United States Patent 1,059,284: Ladder-Gripping Attachment for Shoes, 04/15/1913
This patent was included in the patent file for shoes invented by Michael Jackson. The shoes enabled him to execute his signature dance move that allowed him to lean forward to an exaggerated angle while performing on stage the song “Smooth Criminal.” This patent for a Ladder-Gripping Attachment for shoes was included in file because the patent examiner searched for any relevant patents.
(Today’s Document does not endorse hanging upside down from a ladder, even if you are wearing patented Ladder-Gripping Attachments for Shoes.)
The “Human Squirrel” drops by to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Times Square and #SquirrelWeek!
The “Human Squirrel” who did many daring “stunts” in climbing for benefit of War Relief Funds in New York City. He is shown here at a dizzy height in Times Square. Times Photo Service., ca. 1918
Happy 110th Birthday, Times Square!
Originally named Longacre Square, it was officially renamed Times Square on April 8, 1904 in honor of the New York Times.
Snapshots of the “Crossroads of the World” from the 1910s, 1940s, 1970s, 1980s and 2000s:
- New York City celebrating the surrender of Japan. They threw anything and kissed anybody in Times Square., 08/14/1945. National Archives Identifier: 520697
- A view of the neon lights of Broadway. The United Services Organization (USO) GEN Douglas MacArthur Memorial Center, located in Times Square at 45th Street and Broadway…01/01/1983. National Archives Identifier: 6367334
- Peace rumor, New York. Crowd at Times Square holding up Extras telling about the signing of the Armistice. The Government report that the news was not true did not stop the celebration. National Archives Identifier: 533477
- TIMES SQUARE, 08/1973. National Archives Identifier: 554298
- Sailors attached to USS IWO JIMA (LHD 7) gather together for an impromptu group shot while on liberty in Times Square during Fleet Week 2002.05/22/2002. National Archives Identifier: 6640589
- V-J Day in New York City. Crowds gather in Times Square to celebrate the surrender of Japan., 08/15/1945. National Archives Identifier: 531350
On March 25, 1911, a match was dropped and a factory exploded with fire, resulting in one of the highest losses of life from an industrial accident in the US. 146 people—mostly women—were burned alive, succumbed to smoke inhalation, or were forced to jump from the eighth, ninth, and tenth stories of the Asche Building* in New York City. Factory owners had locked the doors to stairwells and fire escapes to stop the women from taking unauthorized breaks and to stem the theft of the materials and products from the factory floor.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, which led to legislation to improve industrial safety standards for workers and the founding of the American Society of Safety Engineers, remains a stark reminder of the harsh conditions under which workers, including women and children, were forced to toil before workplace safety initiatives were widely employed in the US. Read more at pbs.org.
The two images above depict a view of the Asche Building interior after the fire and a demonstration of protest and mourning held several weeks after the fire.
See the entire set of powerful images from the National Archives and Records Administration collection here.
*Now the Brown Building, a part of the campus of New York University (NYU). It is located at 23-29 Washington Place, between Greene Street and Washington Square East in Greenwich Village, New York City. More.
Photograph of Fire Fighters at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, 03/25/1911
One of the deadliest industrial disasters in United States history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City left 146 workers dead in 18 minutes on March 25, 1911.
Locked doors kept the workers from escaping; there was not enough water to put out the flames, and firemen’s ladders were too short to reach the upper stories. Many of the young women and men working there leapt out the windows and fell to their deaths onto the sidewalk outside. Others were crushed in the elevator shaft or when the fire escape collapsed.
The fire led to sweeping reforms in labor laws and safety standards, providing a boost to labor unions, and was a pivotal event in the career of future labor secretary Frances Perkins.
Our post from 2012 has additional photos of the fire and the victims, a few may be considered graphic.
(We’re assuming the photo above shows fdny in action at the fire.)
Captain Harry Truman
Officers, 129th Field Artillery, at regimental headquarters at Chateau de Chanay near Courcemont, France, March 1919. Captain Harry Truman, second row, third from right.
From the series: Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, 1754 - 1954
Mollifying a future father-in-law
In his letter dated March 12, 1914, poet Ezra Pound wrote to the Consul General of the United States in London seeking information that would help him ease the reservations of his future father-in-law that Pound’s marriage to his daughter would be invalid if he returned to the United States. Pound is a well-known and influential poet, but at the time of this letter, he was a struggling artist.
