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William Allen (1793–1864) was a British naval officer, explorer, musician, artist, and anti-slavery activist, who published works on his various expeditions to Africa and the Middle East, as well as presenting his own strategy for ending the slave trade. Under the auspices of the Society for the Extinction of the Slave Trade and for the Civilization of Africa, Allen published A Narrative of the Expedition sent by H.M.’s Government to the River Niger in 1841, following up on his earlier pictorial publication, Picturesque views on the river Niger. Allen described these particular expeditions as “desirable for nobler ends than the acquisition of wealth”, with a pledge to help eradicate the persistent and pervasive slave trade network. In 1846 he published a pamphlet on ‘Mutual Improvement,’ a Utopian-like recipe for moral development and social compassion. In 1849, his Plan for the immediate Extinction of the Slave Trade, for the Relief of the West India Colonies was a provocative scheme to have slave-dependent nations transition their slaves into short-term binding apprenticeships with fixed end-dates for release and economic freedom. Allen also traveled through Syria and Palestine, and published these results in The Dead Sea, a New Route to India, with other Fragments and Gleanings in the East, in which he promoted the construction of a canal between the Mediterranean and Red Sea.

William Allen–

Those, however, who watched with intense anxiety the increasing horrors of the Slave Trade, and who saw that the means were ineffectual which had hitherto been employed for its extinction, believed, nevertheless, that a way was providentially opened to the very source of the evil. An enlightened Government, adopting the views of these philanthropists, readily consented to send an Expedition, composed of three iron men-of-war steam-vessels, up the River Niger, with Commissioners charged by Her Majesty to make treaties with the native chiefs for the suppression of this horrible traffic ; and to point out to them the advantages they will derive, if, instead of the wars and aggressions to which it gives rise, they will substitute an innocent and a legitimate commerce.

This mission of Peace and Charity —which will redound so much to the true glory of this country is on the eve of departure; and the deep interest on behalf of Africa—which has never been extinguished in humane minds,—will thus derive a fresh stimulus, and a more general participation.

The extended cultivation of the soil of Africa, if unaccompanied with precautions against Slavery, may even aggravate and perpetuate this lamentable system : and every step towards extending and improving the resources of these countries may with them, as with Egypt, prove a step towards promoting and encouraging predial bondage. In short, our paramount object is to establish free labour cultivation, and to prove its superiority, thus providing wholesome and profitable occupation, and undermining the Slave Trade.

We followed in the pinnace, sheltered by a prodigious umbrella, of all the colours of the rainbow; with old Jowdie—a Doma slave, who had been purchased by Lander, and manumitted on his first journey,—seated in the bow, in the character of “ Saliki-n maikidi,” the chief of the drummers, the proudest of the proud. Not satisfied with a good drummer’s jacket, he covered himself with all the ornaments he could lay his hands on, and which were more remarkable fox variety than taste. He seemed, however, to think himself the most important person of the cortege, as he exerted his strength upon the sheepskin with considerable effect; though, with more noise than music, giving ample note of our approach.

I witnessed such a scene as is here represented, when the King of Attah sent a deputation to assure us of his friendly intentions, although he had threatened the inhabitants of the surrounding villages with his vengeance, if they supplied us with provisions ; whereby he nearly reduced us to a state of starvation. He moreover subsequently caused our interpreter, old Pasco, and two or three Krumen, to be poisoned. The principal man in the deputation delivered a very long speech, with great volubility, good action, and emphasis; as, however, it had to pass through two languages before I could understand it, all the poetry and flowers of rhetoric were lost in the double translation, especially as Pasco made a very lame affair of his English version.

He was, however, very civil, and his wife did the very polite thing, by calling on us attended by her handmaidens. She reduced me, however, to a very considerable dilemma, by throwing herself on her knees before me. As I could not call to mind that I had ever received such a mark of attention from any civilized lady of my acquaintance, nor even of having read of such a precedent in any code of gallantry, I was utterly at a loss how to perform my part; —whether to receive her with the dignity of an oriental, or to descend to my own marrowbones in imitation of her politeness. I steered a middle course, and raised her tenderly by the hand, whereat she and her sable and glossy nymphs laughed immoderately. She doubtless was a fascinating creature, though a little unwieldy withal. Her hands and feet were deeply tinged with henna, and her lovely eyes with antimony. Her hair—thickly plastered with indigo was enveloped in a sort of turban, and a country cloth encircled her waist with many graceful folds. I gratified her with a few trifling presents the principal object of her visit—and dismissed the rosy-footed channel’, apparently well pleased with her visit.

