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From the May 9, 1911 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Stockton, Cal.– While Margaret Martinez, a 19-year-old Spanish girl, of whom he was insanely jealous, was playing the piano yesterday for his entertainment, Paul Miller, a miner, aged 43 years, fired two shots into her back, killing the girl. Rushing into an adjoining room, Miller threw himself on a bed, placed a stick of dynamite in his mouth, lit the attached fuse, and blew his head into fragments.”

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Cocaine was once something dentists applied and schoolchildren used, but its harsh effects led to new laws and squads of police assigned especially to curtail its sale. Dealers adjusted accordingly, including one Parisian purveyor who made good use of his confederate’s artificial limb. The opening of an article in the July 30, 1922 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Paris–A walking cocaine storehouse in the shape of a man with a hollow wooden leg is the latest to come under the eye of the Paris drug squad. The one-legged man was not the cocaine merchant; he was merely the warehouse. The merchant was another man with two good legs, who carried the money, but none of the drug. He went about Montmartre, followed by the cripple. He sought the clients, and when he found them, the customer, the wooden-legged man and the merchant adjourned to the back room of a cafe or a dark hallway to make the transfer.

The merchant had the only key to the receptacle in the wooden leg. The man who owned the leg, on the other hand, had no access to the drug he carried. The merchant unlocked the wooden leg, measured out the powder he had sold, locked the leg up again and told his walking storehouse to be on his way.

Severe as are the penalties for dealing in cocaine, the high profits, small equipment and ease of concealment with which the trade is carried on have caused a great increase in its volume.”


From the February 10, 1910 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Bartlesville, Okla.–’My stepmother was my tempter to such an extent that I thought I loved her, and so I killed my father with an ax when she ordered me to.’ Peter Brown on trial here charged with murdering his father, made this admission on the witness stand yesterday.”


“Pillsbury has for a long time been insane, becoming violent at times through blindfold chess playing.”

A great light of the nineteenth-century chess world who burned briefly, Harry Nelson Pillsbury was a brilliant player as well as an accomplished mnemonist capable of quickly absorbing and regurgitating seemingly endless strings of facts. Pillsbury never had the opportunity to become world champion because his mental health deteriorated, the result of syphilis which he contracted in his twenties. An article in the April 9, 1906 Brooklyn Daily Eagle assigned his decline to more genteel origins. The text:

“Harry Nelson Pillsbury, the greatest chess player since the days of Paul Morphy, is to be taken from the Battle Creek Sanitarium, where he is at present, to a sanitarium at Atlantic City, N.J. Pillsbury has for a long time been insane, becoming violent at times through blindfold chess playing. The fact became known through a letter from William Penn Shipley, of the Pennsylvania Chess Association, to a friend at the Brooklyn Chess Club.

The game of blindfold chess requires intense concentration of the mind, and, according to the physicians who have been working on Pillsbury’s case, ultimately destroys the memory cells of the brain, if carried on to excess. A player is placed in a room by himself and plays the game, entirely from memory, while his opponent moves for him at the table.

One instance of Pillsbury’s remarkable skill was shown when he payed for thirteen hours, sitting all alone in the little anteroom which leads into the main rooms of the Brooklyn Chess Club. He did not stop even to eat, and bore in mind twenty-four games during that time. Blackburn and Morphy kept no more than fifteen games in their mind at once. Physicians state that the gift to play blindfold is a gift and cannot be acquired.

While Pillsbury’s case is considered practically hopeless, every effort that can be brought to bear to bring the former champion into the knowledge of the world again will be made.”



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From the July 26, 1933 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Philadelphia--A clap of thunder during a severe electrical storm here last night caused a well-dressed young man of about 26 to lose his memory. He was taken to a hospital.”


Guglielmo Marconi may or may not have been the very first to create the wireless, as he’s often credited, but he was certainly a passionate supporter of Benito Mussolini, who was a real Fascist, and that wasn’t the inventor’s only strange idea. The text of the announcement of Marconi’s death from the July 20, 1937 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Rome–The Marquis Guglielmo Marconi, who invented wireless when he was only 21, died suddenly at 3:45 a.m. today (10:45 p.m. Monday, E.D.T.) at the ancient palace in downtown Rome where he lived and worked.

The 63-year-old conqueror of the ether died of heart paralysis. His widow, the Countess Cristina Bezzi-Scali, was at his bedside. She had been called back from the seaside resort of Viareggio when he began to feel ill yesterday.

