1902: Music and Art

Florodora was the most popular and longest running show on Broadway in 1902. It was a musical comedy featuring proper young ladies (chorus girls) who became engaged to very proper young men with the help of a mysterious perfume invented in the exotic Philippine Islands. The hit song from the musical was called Tell Me, Pretty Maiden (Are There Any More at Home Like You?).

In November 1902, sales of Italian tenor Enrico Caruso’s first record reached one million copies.

On April 20, 1902 a major art show opened in Paris featuring what the French called Art Nouveau. Some of the artists working this style were Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, René Lalique, Antoni Gaudí and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Here’s an example of Art Nouveau Tiffany glass:

'N84.74' photo (c) 2009, Catherine - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

1902: Events and Inventions

January, 1902. The Chinese imperial court returns to Peking from X’ian where they had gone during the Boxer Rebellion. Empress Dowager Tz’u-hsi continues to rule along with the Emperor Guanghzu.

February 22, 1902. Major Walter Reed and Dr. James Carroll of the United States Yellow Fever Commission in Cuba publish a scientific report revealing that their research indicates that the disease is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

May, 1902. Cuba gains its official independence from Spain, and American interim government and troops withdraw from the new republic. Tomas Estrada Palma becomes the first president of Cuba.

May 8, 1902. 30,000 inhabitants of St. Pierre, Martinique die when the volcano Mt. Pelee erupts suddenly and unexpectedly.

May 31, 1902. The Treaty of Vereeniging is signed, ending the Boer War in South Africa. The British won the war and take over the administration of South Africa and its valuable diamond and gold mining industry. The Boers (Dutch colonizers) remain in South Africa under British rule.

June, 1902. Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy renew their Triple Alliance for another twelve years.

July 17, 1902. Willis H. Carrier designs the first system to control temperature and humidity, inventing modern air conditioning.

October, 1902. A cholera epidemic in Egypt ends after killing more than 30,000 people.

December 10, 1902. THe Aswan dam is completed on the Nile River in Egypt. THe purpose of the mile and a quarter long, 130 foot high dam is to control the annual flooding of the Nile and release the water in a way that will make agriculture in Egypt more widespread and more profitable.

December, 1902. The British and German ambassadors request repayment from Venezuela for the losses suffered by their people during the Venezuelan coup of 1899. The Venezuelans refuse to recognize any debt, and so the British and Germans seize the entire Venezuelan navy, four ships. The ongoing disagreement has resulted in arrests of British and German subjects in Caracas and acts of war against Venezuela by Great Britain and Germany.

A lady dressed in the costume of 1902.

1902: Books and Literature

Nobel Prize for Literature: Theodore Mommsen, German historian and author of History of Rome.

Fiction Bestsellers:
1. Owen Wister, The Virginian. I tried but was unable to conquer. Becky read it and loved it. Maybe I need to try again.
2. Alice Caldwell Hegan, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. I have this classic on my Kindle, but I haven’t read it yet.
3. Charles Major, Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall.
4. Emerson Hough, The Mississippi Bubble.
5. Mary Johnston, Audrey.
6. Gilbert Parker, The Right of Way.
7. A. Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles. I have read my Sherlock Holmes. I had a friend in high school who was mad about Holmes and Watson both.
8. Booth Tarkington, The Two Vanrevels. I’ve read Penrod and The Magnificent Ambersons, enjoyed them both, but not this one. Both Penrod (1914) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1918) are set during this time period, the first decade of the twentieth century.
9. Henry van Dyke, The Blue Flower. Short stories about the search for happiness by the author of The Other Wise Man and of the hymn lyrics Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.
10. Lucas Malet, Sir Richard Calmady.

Critically acclaimed and historically significant:
Jane Addams, Democracy and Social Ethics.
William James, Varieties of Religious Experience.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
André Gide, The Immoralist
Vladimir Lenin, What is to be Done?
Henry James, The Wings of the Dove. Reading The Wings of the Dove by Elizabeth Gaffney at Salon.com.
Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories
Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Ms. Potter and I share a birthday, and so I wrote about her here. Go here for even more information about Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit.

Fiction Set in 1902:
Zora and Me by Victoria Bond. Fictionalization of the life of author Zora Neale Hurston from age nine to age eleven. In the book Zora becomes a girl detective who tries with her friends to figure out what happened to a man who was murdered or accidentally killed in their small Florida town.
Land of Promise by Joan Lowery Nixon.

Christmas in Arizona, 1902

“In 1902 an Act of Congress officially opened for land claims what had previously been the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. One fellow, upon hearing the news, immediately rushed there to stake his claims on December 25, Christmas Day. He then rapidly rode on horseback to file them the next day at the government office.”

This eager beaver land claim is what gave Christmas, Arizona its name.

~The Naming of America by Allan Wolk

1902: Twentieth Century Music

I am studying twentieth century history with a couple of the urchins this year, and I thought it would be fun, and perhaps instructive, to listen to some popular tunes as we study through the century. We started in 1900, but the first songs I introduced were both published in 1902. 1902 was, of course, pre-recorded music and pre-radio for all practical purposes. Music back then was sold, not on CD or tape or even LP record, but as sheet music. Yes, this idea of not being able to purchase a recording of the latest musical composition, but rather having to buy the music and produce your own rendition or go to a concert hall somewhere to listen, was a new concept for the urchins.

At any rate, a couple of popular songs published in 1902 were:

In the Good Old Summertime lyrics by Ren Shields and music by George Evans. George “Honey Boy” Evans was originally from Wales, but he joined a minstrel show when he was a young performer of about twenty years of age. After that, he performed in blackface for much of his singing career, just ike Al Jolson. (We watched the movie The Jolson Story, and the urchins and I agreed that it was interesting, but much too long.) To get back to Honey Boy, he and Mr. Shields were fooling around one day when George mentioned the “good old summertime” and out of that chance remark came a hit song —or what passed for a hit in 1902. It was published, sung on Broadway, and people played it on their pianos and sang about the good old summertime for many years thereafter. Still do sometimes, I suppose.
Information from Vaudeville, Old and New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America by Frank Cullen, Florence Hackman, Donald P. McNeilly.

In the good old summertime,
In the good old summertime,
Strolling thru’ a shady lane
With your baby mine.
You hold her hand and she holds yours,
And that’s a very good sign
That she’s your tootsie wootsie
In the good, old summertime.

Tootsie wootsie????? The urchins got a kick out of that one. (Complete lyrics and music.)

The Entertainer by Scott Joplin. Wow, I didn’t know that Scott Joplin was from Texas! He was born in East Texas and grew up in Texarkana, of all places. When he published The Entertainer in 1902, he had already had a success with his Maple Leaf Rag. Of course, I know The Entertainer from the movie The Sting, and my urchins know it only because Eldest Daughter played it for recital once a upon a time. (Isn’t it amazing how memorable those recital pieces become after having been practiced ad infinitum.) Mr. Joplin’s music is one of the earliest examples of “ragtime”, a musical genre that became all the rage in the first decade of the twentieth century. Ragtime is “music characterixed by a syncopated melodic line and regularly accented accompaniment, evolved by black American musicinas in the 1890’s and played especially on the piano.” You can listen to a really quick tempo version of The Entertainer here.

Can you tell that I’m not an expert on music, classical, popular, or otherwise? But I’m having fun. Those of you who are music people, how would you describe a piece of music played fast?