Tag Archives: 19th century

The Original French Zouaves: A Novel Military Entertainment

(The Charleston Mercury, November 21, 1861) The body of original French Zouaves, whose wonderful exhibitions of feats in gymnastics, the bayonet exercise and light infantry drill, have been so popular in New Orleans and other Western cities, are soon to pay a visit to Charleston.

These are some of those gay and gallant Soldiers of the Crimea, who instituted a theatre on the battle field, and during many of their representations were attacked by the Russians, and who, leaving the performance unfinished – even dressed in female attire – seized their carbines, assisted to repel the assailants.

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.


The Revolution: Notes About Women (December 1870)

In addition to it the original writing, The Revolution sometimes included what we now call a Listicle where they shared short items picked up from other papers or in letters written to the editors.

Some items were just relayed while others have a little editorial comment added. Those comments are in italics below.

Notes About Women

  • · “Feminary” is a new Western expression for female seminary.
  • · For the first time in thirty years the New Haven county jail is without a female prisoner.
  • · A charming girl in Covington, Ky., last week, giggled to the extent of dislocating her lower jaw.
  • · Mary Louise Boree is the first purely African girl whom the New Orleans schools have graduated as a teacher.
  • · New York young ladies are forming “walking clubs,” for the purpose of walking eight or ten miles a day.
  • · A German woman living at Batavia, N. Y., has this fall husked with her own hands over three hundred bushels of corn.
  • · Here is a specimen of wood-craft: “Miss Caroline Wood, of Iowa, has reclaimed 160 acres of wild prairie land, and has planted 200 fruit and 4,000 maple trees, all with her own hands.
  • · “A girl who has lost her beau may as well hang up her fiddle.” Yes, poor soul; there is nothing for her to hope for now, this side the grave. [Sarcastic humor was a hallmark of some Suffrage paper
    editors.] (more…)


The Sagacity of Dogs (1857)

(Provincial Freeman – January 31, 1857) Among the many curious, yet well authenticated anecdotes, illustrating the wonderful sagacity of reasoning powers of the canine race, the following deserves a place:

A large New Foundland dog belonged to the captain of a ship engaged in the trade between Nova Scotia and Greenock. On one occasion, the captain brought from Halifax a beautiful, cat which formed a particular acquaintance with Rover; and these two animals of such different natures were almost inseparable during the passage.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.


Fifteen Rules for the Preservation of Health (October 1860)

This list appeared in the October 1860 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book. In that year, this magazine was one of the most read widely publications in America. When the publisher avoided “taking sides” during the Civil War, readership dropped to two-thirds of its prewar subscriber base.

Our collection provides the complete run of Godey’s Lady’s Book, and is the only one containing the color plates as they originally appeared.

Fifteen Rules for the Preservation of Health

  1. Pure atmospheric air is composed of nitrogen, oxygen, and a very small proportion of carbonic acid gas. Air once breathed has lost the chief part of its oxygen, and acquired a proportionate increase of carbonic acid gas; therefore, health requires that we breathe the same air only once.
  2. The solid parts of our bodies are continually wasting, and require to be repaired by fresh substances; therefore, food, which is to repair the loss, should be taken with due regard to the exercise and waste of the body.
  3. The fluid part of our bodies also wastes constantly; there is but one fluid in animals, which is water; therefore, water only is necessary, and no artifice can produce a better drink.
  4. The fluid of our bodies is to the solid in proportion as nine to one; therefore, a like proportion should prevail in the total amount of food taken.
  5. Light exercises an important influence upon the growth and vigor of animals and plants; therefore, our dwellings should freely admit the solar rays.
  6. Decomposing animal and vegetable substances yield various noxious gases, which enter the lungs and corrupt the blood; therefore, all impurities should be kept away from our abodes, and every precaution observed to secure a pure atmosphere.
  7. Warmth is essential to all the bodily functions; therefore, an equal bodily temperature should be maintained by exercise, by clothing, or by fire.
  8. Exercise warms, invigorates, and purifies the body; clothing preserves the warmth the body generates; fire imparts warmth externally; therefore, to obtain and preserve warmth, exercise and clothing are preferable to fire.
  9. Fire consumes the oxygen of the air, and produces noxious gases; therefore, the air is less pure in the presence of candles, gas, or coal-fire than otherwise; and the deterioration should be repaired by increased ventilation.
  10. The skin is a highly-organized membrane, full of minute pores, cells, bloodvessels, and nerves; it imbibes moisture, or throws it off, according to the state of the atmosphere and the temperature of the body. It also “breathes,” as do the lungs (though less actively). All the internal organs sympathize with the skin; therefore, it should be repeatedly cleansed.
  11. Late hours and anxious pursuits exhaust the nervous system, and produce disease and premature death; therefore, the hours of labor and study should be short.
  12. Mental and bodily exercise are equally essential to the general health and happiness; therefore, recreation and study should succeed each other.
  13. Man will live most healthily upon simple solids and fluids, of which a sufficient but temperate quantity should be taken; therefore, strong drinks, tobacco, snuff, and opium, and all mere indulgences, should be avoided.
  14. Sudden alternations of heat and cold are dangerous, especially to the young and the aged; therefore, clothing in quantity and quality should be adapted to the alternations of night and day, and of the seasons. Drinking cold water when the body is hot, and hot tea and soups when cold, are productive of many evils.
  15. Moderation in eating and drinking, short hours of labor and study, regularity in exercise, recreation and rest, cleanliness, equanimity of temper, and equality of temperature, are the great essentials to that which surpasses all wealth— health of mind and body.



A Moment in the Decades Long Battle Against American Slavery

When looking back at important social justice movements, it is very easy to lose sight of the duration of the movement.  Our eyes jump to key events like the passage of the 14th and 19th amendments ending slaving and guaranteeing women the right to vote, or passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 that put largely ended mass child labor in the United States, and we sometimes forget that each of those key moments were the result of generations long efforts by people standing up to injustice and cruelty.

Women were fighting for voting rights before the Civil War ended in 1865, but a federal guarantee of that right did not come to pass until 55 years later in 1920.  There were people speaking out against the institution of slavery in the American colonies before the Revolutionary War. (See Timeline of Events Relating to the End of Slavery)

This meeting report on resolutions passed by the West Newbury Anti-Slavery Society  was printed in the September 24, 1841 issue of The Liberator. I was over 24 more years before the United States banned slavery with the ratification of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865.

One thing we can take from this is the knowledge that while change rarely happens quickly, it does happen if the people confronting injustice do not give up hope and never stop fighting.

William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator was a weekly abolitionist newspaper published in Boston. The paper held true to the founder’s ideals. Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated the immediate emancipation of all slaves and gained a national reputation for being one of the most radical of American abolitionists.

WEST NEWBURY, Sept. 6, 1841.

Brother. Garrison:

Agreeably to a vote passed at the annual meeting of the West Newbury Anti-Slavery Society, the following preamble and resolutions, offered by A.P. Jaques, at the last quarterly meeting, and, subsequently, unanimously adopted, are now offered for publication in the Liberator: (more…)

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