Sixty-five years ago, [today] on November 12, 1954, a Norwegian merchant seaman named Arne Peterssen became the last immigrant to pass through Ellis Island. Later that month, the ferry Ellis Island made its final stop at the island in New York Harbor and the immigration facility closed for good, ending its run as a gateway to the United States for generations of immigrants.
These days Ellis Island is a national symbol remembered in sepia tones but, while it was in active service, the station reflected the country’s complicated relationship with immigration, one that evolved from casual openness to rigid restriction. “It was not a great welcoming place for immigrants but, it was not a place of horrors either,” says Vincent Cannato, author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island.
Until the end of the 19th century, individual states handled immigration with rules varying by jurisdiction. [T]hen, immigration soared. In light of the influx, the federal government decided in 1891 that it had to take charge.
New York was immigration’s epicenter. Some 75 percent of the country’s steamship traffic came through New York Harbor and so did 75 percent of the nation’s immigrants, according to Cannato. New York state ran an immigration facility called Castle Gardens at the tip of Manhattan but, the new federal Office of Immigration wanted an intake and inspection station in a more controlled location. It selected Ellis Island, a three-acre spot of land in the harbor between New York and New Jersey […].
The immigrants who eventually passed through Ellis Island started their journey by buying passage on a steamship, usually sailing from Europe. Between 1892 and 1924, 12 million people successfully traversed this highly efficient conveyor-belt immigration system. Most immigrants were processed through Ellis Island in a few hours and only 2 percent that arrived on the island were prevented from entering the United States.
[T]his era of mass immigration came to an end with the passage in 1921 and 1924 of new laws that severely limited immigration by establishing quotas for individual countries and requiring immigrants to obtain visas from American consulates. Since most official immigration screening now happened at U.S. consulates abroad, Ellis Island became increasingly irrelevant. The facility, which had once teemed with thousands of hopeful immigrants, transformed into “a major center for deportation and for holding enemy alien spies,” says [Barry] Moreno. “It was like night and day.” President Eisenhower quietly closed Ellis Island in 1954.
How Ellis Island Shepherded Millions of Immigrants Into America
November 13, 2019
The 1903 World Series was the first modern World Series to be played in Major League Baseball. It matched the American League champion Boston [Americans] against the National League champion [Pittsburg Pirates] (spelled without an “H” from 1891 to 1911) in a best-of-nine series, with Boston prevailing five games to three, winning the last four. The first three games were played in Boston, the next four in Allegheny (home of the Pirates), and the eighth (last) game in Boston.
Pittsburgh pitcher Sam Leever injured his shoulder while trap-shooting, so his teammate Deacon Phillippe pitched five complete games. Phillippe won three of his games but, it was not enough to overcome the club from the new American League. Boston pitchers Bill Dinneen and Cy Young led Boston to victory. In Game #1, Phillippe struck out ten Boston batters. The next day, Dinneen bettered that mark, striking out 11 Pittsburgh batters in Game #2.
Honus Wagner [was] bothered by injuries […] and committed six errors. The shortstop was deeply distraught by his performance. The following spring, Wagner […] refused to send his portrait to a “Hall of Fame” for batting champion:
“I was too bum last year. I was a joke in that Boston-Pittsburgh Series. What does it profit a man to hammer along and make a few hits, when they are not needed, only to fall down when it comes to a pinch? I would be ashamed to have my picture up now.”
Due to overflow crowds at the Exposition Park games in Allegheny City, if a batted ball rolled under a rope in the outfield that held spectators back, a “ground-rule triple” would be scored. [Seventeen] ground-rule triples were hit in the four games played at the stadium.
In the series, Boston came back from a three-games-to-one deficit, winning the final four games (on October 13) to capture the title…(118 years ago). Such a large comeback would not happen again until the Pirates came back to defeat the Washington Senators in the 1925 World Series […]. […] Much was made of the influence of Boston’s Royal Rooters, who traveled to Exposition Park and sang their theme song Tessie to distract the opposing players […]. Boston wound up winning three out of four games in Allegheny City.
Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss added his share of the gate receipts to the players’ share, so the losing team’s players actually finished with a larger individual share than the winning team’s.
The Series brought the new American League prestige and proved its best could beat the best of the National League, thus strengthening the demand for future World Series competitions.
Baffling Baseball Trivia (Dom Forker/Wayne Stewart/Michael J. Pellowski/2004/Sterling Publishing Company/Web Archive)
Baseball Almanac (World Series History/The Official Baseball History Site)
Honus Wagner: A Biography (Dennis DeValeria/Jeanne Burke DeValeria/1996/1998/GoodReads)
Retro Sheet (Pre-1984 Baseball Analysis)
The First World Series and the Baseball Fanatics of 1903 (Roger L. Abrams/2003/Northeastern University Press/Web Archive)
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and organist. The most important member of the Bach family, his genius combined outstanding performing musicianship with supreme creative powers in which forceful and original inventiveness, technical mastery and intellectual control, are perfectly balanced. While it was in the former capacity, as a keyboard virtuoso, that in his lifetime he acquired an almost legendary fame, it is the latter virtues and accomplishments, as a composer, that, by the end of the 18th century, earned him a unique historical position. His musical language was distinctive and extraordinarily varied, drawing together and surmounting the techniques, the styles and the general achievements, of his own and earlier generations, and leading on to new perspectives, which later ages have received, and understood, in a great variety of ways.
Wachet! Betet! Betet! Wachet! (Watch! Pray! Pray! Watch!) is the title of two church cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed a first version, BWV 70a, in Weimar for the second Sunday in Advent of 1716 and expanded it in 1723 in Leipzig to BWV 70, a cantata in two parts for the 26th Sunday after Trinity.
On [March] 2, 1714, Bach was appointed concertmaster of the Weimar court capelle of the co-reigning dukes Wilhelm Ernst and Ernst August of Saxe-Weimar. As concertmaster, he assumed the principal responsibility for composing new works, specifically cantatas for the Schlosskirche (palace church), on a monthly schedule. Bach originally wrote this cantata in his last year there […].
The instrumentation of the Weimar cantata is lost.
Bach first performed the cantata on [December] 6, 1716.
Gächinger Kantorei Choir
Dvořák Hall Prague
John Eliot Gardiner
Mumtaz Mahal (exalted one of the palace), born Arjumand Banu Begum, was the Empress consort of the Mughal Empire, from January 19, 1628 to June 17, 1631, [and] chief consort of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
[Born] to a family of Persian nobility, [she] was the daughter of Abu’l-Hasan Asaf Khan […]. She was married at the age of 19 [in 1612] to Prince Khurram, [later named] Jahan, [becoming] his second wife. [They] had fourteen children, including Jahanara Begum […] and the Crown prince Dara Shikoh [..]. Shikoh was, eventually, deposed by younger sibling Aurangzeb.
Three hundred, ninety years ago, today, Mumtaz Mahal died [from a postpartum hemorrhage] in Burhanpur, Deccan (present-day Madhya Pradesh), during the birth of her fourteenth child, a daughter named Gauhar Ara Begum. Her body was temporarily buried at Burhanpur in a walled pleasure garden known as Zainabad […].
[The] emperor was reportedly inconsolable. Apparently, after her death, he went into secluded mourning for a year. When he appeared again, his hair had turned white, his back was bent and his face worn. Mumtaz’s eldest daughter, Jahanara […], gradually brought her father out of grief and took her mother’s place at court.
The Myth of the Taj Mahal and a New Theory of It’s Symbolic Meaning (College Art/Wayne E. Begley/PDF)
Forty-five years ago, today, the one-hour documentary Nat Hurst, MD: 20th Century American Physician aired on TV (network unknown). Written and directed by Raúl daSilva, it was produced and narrated by Jerry Carr.
The life of prominent African American medical doctor, Nathaniel Hurst, who rose from a poor family to the presidency of both a major hospital and the Monroe County Medical Association.