Their daughter, Elettra Elena, whose godmother is Queen Elena, remained at the resort and will not return to Rome until time for the state funeral. Today is her eighth birthday.

Duce Pays Respects

Premier Mussolini, whose ardent supporter Marconi had been, was notified of the death immediately. He dispatched a telegram of condolences and later went to Marconi’s home in the Via Condotti and paid his respects beside the body.”


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From the February 15, 1902 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Chicago–Firemen who groped their way through the fire and smoke and dragged six bodies into the street from Bennett Hospital, at Ada and Fulton Streets, late last night, carried on their heroic labor in the belief that they were rescuing persons who had been asphyxiated, and not until the flames had been subdued did they learn that they had been in the dissection room of Bennett Medical College and that the bodies were from the dissecting table of the school. Several of the cadavers were clothed, having been brought into the school in that condition.”

From the August 26, 1910 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Chicago–C.A. Comiskey’s recently installed lights received their first real tryout at the American League grounds last night, when the Illinois Athletic Club and Calumet Lacrosse teams battled for over two hours in a fast match in the glare of over one million candle power of light, which constitutes a portion of the light plant that will give Chicago night baseball in the near future. The plant proved itself equal to the occasion for the test held up to what was expected. The Illinois A.C. won the game 11 to 10, but this fact was lost to view in the confusion resulting from the pronounced success of the light plant–and at that the ground lights were curtailed and only half the power was in use. At no time during the eighty minutes of play did the players find it hard to follow the ball, but the game proved as fast and interesting as if it had been played in broad daylight. No complaint was heard from the players and with the roof lights uncovered the contestants were in no way bothered by the force of the lamps.”


Muammar Gaddafi got exactly what he deserved, but most don’t. Case in point: Wernher von Braun, complete Nazi and celebrated American hero, who was rescued from cosmic justice at the end of WWII by an accident of geopolitics. Hitler’s rocketeer knew as much about blasting off without blowing up as anybody at just the moment when the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union both wanted to rule the air, the Space Race on the horizon. He was deemed necessary and his slate wiped clean. The text of an article by John B. McDermott in the September 6, 1951 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which laid out von Braun’s plans for a nuclear-powered mission to Mars:

London–Wernher von Braun, German rocket expert, outlined a plan today to land 50 explorers on Mars for a 13-month visit.

His proposal was the latest scheme for interplanetary travel laid before the international Congress on Astronautics.

Von Braun, designer of the mighty V-2 rocker bomb that plastered London late in 1944, submitted a paper to the conference detailing his proposal. He is in the United States.

Fifty men could reach Mars, he suggested, by traveling on space ships and rockets. They would stop over for refuelling at artificial moons fixed in space between the earth and Mars.

Would Take 260 Days

The journey to Mars, Von Braun said, would take 260 days. Ten space ships with 70 men aboard would take off from earth and stop at the first artificial moon for supplies. They would then travel to another man-made orbit closer to Mars.

From there, he said, 50 men would be selected to land on Mars in three 300-ton rockets.

Von Braun said the trip would be possible as soon as the artificial moons were built.

L.R. Shepherd, British atomic scientist, told the gathering later suspended moons were no longer ‘a remote possibility.’

Instead of just talking or writing about them, he said, the idea ‘should now be actively pursued in laboratory tests and on the proving range.’

If given vigorous development, the gap should be bridged in 10 to 20 years, Shepherd said.

225,000 MPH Speed Seen

Professor Lyman Spitzer of Princeton University told the conference space ships could eventually travel at 225,000 miles per hour. They would be propelled, he said, by uranium or plutonium converted into electrical energy.

While a voyage of many hundred million miles in space could readily be achieved by this ship, ascent of the first few hundred miles to a circular orbit (artificial moon) would definitely require a booster of some sort,’ he said.

‘In fact, the design and construction of a large launching rocket might well be more difficult than that of a long-range space ship.’”


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From the May 11, 1910 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Ann Arbor, Mich.–So realistic were the pictures of birds flying in one of the moving picture shows here yesterday that a small lad, with an air rifle, got excited, took aim and fired. The youngster ‘pinked’ the bird’s breast just as it was seemingly flying across the stage, but it kept on flying, the bullet passing through screen.”

