Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Mystery of "Agatite" Avenue's Name Has Been Solved!

Agatite Avenue (4432N - 800W to 8642W). The street name is a mystery. "Agatite" apparently is not a word, and there seems to be no famous, infamous, or obscure person by that name in Chicago history.
West Agatite and North Lavergne Avenues, Chicago


The street is named after a gypsum clay cement manufactured by the Agatite Cement Plaster Company of Kansas City, Missouri. It is basically a plaster substitute. This excerpt from American Cements by Uriah Cummings (1898) described its properties and usages.

The Agatite Cement Plaster Company of Kansas City controls a bed of this material at or near Dillon, Kansas is estimated to contain about six million tons Prof. Edwin Walters in a report on this material, says:

Agatite is of a light ash-gray color. Its natural consistency is about that of hard plastic clay. When calcined (calcined clay is a popular soil amendment used on baseball infields for water management) it assumes a form. When mixed with water it sets as does cement. There needs to be ample time between mixing the mortar to be applied to its intended use to set.

Agatite does not differ widely in composition from the Great Pyramid of Giza (aka Pyramid of Cheops) Egypt. The cement runs higher in sulphate than lime and lower in iron oxide. 

Egypt and Mexico climates permit Agatite for exterior use. It was used in Southern States on brick, stone or wooden structures. Agatite produces a pleasing architectural effect at a low cost. It was used as an outside covering of the walls of the World’s Fair Buildings at Chicago which, however, were temporary structures.

Large quantities of it were used in plastering the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition white stucco-covered buildings in Chicago. Agatite was also used on most of the White City Amusement Park buildings, at 63rd & South Parkway (Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive), in Chicago. 

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Why Chicago's Street Suffixes are Inconsistent.

Every so often, a visitor to our city asks for directions to Madison Avenue. This makes a true Chicagoan’s blood boil. The dumb tourist doesn’t even know it’s supposed to be Madison Street. "Hey Mister, this ain't New York!"


Actually, there is no special rule on what is called a Street, and what is called an Avenue in Chicago. It’s merely traditional usage.

But the other suffixes! Here we get into some technicalities. At one time there was a whole protocol on how a suffix would be used on Chicago thoroughfares.

The house and street numbering system was inconsistent and became more so as Chicago annexed adjacent towns. The large-scale annexations of 1889 complicated matters further throughout the city. Streets of the same name from towns that were annexed became confusing to city services. 

I explain how Chicago overcame this kerfuffle in my article, "Why Chicago renamed and renumbered its streets in 1909 & 1911."

Let’s take Boulevard. That title was reserved for streets under the jurisdiction of the Chicago Park District—brown street signs, remember? Garfield, Logan, and Jackson were examples.

Sometimes the Park District controlled a limited section of a long street. There, Oakley Avenue changed to Oakley Boulevard, Loomis Street became Loomis Boulevard, and so on. The most interesting case was Avenue L—part of it was called Avenue L Boulevard.


Parkway and Drive were other Park District suffixes. Examples here include Diversey Parkway, State Parkway, Lake Shore Drive, and the various roadways running through the large parks.

Irving Park Boulevard was not a Park District street. Following protocol, the city renamed it Irving Park Road in 1937. And yet, thirty years later, old-timers were still referring to Irving Park as “the Boulevard.” 

Indianapolis Boulevard and Forest Preserve Drive are two city streets. Both are supposed to be called Avenue. But among locals, the older usage persists.

So much for the Park District. Most Chicago streets were controlled by the City of Chicago—yellow street signs. And the city had a few rules of its own.

The word Road denoted a major commercial street. This suffix became fashionable during the 1920s. Roosevelt, Cermak, Pulaski, and Pershing date from this era.

Place and Court were side streets. The Place suffix was used mostly for the South Side half-streets—35th Place followed 35th Street, 63rd Place followed 63rd Street and all the way down to the city limits.

Chicago also had a few oddball suffixes. These included Northwest Highway, Memory Lane, Palmer Square, and South Park Way. The last two were Park District streets.

These were the general rules for Chicago street suffixes. Of course, there were exceptions.

Congress Parkway was not a Park District street. Neither were Wacker Drive nor Ponchartrain Boulevard. On the other hand, most of Michigan Avenue and Marquette Road were controlled by the Park District and displayed the signature brown street signs.

Indian Road was a tiny residential street. And though Fairbanks Court was just a few blocks long, it carried some heavy traffic. So did Foster Place.

Once the City of Chicago took over the Park District, street suffixes were up for grabs. The section of La Salle Street north of the river was changed to La Salle Drive for a few years. Then it became La Salle Boulevard. I’m not sure what they call it now.

There’s evidence that the people in charge don’t take suffixes seriously anymore. Cub fans know that when a ball is hit over the left-field stands, it lands on Waveland Avenue. But a few miles to the west, at least one sign reads Waveland Street.

Broadway, in case you haven’t noticed, has no suffix. Please... read this article before making your argument.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale. Ph.D.

