Monday, June 23, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (20)

Topic: Clubs, Societies Pre: 1905 #1

Holland Society

A patriotic society, founded in New York City on April 6, 1885. Its objects are to collect information respecting the early history and settlement of the city and State of New York by the Dutch, and to discover and preserve all existing documents, mementos, etc., relating to their genealogy and history, as well as to publish material for a memorial history of the Dutch in America, in which shall be particularly set forth the part belonging to that element in the growth and development of American character, Institutions, and progress. The society admits to membership descendants, in the male line only, of a Dutchman who was a native or resident of New York, or of the American Colonies, prior to the year 1675. The insignia is an oval medallion with the head of William the Silent in relief. The society has marked various historical localities in New York City by inscribed brass plates: and publishes volumes containing historical information. Its membership is upwards of 1000.

The Huguenot Society of America

An hereditary patriotic society, organized in New York City on April 12, 1883, and incorporated on June 12, 1885. Its objects are to perpetuate the memory and to foster and promote the principles and virtues of the Hugenots; to publicly commemorate at stated times the principal events in the history of the Huguenots; and to collect and preserve all existing documents, monuments, etc., relating to the genealogy or history of the Huguenots of America. Membership is extended to descendants of Huguenot families which emigrated to America or to other countries prior to the promulgation of the Edict of Toleration, November 28, 1787, as well as to writers who have made the history of the Huguenots a special subject of study. The insignia of the society consists of a badge, pendent from a gold dove with spreading wings surmounted by a rising sun, and worn on a watered-silk ribbon of white, bordered with red, white, and blue.

The badge itself is of Gold, surrounded by a wavy, ornamental border, and bearing on the obverse the device of Marguerite de Valois, a marigold turning toward the sun, and a ribbon with the motto, "Non Inferiora Secutus," while on the reverse is the name of the society, as well as the name of the member and number of the insignia. This society has its headquarters in New York City, where a valuable library, consisting of Huguenot books, manuscripts, et., has been collected. There are branch societies in several States and cities, notably in Virginia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and New Jersey. Its publications are known as Collections of the Huguenot Society of America. In 1898 it celebrated the tercentenary anniversary of the promulgation of the Edict of Nantes, at which delegates from societies abroad were present, and a memorial volume containing a full account of the exercises was published in 1900.

Independent Order of Free Sons of Israel

A Jewish fraternal and benevolent society, with headquarters in New York City, founded on January 10, 1849. It has three grand lodges and 103 subordinate lodges, distributed throughout the United States, and had in 1902 a total membership of some 11,000. At the same time it had a reserve fund of over $860,000 and had since its organization paid to widows and other beneficiaries $3,300,000 and by lodges for benefits $3,150,000.

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A Little Taste Of History (19)

Topic: Wealthy Businessmen of NYC

William Backhouse Astor (1792-1875)

As a consequence of an inheritance of $500'000 from his uncle Henry Astor, a butcher on the Bowery, through generous gifts and business partnerships from his father as well as his own shrewd investments in real estate, William Backhouse Astor was worth $5'000'000 in his own right. Through his marriage to Margaret Livingston Armstrong, the only daughter of General John Armstrong and Alida Livingston of Clermont, William Backhouse Astor brought the Astor family into New York's High Society. at the time of his death, he owned more than 700 buildings.

Heber Reginald Bishop (1840-1902)

He had an interest in the Duluth & Iron Range Railroad and several other ironworks, including the Lackawanna Iron & steel Company. A much respected member of New York's financial community, Heber Bishop was a trustee of the Metropolitan Trust Company, the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was a member of New York's most exclusive clubs and a renowned socialite.

Henry A. Coster (Died 1821)

Henry A. Coster and his brother John G. Coster had a solid reputation of sagacious merchants and pillars of New York's financial community. Henry A. Coster was a director of the Manhattan Bank from 1801 to 1806 and of the Merchants Bank thereafter. He was also in the directorship of the Globe Insurance Company. He lived next door to the store until 1817, when he moved to more residential number 85 Chambers Street. He also had a country seat at what later became First Avenue, between 30th and 35th streets.

Stuyvesant Fish (1851-1923)

The youngest son of Secretary of State Hamilton Fish graduated from Columbia in 1874 with a Master degree. He started his career as a clerk in the New York office of the Illinois Central Railroad, a favorite investment of the City's old established families. In 1872, he became secretary to the president of the railroad : 'Colonel' Henry S. McComb. Through his grand-mother, Stuyvesant Fish descended from one of New York's eldest families and was predestined to inherit a large fortune made through appreciation of city real estate. But Stuyvesant Fish would not content himself to be an idle rich and took a position at Morton, Bliss & Company to learn the banking business. He left New York to work at the bank's English correspondent firm, Morton, Rose & Company, but returned in 1877 to become a director of the Illinois Central Railroad. Stuyvesant Fish rose in the Illinois Central railroad hierarchy, became second vice president in 1883, first vice president in 1884 and president in 1887, a position he kept for two decades. In his later years, Stuyvesant Fish lived the life of an upper class gentleman and assured his family's social position at the side of his socially talented wife "Mamie".

