placed them in a pine chest under her bed. Thus far the friends have declined to surrender them to the Buffalo Historical Society, who have secured a spot in the beautiful cemetery near that city for the interment of several noted Senecas, and design, when all are gathered, to erect an elegant memorial over their remains.

Cornplanter

Cornplanter Ga-yant-hwah-geh, was a leading chieftain and one of the wisest and best of Seneca notables. As a councilor, indeed, none of his race was better esteemed. Canawaugus, near Avon, had the honor of being his birth-place ; though, in after years, he usually resided on the Alleghany river, yet he remained closely identified through life, by consanguinity and otherwise, with the Indians of the Genesee. He was partly white. The Indian boys early took notice that his skin was more fair than theirs. He named the matter to his mother, who told him that his father was a white trader named Abell, or O ' Bale, who lived near Albany.After growing up, he sought out his father and made himself known. The father gave him victuals to eat at his house, but " no provisions on the way home." He gave me neither kettle nor gun, nor did he tell me that the United States were about to rebel against Great Britain," said the much offended half-blood. Cornplanter was among the first to adopt the white man's costume, and in latter years, might easily have been mistaken for a well-to-do farmer. He was of medium height, inclining to corpulency, though late in life he became quite thin in person ; was easy in manners and correct in morals. His face was expressive and his eye dark and penetrating. He ranked above Red Jacket as a warrior and was little inferior to him as an orator. He was at Braddock's defeat, where Washington, then a colonial major, first distinguished himself. He took part against the colonies in the Revolution, and, after the close of the war down to Wayne's victory in 1794, his attitude was at times quite equivocal. He held the original papers and treaties of the Senecas, which he often carried about with him in a pair of saddle-bags, to silence disputes or to assert the rights of his people. On one occasion Red Jacket was boasting of what he had said at certain treaties, when Cornplanter quietly added, "Yes, but we told you what to say." He was a man singularly upright in all relations. Horatio Jones said, " he was one of the best of men to have on your side, and there you would be sure to find him if he thought yours the right side, but it was deucedly unlucky if he thought you wrong." He was much older than Red Jacket and looked, with pardonable jealousy, upon that rising young orator. (20)

Sources Utilized to Document Information

Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net

A Little Taste Of History (32)

Topic: Important Businessmen From Queens Borough #1

JOHN HENRY THIRY, from 1866 to 1875 a book dealer but now retired, son of Jean Baptiste Thiry and Anne Marie Dussard, is a native of Antwerp, Belgium, where he graduated from the First Normal School in 1845. Since 1874 he has been a resident of Queens County. His political convictions are with the Democratic party. Mr. Thiry was school commissioner under three mayors and at present he is a member of the local school board, District No.41, Queens Borough, New York City. Mr. Thiry became widely known as the father of the European system of School Savings-banks in the United States, which was introduced March 16,1885. Thanks to this system the little school depositors have been able to save, up to 1906, no less than $4,896,584. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the American Social Association and the Charities' Organization. In 1853 he married Ernestine Desamblanc, who died June 16,1896. His second wife was Miss Margaret O'Connor, whom he married February 23. 1898.

Two sons resulted from his first marriage, Raphael Ovide and Joseph; five children from his second, George, John Henri, Henrietta Frances, John, and an infant born December 27, 1907. John Henri and John died, respectively, March 17, 1899, and April 28, 1906. Twenty-two years ago, the distinguished gentleman introduced the system of School Savings-banks in the United States, which has grown to such an extent, that the system is now in operation in 1,098 schools of 173 cities of twenty-two states in America; the scholars of these schools have saved $5,485.504.48,of which $4,875,897.26 has been withdrawn leaving a balance of $809,617.22 due. This statement is up to January I, 1907, and shows the total number of the little depositors to be 177,972. As the founder of this important branch of our school system,Mr. Thiry's name and triumph will stand imperishable throughout the Union.

ELIAS A. FAIRCHILD graduated from Rutgers College in 1854 and succeeded his father,Ezra Fairchild, as principal of the Flushing Institute,until the school was closed in 1902. Under his direction the institute was for many years one of the best known private schools in this country and was attended by boys from other lands as well as from every state in the Union. Mr. Fairchild's institute property was one of the attractive landmarks of Flushing, and its absorption for business purposes after the closing of the school marked one of the radical changes in old Flushing. Mr. Fairchild died May 2, 19o7, and as a tribute to his character and life's work we quote the following : "We, the Business Men's Association of the Village of Flushing, desire to place upon record our appreciation of the life and services in this community of Mr. Elias A. Fairchild. Although never holding an official position in the affairs of the village, his voice and vote were always on the side of right and justice. In his life work, the education of young men, he was preeminently successful and many among us have reason to rejoice that they were placed under the guidance of his firm but loving care. Of a most cheerful disposition, he always had a kind word and pleasant smile for all and he will be missed as few men are. We thank God for the life of Elias A. Fairchild."

