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American Foundation 



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has also written: 


"Charming, rambling book of notes on old New 
York. . . . Any New Yorker can have a good 
time strolling the city streets with Mr. Brown's 
book."— Lewis Gannett, in The New York 

"This delightful volume is not, and is not meant 
to be, a formal history of New York. Rather it 
is the panorama of the progress of the city 
from the days of the Indians to the coming of 
the steam engine . . . which reveals the heart of 
the city all the more certainly because it is so 
objective."— The Boston Evening Transcript. 

"There is, of course, nobody else so well quali- 
fied to write such a book, and I have found it 
completely absorbing."— Herschel Brickell, in 
The New York Post. 

"Mr. Brown serves up New York as one who 
appreciates its savors."— The Springfield Re- 

Published by 


Founder of the Museum of the City of New York 
Author of 
"The Story of Old New York" etc. 





First Printing September, 1935 

Second Printing September, 1935 




To G. A. Z. 

1/a^ MeUrvo, <?/** *^-(f J P" 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation 


The author wishes to acknowledge 

his gratitude for the use of the 

illustrations, selected by him from 

contemporary publications. 


Duttons remind me this morning that I practically promised 
a second book on the story of Old New York in which I 
would complete the narrative. Here it is: 

New York is an interesting town to write about. As a city, 
we are still very young, and historic atmosphere comes only 
with age. We cannot halt you at a street corner and say: In 
this building England's greatest Queen saw As You Like It 
played for the first time with her friend, "Will" Shakespeare, 
in the cast; or this is where Mme. DuBarry worked as a little 
milliner, when the Grand Monarch found her. 

But we can say: Here is where old Peter Stuyvesant lies, last 
and greatest of the Dutch Governors. He is dead; pray for 
him. And here, with tears coursing down his cheeks, Wash- 
ington, great leader of the Revolution, bade farewell to his 

And, best of all, we are slowly, but surely, beginning to ap- 
preciate our priceless heritage. I know that from the letters 
I receive. 

So it seems to me that I am right in saying that the back- 
ground of New York is now more mellow, more alluring than 
seems apparent at first glance. And it now has its own Museum 
for the preservation of such bygone treasures as are committed 
to its reverent care. 

And we have many firms more than a hundred years old 
and are rapidly adding to the number. They may not all 
possess the atmosphere of that Fleet Street firm in London, 
who sold the tea that was thrown overboard in Boston Har- 
bor, which started the Revolution, and are still doing busi- 


dui OnjiLxjvL 

ness at the old stand. The shop where Lord Nelson, England's 
greatest naval hero, bought his stockings, is also still doing 
business. The gallant sailor walked in one day after he had 
lost his arm in a fight with a treasure ship off Cadiz, and was 
met with the sympathy and regret of the proprietor over his 
misfortune. "Lucky for you it was not a leg," said Nelson. 
"Y'see, I want another dozen pairs of silk stockings." Nelson's 
orders in writing are still preserved in the old shop. They do 
not tell you, however, that when Nelson's body was brought 
home from Trafalgar Bay, for burial, it was preserved in a 
cask of rum, as was the embalming method of that day; nor 
that the sailors bored holes in the cask and drank up all the 

Returning for a moment to my first book on this story of 
Old New York. Some of my critics, not in a spirit of carping 
criticism, but solely in the interest of Truth and Accuracy, 
are sorely distressed by occasional lapses of omission or com- 
mission. Let them be comforted. Who am I to claim infalli- 

It was the lovable young English poet, John Keats, who 

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken; 
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes 
He stared at the Pacific— and all his men 
Looked at each other with a wild surmise- 
Silent upon a peak in Darien. 

And it wasn't Cortez at all, who gazed upon the Pacific, but 

Then, renowned Lord Macaulay, writing of General 
Schomberg, said: "The illustrious warrior was laid to rest in 
that venerable abbey, hallowed by the dust of many genera- 
tions of princes, heroes and poets." 

Alas! for the great English historian, Schomberg was not 
buried in Westminster at all, but in Dublin. 



So, not to be outdone by either Keats or Macaulay, I neg- 
lected to record two most important items; the visit of Ben- 
jamin Franklin, in search of a job, to the print shop of 
William Bradford, who had just started the Gazette, the first 
newspaper to be printed in New York. "When I arrived in 
New York," writes Franklin, in his autobiography, "I im- 
mediately repaired to the shop of one William Bradford who 
had commenced the publishing of a newspaper. Mr. Brad- 
ford received me courteously but was sorry to inform me that 
he had already more hands than work for them to do. But his 
brother in Philadelphia, Alexander Bradford, had just lost 
his head man and perhaps if I went there I might find the em- 
ployment I was seeking. 

"Philadelphia was ninety miles further away, but on this 
slender hope I determined to go there." 

Thus was the great philosopher lost to the City of New 

The second omission, equally deplorable, concerned 
Washington's third and last visit to our city before the Rev- 
olution. He was still an unknown Virginia planter. He had 
come for the purpose of entering young "Jacky" Custis as a 
fellow-student in Kings College with Alexander Hamilton, 
DeWitt Clinton, and the others. He left a sum of money with 
good Dr. Myles Cooper, President of the College, with strict 
injunctions that Jacky was not to have any "advances" with- 
out special permission from home. Daddy was still slightly ap- 
prehensive of the lure of the wicked city for an unsophisticated 
young man from fast-riding, hard-playing, deep-drinking, but 
wholly virtuous Virginia. So Jacky must strictly abjure the 
primrose path of dalliance. Oh, dear! 

His business with the college finished, Washington repaired 
for the night to the little tavern on the corner of Broadway 
and Thames Street, the Province Arms, kept by Samuel 

What did mine host of the inn discuss with the young 
gentleman from far-off Virginia? Whom else did he meet ere 

<J /teXoce 

mounting his horse in the morning for the long ride back to 
Mount Vernon? All that and more we would like to know. 
But history is silent. 

An ex-New Englander, now residing in the West, is much 
incensed at my remarks on Boston in the War of 1812 and 
says that to read my stuff no one would suppose that there 
had ever been any heroes in New England at all. 

I never said that. The whole world recalls two, at least, 
with an affection deep and abiding— Mary and her little 

"Mary" was a real person; her full name was Mary Eliza- 
beth Sawyer. Her lamb was one of twins forsaken by an un- 
natural mother. Mary took it home and cared for it herself. 
They became fast friends and when Mary left for school in the 
morning, to be gone all day, her pet missed her very much; 
so one day it followed her. At school Mary sought to hide it 
by tucking it under her desk and covering it with her shawl, 
but when she went out to her spelling class the lamb nat- 
urally trotted after her. This was great fun for the rest of the 
kids and they almost laughed their heads off. So, of course, 
the lamb had to evacuate the premises— or, as we say on Park 
Avenoo— le petit agneau rec.ut la rush du bum. 

On that particular morning a young student named Raw- 
son was present as a visitor. The incident awakened the Muse 
within him and a few days later he handed Mary the first 
three verses of that now classic New England idyll, "Mary's 
Little Lamb." The poor chap died soon after, ignorant of the 
immortality of his verses. So, even if the crop of Yankee 
heroes is neither robust nor numerous compared to New 
York, the whole world is indebted to Boston, to "Mary," and 
to Elizabeth Foster Goose (1665) for this splendid contribu- 
tion to childhood, and all Christendom gladly acknowledges 
its obligation and its lasting gratitude. 

And what a lovely thing it was for Mr. Ford to preserve for 
us the old schoolhouse. Henry will be remembered for that 
long after his fame as an engineer has been forgotten. 

O /telace 


A Chicago friend also chides me for ignoring in my wan- 
derings the existence of the charming and fascinating Belle 
of the Prairies. He admits that Chicago was but two years old 
when my story ended, but claims recognition on the ground 
that a New York man, Captain John Whistler, grandfather of 
the celebrated artist J. M'Neill Whistler, was the U.S.A. 
officer who built Fort Dearborn. "If that doesn't qualify," he 
adds, "then please recall that one of our Mayors promised to 
bust King George one on the snoot if he ever came to 

That seems to me a rather nebulous recommendation, to 
say the least, coming from a city under such cultural obliga- 
tion to the British Empire as is Chicago. In her Great Fire, 
as some of us can recall, the city lost every book in its Public 
Library, as well as the building itself. And wasn't it Thomas 
Hughes— Tom Brown of Rugby— who happened to be in 
Chicago at the time? 

Deeply moved by the catastrophe, Mr. Hughes on his re- 
turn to England called upon all his literary friends to con- 
tribute copies of their works to reestablish Chicago's lost li- 
brary. Her Majesty, good Queen Victoria, headed the list with 
an autographed copy of her deadly but inescapable Life of 
the Prince Consort. Darwin, Huxley, Spencer, Wilkie Collins, 
William Black, Charles Kingsley, John Bright, Disraeli, Glad- 
stone and a host of others responded generously and soon a 
dozen huge boxes were safely delivered to the stricken city 
and the little library was soon open again with a fairly good 
stock of books, and on this modest corner stone she has built 
a magnificent and imposing edifice. Nor should they forget 
that the adopted daughter of Chicago's first settler, Kenzie, is 
the grandmother of the wife of Rudyard Kipling, England's 
idol; and that Mary Lester, a Chicago girl, was once Vicereine 
of England's great Eastern Empire— India. Much can be for- 
given a city which bore Julia Newberry. 

New York has room in her heart for all the far-flung cities 
her sons and daughters have established in all corners of our 



great country, but she can't make room for all of them in one 
book. They must be content with the thought that they are 
never forgotten by the old gray mother on Manhattan and 
that the days when they return for a visit are always the Day 
of Days in her calendar. 

A gentleman in Maryland also found fault with my wan- 
derings because I didn't include some mention of the voyage 
of the Ark and the Dove from the Isle of Wight three hun- 
dred years ago, which carried the first settlers to Maryland. 
The only connection I could find between the Ark and the 
Dove and New York had to do with the recent tercentenary 
celebration of the beginning of Lord Baltimore's Colony. 

As a fitting memorial of this historical event, it was de- 
cided to reconstruct on its old site the first State House 
erected in the little village of old St. Mary's City. In order to 
give a personal touch to this feature— a charming gesture— a 
small square of turf was cut from the old Yorkshire estate of 
Lord Baltimore and sent to St. Mary's, there to mingle with 
the native soil and become part of the lawn in the recon- 
struction. And, of course, this little bit of green sod had to 
be condemned by the very vigilant and alert Custom House 
officials at New York and ignominiously cast overboard in the 
harbor to mingle with that vast and plebeian aggregation of 
watermelon rinds, banana skins, decayed fruit and other side- 
walk memorabilia bestowed by this magnanimous city upon 
its neighboring though unappreciative seaside resorts. As 
Randall might sing— 

The despot's heel's still on thy neck, 
Maryland, My Maryland! 

