Tag Archives: 1910s

103 Years Ago A Muslim-American Writer Warned of “A Gigantic Day of Reckoning” That Islam Would Inflict On Europe and America

In 1914 Muslim-American Writer Achmed Abdullah Warned The World That Islam Would One Day Violently Take On Europe and America

Achmed Abdullah (1881-1945) was not a psychic, but over a hundred years ago he foresaw the future of Islam’s battle with the West.

Abdullah was born on the borderland between Afghanistan and India. Of mixed parentage, Abdullah was raised Muslim. He claimed to be educated on the continent and received a college degree in England, though the schools Abdullah supposedly went to have no record of him being there. Abdullah immigrated to America sometime around 1910. College degree or not he was well versed, educated and opinionated.

In the mid-teens he became a writer of some note, penning many articles for major magazines. Over the course of his writing career he wrote over two dozen books and by 1920 was also writing for the cinema. His two most famous screenplays are The Thief of Baghdad (1924) starring Douglas Fairbanks and The Lives of A Bengal Lancer (1935) starring Gary Cooper. Abdullah’s autobiography, The Cat had Nine Lives (1933) is extremely dubious as he professed to be related to Russian royalty among many of his unsubstantiated claims.

Early in his writing career Abdullah wrote a piece of non-fiction that you can tell is from the heart. In this story, he tells of the racial prejudice he encountered in his travels around the world. He recounts the historic injustices inflicted upon Asians and Muslims. Abdullah writes of his frustration with Christian and Western civilization’s assumption of superiority over any other culture. Abdullah saw the west’s attitude as racist and driven by subjugation and greed.  Ironic, considering Abdullah was on his way to making a very good living from Western civilization.

From the article:

“You Westerns feel so sure of your superiority over us Easterns that you refuse even to attempt a fair or correct interpretation of past and present historical events. You deliberately stuff the minds of your growing generations with a series of ostensible events and shallow generalities, because you wish to convince them for the rest of their lives how immeasurably superior you are to us, how there towers a range of differences between the two civilizations, how East is only East, and the West such a glorious, wonderful, unique West.”

Abdullah’s article  “Seen Through Mohammedan Spectacles,” was published in October 1914 by a very influential monthly scholarly magazine, The Forum.

The 13 page article which can be read here in its entirety, ran just months after the outbreak of World War I.

The article is forgotten today. Now is a good time to re-read it to better understand long held grievances from a non-western perspective. Continue reading

Jerome Avenue, The Bronx In 1914 and Today

Jerome Avenue In 1914 and 102 Years Later

bronx-jerome-avenue-from-clarke-place-looking-north-march-1914It was reported that since 2010 the Bronx is the fastest growing county in New York State.

Believe it or not, this bucolic scene shown above, from March 1914, is in the Bronx at Jerome Avenue looking north from Clarke Place.

I have not been able to identify the lone building on the left.  Besides some telephone and telegraph wires, Belgian block paved streets and trolley tracks, modernity had not yet touched most of the Bronx. The population according to the 1915 police census was 649,726.

In 1914 the Bronx was prosperous and living there was considered to be a sign of upward mobility.

Fast forward 102 years later. Below is the same street from about the same spot.

bronx-jerome-avenue-from-clarke-place-looking-north-200-photo-google-mapsJerome Avenue was transformed by the construction of the El in 1917 and 1918, darkening the street, but fostering a building boom. Continue reading

Women Joining The NYPD 100 Years Ago? Not Likely.

No Women Became NYPD Officers Until 1918

Woman Police Making Arrest Bain locThis 1908 news photo by Bain News Service shows a Cincinnati suffragette dressed as a policeman. The accompanying captions is “How woman policeman would look making an arrest.”  Another photo of the same woman is captioned “the woman cop ‘A Dream.'”

Women becoming police officers in the early 20th century was considered a joke. Well maybe that was the case 100 years ago, but not today. There are now over 6,000 uniformed women police officers in the NYPD and they comprise almost 20% of the police force.

In the early history of the NYPD, women had worked as jail matrons and secretary’s. It was in 1918 that Ellen O’Grady was named a Deputy Police Commissioner and Mary E. Hamilton was appointed a policewoman along with 5 other women.

Some of the original policewomen were assigned to battle the white slave trade (forced prostitution) while other recruits were to work on juvenile delinquency cases.

The policewomen were issued badges, summons books, revolvers and handcuffs. They had the same authority as their male counterparts and surprisingly, received the same $1,200 salary as policemen.

