Friday, February 19, 2010

February 19, 1910-Typhoid Mary Mallon gains her (short-lived) freedom

1909 Newspaper Article
Wikimedia Commons

As we near the end of the winter of the Swine Flu we are reminded of another time in history, before vaccines and antibiotics, when the rapid spread of disease struck fear in the hearts of the population of New York.

In the summer of 1906, New York banker Charles Henry Warren took his family on vacation to Oyster Bay Long Island. He rented a summer home from George Thompson and his wife and looked forward to rest and relaxation in one of the most beautiful vacation spots in America. Being quite well of the family could afford to hire their own private cook for the trip and Warren and his wife hired Mary Mallon a 37 year old Irish domestic who had emigrated to the States when she was about fifteen.

On August 27, one of the Warren's daughters became ill with typhoid fever. Soon, Mrs. Warren and two maids became ill; followed by the gardener and another Warren daughter. In total, six of the eleven people in the house came down with typhoid.

Since the common way typhoid spread was through water or food sources, the owners of the home feared they would not be able to rent the property again without first discovering the source of the outbreak. The Thompsons first hired investigators to find the cause, but they were unsuccessful.

Then the Thompsons hired George Soper, a civil engineer with experience in typhoid fever outbreaks. It was Soper who believed the recently hired cook, Mary Mallon, was the cause. Mallon had left the Warren's approximately three weeks after the outbreak. Soper began to research her employment history for more clues.

Soper was able to trace Mallon's employment history back to 1900. He found that typhoid outbreaks had followed Mallon from job to job. From 1900 to 1907, Soper found that Mallon had worked at seven jobs in which 22 people had become ill, including one young girl who died, with typhoid fever shortly after Mallon had come to work for them.

Marry Mallon in North Brother Hospital Bed
Wikimedia Commons

Convinced that Mary was the source of these typhoid cases he approached her to see if she would co-operate and allow for the analysis of a stool specimen. Insulted and probably frightened, Mary refused to co-operate, twice threatening Soper with a knife. Eventually, New York Public Health Officials had to "capture" Mary and take her, against her will, to Willard Parker Hospital.

Tests at the hospital revealed Mary to be the first healthy carrier of typhoid fever in the United States. Upon discovering this the health department transferred Mallon to an isolated cottage (part of the Riverside Hospital) on North Brother Island (in the East River near the Bronx).

Mary was taken against her will and essentially imprisoned because she was a carrier of a disease that could kill others who came into contact with the food she was preparing. The incident created a myriad of moral and ethical questions for the health care professionals in the city at the time. There was a charter in place allowing for the quarantine of sick people but to imprison someone who was healthy seemed wrong.

In 1909, after having been isolated for two years on North Brother Island, Mallon sued the health department. But the judge in the case ruled in favor of the health officials and Mallon, now popularly known as "Typhoid Mary," "was remanded to the custody of the Board of Health of the City of New York." Mallon went back to the isolated cottage on North Brother Island with little hope of being released.

In February of 1910, a new health commissioner decided that Mallon could go free as long as she agreed never to work as a cook again. Anxious to regain her freedom, Mallon accepted the conditions. On February 19, 1910, Mary Mallon signed an affidavit stating that she "is prepared to change her occupation (that of cook), and will give assurance that she will upon her release take such hygienic precautions as will protect those with whom she comes in contact, from infection." She was let free.

In early 1915, twenty-five people became ill with typhoid at the Sloane maternity hospital. When workers noticed a resemblance of a cook, Mary Brown, to earlier photos of Typhoid Mary, it was found that Mary had taken a job as a cook at the hospital breaking her agreement with the Public Health Department.

Mallon was again sent to North Brother Island to live in the same isolated cottage that she had inhabited during her last confinement. For twenty-three more years, Mary Mallon remained imprisoned on the island. She would remain at North Brother until her death from complications of a stroke in 1938. An autopsy showed she still was still a carrier at the time of her death.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

February 13, 1910-ILGWU Strike Ends

Tailor Strikers 1910

In September of 1909, the workers at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory took a vote to determine whether they would continue to participate in a company-sponsored benevolent association or to organize under the United Hebrew Trades, an association of Jewish labor unions. The vote was in favor of organizing under the association, but the workers who had organized the vote were immediately fired by Triangle, and the company began advertising for replacements. In response, the workers at Triangle walked off the job, supported by Local 25 of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) which had called for a strike.

The workers, mostly teenage immigrant girls from the Lower East Side, had had enough by this time. Working in the terrible sweatshop conditions of turn of the century New York, they were no longer going to tolerate 70 hour work weeks, buying their own thread, no washroom breaks and low piece work pay.

The workers began picketing in front of the company, which hired men to help break up the strike. These men, primarily gang members working on behalf of ward bosses of Tammany Hall, disrupted the picket lines, insulting, threatening, and even being physically aggressive towards strikers. New York's police also assisted the company, arresting some of the picketers under various crimes including vagrancy and incitement. After five weeks, in response to concern that the strike might break, an emergency meeting of shirtwaist workers was called at Cooper Union.

Various labor leaders spoke to the crowd, including Samuel Gompers and Meyer London. But it was a newcomer, a woman named Clara Lemlich who called for a general strike of shirtwaist workers. Speaking in Yiddish to a mostly Jewish crowd, Lemlich described the indignities of sweatshop labor, from being insulted by bosses to not having a place to hang a hat. Her speech led to a general strike of shirtwaist workers across New York City, totaling approximately 20,000 strikers. The "Uprising of the 20,000" would be only a small step towards labour reform in the 20th century.

Employers across the industry responded as Triangle had, and within a month more than 700 women had been arrested by police, 19 of whom were sentenced to time in a workhouse. But public opinion turned against the companies. The image of young women being bullied by the police and company guards inspired sympathy, even among New York's upper crust.

The struggle and spirit of the women strikers caught the attention of suffragists. Wealthy progressive women like Anne Morgan (daughter of J.P. Morgan) , Alva Belmont and Inez Milholland (believed that all women—rich and poor—would be treated better if women had the right to vote. Alva saw the labor uprising as an opportunity to move the women strikers’ concerns into a broader feminist struggle. She arranged huge rallies, fund-raising events and even spent nights in court paying the fines for arrested strikers.