However, the entente cordiale between the two nations was 
preserved by "Billy" Leeds who sent to England, by way of 
reparation, a little sweetness and light in the way of a good 
eye-full of musical comedy beauties. The Britishers greatly 
appreciated this courtesy, as was evidenced by the mighty 



roars of applause which greeted one of the song hits of the 

London's great, we're getting fat, 

A nice fur coat, a West End flat, 

From the Earl of this and the Duke of that, 


Here we are at a Swell Hotel, 
Swell Hotel, doing quite well, 
Breaking up homes, but what the — ? 

Since we're here and having our fling 
Wherever we go, it's a funny thing 
They always play "God Save the King." 

My learned friend, the Boston Transcript, is, alas, much dis- 
tressed at my claim that the name America was derived from 
Richard Ameryck, one-time cashier of the company that fi- 
nanced the voyage of the Cabots. "Nothing of the kind," says 
the Transcript, "Amerigo Vespucci was not the humble ship 
chandler you claim, but a brilliant Florentine whose labors 
had already won for him the recognition of the geographers 
of St. Die who placed his name on their charts. We know the 
Florentines, and given a moment's reflection, could tell you 
what every man, woman and child over ten was doing every 
moment of the day or night between 1469 and 1500." 

All of which may be true but bless my soul, Dear Tran- 
script, I was born in Florence myself seven hundred years ago. 
I was brought up with Marco Polo, Michelangelo, Lorenzo 
the Magnificent, Benvenuto Cellini, Dante and Beatrice. I 
distinctly recall the night that Giovanni Boccaccio met Geof- 
frey Chaucer at my father's house. My father always said 
afterwards that Chaucer got his idea for "Canterbury Tales" 
from that chance acquaintance, but I have ever doubted that. 
Anyhow, I got my information about Richard Ameryck from 
Bristol, whence the Cabots sailed, and in Bristol they make 
material for Encyclopedias, besides cigarettes and pipe dreams. 



Another good friend, the Herald-Tribune, says I wander 
like a cow in a pasture of hardhack. I had to look in the dic- 
tionary for hardrack and found Mr. Gannett was right. But 
if you wrote of London you would have the whole world for 
a pasture. I was satisfied to confine my wanderings to the 
United States, which after all is only another name for New 

I confess to a feeling akin to sadness as the thread of my 
story reaches the Gay Nineties. They record, in one sense, the 
last days of another Pompeii— the last days of little Old New 
York. The proud name which she had gallantly borne for 
three centuries was now to be torn from her grasp. The last 
link that connected her with her days of romance, her In- 
dians, her pirates, her valiant struggle for freedom, her Raines 
Law sandwich, was to be a thing of the past. No more was 
the little seaport at the mouth of the lordly Hudson to be 
called by the name which navigators, explorers and mariners 
had made known to the Seven Seas. In order to realize her 
manifest destiny— to become still greater— it became necessary 
to ally herself with Hunter's Point, Far Rockaway, Long 
Island City and the Bronx! The mantle of her shining great- 
ness fell upon these benighted communities and now the 
traveler from Brooklyn is no longer ashamed to register from 
his home town, but gayly and at last truthfully inscribes him- 
self from New York. The Borough of Manhattan may in time 
come to mean something. For the present it is a mouthing— 
a cymbal of brass. To the old New Y'orker, the name New 
York will always mean the city on Manhattan Island at the 
mouth of the Hudson River and not the contraption of five 
upstart Boroughs strutting around in unmerited splendor as 
part of that ancient and honorable commonwealth, which 
Washington himself called "the Empire City"— little old New 

The Author 

White Plains, N. Y. 
July 1935. 




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Burning of the Brooklyn Theatre, 1876 .... 28 

The annual parade of New York's "Finest" 1885 . . 35 

A target company returning from an excursion, i8ji . 36 

185J— Ball Dress— 1807. 1857— Promenade Dress— 180J . 38 

Street vendors of fruits and vegetables . . . . 41 

Washington Market the day before Thanksgiving . . 45 

The Tombs— interior of male prison, i8yo ... 46 

The last good-byes: departure of a steamer for Liverpool 50 

The Draughts school system ...... 53 

When a boy was monitor 54 

They, too, were in school ....... 55 

Old tannery > on Frankfort Street, that stood in the way of 

Brooklyn Bridge 58 

Doyers Street— more like a winding alley t in an old-world 

town than a street in an American city .... 60 

The principal hall of the Stock Exchange as remodeled 
in i8yi .......... 65 

The arcade plan to relieve the congestion on Broadway, 
185J 68 

No. 3 Beach Street, New York. Where James Fenimore 
Cooper set to work on his second novel, immediately 
after the publication of "The Spy" had made him fa- 
mous .......... 73 

No. 6 St. Mark's Place, New York. Where James Fenimore 
Cooper wrote "Homeward Bound" and "Home as 
Found" 73 

No. 30 College Place, New York. Formerly Villagrand's 
hotel, the headquarters of the French refugees, and 

where Fitz-Greene Halleck lodged 79 




No. 141 Fourth Street, New York. N. P. Willis bought the 
house in 1850 and lived there until he moved to his 
ideal residence on the Hudson River .... 80 

Front view of No. 87 White Street. Where Audubon lived 

in 1840 82 

The meeting of Livingstone and Stanley in Central Africa 92 

Crossing the East River on the ice bridge . . . .107 

Interior of Grand Central Depot, 1872 . . . .116 

Specimen of campaign literature during Civil War days, 

in New York 123 

Call for merchants and clerks to defend their shops during 

the Draft Riots, 1863 126 

Viewing the body of President Lincoln at City Hall, 1865 127 

The workingman's parade enrages the New York police, 
1871 . . 130 

Illegal voters barred from temptation on Election Day. 

Commissioner Davenport's cage for illegal voters, 1876 132 

The Tombs— Bridge of Sighs, 1870 133 

Lock-stepping their way to dinner at Sing Sing, 1878 . . 135 

The Centennial Fourth— illumination of Madison Square, 

1S76 139 

These young gentlemen are not indulging in the filthy 
habit of smoking. They are only chewing toothpicks, 
the comforting and elegant practice so much in vogue 
in 1865 141 

The Presbyterian Hospital, Fourth Avenue, between 70th 
and 71st Sts., 1872 143 

The "Gabrielle" and "Princess" house-dresses, 1877 . . 145 

"Health, Comfort, and Style" 146 

Back and front of street and walking costume, 1877 . . 147 

Easter bonnets of 1877 ....... 149 

On the beach— a recognition. 1872. Both parties in unison. 
"Why, is that you?" 152 

When lawn tennis was played on the lawn, 1885 . . 153 




The Bicycle Tournament, 1885 155 

The Dog Show in the Hippodrome, i8yy . . . .161 

Skating in Central Park, 18 jj 172 

"The Chase of the Butterfly" on roller skates at the Brook- 
lyn Rink 176 

The "Ladies' Match" at sixty yards, 18 jo . . . .179 

The swings in Central Park, i8yi 181 

Sunday morning in Central Park— drinking mineral water 184 

Crossing Broadway safely, 18 jo 190 

Clearing snow from the railway tracks, 18 jj . . .192 

Burial of Cornelius Vanderbilt 208 

Mayor A. Oakey Hall having trouble with his Board of 
Aldermen . . . . . . . . .215 

Alexander T. Stewart in his retail store, i8j6 . . . 219 

Cardinal McCloskey, 1884 243 

Rev . Charles F. Deems, D.D., pastor of the Church of the 

Strangers, 1876 246 

The Red Cross Nurse of i8yi 249 

President Cleveland reviewing the Decoration Day proces- 
sion in New York, 1885 252 

The temporary Tomb of General Grant .... 255 

No. 35 East Nineteenth Street, New York. Where Horace 

Greeley^ lived before he moved to his farm in Westchester 257 

The race for the Queen's Cup— rounding the Light-Ship, 

i8yo 265 

Scene at the Erie Ferry-House, foot of Twenty-third St., 

North River, 1871 267 

No. 1J4 Hudson Street, New York, 1890. Where William 
E. Burton lived many years while he enjoyed the repu- 
tation of a popular comedian 273 

No. 436 West Twenty-second Street, New York. Where 
Edwin Forrest, the actor, and his wife, Catharine Sin- 
clair, lived 275 



"A word first, if you please, sir!" .282 

Old quality advertising . . . . . . . 306 

When New York went tobogganing . . . . 317 

The Horse Show at Madison Square Garden, 1888 . . 319 

President Grant's cottage at Long Branch .... 328 

The Westchester Polo Club. Match game for the Chal- 
lenge Cup, 1876 329 

The Republican barbecue in Brooklyn. Procession of the 
Boys in Blue ......... 338 

Reception of the Grand Duke Alexis, i8yi . . . .341 

Grand parade and torchlight procession in honor of Tilden 

and reform ......... 343 

Reception of Bartholdi's statue of "Liberty Enlightening 
the World." The Naval procession passing through the 
Narrows . ......... 346 

No. 16 Beach Street, New York. In 1841 James K. Paulding 
had become prosperous, and he chose this house for a 
residence 349 

No. 63 Prince Street, New York. In 1829 the ex-president 
(Monroe), having met with losses that swept away his 
fortune, left his Virginia home and journeyed to No. 
63 Prince Street, where he died July 4, 1831 . . . 352 

The Republican barbecue in Brooklyn. Roasting the oxen 355 

"Saddle-Rock Fry"— a Fulton Market oyster saloon . . 357 

No. 36 Beach Street, New York. Here John Ericsson, the 
immortal inventor of the Monitor, lived for more than 
a generation, and it was here he died . 359 

Lafayette Place, New York, 1890 369 

Interior of a Pullman car, smoking saloon, 1876 . . . 375 

Interior of a Pullman car, the parlor, 18 j6 . . . .378 

Parade of the New York Coaching Club, 1885 . . . 385 

Wall telephone, 1884. "Hello! Santa Claus!" ... 386 

The bread line— style of 1888 ...... 400 

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Chapter I 
JXev2 oonlk civLse6 Uitt al vkd 4835 UlcuweA 

When New York City recovered from the stupor into which 
it was plunged by the Great Fire of 1835, an immense recon- 
struction began. Out of evil cometh good; and the immediate 
consideration of an adequate water supply now occupied pub- 
lic attention, together with a complete overhauling of the 
antiquated and ridiculous fire-fighting equipment. That the 
city was not entirely wiped out was no fault of the top-hatted, 
frilled-shirt-fronted volunteer fireman. But for the happy 
thought of blowing up the buildings, nothing would have 
saved the city from utter annihilation. 