The “Fox” in Fox News is taken from the surname of pioneering film producer William Fox, whether he would be happy with the contemporary association or not. One of Fox’s great innovations was the launching, in 1929, of the Embassy Newsreel Theatre in Manhattan, as a showcase of continuous non-fiction fare, presaging around-the-clock cable by many decades. Newsreels–or “film newspapers“–had been popular since the beginning of cinema, but until Fox they were secondary to the main attraction in the United States. He redefined them as the attraction. By 1930, the proprietor had lost control of his film company and theaters, having been knocked out by a near-fatal automobile crash and the stock-market collapse. This reversal was followed by legal problems, a commission of perjury and a prison stint. Fox died in 1952, largely forgotten by the media he helped define. The text of a brief, understated article from the November 4, 1929 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, unwittingly announcing the moment when news in America–or something resembling it–became an infinite loop:

“If you are a newsreel fan (and the chances are that you are) the revised policy at the little Embassy Theater holds out promise of many fascinating hours through the dreary winter days to come. On Saturday the Embassy was dedicated to the showing of sound news reels and nothing else, becoming the first theater to be devoted to that purpose.

Hearst Monotone and Fox Movietone news pictures will make up its programs from now on, and the newsreel fan will have the rare pleasure of watching the parade of world events uninterrupted by feature photoplays and stage advertisements. It is a marvelous idea. One wonders why it hasn’t been tried before.”


From the June 9, 1911 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Gentry, W. Va.–Marion Adkins saw John Willis walking last night with Miss Louisa Berry, whom he was soon to marry, and thinking Miss Berry was his wife, whom he suspected of meeting another man, Adkins shot and instantly killed Willis, the shot almost tearing the victim’s head from his body. Miss Berry is in serious condition from the shock.”

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“It partakes of both man and bird, and resembles possibly a prehistoric bird.”

Reuben Jasper Spaulding’s flying machine never actually flew, but neither did Leonardo da Vinci’s. The Colorado-based inventor devised a breathtaking design for a manned-flight contraption in 1889 (patent here), and even if there wasn’t much chance the sun would get the opportunity to melt its wings, it was still an impressive apparatus. From an article about a rediscovered model of the contrivance, in the October 12, 1903 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

“During the recent cleaning up of the patent office, Chief Ireland discovered in an out of the way corner of one of the model cases the model of a flying machine, on which a patent was granted in 1889 to Reuben J. Spaulding of Rosita, Col., which looks like a cross between an Egyptian mummy and a surgeon’s anatomical lay figure, says the Washington Evening Star. A photograph was made by Mr. Ireland of the model in order that he might add to his collection of curious and unique patents.

The photograph shows Mr. Spaulding’s machine to be a man-bird, with gorgeous plumage and spectral eyes. It has many springs and strings attached to it, but few feathers. It partakes of both man and bird, and resembles possibly a prehistoric bird, which might have appropriately been called the ‘war eagle,’ or the ‘eagle in armor dressed.’

Among the claims for this machine are: ‘The combination with a plate or support to be secured to the back of an aeronaut, of spring elevated wing levers hinged to said plate to swing vertically and inclined outwardly and forwardly therefrom, and separate flexible feathers secured at their front ends to and projecting rearwardly from said levers, and alternately overlapped along their longitudinal edges, substantially as set forth,’ and ‘a flying machine, the combination, with a jacket or support for the aeronaut, of wings fulcrumed thereto, and made in inner and outer sections hinged together, and cords leading from the outer wing sections, in reach of the aeronaut, who, by pulling the cords, will contract or fold the wings edgewise to reduce their area, substantially as herein set forth.”

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From the January 18, 1910 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Peoria, Ill.–Leonard Bliss, better known as “Baby” Bliss, at one time supposed to be the largest man in the United States, was brought from his home in Bloomington last night, to the Peoria Hospital at South Bartonville, hopelessly insane. Bliss weighed 525 pounds when placed on the scales at the asylum. During the bicycle craze he rode wheel over the United States and Europe as a demonstrator of the make of machine. He is 37 years of age.”


Francis Keally was an architect with a focus on airport design who viewed the whole world through the prism of his passion. For sure, airports did in many cases become mini-cities with lodging, shopping and dining, but the underground airports and the rooftop landing strips awaiting the arrival of super-auto gyroplanes? That never did come to pass. From an article about some of Keally’s outré ideas in the December 29, 1929 Brooklyn Daily Eagle: 

“Aviation will completely change the character of American architecture within the next century, according to the prediction made by Francis Keally, distinguished architect and authority on airport design, in the current issue of the American Architect magazine.

‘One hundred years from today we shall have not batteries of skyscrapers to point out to our trans-atlantic visitors,’ says Mr. Keally.

