Every year I do a little personal list of events from a hundred years ago, mostly for personal reasons. I pick 100 years ago because, well, it's a round number, and generally you can find a few people for whom events of 100 years ago are living memory.
In doing my list this year, there's a certain, shall we say, rhyme to the events of 1913 with those dominating our news heading into 2013. Progressivism, the original Progressivism, was entering its own in 1913, not all for good but it's astonishing in many ways what was being accomplished a mere 100 years ago and what problems seem to have never ended. Wilson's election in 1912, a watershed election that pushed Progressivism out of the Republican Party into its current alignment and reshaped the Democratic Party, certainly sets 1913 aside as a beginning of sorts. I haven't edited my original list to conform to this mental filter, and present it below "as is", in the hopes it will stimulate some conversation and exploration.
1913 was, of course, the last year before World War I changed the political and economic course of the world and propelled it along to the world of the 20th century, so it may just be as a snapshot of the "Old World" and how it was changing, the year actually is peculiarly interesting.
Instead of grouping the events merely chronologically, I've organized them in a way that made more sense to me. Don't ask me exactly what that organizational scheme is 8-).
I apologize in advance for the inevitable requests to document/cite sources; since this was started as a sort of Almanac list compiled from various sources, for personal reasons, I didn't keep track of them. Errors can be corrected by y'all 8-).
Spring floods in Ohio kill 500 people, Dayton is nearly completely destroyed. World's record highest verifiable temperature recorded, Death Valley, CA, 134 degrees on July 10. The Great Lakes Storm of November, 1913 sinks eight ships and kills dozens. The popular name at the time for the storm in the press is "The Freshwater Fury".
Richard Nixon, Rosa Parks, Jimmy Hoffa, Mary Leakey, Paul Erdos, Robertson Davies, Burt Lancaster, Benjamin Britten, Lewis Thomas, and Willy Brandt are born.
Harriet Tubman, JP Morgan, Rudolf Diesel, Alfred Russel Wallace, and Aaron Montgomery Ward die.
The Rockefeller Foundation is formed with $100 million ($2.3 billion in 2013 dollars). Ford adds first moving assembly line in the auto industry.
Grand Central Terminal opens in New York City. The Woolworth Building, the world's tallest skyscraper at 57 stories, opens. The Panama Canal is completed. The last explosion to form the dike forming the waters of the Canal is triggered electronically from Washington DC by the new President, Woodrow Wilson. The first paved cross-country highway (the Lincoln Highway) opens.
Coal mine explosions and accidents kill over 3000 workers, including over 250 in a single mine explosion. Industrial accidents nationwide kill over 25,000 people. The first dedicated drive-up gas station opens (in Pittsburgh.)
Stainless steel and the modern elastic bra invented. The modern zipper is patented. Packaged cigarettes (Camels) are introduced to the public. Bohr and Rutherford articulate atomic structure. The Panama-Pacific International Exposition is held in San Francisco. First practical monoplane and first rescue-parachute from an airplane.
The National Woman's Party is formed. The largest march yet on Washington for Women's Suffrage organized. Women in the UK continue to be imprisoned for suffrage activities. Women win the right to vote in Norway. Demonstrations and general strikes for (male) universal suffrage in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Garment workers' strikes in Boston and New York brings pay raises and reduced hours.
The temperance movement picks up steam with various temperance organizations uniting under a single council with a stated goal of a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting alcohol, becoming politically effective in elections as a result in the 1914 elections.
Over 50,000 veterans of the Civil War camp out at Gettysburg on the 50th anniversary of the battle, over the 4th of July week. Pickett's charge is reenacted by veterans from 65 to 98 years of age, ending in a handshake at the site of the skirmish line.
The first US law to protect species is passed, concerning the shooting of migratory birds; too late for the Passenger Pigeon, which is declared extinct in 1914 after having once been one of the most numerous species in North America.
The Webb-Haney Alien Land-Holding Act passed by California legislature, forbidding Japanese and Filipinos in the state from owning land or leasing it for more than three years.
The New York State Civil Rights Act of 1913 is passed, in response to the Bertha Rayner Frank incident (she had been denied, in 1907, hotel rooms for her nieces, who were visiting her, because she was Jewish; their father was a US Senator from Maryland), prohibiting discrimination in public accommodation on the basis of religion.