Bowing to public pressure, and concerned that the strike would continue through fashion season, the shirtwaist companies agreed in early 1910 to negotiate with the workers. Two weeks after bargaining began, an arbitrated agreement was reached on February 13,1910.

Shirtwaist Strikers 1910

The work week was to be limited to 52 hours, workers were given four holidays with pay, employers were required to supply all tools necessary for the job, and a grievance committee was established to deal with individual issues that came up.

The strike was only partially successful. A number of companies, including the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, refused to sign the agreement. But even so, the strike won a number of important gains. It encouraged workers in the industry to take action to improve their conditions, brought public attention to the sweatshop conditions.

Several months later, in 1910, the ILGWU led an even larger strike, later named "The Great Revolt", of 60,000 cloak makers. After months of picketing, prominent members of the Jewish community, mediated between the ILGWU and the Manufacturers Association. It led to the agreement in which the ILGWU won union recognition and higher wages, as well as a rudimentary health benefits program.

Though some measure of progress had been obtained, the movement would not reach its full potential for another year. In March 1911 a fire on the Triangle factory would take 146 lives. Many of the workers would not be trapped in the building because exit doors had been locked to keep out union organizers. Fire ladders which only stretched to the seventh floor could not help the workers trapped on the eighth and ninth floors. Many young women jumped to their deaths.

After the "Uprising of the 20,000" it would still take an enormous tragedy to spur on long overdue labor reform.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 10, 1910-Harry K. Thaw appeals to the Supreme Court

Stanford White
Evelyn Nesbitt

Harry Thaw

By the start of 1910 Harry K. Thaw had been an inmate at the Matteawan State Hospital for the Insane at Fishkill, New York for two years. It hadn't been so bad. He had enjoyed virtually complete freedom and was kept apart from the really crazy patients. Was Harry insane? A jury ruled that he had been temporarily insane when he murdered New York architect Stanford White in 1906 in front of 1,000 people, but still many believed it had all been a hoax.

Harry had been born into money in Pittsburgh in 1871. He was the son of coal and railroad millionaire William Thaw. A trouble maker as a child he bounced from private school to private school never distinguishing himself. Still as the son of William Thaw, it was difficult for the University of Pittsburgh to turn him away There he partied, chased women, attended cock fights and became addicted to narcotics. He later used his name and his father's influence to get into Harvard and bragged to friends that he majored in Poker.
After getting kicked out of the Ivy League school Thaw ended up in New York City where he lived off of the family money, visited brothels, attended Broadway shows, went on morphine binges and chatted up chorus girls. One of the most popular shows at the time on Broadway was a musical entitled "Floradora" playing at the Casino theatre at 1404 Broadway, at W. 39th Street. The Floradora girl that caught Thaw's eye was young Evelyn Nesbitt. Nesbitt was the model that Charles Dana Gibson had used in his drawing that started the whole Gibson Girl craze. That drawing, in turn, led to the enormous popularity of the shirtwaist in women's fashions in the first decade of the 1900's.

Nesbitt had also been the focus of White, by this time one of the most famous architects in the country. The designer of Madison Square Garden, the Washington Square Arch and the Shinnecock Hills Country Club Clubhouse, White was the toast of New York society. Harry K. Thaw was a spoiled, unbalanced rich kid from Pittsburgh. And now they were fighting over the same girl.

Eventually, Nesbitt would marry Harry K. Thaw, though most people believed it was because Thaw's mother paid her a huge amount of money to do so. Evelyn would later admit to Harry that Stanford White had earlier stolen her virtue by raping her and forcing to pose on a red velvet swing in White's lavish apartment. Harry became obsessed with the architect still further.
In June of 1906 Thaw and his wife attended a performance of the musical "Mam'zelle Champagne" at the rooftop theatre of Madison Square Garden. White also happened to be in attendance. During the performance of the shows finale-"I Could Love a Million Girls"- Thaw shot White three times at close range killing him. At first members of the audience though that the scene was part of the show.

Thaw was arrested and taken to the Centre Street Station. He was soon charged with murder and placed in the Tombs to await trial. While he was in jail, Thaw had all of his meals catered from Delmonico’s, one of New York’s finest restaurants. He also had whiskey smuggled to him and was allowed to continue playing the stock market, meeting with his broker in jail at all hours of the day and night.

His first trial in 1907 ended in a hung jury. At his second trial in 1908 Thaw's attorneys took the insanity defense to murder to new extremes, successfully arguing that Thaw suffered from "dementia Americana," a condition supposedly unique to American men that caused Thaw to develop an uncontrollable desire to kill White after he learned of White's previous affair with Nesbit. The strategy worked and he was found guilty by reason of insanity and ordered incarcerated at Matteawan.

On February 10, 1910 Thaw's attorneys launched an appeal to the Supreme Court in New York City to have him moved from Matteawan. The appeal failed and Thaw would spend five more years at the asylum. In 1915 a judge would find him sane and he was released.

The judge may have been a little off with his assessment as Thaw was jailed again in 1916. He was arrested for horsewhipping a teenager named Frederick Gump and while Thaw tried to buy off the boy’s family with over a half million dollars, he was still sent back to the mental hospital. He was kept there under tight security until his release in 1922.

Harry continued his high lifestyle of chasing young girls until his death in 1947. He would tell anyone who would listen that he was a theatrical and movie producer. There seems to be no record of anything he ever produced.

Evelyn Nesbitt would , in 1956, become a technical advisor for the Film "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing".

Friday, February 5, 2010

February 5, 1910-Turkey Mike Donlin agrees to return to the Giants-Sort of

1905 New York Giants

Mike Donlin and Mabel Hite

In the cold New York winter of 1910 people would look for anything to get their minds off of the weather and onto thoughts of spring and the baseball season. Even then the city was baseball crazy. Fans were divided between the cities' three major league teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers, The New York Highlanders and the New York Giants.

By 1910 the Giants had already won four National League pennants and one World Series which they won in 1905. They may have won another in 1904 but John McGraw, their feisty manager, was angry with American League President Ban Johnson who had suspended McGraw during his playing days.

The following year after realizing how much money he had cost his players by not playing the '04 series McGraw agreed to play and the Giants won.

This was before other professional sports like hockey ,football and basketball would come on the scene and give the New York sports fan something to occupy his time during the winter months. He would have to be happy thinking about and reading about baseball in one of the cities' 14 newspapers. Anything to do with the upcoming season would be huge news.