Ancient Cities Imitated

‘On the contrary, our future cities, because of the aerial age, will be flat-topped, and two out of every three buildings will serve as some kind of landing area for a super-auto gyroplane or a transcontinental air express. What towers there are will be built at a great distance from the airports and will serve as mooring masts for giant dirigibles.

‘The architects of our future cities may have to go back to places like Constantinople and Fez for their inspiration, where they can find a low horizontal character to an entire city, broken here and there by a minaret.’

Airports to be Underground 

Mr. Keally believes that population will be spread out as a result of rapid aerial transportation, instead of being congested into limited areas, as in the case of the great cities of today. He points out that the new regional plan for New York City provides for 46 landing fields within the metropolitan area, which are far away from the present heart of the city. These fields will become sub-centers of population, he foresees, with their own shopping, entertainment and residential zones.

‘Entirely new cities will also be built as residential centers at a great distance from the present congested areas.

‘Airships carrying hundreds of passengers are certain to have a strong bearing on changes that will come in our architecture and domestic life,’ he continues. ‘People will want their roof tops beautifully designed. Today it is the front of the house that is given the most attention. But from the air you see only the roof.

‘There will be underground airports with hangars, waiting rooms, rail and motor terminals, and all approaches underground. With a scheme of this kind, a plane landing at such a port will have no landing obstacles of any kind. Planes entering or leaving the ports will pass through a trapdoor in the surface of the field. The doors will be connected by ramps to the underground facilities in a manner similar to that now in our modern railroad terminals.”


From the November 29, 1910 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Washington–’Big Bill,’ the son of ‘Mrs. Wayne,’ the White House cow, is dead. Brain fever caused the blue-blooded young bovine’s demise. ‘Big Bill’ had been promised by President Taft to ‘Big Bill’ Price, the dean of the White House correspondents, and was soon to have been transferred to a Maryland farm, where a special stable had been made ready for his reception.”

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Evan Meeker, 1921.

Showing his wagon train to President Theodore Roosevelt, 1908.

Showing his wagon to President Theodore Roosevelt, 1908.

With President Calvin Coolidge,

Meeting President Calvin Coolidge, 1924.

Evan Meeker, Detroit, 1828, last photo.

Evan Meeker, Detroit, 1928, last photo.

When Ezra Meeker passed away 86 years ago, he took with him a lot of institutional memory–and the institution was America. A pioneer who traveled the Oregon trail in his youth, he spent much of his dotage trying to ensure people would remember those who endured such treacherous crossings to open up the country. The article that announced his death in the December 3, 1928 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Seattle, Wash.–Ezra Meeker, 97, one of the last of the pioneers of the covered wagon era, died here this morning of after an illness of several months.

Meeker clung tenaciously to life until the end, holding on by sheer will power after physicians and relatives had given up. He had been at the point of death in a Detroit hospital for two months before returning here eight weeks ago. He had grown gradually weaker and when his condition became alarming it was impossible to move him to a hospital.

Last Thursday the pioneer was reported to have shown great improvement and hopes were held momentarily by his doctors that he would recover and live to reach his 98th birthday this month. He was in fine spirits over the weekend and his pulse and temperature were about normal. Late yesterday there was a turn for the worse and he sank rapidly.

Meeker was bitterly disappointed because illness in Detroit had prevented him from returning here in time to register for the recent general election. It was the first time he had missed since he voted in the first territorial election in Washington in 1854.

The pioneer, who brought his bride and a seven-weeks-old child West over the old Oregon trail by ox team in 1852, had intended to begin a second automobile tour of the trail when he was forced to enter the Detroit hospital in the first serious illness of his long and eventful life.

A son, Marvin J. Meeker, and three daughters, Mrs. Carrie Osborne and Mrs. Ella Templeton of Seattle, and Mrs. Roderick McDonald of Peshastin, Wash., survive him.

Meeker was born at Huntsville, Ohio, on December 29, 1830. After a boyhood there and an apprenticeship in a printing office in Indianapolis, her married in 1851 and struck out by ox team for Iowa to homestead a farm. A severe winter there induced the young couple to join a wagon caravan for Oregon and California in 1852. Months of hardship behind them, the Meekers reached Portland, Ore., in October of that year. Trail instinct kept the Meekers on the move until they settled at Fort Steilacoom, south of the present site of Tacoma, where Meeker kept a store from 1853 to 1862. Then the Meekers moved to Puyallup, where the pioneer became interested in hop growing, later going to London, England, for four years as agent of the hop growers of the Pacific Northwest.