HON. JOHN H. SUTPHIN, deceased, for many years clerk of Queens County, and leader of the Democratic party in that section of the state of New York, was a resident of Jamaica from 1871 up to the time of his death in 1907. His name and fame extended throughout the state, as a man of great charity. Mr. Sutphin for many years served as chairman of the Democratic County Central Committee of Queens. He was a director and for some years served as president of the Bank of Jamaica ; a director and president of the Jamaica Savings Bank at the time of his death, a trustee of the Jamaica Normal School. He was a prominent member of numerous social, fraternal and benevolent organizations, and filled many high positions of trust in connection therewith. He was born at Jamaica, L.I., in 1836, where he received an education in the Flatbush Institute. Prior to his holding the important position of county clerk of Queens County, he held various other public offices, all of which he conducted in a high, conscientious manner. Mr. Sutphin married Miss Carrie M. Smith of Jamaica in 1857. Five children resulted from the union, viz. : Stella, Harry, Annie, Howard and Nina. When Mr. Sutphin died, the poor living in his community lost a benevolent friend, whose place will probably never be filled. The greater part of his income was devoted toward alleviating the needs and wants of a large portion of Jamaica's poor . (19)

Sources Utilized To Document Information

Contact: miriammedina or miriam@thehistorybox.com

Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (24)

Topic: Harlem: Historic Heart of Black New York

"The area got its name from a suburb of Amsterdam , the Dutch city from which many of its earliest settlers came. In the eleventh year of Peter Stuyvesant's directorship of the affairs of New Amsterdam that testy worthy gave permission for the founding of a village in the upper part of the Island of Manhattan which he decreed should be called New Harlem .

For so long a while did Harlem remain a secluded hamlet tucked away at the northern end of the island that as late as 1830 the only passenger conveyance between the village and New York was by a stage, which left the corner of Third Avenue and One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street at seven in the morning and reached Park Row shortly before ten o'clock, starting on the return trip at three in the afternoon. A few years later the stages began making hourly trips, but a visitor describes the village in the fifties as still " clustered close to the river, well shaded with trees, most charmingly rural, and apparently impervious to change." Though the New York and Harlem Railway Company was incorporated in 1831, it was not until 1840 that the first steam-train was put in operation between Thirty-second and One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Streets. Twenty-five years later the horse-cars had come into being, but it took them nearly an hour and a half to convey passengers from One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Street to City Hall ; and it was not until the completion of the elevated roads in 1880 that Harlem entered fairly upon the career that in a little more than twenty years has made it the abiding-place of a million people. Now solid blocks of apartment-houses, stretching mile upon mile, cover The Flats of the old days, and Harlem has lost all semblance of its earlier self. (17)

"Beginning in the 1870s Harlem was the site of a massive wave of speculative development which resulted in the construction of numerous new single-family row houses, tenements, and luxury apartment houses, Commercial concerns and religious, educational, and cultural institutions, such as the distinguished Harlem Opera House on the West 125th Street, were established in Harlem to serve the expanding population. The western half of Harlem, though developed slightly later, became a fashionable and prosperous neighborhood. Luxury elevator apartment buildings with the most modern amenities were constructed, such as the Graham Court Apartments built in 1898-1901 on Seventh Avenue , as well as more modest types of multi-family housing. Those who relocated from downtown included recent immigrants from Great Britain and Germany."(18)

Harlem, was once a district of quiet farms, where lived a few Hollanders, French Huguenots, Danes, Swedes, and Germans. For three decades the Germans were the dominant element, with the Irish ranking second. The immigration waves of the 1880s and 1890s brought in Jews and Italians. Then the African- American began to come in from downtown, from the South, and from the West Indies.

Between 1915-1920, hundreds of thousands of African-Americans began to migrate at a fast pace from the "economically depressed rural South to the industrial cities of the North to take advantage of urban economic opportunities in steel mills, auto factories and packing houses. Thousands would also fan out to the black ghettos of New York City, seeking work in the bars and cabarets. Numerous white-collared positions at good salaries were available in federal and local civil service to which many applied... Federal employment of African Americans nearly doubled during the twenties."

Businesses began mushrooming all over the Harlem neighborhoods, offering their services to the black community through beauty shops, food stores, insurance companies and more.