Pumps were few and far between and not equal to the ter- 
rific demands made upon them. In addition to that, water 
froze as fast as it fell; and reinforcements from distant cities 
that might have helped, were stranded miles away for lack of 
transportation. So work was commenced at once on the con- 
struction of an Aqueduct, as gigantic for its time as to be the 
eighth wonder of the world, the funds for this huge public 
improvement being raised by the sale of Lottery Tickets. It 
is laughable to recall that less than ninety years ago the great 
City of New York had no running water and that peddlers 
went from door to door dispensing this household necessity 
for a penny a glass for beverage uses. Cisterns supplied the 
water for laundry, etc., when they had any. 

The smoke had hardly cleared away ere the rebuilding of 
the city commenced. And within two years all traces of the 
conflagration disappeared. As in all cases where a city has 


grown with the rapidity with which New York did, there 
were many buildings that were eyesores. They still yielded 
high rents and were permitted to stand. Streets and side- 
walks were also in some cases neglected or overlooked in the 
pressure to develop newer sections of the city needed for the 
rapidly increasing population. Now, new and more costly 
buildings arose on the sites of those destroyed and the city as 
a whole was vastly improved— Wall Street in particular ac- 
quiring many impressive and substantial structures in place 
of the old residences which had been converted into banks 
and offices, and boasted of stone flagging in place of plank 
sidewalks. Some of these old buildings with their iron stoop 
railings which had escaped the fire, like the old offices of the 
City National Bank at No. 52, were still in evidence until 
quite recent years. Broad Street was at that time lined with 
warehouses and other wholesale businesses. A second fire in 
'46 practically wiped out the entire east side of Broad Street. 
It was the second major catastrophe in the financial district; 
and though the losses were not so formidable as in '35, they 
were still very severe. The water supply this time was much 
better, as the Croton Aqueduct was finished and the work of 
the firemen was materially helped. 

Notwithstanding those severe lessons, New York clung to 
an antiquated system of volunteer firemen and observation 
towers erected in various parts of the town for the purpose 
of detecting a blaze. These laughable structures were little 
houses perched on stilts. The lookouts were supplied with 
telescopes with which they scanned the horizon from all 
points of the compass. When a fire was detected they gave the 
alarm by ringing a huge bell. The number of times the bell 
rang indicated the location of the fire. It was considered un- 
ethical for a fire company not in that district to commence 
operations until the company in whose bailiwick the fire oc- 
curred had arrived. Failure to observe this rudimentary law 
frequently led to sanguinary conflicts between the rival fire 
laddies. During this temporary suspension of fire-fighting 

f)le^ ^m£ SllAed Old o| ^ i*&5 Stem* 27 

operations, the fire frequently gained disastrous headway to 
the great annoyance of the owner of the premises and the In- 
surance companies. The rivalry among these various volun- 
teer fire companies assumed alarming proportions. Grown 
boys, partisans of this company or that, would run ahead to 
the scene of a fire and clap a barrel over the nearest hydrant 
and squat upon it till their friends arrived. What happened 
to the unlucky burning building was no concern of theirs. 
All they thought of was to see that their company got the first 
stream on the building to the disgust and chagrin of their 
rivals. Finally the fire losses became so great that a number 
of important companies considered closing up their offices. 
It was not until long after such cities as little Cincinnati, 
Boston, and a host of others, that New York consented to con- 
sider the matter seriously of a paid Fire Department. Even 
then, so great was the political influence of the fire laddies 
that they would not consent to legislation on the subject 
without one more demonstration of their superiority over a 
horse-drawn engine and over water propelled by steam. To 
the great delight of the fire laddies, their machines reached 
the scene of the test long before the horse-pulled engines! 
But, the fire laddies were so utterly exhausted by the tremen- 
dous exertions they had made, that they completely collapsed 
upon arriving at the scene and were utterly unable to con- 
nect their hose or turn a stream of any kind upon the flames. 
The men on the horse-pulled machine were fresh and eager 
for the fray. In a trice they had their hose laid, their engine 
pumping and several streams of water on the burning build- 
ing in a minute after reaching the scene. There was no longer 
room for argument. The Colonial system had clearly out- 
lived its day and generation, and the Legislature soon after 
enacted the necessary laws to provide the city with an ade- 
quate paid Fire Department and the new fire-fighting ap- 
paratus to go with it. The last appearance of the volunteers 
was at the burning of Barnum's Museum, 1866. 

28 cJj/taA^ft&tafve cT/uMttd and Q)axaiaaa O twnKS 

Many readers will marvel at the effrontery of the fire lad- 
dies in thus compelling the Legislature to accede to their 
audacious and perhaps impudent demand for such a trial. 

Burning of the Brooklyn Theatre, i8j6. 

But you must bear in mind that for over two hundred years 
the city had known no other system against the fire danger, 
and the Volunteers were a highly esteemed body of citizens. 

They were bound together in a sort of camaraderie which is 
perhaps difficult for us to understand today, and they wielded 
vast power in local politics. 

With all their shortcomings and all their defects, they were 
as a whole a valuable and brave group of citizens, and New 
York will always hold them in grateful memory. There is an 
Association of Volunteer Firemen now in existence owning 
their own building and preserving many interesting relics of 
these romantic days. Washington himself was a member of 
the little company in Alexandria and today they will show 
you down there, the machine with which he ran in the days 
of his obscurity. And there were many men in the city who 
afterwards rose to wealth and distinction who were proud of 
the fact that in their young manhood they served their city 
as one of its guardians against fire. Of all the changes that 
have come to this turbulent city in recent years, none excels in 
vastness nor spectacularity, the present fire-fighting equipment 
in contrast with the old. 

But the old Volunteer Fire Department should not be dis- 
missed so cavalierly. It was a serviceable institution and no 
organization ever performed its duty with greater spirit or 
nobler courage. It was no unusual sight to see men in ruffled 
shirts, long-tailed coats and high beaver hats working like mad 
with the pumping apparatus. No matter where a fire laddie 
might be, the call to arms found instant response from sitting- 
room or from barroom. Great pride was taken in the smart- 
ness of the machines and in the appearance of the fire house. 
Some of the companies enjoyed a wide reputation throughout 
the city, and the appearance of one of these famous com- 
panies at a fire was always greeted with cheers and a feeling 
that all was now well. It is not even wise now, late as it is, 
to single out any one company as being better than all the 
others. For the Volunteer Fireman's Association cherish the 
memory of these old fire-eaters, and their descendants are 
quite apt to hotly resent any claim of superiority of any com- 

pany over the one to which some of their granddaddies be- 

The Volunteer firemen served the city faithfully for more 
than two hundred and fifty years. Such a splendid record as 
that should not go unrecorded nor should it be clouded with 
the recollection of a pardonable stubbornness in adopting at 
once the newly invented steam engine. The old companies 
were flesh and blood. The new companies were machines. 
All honor, therefore, to the brave fire fighters of yore. They 
are entitled to a tribute of love and esteem. Which is gladly 
rendered. They were a fearless group. 

The improvement of our fire-fighting forces was of course 
possible only by the introduction of running water. The con- 
struction of the great Croton Aqueduct, which was the direct 
result of the Great Fire, did more for New York, coming at 
the time it did, than all the huge accomplishments that have 
since succeeded. It is quite within bounds to say that no such 
gigantic undertaking in behalf of a city had ever before been 
attempted. Not only was there the great distance from which 
water had to be brought, but the undertaking of conveying it 
through a city built on a rock was thought to be impossible. 
But it was spectacularly successful and was the marvel of the 
engineering and scientific world for years. Upon its comple- 
tion a great banquet was given, attended by the most distin- 
guished savants in building then known to the world. They 
came from everywhere, and a more impressive gathering had 
never been known in the city. 

The late beloved sachem of Tammany Hall, the venerable 
John Voorhees, took keen delight in recalling that as a boy 
he was one of the urchins who marched at the head of the 
procession that left the Reservoir at Forty-second Street and 
disbanded at the Battery. In some unaccountable manner, a 
pig managed to get into the crowd and being unable to escape 
on either side it calmly took a position at the head of the 
column and led the procession all the way. In a way it was 

symbolical; pigs had done much of the street cleaning that 
would now be done by water. 

Some rumblings of the coming calamity of Prohibition 
were also heard at that great dinner. The Temperance peo- 
ple on the Committee of Arrangements were strong enough 
to decree that all wines and liquors were to be banished from 
the festive board and only water— pure sparkling Croton 
water— was to be used in responding to toasts. 

When Washington bade farewell to the sons of the Revolu- 
tion at Fraunces Tavern, everybody got properly plastered at 
the dinner, and the bill for broken glasses and china was a 
lot more than for all the eatables and drinkables combined. 
Until that party, no one ever realized just what the British 
had been up against. The Croton dinner, though clanny, was 
cultured. The speeches were almost as dull— if that was possi- 
ble—as those at a Rotarian luncheon, and everybody was glad 
when it was over. All the engineers patted each other on the 
back and the work of the Romans was blushingly admitted 
to be mere piffle alongside the Croton Aqueduct. 

The Aqueduct cost a staggering sum for those days, but 
the revenue produced therefrom easily took care of interest 
and provided a goodly sum annually for amortization. Water 
was stored in a Reservoir located at Fifth Avenue and Forty- 
second Street. This venerable Egyptian pile was removed in 
1907 to make way for our present library. The rear was a 
pauper's burying ground which is now Bryant Park, named 
after the poet who was the father of Central Park. 

