Glossary of Terms (Web Exclusive)
-Australian Crawl: “This here is what they call the “Australian Crawl.” ” Alternative name for the front crawl swimming stroke, known commonly as freestyle swimming. Used throughout the Pacific by the end of the 19th century the Australian crawl was first adopted for competition by the Australian swimmer Henry Wickham in 1893. The Cavil brothers, Syd and Charles, brought the stroke to Europe in 1902 and America in 1903.
The Australian crawl position consists of a prone body, lying on the surface of the water, with legs just below the surface flutter kicking up-and-down and arms moving alternatively with one always pulling through the water allowing for continuous forward movement. What distinguishes the Australian crawl from other front crawl strokes is the number of leg kicks, two for each arm stroke.
-Ball Python: “And, after one very necessary trip to the library, Gerty Fail learned it wasn’t a river snake at all. But a baby Ball Python, a non-venomous but, all the same, deadly constrictor native to the wilds of Africa.” Ball Python, Python regius, is a non-venomous species native to sub-Saharan West Africa, preferring grassland and savannah habitats. Ball Pythons make for a popular pet option because of their relatively diminutive size within the python family and typically docile temperament. Ball Python’s live mostly off small mammalia and can frequently go up to a month without eating with no negative affects.
-Chicago River: “There, an offer to realign the grooves on a rickety paddle boat bought them safe passage down the Mississippi where the gift of a perfect-fit quartz to the daughter of a river-barge operator admitted them to the Chicago River.” Beginning in Lake Michigan and weaving throughout the city the Chicago River acted as a crucial developmental tool for the city of Chicago, eventually reaching over 156 miles through the development of man-made tributaries, canals, and locks. The river acted as transportation for the growing meatpacking and lumber industries during the nineteenth century connecting the factories and lumber yards to Lake Michigan and beyond through various canals, the other great lakes, and the Chicago Portage. These booming industries had a negative affect as they directed their waste and runoff into the river, creating visible signs of pollution. Public works efforts beginning in 1889, and ending in 1910, worked to direct the flow of pollutants away from Lake Michigan and into the Des Plaines River through a specific sanitation tributary.
-Clock Repair: “Mr. and Mrs. Fail came to the States with nothing to their name except for one time honored skill, which had been the primary trade of the Failbottoms (on both sides) for over a hundred years: Clockworking.” A profession dating back to the 1390s, clockmakers were considered leading edge artisans trained in the manufacturing of precision mechanical apparatus. By the twentieth century clocks were no longer being made solely by individual clockmakers as industrialism opened the doors to manufacturing the precise mechanics needed all in a factory setting. Clockmakers were required to have a working knowledge of a wide range of clock mechanics, designs, and functions all while holding the fine motor skills to manipulate the often-tiny pieces within the clocks.
-Consumption: “Causes of death were blunt object, disappearance, and Consumption…” Tuberculosis, also known as Consumption, is a disease caused by the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis bacteria and spreads through the air from one person to another. The disease often attacks the lungs but can also be found in any part of the body including the brain, spine, and kidneys. Symptoms include severe cough, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum, fever, chills, lack of appetite, and weakness or fatigue.
-DeSoto Town Car: “Oh, they weren’t on the Eastland. No. They were in a brand new DeSoto Town Car…” Named after the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto the DeSoto automobile brand was an offshoot of the Chrysler Corporation from 1928-1961 focusing on midrange priced automobiles. Shortly after created the DeSoto line Chrysler purchased the Dodge brand giving the company two midrange auto lines, of which the DeSoto line was priced just below the Dodge models. The pricing bracket of DeSoto made for a successful first couple of years until in the hopes of boosting Dodge numbers Chrysler reversed the pricing and made Dodge the more economical choice. Eventually Desoto cars fell out of favor and the line folded in 1961 leaving the final tally of DeSoto cars built at over two million.
