July 12, 2015

It Happened on July 12th

The Bisbee Deportation of 1917

Deportees being loaded into the cattle cars.
On July 12, 1917, in Bisbee, Arizona, about 2000 "deputized" citizens forced 1,300 striking mine workers into cattle cars and sent them into exile. After a 16 hour journey, they were stranded in Hermanas, New Mexico -- without food, money, or transportation. Were the deputies lawless vigilantes, or were the strikers a legitimate threat?


In 1917, about a fourth of all the copper produced in the United States was mined in the state of Arizona. One of the largest mining interests in the state was the Phelps Dodge Company, which owned the Copper Queen Mining Company, the largest employer in Bisbee. In addition to the mine, Phelps Dodge also held other business interests in Bisbee: the largest hotel, the hospital, the only department store, the library, and the Bisbee Daily Review, the town's only newspaper.

Life in the mines was tough. Conditions were grueling, and even unsafe. Hours were long, the pay low, and living conditions in the camp were unhealthy. In addition, immigrant workers -- especially Mexican-Americans -- were routinely discriminated against by Caucasian supervisors.

The Bisbee miners had gotten little support from the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers (IUMMSW.) But in 1917, a new union came to Bisbee -- the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the IWW or the "Wobblies." By May 1917, they had signed up a few hundred workers and formed the Metal Mine Workers Union No. 800, a local of about 1,000 members, less than half of whom paid dues.

The new union presented management with a list of their demands. They included: an end to physical inspections (which were conducted to deter theft), no blasting while the men were still in the mine, a $6 per day shift rate, the assignment of two workers to each drilling machine, and an end to discrimination. Negotiations didn't take long. Management said no.

The Strike

"The whole thing appears to be pro-German
and anti-American," said Sheriff Wheeler. That
sure got the Feds attention.
A strike was called on June 27, 1917. More than 3,000 workers walked out, not only the employees of Phelps Dodge, but also of the other two mining companies in Bisbee. It amounted to about 85% of the total mine workers.

The strike was peaceful, there was no dispute about that. Nevertheless, the County Sheriff Harry Wheeler asked Governor Thomas Campbell to request federal troops to be sent in. (The state militia had previously been drafted into the federal service.) Wheeler interpreted the situation in a way guaranteed to get attention. "The whole thing appears to be pro-German and anti-American," he said. Remember, the United States had entered World War I less than three months earlier.

The Governor quickly requested troops, but President Woodrow Wilson turned down his request. Instead, he sent in George W. P. Hunt, the former Arizona Governor, to mediate.

The president of Phelps Dodge was a man named Walter S. Douglas. He was well acquainted with the former Governor. The man was a political rival of his, and Douglas had had a lot to say about Hunt when, as Governor, he had refused to send in troops to stop earlier strikes. Douglas didn't have much faith in Hunt as mediator, so he began to take steps of his own. He immediately set up an organization of business leaders and other management-friendly residents known as the Citizens' Protective League. He also formed a Workmen's Loyalty League, made up of members of the IUMMSW.

Test Run in Jerome

Meanwhile, in the town of Jerome, Arizona, Phelps Dodge was having problems with mine workers  as well. With the assistance of their local sheriff, the business leaders and IUMMSW loyalists in Jerome rounded up 67 striking miners and sent them to Needles, California. It was, apparently, a "test drive" for what was to happen in Bisbee.

The Deportation

Deportees at the ballfield. Those are armed posse members in the infield.
On July 11th, Sheriff Wheeler recruited and deputized a posse -- of about 2,200 men. The management of Phelps Dodge also came to an understanding with the El Paso and Southwest Railroad, who agreed to transport the deportees. And at 6:30 am on July 12th, the round-up began.

Each of the deputies had a list of the striking workers. Each also wore a white armband, to distinguish him from the strikers. Besides the striking workers, they arrested any man who refused to work in the mines, anyone who had ever supported the IWW, and even a few grocers. (The deputies helped themselves to money in the till and merchandise while they were at it.) The deputies were armed, but only two men died in the round-up. One was a deputy who was shot when a miner fired through the door. The other was the miner, who was shot dead by several other deputies moments after.

It took only about an hour for the posse to round up about 2000 men. They marched them about two miles to the local ballpark and then held them there. Men who did not belong to the IWW were allowed to leave, -- if they agreed to go back to work.

There were 1,286 strikers left when the train arrived at 11:00 am. The men were forced onto cattle cars, most of which had floors covered with several inches of manure. The cars were so crowded that the doors couldn't be closed. The strikers had not received water since their arrest.

There was no report of the deportation to the outside world. Phelps Dodge had taken control of the local telephone lines, as well as the telegraph office.

The train was bound for Columbus, New Mexico, but officials there wouldn't allow the strikers to be left there. They were taken instead to Hermanas, New Mexico, a nearby station. They were abandoned there, and left to fend for themselves.

The Governor of New Mexico, Washington Ellsworth Lindsey, instructed the local sheriff to treat the men humanely, and to feed them. He also contacted President Wilson and asked for instructions. Wilson sent federal troops to take the strikers to Columbus, where there was a federal refugee camp for Mexicans escaping the conflict between the U.S. Army and Mexico's Pancho Villa. They were allowed to stay there until September 17.

Meanwhile, Back at Bisbee

The Citizen's Protective League was running a tight ship in Bisbee. They collected residents and interrogated them about their beliefs -- about unions, politics, the war, and the draft. Sheriff Wheeler set guards at the entrances to the town, and no one was allowed to enter or leave without a "passport." Many more residents were ordered to leave Bisbee.

Amazingly, even national press coverage of the deportation tended to be less than sympathetic to the miners. The prevailing opinion seemed to be that the strikers had "gotten what they deserved." Some of the more liberal papers thought that the deportation had been too much -- the men should simply have been arrested for vagrancy and imprisoned. Former President Theodore Roosevelt said, "...no human being in his senses doubts that the men deported from Bisbee were bent on destruction and murder."

Deported citizens applied to President Wilson for help. He appointed a commission, headed by his Secretary of Labor, to investigate. On November 17, 1917, they announced, "The deportation was wholly illegal and without authority, either State or Federal."

The Aftermath

In May, 1918, 21 men -- various executives of the three mining companies (including Walter Douglas), elected leaders, and law enforcement officials -- were charged by the U.S. Department of Justice. (Sheriff Wheeler was not among them, because he was serving in France in the war effort.) The case was dismissed on the basis that there had been no federal laws broken. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, United States v. Wheeler, found that the federal government did not have the authority to protect the rights of the deportees, and that the individual states retained the right to deal with questions of ingress and egress.

Arizona authorities never instituted legal proceedings against the deporters. A few workers filed civil suits, but after the first case against the strikers -- the jury found that the deportation was sound public policy -- most of the other cases disappeared.