Meeker was the author of several books on pioneer life, although he had but four months schooling in his life.

Meeker retraced the Oregon trail with an ox team in 1906 and four years ago flew over the route in an airplane piloted by Lieut. Oakley G. Kelley.

His last years were spent in obtaining recognition of the heroism of the Oregon trail pioneers by inducing communities along the route to erect suitable markers. In 1926 President Coolidge signed an act authorizing the issuance of a special half dollar to further interest in the building of monuments along the trail. Meeker was received at the White House by both Mr. Coolidge and President Roosevelt.”


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From the November 30, 1910 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Boston–James May was adjudged insane in court to-day and sent to an asylum. He was obsessed with the kissing idea and had tried to kiss strangers in the streets. Several women have driven him from them, recognizing the condition. He got into trouble when he tried to kiss a local policeman. That convinced the court that he was insane.”



Wernher von Braun, center, with Willy Ley, right, in 1954.

Ley with daughter Xenia at the Hayden Planetarium, 1957.

Speaking of Nazis, the top photograph offers an odd juxtaposition: That’s Wernher von Braun, a rocketeer who was a hands-on part of Hitler’s mad plan, whose horrid past was whitewashed by the U.S. government (here and here) because he could help America get a man on the moon; with Willy Ley, a German science writer and space-travel visionary who fled the Third Reich in 1935. A cosmopolitan in an age before globalization, Ley only wanted to share science across the word and encourage humans into space and onto the moon. He knew early on Nazism was madness leading to mass graves, not space stations. When Ley arrived in America after using falsified documents to escape Germany, he worked a bit on an odd rocket-related program: Ley led an effort to use missiles to deliver mail. It was a long way to go to get postcards from point A to point B, and an early attempt failed much to the chagrin of Ley, who donned a spiffy asbestos suit for the blast-off. Here’s the story of the plan’s genesis in the February 21, 1935 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

“It may be a long time before you can take a trip to the moon or to Mars in a rocket, but the time is not far off when rockets will be used to carry mail and to catapult airplanes from ships or from the ground.

This, according to Willy Ley of Berlin, who arrived today on Cunard-White Star liner Olympic for a seven-month stay in the United States, during which time he will work on the development of the rocket with G. Edward Pendray of Crestwood, N.J. Mr. Pendray is president of the American Rocket Society. 

Mr. Ley said that a friend in Austria had used rockets successfully in the delivery of mail between two towns, only two and a half miles apart, but separated by high mountains. In a very short time, he said, the rocket may supplant all other means of mail delivery.

Its use as a catapult for airplanes, he said would make it possible to equip planes with smaller engines, because airplane engines now require most of their horsepower to take off and can do without it in the air. By using rocket as a catapult, this extra horsepower would not be necessary, he pointed out.

Also on the Olympic were Dr. Walter Braun, young German physician, who has come to live with his brother, Fred Braun of 468 8th St., Brooklyn; William M.L. Fiske, recently chosen captain of the American bobsled team which is to compete in the coming Olympics, who has been in Europe on business; the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava, who will visit friends in South Carolina. The ship was a day late due to terrific headwinds it met in the crossing.”


In 1952, Ley being interviewed, preposterously, about flying saucers, and also about space travel:

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From the October 30, 1893 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

“To-morrow night Fatty Langtry and Fatty Green will meet in Bleecker Hall, New York, and spar for the fat men’s championship of America. Langtry weights 325 pounds and Green 350 pounds.”

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Two brief newspaper articles which announced the invention, in 1907, of an automatic typewriter by Thomas A. McCall, which was at the time being demonstrated at business conventions, including one at Madison Square Garden. It eventually came to the market under the name the Hooven Automatic, a carbon paper-less way to reproduce scores of form letters and memos.


From “Truly Wonderful Machine,” in the August 5, 1907 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

“In Columbus, O., a man has produced a mechanical typewriter that promises to eliminate the present day pretty stenographer that has become such a familiar figure in the modern office. This machine will actually write letters at the rate of one thousand words a minute, continuously, and do the work correctly and automatically. This wonderful machine will be on exhibition at the national business shows to be held in New York and Chicago this fall. The machine may be operated in two ways. If it is desired to make a number of copies of the letter, with different names and addresses, it will perform this work producing in each case an original letter in one, two or three colors, fill in the name and address and add the signature.