-Dr Ian K. Bonner, father of Illinoisian Psychiatry: “Destroying the building’s façade, and upsetting—but not dislodging—the overhead bust of Dr. Ian K. Bonner, Father of Illinoisan Psychiatry.” Psychiatry as a practice began to take shape around the turn of the 18th century when mental illness began to be viewed as a sickness instead of demonic possession. Many attribute the creation of modern psychiatry to the French physician Philippe Pinel in the late 1700’s. Psychiatry and the treatment of mental illness in America during the 1920’s built off the foundation left by Pinel, Emil Kraepelin, Sigmund Freud, and others but also suffered from the eugenics movement that swept across the nation. Mental illness under a eugenicist was viewed as the result of genes, leading to a successful push to sterilize the mentally ill without consent. Not until the eugenics movement lost momentum and resigned itself to the fringes of science did Psychiatry begin to make large gains in both patient care and treatment throughout the United States.
-Eastland Riverboat disaster: “…some thirteen years back, casualties of the Eastland Riverboat disaster.” The Eastland, owned by St. Joseph-Chicago Steamship Company, profited from ferrying people from Chicago to Picnic sites on the shore of Lake Michigan. When the Eastland was first launch the steamer had a maximum capacity of 650 passengers but after major construction and retrofitting in 1913 the capacity rose to purportedly 2,500 passengers. The very same year a naval architect reported to officials that the steamer needed work to remedy structural affects to prevent listing or else a severe accident might occur. On July 24, 1915 about 7,300 employees of the Western Electric Company arrived at 6am to depart on five steamers for their annual company picnic. With bands playing the Eastland was boarded, possibly over the 2,500 passenger maximum, many of these passengers reportedly gathered on one side to pose for a photograph unbalancing the boat. In any case engineer Joseph Erikson proceeded to open one of the steamers ballast tanks causing the Eastland to tip dangerously.
The ship then capsized directly next to the dock trapping hundreds of passengers under and inside the boat. Rescuers attempted to cut through the hull, saving 40 people in the process but more that 800 others perished, including 22 entire families. The rescue mission became a recovery operation as police divers pulled body after body from the wreck and the city placed a large net over the mouth of the Chicago River to prevent bodies from entering Lake Michigan. The Eastland was pulled from the river, repaired, and renamed the Willimette serving as a naval vessel until after World War Two when it was scrapped. All lawsuits against the St. Joseph-Chicago Steamship Company over the Eastland were dropped by a court of appeals and the specific reason for the capsizing was never identified.
-Era of Wonderful Nonsense: “Ten years later, as the nation nears the end of the ‘Era of Wonderful Nonsense,’ so ill-prepared to face the uncertainty of the 1930’s…” Moniker used to describe the 1920’s period in America. Other names include The Jazz Age, and The Age of Intolerance.
-Feral Monk Parakeet: “She is not a parrot. She is a feral Monk Parakeet.” The Monk Parakeet, Myiopsitta monachus, is characterized by its bright green plumage, long and plinted tail, and loud, harsh, screeching voice. Native to subtropical Argentina and surrounding countries, where they are viewed as pests due to their large numbers, the Monk Parakeet can also be found in the Northeastern United States in small feral populations. The Monk Parakeet is a colonial breeder and can create nests the size of a small automobile to house the various pairs of mates. The average lifespan for a Monk Parakeet is 15-20 years. These birds also make for interesting house pets as their high intelligence allows them to learn large vocabularies and entire phrases.
-GE and Sears Roebuck “You took what you made at the races and bought into the market. Let me guess. G.E.? Sears Roebuck? Anything with two words in the title and a million men on the floor.” The end of World War One marked a turning point for America’s economy as the war shifted industrial power away from Europe and to the shores of America. Suburban growth, fueled by the quick adoption of the automobile, shifted the economic landscape, opening up the country and further magnifying the density and economic growth of large cities. The rapid expansion of the electrical grid brought appliances and utilities to previously unreachable areas. This expansion brought a greater demand for public works, especially all-weather road construction. Recreation in the form of vacationing, sports, and entertainment became big business during the early 1900’s.
All of these developments happened within a relatively short period of time and while the public enjoyed the prosperity of the 1920’s by 1928 economists were beginning to worry about the possible outcomes of such swift economic growth. The stock market in 1928 struck fear in many economists as the rapidly rising prices suggested the possibility of an eventual crash. The Federal Reserve Board wanted to see a moderation in the market and took action by raising the discount rates at the Federal Reserve Banks and reducing holdings in government securities and raising open market rates, yet speculation in the stock market continued.