The main consequence of the Bisbee deportation was the enactment of various laws -- such as the Sedition Act of 1918 -- to empower the federal government to deal with speech and actions that could be construed as disloyal to the United States. If such laws had existed in 1917, it was argued, the involvement of private citizens would not have been necessary to deport the striking minors.

July 11, 2015

It Happened on July 11th

Born, Thomas Bowdler, 1754

Title page of Bowdler's Shakespeare.
July 11, 1754 was the birth day of Thomas Bowdler, the man whose expurgated version of Shakespeare's works made the bard's work "safe" for women and children. The word bowdlerize, in fact, has come to mean just such an act of censorship or expurgation.

The first to "Bowdlerize" Shakespeare's works, however, was Thomas Bowdler's father, a country squire also named Thomas. He was in the habit of reading to his family in the evenings, and his favorite author was William Shakespeare. He must have been very familiar with the plays, and a quick thinker to boot, for he managed to omit or change the more "offensive" passages to something suitable for his wife and children as he read. Later, Thomas Bowdler decided to prepare an edition for those families not blessed with such a quick-witted father.

The first edition of The Family Shakespeare was published in 1807 and contained 24 of the plays. Each play was introduced by a commentary by Bowdler explaining where and why he had changed the text. It was a popular work in its time, and by 1850 the work had gone through 11 editions.

Some of changes made involved language, such as changing "God!" to "Heavens!", and Lady Macbeth's "Out, damned spot!" to "Out, crimson spot!" Other changes involved plotlines: Ophelia died an accidental death in Hamlet, for example, rather than as a suicide. The character of the prostitute Doll Tearsheet was deleted entirely from Henry IV, Part 2, although the (slightly) more respectable Mistress Quickly remained in the text.

It was nearly 160 years later that scholars made the discovery that it was not Thomas Bowdler after all, but his sister Henrietta (sometimes called Harriet) who had made most of the expurgations. As an unmarried lady, it would have been unthinkable for her to admit to having read -- much less understood -- Shakespeare complete with all the unseemly incidents and language. Consequently, The Family Shakespeare was published in her brother's name. Harriet also wrote a work called Sermons on the Doctrines and Duties of Christianity, a work that went through nearly 50 editions. Sermons was published anonymously, of course.

1819 advertisement: "My great objects in this undertaking are to remove from the writings of Shakespeare, some defects which diminish their value; and, at the same time, to present to the public an edition of his Plays, which the parent, the guardian, and the instructor of youth, may place without fear in the hands of the pupil; and from which the pupil may derive instruction as well as pleasure; may improve his moral principles, while he refines his taste; and without incurring the danger of being hurt with any delicacy of expression, may learn in the fate of Macbeth, that even a kingdom is dearly purchased, if virtue be the price of acquisition."
For Thomas's part, he tried to duplicate the success of Shakespeare with a similarly edited version of Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. This work was published posthumously, and was not as successful as the Shakespeare edition.

Thomas Bowdler had other interests beside Shakespeare. He had trained to be a doctor, although he disliked the sight of blood and never practiced. He devoted much of his time -- and his inheritance -- to the cause of prison reform. He was also an extremely good chess player. He once played eight games against Francois-Andre Danican Philidor, known as the best chess champion of the age. Bowdler won two games, lost three, and tied three. This is not quite as remarkable an achievement as you might think; it is known that Philidor played with handicaps against Bowdler. It is not known, specifically, what the handicaps were in all of the Philidor-Bowdler games, but we do know that Philidor was known to have played multiple opponents simultaneously, sometimes blindfolded, and sometimes after having spotted his opponent a pawn or a rook, or having given odds.

July 10, 2015

It Happened on July 10th

Lady Jane Grey Becomes Queen of England, 1553

Only 16 years old, Jane Grey reigned for exactly 9 days.
Lady Jane Grey was Queen of England -- for exactly nine days. Only 16 years old at the time of her death, she was almost entirely innocent of the intrigues committed on her behalf.

Was This Even Legal?

Henry VIII, as you probably recall, had some real problems with his quest for a male heir. Finally, he produced a son, Edward VI, with his third wife, Jane Seymour. Edward became king after Henry's death, at the age of nine. He was only 15 when he died.

Henry had produced only four children who lived past infancy. (Another seven had died either in the womb or shortly after birth.) There was Mary, the daughter of his first wife, Katherine of Aragon. There was Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn. Edward was his only legitimate male heir. There had also been an illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, who had died the year before Edward was born.

Edward wanted a Protestant successor.
Henry had declared both Mary and Elizabeth illegitimate, but he wanted to leave behind a sturdy line of succession. Consequently, he enacted the Third Act of Succession, which named first Mary, and then Elizabeth, as Edward's successors, should Edward die without issue. It did not, however, declare the girls legitimate. The Act was passed by Parliament and became the law of the land. It also removed Henry's older sister, Margaret, and her heirs from the succession. Margaret's first husband had been the King of Scotland, and Henry did not wish England to be governed by a Scot.

Edward, as he approached manhood, had different ideas. Although he was fond of his sister Mary, she was a devout Catholic and Edward was almost as determined a Protestant. He did not wish England to become a Catholic nation, and he had no doubt that Mary would see to it that it did if she ever became queen. Elizabeth, on the other hand, was a nominal Protestant, but Edward wasn't too sure just how deeply her Protestantism went. Perhaps he felt that Elizabeth would bend whichever way the wind blew, when it came to religion. If he did think so, he wasn't far wrong.

As Edward came into his teen years and his health began to fail, he began to think seriously about what would happen to the realm when he was gone. He penned a "device" -- a document dictating the order of succession after his death. Since he was still a minor, any will he wrote wasn't really binding, and even as king he couldn't override an act of Parliament, but he wrote it nevertheless. It would be up to those who survived him to make sure it took effect.

Edward's "Device"

You can see where Edward edited his work.
Edward was in the unusual position of having nine women candidates for a successor. Sex wouldn't even enter into his calculations -- they were all on equal footing as far as that was concerned.

Henry VIII had had two sisters, Margaret and Mary. Margaret, the elder, had been married twice, first to the King of Scotland, and then, after he died, to Archibald Douglas, the Earl of Angus. The second marriage had proved rocky and had ended in divorce, giving rise to speculations of illegitimacy regarding their daughter, Margaret. Margaret Douglas still lived, as did Mary Stuart, granddaughter of Margaret's from her first, royal marriage. Mary Stuart became Queen of Scots when she was 10 years old, and was, like Mary Tudor, a strong Catholic.

Mary Stuart was Margaret
Tudor's grand-daughter
Henry's other sister, Mary, had been married, first to the King of France, producing no children, and then, as a widow, to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and Henry's best friend. A daughter, Frances, still lived, and had produced three daughters: Jane, Katherine, and Mary Grey. A younger Brandon daughter, Eleanor, had died but left a daughter who still lived, Margaret Clifford.

