Tag Archives: 1910s

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

Second Avenue Elevated, 100 Years Ago

A View Of The Second Avenue El From 14th Street

Second Avenue El from First Ave 14th Street Station Jan 13 1915The Second Avenue Elevated (El for short) was one of four elevated train lines that ran in Manhattan. This photo was taken 100 years ago today on Wednesday, January 13, 1915, and shows the view looking north from the 14th street station and First Avenue. That is correct, the Second Avenue El ran on First Avenue up until it turned west on 23rd Street to continue north on Second Avenue.

Enlarging the photo, at track level we can see the next station at 19th Street. At street level there is little activity, with a few people going about their errands. We see on the left side of the street a wall advertisement for Mecca Cigarettes and on the right side of the street on the second floor, a pawn shop window advertisement saying they’ve been “here since 1880” and a warning to any criminals that they have Holmes Electrical Protection (inventors of the modern burglar alarm).

The Els in Manhattan were discontinued over a 17 year period. The first to shut down was the Sixth Avenue El in 1938, followed by the Ninth Avenue El in 1940 and the Second Avenue El in 1942. The Third Avenue El ceased service in 1955 (the Bronx part of the Third Avenue line continued running until 1973), bringing a close to the era of Manhattan elevated trains.

Increase Your Bust Ad – 1915

Same Scam As Today, Perpetrated 100 Years Ago

Ad Increase Your Bust world almanac 1915 0115

World Almanac 1915 ad

Before plastic surgery and breast implants became the way to change your natural assets, there were charlatans preying upon young girls and women’s insecurities. Growing up I remember reading magazines in the 1970’s and 80’s and constantly seeing the ads saying you can increase your bust size with creams, ointments or exercises. Most of the ads did not describe exactly how the transformation would occur.

Well this scam has been going on for a lot longer than you may think .

This full page advertisement above from the 1915 World Almanac placed by Mrs. Louise Ingram of Toledo, Ohio proclaims to the hopeful, that they can attain a bust of beautiful proportions, firmness, and exquisite development by writing to her.

The ads Mrs. Ingram took out in newspapers and magazines from 1912-1915 taunt women with jabs like, “Why should any woman neglect an opportunity to escape the pain and heartache of being skinny, scrawny, and unattractive in body? For why should there be that pitiful aspect – the face of a woman and the form of a man?”

ad mrs louise ingram bust developmentIf you replied, a sales pitch would arrive in your mailbox to sell you a concoction that would accomplish absolutely nothing but separate you from your money.

No, you would not get a perfect bust and figure, but you would be counted on not to tell anyone that you fell for such quackery and Mrs. Ingram would continue her scamming ways.

So not that much has changed in 100 years, the scams have mostly migrated from print to the internet and now the hucksters have doubled the playing field. While continuing to sell “increase your bust” devices and creams, they have tapped into the self-perceived shortcomings of men.

Insecurities will always fuel this market and so the ads will continue. As David Hannum, not P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Proposed Bridges Of New York City In 1911

In 1911 The Proposed McCarren Bridge Was To Replace The “Old” Brooklyn Bridge So It Could Be Reconstructed

Existing and Proposed Bridges New York City 1911

Existing & proposed bridges New York City 1911 – note the four lower Manhattan bridges instead of three (click to enlarge)

From the New York Tribune of January 1, 1911 comes this illustration showing New York City with its existing bridges and some proposed new ones.

Sandwiched very tightly between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge  connecting lower Manhattan with Brooklyn, is a proposed new bridge which was to be called the McCarren Bridge named after “Long Pat” McCarren (1847-1909) a state senator who was Brooklyn’s Democratic political boss during the late 1800’s.

Once the proposed McCarren Bridge became a reality, city engineers planned to close and rebuild the Brooklyn Bridge.  The engineers feared that the increase in heavy traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge would necessitate additional strength being added, otherwise a support or cable might give way causing a horrible catastrophe.  Borings were even made at the site, but the McCarren Bridge was never built.

Other proposed bridges in the illustration show the Hell Gate Bridge which was begun in 1912 and completed in 1916.

Further north on the Harlem River connecting upper Manhattan with the Bronx is another proposed bridge that was never built nestled between the University Heights/West 207th Street Bridge and Washington Bridge. This bridge would have been located at 177th Street in the Bronx and was to be called The Morris Heights Bridge. Continue reading

May Day In Brooklyn -1919

10,000 Girls Celebrate May Day In Prospect Park, 1919

Brooklyn May Day celebration 10,000 girls at  Prospect Park 1919

Brooklyn May Day celebration 10,000 girls at Prospect Park 1919

I may not be 100 years old, but I do remember being in public school celebrating May Day with a traditional maypole dance.

May Day in New York has other connotations and since the 1890’s May Day has been known for communists, socialists, union activists and workers marching (sometimes together, sometimes separately) around the city protesting and trying to bring attention to their causes.

But here we see a time when the world was finally at peace, a few months after the conclusion of the Great War (World War I).  Soldiers with their hats on can be seen in the extreme foreground observing and enjoying the festivities.

10,000 Girls in Brooklyn, N.Y. May Day fete

Shouts of joy ring through Prospect Park as happy children dance, play games and sing. Photo shows a general view of thousands of girls of the Brooklyn Girls’ Branch of the Public Schools Athletic League in their annual May Day fete in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York.  (photo credit: Central News Photo Service May 2, 1919)

Book Advertisement From 1915: How To Make Love

“What To Do Before And After The Wedding” Among Other Things

Ad Book How To Make Love world almanac 1915So, how did people learn about sex and seduction 100 years ago? From a book of course. This ad appears in the 1915 World Almanac and was just too good not to share.

The text reads:

How To Make Love

(NEW BOOK) Tells how to Get Acquainted; How to Begin Courtship; How to Court a Bashful Girl; to Woo a Widow; to Win a Heiress; how to catch a Rich Bachelor; how to manage your beau to make him propose; how to make your fellow or girl love you; what to do before and after the wedding. Tells other things necessary for Lovers to know. Sample copy by mail, 10 cents.

Royal Book Co. Box 10 So. Norwalk, Conn.

The Simplicity Of The First Federal Income Tax

The First Income Tax Form Of 1913 And How Much The IRS Collected

1913 tax form pg 1

click to enlarge

It was 100 years ago that the 1040 individual tax form many Americans dread having to fill out was introduced.

One thing is for sure, it was a lot simpler to file taxes in 1914 than today.

Pictured above is the 1913 1040 tax form which was due March 1, 1914.

With only three short pages to complete and one page of instructions, for most people who had to file the average time to complete their taxes would take about an hour.

Had to file is an important term here, because the first $2,500 or $3,333.33 of income in 1913 for single and married couples respectively, was exempt. After 1914 the rate was $3,000 and $4,000 respectively. Considering very few Americans made more than $1,000 per year in income, the vast majority of Americans were exempt from paying any tax.

According to the Department of Labor in 1913, the average family household income was $827. Continue reading