It is difficult, with our prejudices, to appreciate the principles of fitness and taste, by which the architects of Africa are governed. From the unvarying style of the buildings, to which the lapse of ages has probably brought no improvement, one might imagine that they have been guided solely by animal instinct, and that they have never departed from the lesson first taught by nature. The houses are usually devoid of every qualification which we look for in a dwelling, with the exception of shelter from the sun and rain. No difference is found between the palace and the poor mans hut…The meals are always eaten in the open air, or under verandahs formed by the projecting thatch of the roof, where the master of the house luxuriates with his friends, sending forth volumes of smoke.


Allen, William. Picturesque views on the river Niger :sketched during Lander’s last visit in 1832-33, London : John Murray : Hodgson & Graves : Ackerman, 1840.
Persistent Link:
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Allen, William. A narrative of the expedition sent by Her Majesty’s government to the river Niger, in 1841 :under the command of Captain H. D. Trotter, R.N. London : R. Bentley, 1848.
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University


The friend of Africa. London : J.W. Parker, 1841-1843.
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W.L. (Waterman Lilly) Ormsby (1809-1883) was a notable engraver, particularly recognized for his dedication to the reformation of currency production. While he had some formal training, most of his skills were honed through hours of hands-on work and experimentation in his workshop. He invented several ruling machines and transfer presses for improving the process of steel engraving. In addition, he is usually credited for the redesign of the five-dollar bill. Outside of banking notes, he assisted Samuel Morse with his telegraphic alphabet and provided engravings for Samuel Colt’s revolvers. In the end, Ormsby’s most influential contribution to the engraving trade was his personal crusade to bring attention to the proliferation of counterfeiting schemes in the U.S. In 1852, Ormsby published an impressive work on bank note engraving, the most extensive to date, with a particular focus on flaws in the current bank system and recommendations on how to counteract currency counterfeiters.

The losses occasioned by Counterfeiting are already enormous; and, under the present system of Engraving, they must inevitably become greater. The multiplication of Banks, and the increase of dies and machinery, are rendering the business of Counterfeiting so easy and so safe, that its rapid increase will be inevitable. But few persons, whose attention has not been directed to the subject, are aware of the alarming extent to which this dangerous crime is now carried. Our Bank Note Detectors teem with cautionary notices and descriptions of counterfeits, alterations of denominations, and other kinds of Forgery, all of which can be distinctly traced to the system of Engraving now universally in use. This evil will go on till the paper currency of the country becomes worthless, unless some remedy, covering all the sources of danger, be adopted. 

There have never been, in the History of Banking, such vast quantities of counterfeit paper thrown upon the community as at this period. The Engraved Plates of more than two thirds of the Banks in this country have been so successfully and fraudulently imitated, that few persons are enabled to discriminate between the genuine and the false paper.


Ormsby also sent a personal copy of his book to President-Elect Franklin Pierce, hoping to gain national support.

Dear Sir:
Allow me to present you with a copy of my late work on Bank Note Engraving which will explain the cause of the vast amount of counterfeiting in this country. This is the first publication on this subject, and it is daily growing more and more important to every person in the community. I beg permission to call on you, at some future time, when my plans for constructing bank notes to prevent forgery are mature, that I may have an opportunity of convincing you of the utter insecurity of our present paper money, and the necessity of Legislative action on the subject. At present I will only ask your attention to the important requisites of a Bank Note which constitute its value – there are but two – first that the Bank be good – second that the note be genuine. The people loose (sic) more by counterfeiting money than by broken banks.

