Casey At The Bat

The classic American baseball poem might have vanished if not for an actor's impromptu performance.

A mysterious phenomenon, to which professional critics are usually oblivious, reoccurs often in the literary history of the United States. A man or a woman with no special talent for poetry will put together some apparently run-of-the-mill stanzas and manage to get them printed in a newspaper or magazine. The poem is read and talked about. It is reprinted here and there. People cut it out to carry in a billfold, or pin on a bulletin board, or put under the glass top of a desk, or frame and hang on a wall. Thousands memorize it.Read more »

Tammany Picked An Honest Man

The 1910 race for the mayoralty of New York looked like a tough one.

In the early years of this century, the manager of Delmonico’s famous restaurant in New York was sometimes heard to lament that all his customers looked alike, dressed alike, and even talked alike. In 1910 there occurred an instance of individualism run wild, if not rampant and amuck, that sufficiently stifled his lamentations. This refutation was the unloosing upon the New York scene of William Jay Gaynor, the city’s new and extraordinary mayor. Delmonico’s served as background for the eruption.

The Needless War With Spain

"The current was too strong, the demagogues too numerous, the fall elections too near"

The United States in the 1890’s became aggressive, expansionist, and jingoistic as it had not been since the 1850’s. In less than five years, we came to the brink of war with Italy, Chile, and Great Britain over three minor incidents in which no American national interest of major importance was involved. In each of these incidents, our secretary of state was highly aggressive, and the American people applauded. During these years, we completely overhauled our decrepit Navy, building fine new warships like the Maine.

 

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