Today in 1939 W.H. Auden's poem, "September 1, 1939," contemplates the plight of the world from a "52nd Street dive," as the Second World War begins in Europe.
This Day in History
Support the New-York Historical Society
Help us present groundbreaking exhibitions and develop educational programs about our nation's history for more than 200,000 schoolchildren annually.
The New-York Historical Society and NYC Media, the official network of the City of New York, have partnered to produce a special series of 90 one-minute videos that feature the staff of the New-York Historical Society as they answer some of the most captivating questions ever posed to them about the City’s fascinating and unique history. And now, the series has been nominated for a New York Emmy award!
In 1882 Joseph Richardson owned a 5-by-102-foot parcel of land at the northwest corner of 82nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Two businessmen offered him $1,000 for it. He spurned the offer and built a four-story house (two houses, really) with specially designed furniture. Richardson and his wife lived there until his death in 1897. After Richardson's death, his daughter and her stepmother battledo ver the house. It was torn down in 1915.
There was a feud between two actors: Britisher William Charles Macready and American Edwin Forrest. When Macready appeared at the new Astor Place Opera House in May 1849, riots broke out as a result of the cultural clash between the genteel clientele and Forrest's fans, working-class "Bowery boys" claiming access to the new theater. The melee resulted in twenty-two deaths.
Formerly, New York City had up to four residential mail deliveries a day. This was reduced to two by 1940, and the second residential delivery was eliminated in 1950. Multiple mail deliveries to businesses continued into the 1990s, but for many years now, New Yorkers have been used to getting mail at home only once a day, in the afternoon.
The term "orphan trains" refers to the trains that carried poor urban children to western and midwestern states to be placed with foster parents. The program was started by Charles Loring Brace of the Children's Aid Society, but soon had many imitators. It began around 1850 and ran for nearly eighty years. The number of children "placed out" is estimated to have been over 250,000.
In 1969 13-year-old Alice De Rivera filed a lawsuit against Stuyvesant, charging discrimination on the basis of sex. The Board of Education announced that girls would be admitted if they could qualify scholastically. Nine girls started at Stuyvesant in September 1969; Alice De Rivera, whose family had moved away, was not one of them.
She is the first self-made, female millionaire. Born Sarah Breedlove to slaves in Louisiana in 1867, Walker married at 14 but was left a widowed mother at 20. Despite this, she generated her fortune by selling "Madam Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower," her own creation, to African-American women. She settled in Harlem in 1916 and was a philanthropist until her death in 1919.