Ironically, Ormsby’s own character and reputation came into question several times for involvement in counterfeiting schemes and banking frauds. While he was never convicted of any wrongdoing, he was either conveniently ignorant or complicit. According to the New York Times, the Mercantile Agency claimed that Ormsby was “in the habit of engraving for any casual applicant for plates without inquiring into his character or the object for which the plates were to be used, and in this way he engraved counterfeit plates on a number of banks in this and other States”.  As the foremost authority on techniques for currency engraving and how counterfeiters circumvent security measures, his motivations in these corrupt activities remain unsettled.


New England Bank Note Company embellishments easily copied

bank notes: the first and last were copied from genuine dies by Ormsby’s studio

the geometric lathe work denominations

Ormsby, W. L. A description of the present system of bank note engraving, showing its tendency to facilitate counterfeiting :to which is added a new method of constructing bank notes to prevent forgery. New York : W.L. Ormsby ; London : Willoughby, 1852.
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University


The first and second bombs fell on the Tower, reducing
it half to ruins ; they were of the largest kind,
and terribly effective instruments. Meanwhile the
quick-firing guns played havoc at all points of the
compass. But the worst was to come. As we rode
over the heart of the City—that sanctum of capital,
where the Bank of England, many other banks of
scarcely less brilliant fame, the Royal Exchange,
Stock Exchange, with credit companies, insurance
offices, and discount houses innumerable lie herded
—the bombs fell in a tempest, shattering fabric after
fabric, and uprooting their very foundations. There
was a constant roar of explosions, and the loss of life
must have been something terrible.

Acts of terrorism in the modern age can be historically traced back to the anarchists of the late 19th century. The anarchist movement developed and carried out a number of acts of violence, from random bombings to targeted assassinations. The world’s newspapers would record these events, but sometimes in a banal fashion with minimal elaboration, as if it were unexceptional.

A foreign Anarchist was blown up at Greenwich by an explosive with which, it is supposed, he intended to wreck the Observatory; the bomb-outrage by Emile Henry at the Hotel Terminus, Paris, is said to have been part of a vast Anarchist plot.  —New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]), 16 Feb. 1894.

Amidst this wave of anarchist violence in Europe, Edward Douglas Fawcett published his futuristic science fiction novel, Hartmann the Anarchist. Edward Douglas Fawcett, only 17 years old when he wrote this story in 1892, tells the tale of an anarchist revolution set in a future European world of 1920. The novel is narrated by a socialist, named Stanley, who provides a journalist-like account of the exploits of Rudolph Hartmann, an anarchist presumed dead after he botched an attack on the Westminster Bridge, resulting in the deaths of innocent bystanders. In actuality, Hartmann survived and has now plotted a major attack on European capitals, beginning with London. To meet his evil purpose, Hartmann developed an electrically powered flying machine, named Attila, to drop dynamite bombs on prominent targets such as the Houses of Parliament and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

During the violent engagement, Stanley described the chaos.

The wretched victims were fighting for the 
blocked gates and outlets like creatures possessed,
bloody gaps opened and shut in their midst, and
heaps of butchered and trampled bodies tripped up
the frantic survivors in batches as they ran. The din
was simply unearthly ; the picture as a whole 
indescribable, not being set off by two or three easily
detachable features, but so compositely appalling in
its details as to baffle the deftest pen. It lingers still
vividly in my memory.

Eventually, Hartmann fails:

Despite the devastation he had caused, Hartmann
was very dissatisfied with the result. His vast outlay
of material had not effected the ruin of one-fifth part
of the great city, while in all probability the resources
of the Attila were becoming somewhat strained…
A flash that beggared the levin bolt, a crash
shattering the window-panes and deadening the car,
a shock hurling us both on our backs, broke the
utterance. Then thundered down a shower of massive
fragments, fragments of the vast ship whose decks I
had once trodden. Hartmann, dismayed with the
failure of his plans and rendered desperate by the
letter, had blown up the Attila.

Fawcett’s novel was not a major work and its influence was modest, especially in comparison to the contemporary works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Fawcett lived a very full and active life, continuing to write a few more sci-fi novels before turning his attention toward philosophical ideas, mountaineering, flying, and chess competitions.