There is very little written about this production but, I did manage to dig up some data on Nat. ~Vic
Nat received his M.D. from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1954. He did his internship and residency in internal medicine at Rochester General Hospital. He entered private practice in 1958.
In 1976, Nat was installed as the first African-American president of the Monroe County Medical Society. In 1981, he received the Edward Mott Moore Award, the Medical Society’s highest honor and The Community Leadership Award of the Urban League of Rochester.
Nat was an expertise [sic] in geriatrics, pioneering a number of innovative programs. His interests included giving time to such projects as the Sickle Cell Anemia Project, the Inner City Health Council and the Catholic Interracial Council
Nat left an indelible imprint on Rochester’s medical community, first as an internist in the late 1950s and then as vice president, and president, of the former Park Avenue Hospital medical staff. He is credited with major involvement in the planning, building and operating of Park Ridge Hospital and Nursing Home. He later became director of the hospital’s internal medicine department and subsequently medical director of Park Ridge Hospital.
Birth: December 11, 1919, Suffolk City, VA
Death: December 22, 2000, North Carolina
Buried: White Haven Memorial Park, Pittsford, NY
Dr. Nathaniel John Hurst
Find A Grave Memorial
The Athenian Coup of 411 BC was a revolutionary movement during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta that overthrew the democratic government of ancient Athens and replaced it with a short-lived oligarchy known as The Four Hundred. The movement was led by a number of prominent and wealthy Athenians who held positions of power in the Athenian army at Samos, in coordination with Alcibiades (and Antiphon) who promised to deliver Persian support to Athens if the democracy was overthrown. Negotiations with Alcibiades eventually broke down as he proved incapable of delivering his promise. Nevertheless, the leaders of the oligarchic movement went forward with their plans to overthrow Athenian democratic government.
The Four Hundred government in Athens suffered from instability as conflict soon arose between moderates and extremists among the oligarchs. The moderates, led by Theramenes and Aristocrates, called for the replacement of The Four Hundred with a broader oligarchy of “the 5,000” […]. After the leader of the extremists Phrynichus was assassinated, the moderates grew bolder and arrested an extremist general in Piraeus. A confrontation ensued, which ended with the hoplites in Piraeus tearing down the new fortification. Several days later, the Four Hundred were officially replaced by “the 5,000”, who ruled for several more months until after the Athenian victory at Cyzicus.
The Oligarchic Coup in Athens (Brewminate Blog)
Council of the Four Hundred (Britannica)
The Oligarchic Coup of 411 (Thomas R. Martin/Tufts University)
Athenian Coup of 411 (Wikipedia)
The International Society for the Abolition of Data-Processing Machines […] was founded by Harvey Matusow in the late 1960s. Its aim was “to conduct guerrilla warfare against the computer by such means as sending a penny too much or too little when paying a utility bill.”
Matusow also authored The Beast of Business, which was supposed to serve as a manual for the guerrilla warfare against the computer. I wonder if any of the techniques he detailed would still work today?
However, Matusow is best known for giving evidence in court against individuals during the McCarthy era. Later, he claimed that the FBI had paid him to give false testimony and he detailed these allegations in his book False Witness.
He seems to have had a rather eccentric life and career. Some other highlights of it, from the University of Sussex’s page about him:
♦ Founded a band called the Harvey Matusow’s Jew’s Harp Band
♦ Married approximately twelve times
♦ Is possibly part of the reason The Beatles broke up – he held the party where John Lennon met Yoko Ono
♦ Worked as a children’s TV clown called Cockyboo in Tucson, Arizona
♦ Converted to Mormonism and spent his last years known as Job Matusow
May 29, 2021
Frustrations: Guerrilla War Against Computers (Time Magazine/09-12-1969)
Three hundred, twenty years ago, yesterday, Scottish Sea Captain William Kidd was hanged at Execution Dock in London at low tide:
[P]roceedings against [Kidd] had been long and notorious. The actions for which he was tried had been still more notorious, one involving murder and five [involving] piracy. His career had been brief, brilliant in the beginning [but], catastrophic at the end. The general excitement at the time of his execution and, all during his imprisonment in London, had been at [a] fever pitch. Gossip went to work and, the wildest of tales of Kidd’s wickedness and wealth were believed. […] Upon his death, numerous accounts, both factual and fictitious, appeared.