The Reservoir had a broad esplanade surrounding its four 
sides and it even became a fashionable and popular prom- 
enade. It was a fine sight in the afternoons and especially on 
moonlight nights when it was crowded with a gay and color- 
ful crowd. On special occasions, fireworks were displayed at 
the city's expense, particularly on the Fourth. It was the ob- 
jective of the fashionable afternoon drive from St. John's 
Park and the region around Stuyvesant Square, at that time 

the home of New York's smart sets. The Croton Cottage on 
the corner of Fortieth Street and the Avenue could be relied 
upon for a light repast at almost any hour of the day or 

Three abortive attempts to introduce running water pre- 
ceded the advent of the Croton Aqueduct. The first by 
Christopher Colles, the second by a company who had a 
reservoir on Thirteenth Street between Fourth Avenue and 
Broadway. The third by the Manhattan Company who built 
a tank in a building at the corner of Reade and Centre 
Streets, which was the fake reservoir invented by Aaron Burr 
in order to outwit Alexander Hamilton and procure a charter 
for what later became a bank, although ostensibly it was 
organized as the Manhattan Water Company. In the charter 
there was slyly inserted a clause empowering the water com- 
pany to engage in many other avocations, including that of 
banking. This significant clause rested innocently among a 
lot of phrases that were generally accepted as meaning noth- 
ing in particular, yet were customarily included in charters 
of this kind. Such ambiguous phraseology would naturally 
pass unnoticed, as the charter itself expressly stated that its 
purpose was to supply water to the houses of the city. The huge 
tank we have described helped to carry out the deception and 
a few wooden water mains were laid. Only a few years ago, 
the remains of this phantom water company were unearthed 
during the excavation for the new Civic Centre. 

The rage of Hamilton and his friends knew no bounds 
when they realized the trick that had been successfully played 
upon them. There is no doubt that this incident had much to 
do with the subsequent duel between the two men which 
cost Hamilton his life. But before that event occurred, Hamil- 
ton had the satisfaction of preventing Burr's election to the 
Presidency, in succession to Washington, by the narrow mar- 
gin of one vote. 

More important perhaps than its prevention of fire, was the 

effect of running water upon the sanitary conditions of the 
city. We still clung to the pig as the most effective branch of 
the street cleaning department. Even the awful visitations of 
Yellow Fever, which decimated the town with periodic reg- 
ularity, failed to impress upon our city fathers the urgent 
need of improved methods of removing garbage and other 
contributing sources of contamination until water was in- 
troduced. It was then freely allowed to flush gutters and 
streets. The health of the city improved materially, and the 
recurrent attacks of Yellow Fever were much reduced in 
virulence and ultimately were brought under complete con- 

The epidemic of 1822 proved exceptionally severe and 
many of the scenes enacted in London during the Black 
Death were reenacted in New York. Business in the lower 
section of the city was wholly suspended. The great bulk of 
the financial section moved bodily to Greenwich. What we 
now know as Bank Street was a field of growing wheat on 
Saturday and a paved street with houses facing it on Monday. 
So many banks were among them that it was quite naturally 
called Bank Street. For a while there was serious talk of 
abandoning the lower part of the island and starting a new 
city in Greenwich Village, whose sandy soil promised im- 
munity from this ancient scourge. 

Looting on a large scale during the Great Fire was pre- 
vented solely by the presence of a few soldiers from the bar- 
racks and Marines from the Navy Yard who had peremptory 
orders to shoot to kill and investigate later. The Police force 
was a farce. It consisted of forty tatterdemalions dressed like 
ragamuffins carrying whale oil lamps and yelling the hours at 
street corners, adding that it was "a cold and frosty morning," 
or hot and rainy as the case might be. Nothing more primi- 
tive for a city of over two hundred thousand population 
could well be imagined. It was a one-man organization, but 
fortunately captained by a rather remarkable personage— 

Jacob Hays. In his way, Constable Hays was a host in him- 
self. For decades he had ruled the city with an iron hand. A 
strange and courageous character. But the need of an ade- 
quate Police force was now imperative. The city had grown 
from a population of six thousand to well over two hundred 
thousand. Yet he was content to govern with a force of thirty 
or forty tatterdemalions, who presented a grotesque appear- 
ance with their rattles, their lanterns and their feeble night 
sticks. Discipline was unknown. The constable was "J a ^ e " to 
the people and to his subordinates. The clothes worn by the 
rattle watch were the prototypes of the tramp in a modern 
burlesque comedy. For a city as important as New York was 
even then, the assembling of the force for duty was a sight 
for the gods. All attempts to place them in uniform, to intro- 
duce some sort of authority was stubbornly resisted. It was 
considered menial— un-American and anti-democratic. Still, 
the necessity for a change of some kind could no longer be 

Chief among the advocates for a uniformed police was the 
grandfather of one James W. Gerard, then a resident of 
Gramercy Park. At a fancy dress ball given by Coventry Wad- 
del, Andrew Jackson's Secretary of the Treasury, at his coun- 
try mansion on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Thirty-eighth 
Street, Mr. Gerard appeared in the costume which he had 
designed as a proposed uniform for the local watch. The trim 
appearance of the suit, the air of authority it conveyed, made 
a great impression on all who saw it. Renewed discussion of 
this proposed change found many fresh adherents and led to 
its ultimate adoption. The present dress of our uniformed 
police has been improved somewhat since the idea was origi- 
nally introduced, especially the hat. But the old Gerard design 
is still carried out in many essential particulars. 

The new Police Department met with the hearty approval 
of the citizens. Even the men themselves began to be proud of 
their neat and official appearance. There was no more talk 

of flunkyism, and the new uniform was uniformly respected. 
In the case of the Fire Department, many years were to elapse 
ere the change was completely effected. It may surprise some 
readers to know that until as late as 1866, New York was still 
fighting fires with apparatus that today would be considered 

The annual parade of New York's "Finest," 1885. 

inadequate for a little country village of less than two hun- 
dred inhabitants. There were still many customs of the Eight- 
eenth Century that were carried well into the Nineteenth. 
Civic improvements did not keep pace with the tremendous 
growth of the city and many archaic and medieval institutions 
still held sway. 

Among other outmoded laws which the new Republic car- 
ried on was the one compelling every male sixteen years of 
age and over to serve a certain period in each year in the 
militia. In accordance with this law, the first of each May was 

36 Jj/toACfv&taruz. Ononis anA Q^aAxdaaa O >u\Avkb 

designated as "Training Day." And on that day every able- 
bodied male was expected to don his uniform and appear in 
his company at the Training Ground for inspection. The 
training ground as originally laid out was a square extending 
from Fourteenth to Thirty-fourth Streets and from Broadway 
to Fourth Avenue roughly. The present Union and Madison 
Squares are all that remains of this original huge training 

At first, owing to the two wars, '76 and 1812, military uni- 
forms were the rule and not the exception. They may not 
have fitted well— some of them were inherited— but they were 
at least military-looking. By and by, these military suits grad- 
ually disappeared and all kinds of substitutes were used in 
their place. Discipline was lax, and soon the whole idea be- 
came a farce and finally only an excuse to get off for a day 
and get gloriously drunk. 

The public became disgusted at such proceedings and pres- 

A target company returning from an excursion, i8yi. 

ently the practice was abandoned. Such citizen soldiers as 
liked the plan formed themselves into National Guards and 
now form that reserve force of our Regular Army. Some very 
noted regiments came out of these train bands— notably the 
Washington Greys, the Blues, and the old-time famous 
Seventh. The city heaved a sigh of relief when "Training 
Day," as an institution, disappeared. The two parks men- 
tioned are a permanent monument to the old-time "train 
bands" and are therefore quite historical. 

Soon after the turn of the century, radical changes in styles 
of clothing began to appear. The picturesque Colonial pe- 
riod, with its knee breeches, silk stockings and three-cornered 
hat, gave way to a hideous costume that even today excites 
merriment when seen in one of those good old Irish dramas 
in which the broth of a boy carries a shillalah, pot hat and 
green baize cut-away coat with a red vest and ruffled shirt 
front. The trousers were made of corduroy or gray broadcloth 
and were well-nigh skin tight. They were kept in place by 
straps which passed under the instep of a huge Wellington 
boot. Huge brass buttons ornamented the coat, the collar was 
more like a white muffler, and on his head he wore a massive 
topper made of beaver fur with a huge rolling rim. He wore 
a watch of railroad station dimensions, to which was attached 
an enormous fob ending in a huge seal of chased gold enclos- 
ing a large precious stone. The coat was of many hues, but 
lacked the rich gold embroidery of the past era and avoided 
the strong primal colors that distinguished its predecessor. 
Men just middle age and beyond had a sorry time on the 
promenade. Spectacles, invented by Benjamin Franklin, had 
not yet become popular. So they stumbled along as best they 
could with impaired eyesight. And many were the mortifying 
incidents due to this cause. The monocle, affected by the 
dandy, was not a practical device for the afternoon stroll and 
has ever been more ornamental than useful. The stout cane 
carried by every gentleman, no doubt acted surreptitiously to 

38 Jj/taWn<si<me u^umts and Q)a%aiaaa <J /tttnJcA 

ward off many a jar which would otherwise have resulted 
from miscalculated distances. The heights of steps and curb- 
stones could not always be accurately judged. The high beaver 
hat with its furry outside had several shapes. The huge bell- 

1857— Ball Dress— 180J. 

185 7— Promenade Dress— 1807. 

c/teW Cjg/uL JvldeA \Jui at tftc 1835 Olcumab 39 

like structure with wide rolling rim was worn by the older 
men, but the elongated square-topped style such as Dion 
Boucicault used to wear in the Shaughraun was immensely 
popular with the younger set. As a rule, these styles were a 
copy of the prevailing fashions in dear old Lunnon, which 
has ever set the pace for the fashionable New Yorkers with 
slight modifications, and probably always will. Lace cuffs 
and lace around the vest were no longer worn. Wigs, perukes, 
and queues were rapidly disappearing, but plain wigs to sup- 
ply an insufficient natural growth continued their sway, un- 
hampered by new decrees. 

The women, as usual, were much influenced by Parisian 
styles and the advent of a new dynasty in France was reflected 
by a craze for Empire gowns, hats, etc. etc. Fortunately for 
our women, the Empire gown was very smart and very be- 
coming to most figures. It had a high waist line and hung in 
simple graceful folds almost to the ground, but not quite. 
The sleeves were short and the neck was low. A long belt of 
colored silk ribbon hung from the waist and a small reticule 
was suspended from the sash. It was made of silk or less ex- 
pensive material in plain colors and in many charming and 
effective floral designs. It had no billowy hoopskirts or other 
artificial methods of making the female form hideous and 
was altogether an effective and pleasing costume. Low shoes 
of silk or satin with paper soles were worn with this costume, 
and white silk stockings. Leather shoes, though much less 
attractive-looking, were certainly a great deal more comfort- 
able and better suited for our climate. But the curious notion 
prevailed that they were suitable only for the ''lower orders," 
consequently no woman of fashion would be seen wearing 
them. In spite of the fact that the whole idea of the new 
Republic was based upon the principle that all men were 
created equal, this stupid belief in the superiority of one class 
over another still persisted. Happily, that foolish idea no 
longer prevails. 