During the decade, many positive changes were beginning to occur within Harlem's African-American community. Black intellectuals began to show a new intense enthusiasm for their African heritage. A rising popular interest in African-American literature sparked the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance which was one of this nation's greatest outpouring of music, literature, art and racial pride.

Rents in Harlem rose drastically after World War I. The deterioration of Harlem housing which began in the 1920s can be attributed in large part to the high cost of living in the community and the increased demands on the neighborhood brought by the rising population. By the 1930s half a million people crowded into the largest slum area in New York. By the end of World War II, Harlem had become the terminus for hundreds of thousands of blacks that had begun their northern migration back in 1915.
.
Over the years the African-American community have made an enormous and outstanding contribution of their talents, knowledge and creative abilities to the American Culture which are far too many to name. America's theater and music halls have been deeply enriched by black entertainers, many of which have found their way through the ghettos climbing the entertainment ladder to wealth and fame. For more information on Harlem history and accomplishments of it's Black Community, please visit the Harlem Section at thehistorybox.com.
.
.
Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net or miriam@thehistorybox.com
x

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (23)

Topic: The Teapot Dome Scandal 1920s

With all the talk going on back and forth between the Presidential candidates regarding energy, oil, gas prices spiraling, it brings to mind the Teapot Dome Scandal in 1922, where a government official was involved in corruption.

The Teapot Dome scandal occurred in the early 1920s, during the administration of President Harding. The name referred to the Teapot Dome Reserve, a 9,321 acre oilfield on public land near Casper, Wyoming, which was set aside in 1915 as an oil reserve for the U.S. Navy. President Warren C. Harding, at the insistence of his Secretary of the Interior Alfred B. Fall, signed an executive order transferring the naval petroleum reserves from the Navy to Fall's Department of the Interior. In 1922 Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall secretly leased the two oil reserves to private oil companies; Harry Sinclair's Mammoth Oil Company and the 38,000-acre Elk Hills Reserve in California, to Edward Doheny's Pan-American Petroleum Company. As a result of the Senate Committee's investigation under Senator Thomas J. Walsh in 1923, Fall was convicted on federal bribery charges, having received about $400,000 for manipulating the leases. He was sentenced to one year in prison and assessed a $100,000 fine. (16)

Sources Utilized to Document A Little Taste Of History

To Contact: miriammedina@earthlink.net or miriam@thehistorybox.com

Friday, September 5, 2008

Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (22)

Topic: Spanish Harlem: El Barrio

Bookmark and Share






SPANISH HARLEM, (El Barrio).... this was my family's old neighborhood . In A personal memoir of my childhood life growing up in the neighborhood of East Harlem, New York, I describe how my family of nine-- seven children and my parents--struggled financially, housing their sprawling family in a crowded two bedroom apartment. A detailed description of our daily lives offers the reader a personal glimpse of tenement living in the forties and early fifties. I take you through El Barrio step by step, naming streets and businesses. The gang wars between the Italians and the Puerto Ricans, picnics on the roof, stick ball playing, Mr. Morris the bookie taking bets, the Irish man singing for money in the backyard, the Feast of Mt. Carmel on First Avenue, the kind loving Reverend Wilson of the Methodist church, domestic violence among the neighbors, Jack the Irish cop, who always had free movie passes in his pocket for the kids of the neighborhood, visits to relatives’ homes, the illness and death of Papa—and how it affected the family as a whole: these are the grist of my narrative. They are part of "Recollections of the Old Neighborhood ." If you would like to view the article, Click Here. A Spanish translation of this memoir is also available. To View.


SPANISH HARLEM: (El Barrio) Also Called East Harlem: It clusters around the 110th street station of the Lexington Avenue subway. East Harlem covers the area between Fifth Avenue and the East River from 96th to 142nd Street. The bulk of the population in this area by the 1930s were circa 50,000 Puerto Ricans, though it is today becoming increasingly mixed. The Puerto Ricans settled here because of low rents and freedom from racial discrimination. One of the sites not to be missed in El Barrio is the market place "La Marqueta," that extends along Park Avenue from 111th to 116th streets. You will find a large variety of affordable international food and meat products. As far as I could remember it was there in the 1940s. Restaurants and cafés offering such irresistible alluring aromas of numerous Spanish dishes draw much of their patronage from visitors to the area. For a variety of Puerto Rican recipes from the Boricua kitchen click here.

Before I give you a few samples of Latin music favorites heard among the El Barrio community, I would like to give you a brief summary on Spanish Harlem. However, as a start I highly recommend this website " CUNY Honors Neighborhood Website Project: " which also contains a historical description of Jewish Harlem, Black Harlem, and Italian Harlem as well . (Please be patient, the music will take time to load.....then blast away).