On February 5, 1910 Giants owner John T. Brush announced that outfielder Turkey Mike Donlin had entered into a tentative agreement and would be returning to the Giants after sitting out the previous year. Giants fans were jubilant.

You see, most people believed that Donlin was lost to the club and the game for good. Turkey Mike sat out the 1909 season over a contract dispute with Brush. Today, the amount money a player would give up by sitting out a year would lead to an agreement eventually being struck. But back in the day Mike Donlin had found that he could make more money on the vaudeville circuit than he could playing baseball.

After breaking in with the St. Louis Perfectos in 1899 Donlin had become a star. But Mike liked to drink a bit. The Perfectos, Orioles the Reds released him after alcohol related troubles. In the middle of the 1904 season he landed with the Giants and his career resurrected. He was a leader on the Giants club that won the pennant and missed the series in '04 and the one that went to the series and won in '05.

But he would also meet and marry Broadway and Vaudeville star Mabel Hite. He joined Hite's touring vaudeville tour. Other athletes had been successful in vaudeville. Christy Mathewson, Jack Johnson and Giants manager would simply go on stage and be themselves. They would tell jokes, read Shakespeare and generally be a way to draw audiences.

Donlin did this for a while but soon convinced himself he was more than just a token ball player whose name they could post on the marquis. So, much like Joe Namath and Shaquille O'Neill would do many years later, Mike set out to be a full blown thespian.

On October 26, 1908, Donlin made his stage debut in Stealing Home, a one-act play written by Donlin and Hite. Although the reviews for Donlin were mixed, critics raved over his wife's performance and the show became a smash hit. Claiming he made more money from his play, Donlin left baseball and vowed never to return.

The play ran for three successful years and was so successful that Mike never did make it back for 1910 season. The play eventually closed and Mabel was unable to land another role. Mike had to go back to baseball. But after two years off by 1911 his talents had severely disintegrated and the Giants shipped him off to Boston Rustlers after only 12 games.

After Mike finished with baseball became pals with legendary actor John Barrymore who was able to score Turkey Mike roles in numerous silent films.

He would finish his career with a .333 batting average and have three seasons in which he would score more than 100 runs. He would hit 51 home runs in the 13 years he played, prolific in the dead ball era.

Turkey Mike Donlin was one of the quirky cast of characters that made up baseball in the early 1900's. The news that he was tentatively returning to the beloved Giants was enough to brighten a cold February day.

Friday, January 29, 2010

January 28,1910-Black Hand Trial Begins in New York City

Before the term "Mafia" became synonymous with organized crime in America, the secret society known as The Black Hand was the organization to which crime reporters attributed any form of Italian organized crime. The Black Hand flourished in Sicily in the late 19th cent., and in the United States it was especially active in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century. It is estimated that at one time 90% of New York City's Italian population was blackmailed by letters threatening death and marked with a black hand. Famous incidents associated with the Black Hand include the murder (1890) in New Orleans of chief of police Daniel Hennessy and the shooting (1909), in Palermo, Italy, of Lt. Joseph Petrosino of the New York City police.

Perhaps New York’s most influential Mafioso at the beginning of the 20th century was Ignazio Saietta, redundantly known as Lupo the Wolf, who had emigrated after murdering a man in his hometown. Lupo and his partner, Giuseppe Morello ran a "murder factory" in a stable on E. 108th St near 1st Avenue. Victims here were reputedly hung on meat hooks or burned in furnaces. This stable was the scene of as many sixty murders.

The Morello gang coupled illegal activities such as extortion, blackmail, protection and murder for hire with legitimate businesses like restaurants, grocery stores , shoe repair businesses, barbershops and real estate investing. They later hooked up with Five Points gang leader Paul Kelly (born Paolo Antonio Vaccarelli) and started an endeavour whereby they strong armed people into selling their property at a cheap price.

All of these activities were facilitated by the protection of Tammany Hall who, in the first decade of the twentieth century, protected criminal activities through their control of the police department and the a large portion of the legislative branches of government. For a price Tammany leaders such as Big Tim Sullivan made sure that criminals such as Morello and Lupo were virtually immune from criminal laws.

Lupo and Morello continued to expand both their legitimate and illegitimate businesses until the fall of 1907 when a financial crisis hit Wall Street. The crisis was triggered by the failed attempt in October 1907 to corner the market on stock of the United Copper Company. When this bid failed, banks that had lent money to the cornering scheme suffered runs that later spread to affiliated banks and trusts, leading a week later to the downfall of the Knickerbocker Trust Company—New York City's third-largest trust. The collapse of the Knickerbocker spread fear throughout the city's trusts as regional banks withdrew reserves from New York City banks. Panic extended across the nation as vast numbers of people withdrew deposits from their regional banks.

Lupo and Morello incurred heavy losses due to the panic. Their conclusion was to get more heavily into a business that before now they had merely dabbled in-counterfeiting. Until 1907 they had smuggled counterfeit bills into the States from Salerno but now they decide to set up their own printing plant in the Catskills.

This proved to be a major mis-calculation on their part because while the Tammany machine could protect them from crimes in New York, counterfeiting was a federal crime.

In 1865 Abraham Lincoln had allowed for the Creation of the United States Secret Service for the express purpose of investigating counterfeiting. At the time, Counterfeit money made up one-third of the nations' currency. The Secret Service was dead serious about going after counterfeiters and they were damn good at it. So when Lupo and Morello decided to get into it in a big way they were playing with fire.

They kidnapped an Italian pressman named Comito to the Catskill pant to produce the bills, but when he could not produce the proper colour he was allowed to return to New York to procure the proper inks. There, the Feds arrested him and he broke down completely ratting out the Morello gang. The two principals and six other gang member were rounded up.

On January 28, 1910 the trial of Joe Morello, Ignazio Saietta and six co-conspirators began in a federal courtroom in New York City. When the printer, Comito, was called to testify he was given the Mafia sign of death by one of the defendants. He testified that he had personally printed about $46,000 in phony bills.

The judge received Black Hand death threats in the mail but he ignored them and all of the defendants were found guilty. Morello and Lupo were sentenced to thirty years and the two began writhing and wailing on the floor of the courtroom. Morello, it is said, let out a scream that was described as the most chilling sound that had been heard in the courtroom since a visitor had gotten mangled in an elevator.