Margaret Douglas was still alive,
Ignoring questions of legitimacy, the line of succession under normal circumstances would be: Mary Tudor, Elizabeth Tudor, Mary Stuart, Margaret Douglas, Frances Grey, Jane Grey, Katherine Grey, Mary Grey, and Margaret Clifford. But Edward wanted to avoid a Catholic successor, so both his sisters and the Scottish branch of the family were out of the running. That left the Greys, who were descended from the Brandon family -- with whom Edward had close ties -- as well as his own.

Edward's device initially left the throne to first, any male heirs which Frances Grey might yet produce, and then, to any male heirs of Jane, Katherine, or Mary. Edward was only ill at this point.

When he felt death approaching, he amended his document. Where it had previously read "to Lady Jane's male heirs" he changed it to "Lady Jane and her male heirs."

From Edward's point of view, it was a logical decision. It helped, of course, that Jane was a serious-minded, devout Protestant.

After Edward's Death

Mary Tudor had her own ideas about the succession,
and the support to achieve them.
Of course, making a law of succession and seeing it happen are two different things. Edward may have been influenced in his preference for Jane by his chief advisor and Protector, John Dudley, the first Duke of Northumberland. Dudley had married his son, Lord Guildford Dudley, to Lady Jane Grey just six weeks before Edward's death.

The Privy Council seemed more than willing to have Lady Jane as their monarch, and she was proclaimed Queen of England on July 10, 1553, four days after Edward's death. She took up temporary residence in the Tower of London, the traditional home for British monarchs between their ascension to the throne and their actual coronation. Her husband, Guildford, wanted her to name him King of England, but she refused to do so without the consent of Parliament. As a consolation, she made him Duke of Clarence. "I will not be Duke, I will be King," Guildford replied.

Mary Tudor meanwhile had ridden north as soon as Edward's death was confirmed. She was off to rally her supporters.

Mary Wins

John Dudley, Duke of
Northumberland, and Jane's
Troops from London needed to be sent off to deal with Mary's uprising. The question was, who was to lead them? Jane's father, Henry Gray, the Duke of Suffolk, wanted to go, but Jane forbade him. Instead, Northumberland, Jane's father-in-law, took command.

No sooner was Northumberland out of town than the Privy Council decided to switch their loyalties to Mary. Jane and her husband, already conveniently residing in the Tower, were simply switched to other apartments. They were now both prisoners of the Crown.

Northumberland was executed for treason almost immediately. Jane and Guildford were charged with treason, tried, and found guilty. They were both sentenced to death. Jane's was to take the form of being burned alive (the traditional death for females convicted of treason) or beheaded -- at the Queen's choice. It appeared, however, that the Queen was disposed to be merciful.


In a separate rebellion, Jane's father
sought to put Elizabeth on the throne.
At about the same time, Queen Mary had decided to marry. It was the logical next step, seeing as she wished to prevent her Protestant sister from inheriting the throne. Her choice was Prince Phillip of Spain, the only son of the reigning Charles V. The choice was unpopular in both countries.

In England, objections to the marriage took the form of a rebellion led by four English nobles. The plan was to overthrow Mary, put Elizabeth on the throne and marry her to her cousin, Edward Courtenay. The planned uprising, known as Wyatt's Rebellion, was caused by a mixture of political and religious motives. One very strong motive was the fear that the combined forces of Mary and Phillip would bring the Spanish Inquisition to England.

The leaders of the rebellion were Thomas Wyatt, James Croft, Peter Carew, and Lady Jane's father, Henry Grey. Among the many casualties of the quelled rebellion were Lady Jane and her husband, who had had nothing to do with it. Pressured by Charles of Spain, and anxious to eliminate Jane as a focus of future dissent, Mary ordered both Jane and Guilford executed.

The End of Jane

Guilford was executed first, beheaded in public on Tower Hill. His remains were brought back to the Tower of London in a horse and cart that passed immediately outside Jane's window. Jane was taken to the Tower Green (inside the Tower) and executed privately, a privilege generally afforded only to the royal family.

Jane gave her forgiveness to her executioner, and then blindfolded herself. Once blindfolded, she had difficulty finding the block and began to panic, but was led to it and was able to regain her dignity. Her last words were, "Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

Jane had a little trouble finding the block once she was blindfolded, but died with dignity.

July 9, 2015

It Happened on July 9th

Henry VIII Divorces Anne of Cleves, 1540

Anne of Cleves: Henry called her "the Flanders mare."
Anne of Cleves was the fourth wife of King Henry VIII of England. She was only married to Henry for six months, and she not only survived her marriage -- no small feat in itself -- but she became the King's "Beloved Sister", and outlived Henry and all his other wives.

The Search for a Wife

After the death of Jane Seymour in 1537, Henry found himself once again in need of a wife. This time, he didn't have one waiting in the wings -- he appears to have been relatively faithful to Jane, of whom he seemed to be quite devoted. True, he now had a son, but sons are tricky business for royalty, and it's best to have at least one spare. No one understood this better than Henry, who had himself been a younger son. His older brother Arthur had not lived to take the throne.

Henry's first marriage had been a matter of foreign policy, but his next two marriages had been affairs of the heart. Henry was not in the habit of letting others decide his fate. He sent his ambassadors out to make overtures to various royal families, but instructed them to make no offers of marriage until he had approved of his potential bride's appearance. "The thing touches me too dear," he said.

Thomas Cromwell arranged
the match.
The women approached to wed Henry were mostly Catholic princesses, or women of high standing and political importance. Although England had broken with the Catholic Church, this was almost wholly on the issue of papal authority. Henry was determined that he, not the Pope, was to be the head of the Church of England. On other matters, he was at heart a Catholic. After all, he had been raised and educated for the clergy -- no one expected that he would ever be king.

Henry's Chancellor, Thomas Cromwell, had other ideas. Cromwell was more sympathetic to the rising influence of the middle class in these times, and was ideologically aligned with the growing Protestant movement. He preferred for Henry to align himself with one of the Lutheran duchies.

The Contenders

Mary of Guise: "I may be a big woman, but I have
a very little neck."
One of the women courted by the ambassadors was Mary of Guise. She was a daughter of Claude of Lorraine, the Duke of Guise, and his wife, Antoinette de Bourbon. At the age of 18 she had married the Duke of Longueville, and had been widowed less than three years later. Mary had already captured the eye of the widowed James V of Scotland, who was seeking another French bride to further his alliance with Scotland.

Part of Mary's appeal to Henry was undoubtedly his wish to stop the Scottish-French alliance. When speaking with the French ambassador, Henry said that he was a big man and needed a big wife. (Mary was a tall woman.) Mary is said to have responded, "I may be a big woman, but I have a very little neck." Mary was soon wed to the King of Scotland. Henry then pursued Mary's younger sister, but she soon married someone else, as well.