Hartmann in his flying machine attacks London

The narrator escapes the Attila

Hartmann destroys his mighty Attila


Fawcett, E. Douglas. Hartmann the anarchist, or, The doom of the great city. London : Edward Arnold, 1893.
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University


owl 2

Napoleon Sarony (1821 – 1896) was a famous New York photographer and lithographer whose output was both prodigious and imaginative. Today, he is mostly remembered as a portrait photographer and particularly for his original portraits of literary and cultural figures from the late-19th-century, including such icons as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, and Sarah Bernhardt. In addition to his artistic and technical skills, he was also a clever and prosperous businessman, being one of the first photographers to start paying celebrities to pose for him and then securing the rights to sell their photos for his own profit. In fact, he was the first to successfully defend a photographer’s right to claim copyright protection for his own photographic work, eventually winning a controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision. Sarony was also one of New York’s favorite eccentrics of the 19th century, typically seen strutting around town in a full hussars uniform. He was easily recognized for his ostentatious mustache and goatee and uncanny resemblance to Emperor Napoleon III.

According to Tchaikovsky:

“I never came across such a droll fellow. He is a parody of Napoleon III. He turned me round and round while he looked for the best side of my face. Then he developed rather a tedious theory of the best side of the face. Finally I was photographed in every conceivable position, during which the old man entertained me with all kinds of mechanical toys.”

Sarony was appreciated for his dedication to his craft, using inventive and dynamic backgrounds and posing his subjects with more naturalism and spontaneity than his contemporaries. He was quoted as saying “a picture requires the use of all the art the photographer commands. It must be taken at the moment the subject is unconscious, and at his best.”

Sarony’s celebrated photographs overshadow his work as lithographer. However, he was equally talented with that medium as well, producing lithographs for noted publishers such as Nathaniel Currier. He contributed his own creative lithographic work to accompany a new compilation of the Grimm brothers, entitled “The Fairy Ring”, in 1849.



A collection of Sarony’s photographic work held at Harvard can be searched and viewed below:


The fairy ring :a new collection of popular tales for 1849. New York : E. Kearny, 1849.
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University


Sporting periodicals began sprouting up in the latter half of the 19th century in direct response to an increased participation in both amateur and professional level sports. The growth in sports in America during the 19th century was spurred on by many factors, such as increased leisure time, improvements in the standard of living, as well as the overall shifting populations, mostly from the emancipated African Americans and the large influx of immigrants from Europe. Sports during this period (and even afterwards) offered a pseudo-safe haven for the disenfranchised members of society, allowing participants the ability to circumvent or rise above some of challenges of discrimination, societal mores, and other prejudices through merit and achievement. Beyond the growing working class and immigrants, there were other factors contributing to the rise of sports in America. Daily newspapers, cheaper printing methods, and telegraphy, all helped to disseminate and publicize national sporting news. Some of the sports we recognize today, baseball, football, boxing, track and field were starting to see a steady increase in event attendances. Even an occasional horse race, with an acclaimed thoroughbred, might be big news and attract some fifty thousand people. America’s first sporting magazine appeared in the second decade of the nineteenth century, but the large majority were established and published by the end of the century. In this rare pocket booklet from 1894, the Boston publisher Franklin K. Lanpher offered an annual sporting manual that recognized the great achievements in sports, cited official records, documented current rules, and offered other anecdotal information.

Some advice is given to the burgeoning athlete:

If one exercises till he is fatigued, he will
tear down and not build up. The muscles are
strengthened by moderate exertions and not
violent and fitful ones…Where the most heat is,
there is the most reduction. Fleshy persons
should keep the fattest parts of body covered
the most when exercising. Also wear a heavy
sweater. If feeling thirsty, gargle the throat
with cool water for a minute or two. Then
slowly drink a little.

In 1894, boxing was widely recognized as the premier world sporting event. This manual notes the achievements of prominent pugilist, George Dixon, who was the first black world boxing champion in any weight class, as well as another black boxer, Peter Jackson, who fought champion James Corbett to a 61 round draw.

Jewish cyclist, Arthur Augustus Zimmerman, was considered one of the world’s greatest sprinting cyclist and became the winner of the first world championship in 1893.

In addition to many familiar sports, such as cycling, baseball, horse racing, rowing, and track and field, the manual also provides records for ocean steamships, trains, ice polo, bowling, and walking.

