Categories
Newspapers and Newsies

Shameless Urchins and Mighty Frauds: 19th Century Views of April Fools Day

The celebration of April Fools Day traces back to the Middle Ages and possibly as far back as the Roman era. In the mid-19th century, the unofficial holiday for pranks provided a good excuse to attack political opponents.  Here are a couple samples of writing from New York publications from this period which I’m quoting at […]

Categories
Mysterious Stories True Crime

The Dictaphone Murder Trial of 1914: A Mystery In Pictures

Does this woman look like a murderer to you? This is Florence Carman, the wife of Dr. Edwin Carman, one of the most respected men in Freeport, on Long Island’s south shore.  Mrs. Carman would be at the center of a murder trial that captivated New Yorkers 100 years ago. Dr. Carman received a visitor […]

Categories
Those Were The Days

How well can you do on this New York history trivia quiz — from 1914? Prepare to be a little frustrated.

No amount of studying will prepare you for some of these odd questions.  (A girl at Seward Library, photographed by Lewis Hine.)Trivia quizzes are very popular today in bars and pubs throughout the city, but in the past, they’ve had more elitist purposes.  In November 1914, a group of possibly insecure ex-New Yorkers in Chicago […]

Categories
American History Wartime New York

Calm before the storm: Saturday before the Draft Riots, an ominous silence before New York’s most violent days

   A list of the nine draft offices where lotteries would occur that Monday, July 13th. It would have already begun in Jamaica and at the Ninth District Office that Saturday. One hundred and fifty years ago today, on July 11, 1863, the first round of lotteries to select able-bodied men for conscription into the Union Army […]