Christina of Milan: "If I had two heads, one should be
at the disposal of the King of England."
In truth, Henry's reputation as a bad husband was known throughout Europe. He had humiliated and abused his first wife, Katherine. Some thought he had hounded her into an early grave. His next wife he had beheaded. His reputation was so bad that rumors hinted that he had even caused the death of Jane Seymour, ordering the doctors to cut her open to secure a healthy heir. It wasn't true, of course. Jane had died of an infection 12 days after her son's birth.

Henry was also interested in Christina of Milan, a 16 year old widow famed for her beauty. Christina was the daughter of the King of Denmark, and had been married to the Duke of Milan, who had made her a widow when she was only 13. Christina was not much interested in Henry, but consented to have her portrait done for him. She told the English ambassador, "If I had two heads, one should be at the disposal of the King of England."

The Royal Courting next turned its attention to Anne and Amalie of Cleves, two German noblewomen. Anne had previously been betrothed to Francis, the Duke of Lorraine. Since the boy was only 10 when the betrothal was performed, it was considered "unofficial" and was later broken off. (Francis ended up marrying Christina of Milan.) Although the girls' older brother was a staunch Lutheran, their mother was a strict Catholic and they themselves were thought to be flexible in religious matter. Thomas Cromwell pressed strongly for an alliance with Cleves.

Amalie of Cleves -- Anne's sister.
Henry had never seen either of the ladies and was taking no chances. He sent his trusted court painter, Hans Holbein the Younger, to paint their portraits. He was told to be as accurate as possible -- Henry didn't want to find out later that he had flattered the ladies.

Of the two, Henry decided that he preferred Anne. An offer was made, and the marriage treaty was signed on October 4, 1539. It had taken nearly two years to arrange a marriage.

Off to a Bad Start

Anne came to England with an English court. It was planned that she would meet the king at Greenwich Palace. However, Henry being Henry, he decided to catch an early look at his wife-to-be. Henry and five of his men "disguised themselves" and paid an unexpected visit to Rochester, where Anne had stopped on the journey. Bear in mind that Henry was over six feet tall and nearly as wide, and had flaming auburn hair. It really wasn't possible for him to disguise himself effectively. It was also the type of thing that Henry was always doing, and most of his other women had had the wisdom to see through the ploy and be swept of their feet by the handsome, dashing "stranger."

Henry really couldn't disguise himself very much.
Anne of Cleves, however, was no Anne Boleyn. She didn't speak English, she didn't know the king, and she had no idea of the customs of the English court, let alone its monarch's foibles. She had no idea who the fat, pushy stranger was. When he tried to kiss her, she pushed him away, and cursed in German. He presented a token to her, "from the King", which she accepted with thanks. She then spent the rest of his visit looking out the window at the bear-baiting taking place outside.

Despite their rocky first meeting Henry and Anne were married on January 6, 1540. It was a reluctant union on the part of the king. He told Cromwell, "If it were not to satisfy the world, and my Realm, I would not do that I must do for none earthly thing."

The End of the Marriage

Henry never really warmed up to his marriage with Anne. The morning following his wedding night he told Cromwell, "I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse." He called her the "Flanders mare." And, he made it very, very clear to everyone that he had not consummated their marriage.

The naive Anne, for her part, may not have been aware that anything was wrong. She told her ladies, "When he comes to bed, he kisses me and takes me by the hand, and biddeth me, 'Good night, sweetheart,' and in the morning, kisses me, and biddeth me, 'Farewell, darling.' Is this not enough?" Her embarrassed attendants had to explain to her that that was not the way to produce an heir.

The marriage was over in six months. She agreed willingly to an annulment. Perhaps she feared a fate like Anne Boleyn's; perhaps she was as repulsed by Henry as he was by her. In the meantime, Henry had begun a relationship with Catherine Howard and was in some hurry to be free to marry her. The marriage was officially annulled on July 9, 1540. The grounds: non-consummation and Anne's previous contract to Francis of Lorraine.

A speedy divorce cleared the way for wife #5,
Catherine Howard.
Once freed of Anne, Henry could afford to be generous. He gave her several properties (including Hever Castle, formerly the home of the Boleyn family) and a generous allowance of 4,000 a year. Henry called her his "Beloved Sister," and she had precedence over all the ladies of England, excepting only his wife and daughters.

Anne chose to remain in England, an independent and wealthy woman, rather than return to Cleves where she would be under her brother's control. She learned to love English ale and gambling, and spent a considerable fortune on her gowns. She visited the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth often, and King Henry from time to time. Her last public appearance took place at Mary's coronation, when she rode to the ceremony at the side of Princess Elizabeth. She died in 1557, just a few weeks short of the age of 42. She had outlived Henry, Henry's male heir, and all Henry's other wives.

July 8, 2015

It Happened on July 8th

Etienne De Silhouette Born, 1709

Etienne de Silhouette was a man made famous by his insignificance.

Silhouette was in charge of Louis XV's finances --
a thankless job if there ever was one.
Silhouette was the Controller-General of Finances in the reign of Louis XV, a thankless position if there ever was one. He was appointed to the position on March 4, 1759, in approximately the middle of France's Seven Year War with England, which ran from 1754 to 1763. In North America, the conflict was known as the French and Indian War.

His job was to strengthen the treasury and curb the national deficit during this very expensive period. To do so, he reduced royal spending, instituted some new taxes (and eliminated others), and tried to bolster trade wherever he could.

Silhouette had studied in England, and favored their system of taxing the wealthy rather than the poor. (In France, both the nobility and the church were tax-exempt.) To accomplish this, he taxed the symbols of wealth -- windows, doors, luxury goods, and servants, among others. Naturally, he was not a popular man with the upper classes.

Silhouette lasted only eight months in his new position, and then retired to his chateau. His name, however, will be remembered forever.

Silhouettes were an inexpensive alternative
to portraiture.
At about this same period, a new art form was gaining popularity, which consisted of profiles cut from black paper and mounted on a white background. It could be done quickly and easily by those proficient in the art, and it was a type of portraiture that was accessible to people of most income classes.

By many, the newly popular type of portrait was thought to look cheap, and was called a "silhouette" after Etienne de Silhouette, who had, in his short term, acquired quite a reputation for his cost-cutting methods. In fact, to do something a la Silhouette meant to do it in the cheapest way possible.

Silhouette portraiture expanded beyond France, becoming very popular in England. It even made its way to the North American colonies, and was a cheap and available method of creating a likeness. In the 19th and 20th centuries it was also used in printed material, as a cheap way of making book illustrations. Blocks with silhouette illustrations would last far longer during the printing process than those of more intricate illustrations.