Lupo was paroled in 1920. Morello was released in 1928 and two years later he was assassinated.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January 26, 1910-White Slave Trade Act Passed

If you were a teenage, immigrant girl living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early twentieth century life could be difficult. If you were one of the fortunate ones who had the needed skills, you might find yourself working in the thriving New York garment industry.

If you worked in a factory or sweatshop such as the large Triangle Shirtwaist Factory east of Washington Square Park you would work twelve hours a day, six days a week producing the shirtwaist blouse for a demanding public.

The shirtwaist craze had started in 1890 when artist Charles Dana Gibson had created "The Gibson Girl". In the words of Sinclair Lewis, she was the "Helen of Troy and Cleopatra of her day", but she was also a very democratic figure.

Writer Robert Bridges noted "She was the ideal girl whom many expected to find some day in flesh and blood." Most pictures of the Gibson Girl showed her wearing a shirtwaist and it had started the new centuries first fashion craze.

In the competitive garment industry of 1910 factory owners seriously underpaid and overworked their young female workers. Workers would be squeezed into overcrowded, overheated lofts and paid by the piece. Factory doors were locked and the women's purses were checked upon exit at the end of the day to make sure nobody was stealing scraps of material.

Most of these girls had been in the country a short time having just arrived from Austria, Russia and Hungary to achieve a better life. Many did not speak English. What kept them going, what they looked forward to all week was a Saturday night of dancing.

When the work week would end at around 6 pm on Saturday most of these young women would head to the dance halls and "academies" of the Lower East side for some cheap excitement. It was a way that they could relax and have some fun as well as Americanize themselves and meet a nice young man.

In the 1910's the Lower East Side was, as it had been for over fifty years, under the control of Tammany Hall the corrupt political machine that not only rigged elections but used an organized crime network protect their territory. For years Tammany ward politicians had resorted to bribery and extortion of neighbourhood proprietors to raise the funds needed to fix elections. Saloons, gambling dens and brothels paid tribute in return for local officials' ignoring local regulations.
In the first part of the twentieth century you could add dance halls to that group.
The "squeeze" would be placed on the dance hall owners by a new Tammany creation "The Cadet". He would be between eighteen and twenty-five and would have previously worked for Tammany as a bagman, messenger or lookout. Now they were able to use the dancehalls as a base of power much as the early Tammany man had used the saloon.

The cadets would make a living by doing the local Tammany ward politician's bidding. The would also keep a portion of the extortion and protection money for themselves. But the big money was to be made in prostitution and the dancehall was the place to procure the young women needed to operate such an enterprise.
The Tammany gangs who were now the most powerful in the Lower East Side had all had their origins in cheap dance halls. Paul Kelly's began in the dance halls about the lower Bowery , Monk Eastman's in those of the Russian-Jewish district below Delancey Street and Harry Horowitz, the notorious Gyp the Blood, in a hall for Galician Jews in the far East Side.

So, on Saturday evenings these young girls would flock to these halls. Unsure of themselves. Unable to speak English. Looking for excitement and romance. Many were easy prey for the cadets who would begin with the offer of dance lessons and progress through to offers of marriage and a better life.

Many of these girls would end up becoming prostitutes. Some were drugged and essentially kidnapped into the lifestyle by the Cadet. Bu there is evidence to suggest that many went willingly into partnership with the Cadet in order to escape the terrible ordeal of the sweatshop.

In either case these girls would be referred to as white slaves and the hysteria that arose over their plight was quite compelling. Reformer politicians, newspaper pundits and Greenwich Village socialists all campaigned to stop the white slave trade in New York.

So loud was the cry on that on January 26, 1910, The White Slave Traffic Act was passed. The Mann Act as it would come to be known, banned the interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes.” Its primary stated intent was to address prostitution, immorality, and human trafficking.

The first person prosecuted under the act was heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, He had an affair with a white prostitute named Lucille Cameron. Johnson married Cameron so that she could not be forced to testify against him. Belle Schreiber, a prostitute who at some point left a brothel and traveled with Johnson to another state, was next in line to testify against him. Johnson was prosecuted and sentenced to the maximum penalty of a year and a day in prison.

The ambiguous wording of the law never really put an end to Tammany's exploitation of the young girls on the Lower East Side. Their plight would only begin to improve when labour laws began to protect them and all workers from exploitation. In 1910 that was still a few years off.

Tammany's political control was beginning to wane by this time. Newly elected mayor William F. Gaynor was reforming City Hall by firing corrupt Tammany office holders and refusing to toe the line set for him by bosses Big Tim Sullivan and Charlie Murphy. It would be safe to say that Tammany was now more about its' organized crime activities and less about political corruption.

Never before had it been so difficult to tell where one ended and the other began.

Friday, January 22, 2010

January 22, 1910 - Metropolitan Life Celebrates Completion of New Tower

In the fall of 1909 construction was completed the latest record breaking skyscraper in New York. The Metropolitan Life Tower on Madison Square was now the tallest building in the world, surpassing the Singer Sewing Machine Tower completed just a year earlier.

The age of the skyscraper had started in New York a little over 20 years previous with the construction of the Tower building on Broadway just north of the Bowling Green. Architect Bradford Gilbert proposed a building with a steel-skeleton frame, which would support the weight of the building and keep the walls from being thick. This was a radically new idea and a lot of people were opposed to it because they did not think the building would stand up.

Gilbert needed to persuade the New York City buildings department to give him a permit to build because the building's department was a little wary of this new technology. But Gilbert persuaded them that this building was going to stand up by making models of the building to show how it would withstand weight and wind pressure. He built this structure between 1888 and 1889 and it was the first building in the world with a steel-skeleton frame.

Since the Tower Building the skyscrapers in New York had shot up as companies competed with each other to have the tallest building in the world. The Syndicate Building at 15 Park Row, built in 1899 held the record for nine years at 391 feet tall. In 1908 thought the Singer Sewing Machine Company built a tower that dwarfed the Syndicate at 612 feet.

But the Singer tower's reign would be short lived when the Metropolitan Life tower topped out at 700 feet. " The Met" now held the title and the prestige that went with it. To celebrate, they held a ball for a thousand people at the Astor Hotel, on Broadway, between Vesey and Barclay streets on January 22, 1910.