Some interesting nuggets:

  • Champion pedestrian C. A. Harriman was credited with holding the record for “walking without a rest” with 121 miles, 385 yards.
  • The system of scoring for football adopted in 1883. Scoring —Goal by touch-down, 6; goal from field-kick, 5; touch-down falling goal, 4; safety by opponents, 2.
  • The largest turnstile count was at the New York-Chicago game, at N. Y., June 30,1891 — 22,289. The smallest attendance was at Pittsburg, on September 26, 1890, when 23 people paid to see the game between the Pittsburg and Boston League teams.
  • Rope Climbing record —22 ft., by B. Stanford, from New York Athletic Club
  • Throwing Base Ball —369 ft. 2 in., by G. G. Russell, Aliens, Cambridge, June 9, 1893
The Champion pocket sporting manual. Boston, Mass. : F.K. Lanpher & Co.
Persistent Link:
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Harvard University


The Planchette, a French word for “little plank,” was a heart shaped piece of wood with wheels and a slot for holding a pencil or some other writing implement. The purpose of a planchette was to assist with the generation of automatic writing, or as a medium to encourage communication with the spirit world. According to G.W. Cottrell, the manufacturer of the first planchettes in America, French monks were responsible for devising the planchette in a Parisian monastery. The planchette became trendy throughout France and England in the 1850s, with the device making its way into the United States by the 1860s. The devices were very popular amongst followers of the Spiritualist movement and featured during seances. It also had interest in various sects of society as a curiosity item for parlor entertainment, allowing men and women the opportunity to breach Victorian social mores by holding hands in a darkroom. The planchette design eventually morphed into the more familiar Ouija board, where automatic writing was removed in favor of a board that could dictate messages via numbers and letters. In this publication from 1868, G.W. Cottrell relays the origin and purpose of the planchette, as well as, how to purchase one.

As everybody interested in this wonderful invention
is anxious and curious to learn all that is known of
its early history, we extract, for further enlightenment,
the following, from a letter written by Dr.
H. F. Gardner to a Boston paper, dated London,
May 5th, 1859, which solves the question of the origin
of Planchette in this country.

“In Paris I witnessed a method of communication of which
I had not heard in America. The instrument used by them
they call a Planchette. The method of communication is by
writing. In order to give you some idea of the interest taken
in the investigation of the subject in Paris, it will only be
necessary to state, that I called upon the manufacturer of the
above-mentioned instrument to purchase one to take home
with me, and he informed Mr. Owen (Hon. Robert Dale
Owen), who was with me, that he had made and sold several
hundred in Paris alone.
” Not being able to speak the French language, I could not
enjoy the society of the household of Faith as I could have
done under more favorable circumstances ; yet, on visiting in
a family where Planchette was used, there was no difficulty
in -writing in my own native tongue.”

Dr. Gardner brought to Boston the Planchette
which he purchased in Paris, and some few were
made for the use of his friends : reference to which
is made in a recent number of a St. Louis paper as
The Boston Planchette, which is now to be found
in thousands of homes throughout the land.


Revelations of the great modern mystery, planchette, and theories respecting it. Boston : G.W. Cottrell, 1868.
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University


Blame it on the booze


“Touch not, taste not any intoxicating drink. Go not to a Grog Shop or Bar Room, as you would avoid the awful fate of Russell and Crockett!”

Simeon Crockett and Stephen Russell were convicted and executed in Boston on March 16, 1836 for the crime of arson. Capital punishment in Massachusetts, as was true for many states, was not limited to homicide. In the early 19th century, the scope of capital offenses in Massachusetts included arson, “if at night”; highway robbery; willful murder; burglary at night, and treason.

“Simeon L. Crockett and Stephen Russell were jointly
indicted for designedly, feloniously, maliciously, and
wickedly, setting fire to and burning the dwelling-house
of Joshua Benson, situated in South-street Place, on Haskins’
wharf, at or about twelve o’clock, on the night of
October 22, 1835. Mr. Benson was not himself an occupant
of the house, but it was inhabited by nineteen or
twenty Irish families, consisting of one hundred, or one
hundred and twenty persons-men, women, and children.”

– Supreme Judicial Court, Boston, Mass.