Whew! I'm so out of breath...didn't think I could still move it.....now wasn't that fun? Maybe we can sneak in one more try? What do you think? CUNY Honors Neighborhood Website Project:

Okay! It's time to get back to our history lesson............................


Puerto Ricans have lived in the mainland United States since at least the 1830s.During the 1890s, a first small group of Puerto Ricans arrived in East Harlem. The 1917 Jones-Shafroth Act converted the former Spanish colony into a United States Commonwealth state, granting Puerto Ricans American citizenship and entitling them to live and work in the U.S. They did not have to go through the Ellis Island Immigration processing which Europeans and other Latin Americans had to endure. New York City became a major focal point for Puerto Rican migration. Many settled in East Harlem, located in upper Manhattan, which eventually became the largest Puerto Rican neighborhood in the U.S. East Harlem is often called "Spanish Harlem" or "El Barrio."

The Puerto Ricans that moved into East Harlem began replacing the Jewish Delis and Italian grocery stores and markets with their religious shops, bodegas and restaurants, as well as filling the air with their Latin music.

n 1926 there were mob attacks on Puerto Ricans living there. As a result of this, La Liga Puertoriquena e Hispana was established to unify Puerto Rican clubs and organizations in New York City.

During the 1920s-30s, the radio was easily available to the consumer market. Cuban and Puerto Rican songs as well as local broadcast in the spanish language could be heard on the radio in every Puerto Rican household of El Barrio, as a form of entertainment. Through the forties and fifties the Latin crowd would go to the Audubon Hall.

By the time 1920s-1930s rolled around, circa 45,000 to 50,000 Puerto Ricans had moved from the Island to New York City of which a great percentage fanned out to East Harlem.

By 1940 there were nearly 70,000 Puerto Ricans in the mainland United States, mostly in or near New York City. Because of its high Latino population, the district soon came to be known as Spanish Harlem. Among New York City puertorriqueños, the Latino-populated area was referred to as el barrio, or "the neighborhood."

Migration from the island slowed to a crawl during the Great Depression and practically came to a halt during World War II. In 1945 after World War II, a great wave of Puerto Rican immigration to New York City began and continued through the 1960s. The inexpensive airplane fares between San Juan and New York City increased the Puerto Rican community to more than triple in size by 1950. In 1958 New York held its first Puerto Rican Day Parade. The parade later became the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in 1995 and a fixture in New York City's annual cultural events. In 1961 after the assassination of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, thousands of Dominicans left their homeland and came to the United States. More than three quarters of these immigrants settled in New York, primarily in New York's Washington Heights and Inwood sections.

During the 1980s Puerto Rico had entered a state of severe economic decline brought on in part by the recession. Highly educated professional Puerto Ricans began losing their jobs, where one third were government employees and began to migrate to the United States in search of economic opportunities.

The Puerto Rican people embrace their family traditions and customs as they pass them from generation to generation, though as young people increasingly move into the American culture, these traditions and many others seem to be waning but only slowly. In the celebration of their holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's day and Puerto Rican day, is when the Puerto Rican families come together with such love and warmth. Puerto Rican people are famous for throwing big, elaborate parties-with music and dancing-to celebrate special events.They sing, dance and eat their traditional foods of which are included in the abovementioned Boricua Kitchen recipes. Many Puerto Rican dishes are seasoned with a savory mixture of spices known as sofrito .This is made by grinding fresh garlic, seasoned salt, green peppers, and onions in a pilón ,a wooden bowl similar to a mortar and pestle, and then sautéing the mixture in hot oil. This serves as the spice base for many soups and dishes. Their asopao which is a stew made with vegetables, rice, and meat or fish, is so delicious.

Most Puerto Ricans are Roman Catholics and the one custom that is very meaningful to the Puerto Rican community is when parents and grandparents bless their children with "La Bendicion." In addition, rosaries, busts of La Virgin (the Virgin Mary) and other religious icons have a prominent place in the household.

Music such as Salsa, Mambo and Cha-Cha-Cha play an important role in the Puerto Rican way of life. Their style of music rich in Latin variations of tone using instruments such as trumpets, trombones, saxaphones, piano, drums, maracas, cowbells and guitars electrifies the atmosphere and makes everyone who hears it, get up and start dancing to the beat of the music.

So If you love to dance to the Latin Beat.....I suggest you put on your dancing shoes, and crank up your speakers....in preparation for these musical numbers played on YouTube. If you don't have a partner, then just dance away...and shake that booty....GO BABY GO!" Just close your eyes and YOU ARE IN EL BARRIO......Dance away to your heart's content.....





For the Spanish Harlem Page: (Click Here)