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A Little Taste Of History (18)

Topic: New York City's Theatres Pre: 1911 #1

Abbey's Park Theatre

Nearly on the site of the old Buck's Horn Tavern, Abbey's Park Theatre stood in the seventies and eighties. The Stock company was one of the best in New York, containing several actors who later joined Daly's company. Between seasons many well-known actors appeared; among them, Mrs. Langtry, who made her American debut upon this stage.

The house was planned by Dion Boucicault, but he got into difficulties and was not its manager when it opened in 1874. It came under the management of Abbey on November 27, 1876,the actress Lotta being his financial backer. Among the plays first given here was "The Gilded Age" in which John T. Raymond appeared as the protagonist, Colonel Mulberry Sellers. The play was founded on Mark Twain's story of the same name. The house was destroyed by fire, October 30, 1882,several hours before the evening performance, and was not rebuilt.

Lester Wallack's Theatre

Lester Wallack moved into his up-town theatre at the northeast corner of Thirtieth Street in February, 1881, but the building was not ready for opening until January 4, 1882. The exterior of the building has never been completely finished. Here Wallack had an excellent stock company as before; but the house never became so famous or so popular as the old Thirteenth street theatre perhaps, because a new generation of theatre-goers had grown up and the actor-manager was getting old. He retired from active management, and the house opened as Palmer's Theatre on October 8, 1888, to become and remain Wallack's once more on December 7, 1896.

Banvard's Museum and Theatre

The oldest theatre in this neighborhood was originally Banvard's Museum and Theatre at 1221 Broadway, near Thirtieth Street. It was the first building in the city erected expressly for museum purposes, and was opened June 17, 1867. It became Wood's Museum and Metropolitan Theatre in 1868, and Wood's Museum and Menagerie in 1869. Very good plays with first-class actors were given under both managers, as I can personally testify. In 1877, it became the Broadway Theatre, and two years later it became Daly's remaining under the management of Augustin Daly until his death. It was the one theatre where the visitor could find the perfection of acting, management, and presentation, whether the play were a French or German farce or a Shakesperian revival. Ada Rehan, John Drew, Mrs. Gilbert, James Lewis, George Clarke, and others were known, admired, and loved by a generation of theatre-goers.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (19)

Topic: My Trip To Ellis island Photo Gallery

On June 1, 2008 I was able to finally visit Ellis Island, for the first time, in person. What an unforgettable and rewarding experience. Thanks to my son, my niece Andrea and her husband Dan, that I was able to fulfill this long awaited wish. I am so grateful to Andrea for her camera skills in capturing the images that were displayed throughout the building and its exteriors which you will see here.

As an introduction to this photo gallery, I have included a little historical background on the reasons why so many immigrants came to America.

I hope you will enjoy the article. Click Here.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (17)

Topic: Some Terms Used by the North and the South During the Civil War

The Union Army 1861: The entire U.S. Army had only 16,000 men when the war began; within two years the Union Army reached its peak of a million men (during the war a total of 2 million men served in this army)

God's Country: The Union troops' term for the North, especially when battling heat, humidity, and mosquitoes in the South. Not until the 1880s did the term mean any section of the country one loved or the open spaces of the West. The Union troops also called the American flag God's flag.

Loyalist: a Union sympathizer in the South, 1862.

The Confederacy: This meant the entire confederation of all the states, the United States, until 1829, when secession was first discussed; between then and 1861 it slowly came to mean the South and then the Confederate States of America. Confederates and the Confeds meant both Southerners and Confederate troops from 1861 on. In 1861 Confederate also first appeared in many combinations, as Confederate money, Confederate stamps, the Confederate Capital, etc. The Confederate flag (another 1861 term) was also called the stars and bars, to distinguish it from the Union's stars and stripes.

Dixie: became a popular word for the South during the Civil War and Dixie land a popular Southern song.

A.W.O.L.: became the initials for "absent without leave" during the Civil War (unwarranted absence of a comparatively short duration, not long enough to classify a soldier as a deserter). The South punished such offenders rather leniently, as with a reprimand or assignment to physical labor while wearing a placard with the letters AWOL on it, which helped popularize the initials.

Copperhead: During the Civil War a copperhead (1862) was the North's derogatory term for a Northerner who sympathized with the South.


A Little Taste Of History (16)

Topic: The Dust Bowl

By the 1930s the Great Plains area of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas had been farmed badly for decades, especially while trying to fill World War I demands for wheat. The GREAT DROUGHT of 1933 destroyed crops and dried the land, and severe dust storms began in 1934, blowing huge dust clouds from this Great Plains area over Chicago and all the way to the Atlantic. Residents of the plains were talking about DUST PNEUMONIA by 1935 and by 1936 everyone was calling the stricken area THE DUST BOWL. (For viewing photographs of the Dust Bowl click here).