The two plead not guilty, but were convicted by a jury on Dec. 17th 1835 and sentenced to death by hanging in March of 1836. For his part in the crime, Crockett blamed the incident on alcohol. When asked by a journalist…

“How could you do so bad a thing?” his reply was, “we were all
half drunk, and did not know what we were about.”

Even in his final written statement before the execution, Crockett would not take personal responsibility for his actions. In fact, he implicated the sellers of alcohol as having equal culpability as those who actually imbibe the drink.

“I now under a deep sense of my situation, wright a few
lines to leave on earth, after I leave the world in memore
of me, while my spiret is gone into the world of spirots
… No wonder so many Crimes are Comited with
the drunkard when his brains is boiled in gin, rum
and brandy, when the natural man has fled and rum and
brandy has changed a man in to a beast, and destroys the
finest works of nature… The RETAILERS are
no more Guiltles than the men that drinks it. I feel to ‘
render the most tender and piteful feelings towards sutch
people.” (unedited transcription of Crockett’s final statement)

This crime was committed during the rapid growth of the temperance movement. Boston was an early advocate for reform, establishing The American Temperance Society in 1826. The movement used this incident as a way to advance their cause, providing sermons, pamphlets, and postings to expose the evils of alcohol to the public. Giving advice such as,

“Your safety depends on total abstinence from its polluting and destroying
touch. Its victims have all been those who once thought
they could drink and let it alone when they pleased. They temporized
with the destroyer until they were lost. They soon found
that, they could please to drink; but they could not please to let it


                            booze leads to malfeasance


Recently identified and digitized, as part of a collaborative project between Harvard and the Mass. Archives, are petitions to the Massachusetts governor submitted by Crockett and Russell, as well as relatives, witnesses, and supporters, in February 1836. These petitions requested a reprieve or pardon for the death sentences, offering a combination of arguments such as extenuating circumstances, personal testimony, and Christian objections to capital punishment.

The original petition by Simeon Crockett to commute his sentence


Below are resources on the Crockett and Russell crime and execution.

Crockett, Simeon L. A voice from Leverett Street Prison, or, The life, trial and confession of Simeon L. Crockett, who was executed for arson, March 16, 1836. Boston : Printed for the Proprietors, [1836?]. 6th ed.
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University


Crockett, Simeon L. A voice from Leverett Street Prison, or, The life, trial and confession of Simeon L. Crockett, who was executed for arson, March 16, 1836. Boston : Printed for the Proprietors, [1836?]. 3rd ed.
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University


Massachusetts Anti-Slavery and Anti-Segregation Petitions; Council; Council Files February 20, 1836, Case of Stephen Russell and Simeon Crockett, GC3/series 378. Massachusetts Archives. Boston, Mass.
Persistent Link:
Massachusetts Archives, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Harvard University & Massachusetts Archives, Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Crockett, Simeon L. The true cause of crime. :Dying words of a criminal. Boston gail [sic], March 15, 1836. [Boston] : Cassady & March, printers, Boston, [1836].
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University


The Evolution of Woman


Harry McVickar (1860-1905), contemporary of Charles Dana Gibson, was a prominent cartoonist and illustrator for many of the trendy magazines of the 19th century, such as Life and Harper’s, as well as a popular poster artist. In addition, McVickar also illustrated books and novels, such as Henry James’ Daisy Miller. Along with socialite, Arthur Baldwin Turnure, McVickar founded the new fashion publication, Vogue, in 1892, where he acted as the magazine’s first art director. After Turnure’s death, Conde Nast picked up the publication and developed it into the international sensation it remains today. In 1896, McVickar shifted his creative juices toward a satirical publication on the evolving role of women in society. The book, The Evolution of Woman, traces the history of womankind from the Garden of Eden to the end of the 19th century, suggesting that women have finally found their own voice, role, and standing. The Evolution of Woman, was reviewed in the New York Herald after its publication:

“In this clever brochure, half humorous and
half satirical, Mr. McVickar takes lovely wom
an from her first appearance In the Garden of
Eden, and pictures the evolution of the sex to
the end of the nineteenth century. From the
days of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, she
Is brought forward through the mediaeval times,
when she was something between a hindrance
and a help, to the present century, when, all
professions being open to her, she is holding
her own with her alleged lord and master, and,
if her physique develops as Mr. McVickar fore-
shadows in his closing sketches, she is destined
to make a bigger sensation than the Roentgen
rays. But in all these changes she is still love-
ly woman; and in her golf and bicycle dresses
she is certainly a thing of beauty and a joy for-