The company had a lot to celebrate. As a latecomer to the life-insurance behind its chief rivals, Mutual, New York and Equitable. But by 1907 Metropolitan Life claimed to have written more policies than all the other New York companies combined. The home office work force was now in excess of 2,800 and it was time for the firm to expand and proclaim its importance in an appropriate manner. Metropolitan was able to obtain a long coveted site on the corner of Madison Avenue and 24th street, that it purchased from Madison Square Presbyterian Church.

The church's minister was Charles Henry Parkhurst who since 1891 had waged war against the political corruption of Tammany Hall. Parkhurst, mostly from his pulpit, was the first to convince the public that Tammany Hall, the police, and organized crime were interconnected. The church building itself had been built in 1906 and was the last public building designed by noted architect Stanford White.

John R. Hegeman, the president of Metropolitan at the time had greatly admired the Campanile of San Marco and hired the architecture firm of LeBrun and Company to design the tower in the form of the Venetian monument. Purdy and Henderson would serve as structural engineers and Post and McCord as steelwork contractors. The building woulkd be fifty stories tall and would look out over Madison Square and the Triangle building at 175 Fifth Avenue. Itself, one of the tallest buildings in the city when built in 1902.

The tower included four silver clocks, three feet in diamter which could now be seen from just about anywhere in the city.

Head table guests at the Astor celebration included the architects, Reverend Parkhurst, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Minnesota as well as Robert E. Peary and his second General Thomas H. Hubbard who had become the first party reach the North Pole on April 6, 1909.

At this point Peary and Hubbard were on a public speaking circuit trying to dispel claims by Dr. Frederick Cook who claimed he had reached the pole a year earlier.
When introduce to speak, Peary received a rousing ovation and said "If the almighty had fashioned the North Pole on so ample lines as your tower was fashioned, and had graced the arctic moon with the clock like yours, General Hubbard and I would have found it years ago."

The Metropolitan Life Tower would hold the title of worlds' tallest building for only four short years. On April 24th, 1913 the Woolworth building would open on Broadway between Park Place and Barclay Street across from City Hall. It would stretch fifty-seven stories into the air , cost $13,500,000 and be paid for in cash by Frank Woolworth.

Only a mere twenty-two years previously the tallest building in New York had been Trinity Church built in 1846 at a height of 284 feet. Now, in the first decade of the twentieth century the tone had been set for the New York of the future.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 20, 1910 - Jack Johnson Charged with Assault

African American boxer Jack Johnson was finally the heavyweight champion of the world. He had won the World "Colored" Heavyweight Championship some in 1903 by beating Ed Martin by decision in Los Angeles. By 1910 he had amassed a record of 50 wins, 5 losses and 9 draws. Since that time he had defended the "Colored" title over twenty times but struggled to get a chance to fight for the World Heavyweight title.

World Champion Jim Jefferies had held the title from 1899 to 1905 when he retired undefeated. In 1902 Johnson had destroyed the champ's younger brother Jack Jefferies and told Champion Jim " I can lick you too". Jim Jefferies, though refused to fight black opponents. Like John L. Sullivan before him he professed to be willing to fight anyone-as long as he was white. The risk of losing the championship to a negro was too great.

After Jefferies retired the new champion, Marvin Hart "The Kentucky Plumber" who had accounted for one of Johnson's 5 losses by beating him in San Francisco in 1905 also refused to fight a negro. Hart lost the title after only one fight to a Canadian from Hanover, Ontario named Noah Brusso in 1906. Brusso, who had changed his name to Tommy Burns also initially refused to fight negroes. But after a promoter named Hugh McIntosh offered Burns $30,000 gave in and agreed to fight Jack Johnson on December 26, 1908 in Sydney, Australia. Johnson would receive $5,000.

The fight, held at the Stadium at Rushcutters Bay was stopped by police in the 14th rounds with Johnson pummelling Burns. The film crews were ordered by the police to stop filming just before Johnson knocked Burns to the canvas in the 14th. Johnson was awarded the fight on a decision but it was essentially a knockout. There is no recorded moving image of the knockout that gave Jack Johnson the world heavyweight title.

After the fight, Johnson returned to the States and the "sporting" lifestyle that he become accustomed to. He travelled openly with (and slept with) white women, Hattie McClay, Belle Schreiber, Etta Duryea and others. He frequented brothels and saloons, owned fast cars, which he usually drove too fast and made comments to the press reinforcing the white view of him as profligate, arrogant and amoral.
Most whites were enraged at Johnson's antics and a promoter named Tex Rickard saw this as an enormous opportunity. As a young man, Rickard went to the Klondike during the gold rush of the 1890s and opened a gambling hall. He later worked as a U.S Marshall. By 1906, he was running a saloon in Goldfield, Nevada, where he promoted his first boxing match. He would later found the New York Rangers hockey team and build the third Madison Square Garden.

In late 1909 Rickard offered a $101,000 guarantee plus the majority of the fight film proceeds if former champ Jim Jefferies would come out of retirement to fight Jack Johnson. The winner would get two thirds of the purse and each fighter would receive a $10,000 bonus.

Jefferies agreed to leave his alfalfa farm in California and re-enter the ring and fight Johnson on July 4, 1910. Jefferies would become the "The Great WhiteHope" and would be charged with the responsibility of retuning the Championship to its rightful race.

The fight would be held in Utah- or San Francisco- or Reno, Nevada. Wherever Rickard could get local authorities to agree to allow a sport that was now banned in many places in the United States. He also had to convince authorities that the fight was on the level. Many believed that the only way that Jefferies would come back was if Johnson agreed to lose, guaranteeing Jefferies victory.

With the money from the Burns fight as well as a guarantee of a huge payday coming up in July, Johnson should have been on easy street. But he spent his money faster than he made it. So, Johnson parlayed his fame into another stream of income, by joining the vaudeville circuit in a show entitled "Follies of the Day". In the revue Johnson joked, danced, shadow boxed and played the bass violin at which he was quote proficient. It paid him $1300 per week.

After finishing his show at the Miner's Theatre on the Bowery on January 20,1910. Johnson proceed to Barron Wilkins saloon at 253 West 35th street. Sitting at a table near the bar were two "sporting" women and Norman Pinder, described as a "small consumptive negro" Pinder bragged to the women that he had once been good friends with the champ. After Johnson joined the group an argument broke out about whether Pinder would by beer or wine for Johnson.