By early 1929 the Federal Reserve Board began pressuring private banks directly to stop increasing their loans to brokers yet money was still available to brokers through nonbank loans, nullifying the board’s attempts. While there were declines in the market across the board and certain stocks in particular beginning to take a dive in March of 1929 the actual crash did not occur until October 24th and hit bottom on October 29, 1929.
-Grantland Rice: “That’s all the news that is the news. Reporting sporting, I’m Grantland Rice.” A crucial figure in the development of sports journalism Henry Grantland Rice, born November 1880 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, immediately entered a career in sports writing for various newspapers throughout the South upon his graduation from Vanderbilt in 1901 before settling in New York to write for the New York Herald Tribune in 1914. In 1922 Rice became the first play-by-play announcer broadcast live on the radio for a World Series game, but preferred writing to radio announcing. Rice rose to prominence with a nationally syndicated sports column entitled “The Sportlight,” eventually appearing in over 100 papers. Rice’s expressive writing, casting athletes in heroic terms, and frequently comparing sports to myths and the human condition became trademarks of his writing style. Grantland Rice is credited with coining the phrase: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”
-I Can't Give You Anything But Love: “I can’t give you anything but love, Baby. That’s the only thing I’ve plenty of, baby dream awhile, scheme awhile you’re sure to find happiness, and I guess all those things you’ve always pined for…” Jazz standard with music by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields the song was first performed by Adelaide Hall at Les Ambassadeurs Club in New York, New York in January 1928 in Lew Leslie’s Blackbird Revue, which opened a year later as Blackbirds of 1928 on Broadway.
-Johnny Weissmuller: “First place went to a Northside German boy named Henry Weissmuler.” Swimming’s first superstar, Weissmuller was born in Timisoara Romania in 1904 before his family immigrated to America in 1907, settling in Chicago, Illinois. Attending school until the eighth grade he showed promise in swimming from an early age and began setting records by the age of 17 before going on to great success in both the 1924 and 1928 Olympics. While Weissmuller’s swimming feats mark him as one of the greatest swimmers of the 20th century many know him for his Hollywood role as Tarzan, in which he starred in 12 films from 1932-1948.
-Let me Call You Sweetheart: “Let me call you sweetheart, I’m in love with you. Let me hear you whisper that you love me too.” Written by Leo Friedman and Beth Slater Whitson in 1910 and first recorded by the Peerless Quartet this song has remained popular and prevalent through to contemporary culture, often being featured in advertisements and film scores.
-Lillian Gish: “Also, I want to be a movie star like Lillian Gish.” Born in Springfield, Ohio in 1896 Lillian Gish went on to become one of the most famous film heroines of the 20th century, often portraying the damsel in distress. Spanning the silent era, taking part in the creation of talkies with her appearance in The Birth of a Nation, and through to her retirement Lillian Gish remained one of the most famous actors of the twentieth century. She died in New York, New York on February 27, 1993 at the age of 97.
-Lover Come Back To Me: “The sky is blue/The night is cold/The moon is new/But love is old/And while I’m waiting here/This heart of mine is singing.” Published in 1928 with music by Sigmund Romberg and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II this song was first written for the Broadway show The New Moon and was first performed in the 1930 film adaptation of the play.
-Mr. and Mrs. H.G. Wells: “In fact, it occurred with some frequency. Take for example, Mr. and Mrs. H.G. Wells.” Herbert George Wells, born September 21, 1866 Bromley, Kent, England, grew up the son of servants turned small shopkeepers. Constantly toeing the line with poverty throughout his early career Wells lived with his aunt and uncle for a period after failing out of university. While living with this aunt and uncle he met his cousin Isabel Mary Wells whom he married. H.G. Wells left her four years later for one of his students, Amy Catherine Robbins, whom he married and through which they had two sons. Wells was far from monogamous and had children with other women while in the marriage including a daughter with writer Amber Reeves and a son with feminist Rebecca West.
-The Old Country: “When she was thirteen years old at a dog derby in a land their eldest daughter, Gerty, only ever heard them refer to as The Old Country.” Between 1900 and 1915 more than 15 million people, mainly from non-English speaking southern and eastern European countries, immigrated to the United States. These immigrants frequently came from countries whose cultures were far different from America’s creating a divide entitled the “new immigrant.” These new Americans often chose large cities where their cultures were able to stay intact while also experiencing all that American had to offer, which for these new citizens was frequently not enough. Chicago and New York became the two frontrunners and many immigrants travelled from New York to Chicago via the canal and lake system.