It remained popular in American from about the 1790's to about 1840, and even then, did not die out altogether. Well into the 20th century, travelling silhouette craftsmen plied their trade at state fairs and other locations. The popularity of the silhouette, however, never reached the levels that it had before the invention of the camera.

July 7, 2015

It Happened on July 7th

Anton Karas Born, 1906

Anton Karas at the zither.
If you've ever seen the stunning 1949 thriller The Third Man -- and if you haven't, you really should -- you were probably entranced by the musical score. The melancholy jangling of the music seems to perfectly complement the images of post-war Vienna, and intensifies the "film noir-ish" atmosphere of this stunning film.

The music was written and performed by Anton Karas, a Viennese zither player discovered by director Carol Reed while he was searching Vienna for "authentic" Austrian music. He was looking for something that didn't reflect the gaiety of the traditional waltzes, which would have been entirely inappropriate for his film. At a production party he heard Karas play and realized that he'd found his music. He asked Karas to come to his hotel room and record for a particular section of the movie. Later, he realized that he simply had to have Karas create the entire score.

Karas had been born in Vienna, the son of a factory worker. Although he loved music and longed to become a band leader, his family simply couldn't afford that kind of musical education for their son. He was, however, allowed to learn to play an instrument -- an old zither, which he had found in his grandmother's attic.

The Wiener Riesenrad is one of the Vienna
locations featured prominently in the film.
At the age of 14 Karas began an apprenticeship at a tool and die factory, and took music classes in the evening. After he finished his apprenticeship he began to work in a car factory, but became unemployed in 1925 -- when he was 19 years old. This freed him to follow his true vocation, and soon he was performing at a heuriger, a particular type of wine bar common in Austria. Operating a heuriger requires a special license: it can only be operated by a wine-grower serving only his own product, and only his most recent year. The word heuriger means "this year's." Music provided at a heuriger would normally be provided by live musicians, playing on request for tips.

Once Reed decided he wanted Karas for his movie score, Karas was flown to London where he lived with Reed, working up to 14 hours a day for 12 weeks. More than once, he asked to return to Vienna, but Reed wouldn't let him leave. Karas later said that Reed had "kept him like a slave." When he had finished recording the score, a fire in the cutting room destroyed it, along with about half of the other film material. Karas had to re-record the entire score.

The movie was a phenomenal success, partly due to Karas's contribution. He found himself an international star when his The Third Man Theme was released as a single and immediately became a best-seller. Karas toured the world and performed for such notables as the British Royal family, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, and Pope Pius XII.

In Austria the film was not much appreciated in some circles, since it focused on Vienna in its demolished, post-war state. The public, however, adored Karas's contribution, and he became a star in his own country. He disliked the publicity and glamour and in 1954, he retired from touring and opened his own heuriger, which became a popular place with the Hollywood crowd. After 12 years, he retired from that, also. In his remaining years he only performed at special events.

Here's Anton Karas performing The Third Man Theme:

July 6, 2015

It Happened on July 6th

Sedan Nuclear Test, 1962

The Sedan Test
In the 1960's, the United States made a series of tests attempting to find peaceful uses for nuclear explosives. The project was called Operation Plowshare, or Project Plowshare. The name was inspired by a Biblical quote from Micah 4:3, "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

The United States was not alone in its studies of PNEs -- Peaceful Nuclear Explosions. The Soviet Union also had a program. Theirs was called Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy.

Among the uses that were suggested for PNEs were such projects as widening the Panama Canal, creating new canals and waterways, blasting through mountains to create interstate highways and railways, and various mining operations. It was also believed that PNEs could be useful in freeing up natural gas and oil deposited in difficult formations.

If the thought of these types of projects sends a shudder down your spine, think of the implications in the 1960's, when we knew even less about what we were doing than we do now. Testing came first, of course, and over a period of 11 years, from December 10, 1961 to May 17, 1973, 27 nuclear tests for peaceful uses were made by the United States.

The second of these tests was performed on July 6, 1962, and was called Storax Sedan. Sedan was a 104 kiloton bomb. That would be the equivalent of 104,000 tons of TNT, or about five times the power of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. The bomb was buried 635 feet below the surface, in the Nevada National Security Site at Yucca Flat.

The Resulting Crater
The resulting crater was about a quarter of a mile in diameter and 320 feet deep. It displaced 6.6 cubic yards of earth, about 11 million tons. At the blast, a dome of earth was lifted 290 feet into the air before it exploded. It must have been quite a site to see.

And then, of course, there was the radiation. The cloud of radiation rose into the air, and then separated into two separate plumes that began traveling, first northeast, and then east, roughly parallel to each other. Fallout was heaviest in eight counties in Iowa and one county each in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Illinois. Of all the nuclear tests ever performed in the United States, Sedan was highest in the amount of radionuclides released. It accounts for about 7% of the total amount of radiation released by testing in the United States, peaceful and otherwise.

In 1977, funding for Operation Plowshare was quietly terminated. Over the course of its existence, the total cost of the program has been estimated at over $770 million.

All of the nuclear testing that took place in this country over the years has had one significant effect. The radioactive debris is still out there. There are at least 839 underground test locations that have radioactive debris buried, and the Department of Energy has evaluated it as impractical to be removed.

In 2005, Ellen Tauscher, a Congresswoman from California, gave testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the containment of nuclear debris, and specifically cited the example of Sedan. Unfortunately, in the Congressional Record, the word was transcribed as Sudan, which immediately attracted world-wide attention -- particularly on the part of the Sudanese government. The United States has, of course, explained the typographical error, and the Sudanese apparently accept our explanation. Nevertheless, they continue to investigate the situation.

Original Military Film of the Sedan Nuclear Test

July 5, 2015

It Happened on July 5th

Dolly the Sheep Cloned, 1996

Taxidermied Dolly ©Tom Barros/Wikimedia Commons
Dolly has been called the most famous sheep in history, and with good reason. She was a most extraordinary animal. She was the first mammal of any kind cloned from an adult somatic cell.

Dolly had three mothers: one who provided the egg, another the DNA, and a third who carried her to term. The cell used as the donor was taken from the mammary gland of an adult sheep, and Dolly got her name as a tribute to Dolly Parton. Ian Wilmut, of the cloning team, said, "Dolly was cloned from a mammary gland cell, and we couldn't think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton's." The experiment was also significant in that it proved that a complete animal could be cloned from a cell taken from a specific part of the body.

Dolly was a creation of a team at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, Scotland. The team was headed by Ian Wilmut. According to Wilmut, about 65% of the work on the project was done by Keith Campbell. She was born, strong and healthy, on July 5, 1996, but her birth was not announced until the following February, to allow for scientific publication.