According to the police blotter Jack proceeded to " hit him (Pinder) with his right hand, kick him about the face and about the head, threw a chair at him, turned over a table on him and pulled out a gun from his pocket". Johnson was arraigned and posted $1,000 bail. It was not the first time he had been arrested and it certainly would not be the last.

Later in January of 1910 congress would pass the "Mann Act" which banned the interstate transport of females for “immoral purposes.” Officials would use this legislation to arrest Jack again a few years down the road as a punishment for his consorting with white women.

The charges for his assault with Pinder would eventually be dropped and after the Jefferies fight, which Johnson won, Jack would return to the New York whenever his vaudeville activities took him there. Later in 1910 he would be corralled by Tammany Hall officials to speak churches in black districts in preparation for the November elections. Johnson had always considered himself a Republican, but money talks and it would appear that Tammany came up with yet another revenue stream for the champ.

Monday, January 18, 2010

January 18,1910-Mayor Gaynor Tackles Snow Graft

Newly inaugurated New York mayor William Jay Gaynor had just completed his first two weeks on the job. After running on the Tammany ticket he had defeated Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in November. On his first day in Office, January 1, 1909 Gaynor had walked from his home at 20 Eighth Avenue in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn ( a distance of 3.5 miles) to New York City Hall. There he addressed the 1,500 people gathered to greet him: "I enter upon this office with the intention of doing the very best I can for the City of New York. That will have to suffice; I can do no more."

Gaynor had been selected by Tammany so as to give the appearance that Tammany was changing its ways and leaning towards reform. But Gaynor set about instituting real reform much to the chagrin of Charlie Murphy, the Tammany chief. In his first two weeks he Gaynor showed everyone he was not going to be another Tammany puppet by hiring qualified individuals to office instead of doling out patronage positions to Tammany office seekers. At the end of this second week he was looking forward to relaxing at his weekend farm on Long Island. But around noon on Friday a fierce snowstorm began to envelope New York.

Mayor Gaynor boarded a train for a weekend in Long Island near the height of the blizzard, but the train bogged down a mile and a half short of Hicksville. Gaynor hiked to the station and, realizing that reaching his weekend destination was impossible, chose to board a Brooklyn-bound train rather than spend the night near the station.

This time, the train for Brooklyn stalled in a drift three miles from Hicksville. Gaynor started hiking back with Charles E. Shepard , an editor for the Long Islander newspaper. Through chest-high drifts with near-zero visibility, they kept on the tracks by feeling the ground with their feet.

A wind gust knocked Gaynor down and knocked the editor through the ties of a trestle and into a gully 15 feet away. Gaynor found him unconscious. Yelling for help, he saw the red lantern of a trainman who had been following them, and told him to stay with the editor. Staggering into Hicksville, Gaynor found a doctor, who organized a rescue party. Shepard had two broken legs; Gaynor was treated for exhaustion and frostbitten ears.

Still, on the following Monday, Gaynor again walked to work from Brooklyn. "As I walked down Flatbush Avenue on my way over this morning, I noticed that all of the drivers of a long line of snow wagons which were being filled by the shovelers were standing about doing nothing or sitting on their wagons. Should they not take a shovel and help?"

When he arrived at his office that morning Gaynor's deputy street commissioner informed him of the discovery of a basement of a saloon in Brooklyn that served as a clearing house for the illegal punching of snow removal tickets. An angry Gaynor now knew that the grafting practices of the Tammany machine spread even to the city's snow removal practices. And drivers standing around and watching while others shovelled was the least of it.

In the long history of Tammany Hall corruption snow removal graft isn't something that immediately comes to mind. We think of police graft, labour racketeering, prostitution etc. But the snow removal swindle is right out of the Tammany textbook. It started with the old Tammany practice of having emergency workers pay two dollars to a Hall appointed supervisor supervisor before he would agree to put them to work for a period of time.

Next, the contractors, who had their positions because of Tammany loyalties, would purchase counterfeit snow removal vouchers from a contact Tammany had inside the city Printing office.

These tickets would then be punched and initialled by dishonest inspectors-for a fee from the contractor of course- showing that a certain amount of snow had been shovelled, carried away and dumped in a specified location. The contractor would then redeem the punched voucher-less a "handling fee" usually in a Tammany run saloon. In one case a contractor with five trucks turned in vouchers for thirteen trucks no questions asked. As long as the "Hall" was in charge everybody looked the other way.

Not very sexy, but a great way to make money off of the city for doing nothing.
Gaynor was furious and set his Commissioners about trying to find the culprit at the centre of this plan that graft hundreds of thousands of dollars whenever the city was hit with a huge storm such as the recent blizzard.

The next day, January 18, 1910 the scapegoat they came up with was Owen J. Murphy a Tammany big wig who as far as we know was no relation to Charlie Murphy. Owen was the was the Democratic leader of the Thirteenth Assembly District in Brooklyn who just happened to be the Deputy Street Cleaning Commissioner.

Upon announcing Owen Murphy's dismissal, the mayor said "Careless supervision of the Borough of Brooklyn has been given in the recent snow removal. No cards of identification were distributed; Women were paid for their supposed husbands and brothers without any proof as to whom they represented."

There would be no criminal investigation and Murphy would never be charged with a crime. He would have just faded into the Tammany wood work and been given another lower profile position in return for his loyalty to the machine.

Even though the power of Tammany was beginning to wane in 1910 they were still largely in charge of the Police and Justice systems of New York. Replacing Murphy with a reformist leaning candidate would have to suffice-Gaynor could do no more.

Friday, January 15, 2010

January 17, 1910 - "Frankenstein" Filming Begins

By 1910 the motion picture industry in the United States was growing by leaps and bounds. It had been 7 years since the release of the first great American film " The Great Train Robbery" had been produced by Edwin S. Porter for the Edison Film Company. This eight-minute film greatly influenced the development of motion pictures because of such innovations as the intercutting of scenes shot at different times and in different places to form a unified narrative, culminating in a chase to achieve primitive suspense.