Thousands of farm families left their unproductive land or were forced off by mortgage foreclosures. They piled their belongings on jalopies or old farm trucks and headed west, swelling the roving ranks of the unemployed during THE GREAT DEPRESSION. Since many were from Oklahoma, all were called OKIES, the word often being used to conjure up an offensive image of these uprooted, unskilled farmers and their large, undernourished families traveling wet like gypsies. Some eventually settled in shanty towns and city tenements, but many became itinerant, migratory farm workers. Other job seekers and local authorities cursed the arrival of the OKIES, while those who could afford to sympathized with their plight or at least read and talked about John Steinbeck's description of it in his 1939 best-selling, Pulitzer Prize novel The Grapes of Wrath.


Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (18)

Topic: The Erie Canal

In 1825 the 363-mile long Erie Canal was opened, connecting Lake Erie to the Hudson (Buffalo to Albany). This 40 foot wide, 4-foot deep was an engineering marvel and all Americans were proud of it. It brought the farm products and raw materials of the Old Northwest Territory, around the eastern Great Lakes, directly to the big manufacturing centers of the East and took immigrant settlers to the vast wilderness easily. It eventually made New York City a more important city than Boston or Philadelphia. Click here for picture of construction.

The great success of the Erie led to a canal building craze that saw over 3,000 miles built by 1840, plus many canals that were never finished. The overbuilding and the coming of THE IRON HORSE soon caused the canals to decline and a number of states defaulted on their canal bonds between 1844 and 1860, plunging many investors here and abroad into debt. (16)

Sources Utilized to Document A Little Taste of History


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Table Of Contents : Mimi Speaks Blog

There are many people who love to read blogs, but just don't have the time to waste, or are in the mood to go through it's entire contents trying to find something that may be of interest to them. Usually when people approach a blog, they like to go quickly from one thing to the next. As for actually reading the text, there is little evidence of that unless the subject matter should catch their eye, then it becomes worthwhile.

Since my blog was started in 2007, there have been postings of 201 tid-bits of information, which talk about history, life situations, goals and success. So my dear reader, for your benefit, I am making every attempt to improve the navigation to this treasure trove of information as quickly as possible. For this purpose I have created a table of contents divided by categories, for easy accessing. However if there is something that may catch your eye, I suggest you find yourself a comfortable chair, and while you're at it, grab a steaming hot cup of coffee and a bagel with cream cheese and you'll be all set to settle down for a while. So happy reading.


(A. ) Getting To Know Mimi (B.) N.Y.C. History (C.) East Harlem
(D.) Spanish Harlem (E.) Black Harlem (F.) New York State

Table of Contents (3)
(G.) Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls

Table of Contents (4)
(H.) Jewish Knowledge (I) Self-Improvement (J) Historical Facts On England & United States

Table of Contents (5)
(K) Miscellaneous (L) Timetables (M) Ethnic Groups (N) Legal Talk
(O) Entertainment: Backward Glances (P) Immigration

Table of Contents (6)
(Q) Women__Bio Sketches, Feminine Fancies, Recipes, Kitchen Talk.
(R) Worship

Table of Contents (7)
(S) A Little Taste of History



Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (17)

Topic: The Dr. Harvey Burdell Murder Case

The murder of Dr. Harvey Burdell was New York's most sensational case during the 1850's. Dr. Burdell was stabbed 12 times by his murderer or murderess. He was found in the master bedroom of his bond street home by a young boy who came each morning to make a fire in the fireplace. The evidence of blood was everywhere. As the police pressed their investigation, it seems that no one had a good word to say about the departed wealthy dentist. At the time of his murder there were three other people living at the Burdell Mansion. Mrs. Emma Cunningham, who became a prime suspect when she suddenly laid claim to a widow's portion of Burdell's estate, stating she had married him secretly a short time before his murder. She even produced a rather senile minister to attest to the marriage. Then there was John J. Eckel, who rented a room in the house, who was elated that Dr. Burdell was dead.The other tenant was George Snodgrass, who was the son of a Presbyterian minister. a shy and effinate looking young man. He also seemed pleased that Dr. Burdell was dead. In the investigation it seemed that Dr. Harvey Burdell owed a great deal of money to John Burke, the crookedest gambler in town. John Burke had to be scratched off the under suspicion list, since he had an alibi at the time of the murder, so the only ones left were the three mentioned above.The prosecutor, A. Oakly Hall, who later became the most dishonest District Attorney, in the history of New York City, didn't have a strong case against any of the three, he decided that they should all be charged with the murder. According to the facts, the doctors said that the murder was committed by a left-handed person. Mrs. Cunningham or Mrs. Burdell, who was pregnant , was left-handed and so she states due to give birth to the deceased's child. This was her proof to lay claim to the Burdell fortune. Since there was no direct evidence linking her with the crime, she was released on a not-guilty verdict. Mrs. Cunningham's doctor was suspicious of her pregnancy, since she didn't let him examine her. He told his suspicions to the District Attorney that he felt she was stuffing herself with cushions to give the appearance of a pregnancy. In the meantime Mrs. Burdell, purchased a new born baby at $1000, passing it off as her own. Since she was already acquitted of the charges, the Burdell case remained unsolved becoming a subject of the media from time to time. (9)

Sources Utilized to Document A Little Taste of History

For more information on this murder case, please read the following articles, located in the Crime and Consequences section of Dr. Harvey Burdell Murder Case
and The Murder of Dr. Burdell.