Tag Archives: 19th century

Medal of Honor Established on July 12, 1862

The Medal of Honor was established by an act of Congress on July 12, 1862, early in the American Civil War, to give recognition to men who distinguished themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity” in combat with an enemy of the United States.

Medal of honor awarded to Private Wilbur F. Moore of Co. C, 117th Illinois Infantry Regiment

Medal of honor awarded to Private Wilbur F. Moore of Co. C, 117th Illinois Infantry Regiment

The Medal of Honor is usually presented by the President in a formal ceremony at the White House, intended to represent the gratitude of the American people, with posthumous presentations made to the primary next of kin.

In 1990, Congress designated March 25 annually as “National Medal of Honor Day”. Due to its prestige and status, the Medal of Honor is afforded special protection under U.S. law against any unauthorized adornment, sale, or manufacture, which includes any associated ribbon or badge.

The Medal of Honor Roll was established by Act of Congress, April 27, 1916, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 560. It provides that each Medal of Honor awardee may have his name entered on the Medal of Honor Roll. Each person whose name is placed on the Roll is certified to the Veterans’ Administration as being entitled to receive a special pension of $100 per month for life, payable monthly by that agency. The payment of this special pension is in addition to, and does not deprive the pensioner of any other pension, benefit, right, or privilege to which he is or may thereafter be entitled. (more…)


What Shall Women Wear? (1869)

by A. K. Gardner, M. D.

Women are born slaves. From their very birth they are fettered, and till they are laid in their coffin their limbs are never free. Petticoats float around their forms in airy fetters, which prohibit any free movement, which debars them from running, jumping, ascending hills or stairs, riding, active walking—in fact, of any prolonged movement requiring freedom of limb and unconstrained action. The only species of mankind that can be compared to her is the Turk, who fetters his limbs in almost an equal manner, but otherwise he is free.

Woman, additionally, however, restrains the use of her arms almost as much as her lower extremities. Often she envelops them with a flappy covering, which is constantly in the way, getting into one’s soup-plate, catching on every hook, nail, knot and projection. But if by chance of fashion it be tight and less obnoxious at a dinner party, the sleeve commences so low down upon the arm that it is impossible to elevate the hand even up to the head, far less to be able to reach to turn on the gas, to put a book on a shelf, to open a window, even to arrange a stray lock upon the head, and all hairdressing must be done before the garments are put on, or devolved upon an assistant waiting-maid.

As if this were not sufficient restraint, the fabrics from which her garments are made are of such flimsy material that they can ill suffer the slightest contact with the ordinary objects that surround them—a thorn, a splinter, or a nail brings desolation and incapacity; a drop of rain or a spark of fire are alike fearful, and the care and time necessary to safely pass a splash upon the sidewalk is only less than the difficulty man experiences in getting around the voluminous trains of the lady herself.

It would be useless to inquire “What shall women wear?” if the question had reference to the decrees of fashion, for, besides the fact stated already, that woman so dresses herself that she is rendered incapable of any active employment, she is also so completely under the thralldom of fashion, that it would be useless for me to make any attempt to interfere with or regulate the style of her external apparel.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.


A Look at the Kinder Garten

The Kinder Garten was instituted in Germany about thirty years, ago. Its founder was Frederic Froebel. Its name implies what it is, a school for children. No books are used, but instruction is imparted by stories, games, objects, and some light physical labor, to which must be coupled the fact that each child has a little garden in the school grounds, appropriated to its sole use, where it can indulge in horticultural tastes to its fullest extent.

Friedrich Fröbel

Friedrich Fröbel

The institution, we are told, was for awhile looked upon as a Quixotism of the founder, but when it turned out to be but the inception of a grand educational plan, afterwards propounded, it quickly became popular, and is now almost inseparable from the German schools of higher grade. The design of the author was to separate the knowledge or thought of study from the early acquirements of youth.

The interior of one of these schools is described by visitors to them as a great curiosity In one at Bremen the children are arranged in classes, and have patterns before them for everything they do, the teacher superintending the labor, and every pains is taken to impart as much elementary instruction as possible. The moment the pupil shows signs of fatigue or uneasiness the employment is changed. All weariness is avoided. The room for exercises is very large, and neatly ornamented. The boys and girls all enter promiscuously and are ordered to assume some position corresponding to the story the teacher is about to tell. It may be that of a regiment, as the teacher narrates the incidents of a certain battle. First comes a battle song, in which all join. Then the battle commences in earnest. After the victory a peaceful tale is narrated in verse, all joining in the chant and all assuming attitudes to suit the different styles of narration and subjects. So the exercises are continually varied, and the child learns while amusing itself.

Certain doctors, more sensitive on such matters than sensible, think that religious instruction is too much neglected in these schools. They do not object to the training as far as it goes, nor the complete code of morals adopted for their control; but, oh! the infant should learn metaphysics, and the doctrine of Christianity, and many other such things which not only belong to mature years, but which, alas! are even then too deep for human comprehension.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.

Source: The Revolution, July 16, 1868
Image Source: Mother’s songs, games and stories: Fröbel’s “Mutter-und Kose-Lieder” (1888)


Scene of the Fatal Explosion in Philadelphia

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.

Our illustration represents the scene of the explosion of a steam-boiler, which occurred on the afternoon of June the 6th, at the steam saw-mill, occupied by Geary & Ward, No. 1,024 Sansom street, Philadelphia.

The explosion occurred at about six in the afternoon, and reduced the structure to a mass of ruins, nearly every person about the building being buried beneath the debris. Search was immediately commenced for the unfortunate beings, but before any of them were rescued, a fire broke out where the most of them were buried, and in a very short space of time the entire pile of rubbish was one mass of flames.

The shrieks of the men who were thus fastened in the very jaws of death were heartrending in the extreme, but all efforts of the firemen to rescue those who were smothering and burning to death were unavailing. About eight o’clock the fire was subdued, and search at once commenced. In a few minutes a number of bodies, blackened, scarred and disfigurred beyond recognition, were removed. The search continued during the entire night, and is still progressing. Ten bodies have been recovered from the ruins, and others it is feared are lost.



Sleep Talking – Godey’s Lady’s Book May 1832

This is merely a modification of somnambulism, and proceeds from similar causes, namely, a distribution of sensorial power to the organs of speech, by which means they do not sympathize in the general slumber, but remain in a state fit for being called into action by particular trains of ideas.

If, for instance, we dream that we are talking to some one, and if these organs are endowed with their waking share of sensorial power, we are sure to speak. Again, the mere dream, without a waking state of the organs, will never produce speech; and we only suppose we are carrying on conversation, although, at the time, we are completely silent. To produce sleep talking, therefore, the mind, in some of its functions, must be awake and the organs of speech must be so also. The conversation, in this state, is of such subjects as our thoughts are most immediately occupied with; and its consistency or incongruity depends upon that of the prevailing ideas being sometimes perfectly rational and coherent: at other times full of absurdity.

The voice is seldom the same as in the waking state. This I would impute to the organs of hearing being mostly dormant, and consequently unable to guide the modulations of sound. The same fact is observable in very deaf persons, whose speech is usually harsh, unvaried, and monotonous. Sometimes the faculties are so far awake, that we can manage to carry on a conversation with the individual, and extract from him the most hidden secrets of his soul. By such means things have been detected, which would otherwise have remained in perpetual obscurity.