"Robbery" was hugely successful and is credited with turning movies into a mass art. Small theaters called nickelodeons sprang up all over the U.S., and motion pictures began to emerge as an industry. Most one-reelers of the time were short comedies, adventure stories, or filmed records of performances by leading actors of the day.
By the second decade of the 20th century the industry benefitted greatly from the fierce competition among the major studios of the day (Edison, Biograph, Vitagraph, Essanay, Selig, Lubin, Kalem, American Star, American Pathé). Some studios were churning two and sometimes three one reel pictures per week. Unable to keep up with the stringent scheduling demands Edison placed on him by himself he hired , in 1907 a playwright and actor named J. Searle Dawley.

In the beginning Dawley would direct the actors while Porter manned the camera. Eventually Dawley took on more responsibility and soon was responsible for choosing subjects and players and having Porter routinely approve his ideas as long as they could be made within the lean budgets that Thomas Edison imposed on him. It was Dawley who 2 years earlier in 1908 had given a young stage actor named D.W. Griffith his first film acting role for a film entitled "Rescued from the Eagles Nest".
On January 17, 1910 Dawley and his crew of actors began work on a new film in the Edison studios at Decatur Avenue and Oliver Place in the Bronx. It was to be the first motion picture adaptation of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein". Written by Dawley and included and uncredited cast of Augustus Phillips as Dr. Frankenstein, Charles Ogle as the Monster, and Mary Fuller as the doctor's fiancée.

The film, which ran 12 minutes, was shot in just three days and was released a little over 2 months later on March 18, 1910. One would think this kind of mass-production timetable would have kept Edison way out in front in the dog eat dog world of the fledgling movie industry, but this was not the case.

D. W. Griffith the young actor who Dawley had hired just a short time before had himself enjoyed a meteoric rise at Edison's competitor-Biograph Studios. Shortly after his role in "Rescued from the Eagles Nest" Griffith shopped his acting services to rival Biograph who operated out of a five-story brownstone at 11 East Fourteenth Street. There, he was hired by Biograph's main director Wallace McCutcheon as an actor and perhaps as a writer. Soon after, McCutcheon grew ill and Biograph head Henry Marvin decided to give Griffith the position. Griffith then directed his first movie for the company," The Adventure of Dollie".

In the next 18 months Griffith would turn out no less than 185 films. In fact, just a month earlier, on December 13, 1909 Griffith's "A Corner in Wheat" had opened at Keith and Proctors 23rd Street Vaudeville Theater. This notable because "A Corner in Wheat" was given special billing as the closing presentation of the bill. It was the start of the process whereby movies would eventually succeed vaudeville acts in the theaters of the nation.

Shortly after "A Corner in Wheat" was released Griffith asked for a received permission to take a crew of some thirty actors and technicians to Los Angeles by train and film there for the winter months. They would leave the same week as Dawley would begin filming "Frankenstein" and although the films made during this first three month visit were not terribly distiguished, the trip would set the stage for the relocating of the American film industry to Los Angeles.

As for Dawley's "Frankenstein" it went on to moderate success. The film itself was believed lost until a collector found a print in the mid 1970's at which point it was reintroduced to film audiences. That same year, 1910, Dawley would go on to make film of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s "House of the Seven Gables". He would make 149 films between 1907 and 1926 and would refer to himself as "the first motion picture director".

One of Dawley's lasting legacies was his role in forming an organization for directors that eventually would morph into the Directors Guild of America. He was part of a group of directors promoting camaraderie amongst directors and removing competition between directors at rival studios. Before they came together, directors did all they could to impede the shoots of other directors, particularly by claiming rights to shooting locations. Dawley became the "Scenarist," with the job of secretary, of the fraternal organization that resulted from that meeting. The Motion Picture Directors Association (MPDA), which was neither a union or a guild, was incorporated in Los Angeles on June 18, 1915 as a nonprofit social organization to "maintain the honor and dignity of the profession of motion picture directors".

The man who introduced both Frankenstein and David Wark Griffith to the silver screen died in Hollywood in 1949.

January 16, 1910 - Inez Milholland arrested with Shirtwaist Strikers

Inez Milholland was a woman who was dedicated to social equity regardless of class or gender. She was a suffragist, labor lawyer war correspondent, and public speaker who greatly influenced the women's movement in America. Inez was the well to do daughter of John Milholland who in the later part of the 19th century had developed a pneumatic tube system for transporting messages throughout the cities of New York and Philadelphia. It made him a millionaire.

Like many young women of the day who had been born into wealth, she had a conscience sensitive to the plight of the disenfranchised. She would be romantically linked to Guglielmo Marconi, socialist orator Max Eastman and would eventually marry Eugen Jan Boissevain an Dutch importer, but in early January 1910 she was seeing a Lieutenant Henry W. Torney of the United States army. One can only imagine what would attract the young socialist who went on to lead protests against World War 1 to an army lieutenant.

On the evening January 16, 1910 Milholland and Torney found themselves walking past a group of Female "Shirtwaist" strikers in from of a waist factory on Waverley Place just west of Washington Square Park. Inez, by now had graduated from Vassar and was studying law at New York University. It is unclear if she and Torney were on their way to a date or if the meeting of the strikers was the date. As the picketing strikers passed a few of the women stopped to speak to Milholland and that is when the trouble started.

The picketers were part of what would be known as the Uprising of the 20,000. The Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) had begun a general strike in November 1909 to protest the horrid working conditions in the sweatshops of the garment industry. It was essentially a female strike as 80 % of the shirtwaist and dressmaker were teenage immigrant women. Some worked as many as 13 hours per day, 6 days a week and since they were paid on a piece work basis sometimes made as little as $9.00 per week. Fines and dismissals enforced labor discipline.

Work that had been previously done by immigrant women in tenement apartments was now being done in modern factories such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Company on Washington Place. Triangle owners Isaac Harris and Max Blanck had capitalized on the "Shirtwaist" craze of the early 20th century driven by Charles Dana Gibson's "Gibson Girl". But by 1909 they had become increasingly fearful of labour unrest. Exit doors were kept locked to keep out union organizers and workers were forbidden to speak with one another while working. But through meetings at Cooper Union and Carnegie Hall the Union gained momentum and called a general strike on November 22, 1909.

From November 24-the first day of picketing-the strikers were met with resistance from both the police as well as organized gangs working in concert with the Tammany Hall machine to break the strikers. Picketers were arrested by police under the premise of being "street walkers" and many were beaten by the gang members from the lower east side who Tammany had hired in return for kickback from the wealthy factory owners. The women persisted and many of the smaller factories settled in December of 1909.