The Children's Building at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.


In historical writing and analysis, PRESENTISM is the introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. I believe presentism is a form of cultural bias, and it creates a distorted understanding of the subject matter. Reading modern notions of morality into the past is committing the error of presentism. I'm well aware that historical accounts are written by people and can be slanted, so I try my hardest to present articles that are fact-based and well researched, without interjecting any of my personal opinions.

NOTE: I present articles without regard to race, color, political party, religion, national origin, citizenship status, gender, age, disability, or military status. What I present are facts — NOT ALTERNATIVE FACTS — about the subject.
 What you won't find are rumors, lies, unfounded claims, character assassinations, hateful statements, insults, or attempts at humor.
PLEASE PRACTICE HISTORICISM, WHICH IS THE
INTERPRETATION OF THE PAST IN ITS OWN CONTEXT.


The World’s Columbian Exposition included entertainment for all visitors, including children.

No building in the entire Columbian Exposition city had a more fabulous way it sprang up than the Children’s Building. It was later in its inception than any other, had less material to work with–since it had no aid from the exposition authorities proper–and the whole plan had to be wrought out within the briefest possible time and in the face of almost entire apathy upon the part of the outside public.
The Children's Building


Indeed, it was looked upon in many quarters as chimerical (impossible to achieve) and with no adequate reason for being. But a few wise and earnest women held to the scheme. They knew what far-reaching influences would go out from their idea if it could be materialized, and they persevered with a result astonishing even to themselves.

In the first place, the Board of Lady Managers assumed the responsibility of raising the money for such a building. The various States pledged themselves to their proportion of the cost. A desirable location was secured adjoining the Woman’s Building to the north and the Horticultural Building to the south.

But contributions came in slowly. The Friday Club of Chicago, a social and literary association made up mostly of young women, became interested in the enterprise's success. They arranged a Bazaar, which was held in the house of Mrs. Potter Palmer (Bertha Honoré Palmer), President of the Board of Lady Managers, and realized there from $35,000 ($1 million today). Children from all over America assisted in raising money employing bazaars, musicales, dramatic entertainments, and by subscription, in some cases as high as $1.00 ($30 today).
Mrs. Potter Palmer (Bertha Honoré Palmer).
President of the Board of Lady Managers for the
World’s Columbian Exposition. (1893 photograph)
Mrs. Palmer hosted “The Columbian Bazaar” in her mansion on Lake Shore Drive on December 7-9, 1892. 
The Palmer Mansion, constructed 1882–1885 at 1350 N. Lake Shore Drive, was once the largest private residence in Chicago. It was located in the Near North Side community and faced Lake Michigan. Potter Palmer was a prominent Chicago businessman who was responsible for much of the development of State StreetThe construction of the Palmer Mansion established the "Gold Coast" neighborhood and is still one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Chicago. The mansion was demolished in 1950.
The Palmer Mansion's three-story main hall.








Sponsored by the Friday Club at her invitation, the bazaar raised more than enough money to complete the Children’s Building.

The building itself was 150 x 90 feet. It was built of staff (a kind of artificial stone used for covering and ornamenting temporary buildings) and decorated in colors, light blue predominating. 

The Agatite Cement Plaster Company from Kansas City, Missouri, produced a plaster substitute used to create a pleasing architectural effect at a low cost. It was used as an outside covering of the walls of the World’s Fair Buildings at Chicago which were temporary structures. Chicago named a street after this company; Agatite Avenue (4432N - 800W to 8642W)

Amongst other decorations were sixteen medallions of the children of other nations in their national costumes–Indians, Japanese, Dutch, French, Spanish, etc.


The inspiring spirit of it all was Mrs. George L. Dunlap. It was her energy and enthusiasm that have brought it to its completion. Her idea from the beginning was an educational one. The Children’s Building was not merely a rest stop for tired mothers, nor only a nursery where children could be cared for while mothers made the sightseeing round.

That feature of public comfort—although amply provided for—was to be but an incident in the plan, not the vital and essential purpose. With a place for the shelter, comfort, and care of the little ones, was to be combined illustrative departments upon all subjects of importance to both the moral and physical well-being of childhood. According to the newest enlightenment of the end of the 19th century, every phase of the rearing and education of children was to be outlined in such a palpable and practical fashion that no mother could enter the doors without being stimulated and inspired in motherhood.

Hence not a detail that could be of educational value had been omitted.

Although the Children’s Building didn’t open on May 1st, by June, the fair dedicated the Children’s Building that was meant to be “for the little folks, from the tiniest cradle on the second floor to the playground on the roof.”

Attendants were provided throughout the building to assist children and parents alike.