Dolly the Sheep lived out her entire life at Roslin Institute. The plan was for her to have as normal a "sheep life" as possible. She was bred to a Welsh Mountain ram and produced, in total, six offspring. In 1998 she had a single lamb, Bonnie. In 1999, she produced twins, Sally and Rosie. The year after that she had triplets: Lucy, Darcy, and Cotton. She shared a pen with other sheep until some of the sheep contracted sheep pulmonary adenomatosis (SPA), an incurable disease caused by a virus that causes the growth of tumors in the lungs. After that, Dolly was placed in isolation.

When one of Dolly's twin lambs was diagnosed with SPA, it was determined that Dolly almost certainly had it also, and there was no reason to keep her isolated. She was checked by a veterinarian daily, and remained healthy until February, 2003, when she was noticed coughing. A CT scan conducted on February 14th revealed that she had tumors in her lungs, and, in order to protect her from further suffering, she was euthanized during the procedure.

The Roslin Institute  ©Ting-Chun Yeh/Wikimedia Commons
Dolly had an unusually short life, living only to the age of six. A normal lifespan for a Finn Dorset, such as Dolly was, is more in the line of 11 to 12 years. An autopsy revealed that she had a form of lung cancer called Jaagsiekte, which is a fairly common disease among sheep. It is even more common for sheep that are kept indoors, as Dolly was for security reasons. The autopsy also confirmed that Dolly had advanced arthritis, which had been suspected for some time.

One interesting finding about Dolly was that her telomeres, the portion of DNA at the end of a chromosome that prevents fraying, were abnormally short for a sheep of her years. It was speculated by some that her genetic age may have been six years longer (the age of the donor sheep at time of donation) than her chronological age, and may have contributed to her early demise. (Shortened telomeres are normally the result of the aging process.) There appears, however, to be little basis for such speculation. Her telomeres were not that much shorter -- that is, not short enough to indicate an age of 12 years -- and the disease that felled her is not related to aging.

Dolly's remains were donated to the National Museums Scotland, where they were preserved by taxidermy. She is now on display at the National Museum of Scotland, in the Connect Gallery.

July 4, 2015

It Happened on July 4th

Lewis Carroll Tells Alice A Story

The Story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), self-portrait
On a beautiful summer day in 1862, two young men took three little girls out for a picnic outing. The date was July 4th, and the two men were the Reverend Robinson Duckworth and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a lecturer in Mathematics at Christ Church College, Oxford. The little girls were the three oldest daughters of Henry Liddell, the new Dean of Mathematics: Lorina, Alice, and Edith.

While Duckworth rowed the company up the River Thames, Dodgson told the three girls a story about a bored little girl who went looking for adventure. It was quite a long story -- it lasted the whole of the five mile river trip. The Liddell girls loved the story, and Alice begged Dodgson to write it down for her.

He did write it down, beginning the next day. Another river expedition the following month provided some further plot complications. Dodgson also did a little research on the animals he presented in the stories, to make sure that his interpretation on their habits was based on facts. In November, 1864, he presented Alice with a manuscript copy of the story, complete with his own illustrations.

In the meantime, Dodgson had begun to think that the work might be publishable, and he showed it to his friend, George MacDonald, a successful author of fantasies and fairy tales. MacDonald's children loved the story, and MacDonald urged him to publish it.

Dodgson asked John Tenniel to illustrate the book for publication. Tenniel was a well-known illustrator and political cartoonist, whose work Dodgson was familiar with through his reading of Punch magazine. Tenniel provided 42 woodcut illustrations for the book, which was published in 1865 as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Dodgson published it under his pen name, Lewis Carroll.

Dodgson and Little Girls

Alice Liddell as the beggar-maid (story of Cophetua),
photograph by Dodgson.
There's been a lot of speculation over the years as to the nature of Dodgson's relationship with the Liddell girls, and particularly with Alice. Dodgson was also a passionate amateur photographer, and took many pictures of young children, the Liddells among them. Of his surviving photographs, about 50% of them are of young girls. Of course, only about 40% of his photographic work still exists, so we have no idea what the original proportion might have been. At least five photographs survive in which the girls are nude.

It's important to realize, however, that in Victorian times, this wasn't as unusual or as suspicious as it now appears to us. Children were considered innocent creatures, and nudity was an expression of their innocence. It appears that most of Dodgson's child photography sessions were supervised by mothers or caretakers, and the majority of them were taken in outdoor locations, since natural sunlight provided the best light.

One event that cast additional suspicion on Dodgson is the sudden break in relations between Dodgson and the Liddell family in 1863, a break that has led to no end of speculation as to its cause. Dodgson kept diaries throughout his life, but out of the 13 diaries, four complete books and an additional seven pages are missing. It is thought that they may have been deleted after Dodgson's death, by relatives wishing to preserve his reputation.

Alice as Queen of the May, photograph by Dodgson.
One page that is missing is the entry for June 27, 1863, an entry that, it is believed, might have told what happened between Dodgson and the Liddell family. A document, discovered in 1996, may provide a clue. It was allegedly written by Dodgson's niece, Violet Dodgson, but the author is by no means certain. (It has also been suggested that it was written by a great-nephew based on memories of conversations he had with Violet and another of Dodgson's nieces, Menella.) The note provides a summary of the missing page. It says,

"L.C. learns from Mrs. Liddell that he is supposed to be using the children as a means of paying court to the governess -- he is also supposed to be courting Ina."

"L.C.", of course is Lewis Carroll. Ina was a nickname for Lorina, Alice's older sister, who would have been about 14 at the time. The children's mother was also named Lorina, however, so it could have referred to her. Whatever the truth of the matter may have been, if the note is authentic, it appears that Dodgson and the Liddells separated in order to put a stop to some type of rumor. Dodgson stopped visiting the Liddells altogether for about six months and then resumed the relationship, although without the former closeness.

What Happened to Alice?

Alice Liddell as a young woman.
Alice grew up, of course. She took a tour of Europe in her young adulthood, accompanied by her sisters Lorina and Edith. There was a rumor that Alice had a romantic entanglement with Prince Leopold, the son of Queen Victoria, when he attended Christ Church, but that is not certain. (It has also been suggested that he was involved with Edith, rather than Alice.)

At the age of 18 Alice married Reginald Hargreaves, a local magistrate and well-known cricket player. They had three sons, two of whom died in World War I.

Alice found herself in a difficult financial position after her husband's death in 1926, and sold her manuscript copy of Alice's Adventures Underground (the earlier title for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.) Eventually, the book came to be owned by Eldridge R. Johnson, who displayed it at Columbia University on the 100th anniversary of Charles Dodgson's birth. Alice attended the celebration. On the trip, she met another legend -- Peter Llewelyn-Davies, one of the Llewelyn-Davies brothers who inspired James M. Barrie's Peter Pan.

Alice and her sisters. Left to right: Edith, Lorina, and Alice.