McVickar’s verse in “The Evolution of Woman”

Oh, yes ! There’s really no denying
You’ve had experiences most trying!
But — almost everywhere on earth
To-day dull man admits your worth.
You’ve all the Rights your sex affords;
You’ve stolen lots that were your lord’s!
You shoot — you golf — you hunt ‘cross ditches
You ride a wheel — you wear our breeches !

Cycling….the beginning of the end?

Susan B. Anthony once said “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.”

Golfing in style

In 1895, the first Women’s Amateur Golf championship was held among 13 golfers at the Meadow Brook Club in Hempstead, N.Y.

A woman on the hunt

Sporting publications, such as Field and Stream, created a new column catered to the huntress, entitled “The Modern Diana”.

As a doctor

By 1900, the U.S. had approximately 7,000 women in the medical profession. Boston made up as much as 18% percent of all female physicians in the country.


Original poster advertisement for “The Evolution of Woman”


McVickar, H. W. The evolution of woman. New York : Harper & Bros., 1896.
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University


                           J.P. Morgan ‘either a Caesar or nothing’

Carlo de Fornaro (1872 – 1949), was an artist, humorist, writer, editor, and revolutionary. In 1902, he published a volume of caricatures entitled “Millionaires of Amer­ica“. Fornaro acknowledged his caricatures might not be well-received by some of the most powerful men in the United States, so he placed a notice at the front of the volume “All the responsibilities incurred by the printing and the publication of these cari­catures and resulting in suits for lese majeste, etc., will be borne entirely by Mr. Carlo de Fornaro.”

The New York Times review of the book (January 10, 1903)

“Perhaps it is well that some one should come out and ‘’stand for” the collection of pictures burlesquing certain well-known citizens of this town and some of whom, it is reported, have already lost their tem­per over the manner in which they have been depicted. To be caricatured, how­ever, is one of the penalties of greatness, even when that greatness merely consists in the possession of great wealth. When caricatures are true to life, as in many cases in the present instance, there is no denying that the public derive a certain satisfaction from seeing the victim writhe. Therefore, perhaps the eminent citizens whose counterfeit presentments are to be found in the book, might better conceal their chagrin and take it all good-humor­edly. Such was Pliny’s advice to the vic­tims of caricature in ancient days.

The present works are somewhat in the style of Fellegrini. Whose drawings, pub­lished svrtce 1862 in London Vanity Fair, are the most remarkable of iheir kind which have appeared since the superb gro­tesques of Honors Daumier. The volume embraces caricatures in color of A. G. Vanderbilt, Russell Sage, J. P. Morgan. Andrew Carnegie, W. C. Whitney, J. .1. Hill. George Gould. Col. J. J. Aster. O. H. P. Belmont, Charles M. Schwab. Tom L. Johnson, and Senator W. A. Clark.”

Journalist Bernard Gallant described Fornaro as:

“A very unique and interesting character. He was born in Calcutta, India, and reared in Italy and Switzerland. He is a scion of an old Italian family and is a member of the family of Pope Alexander VI. His education he received at the Royal Academy of Munich and came to this country twenty years ago. When he grew tired of dear, old New York with its glittering electric signs, he went to Mexico. That was in 1906. Instead of painting the picturesque scenes of that marvelous country, as he contemplated, he published a newspaper for more than three years, giving the Mexicans a taste of real Metropolitan journalism. That marked Fornaro’s entrance into the field of the Mexican revolution and he has been a loyal champion of the revolutionists ever since.

In appearance Fornaro looks very much like a Jesuit priest and keeps the hours of a brigand. He sleeps most of the day and wanders from cafe to cafe most of the night. With the fair sex he is most charming and gallant, but is galling bitter when he portrays them with pen or brush. But he is far from being a woman hater. Oddly enough, regardless of his cafe life, Fornaro indulges in nothing stronger than water.”