As more women joined the force in the following two years, most of the policewomen were assigned to the city beaches to protect women. Others were given assignments in the Vice Squad, the Missing Persons Bureau and some were to investigate fortune-tellers and midwives. Continue reading

Faces of Survival, Eyes of Despair

Survival and Despair In One Photograph

Marjorie Collyer Titanic survivor age 8 photo loc

This is Marjorie Lottie Collyer, age 8, of Bishopstoke, Hampshire, England.

Charlotte Collyer Titanic survivor photo loc

From the same photograph, this is Marjorie’s mother, Charlotte Collyer, age 30 also of Bishopstoke, Hampshire, England.

Both survived the sinking of the Titanic.

The utter despair in Charlotte Collyer’s eyes are apparent as she looks away from the photographer. Daughter Marjorie with her youthful eyes, stares hauntingly straight into the lens of the camera. The unknown future had to weigh heavily on these two survivors minds.

There is something strikingly modern in Marjorie’s face and expression. She looks so similar to so many children you see today.

Here is the entire photograph of Charlotte and Marjorie Collyer sitting together in June 1912.

Charlotte and Marjorie Collyer Titanic survivors photo locA Titanic White Star line blanket drapes Charlotte’s lap as the two sit on a porch swing in Payette Valley, Idaho.

Harvey Collyer, Charlotte’s husband and Marjorie’s father, went down with the Titanic, one of over 1,500 people who perished on April 15, 1912.

Harvey Collyer had sold his grocery business and the family was headed from England to New York aboard the Titanic and then on to Idaho where he intended to start a fruit farm. Harvey also hoped a change of climate would help his wife’s fragile health. When the Titanic sank, Harvey was holding all of the family’s savings in his wallet. Continue reading

Child Labor and Poverty In New York – 1910

7-Year-Old Gerald Schaitberger Sells Newspapers At Columbus Circle – October 8, 1910 At 9:30 p.m.

We Answer The Question: What Became of this Little Boy?

Jerald Schaitberger of 416 W. 57th St. N.Y. helps his older brother sell papers until 10 P.M. on Columbus Circle. 7 yrs. old. 9:30 P.M., October 8, 1910. Photo by Paul B. Schumm / Library of Congress

Photograph number 1 of Jerald Schaitberger 7 yrs. old, of 416 W. 57th St. N.Y. as he helps to sell papers until 10 P.M. on Columbus Circle. Photo taken 9:30 P.M. on October 8, 1910. Photo by Paul B. Schumm / Library of Congress

This scene captured by photographer Paul Schumm at 9:30 in the evening of Saturday, October 8, 1910 shows 7-year-old Gerald Schaitberger selling newspapers at Columbus Circle in front of a subway kiosk. The Library of Congress holds two photos of Gerald (misspelled as Jerald on the LOC website) seen here.

Over 100 years after they were taken, these two photographs still stir strong emotions about child labor and poverty.

According to 1910 census records, Gerald lived a couple of blocks away from Columbus Circle with his 36-year-old father Emanuel, mother Julia, six siblings and grandfather Michael. Emanuel was a clerk working in the fur industry and his eldest son Joseph, 15, worked at the newsstand to help make ends meet.

Apparently this cool October evening  Joseph enlisted the help of younger brother Gerald to aid in selling the papers.

Here is the second photo of Gerald taken a few seconds after the first. After he has apparently made the successful sale, Gerald looks up for approval at his older brother.

Jerald Schaitberger of 416 W. 57th St. N.Y. helps his older brother sell papers until 10 P.M. on Columbus Circle. 7 yrs. old. 9:30 P.M., October 8, 1910. Photo by Paul B. Schumm / Library of Congress

Photograph number 2 of Jerald Schaitberger 7 yrs. old. of 416 W. 57th St. N.Y. helping sell papers until 10 P.M. on Columbus Circle. taken at 9:30 P.M., October 8, 1910. Photo by Paul B. Schumm / Library of Congress

Young Gerald is so eager to help his poor family. When you zoom in on the photographs, you notice some interesting details.

The first is a close-up is of Gerald himself.

Jerald Schaitberger 416 W57th St loc 10 8 1910 Columbus Circle close upThe anticipation shows in Gerald’s eyes as he meekly offers the paper to the awaiting customer. The evening newspaper headline says that the “Yankees Win Two” and that the Giants lost the second game of their doubleheader on the final day of the regular season. Continue reading

Selling Quackery In New York – 1919

What Exactly Was In That Love Potion 100 Years Ago?

The secret "love potion" ingredient? It's at the end of our story.

The secret “love potion” ingredient? It’s at the end of our story.

It’s the 21st century. You’d think the number of people who believe in magic spells and potions would be declining. Unfortunately it is not. For proof look at how China is helping to wipe out the rhinoceros by buying rhino horns through poaching. These uneducated fools believe that the rhino’s horn contains “medicinal” value  to make a man virile.