The gymnasium took up the first floor of the building. Physical development is aptly illustrated by the North American Turners (German-American gymnastic clubs called Turnverein). It was devoted to physical culture and was a favorite attraction for young visitors. Starting at ten o’clock each morning, children took turns swinging from parallel bars, rings, and trapezes. They climbed poles and jumped over vaulting horses. Both boys and girls enjoyed the gym so much that long lines formed outside the building as children waited for their chance to use the equipment. Since there were not many children’s playgrounds in the 1800s, the gym offered children a unique opportunity to play outside their homes.
Gymnasium in the Children's Building


T
Gymnasium in the Children's Building


The second floor of the building housed the model Kindergarten under the management of the International Kindergarten Association. Young girls attended the “Kitchengarden,” where they learned to dress, make beds, sweep, wash clothes, and of course, cook. In the care of Miss Emily Huntington of New York, the inventor of the system that the Cooking School from the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia made popular. The Romona Indian School, consisting of thirty Indian children, which Michael H. Smith, the Secretary of the Interior, had given permission to have transported from Sante Fe, New Mexico. 

Pennsylvania equipped and maintained a department in the Children's Building, showing the wonderful progress made in teaching very young deaf-mutes to speak. Miss Mary Garrett, secretary of the "Home for Teaching Deaf Mutes to Speak," was in charge of this department. Demonstrations were given daily.

There were displays of children’s toys made in different countries, from the rudimentary playthings of the Eskimo children to the almost sentient ones of France. These toys were not only to be looked at but will be used to entertain the children. France, a leading toy manufacturer at the time, sent the most life-like toys, including “mechanical toy men who performed almost human feats of skill… and toy animals invested with the intelligence of trained domestic beasts.” Toy exhibits came from other countries, including Russia, Germany, Sweden, and Japan. Children themselves contributed some of the most interesting toys. One young boy contributed a spinning top he invented and patented in Washington D.C.
The Library in the Children’s Building


Educational opportunities were provided for children of every age group in the Children’s Building. A request sent out by the Board of Lady Managers to foreign countries, asking contributions of children's literature, met with a prompt response, and hundreds of volumes had been received. The committee on literature for children of the Congress Auxiliary assumed the furnishing of the library. So far as books were concerned, the idea was to select the library from the child's and youth's standard, not from the adult's point of view. The books the children most longed for were to be on the shelves rather than the books their elders thought most suitable to them. To really get at an average preference in children, boys and girls of all ages were consulted and asked to send lists of their favorite books.

Mrs. Clara Doty Bates, chairman of the committee on literature for children of the Congress Auxiliary, placed the matter before many public and private schools. The committee chairman received hundreds of letters from children, from which she used to make up her final catalog. 

But an unexpected obstacle—indeed one so formidable that it wholly blocked the way in that direction–now appeared. It was that the publishers had been so industriously solicited from numerous other quarters that they looked upon this final straw as the one that made the burden unendurable. They declined to send even the very modest number of books asked for. It looked as if the library would be of a novel kind—one entirely without books.

Baffled in that direction, a new plan was made. If the library could not be representative, it could at least be interesting. A large number of writers for children in Europe and America were requested by personal letter each to send one book, with an autograph inside. This plan had proved most effective. A fascinating collection of authors' copies had been made. So much for the nucleus of the library.

The library decorations consisted of more than a hundred portraits of writers—photographs with autographs affixed whenever possible—and prints, from the life-size to the mere cabinet cards.

St. Nicholas, Harper's Young People, Wide Awake, and the Youth's Companion made exhibits of original sketches from which their publications have been illustrated, valuable manuscripts, autographs, etc., together with the various processes by which, step by step, a complete magazine was produced.

Each month several copies of all the favorite children's periodicals were made available. These were for the use of the children. Many illustrated books have been sent, stipulating that children were to have them in constant service.

Girls and boys ages eleven to fifteen attended clay modeling workshops. A Sloyd (a manual training system based on experience gained in woodworking, originally developed in Sweden) workshop was supported by Mrs. Quincy Shaw of Boston.
The Day Nursery


The department of Public Comfort was intended especially for the benefit of children. The most popular part of the Children’s Building was the crèche (a nursery where babies and young children were cared for during the working day) on the ground floor, where parents could drop off their babies and toddlers while visiting other exhibits at the fair. 
Crèche for Babies, Children's Building


The public could view the babies and toddlers through windowed partitions. One visitor described the nursery as having the brightest rooms in the building… presided over by trained nurses… there were rows of cradles for infants, spring chairs hung from the ceiling, where babies can jump up and down, and rows of beds for those a little older, with toys of all kinds.

In the center was a place they call the pond. It was an enclosure fenced off as a playground (playpen) for little people who can only crawl. So many spectators were enthralled with the sight of the little ones that some fairgoers believed that the building was for babies only. Parents could drop off a child with a nursemaid during the day and return for the child in the evening. Unfortunately, the building organizers underestimated the popularity of the nursery. As a result, nurses turned away hundreds of parents and their children daily because they didn’t have enough staff or space.