The hats o£ the women were of the Maud Muller school of 
art, but went very well with the simplicity of the Empire 
gown. To look at some of these contemporary paintings of 
reigning belles, one must admit that they possess even more 
fascination than the beruffled and open back and face work 
portrayed by the modern screen favorite; and one sighs to 
think that Norma Shearer could not have the benefit of a 
Romney or a Gainsborough to preserve the art of the Twen- 
tieth Century. 

Although slavery was supposed to end when we solemnly 
assured the world that all men were created free and equal, 
it was not until 1826, half a century later, that it was legally 
abolished in the City of New York. So New York's domestic 
help was wholly composed of blacks. They were a decent sort, 
however, and many had been born and raised in the same 
family all their lives. The women were neatly dressed in 
calicos with white or checked aprons and wore flaming ban- 
dana handkerchiefs on their heads, tied in a saucy peak. They 
were real old family retainers and did not at all correspond 
to the modern maid with her Thursdays out even if the 
heavens fall. The men folks acted as a sort of combined coach- 
man, butler, window cleaner and handyman. Without wait- 
ing for legal action, most of the old families had long ago 
presented the old slaves with their personal freedom. Manu- 
mission they called it— and arranged satisfactory terms of re- 
muneration. So the old slaves stayed on. 

Even in the old days slaves were seldom punished by their 
owners. In case of a very refractory sinner, he was sent to the 
Calaboose where the jailer did the whipping for the modest 
charge of three shillings. But whipping was by this time prac- 
tically non est. 

Sand men peddled Rockaway sand, for kitchen and bar- 
room floors. They wore long white frocks and brought the 
sand to your door in two-wheeled carts. Water carts were 
everywhere on the streets. Not all the pumps gave nice clear 


water like the celebrated Tea Water pump on Chatham 
Square, so the water cart man made a decent living. For laun- 
dry and other purposes, water caught by the cisterns attached 
to the houses furnished most of the supply. Running water 
in New York is only ninety years old, which is not so long 
ago, after all. 

Peripatetic shoe dealers roamed the streets, their stock sus- 
pended on long poles, each shoe hanging on a nail. You 
didn't need to buy a pair every time. You could have a shoe 
for either the right or the left foot as you desired. There was 
no difference in the shape at all. 

No end of young men and boys roamed the streets with 
saw and horse ready at a moment's notice to sell you a cord 
of wood and saw it up into grate length on the spot. Anthra- 
cite, the coal we use today, was first brought from Liverpool 
and was called "sea" coal. When Philip Hone opened his 
mines in the town called after him— Honesdale— he brought 
the first Pennsylvania coal to New York. But it was not in 
general use till the '40s and later. Gas was gradually coming 
into use, but whale oil was the standard illuminant. Kero- 
sene didn't make its appearance till late in the '50s and not 
until the '60s was it sufficiently refined to be safely used in 

We were still in the merry days of Dickens' American Notes 
when pigs served as garbage collectors and poultry meandered 
in the gutters, and great latitude still existed in the hygiene 
of the proletariat. No compunction was felt on the far East 
and West Sides in casting household refuse on the cobbled 
highways, there to be churned by traffic until some merciful 
rainstorm washed it into the sewers. Snow was never re- 
moved in these sparsely used districts, and icy mounds of 
filth and debris remained on the streets until the January 
thaw or the April showers. In the older sections of the city, 
the sanitary arrangements were still exceedingly primitive. 
Even the public schools tolerated conditions that would be 

c/lcW }jon)k JvldeA vJui at tHe 4835 UlxtmeA -V3 

regarded as unthinkable today, and some of the best private 
homes had to pump water by hand above the second story. 

In 1850 the State Legislature passed a bill making this a 
bone-dry State the same as Maine. The Governor let the bill 
die. He never sent it back and he never signed it. A new 
Legislature was elected that fall and the bill was quietly for- 

There were certain phases of public sanitation that recur 
to one who curiously enough was reared on non-Pasteurized 
milk, and has resisted the microbes of a generation that knew 
not antiseptics. The milk of my childhood was delivered in 
cans by a purveyor whose matutinal whoop came with the 
blush of dawn, and wakened the household. Bottled milk was 
unknown. There was, about fifty years ago, a "swill milk" 
scandal, when the New York authorities refused to allow cer- 
tain alleged milk that was sent from up the State to enter the 
city, and there was a sort of civil war between town and coun- 
try for some time, until the Legislature intervened. 

Butchers' meat was also marketed with a degree of laxity 
unknown today. Carcasses and quarters of beef hung on racks 
in the street, outside meat shops, exposed to all contamina- 
tion, and the nursery rhyme of Tom, the piper's son, who 
made away with the pig, was very often reenacted in slum 
neighborhoods. In the hunting season, Washington Market 
and others catering to hotels, clubs, etc., had rows of partridge, 
quail, canvas backs, mallard ducks, wild turkeys, venison 
steaks, bear steaks and small game of all sorts adorning their 

Many of our best families did their own shopping and went 
to Washington Market, a huge market basket under their 
arm. That penchant for personal inspection prevailed for 
many years, and Tyson's old shop on Fifth Avenue near 
Forty-third Street and Brandie's on Forty-second Street were 
often visited by the competent and careful housewives of the 

'70s who liked to inspect the sides of beef, the ribs, etc., out 
of which the family dinner was cut. 

The sanitary arrangements in households were far from the 
pink and chromium creations we now have as bathrooms. The 
installation of interior plumbing was regarded at first, not 
only as unheal thful but very immoral, while the introduction 
of bathtubs raised grave questions in many local boards of 
health regarding the wisdom of using this new-fangled con- 
traption except under the direction of the family doctor. New 
York is not officially on record as passing such sumptuary 
legislation, but Cincinnati is charged with having done so, 
and several other cities. However, even this innovation was 
gradually accepted. New York still has a respectable number 
of outhouses and the estimated number of the population 
still living without the benefits of modern sanitation reaches 
the rather staggering total of 60 per cent. 

Other public improvements, paved sidewalks, cobblestone 
streets and Belgian block, asphalt and lastly concrete arrived 
in orderly succession. The telegraph made its appearance, 
and in rapid succession the electric light, the telephone, the 
motor, the movies, and the radio. All this within the space of 
a century, most of it in the last half. This gives you some idea 
of the tempo in which New York seems always to have moved. 
Personal comforts have kept pace with public improvements. A 
hundred years ago a toothache was a serious matter. The tooth 
was pulled out by brute strength; and if part of the jaw bone 
came with it, so much the worse. Surgical operations were too 
humble to speak about. The merciful anaesthetics of the pres- 
ent day were unknown. The vast majority of women patron- 
ized ignorant midwives, and the highly specialized baby doc- 
tor is of very recent growth and at the start was known for 
many years as a "sissy" doctor. So much for the innate mod- 
esty of the New York woman, who could not bear a male 
physician at the most crucial moment in her life and fre- 
quently lost her own in consequence. 

The Saturday night washtub was still a national institution. 
Dieting for health was unknown. Doughnuts reeking in lard, 

The Tombs— interior of male prison, i8jo. 

pies with crusts that would sink a ship, and coffee that was 
but little better than dirty water made a favorite breakfast 
in New York, while whisky and corn pone was a staple diet 
in the South and Southwest. Cooking in all sections of the 
country was nothing short of criminal. Chewing tobacco, 
with its attendant filthy spitting, was well-nigh universal and 
the receptacles provided for the comfort of these tobacco 
eaters were a disgrace to civilization. Yet the well-known 
cuspidor or spittoon is still an article of domestic economy 
in many parts of our country today, though it has been prac- 
tically banished from New York. 

Drunkenness was the curse of the country. Beer, a lighter 
and healthful beverage, made its appearance with the great 
increase in German population and was a distinct improve- 
ment over the moonshine whisky universally consumed be- 
fore its advent. The delightful and harmless drug store soda 
water soft drinks, which are everywhere obtainable today, 
were then unknown. Ice cream was rated as a luxury and 
could not be called an item of popular consumption, though 
its use in summer was rapidly expanding. But it was exclu- 
sively a hot weather dissipation. Tomatoes were at first classed 
with poison ivy, yet rejoiced in the somewhat seductive name 
of love apples. When their true health-giving qualities were 
at last recognized, they became popular and led the way to 
the introduction of other delightful members of the vege- 
table family. But boiled cabbage remained for many years 
the piece de resistance of the well-dressed table— that and 
corned beef. 

Butcher meat was abundant and choice cuts in steaks, 
chops, etc., were cheap and of excellent quality, while the 
product of the pen furnished ham, bacon, chops, pigs' 
knuckles, etc., in generous quantities. 

The first departure from the stolid, uncompromising, heavy 
meals of roast beef, steak and potatoes, corned beef and cab- 
bage, came as the result of the vast foreign population which 

overwhelmed us in the early '70s. The Italians brought spa- 
ghetti, macaroni and other farinaceous foods. The French 
taught us the delights of sauces, light pastries and a varied 
menu. They also introduced wines as a light beverage and 
the Germans showed us that beer was more wholesome than 
Rye or Bourbon. The great variety of dishes and the dainti- 
ness of these foreign desserts was not passed unnoticed. We 
gradually adopted such items as best suited our tastes and 
gradually abandoned the hog and hominy regime. We added 
cheeses and relishes. And our soups were chosen for the 
flavor and not wholly for their filling qualities. In many 
directions the New York meal of today is indebted for much 
of its sweetness and light to the example set for us by the 
immigrant of half a century ago. 

The era of individual packages had not yet appeared. All 
the great staples of family consumption were sold from open 
bags or boxes— sugar, tea, coffee, crackers, prunes, in fact, prac- 
tically everything. The receptacles were open to all the germs 
that cared to visit them. No one knew about germs anyhow, 
so it didn't make any difference. Many of these articles were 
exposed outside the store and collected their share of what- 
ever microbes were bestowed upon them by the passing 
breezes. The streets were not over-clean and the dust no 
doubt would, if placed under a microscope, have revealed 
alarming conditions. But our knowledge of sanitary affairs 
was still in the embryo stage. Such screens as occasionally 
shielded some outdoor edibles were not put there to protect 
us against dust, fly blow, etc., but to prevent the ubiquitous 
small boy from helping himself to such merchandise as at- 
tracted his fancy. 