Should we expect with more information and better education humanity has become more enlightened about patent medicine? Probably not. The internet has spread just as much misinformation as fact. And there’s one more factor to consider: people have has always been rather gullible when it comes to falling for quackery.

No, things have remained the same and unscrupulous people have pushed secret and magic love potions upon ignorant hopefuls from time immemorial.

Here in New York City almost 100 years ago, is proof that the city has always been a central repository for all sorts of hucksterism.

This article is from September 20, 1919 and appeared in the New York Sun. By the way, what a great term for fortune teller – “seeress.” Continue reading

A Forgotten 1915 Brooklyn Tragedy: Four Boys Die In An Accident, Shattering Two Families Forever

Two Pairs of Brothers, Together In Life And Death

100th Anniversary Of The Forgotten Brooklyn Explosion That Killed Two Sets Of Young Brothers

While wandering the bucolic grounds of the Evergreens Cemetery on the Brooklyn – Queens border you come across many interesting monuments. There are Triangle shirtwaist fire victims, General Slocum memorials and many historic notables. And then there are the monuments like this one that are inexplicable on first inspection.

Zimmer inscription monument

Zimmer inscription monument

Higgins inscription monument

Higgins inscription monument

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two sets of brothers each between 7 and 11-years-old all dying on March 13, 1915 and are buried together. This unique memorial has an angel, with a few fingers and toes missing, head bowed in sorrow, standing between the two columns that are connected at the top by a triangular stone with the Gospel of Luke quotation inscribed across it, “Suffer Little Children To Come Unto Me”.

Oil Explosion kills boys March 13 1915 memorial at Evergreens cemeteryMy first thought was that the boys were probably cousins or related in some other way and died in a house fire.

But checking the news accounts from the following days reveals a senseless tragedy of two unrelated families children just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Zimmer boys, Henry age 11 and Herbert age 7, of 186 Warwick Street and the Higgins boys, Alex age 11 and Arthur age 8 of 174 Warwick Street were close friends and neighbors growing up a few doors from each other. Continue reading

Let Us Make You Fat – Old Advertising

“Gee. Look At That Pair Of Skinny Scarecrows. Why Don’t They Try Sargol?”

Early 20th Century Advertising

Ad Let Us Make You Fat world almanac 1915 0117As this 1915 ad proclaims it is “no longer necessary to be “thin scrawny and undeveloped.”

Our thin conscious society today might be a good market for this product, except for the fact that the United States is the fattest country in the world, so we don’t need any help in putting on weight.

The usual cause for being too thin in the early 20th century was poverty and disease, not bad eating habits. People suffering from tuberculosis, diabetes, malassimilation of food, chronic diarrhea, Bright’s Disease and other malady’s were prime candidates to use Sargol. And since hundreds of thousands of people were concerned about being underweight they looked anywhere they could for cures. Sargol promised them the hope that they could put on weight.

But as with most ads of this nature, the Sargol Company was selling quackery.

Sargol started their business in 1908 and teamed up with Parke, Davis & Co. to manufacture their fat pills. Sargol was sold primarily through mail order to the public by taking out hundreds of ads in newspapers, magazines and almanacs to push their nostrum. The ingredients in their “miracle” drug was nothing more than saw palmetto; calcium; sodium; potassium; lecithin and nux vomica.

Sargol’s scam netted them over $3 million before the government fined them $30,000 in 1917 after a thirteen week trial and shut them down for good.

New Hampshire, A Frozen Lake, A Young Babe Ruth and His First Wife

Babe Ruth At Lake Winnipesaukee, NH – 1916

Babe Ruth and wife Helen Lake Winnipesaukee NH 1916 Hunt auctionsIn this rare photograph the dapper and relatively slender Babe Ruth stands on frozen Lake Winnipesaukee in his Red Sox warm-up jacket. With Babe is his first wife Helen Woodford who was just 16 when they married in 1914. While the Babe may not look very happy at least he does not look too cold.

Babe’s marriage never interfered in his womanizing. His appetite for women was Continue reading

New York City Subway Advertising 1912

Broadway & 207th Street IRT Subway Station – 1912

Subway Station Broadway 207th St 1912Some things in New York have not changed in 100 years and advertising in the subway is one of them. Paper ads are still put up at stations all along the subway system.

The IRT’s Broadway and 207th Street station is captured here on June 12, 1912 and shows a deserted station. Currently the “1” train runs on this line and the station is elevated and outdoors.

Looking at the photo we notice the thin strip wood plank flooring and tasteful globe lighting to illuminate the station at night.

As for the ads we see from right to left: Continue reading