A lecture hall was available for musical and dramatic entertainments, which were carefully planned to suit the intelligence of children of varying ages. Stereopticon (a slide projector that combines two images to create a three-dimensional effect) lectures were given to the older boys and girls about foreign countries, their languages, manners, customs, and important facts connected with their history. Mr. T.H. McAllister of New York had generously given the use of the most approved stereopticon for this purpose and the services of an operator of the same during the entire Exposition. 

Children of all ages attended lectures on foreign countries, their history, and their customs. After the lectures, the instructors would take the groups of children to see the exhibits from the countries about which they have just heard.

Distinguished people who were in the city attending various Congresses were secured for brief talks along their special lines of work. In this way, the country's youth will be brought into direct contact with the men and women who have accomplished notable things in the world of thought.

To crown the children's building, there was a beautiful playground on the roof. It was enclosed with strong wire netting to ensure safety. The playground was also a garden, with vines and flowers and birds flying about in perfect freedom.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Chicago’s First Post Office

There was no post office at Chicago when Cook County was organized, March 8, 1831. On March 3lst, the United States government established a post office at Chicago, and Jonathan N. Bailey was appointed postmaster. The office of the postmaster was situated in a log building, in the foreground, about where South Water Street (Wacker Drive) intersects Lake Street, where the river forks to the south, near the east end of the bridge. John S.C. Hogan kept a store there. He was a son-in-law of the postmaster. 
In the Log Building in the Foreground, at what today is the intersection of Lake and South Water Streets, Chicago’s First Post Office was established in 1831. Painting is owned by the Chicago History Museum.



Before the post office was established, the mail was brought to Chicago by a half-breed [1] Indian once in two weeks from Niles, Michigan, a town on the route from the east to Chicago. The trip was made by the carrier on foot and usually took a week. There were only about a dozen families in Chicago, and with the addition of the officers and soldiers at Fort Dearborn constituted the entire population. The Indians who resorted to this point for trading are not, however, included in the count.


The arrival of the mail was naturally considered an event of greatest interest, and the carrier was the most popular man of the day. Fort Wayne was an important station in this service, and Daniel McKee, who was employed as a carrier on this route for some years, made a trip once a month between these points, taking fourteen days to do so. A mail route extending from Detroit to Green Bay was in use during the winter season, passing around the southern end of Lake Michigan, on which Chicago was a way station. The northern part of this route ran through a wild country without trails and having only its natural features to serve as landmarks. “Trusty carriers were hard to find,” says Mrs. Neville in her history of Green Bay, “although the pay was ample according to the scale of wages in those days—$45 ($1,925 today) to Milwaukee and return (from Green Bay) and $65 to Chicago and return.”

“The mail-carrier,” says Neville, “was necessarily a man of tough fiber and strong nerve, for, burdened as he was with his pack, mail pouch, and loaded musket, he was forced to keep on his feet day and night wading through the snow so deep at times as to require snowshoes. When overcome with sleep be wrapped himself in his blanket and lay down in a snowbank, taking such rest as he could with the wolves howling around him.” In E.O. Gale’s book of reminiscences, he relates that Alexis Clermont, a famous mail-carrier of that time, on one occasion took breakfast with his father’s family the morning after he arrived at Chicago with mail, and it was noticed that he seemed anxious to start off on his return trip. The elder Gale asked him why he was in such a hurry, and he replied that he slept better out of doors than in a cabin.

In M.H. Putney’s “Historical Notes” is given the following information regarding the movements of mail-carriers:
  • In 1831, the mail was carried on foot once a month
  • In 1832, on horseback once a week
  • In 1833, by wagon once a week
  • In 1834, by stagecoach semi-weekly
  • In 1835 and 1836, by stage tri-weekly
  • In 1837, by stage daily: and after that time at increasingly shorter intervals.
Jonathan N. Bailey served as postmaster until November 2, 1832, when he was succeeded by his son-in-law, John S.C. Hogan, who moved the post office to the southwest corner of Franklin and South Water Streets.
The Illinois and Michigan Canal Commissioners hired James Thompson, a surveyor from Kaskaskia in downstate Randolph County, to create Chicago’s first plat in 1830. He laid out the town with straight streets uniformly 66 feet wide (the length of a surveyor’s chain) with alleys 16 feet wide bisecting each block.






March 3, 1837, Sidney Abell was appointed Postmaster. In May of that year, to accommodate the large increase in the business, the post office was moved to Bigelow’s Building on Clark, between Lake and South Water Streets, where it remained for some time and then moved to the Saloon Building on Lake Street.



Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


[1] "SAVAGE" is a word defined in U.S. dictionaries as a Noun, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb. Definitions include:
  • a person belonging to a primitive society
  • malicious, lacking complex or advanced culture
  • a brutal person
  • a rude, boorish, or unmannerly person
  • to attack or treat brutally
  • lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings
Unlike the term "RED MEN," dictionaries like Merriam-Webster define this term, its one-and-only definition, as a Noun meaning: AMERICAN INDIAN (historically dated, offensive today).