Still, in early 1910 many of the larger factories held out. And it was into this scenario that Inez Milholland and Lieut. Torney found themselves on January 16. As picketers stopped to chat with Inez , police from the nearby Mercer Street station started to arrest strikers for disorderly conduct. She and Torney followed to the arraignment and were also arrested at that time. John Milholland bailed out Inez and Torney put up as bond 4,000 acres of land in Essex County worth about $200,000. The charges against the two were later dropped but some of the strikers were fined and other sentenced to 3-5 days in the jails on Blackwell's Island.

The "Uprising of the 20,000" would eventually be settled in early February 1910 as the larger shops such as the Triangle took back their workers at higher pay and shorter hours. Harris and Blanck, the Triangle owners "recognized the union but only in the sense that they no longer prohibited membership. They had successfully resisted the "closed shop".

Inez Millholland would go on to become one of the main social activists of the early 20th century championing suffrage and anti-war movements. In spite of suffering from pernicious anemia she continued to campaign for the causes she believed in despite her doctors warnings. On 22nd October, 1916, she collapsed in the middle of a speech in Los Angeles and passed away a month later at the age of 30.

The great strike of 1909-1910 -the first real women's strike-was only moderately successful, but it did bring nation-wide attention to the plight of the workers. Ultimately the Uprising bettered the lives of hundreds and thousands of workers. It would lead, in turn, to other strikes over working hours and pave the way for better planned and more successful strikes such as the "Great Revolt of 1910 where 60,000 cloak makers forced employers to sign a "Protocol of Peace" calling for a 50 hour work week, the elimination of homework and the recognition of the union.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 13, 1910 - Rhinelander Waldo Becomes Fire Commissioner

It was January 13, 1910 and radio history was being made. Lee De Forest, one of the fathers of the electronic age was producing the world's first public radio broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. The concert featured Enrico Caruso and Emmy Destinn singing arias from Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci. In the audience that night 32 year old Rhinelander Waldo was relaxing at the end of a busy day. Earlier that day he had been appointed New York's Fire Commissioner.

In the New York City of 1910, Rhinelander Waldo was regarded as one the "catches" of society. At 33 years of age he was one of the best known young men of the Rheinlander-Gallatin-Stewart families. As the son of Francis W. Waldo and Gertrude Rhinelander he stood to inherit a large portion of one of the largest and oldest fortunes in the city.

Educated at the Berkeley School, the Columbia School of Mines and West Point, Rhinelander Waldo decided on a military career where he served all throughout the North Luzon campaign after the American occupation of the Philippines in the Spanish American War. As Captain of the Constabulary Filipino Scouts he was the Military Governor of Mindanao, a city of 40,000 inhabitants when he was barely 25.

After fighting through the campaign to put down the Moro rebellion from 1903-1905 he resigned from the Army with the rank of Captain and returned to the city. He found that in the corrupt world of Tammany Hall New York he was already well connected.

The Rhinelander family had been tied to Tammany Hall for decades and had used the powers of city government to get grant after grant for virtually nothing. In return the family provided funding through kickbacks or campaign contributions which "The Hall" used for political influence. Rhinelander parlayed these connections as well as his distinguished military record into a plum position mere weeks after returning from the army.

General Theodore A. Bingham, with a gentle push from the Tammany administration that ran City Hall, named Rhinelander Waldo the city's first Deputy Police Commissioner. For reasons that are unclear, Waldo resigned the post and in 1907 Mayor George McClellan Jr. (Son of the famous Civil War General) selected him to organize the new water police for the Catskill Aqueduct. But by 1909 McClellan was causing trouble within the Tammany ranks by resisting Tammany's requests for patronage appointments and corrupt dealings.

Tammany Boss Charlie Murphy saw to it that McClellan was replaced on the Tammany ticket in that year's mayoralty election by a judge from Brooklyn named William Jay Gaynor. This was done in response for citywide calls for reform, but Gaynor's term would be marked with even greater corruption-especially in the police department.
Gaynor was going to have to play things Tammany's way. And one of his first tasks-on January 13, 1910- was to appoint Rhinelander Waldo as the city's new Fire Commissioner. Waldo might not be the best candidate, but he came from a family that Tammany had to keep happy. Charlie Murphy knew what side his bread was buttered on. He also had installed a fire commissioner that could run things in concert with Tammany's political motives.

Such was the nature of a Tammany appointment. Rhinelander Waldo, from an important "Knickerbocker" New York family, well educated, decorated war hero accepted the position of that of a puppet. Under Tammany's control the fire department could shield the factories and sweatshops whose owners lined its pockets free from regulations necessitating expensive sprinkler systems and fire escapes. It was part of a "protection" that Tammany offered to go along with its union busting services.

Rhinelander Waldo would be fire commissioner at the time for the great Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in which 146 people, mostly teenage female immigrant sewing machine operators lost their lives- March 25, 1911. It was during a time when the fire departments still responded with horse drawn pumps and ladders only reached to the 7th floor of buildings.

The Triangle company occupied the 8th 9th and 10th floor of the Asch building just east of Washington Square Park in Greenwich. Most of the victims either burned or leapt to the deaths. In the inquiry that followed Waldo would testify that fire escapes and sprinkler systems would have been dealt with under the jurisdiction of the Building Department who had failed to act on Fire Code violations that Waldo's department had discovered. It was the Tammany two-step at its best and distracted the investigators long enough to absolve the Fire Department from any real blame in the matter.

In an article in the New York Times on April 9, 1911 Waldo he insisted that the role of the Fire Department was to extinguish fires and that a separate Bureau of Fire Prevention to be established. This bureau would be responsible for enforcing regulations that governed things such as sprinkler systems and fire escapes. Even in the early 20th century, the answer to ineffective government bureaucracy was more bureaucracy.

Less than 2 months after the Triangle Fire Waldo was hustled out of the Fire Commissioners job and into the job of Police Commissioner. On May 23, 1911 he replaced James C. Cropsey after Cropsey quit citing interference from Mayor Gaynor and Tammany. Rhinelander Waldo was only too glad to be interfered with and immediately set up (at Tammany's request) a strong arm squad to give the appearance of cleaning up corruption among the city's police force. In charge of this strong arm force he placed Lieutenant Charles Becker -a corrupt, grafting Tammany operative who went on to become the only New York City policeman executed for murder.

But that is another story for another time.