In the end, Fornaro did not experience any serious legal ramifications for his caricatures, but he eventually did so with a subsequent book focused on the corruption and brutalities of the Diaz Mexican government. His book “Diaz, Czar of Mexico; an arraignment, by Carlo de Fornaro with an open letter to Theodore Roosevelt” resulted in a prosecution and suit for criminal libel. He was convicted and sentenced to one year in the famous ‘Tombs’ prison in New York City. He took his unfortunate circumstances to record and eventually publish a book on his personal experience inside the New York penal system, as well as inserting some caustic commentary on American justice.

             Andrew Carnegie and his diminutive stature

                   John Jacob Astor ‘leisure with dignity’


Fornaro, Carlo de. Millionaires of America. New York : Published by the Medusa Pub Co., 1902.
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University


In a show of unity between allies, the United States celebrated its Independence Day in London on July 4, 1918. While the First World War was still raging, and a German surrender months away, Americans united with the British to commemorate the 4th of July together. The celebration in London was a way to further galvanize a strong military alliance, but also an opportunity to demonstrate to the world a political bond of two superpowers that would be both formidable and enduring. The events of the day were described by the publishing magnate and American Civil War veteran, George Haven Putnam, in this Library of War Literature pamphlet.


On the 4th of July, 1918, for the first time in history, America’s Independence Day was officially celebrated in London and throughout England by the English people. This commemoration of the national holiday of the United States was, in more ways than one, noteworthy and could but stir the blood of every loyal American who realized the meaning of the kinship between the two countries. London was ablaze with flags, the Stars and Stripes intertwined with the Union Jack, and in many places with the tricolour. Meetings were held in a number of the clubs and other centres throughout the town, the most important for the general public being that in the great Central Hall at Westminster. Thousands of American soldiers were in England, most of whom were spending their first Independence Day away from their native soil. The vessels of the American Navy were operating along the British coast in close companionship with the ships of their British Allies. American troops were fighting in France, brigaded with the veterans of Great Britain. In London, and throughout England, clubs, rest-houses, and canteens had been organized for the benefit of the guests from overseas. A spirit of brotherhood was in the air. In London there was a series of luncheons and dinners, and the Londoner who could not secure one or more Yankees on whom to bestow his hospitality felt defrauded.


Interestingly, the day was highlighted by a baseball game! King George with Queen Mary and other royalty, including Winston Churchill, watched and cheered for a cerermonial “baseball match” between American soldiers and sailors. As described:


Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the commemoration
was the game of baseball fought out, and very well
fought out, between men selected from the divisions of the American
Army and from the sailors of the American Navy who were
at the time within reach of London. King George honoured the
boys with his presence, and the King’s example was, naturally,
followed by hundreds of representatives of the “best society”
and by forty thousand other good Englishmen who were ready
to admire, and who did their best to understand, the fine points
in the excellent playing of the Yankee experts…


Winston Churchill, who was present at the the game, played a prominent role in the events of the day, giving a stirring speech.


…We therefore feel no sense of division in celebrating this anniversary. We join in perfect sincerity and in perfect simplicity with our American kith and kin in commemorating the auspicious and glorious establishment of their nationhood. We also, we British who have been so long in the struggle, also express our joy and gratitude for the mighty and timely aid which America has brought and is bringing to the Allied Cause…The line is clearly drawn between the nations where the peoples own the governments and the nations where the governments own the peoples. Our struggle is between systems which faithfully endeavor to quell and quench the brutish, treacherous, predatory promptings of human nature, and a system which has deliberately fostered, organized, armed, and exploited these promptings to its own base aggrandizement. We are all erring mortals. No race, no country, no individual, has a monopoly of good or of evil, but face to face with the facts of this war, who can doubt that the struggle in which we are engaged is in reality a struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil?


Actual footage of King George’s arrival at the baseball game, along with some game action, has been preserved. Originally recorded on a newsreel by British Pathé.


Original newsreel footage of King George’s arrival at the baseball game



A declaration of interdependence :commemoration in London in 1918 of the 4th of July, 1776 : resolutions and addresses at the Central Hall, Westminster. New York : Library of War Literature, [1918].
Persistent Link:
Widener Library
Harvard University



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