New President Woodrow Wilson holds the first formal press conference nine days after his inauguration.
Income Taxes and Direct Election of Senators (16th and 17th amendments) become part of the Constitution. The first income tax is 1% on the top 2% of earners, and nobody else. Tariffs on imports are reduced from 40% to 25% as part of the change in revenue strategy. The Federal Reserve Act signed into law, establishing modern monetary policy.
Jim Thorpe's Olympic medals are stripped and he signs with the NY Giants. Christy Mathewson goes 68 innings without giving up a walk. Walter Johnson wins his 36th game. Last Tripleheader in Major League history. Ebbets Field opens. The Federal League is formed and player salaries double. First official 300 game in a sanctioned Bowling contest. Harvard is the NCAA football champion with a perfect 9-0 record. World marathon record is set at 2 hours, 38 minutes.
May 29 sees the infamous Rites of Spring debut and riot in Paris.
The Mona Lisa is returned to the Louvre after having been stolen in 1911. The famous New York Armory show introduces modern art to the US, including the widely-decried "Nude Descending a Staircase" by Marcel Duchamp. Chabas' "September Morn" (http://en.wikipedia.org/...) is exhibited in Chicago, decried as immoral by Anthony Comstock of the New York Commission for the Suppression of Vice, and goes on to become a best-seller in print form as a result. Kandinsky's first purely abstract works painted.
The Harlem Renaissance begins with the opening of the first theaters catering primarily to African-Americans and "high" art venues, following the Great Migration of the preceding decade.
George M. Cohan's "7 Keys to the Baldpate" is the toast of Broadway. http://davecol8.tripod.com/...
Charlie Chaplin starts his movie career. The first popular movie serial ("The Adventures of Kathyln"; "What Happened to Mary?" bombed in 1912), leading to the first movie novelization in 1914. Kansas and the UK both approve official censorship of movies. Actors Equity founded as a trade union for performers. First modern cartoon, "Dachsund" by Pathé Freres.
Billboard's first "Top 10 Best Sellers" list published, "Malinda's Wedding Day" performed by the Victor Military band is the first official #1 hit (http://www.loc.gov/...). (Note the awesome crowing on the recording.)
Kafka abandons work on "Amerika", never to write again. "Pygmalion" by Bernard Shaw, "Pollyanna" by Eleanor Porter, "O Pioneers!" by Willa Cather, "The Gods of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, "The Patchwork Girl of Oz" (No 7 in the series) by Frank Baum, "A La Recherce du Temps Perdu" (well, Swann's Way) by Proust published. "The Book of Lies" by Aleister Crowley and "Totem and Taboo" by Freud also published. The Bobbsey Twins, Scott's Journals, PG Wodehouse stories, Teddy Roosevelt's autobiography, Lowndes' "The Lodger", and Jack London's memoirs are also big sellers.
The first Crossword Puzzle appears; 32 clues in the New York World. http://en.wikipedia.org/...
Mexican Revolution continues. More than 3000 die in Mexico City in early February. Outgoing President Taft pledges not to intervene in Mexico.
The first Wilson Doctrine proclaimed by the new President: the US will never attack another country. Pershing suppresses the Moro rebellion in US-occupied Phillipines; the Bug Bagsak massacre in June kills 2000 civilians. The US army enters northern Mexico. General Huerta takes control of Mexico as military dictator with US backing.
The Arab Congress of 1913 meets to strategize for reforms (unsuccessfully) within Ottoman rule.
The end of the First Balkan War ends, and the Second Balkan War (Bulgaria vs. Serbia and Greece) begins and ends, preludes to World War I. The Greeks and Ottomans continue their 2000-year conflict, which includes a naval battle off the coast of historic Troy (resulting in a Greek victory) over passage through the Dardanelles.
The very brief period of Chinese Democracy dissolves following a military coup.
South Africa makes it illegal for blacks to buy property from whites. Gandhi arrested for leading South African miners on strike.
Bloody Sunday in Dublin, Ireland; the Ulster Defense Force is founded to arm citizen-loyalists in Northern Ireland.
B'Nai B'rith founded in Chicago. The resuscitation of Hebrew as a living language is started in earnest with primary school Hebrew classes in Palestine.