The terms Savages, Red Men, and Half-Breed are often used in historical books, biographies, letters, and articles written in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.

I change this derogatory term to "INDIANS" to keep with the terminology of the time period I'm writing about.

"HALF-BREED," a disrespectful term used to refer to the offspring of parents of different racial origins, especially the offspring of an American Indian and a white person of European descent.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Abraham Lincoln Didn't Say the Famous 10 Cannots. So Who Did?



Historians have been trying for decades to set the record straight on the following "Ten Cannot," statements:
  1. "You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift."
  2. "You cannot help small men by tearing down big men."
  3. "You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong."
  4. "You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer."
  5. "You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich."
  6. "You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income."
  7. "You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred."
  8. "You cannot establish security on borrowed money."
  9. "You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence."
  10. "You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."
Abraham Lincoln is probably the most widely misquoted president in history. Everyone from greeting card writers to members of Congress attributes sayings to Lincoln that Lincoln DID NOT SAY. The “10 Cannots” (variously known as the “Industrial Decalogue,” the “Ten Don’ts,” the “Ten Cannots,” “Ten Things You Cannot Do, “or the “American Charter”) are a prime example. Over the years, some or all of these sayings have popped up in countless news articles, business newsletters, and political speeches and fliers, always attributed to Lincoln. According to one biographer, Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, carried a copy of “the Abraham Lincoln speech” in her purse. 

So…where did the “10 Cannots” come from, and how did Abraham Lincoln become the author?

The “Cannots” were written by the Rev. William John Henry Boetcker of Erie, Pennsylvania, a Presbyterian minister who gave up the ministry to lecture on industrial relations as the director of the pro-employer Citizens’ Industrial Alliance.

In 1916 Boetcker published a booklet called "Inside Maxims" which was an early form of the "Ten Cannots." He later refined them in other pamphlets to further the cause of laissez-faire individualism. It was reprinted in 1917, 1938, and 1945. 

The "Ten Cannots" are but a small part of the numerous sayings and expressions erroneously attributed to Abraham Lincoln. Cut in stone over the entrance to the Museum of the City of New York, opened in 1923 as a history and art museum in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue, are words that Lincoln would have agreed with, but has never been documented as saying: "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him."

In 1942 the Committee for Constitutional Government, a lobby backed by the newspaper publisher Frank Gannett, distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of a leaflet with an authentic Lincoln quote on one side entitled, "Lincoln on Limitations." When the Committee published later editions of the leaflet, Boetcker’s name was dropped, and the “Ten Points” were by default, attributed to Lincoln.

In 1949 an Ohio congresswoman, Frances P. Bolton, read them as Lincolniana into the Congressional Record. Look magazine reprinted them with the suggestion that "It's about time for the country to remember." Congresswoman Bolton apparently had gotten them from a friend who had heard them delivered by Galen Drake, a radio commentator in New York City and one of the first talk show hosts. From Drake, they were traced to the Royle Forum Newspaper in New Jersey. Its editor, Richard Cook, had taken them from some direct-mail advertising by a firm which, in turn, had taken them from the Committee for Constitutional Government's 1942 leaflet.

Attempting to correct the record, Rep. Stephen M. Young inserted into the Congressional Record in 1950 an article from Harper's magazine, written by a Lincoln scholar, Albert A. Wolman, listing most of the "Ten Cannots" and much other material as falsely attributed to Lincoln. Another scholar, Roy P. Basler, had also debunked the material in the Abraham Lincoln Quarterly in December 1949.

Nonetheless, in 1954 President Eisenhower's postmaster general, Arthur E. Summerfield cited the "Cannots" as Lincolnian wisdom in a speech delivered in Akron, Ohio. Stephen A. Mitchell, chairman of the Democratic National Committee charged that Summerfield was trying to "put over a Lincoln hoax" — attempting to make Lincoln sound like a modern-day Republican.

The “Cannots” have even been entered into the Congressional Record again, this time by Virginia Rep. G. William Whitehurst in 1975. 

The confusion continued. In 1976 the Tiffany Company ran the 10 nuggets as an ad in the New York Times under the heading: "Abraham Lincoln Said More Than 100 Years Ago." When the attribution was challenged, Tiffany acknowledged it had erred and apologized to its customers.

When Ronald Reagan, in discussing fundamental values at the 1980 Republican convention held at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, erroneously attributed to Abraham Lincoln several positive principles. Mr. Reagan quoted the third, fifth, and tenth of these precepts (general rules intended to regulate thought or behavior) at the convention, attributing them to Abraham Lincoln. Press reports, at least initially, took Mr. Reagan's word for it.

Abraham Lincoln — not Yogi Berra — is the most misquoted American. And despite decades of correction by historians, Lincoln scholars and experts, newspaper columnists, and others, the “Cannots” continue to be attributed to Lincoln.

Such sayings — and innumerable anecdotes — are commonly attributed to Lincoln because someone thinks they are clever and sound Lincolnesque

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.



