The socio-political and economic turmoil of the early twentieth century transformed American society. Between the conclusion of the Civil War and the end of the First World War, the country went from being a predominantly rural farming society to an urban industrial one. [Read more…] about Socialism, Greenwich Village & ‘The Masses’
World War One
Joseph Urban may be a somewhat forgotten figure in America’s annals of culture, but during his lifetime he enjoyed an almost legendary reputation. An all-round creative talent, Urban was a prolific Gilded Age illustrator, set designer, and architect of private dwellings, theaters, and a university building in the city of New York. His Gingerbread Castle was built for a fairy tale themed amusement park in Hamburg, New Jersey.
His feeling for color and choice of materials did much to revitalize American stage design and architecture. The contrast between two of Urban’s extant buildings shows the range of his talent as an architect. It goes beyond that: the marked stylistic difference seemed to foreshadow the divisiveness of contemporary society. [Read more…] about The Architecture of Joseph Urban: Mar-a-Lago & The New School
Richard F. Welch book Long Island’s Gold Coast Elite and The Great War (History Press, 2021) looks at how Long Island’s leading North Shore families supported the Allies at the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914. Welch considers the Morgan bankers, movie producers, society glitterati, government officials, politically connected lawyers, and a former U.S. president who arranged massive loans and supplies for the Allies, while agitating for militarization and intervention.
This undercut the Wilson Administration’s official policy of neutrality and led the United States on a course, which led us inexorably to war with Germany in 1917. [Read more…] about Long Island’s Gold Coast & The First World War
Early American patriot Marinus Willett, a key figure in the Revolutonary War at Fort Stanwix and Fort Plain in the Mohawk Valley who, according to New York City correspondent Jim Kaplan, later became Mayor of New York City. [Read more…] about Marinus Willett to NY’s Birthday (Historians Podcast Highlights)
Austria-Hungary blamed Serbia. Ultimately the largest war in history to that point began. [Read more…] about American Opinion Leading To World War One
The break-up of Standard Oil and other monopolies during the Trust-busting Era, created somewhat greater competition, but did not significantly impact Wall Street, or its major players. For example, after the success of the Justice Department in the 1911 Supreme Court Case United States v. Standard Oil (in which the Court ruled that Standard Oil of New Jersey violated the Sherman Antitrust Act), the company was ordered broken into 34 ostensibly independent companies. *
The stock in each of these companies was distributed to Standard Oil Company shareholders (principally the Rockefeller family) and each company had separate boards of directors and separate management, but by and large they continued to operate on separate floors of the same building — 26 Broadway in Manhattan. [Read more…] about Wall Street History: Individual Investors & The Crash of 1929
Exploding urban populations during the nineteenth century demanded new solutions towards burying the dead. Traditional congregational graveyards were either full or overcrowded. A combination of practical thinking and the wish to commune with nature (inspired by Romantic poetry) led to the development of serene burial grounds outside the city boundaries.
Founded as a “rural” or “garden” cemetery in 1838, Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery is famous for its picturesque landscape features with evocative names such as Camellia Path, Halcyon Lake, Oaken Bluff, or Vista Hill. Elaborate monuments and mausoleums, designed in an array of architectural styles, honor the Lispenard dynasty (Norman), William Niblo (Gothic), the Steinway family (Classical), and others.
And then there is the Feltman mausoleum, the columns of which feature Corinthian capitals. On each side of the doorway stands a trio of mourning figures. Those on the left hold symbols of faith (cross and doves); those on the right show grief and sorrow. The pediment features two cherubs holding a wreath with the initial F in the center. On top of the temple is a cupola with the Archangel Michael standing guard, sword at the ready. The building serves to celebrate the memory of just one man. Who was this person? A Founding Father maybe? A respected politician (if that is not a contradiction in terms)? A celebrated artist? [Read more…] about A Dog’s Tale: Dachshunds, Hot Dogs, Coney Island & Greenwood Cemetery
On April 13, 1927, the Thomas Jefferson Association sponsored a reception aboard the SS Paris before the departure of a massive painting from Le Havre to New York’s Pier 57 with the crate containing the art work resting on its deck.
The panoramic “Panthéon de la Guerre” (Temple of War) was heading for Madison Square Garden where it was to be exhibited in aid of the Association (the day of leaving coincided with Jefferson’s birth date).
A spectacular opening night in New York on May 19 was attended by 25,000 people and the show attracted a million visitors in eight weeks. The “Temple” created enormous curiosity. [Read more…] about War Artists’ Tragedy & Farce: The Americanized ‘Temple of War’
One of nineteenth century Syracuse’s largest celebrations took place on the 1st of May, 1871. It was called the Friedensfest, the Peace Festival.
The reason for celebration was the unification of Germany following Prussia’s crushing defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War. The emphasis on Peace was less about the end of hostilities between Prussia and France than it was about a new and lasting peace among the previously independent states of Germany, some of whom were caught in a rivalry between Austria and Prussia that had already erupted in war, in 1866. [Read more…] about Friedensfest: Syracuse’s 1871 German-American Peace Festival
On May 13th, 1930, two Saratoga County women set out on an all-expense paid trip. Sailing from New York Harbor on the S.S. Republic, they would be welcomed in Paris by French and American officials and put up in one of the most expensive hotels in the city. After visiting the sites in and around Paris, they would stop in London on the way home where they received the same first class treatment.
It should have been one of the finest times of their lives, but it wasn’t. [Read more…] about When WW1 Gold Star Mothers Pilgrimaged To European Cemeteries