July 3, 2015

It Happened on July 3rd

The Dog Days of Summer

© Evgeniy Lukyanov/sxc.hu
I've been acquainted with the phrase "dog days of summer" for as long as I can remember, but I never thought too much about what it actually meant. I knew it referred to the hottest part of the summer -- those lazy, sultry days when it's really too hot to feel like doing anything. I suppose I thought that's why they were called the dog days. I know that in heat like that, all I feel like doing is lying under the porch with my tongue hanging out.

As it turns out, the phrase has nothing to do with a dog's laziness, either real or perceived. The Romans named this time of year after the Dog Star, Sirius. Sirius is the brightest star in the constellation known as Canis Major, the Large Dog. At a certain time of year, Sirius rose above the horizon at just about the same time as the sun did. (Well, actually a second or two before, so that you can actually see it.) The Romans thought that the star was so bright that it actually made the weather hotter.

Sirius A & B - artist's impression, provided by NASA.
The Egyptians, too, were cognizant of Sirius. They called it Sopdet, which was translated into Greek as Sothis. In fact, they based their calendar on Sopdet's heliacal rising, which is what you call the rising of a star just before sunrise. Since this occurred just before the Nile flooded, Sirius made a handy "watchdog" for the event.

To the Ancient Greeks, the Dog Days were a time of evil and trouble. Because the weather was unsettled in the early summer, and the Dog Star was so bright, it tended to twinkle more than usual. The Greeks believed that this was because of malevolent emanations. People under Sirius's influence were called "star-struck." Just how bad the evil emanations would be in any given year depended on Sirius's appearance: if it shone clear and bright, it would be a good year; if it twinkled or was dim, you could expect pestilence. The Romans carried things one step farther, and sacrificed a brown dog to appease the gods.

Sirius is actually quite a bright star. In fact, it's the brightest in our heavens, and twice as bright as the next brightest. It can be seen by nearly every one on earth -- the only place you can't see it is if you live north of 73 degrees latitude. It can even be seen in daylight, under very special conditions. (You'd have to be at a high altitude, and have a very clear sky, Sirius directly overhead, and the sun low on the horizon. Oh, and it helps if you're in the Southern Hemisphere.) One reason Sirius is so bright is that it's actually a binary star.

To the Romans, the Dog Days took place from July 24th through August 24th, more or less. The dates have changed since ancient times, however, due to a phenomenon called the procession of the equinoxes. Put simply, that just means that the constellations move around a bit over the years. This year, it will take place in early August. The exact date will depend on what latitude you live in.

The Old Farmer's Almanac has been around
for quite awhile.
So why am I calling July 3rd the beginning of the Dog Days of Summer? The Old Farmer's Almanac gives the traditional dates of the Dog Days as July 3rd through August 11th. Modern mythology is not much different than that of the ancients. According to the Almanac,

"Dog Days bright and clear
Indicate a Happy Year.
But when accompanied by rain,
For better times our hopes are vain."

If it's good enough for the Old Farmer, it's good enough for me.

July 2, 2015

It Happened on July 2nd

Charles Guiteau Shoots President Garfield, 1881

Charles Guiteau: Never Quite Sane
Afterwards, Charles Guiteau would claim that he hadn't killed Garfield. He had merely shot the man, he said; the doctors had killed him. The man had a point.

Charles Guiteau appears to have never been completely sane. He was born in Freeport, Illinois in 1841 and grew up there, except for a few years in Ulao, Wisconsin. When he was a young man, he inherited $1,000 from his grandfather, and decided to become a lawyer. He set off for Ann Arbor to study law at the University of Michigan.

Unable to pass the entrance exam, he enrolled at Ann Arbor High School to brush up on Latin and mathematics. Soon, however, he left school and, at his father's urging, went to New York to join the Oneida Community, a utopian group of which his father was a member.

The Oneida Community had been founded by John Humphrey Noyes in 1844. Noyes believed that the Second Coming had already occurred, in 70 AD. As a consequence, we were now living in a New Age. True Christians -- such as Noyes -- were already living in a state of perfection, and anything that their spirit led them to do was free of sin.

At the free-love community of Oneida, he was known as "Charles Git-out".
The Oneida group believed in communal property and complex marriage. In general, menopausal women mated with young men, in order to initiate them into sex, and older men mated with young women. Members who wished to produce children had to obtain permission from a committee, and were matched with others according to their spiritual qualities. Noyes himself fathered at least nine children. The group supported itself by making palm-frond hats, silk thread, and animal traps. Their most enduring contribution, however, was Oneida silverware, an endeavor which has evolved into the Oneida company of today.

Guiteau tried to sue Noyes.
Despite the Oneida community's liberal stance on marriage (Noyes is considered to have coined the term, "Free Love"), Guiteau was generally rejected by the women. He stayed there for five years, long enough to earn the nickname "Charles Git-out."

Guiteau left the Oneida group and tried to start a newspaper based on the community's religion, but was unsuccessful. He then returned to Oneida, left again, and this time filed lawsuits against Noyes. Guiteau's father was deeply embarrassed by his son, and wrote letters supporting Noyes's evaluation of Charles as irresponsible and insane.

Guiteau managed to pass the bar exam in Chicago and started a practice there. He had testimonials from nearly every influential family in the United States -- all forged, of course. Most of his business was concerned with bill collecting, and he wasn't a popular man with either his clients or the local judges.

He also lived for awhile in New York City, where he became known for skipping out on his debts. He had a string of boarding house landlords looking for him, and on some occasions his bills were paid by his brother, John. He also lived with his sister, Frances -- until he went after her with an axe he was using to chop wood. Frances attempted to have him committed, but he managed to evade her before she succeeded.

Guiteau saw himself as a man of politics.
Guiteau next decided that he was meant to be a man of politics. He supported Ulysses S. Grant in his attempt for a third term as President, and wrote a speech called "Grant vs. Hancock." When Grant lost the Republican nomination to James A. Garfield, Guiteau revised his speech, now calling it "Garfield vs. Hancock." He changed little of the content besides the candidate's name.

It's not clear that Guiteau ever delivered his speech -- if he did, it was, at most, twice. Nevertheless, Guiteau had copies made which he passed out freely. He felt that his speech had been the deciding factor in Garfield's election, and expected to be rewarded for it. He preferred the ambassadorship to Vienna, but, when that was not forthcoming, he decided that Paris would be equally desirable.

Having written to Garfield and other political notables, Guiteau then decided to make a personal appeal. He arrived in Washington on March 5 (the day after the Presidential Inauguration), and actually managed to get into the White House and see Garfield. He left him a copy of his speech.

"Never speak to me again of the
Paris consulship as long as you live,"
said Secretary of State James Blaine.
To augment his desirability as an ambassador, Guiteau claimed that he was soon to marry the daughter of a recently deceased Republican millionaire. There was, in fact, such a lady. Guiteau had seen her once, from a distance.

