Entries for September 2010

September 7, 2010

What you’ve missed if you don’t read SundayMagazine.org

My analytics tell me that the majority of Ironic Sans readers don’t follow my side project SundayMagazine.org so I thought I’d do a little roundup here of some of the articles you’re missing out on if you’re not a SundayMagazine.org reader:

[Reminder: SundayMagazine.org is where I reprint the most interesting articles from the New York Times Sunday Magazine from 100 years ago each weekend with some notes for historic context or commentary]

• The night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre, there was another couple in the private box with Abe and his wife. They were young and in love, invited guests of the Lincolns. Imagine how that night affected them, and guess how their story ends. It is perhaps even more tragic and gruesome than the Lincolns’ story. Read it here.

• There was an international conference in 1910 to consider revising the calendar so that it doesn’t change from year to year. One of the proposals actually makes pretty good sense to me. Read it here.

• A look at 1910s state-of-the-art motion picture special effects and how they were done. Read it here.

• A fascinating description, complete with illustrations, of how to fly an airplane. Read it here.

• The details of a murder that was overshadowed by a more prominent murder. To this day, the case remains unsolved. Read it here.

• An anecdote about a case of mistaken identity at the theater that tells us something about class differences in 1910. Read it here.

• Leonid Andreyev was considered Russia’s answer to Edgar Allen Poe. The Sunday Magazine serialized one of his stories, The Man Who Found The Truth over four weeks. I posted the entire story complete with illustrations as a PDF, and also linked to the free ebook edition. Read it here.

• As an aside during an otherwise slow week, I published an 1890 article about telegraph operators. They got to know each other so well that they could identify each other based on Morse code tapping style, and could even determine the gender of an operator by how he or she taps. Plus, they used abbreviations that share a lot in common with today’s text-messaging. Read it here.

• As air travel became popular, people came up with all sorts of related patents. This article is about some of the more absurd patents, including illustrations. I’m a fan of the airship powered by eagles. Read it here.

• A study sought to determine whether or not you can predict a person’s musicality based on the shape of the ear. Read it here.

• One man had a license to hunt in Central Park. In fact, it was his job. And he tried to get his work done without bothering tourists. Read it here.

• I had no idea that the first ascent of Mt. McKinley was filled with such drama. The first person to claim victory turned out to be a liar. And the first party to really reach the top had no climbing experience. So how could they have done it? Were they lying, too? Read it here.

• Circus clowns are serious people out of the ring, but nobody treats them with any humanity. This article tells a clown’s sad tale, and I follow up by describing the tragic turn his life took after the article was written. Read it here.

• A 14-year-old kid was the president of the first amateur radio club in America. When Congress was considering regulating the airwaves, he went and testified before Congress. He had a lot of smart things to say, and I saw a lot of parallels between his 1910 radio club and the computer clubs of the 1970s. Read it here.

Those are just a handful of examples. I usually put up 5 articles each week, give or take. If you like what you see, check out the SundayMagazine.org archives, and subscribe to the RSS.