OTHER MAJOR MISQUOTES
In 1863, President Lincoln was quoted as saying, when he looked upon "the graves of our dead heroes" at Gettysburg: "I do love Jesus." Again, this has not been substantiated.

The most notorious of the false quotations, still cropping up occasionally though Roy Basler and others have frequently tried to nail it, is the following:

"I see in the near future a crisis that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic destroyed."

According to Reinhard H. Luthin, author of "The Real Lincoln," this fraudulent quotation was first used in the 1880s during the Greenback Party's agitation for "paper" money as a counterweight to the power of "Wall Street."

In 1909 the Rev. J.T. Hobson quoted Lincoln's son Robert Todd Lincoln as recalling a little "sermon" his father had preached "to the boys: "Don't drink, don't smoke, don't swear, don't gamble, don't lie, don't cheat. Love your fellowmen and love God. Love truth, love virtue, and be happy." When Robert Todd Lincoln was asked about this, he flatly denied that he had ever heard of it before.

The following quotation, a favorite of many people, is chiseled into the stone entrance of the Daily News Building in Manhattan (opened in 1930): "God must have loved the common people: He made so many of them." But there is no proof that they are Lincoln's words.

Authentic statements by Lincoln endorsed the right of labor to form unions and to strike. A paragraph from his inaugural address ranked labor above capital and another statement held that labor should receive the good things it produces. But the following alleged Lincoln quote is false:

"All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms Labor is treason to America. No line can be drawn between these two. If any man tells you he loves America and hates Labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America and fears Labor, he is a fool. There is no America without Labor and to fleece one is to rob the other."

ADDITIONAL READING:

Friday, August 27, 2021

First Lady Mary Lincoln's Executive Mansion Project; The East Room.

The East Room in the Executive Mansion became known for events, parties, funerals, and other large-scale events. The room is the largest in the White House, and it was one of the last rooms to be finished and decorated. 
First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln.
A Mathew Brady photograph, 1861.
In 1860, Mary Todd Lincoln was left to her own devices to handle the East Room. With the expectation that she would host a reception, Mrs. Lincoln and her husband hosted their first levee (a formal reception) in the East Room four days after Lincoln had won the presidency. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly the glamorous party that current White House attendees are used to. Attorney General Edward Bates was extremely descriptive of the state of the party: those in attendance were “a motley crowd and terrible squeeze.” The room itself was not in much better shape because tourists and guests alike had full access to it, and they tended to abuse their access rights. William Stoddard commented that the East Room had “a faded, worn, untidy look, despite its frescoing and glittering chandeliers. Its paint and furniture require renewal, but so does almost everything else about the house.”

On April 18, 1861, about 60 militiamen from Kansas took up temporary residence in the East Room, pending barracks' construction in the city. They did serious damage to the carpet and sometimes shot bullets into the walls.

Mrs. Lincoln immediately got into the East Room for redecoration once the soldiers moved out in 1861. The East Room had undergone extensive renovations during President Buchanan’s term in office, but Mary wanted to fix and rebuild the East Room. Unfortunately, this wasn’t met entirely with praise. Some critics accused Mary of spending money frivolously during warfare and thought she should be more focused on helping the war efforts rather than decorating. Republican Senator Benjamin Wade supposedly responded to a White House invitation with “Are President and Mrs. Lincoln aware that there is a civil war?” Yet, it can be argued that keeping the White House in the state it had been would have gotten her just as much criticism.

Mary’s redecoration of the East Room was an expensive venture. Mary hired John Alexander to be her contractor and had a budget of $20,000 ($620,500 today) that she exhausted quite quickly. 

Mary bought wallpaper in a heavy patterned velvet cloth paper from Paris in crimson, garnet, and gold and supplied by William H. Carryl & Brother of Philadelphia won lavish praise from the New York Herald. The floor covering was an Axminster carpet woven in Glasgow, Scotland. The largest loom in the world was needed to weave the carpet, which covered the entire floor. The drapes were crimson with heavy gold fringe and numerous gold tassels, while the lace curtains behind them were imported from Switzerland. Later that year, a new blue-green carpet from Brussels was covered with fruits and flowers that cost $2,500 ($77,600 today). However, the carpeting was described by an observer as “pale sea green, and in effect looked as if the ocean, in gleaming and transparent waves, were tossing roses at your feet.” 

Mary had the three Jacksonian-era chandeliers reinstalled after they were meticulously cleaned. They were so brilliant that the press assumed they were new. Below each chandelier, Mrs. Lincoln left the three large mahogany tables with black and gold marble inlays, which had long occupied the room, below each chandelier.
The Redecorated East Room of the Executive Mansion in Washington, D.C., circa 1862.


The East Room under the Lincolns remained sparsely furnished. However, it befits a reception hall.