Chapter II 
<Jlev2 acuvLiAA Q^axL — (bdwcale. — UJmXA 

It is practically impossible for the present-day New Yorker to 
visualize a city without transatlantic steamers, railroads, tele- 
phones, motor cars, subways, etc., yet at the time I am de- 
scribing, the arrival and departure of a Liverpool packet was 
an event of city-wide interest. Crowds gathered at the Battery 
to see her unfurl her sails and like a huge bird sail majesti- 
cally down the Bay. There has been a lighthouse on Sandy 
Hook since 1797 and one at Montauk Point since 1777. 
News of the arrival or departure of a ship was flashed from 
there along the coast, so New York always knew a day or so 
ahead of the expected arrival of a ship from abroad. 

At first the packets had no specific sailing date. When they 
had sufficient cargo they left, and not before. Finally, the 
Ball Black Line announced that on Thursday of every fort- 
night their ships would leave for Liverpool, blow high or 
blow low, cargo or no cargo. Business, however, had greatly in- 
creased in cotton and was daily growing larger. So the exact- 
ness in sailing proved a popular feature. It became known in 
commercial circles as Packet Day, merchants' cash accounts on 
that day striking a balance and starting afresh the next. The 
Maritime Exchange was the Clearing House of its day. 

When news was flashed from Sandy Hook that a ship was 
on its last tack to New York, there was great excitement in 
the Maritime Exchange. If it was one of the great California 
clippers, the feeling was intense. The latest news from the 
gold fields was always a topic of the greatest interest. Racing 



oU^tav^n^tafve O Kani& anA o)a/vaiaaa <J earned 

between two famous clippers on the voyage to San Francisco 
also added its quota of excitement, as huge bets were made 
on the result. During the course of the race, some homeward- 
bound ship would sight the two contenders and note their 
position at the time. One might be two days ahead or a week. 

The last good-byes: departure of a steamer for Liverpool. 

But much can happen going around the Horn, and these re- 
ports merely added to the general hubbub. When it so hap- 
pened that a victorious Captain like Cressy of the Flying 
Cloud, who had covered the distance between New York and 
San Francisco in the breath-taking time of eighty-seven days, 
brought his ship up to the wharf, the Captain was promptly 
hoisted shoulder high and an impromptu procession headed 
for the Astor House to open a few bottles of Croton water. 

Rather important sums changed hands as the result of these 
races, and the Captains of the New York clippers and packets 
were men of importance in the city. 

Ships that landed from the Orient rarely came in without 
the signal flying that indicated the loss of one or more mem- 
bers of the crew. The treacherous monsoons would account 
for some, pirates for others. But the chief losses were from 
sudden attacks by natives in ports to which they had gone 
for pepper, spices and gum. Sometimes they brought curious 
bits of news from the far-off world; one of them stood close 
into St. Helena— understood that Napoleon was in good 
health but that Madame was discontented and wished to re- 
turn to France. The island was guarded by two frigates and a 
brig which constantly cruised around the island. Huge profits 
were made in shipping in those days and much of the "old" 
money in New York families came from that source. It was 
not an unusual circumstance for a ship to earn its entire cost 
from the proceeds of a single trip. Its return cargo was an 
extra dividend and ship masters grew rich rapidly. Although 
steamboats had been invented in 1809, it was not till 1827 
that the City of Savannah left New York for Liverpool under 
steam. The Collins Line was the first to inaugurate a regular 
steamship passenger service between New York and Liver- 
pool. One of its ships, the President, fully loaded, was never 
heard from again. This happened soon after the line was es- 
tablished. One or two similar casualties, though not so tragic 
nor so mysterious as the President, entailed such losses that 
the line abandoned the enterprise. The Cunard was the first 
of the modern lines to follow the Collins Line and they were 
more fortunate. They had no serious disasters and have con- 
tinued in the business from that day to this. 

Yet it was many years ere the vessel propelled by steam 
was able to match the yacht-like clippers and packets that 
contended valiantly to retain their position. But the rapid 
development of the marine engine and the opening of the 

5Z Jj'ia&rid&aruL u lords and. Qwudaaa O nAJLtvkA. 

Suez Canal spelled disaster to the white-winged beauties of 
the Seven Seas and they have now all but disappeared from 
the scene of their former triumphs. 

Some of these sea captains, particularly the Salem men, 
were cagey fellows. They discovered the little island off 
Sumatra where pepper grew and brought back 150 tons of it 
in one voyage, which netted 37 cents a pound. They managed 
to keep the source of supply a secret for several voyages, but 
were finally followed and competition set in. 

Native Malays had a very reprehensible trick of "creasing" 
a sailor, i.e. hitting him over the head with a sort of huge 
knife steeped in a poison so virulent that the slightest cut 
would prove fatal. It is curious to note that in one instance a 
young captain, who had experienced all manner of hair- 
raising escapes on his voyages, was gored to death while milk- 
ing his own cow during one of his rare vacations on land. 

Few persons, admiring the imposing and beautiful build- 
ings recently erected by our Board of Education for the use 
of the million or so children of school age in our city, can 
realize that the beginning of our present magnificent Public 
School System started scarcely a hundred years ago, the out- 
growth of an idea by some public-spirited New Yorker who 
organized a Free School Society for the purpose of providing 
educational facilities for the children of the poor. A list of 
these worthy citizens is among the treasured papers of the 
New York Historical Society and if ever there was a Roll of 
Honor, that list is certainly it. 

The city, as we have seen, grew with incredible rapidity, 
and it was soon seen that a private Society, no matter how 
worthy, was wholly unable to cope with a situation facing 
such huge development. So the question of public education 
soon took its rightful place as a responsibility of the whole 
community and not of a few individuals. The schoolhouses 
and the equipment of the Free Society were used as a basis 
on which to build and expand the Public School idea. 

J CevC }jon)hinA. Q)oVl — (£>daca£e — OJuaXA 


For some time, the city had been contributing to the ex- 
penses of the Free School Society. A hundred years ago, 1836, 
the number of pupils thus cared for by both methods was 
close to ten thousand and the number of schoolhouses had 
grown to fourteen. As classes were held in the evenings also, 
the total enrollment was nearly four thousand additional. The 
disbursements amounted to $132,523, of which amount the 
city contributed a little more than half. Soon after this, the 
whole burden was assumed by the city, and the Free School 
Society as a semi-public institution brought its honorable ca- 
reer to a close. 

The newly formed city organization which marked the be- 
ginning of our present Board of Education and built the ex- 
isting Public School System took over the buildings, equip- 
ment, and followed the methods of instruction inaugurated 
by the Free School Society. The method then in vogue, not 
only in New York but everywhere else in this country as well 
as in England, France, Germany and other European coun- 
tries, was universally known as the Lancastrian System— so- 
called in honor of the little town in England, Lancaster, 
where the idea originated. From an official pamphlet issued 
by the Free School Society for the benefit of other cities desir- 
ing to emulate New York in this direction, we take the fol- 
lowing description of the method of instruction and other 
essential details. The illustrations are from the same source. 

The picture of a little child in our great Public Schools 
learning the letters of the alphabet by writing in a box of 

The Draughts school system. 

sand; to watch the "smoother" with his flat piece of board 
then quickly remove the result, so that the next child can use 
the same sand, is not without its charm. It fits in perfectly 
with the little city of whale oil lamps, street corner pumps 
and pigs for a Street Cleaning Department. What a change! 
What a City! New York, the Imponderable! 

There came into existence before long, a Committee of 
distinguished citizens who correspond very closely to our 
present Board of Education and we are glad to note among 
those names that of our friend, Lindley W. Murray, whose 
well-known descendant, President Nicholas Murray Butler 
of Columbia University, ably carries on the family tradition 
with respect to educational matters. 

The Lancastrian Method had for its strongest claim the 
rather important one of economy. A schoolhouse in this sys- 
tem consisted of one large room with the head master at one 
end aided by "monitors" who sat at the end of each row of 
some fifteen or twenty rows of desks. The desks in the second 
row were about three inches higher than the first, and that 
arrangement was followed throughout, the effect being to 
bring the entire room directly beneath the eyes of the head 
master. From the illustration you can understand the plan. 
The monitors in time came to be almost teachers. At first it 

When a boy was monitor. 

c/Lca^ OQftXuwA Q)cul — (bdwca&e, — OJuaXA 


was an honor position, but later on it came to carry with it 
some specific privileges and a slight honorarium. 

Classes would consist sometimes of five hundred or a thou- 
sand pupils. As the schools grew, assistant monitors became 
necessary to assist in arranging the different classes. For in- 
stance, the reading class would be divided into several groups 
according to age as in our picture. As assistant monitor, called 
a Lesson Fixer, suspended the lessons on the walls for the 
different classes and grouped the children round their proper 
posts. Then there was the "Smoother," the monitor who with 

Moveable Stand. 





Bench with holes for hats. 
They, too, were in school. 

56 xJjsuiA&nAtonAL JOtcwvta and Q)axcdaaa UmuikS 

a small flat block faced with soft leather, smoothed the sand 
in the box so that the next child would have a clear surface 
on which to draw her letter. Then there was the Dictator. He 
stood at the end of the room and gave the word to be spelled 
or the lesson to be read to the first monitor who would pass 
it to the others, etc. 

Girls were taught sewing, heavy stitching, folding down 
sheets, as well as the three R's. 

The Alphabet Wheel was made of two circular boards, 
each four feet wide supported in a vertical position. Only one 
letter, small or capital, was shown at a time, the others being 
covered with "sliders." The letters were copied in a box of 
sand and smoothed out as we have already remarked. There 
was a monitor for the sand box and pointers. Under each 
bench was a hole in which hats were stowed away during 
school hours. A librarian looked after books; clocks, whistles 
and bells marked opening and closing times. 

Taking it all in all, there is hardly any department in the 
public service which has witnessed such marvelous changes 
as in our school work, and the city has a right to be proud of 
its accomplishments in this respect, even if it had done noth- 
ing else. 