William Hallam Bonner
University of Buffalo
American Literature, Vol. 15, No. 4, Jan. 1944
Kidd was commissioned by King William III (William of Orange) as a Privateer and carried a license to hunt pirates, reserving 10% of any bounty acquired for the Crown. His murder charge was the result of the killing of crew member William Moore, his gunner, during a near mutiny.
Of all the things written and expressed, the ballad Captain Kid’s Farewel to the Seas (or the Famous Pirate’s Lament) was the only thing to survive. It was quite popular in the Colonies where the Captain had a home and may be considered America’s first folk legend. There is a British version and an American version, which changed the Captain’s first name to Robert for some strange reason and, several contemporary covers. The last website, below, has his name as John. He had to be hanged, twice, as the rope broke the first time. ~Vic
Captain Kidd Lyrics (David Kidd Website/Wayback Machine)
Captain Kidd Song (Wikipedia)
The Ballad of Captain Kidd (Chivalry Website Archive)
Wizard of the Seas (Ex-Classics Website)
In September of 2017, I paid a visit to a place I had not seen since I was about six years old…the Land of Oz. I remember bits and pieces of the trip. My parents took me in 1972 and two of my strongest memories are of riding on the balloon ride (a converted ski-lift) in a blinding mountain rainstorm and the wet ride in a bus, with no windows, down the mountain, leaving. For years, I wondered what had become of that park.
Originally opening on June 15, 1970, it was a grand place to visit and managed to stay open for a decade, even after a fire in 1975, before falling into disrepair and abandonment. Many things were stolen, vandalized or left to nature.
Appalachian State University had a cultural museum, at one time, that showcased saved pieces from the park including the yellow bricks, some munchkin houses, costumes, parts of the witch’s castle and other assorted props. All artifacts were eventually returned to the park.
In 1991, the park was included in a celebration for Independence Day for Beech Mountain. Watauga High School students dressed in costume. Emerald Mountain, Inc., purchased the property in 1994 and a slow restoration began. An “Autumn at Oz” was started as a reunion for former employees and became a yearly event. By 2010, the park drew 8,000 people.
Land of Oz (Official Website)
The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, […] often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason [in earlier centuries], was a failed assassination attempt against King James I by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.
The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on [November] 5, 1605, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands, during which James’s nine-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state. Catesby may have embarked on the scheme after hopes of securing greater religious tolerance under King James had faded, leaving many English Catholics disappointed. His fellow plotters were John and Christopher Wright, Robert and Thomas Wintour, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Keyes, Thomas Bates, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby and Francis Tresham. Fawkes, who had 10 years of military experience fighting in the Spanish Netherlands in the failed suppression of the Dutch Revolt, was given charge of the explosives.
The plot was revealed to the authorities in an anonymous letter sent to William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, on [October] 26, 1605. During a search of the House of Lords in the evening on [November] 4, 1605, Fawkes was discovered guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder, enough to reduce the House of Lords to rubble, and [was] arrested. Most of the conspirators fled from London as they learned of the plot’s discovery, trying to enlist support along the way. Several made a stand against the pursuing Sheriff of Worcester and his men at Holbeche House […]. [In] the ensuing battle, Catesby was one of those shot and killed. At their trial on [January] 27 1606, four hundred, fifteen years ago, today, eight of the survivors, including Fawkes, were convicted and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
The thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot was commemorated for many years afterwards by special sermons and other public events such as the ringing of church bells, which evolved into the British variant of Bonfire Night of today.