In December 1861, a levee was held to celebrate the year of redecoration in the East Room, and it was met with mixed responses. Just as when Mrs. Lincoln started her redecoration initiative, there were plenty of critics and those who were pleased with the update to the Executive Mansion, and a large party was held to celebrate the completion of the refurbishing. 

In February 1862, the First Lady scandalized the North by throwing an elaborate White House party, inaccurately called a Ball (there was no dancing because Lincoln emphatically forbade it). Instead of the traditional open house, she decided to invite a select group, thereby antagonizing those who were excluded. It was widely viewed as a regrettable social blunder

At the time of Lincoln's death in 1865, the East Room contained 24 chairs, four sofas, four tables, eight sets of drapes, eight sets of lace curtains, eight mirrors, and one carpet. All the furniture was in poor shape. During his administration, members of the public attending the weekly receptions in the room had heavily vandalized the room in seeking souvenirs, ripping down portions of the wallpaper, and stealing cords and tassels from the drapes. Someone even cut a square yard from one of the damask drapes. Others took scissors and knives to the carpet, gouging the oak floor beneath, and gilded ornaments were stolen from the mantels.

NOTE: Two funerals for Lincoln Family members were held in the East Room in the 1860s. The first was that of 11-year-old William "Willie" Wallace Lincoln, Abraham and Mary's third child, who died of typhoid fever on February 21, 1862. Just over three years later, President Lincoln's body lay in state in the East Room as well, and his funeral was held there on April 19, 1865.

Lincoln Funeral in the East Room (Harper's Weekly, May 6, 1865)



President Andrew Johnson (April 15, 1865 - March 4, 1869) had the White House public rooms on the State Floor refurbished in 1866. His wife, Eliza McCardle Johnson, was in frail health and did little entertaining or overseeing the White House. Johnson instead relied on his daughter, Martha Patterson, the wife of Senator David T. Patterson. In May, the East Room was cleared of furnishings. Mrs. Patterson oversaw the selection of new yellow wallpaper with a black and gold border, lace curtains, and reupholstered furniture. The ceiling was repainted, and frescoes added, and the ceiling centerpieces and cornices were regilded. Only once did Mrs. Johnson intervene, and that was to request that the paint applied to the ceiling be of the highest quality. Patterson also had the three large marble-topped tables removed from the East Room and placed in the family private quarters and two of the four pier tables added to the Family Dining Room. The East Room was finished in early 1867.
The East Room in a stereograph photograph made during the administration of President Andrew Johnson, showing the Lincoln redecorations.


Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D

Music for Abraham Lincoln - Listen to 18 Campaign Songs, Civil War Tunes, Laments for a President.

01. Washington and Lincoln
02. Honest Old Abe
03. The Rail Splitter's Polka
04. Abraham's Tea party
05. 'Tis the Last Rose of Summer
06. Dixie / The Battle Cry of Freedom
07. President's Hymn
08. Abraham the Great and General Granty His Mate
09. Lincoln and Liberty
10. Oh! Why Should the Spirit of Mortal Be Proud?
11. Vote for Abraham
12. Funeral March to the Memory of Abraham Lincoln
13. Farewell Father, Friend, and Guardian
14. Rest, Noble Chieftain
15. Lincoln Quadrille: Polka Mazurka
16. Do Not Leave ma, Mother Darling
17. Lincoln Quadrille:  Waltz
18. Washington and Lincoln (Reprise)

The Gettysburg Address to the tune of "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Let's Not Forget Thomas "Tad" Lincoln.

Thomas “Tad” Lincoln III was the youngest of the four Lincoln children. 

Abraham and Mary's four sons, all born in Springfield, Illinois, were: 
    • Robert Todd Lincoln (1843–1926); 
    • Edward "Eddie" Baker Lincoln (1846–1850) died of tuberculosis; 
    • William "Willie" Wallace Lincoln (1850–1862) died of typhoid fever while Lincoln was President; 
    • Thomas "Tad" Lincoln (1853–1871) died from either pleurisy, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, or, most likely, tuberculosis.
Tad was born on April 4, 1853. He was born with some form of a cleft lip or palate, causing him speech problems throughout his life. He had a lisp and delivered his words rapidly and unintelligibly. Often only those close to Lincoln were able to understand him. For example, he called his father's bodyguard, William H. Crook, "Took," and his father "Papa Day" instead of "Papa Dear." The cleft palate contributed to his uneven teeth; he had such difficulty chewing food that his meals were specially prepared. This caused some problems when Lincoln was in school in Chicago. While at the Elizabeth Street School [1]. His schoolmates sometimes called him "Stuttering Tad" because of the speech impediment, which he learned how to manage as a teenager.