The architecture of the city was of so many "schools" that 
a recess was in order. Up till 1853, there were no professional 
architects, when Mr. A. J. Davis set up an office and an- 
nounced that he had opened an office for this business and 
could be seen daily. The block of buildings on Fifth Avenue 
between Forty-first Street and Forty-second Street, opposite 
the Reservoir, was his first production. One or two of these 
still remain, but very materially altered. They stood on lots 
25 x 100, and contained two stories of gray stone and an attic 
of brown. They had a series of curved fronts, very attractive, 
and were offered for the modest sum of $9500 each; $500 
down and the rest payable monthly. They did not sell rapidly, 
but all were eventually disposed of. This venture is interest- 

c/lcW aowbvtA g)oIl — (bdacaie, — *J5ul£d 57 

ing as the work of the first man who devoted his attention to 
planning and superintending the building of houses as his 
exclusive vocation. He was the first architect to make such an 
attempt. Mr. Upjohn, who rebuilt Trinity Church, was also 
one of the early members of this profession, but unlike Davis 
did not rely upon it wholly for his livelihood. Most of our 
building was the work of contractors who made a set of plans, 
hired the necessary masons, carpenters, etc., to do the work. 
Most workers in this field were all-around men. From laying 
bricks, they would turn to hanging doors and putting in the 
plumbing. They usually earned two dollars a day for what 
they called "journeymen," but $1.25 or $1.50 was the most 
the helpers or young apprentices received; hod carriers about 
$1.00 to $1.25 per day. Compared with present costs, these 
figures are still far below today's Union scale. 

Under such conditions, there was a dreary monotony of 
design displayed in the residential section of the city where 
the depressing brown stone prevailed almost exclusively. The 
Mason houses on the block between Fifty-eighth and Fifty- 
ninth Streets, then considered in an inaccessible wilderness, 
built of cream-colored stone, were for a long time the solitary 
exception. They were, however, planned on a truly gigantic 
scale as to size and number of rooms and one of them boasted 
of the first— and for a long time the only— ballroom in town. 
They were copies, if bad ones, of a type popular in Paris. It 
was then still considered good form to put a "crash" over the 
drawing-room floor when used as a ballroom, the heavy furni- 
ture being temporarily moved upstairs. So to possess a huge 
room that was left for three hundred and sixty-four days of 
the year in utter neglect and darkness with its gilt chairs 
stacked in a corner and its chandelier in a bag, was convinc- 
ing proof that its owner was above the ordinary in a certain 
sense and condoned what might have been lacking in others. 
Part of New York has ever been lenient to those who had 
money and were not averse to spending it, and many a family 

58 JOHxv&tuJLatui Uicmiii anA Q)wtaiacia J /"uwdcA 

has been saved from innocuous desuetude by the possession 
of a gifted chef. 

Until the advent of Mr. Davis, the architecture of the city 
was about what you see today as you view an approaching city 
from the windows of a Pullman. Why our American cities, 
usually alert to the importance of creating a favorable im- 

Old tannery, on Frankfort Street, that stood in the way of 
Brooklyn Bridge. 

pression on strangers, willfully spread out for his first view an 
apparently endless procession of tumble-down shacks, dilapi- 
dated dwellings and the week's wash invariably flapping in 
the breeze, is one of those mysteries that apparently has no 
solution. Rotary Clubs, like many telephone operators, greet 
you effusively and almost affectionately when you first strike 
their town and wish you a saccharine farewell when you 
leave; but the old depressing railroad approach to a town is 
still a permanent fixture. 

Perhaps the buildings in New York were not quite so dole- 

c/leW OowbvxA q)oa51 — G)<ittca£e — JouaXA 59 

£ul as that, but they still lacked tremendously any approach 
to attractiveness or architectural beauty. The home of the 
richest man in town, the residence of Commodore Vanderbilt 
on Washington Place, had enormous possibilities for garden- 
ing effects. But the Commodore was passionately fond of 
horses, a trait shared by his children, so the spacious grounds 
were utilized as a miniature race course around which some 
rather noted horses did their paces. There were no other 
houses in the city proper that had any land around them to 
speak of. 

St. John's Park and Park Place leading to the College 
grounds had, however, shown the refining influence of open 
spaces near dwelling houses, and the style of houses surround- 
ing these places showed an inclination to depart from the 
plumber and gas-fitter school of design. The houses on Park 
Place were commodious and in the Georgian order, and St. 
John's Park showed even a greater advance in individuality. 
When it was decided to make Potter's Field into what is 
now Washington Square, the houses that arose around it 
showed this tendency in a still more marked degree; and 
when Fifth Avenue was opened in 1824 there were two or 
three houses like the Brevoorts', Parishes', Roberts', Rhine- 
landers' and Minturns' that were true Georgian in design 
and very impressive. 

Still, we were more anxious to improve, and sought help 
in every promising direction. 

A Journal that exerted quite an influence on our archi- 
tectural education was undoubtedly Mr. Dunham's Monthly. 
Mr. Dunham was a great friend of Frederica Bremer. She 
spent quite a little time with him at his summer home on the 
Hudson River. 

Mr. Dunham strove to the best of his ability to raise the 
standards of design in the city and suburban homes— villas, 
he called them. Mr. Dunham, in common with most Ameri- 
cans of that day, was filled with loathing for what he depre- 














c/leW oorubviA q)cuJL — fedacctte — JSuuA 64 

catingly alluded to as the vitiated taste that prevailed in house 
designing in Colonial times. A door designed by Mclntyre, a 
building by Bullfinch, furniture made by such wood butchers 
as Duncan Phyfe, filled the righteous soul of Mr. Dunham 
with horror. Imagine such trash as "pie crust" tables or sofas 
with, of all things, "claw feet." Impossible! Simplicity of de- 
sign resulted from vacuity of thought, according to the Dun- 
ham School of Design, so he popularized an era of flamboy- 
ant decoration for the exterior of a cottage such as was never 
seen on earth before or in waters underneath the earth. 
Scrollwork in every possible shape and figure, ornamental 
piazzas, towers, windows, doors, till your eyes ached. The 
more ornate the design, the more involved its conception, the 
more, nearly did it approach the ideals of the ultra-refined 
taste of the Dunham School. 

Nor did Mr. Dunham stop at houses alone. He was quite 
willing to share unselfishly his divine gifts for creating beauty 
in lawns and gardens also. Such a thing as an old-fashioned 
garden or a rock garden would have made him gasp with 
horror. He introduced the Sing Sing cropped grass and the 
lovely stags at bay in cast iron. In fact, he invented a whole 
menagerie of domestic animals— deer, Newfoundland dogs, 
elk, moose, etc. These were artlessly posed in appropriate 
spaces in the fountains in special designs. Those that have 
survived do not remind us either of Versailles or Tsarskoe 
Palace. They were not so ornate or so fantastic. A favorite de- 
sign (in cast iron) was a very young girl holding an umbrella 
over her head, the water spouting up through the ferrule of 
the umbrella and falling in a graceful cascade down the sides 
of the parapluie to a basin in which the maiden coyly stood. 
Sometimes a frog would be introduced to provide, no doubt, 
verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narra- 
tive and sometimes a duck. Mr. Dunham was catholic in his 
tastes and strove to please. There are one or two specimens 

of the Dunham suburban villa still extant. I think Mrs. As- 
ter' s "Beech wood" and Mrs. Cushman's cottage in Newport 
are genuine Dunhams. Mr. Dunham always designed a bay 
window for the best room. No home was complete without a 
bay window. This universal feature in all villas gave rise to 
one of the most brilliant witticisms of all time. I am sorry I 
can't give the name of the author of this imperishable contri- 
bution to our noble English language— a bay window mean- 
ing a gentleman with excessive avoirdupois in the region of 
the waistline. This bon mot, when it first appeared, caused 
endless gales of laughter. But, aside from its addition to the 
gayety of nations, the bay window was a window with a pur- 
pose. On a small stained walnut stand reposing on a filigree 
plush mat perched one of Mr. Rogers' immortal statues— 
either "Checkers Down At The Farm" or "Weighing The 
Baby." From the vantage point of a bay window these statues 
could be seen from three sides. And to own a Rogers Group 
in those days proclaimed you one of the elect. 

Mr. Rogers made about thirty of these groups and the orig- 
inal bronze models are now in the possession of that excellent 
organization in Old Salem— the Essex Institute. I know it is 
popular to laugh at them, but I don't. Rogers' groups were 
not all genre. There is one showing Grant, Lincoln and Stan- 
ton— serious and compelling. The Lincoln figure alone has sent 
the price of this group out of the ordinary reach. If it had 
been of heroic size and placed in a park, it would have com- 
pared favorably with the work of St. Gaudens, French, or 

So if you still have a Rogers Group up in the attic, bring 
it down to the light of day and give it the best place in the 
library. They radiate joy and wholesomeness and give you a 
good chance to air your superior knowledge of art by making 
fun of them. 

At one time New Yorkers raved over the late J. G. Brown's 
work. Mr. Brown painted scenes in which street arabs were 

the motive— bootblacks playing craps— little coons doing a 
buck and wing dance for the edification of a group of "news- 
ies." Mr. Brown, like a gentleman in the office partition busi- 
ness, made his product by the mile and sold it by the foot. 
He was to canvas what Mr. Rogers was to plaster of Paris. 
Now we won't even look at a Brown. 

Architecturally, the city was still in the hands of a few 
God-gifted carpenters, plumbers and gasfitters, whose faith 
in their constructive and artistic abilities in building was 
such that they would accept an order for a Cathedral "like 
the one at Cologne" or an addition to a livery stable, with 
equal nonchalance. Builders of armor plate and iron clads, 
thrown out of work by the ending of the Civil War, were 
obliged to find a new outlet for their product and turned 
with contempt to the arts of peace. So downtown began the 
"iron front" age and uptown the "brownstone" age. The re- 
sult of the former was the erection of such a melancholy array 
of business buildings that many persons thought that it would 
have been much less harmful to let the war go on. Specimens 
of this distressing era are still to be seen in the old dry-goods 
district; but their original claim of being fireproof having 
proved a fallacy, this school of architecture early became ex- 
tinct. The brownstone orgy raged with unabated fury several 
years longer, was even more depressing, and is still much in 

The other buildings of unusual note at this time were the 
Western Union, the Equitable, and the new Post Office in 
City Hall Park just finished. The Western Union was quite 
an institution by itself. It possessed a tall flagpole a-top the 
roof surmounted by a wooden ball. Promptly at noon this ball 
made an instantaneous descent to the bottom of the pole. Then 
everybody knew it was twelve o'clock. For blocks around, the 
curb would be lined with an eager throng, their eyes glued 
to the flagpole, watches in hand. When the ball dropped, out 
came a multitude of keys and everybody proceeded to wind 

6-V Jj^uiWftAtartc Ononis and. Q)aAxdaaa J wwvkA 

and wind and wind till the exact second was recorded. This 
solemn rite accomplished, the world moved on again. About 
a block below the Western Union, was a celebrated firm of 
jewelers, Benedict Bros. They kept an admirable timepiece 
conveniently displayed in the front window. This was con- 
sulted by thousands and provided an all-day performance of 
the wind-up act initiated by the Time Ball. The Benedicts 
have been jewelers on lower Broadway for more than a cen- 
tury and a quarter. 

