Christmas 100 years ago – December 25, 1909

East Coast Christmas in 1909 is unique  to Christmas 2009 in that both Christmas’s had huge 20 inch snow storms before them! New York City was caught completely by surprise and the city was not ready to clear the streets of the snow. The broadway theater crowd got out of their plays and found that public transportation was not moving. They spent Christmas Eve stuck on trolleys and trains or Manhatten hotel rooms. There was an 86 year old crazy lady who escaped from a Sanitorium by car, and everyone was concerned about her driving ability in the snow. Twelve people died in weather related accidents. Mark Twain’s 29 year old daughter, Jean,  died on Christmas Eve. She had an epeleptic fit and was discovered dead, drowned in the bathtub,  by the maid. Mark Twain (also known as Samuel Clemens)  was to die in 1910 (with Haley’s comet) in April at age 75, outliving his wife, and all his children except for one married daughter in Europe. The big New York City news item of the day was a huge strike by girl clothing makers. Twenty thousand  girls were striking for a 52 hour work week, and a raise in their 8 cents an hour pay, and the right to unionize, and to be paid as much men (equal pay for equal work). Another item everybody was following was a guy named Frederick  Cook, who said he had reached the North Pole, but nobody believed him, so he had a nervous breakdown.

Most of this information was gotten from reading the front pages on the New York Times for December 1909.


1 Comment

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One response to “Christmas 100 years ago – December 25, 1909

  1. Catherine Emerson

    I’m absorbing the fact that the strikers were striking FOR a 52-hour work week. Meaning that the work week they had was longer than that.

    I’m blessed.

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