He was well known for being rambunctious and full of energy. Slightly the troublemaker, Tad and his brother Willie were often playmates getting into all sorts of mischief. When Tad and his brother were referred to as “notorious hellions” by Lincoln’s law partner, William Herndon because they enjoyed pulling apart the law office and dumping books and papers all about the room. 
Thomas "Tad" Lincoln, at 5 years old. 1858
Tad was 7 when his father became President, and the White House became his and Willie’s new playground. Judge Horatio Nelson Taft's children were regular playmates of fourteen-year-old Horatio Nelson Taft Jr., or "Bud," and, eleven-year-old Halsey Cook Taft, called "Holly." Horatio Nelson Taft Sr. was appointed as chief examiner in the U.S. Patent Office in July 1861.
Mary Todd Lincoln with Willie (left) and Tad (right). 1860
Thomas "Tad" Lincoln, at 7 years old. 1860
In February 1862, both Willie and Tad contracted Typhoid fever. Tad recovered, but Willie died from the illness. At this point, Mary Lincoln prevented children from coming to play at the White House because it pained her to hear children laughing and playing after Willie’s death.
Thomas "Tad" Lincoln, at 10 years old. 1863
Thomas "Tad" Lincoln, at 12 years old. 1865
On April 14, 1865, Tad went to Grover’s Theatre to see the play Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp. Tad’s parents were also at the theater that night but saw Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre. When news of his father's assassination reached Tad, he began screaming, “They killed Papa! THEY KILLED PAPA!!!” Tad was escorted back to the White House.

Mary, Robert, and Tad moved into the Hyde Park Hotel in Chicago. Robert moved into his own residence by the end of 1865 at 653 South Wabash Avenue (1200 block of South Wabash Avenue, today), Chicago. 

In 1866 Mary purchased a house for $17,000 ($300,700 today) at 375 West Washington Boulevard (1238 West Washington Boulevard, today) in Chicago, located between Willard Court (Ann Street today) and Elizabeth Street.

In May of 1867, Mary rented out her house, and she and Tad moved into the Clifton House Hotel at the southeast corner of Wabash and Madison. 

Later that year, they moved back to her old neighborhood and lived at 460 West Washington (1407 West Washington Boulevard, today), across the street from Union Park at Ogden Avenue. 

Again in 1868, Mary and Tad moved back to the Clifton House Hotel.

Mary Lincoln and Tad, then 15 years old, took a trip to Europe departing Baltimore aboard the steamer "City of Baltimore" on October 1, 1868. The ship arrived at Southampton, England, on October 15th. Two weeks later, Mary and Tad arrived in Bremen, Germany, and from there, they traveled to Frankfurt. Mother and son lived in the Hotel d'Angleterre (five-star accommodations), located in the center of the town.

While in Frankfurt, Tad attended school and boarded at Dr. Johann Heinrich Hohagen's Institute. For a time, Mary moved to Nice, but she returned to Frankfurt. This time she avoided the expensive Hotel d'Angleterre and stayed in the more modest Hotel de Holland and was more frugal in her spending habits.
Tad Lincoln in Frankfurt, Germany, 1869
In the summer of 1869, Mary and Tad spent seven weeks touring Scotland during Tad's vacation from Dr. Hohagen's school. They traveled from one end of Scotland to the other, exploring Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Highlands near Balmoral.

They returned to the United States in May of 1871. From Liverpool to New York, the return trip was made aboard the "Russia," which held the transatlantic record of 8 days and 25 minutes for the Liverpool to New York run, but Mary's trip took a couple of days longer because of poor weather.

On May 11th Mary and Tad arrived in port, and on May 15th, they left for Chicago. It seems Tad had caught a cold during the ocean voyage and was not well when he arrived in Chicago. By late May, Tad developed difficulty breathing when lying down and had to sleep sitting up in a chair. By early June, he was dangerously ill. He then rallied for a short time. As July approached, he weakened again. Tad's pain and agony worsened as his face grew thinner. On Saturday morning, July 15, 1871, Tad passed away at the age of 18. The cause of death was either pleurisy, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, or, most likely, tuberculosis.

Tad's death occurred in the Clifton House Hotel in Chicago. Funeral services were held for Tad in his brother Robert's house in Chicago. His body was transported to Springfield and buried in the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery at 1500 Monument Avenue in Springfield, Illinois, alongside his father and two brothers. Robert accompanied the casket on the train, but Mary was too distraught to make the trip. In an obituary, John Milton Hay, One of Lincoln's Private Secretaries, affectionately referred to him as "Little Tad."

ADDITIONAL READING:

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.


[1] The Elizabeth Street School was sold and was replaced by the Lake High School building that opened in 1881. In 1889, Lake Township was annexed to the City of Chicago, and the school became part of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system. Several years after being added to the district, The Chicago Board of Education decided that a new building was needed for the school; approving a $7 million dollar budget for construction of the new school in 1901. The new school, located on South Union Avenue and West 47th Place was constructed between March 1904 to August 1905. In 1915, the school was renamed Edward Tilden High School, honoring the recently deceased banker and former president of the Chicago Board of Education. In 1919, the school board decided that Tilden would no longer serve as a regular high school and would become an all-boys "technical" high school, forcing students who didn't want a technical education to transfer to other schools.  In 1960, the school was changed into a coeducational neighborhood high school.