Tammany Hall hosts the city’s first Democratic Convention: Susan B. Anthony, the KKK, and a reluctant nominee

Many of you may remember New York’s sole Republican National Convention, held in 2004 at Madison Square Garden, celebrating the re-election bid of George W. Bush. Some may recall any one of New York’s three recent Democratic National Conventions — two (1976, 1980) for Jimmy Carter, and a rather memorable one in 1992 that placed… Read More

New York transit system stymied by women’s skirt styles

A lady in a relatively normal skirt boards a Broadway streetcar in July 1913. Now imagine trying this in a hobble skirt! (Courtesy Library of Congress) A serious cry (mostly from men) rang out through the city one hundred years ago about the ever-expanding transit system and the scandalous style of women’s skirts. Were frocks… Read More

Thank you, Tooth Brush Lady! Newsies get their teeth fixed

Above: Newsboys and bootblacks playing craps, photographed by Lewis Hines in 1912.  Some of these were most likely recipients of free dental care, provided at the Second Avenue newsie’s lodging house in that year by the Society of Good Cheer. Newsboys with poor teeth one hundred years ago — I’m guessing this would be most… Read More

Beware the New York vampires: A seductive film star inspires an army of ‘golden haired’ Broadway sex goddesses

 Maneater: Theda Bara in an unconventional portrait. Her publicist claimed it was her lover and that ‘not even the grave could separate them’.“A vampire is a good woman with a bad reputation, or rather a good woman who has had possibilities and wasted them” — Florenz Ziegfeld Progressive, liberated women were clearly so frightening one… Read More

Brooklyn History

No Nonsense: Fifth Avenue lingerie from Brooklyn factories

Store: Kayser Hosiery545 Fifth Avenue at 45th Street German immigrant Julius Kayser didn’t start off being so intimate with women. When he opened his first factory in 1880, he specialized in simple cotton gloves, and soon moved to the silken kind, the sort a proper woman wore to the opera or a masquerade ball. He… Read More

Those Were The Days

Love on the airwaves: New York’s first female radio operator

She’s not exactly a Howard Stern or a Robin Quivers, but Anna A. Nevins does deserve to be considered as something of a radio pioneer in New York. One hundred years ago, ‘wireless telegraphy’ was mostly used to communicate with vessels crossing the Atlantic Ocean. And these weren’t signals with human voices, but rather in… Read More