A business man desiring to dictate may use this automatic typewriter by talking his letters into a device like a phonograph, transfer the record to the machine, turn on the electric current and go home. The next morning the letters will all be done, and the machine will automatically stop when all the letters are written. It will also address envelopes or wrappers and count them as well.

It will write forward or backward, and if desired the lines may be justified like type, which at the present time is impossible on ordinary typewriters. With the general introduction of this machine wives of business men will breathe easier, for the machine is warranted not to flirt. The national business shows, where the machine will be shown to the public for the first time, will be held in Madison Square Garden in New York October 12 to 19 and in the Coliseum, Chicago, November 9 to 16.”


From “Machine May Replace Typewriter Girls,” in the October 15, 1907 Los Angeles Herald:

“Typewriter girls may find their occupations gone if what is said of a new invention turns out to be true. It is exhibited at the business show now in progress in Madison Square Garden and is an automatic typewriter run by compressed air and capable, it is said, of writing from 5,000 to 10,000 words an hour for twenty-four hours at a stretch.

The invention is the work of A. McCall of Columbus, Ohio.”


From the November 15, 1909 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

“Divorce on the singular grounds of fraud in the marriage contract was awarded Saturday to Dr. Alice Bush of Oakland. The fraud lay in the fact that R.K. Morgan, Dr. Bush’s ‘husband,’ who came from New York City, proved to be a woman. Morgan was not more than half Dr. Bush’s age, but the two had been constant companions.

They were married in 1905. The complaint does not state when the wife discovered her ‘husband’s’ sex, although it declares she was ‘was, is now, and always has been, female.’

Morgan has disappeared, and Dr. Bush refuses to discuss her adventure in matrimony.”


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From the September 16, 1911 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Middlesboro, Mass.–A few ounces of steel flying from a machine yesterday killed Frederick K. Robbins, who weighed 500 pounds. Robbins was the heaviest man in Plymouth County, and had refused many offers from museum managers to exhibit himself, preferring the simple life of the farm. He was feeding corn to a grinding machine for a silo when one of the knifeblades broke off and the flying steel penetrated Robbins’ brain, killing him instantly. He was 41 years of age and unmarried.”


Melvin Vaniman, the voyage’s innovative aerial photographer, holds Kiddo. Vaniman perished two years later in the wreck of the Akron.

“Roy, come and get this goddamn cat” was, in 1910, the initial radio message ever transmitted from air to ground. The occasion was the attempt of Walter Wellman’s dirigible America to cross the Atlantic, the first time a flying machine ever tried to accomplish the feat. The ship was outfitted with a wireless, also a first for an airship, and the message it relayed was about Kiddo, the journey’s feline mascot, apparently taken along because a skittish animal with sharp claws and balloons go together so well. (Before on-board cats became a short-lived craze, stuffed teddy bears, a much saner option, were apparently the mascot of choice for air trips.)

Though the voyage failed roughly 1,000 miles from its starting point in Atlantic City, all six passengers–seven if you include the troublesome Kiddo–were rescued by a passing liner. Wellman, a working class Ohio kid with a public-school education who became a newspaper editor and, later, a bold aviator and explorer, lost a lot of “battles” in the air, but his work paved the way for others to win the “war.” From a story about Wellman and his kitty in the November 20, 1910 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

“When Walter Wellman and his crew of adventurers climbed into the basket of the great balloon America, at Atlantic City, a few weeks ago, to make their now world-famous effort to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air route, there went with them a cute little gray kitten about two months old.

"Moisant makes few trips these says without taking along his little gray kitten named Paree."

“Moisant makes few trips these days without taking along his little gray kitten named Paree.”

Besides earning for itself the reputation of being one of the two cats to go up in the air so high, Miss Atlantic City Pussy did something else on that memorable voyage. She and another kitten–the one taken aloft by John B. Moisant, in his famous aeroplane trip from Paris to London–were the means of starting a craze that has every prospect of spreading to all quarters of the country. These kittens caused the cat tribe to be so noticed that cat worship is scarcely too strong a term to apply to the popularity that is theirs.

Moisant makes few trips these days without taking along his little gray kitten named Paree. A number of other aviators impressed by the fortunate end to the Wellman expedition are thinking of adopting the same sort of mascot.”

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From the November 19, 1910 Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Pottsville, Pa.–Mistaken for a dog in the gathering dusk last evening, Michael Bolemius, a 12-year-old hunchback, was run over by a heavy delivery wagon and killed after having been knocked down by the horses of a preceding wagon.  Death was instantaneous. The drivers were today exonerated from blame.”


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