Chicago became a destination for many Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Greeks, Italians, and Jews from throughout Eastern Europe, mostly from Russia. With this influx of working class immigrants the already present American residents began to move to the suburbs, leaving the inner city open to these new inhabitants. Immigrants quickly found work in the booming meat packing, lumber, and shipping industries present in Chicago.
-Swimming Lake Michigan: “I am going to be the first woman ever to swim across Lake Michigan.” Ted Erikson of Chicago, Illinois became the first person to swim across Lake Michigan in 1961 when he swam from Chicago to Michigan City. Vicki Keith of Kingston, Ontario became the first female crosser when she completed the journey in 1988. Her crossing of Lake Michigan also marked her as the first person to swim across all five Great Lakes, a feat she achieved in a two-month period. Two others have also completed the crossing, Paula Stephanson and Jim Dreyer. Competitive distance swimmers did in fact utilize lard or other liquefied fat as an insulator when competing in cold waters before the advent of wetsuits and dry suits.
-Trudy Ederle: “If you’re tired, I can always call Trudy Ederle home from the Olympics. I’m sure she’d be happy to take your title.” A phenomenal swimmer, Gertrude Ederle, born 1906 in New York, New York, began setting records as early as twelve years of age. In 1926 Ederle became the first female swimmer to cross the English Channel in 14 hours and 34 minutes, simultaneously besting the men’s record. Trudy ended her career with 29 U.S. and world swimming records.
-Veterinary medicine: “John N. Fail continued his research on feline inoculations, though he had difficulty convincing his veterinary cohorts—many of whom spent their careers preventing hoof and mouth disease at the nearby slaughter houses—that the animals he treated were not perhaps better candidates for extermination.” Veterinary medicine has been practiced since Babylonia, the Greeks where it was known as veterinatius (“pertaining to beast of burden”) and through to the present day. The focus of a veterinary doctor on the healthcare and wellbeing of house pets as is commonly thought today was not always the case. In the 1920’s, especially in Chicago, the focus for veterinarians lay in the slaughterhouses and meat packing industry with many being employed as meat inspectors. Acting as triage doctors more than physicians in regards to the slaughter animals Chicago veterinarians were ever watchful for diseases such as Hoof and Mouth, a disease that resulted in the killing of 172,222 animals after a 1914 U.S. outbreak.
Prior to 1920 the majority of human transportation in America came at the hands of horses and as a result veterinary doctors focused their practices heavily towards the care and health of these crucial animals. Once cars became the transportation means of choice and citizens began to use their hard earned wages for the treatment of their pets’ vets began to include common house pets such as cats and dogs into their practices.
-Women’s Temperance League: “Yes. I take my membership in the Women’s Temperance League very seriously.” The advent of distillation and creation of high proof alcohols introduced into a society historically acquainted with low alcohol wines and beers made for a dramatic rise in alcohol abuse throughout America. By 1830 the average American over the age of 15 consumed ~7 gallons of pure alcohol a year and homes across the country were suffering. Women, faced with few legal means of stopping the rampant abuse of alcohol, began to form groups’, chief among them the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).
Founded in Ohio in 1873 by Protestant women looking to put a stop to alcohol abuse in America the WCTU began protesting to push for moderation or complete abstinence from alcohol in the United States. The message spread by the WCTU sat in agreement with many women, and men, across the country that either created their own temperance advocacy groups or joined the ranks of the WCTU. Eventually the temperance movement started by the WCTU and joined by other powerful organizations such as the Anti-Saloon League reached a fever pitch and on January 17, 1920 at 12:01 am the 18th amendment was passed bringing prohibition to America.
Almost immediately citizens began to skirt the law, in fact within minutes of the amendment going into affect criminals stole whiskey from a rail yard in Chicago and another group of bandits stole grain alcohol from a government bonded warehouse. The opposition to the 18th amendment was constant and on December 5, 1933 prohibition was repealed with the ratification of the 21st amendment.