National Archives, Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State
Not only is today World Poetry Day but this letter from then-unknown poet Ezra Pound is featured in the new exhibit: “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures"opening today, March 21, at the National Archives Museum!
Letter from Hooper Alexander, U.S. Attorney, to the Attorney General, 3/15/1918
General Records of the Department of Justice. National Archives Identifier: 6120950
During World War I, espionage and sedition acts were adopted that resulted in nearly 1,000 convictions. The Espionage Act of June 15, 1917 defined espionage and, in section 12, denied the use of the mails to newspapers, periodicals, and other materials that were unpatriotic, critical, or treasonous. Many publications were scrutinized. Justice Department officials investigated The Finished Mystery, a pacifist book published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and warned bookstores and newsstands in Atlanta against carrying it. On March 14, 1918, the Attorney General telegraphed Hooper Alexander, the U.S. Attorney for Atlanta, to enforce the book ban. Alexander replied the next day that he would give warning to any sellers who had copies of the book.
The “Hello Girls”
"American telephone girls on arrival for "hello" duty in France. They all can speak both English and French., 03/1918"
During World War I, over 400 women were enrolled in the U.S. Army Signal Corps to operate telephone* switchboards in France. Despite the sometimes hazardous conditions of their service, they were denied veterans status after the war ended. It would take 60 years until a bill was signed by President Carter granting them veterans status in 1978.
Read more about the “Hello Girls” at the Signal Corps “Regimental” History Site - The Hello Girls
* Today is also the anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell’s patent for “Improvements in Telegraphy”, aka the telephone.
"I was haunted for days by the horror of it when I first saw some of these children who work in the Cotton Mills…"
Letter from Suzanne Heber Supporting Keating-Owen Child Labor Bill, 02/25/1916
The first child labor bill, the Keating-Owen bill of 1916 used the government’s ability to regulate interstate commerce to regulate the increasingly unpopular use of child labor. The act banned the sale of products from any factory, shop, or cannery that employed children under the age of 14, from any mine that employed children under the age of 16, and from any facility that had children under the age of 16 work at night or for more than 8 hours during the day. Although the Keating-Owen Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional in Hammer v. Dagenhart 247 U.S. 251 (1918) because it overstepped the purpose of the government’s powers to regulate interstate commerce.
Photograph of Chin Wah Affixed to Bertillon Measurement Card
The Bertillon measurement card of Chin Wah indicates that he was examined on February 17, 1915. Affixed to this measurement card is Wah’s prison photograph, known commonly as a “mug shot.” His inmate case file indicates that he was convicted in Brooklyn, New York for manufacturing and smoking opium.
A system of physical identification pre-dating the use of fingerprints, Bertillon Measurements used anthropometrics, such as the length and width of the head and the degree of forehead slope to create an individual’s unique profile.
One hundred years ago on February 12, 1914, Abraham Lincoln’s 105th birthday, the cornerstone was laid on the Lincoln Memorial. A little more than eight years later it was completed and dedicated on May 30, 1922 with President Lincoln’s son, 79 year old Robert Todd Lincoln, attending the ceremony.
Photograph of the Abraham Lincoln Statue Installation in the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., 1920
On February 9, 1918, 90 year-old Civil War veteran Alexander Walter had to register—as an enemy alien:
Alexander Walter was also a Civil War veteran who lived in the National Military Home in Leavenworth, KS.
He was born May 18,1828, in Hanover, Germany. He had to fill out this registration form in 1918—at the age of 90.
After war was declared by Congress in April 1917, non-naturalized “enemy aliens” were required to register with the Department of Justice as a national security measure. A Presidential Proclamation of November 16, 1917, meant that “all natives, citizens, denizens or subjects of the German Empire” age 14 and older who were “within the United States” needed to register as “alien enemies.”
The National Archives at Kansas City has a collection of the Enemy Alien Registration Affidavits for the state of Kansas. These documents are full of valuable information for researchers.
To learn more, go to today’s post on the Pieces of History blog.
Pvt. John Elk, Col. D. 139th Inf 35th Div of Bismarck, ND, 1/7/1919
From the series: Signal Corps Photographs of American Military Activity, 1754 - 1954
(Ed. note: Corrected Bismarck, 1/08/2014)