The Trial of the Gunpowder Conspirators (The Tudor Society/Claire Ridgway/January 27, 2018)
One hundred, nine years ago, today, New Mexico was admitted to the Union, becoming the 47th state. In Spanish, it is Nuevo México and in Navajo, it is Yootó Hahoodzo. It’s capital city is Santa Fe, founded in 1610 as the capital of Nuevo México, a province of New Spain. It’s largest city is Albuquerque and it is part of the Four Corners area of the southwest US. It is the fifth largest state and has a thriving film industry. It is home to the Los Alamos Lab, the White Sands Missile Range and the Sandia Lab. It is home to part of the Navajo Nation, Puebloan Peoples and Apache tribes. At one time, prehistorically, it was home to Ancestral Puebloans, Mogollon, Comanche and Ute Peoples. It has the the highest percentage of Hispanic & Latino Americans and the second-highest percentage of Native Americans, as a population, after Alaska. National New Mexico Day is June 14. Salute!
If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is offering up a piece of Americana but, it’s going to cost you a pretty penny.
When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed their doors, NCDOT saw an opportunity to add to its fleet. That plan was derailed before the cars could hit the rails and, now, they’re being put up for public auction.
NCDOT spent just over $380,000 on [the] Ringling Brothers rail cars.
“These cars have a great and amazing history,” said Jason Orthner, director of the NCDOT rail division.
However, plans to refurbish the cars were quickly put on hold when NCDOT calculated the costs. “This was more on the long-term play of really looking into our rail program and how we take it into the future,” said Orthner.
Funding from two federal grants totaling $157 million rendered the rehab of the Ringling Bros. cars obsolete and will soon allow the NCDOT to replace their entire fleet.
“If we hadn’t been successful at winning those grants, we would’ve taken a really hard look at putting these in service,” said Orthner. “We really want to do the best thing for the citizens of North Carolina with the limited funding that we have available.”
That’s why they’re listing the rail-cars on the state surplus site for a minimum price that’s $32,000 more than the NCDOT paid for all of the cars but, without any bids, it’s unclear if anyone will actually buy them.
“Tourist railroad operations, car collectors and other enthusiasts would certainly be interested in these cars,” said Orthner. “There are operations around the country that run train service for excursion purpose, or other purposes, that would be interested in equipment like this.”
I had no idea my state’s DOT had purchased Ringling Bros. train cars. ~Vic
Ninety-six years ago, today, the very first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held.
From History Channel:
As the United States prospered during the Roaring Twenties, so did New York City’s iconic department store, Macy’s. After going public in 1922, R. H. Macy & Co. started to acquire competitors and open regional locations. Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan’s Herald Square did such a brisk business that it expanded in 1924 to cover an entire city block, stretching from Broadway to Seventh Avenue along 34th Street.
To showcase the opening of the “World’s Largest Store” and its one million square feet of retail space at the start of the busy holiday shopping season, Macy’s decided to throw New York a parade on Thanksgiving morning. In spite of its timing, the parade was not actually about Thanksgiving at all but the next major holiday on the calendar…Christmas. Macy’s hoped its “Christmas Parade” would whet the appetites of consumers for a holiday shopping feast.
[Previously], the only Thanksgiving parade that had previously passed through the city’s streets was its peculiar, and to many annoying, tradition of children painting their faces and donning tattered clothes to masquerade as “ragamuffins” who asked “Anything for Thanksgiving?” as they begged door-to-door for pennies, apples and pieces of candy.
At [9:00am EST], on the sunlit morning of November 27, 1924, Macy’s gave the children of New York a particularly special Thanksgiving treat as a police escort led the start of the parade from the intersection of 145th Street and Convent Avenue. Macy’s had promised parade-goers “a marathon of mirth” in its full-page newspaper advertisements. While the parade route may not have extended over 26 miles, its 6-mile length certainly made for a long hike for those marching from Harlem to Herald Square.
Although the parade garnered only two sentences the following day in the New York Herald, […] it proved such a smash that Macy’s announced in a newspaper advertisement the following morning that it would stage the parade, again, the following Thanksgiving. “We did not dare dream its success would be so great.”
Macy’s History (NYC Tourist)