Tuesday, 1 January 2013

1 January 1913

Well, so far so good – I’m sticking to my resolutions!  It's been raining here, cats and dogs sort of rain, so it's easy to sit inside and research and watch old movies.  I'm back at work next week, so my posts may become a little shorter......


Although this magazine cover from January 1913 sort of sums up my normal adherence to resolutions in a nutshell (until the snow melts!) Anyway, on to 1913….

new year
Happy New Year postcard from 1913

Postcards were very popular in the 1900s.   On 1 January 1913 domestic parcel post service within the USA was inaugurated under President William Howard Taft.  The service exclusively used ground transportation such as truck or trains, and greatly increased mail volume in the U.S, as well as increasing trade and commerce across the nation. The illustration below shows a freight train departing a  station (Producer),  passing through a tunnel (Parcels Post) in a mountain (Mount Middleman)  heading toward a station (Consumer) where a crowd of people are anxiously waiting.

Postcards now cost one penny to send in the post, and after looking a t quite a few it seems that it was common to place the stamp on upside down. 
Postmarked Jan 1913 Boston Mass Roxbury Station, with a 1 cent US stamp source

Although on pre-stamped cards the stamp is the right way up. Curious….
Rates notice to landowner, January 1913, source

In Australia stamps also cost one penny.  Uniform postal rates had been established between the colonies since 1849, and with Federation in 1901 the colonial mail systems were merged into the Postmaster General's Department (or PMG). This body was responsible for telegraph and domestic telephone operations as well as postal mail.
one penny

Many rural customers took advantage of cheap Parcel Post rates to order goods and products from businesses located hundreds of miles away in distant cities for delivery by mail and mail order departments of department stores thrived.
Eatons Mail order catalogue spring and summer 1913 source

In 1913 there were no regulations against mailing a human, but in 1914 after four year old (Charlotte) May Pierstorff was mailed  from her parents in Lewiston to her grandparents in Idaho 75 miles away,  mailing of people was prohibited. The postal rate for their 48.5 pound “package” was only 53 cents, compared to around $3 for a train fare, so  Mr. and Mrs. Pierstorff bought enough stamps and a postal clerk attached them to May’s coat,labelled the shipment as a “baby chick”. put her in the train’s mail compartment. She was hand-delivered to her grandparent’s address by carrier Leonard Mochel.   Her story was the subject of a 1997 book, Mailing May
(Charlotte) May Pierstorff source

In Britain, The British Board of Film Censors received the authority to classify and censor films. BBFC was established in 1912 by the film industry, who wanted to manage their own censorship and feared the economic consequences of a largely unregulated censorship by the government.  Some decisions from the early years are now subjected to derision (I love the classification ‘horrific’ below), but the board is still going.

New year’s eve is traditionally a big evening  for police arrests, and the arrival of 1913 saw Louis Armstrong, as an 11-year-old boy in New Orleans, arrested by police after firing his stepfather's pistol to celebrate.
New Orleans "Times-Democrat" newspaper item, 2 January 1913.source
 He was sentenced by the juvenile court to 18 months at the Colored Waifs' Home, where his musical talent would be perfected, and he would go on to fame as one of America's greatest jazz artists.

Meanwhile the western portions of North and South Carolina and the adjoining parts of Georgia and
Virginia were disturbed by an earthquake shock that was felt over an elliptical area of approximately 43ooo square miles.

In Russia the Council of the Russian Empire adopted a law freeing the last of the Russian serfs, which they had managed to keep them themselves exempt from doing since 1861.

In other world news, the "Six Powers" (the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany and Japan) agreed to a $125,000,000 loan to China at 6 % interest.  Of course a few months later the Europeans would demand increased control over the Chinese government in return, although china would refuse, and in March American President Wilson would denounce the Chinese Reorganization Loan as a threat to Chinese independence, ending President Taft’s ‘Dollar Diplomacy’ in the Far East and causing US bankers withdraw the next day. The Chinese parliament system would then break down and China would became a republic and suffer riots and uprisings. They were also visited by the Admiral of the German Fleet, Prince Heinrich of Prussia, whose government had earlier negotiated a 99 year lease of Kiaochow, a 200-square-mile stretch along the Shantung Peninsula on the coast of the Yellow Sea which the Germans then developed into a port for German ships, conveniently just before the outbreak of the Great War,  ensuing that the Japanese could occupy the area.
BPK 30.025.738
Quite a busy day to start the year. Personally, I am happy to spend the day quietly reading a magazine – maybe this one?

Wouldnt it be nice?

Happy New year, Deb xx

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