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|H.L. Mencken Admonishes Catholic Hierarchy (The Smart Set, 1921)|
After the slaughter of the First World War, the Christian Churches were under heavy scrutiny for essentially serving as "enablers" in each of the individual combatant nations - failing utterly to bring an end to the violence. In their monthly collaboration, "Repition Generale", George Jean Nathan (1882 - 1958) and H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956) launched a broadside at the Christian Bishops for their elite, "bullet-proof" status in the world.
In 1900 people wanted to know why men didn't like going to church...
Was Jesus Black? (The Crises, 1914)
Chances are pretty slim that Jesus of Nazareth was a button-nose blondy - so pink of cheek, with eyes of blue; yet, time and again, this was the manner in which he was rendered by the Christian idolaters of the Gilded Age. When the African-American magazine THE CRISES began to run illustrated advertisements depicting Christ as anything but a white fellow you better believe there were some letters addressed to their editors on the issue. The attached article was their response to these outraged readers.
The Lynching Records: 1885 - 1912 (New York Times, 1913)
A report from THE NEW YORK TIMES stated that, relative to the population, 1912 saw a drop in the number of lynchings. Included in this brief is a record of lynchings that occurred between the years 1885 - 1912.
The Klan Gets Active (Ken Magazine, 1938)
A report from an anonymous journalist concerning his 1939 visit to the (formerly) secret Atlanta offices of the KKK:
"There is feverish activity in Suite 756 of the Hurt Building in Atlanta, Georgia, these days. The Ku Klux Klan is staging a nation-wide comeback and this is its national headquarters. Fat, shrewd-smiling, garrulous "Old Doc Evans" (Hiram Wesley Evans, 1881 – 1966) is still Emperor and Imperial Wizard, but he's now apparently only fronting for a Big Boss who has some sensational new plans which have already begun to click. Once again the Klan is holding hands with politicians all over the country, but the hand-holding is being done under the table. The big drive begins in May"
The Crash (Coronet, 1946 & Literary Digest Magazines 1929)
This is an article about the 1929 stock market crash - it was that one major cataclysmic event that ushered in the Great Depression (1929 - 1940). It all came crashing down on October 24, 1929 - the stocks offered at the New York Stock Exchange had lost 80% of their value; the day was immediately dubbed "Black Thursday" by all those who experienced it. When the sun rose that morning, the U.S. unemployment estimate stood at 3%; shortly afterward it soared to a staggering 24%.
"In every town families had dropped from affluence into debt...Americans were soon to find themselves in an altered world which called for new adjustments, new ideas, new habits of thought, a new order of values. The Post-War Decade had come to its close. An era had ended." The era that followed was was the polar opposite of the one that had just gone down in flames: if the Twenties are remembered for confidence and prosperity, the Thirties was a decade of insecurity and want. The attached essay was penned by a popular author who knew the era well.
Yet, regardless of the horrors of The Crash, the United States was still an enormously wealthy nation...
Movie Streaming was Invented in 1950 (Quick Magazine, 1950)
We were surprised to learn that the earliest television mavens recognized that television programming could be enhanced and customized when the signal is carried through telephone lines of individual subscribers - a perk that wasn't made widespread for a few decades. The early concept was called "Phonevision".
Soap Operas Come to Television (Pathfinder Magazine, 1949)
The short-lived soap opera "These Are My Children" was the brain-child of Irna Phillips (1901 – 1973) and it is no matter that the "daytime drama" lasted less than a year on Chicago's WMBQ - the significance of the program rests in the fact that it was the first soap opera to be seen on American television screens:
"Last week television caught the dread disease of radio: soapoperitis... 'These Are My Children', however is no warmed-over radio fare. To make sure of this, Miss Phillips and director Norman Felton built the first episodes backward... Whether [a] soap opera on television can coax housewives to leave their domestic duties [in order] to watch a small screen was a question yet to be answered."
Women Behind the Guns (Assorted Magazines, 1942)
When it became clear to the employers on the American home front that there was going to be a shortage of men, their attention turned to a portion of the labor pool who had seldom been allowed to prove their mettle: they were called women. This article recalls those heady days at the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground when local women were trained to fire enormous artillery pieces in order that the Army weapons specialists understand the gun's capabilities. This column primarily concerns the delight on all the men's faces when it was discovered that women were able to perform their tasks just as well as the men.
Japanese Prisoners at Camp McCoy (Collier's Magazine, 1944)
"A midget Jap submarine went aground on the morning of December 8, 1941, off the island of Oahu in Hawaii, and a lieutenant just one year out of the Imperial Naval Academy walked ashore and became the first, and for many weeks our only, W.W. II prisoner. He eventually wound up at Camp McCoy..."
She Worked The Graveyard Shift (The American Magazine, 1943)
"Thousands of American girls are traveling the same road as 21-year-old Dorthy Vogely, our new Cover Girl this month. No longer do they live at home waiting for a nice young man. Instead they've gone on their own to help win the war..."
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