Guiteau had only the clothes on his back, and spent the next two months wandering around Washington. He became increasingly dirty and disheveled, but kept making the rounds, accosting various cabinet members and loitering in the White House waiting room. Finally, the Secretary of State, James G. Blaine, told him, "Never speak to me again of the Paris consulship as long as you live." On May 13th, he was banned from the White House waiting room.

This is when, according to Guiteau, God spoke to him. He borrowed $15 from an acquaintance and used it to buy a .44 Webley British Bulldog revolver. He spent an extra dollar for one with an ivory handle, because he believed that it would look good in a museum exhibit afterwards.

Smithsonian photograph of Guiteau's gun. It has since been lost.
He planned carefully for the event. He spent several weeks practicing his shooting. He wrote a letter to the Commanding General of the US Army asking for protection from the mob -- in advance. He tried to get a peek at his future lodgings in the District of Columbia jail, but they told him to come back later. And, of course, he spent a lot of time stalking the President.

The Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Station
On July 2nd, Garfield was leaving for his summer vacation. He was scheduled to deliver a speech that day at Williams College. He came to the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station, accompanied by his sons, James and Harry, Secretary of State James G. Blaine, and Secretary of War, Robert Todd Lincoln. There was no Secret Service in those days -- the only President who had ever been guarded had been Abraham Lincoln, and that was because of the Civil War.

Guiteau was waiting for him. He fired two shots. One grazed the President in the shoulder, and the other struck him in the back. The second shot lodged in his lumbar vertebra, missing the spinal cord. Guiteau was immediately arrested by an off-duty policeman who was so agitated that he forgot to take the perpetrator's gun until after he'd taken him to the police station.

Garfield was still conscious. Naturally, all those with him were extremely upset -- Lincoln was no doubt remembering his father's death, as well. He was taken back to the White House, and doctors did not expect him to last the night.

Contemporary illustration of the shooting of Garfield.

He did live the night, however. He didn't pass away for another 80 days, and then died more from his medical care than the actual injury. The doctors kept trying to locate the bullet, mostly by probing his wound with their dirty fingers. One of the doctors actually punctured his liver with his groping. Garfield became a victim to infection, fevers, and blood poisoning. His weight dropped from 200 pounds to 135. He suffered hallucinations. He developed bronchial pneumonia. Finally, on September 19th, Garfield died of a massive heart attack.

Garfield might have lived if his doctors had left him alone.
Guiteau was charged with murder and was represented by his brother-in-law, George Scoville, Frances's husband. Guiteau insisted on participating in his own defense, to the extent of contradicting Scoville, the judge, and the witnesses, and offering his own testimony -- in epic verse. He also passed notes to random spectators in the courtroom, asking for legal advice.

In particular, Guiteau objected strenuously to Scoville's assertion that Guiteau was insane. Guiteau insisted that, although he had been legally insane at the time of the shooting, he wasn't medically insane -- ever. He seemed delighted to be the center of so much attention, and waved gaily to his perceived "fans". He made plans for a lecture tour following his acquittal, and even considered running for President.

Guiteau was, of course, found guilty. He danced on his way to the gallows, smiling and waving at spectators and reporters. As his last request, he was allowed to recite a poem he had written, "I am Going to the Lordy." He had asked for orchestra accompaniment, but was denied.

I am going to the Lord, I am so glad,
I am going to the Lordy, I am so glad,
I am going to the Lordy,
Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!
I am going to the Lordy.
I love the Lordy with all my soul,
Glory hallelujah!
And that is the reason I am going to the Lord,
Glory hallelujah! Glory hallelujah!

                                    -- Charles Guiteau

July 1, 2015

It Happened on July 1st

Grover Cleveland's Secret Surgery, 1893

Painting of Cleveland by Anders Zorn, 1899
Later, he would say that he had done more lying on the days immediately preceding and following his operation than he had done in the entire remainder of his life.

Grover Cleveland, as you may recall, was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. He is the only President ever to have served two non-consecutive terms. When he began his second term of office in March 1893, he had a number of problems to deal with. Not the least of them was the state of the economy.

The Panic of 1893, a serious economic depression, began soon after Cleveland took office. The Panic was made worse by the shortage of gold that occurred largely as a result of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. Cleveland believed that the only way to stem the depression was to repeal the Act, and he was certain that it would take his leadership to make it happen.

The last thing the country needed was a rumor of an ailing President. Consequently, when Cleveland discovered a small "rough patch" on the roof of his mouth in mid-June, he decided to keep it quiet.

He consulted privately with the White House doctor, Dr. O'Riley. O'Riley took a sample of what appeared to be a tumor on the left side of Cleveland's mouth and hard palate, and sent it to the army medical museum, not disclosing from whom he had obtained it. The sample was diagnosed as a probably non-malignant tumor.

Dr. Joseph Bryant
Under the guise of an Independence Day holiday, Cleveland absented himself from Washington. On the Oneida, a yacht owned by his close friend Commodore Benedict, Cleveland met with his surgical team. Benedict had even repainted the yacht a different color, to make it less likely to be recognized.

The surgical team was made up of Cleveland's personal physician, Dr. Joseph Bryant, Dr. W. W. Keen of Philadelphia, three other doctors, and a dentist. Keen would, 24 years later, publish an article about the operation in the Saturday Evening Post.

In order to avoid any scars or other obvious signs of surgery, Bryant operated through the mouth, using a cheek retractor which Dr. Keen had brought from Paris in 1866. The two upper left bicuspids were removed, and then the left upper jaw nearly to the middle, along with a small portion of the soft palate. Nitrous oxide was administered for the early stages of the procedure, and ether for the later stages. Cleveland was a corpulent 56-year old, and the doctors were somewhat worried about the possibility of his suffering a stroke during the procedure. After the surgery, one-sixth of a grain of morphine was administered for pain.

The surgery was performed on the Oneida.
A week later, an implant of vulcanized rubber was inserted to replace the missing section of the President's upper jaw. It was said to have been extremely successful -- so much so that both his speech and his appearance were unaltered after the operation.

Despite all the precautions, a rumor had leaked about a possible health problem for President Cleveland. At a press conference, reporters were told that the President has merely had a couple of teeth pulled. The reporters weren't quite sure whether they believed that or not, but after discussion between themselves, they all printed the same story. The President had had a toothache.

Dr. Keen later published the details in the
Saturday Evening Post.
A second operation was performed on July 17th to remove some portions of the tumor that had not been removed the first time. It is believed today that the tumor was a verrucous carcinoma, a type that is unlikely to metastasize. It appears more often in those who are heavy smokers or drinkers. Cleveland was both.

Cleveland was well enough to return to Washington by August 7th -- the date scheduled for the special session of Congress. Cleveland was able to lead the Congress to a successful conclusion. The Sherman Act was repealed.