Then came the Equitable. At that time the company occu- 
pied only a third of the present block, but on the roof of 
their building was stationed the first Weather Bureau the 
city possessed. "Farmer" Dunn, as he was affectionately called, 
was the gentleman who first gained fame as a forecaster. Pre- 
dictions in those days were nowhere near so accurate as they 
are now; nevertheless, Farmer Dunn and his prognostications 
loomed large in public interest. He failed completely, how- 
ever, to give the slightest warning concerning the great bliz- 
zard of '88, but then no other service did either; and the 
storm itself was so overwhelming and devastating that we 
had no time for recrimination or accusation, in view of the 
mess in which we found ourselves. Farmer Dunn, who was 
popularly known as "Old Probabilities," held forth for many 
years atop the Equitable; and when the time came for his 
retirement and the removal of the Weather Bureau to the 
Whitehall Building, he resigned the cares of his office, secure 
in the affections of the people of New York and in the satis- 
faction of having done his work to the great benefit of the 
country at large and to the city of New York in particular. 

The magnificent office buildings that now distinguish our 
financial district with their delightful groups of dainty ste- 
nographers, crowding the elevators in semi-sport dress, semi- 
ball dress and semi-nothing dress, are in striking contrast to 
the ex-boarding houses, ex-warehouses that sheltered the har- 
assed workers of the days of which I write. With the exception 

66 JjsioA&riAiarui OrvardA arui Q)oA<xiacLa J kaxavkA 

of the new Drexel, Morgan & Co. Building and the new Stock 
Exchange, there was not a structure in this wealthy section 
that was other than an eyesore. Even the basement of the 
Morgan Building harbored a retail dealer in coal and wood 
—Mr. Jeremiah Skidmore— and the great banking house sub- 
let the entire building to other tenants, reserving for their 
own use only the second floor. There were no elevators in 
office buildings in those days, and the Exchange Place Build- 
ing in 1880 created quite a sensation when they installed one 
and announced its constant operation. Crowds went to see it. 
Except for Delmonico, who employed his own niece as 
cashier, there were no female employees in any downtown 
office in New York. There were no central heating plants. 
This essential comfort was provided by huge base burners 
which occupied the middle of the office floor and by grates. 
The necessary combustible to provide the heat was stored in 
a huge box in the hall. The Clinton Airtight Furnace was a 
popular idol in those days. The airtight feature prevented 
the escape of coal gas which smelled like nothing else on 
earth. This mouth-filling name greatly impressed one of the 
black janitresses in a certain bank, so she gleefully bestowed it 
upon her firstborn— Clinton Airtight Johnson. 

The population was a little over a million, mostly Irish, 
Germans, Scotch and English. There were some French, some 
Spaniards, but no Italians to speak of. There were few— a 
very few— Hungarians, Russians, Poles, Armenians, Syrians, 
Czechoslovakia^, Greeks and Chinese. There were also scat- 
tered here and there groups of native New Yorkers, but not 
enough to destroy the Elysian-like atmosphere imported by 
these European exotics. 

All along Broadway from the City Hall clear up to Grace 
Church, the stores sported awnings of one kind or another. 
They were of all colors and no colors. Gorgeous stripes added 
a snappiness to the prevailing dull gray. A great many horse 

cJlcW OanfheAA Q>oaZ — feducate — JjuaXA 67 

blocks still survived and some short front stoops in the upper 
reaches of Broadway. 

The iron stanchions and wooden supports greatly impeded 
pedestrian traffic and they were gradually being removed. 
The stoops were shaved off and the horse-blocks demolished. 
This altered the appearance of our main street quite mate- 
rially and provided much needed breathing space. Were the 
merchants to enjoy that precious boon? Alas! no. 

Along came the Telegraph Company with a forest of poles 
and a labyrinth of wires, followed a few years later by the 
Telephone Company. Together, these worthies managed to 
usurp most of the light and air we needed for comfortable 
existence and calmly ignored local ordinances requiring them 
to put their wires underground. Finally, Mayor Grant per- 
sonally chopped down a pole on Broadway near Twenty-third 
Street and frankly stated that a corps of professional tree 
choppers would continue the task. The corporations, there- 
upon, saw a great light, and arrangements were completed 
whereby the work would be taken up in an orderly manner 
so as to permit the continuance of business while the transi- 
tion was being made. The spectacle of Mayor Grant wielding 
that ax will always remain with me a pleasant memory. 

To close this brief glance of the Victorian Era in New 
York art, a brief mention should be made of one who con- 
tributed much to the art life of New York, but who won 
fame and fortune in an altogether different field— Prof. S. F. 
B. Morse, who lived on Twenty-second Street near Fifth 

When Mr. Morse first arrived in New York, he joined the 
faculty of the University of New York then in an old gray 
chateau-like structure on Washington Square founded by 
John Johnston, one of those Scotch lads I have spoken of. He 
was a penniless boy, accumulated a great fortune, and made 
a wise use of his money. Mr. Morse taught in the University, 
pursuing his art studies on the side. 

J CcW SadkeAA qZoaX. — Gxdocaie — UjuaJIA 69 

He soon discovered that there was no spirit of friendliness 
or cooperation among the young men in this field. On the 
contrary, there was much jealousy and mutual distrust. Mr. 
Morse immediately set out to remedy this deplorable situa- 
tion, got a great many young students together and suggested 
an organization for mutual help and to promote a better un- 
derstanding among the guild. The result was the formation 
of the National Academy of Design. He became its first Presi- 
dent. It was an immediate success and soon boasted of the 
most artistic building in town— a replica of the Doge's Palace 
in Venice, located at the corner of Fourth Avenue and 
Twenty-third Street, then the center of fashionable New 
York. The Society is now in the 103d year of its existence, 
and under the energetic administration of its present guid- 
ing spirit, Mr. Jonas Lie, bids fair to continue and surpass 
its long and honorable career. 

There is a splendid self-portrait of Mr. Morse in the Met- 
ropolitan Art Gallery. It proves that he was an artist of 
no mean ability. Mr. Morse, however, accidentally became 
interested in transmitting messages by electric wire— an idea 
he had seen in Paris on a visit. Pursuing his investigations 
further, he finally invented the modern telegraph. I shall 
speak of him later in this volume. I mention him here be- 
cause of his brief but brilliant career as an artist. 

Chapter III 

But it was not our local publications that provided interest 
in New York for the outside world. There was, of course, in 
Europe a tremendous desire to learn more about the mate- 
rial prospects in the New World, and every scrap of writing 
dealing with this subject was eagerly seized upon. The long 
Napoleonic Wars had left the nations and the people ex- 
hausted and discouraged. The New World beckoned. Some- 
times a group in England would subscribe a small fund to 
defray the expenses of a personal investigator. His reports 
were received and read with feverish interest, particularly 
with the opportunities offered to skilled laborers, artisans and 
all those who had mastered practical trades. The attitude of 
clerks in stores— whether they were polite and solicitous of 
your patronage or were so overwhelmed with customers as to 
provide indifferent service— was carefully noted. The alleged 
disappearance of all "class" distinction was a subject of lively 
comment; some writers rejoiced in the freedom from obsequi- 
ousness which the new order permitted, while others con- 
cluded that liberty was merely another name for license and 
complained bitterly of the lack of consideration displayed to- 
ward the merchant who was accorded no better treatment than 
a person of the lower orders. 

There is no doubt that the democratic idea was often car- 
ried to extremes. A good many men— especially the younger— 
were prone to seize their hats and coats when reprimanded by 
their employers, and disappear. With efficient labor none too 


plentiful, this was a constant source of trouble. Some of these 
young men went out of their way to stress a sense of their 
own importance. As a matter of fact, the average man never 
was treated with contumely in British days; yet now they were 
super-sensitive. A lot of their descendants are with us today; 
every office has one at least. Fine fellows, good workers and 
strongly capable. But oh! so touchy! You never know exactly 
just how to approach them. One day you wake up and fire 
them. Then the whole atmosphere changes for the better. 

The immigrant boy was quick to discover that the Yankee 
boy was inclined to be needlessly supercilious at times and 
often threw up good positions unnecessarily. The Scotch boy 
saw that first. The Scot was willing, obliging and a tireless 
worker. All he worried about was getting on— a fig for the 
amenities! So in the midst of a city crying for intelligent help, 
the tide of Kilties which set in from the bonnie, bonnie banks 
of Ben Lomond, Sauchehawl Street and the Bromelow made 
New York sit up and take notice. 

The Scotch in New York have been of enormous impor- 
tance in the development of our city, and at the time of which 
we write they were by no means an insignificant factor nu- 
merically in New York's polyglot population. I would like 
to write a chapter on the Scotch in New York. But if I did, 
I ought to do the same thing for the Irish, the Germans, the 
Italians, the Russians, the Czechoslovakians, the Greeks, the 
French, the Spanish, etc. Still, this is a book about New York, 
and there ought to be something in it about the New Yorker. 
If I can work him in somewhere, I will let you know. 

So these books that were written by these special observers 
and by others who were legitimately seeking new and good 
material for a book, attracted widespread attention not only 
in Europe but in America as well. Few of us along the At- 
lantic seaboard knew anything of the Wild West, and descrip- 
tions of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and the newly opened 
Louisiana country, wonders of the great Mississippi, the 

72 cJj/uiv2ii^tofvc UiordA. and Q)axxxiaaa «J nAMvbb 

boundless prairies and the recently explored Oregon country, 
were read with absorbing interest. Lewis and Morgan's ac- 
count seemed like reading the further adventures of Marco 
Polo. The whole world was agape with curiosity. 

Strangely enough, when any of these books criticized us in 
any particular or failed to laud us to the skies, we immedi- 
ately flew into a furious temper. None of these writers were 
actuated by any hostile feeling. They tried to present a true 
picture of just what they saw. Perhaps Mrs. Trollope and 
Mr. Dickens did not always use enough soft soap. Dickens in 
particular suffered severely for his American Notes; per- 
haps for a man who was treated so hospitably, he might have 
been more charitable. But tobacco chewing was universal and 
a filthy habit should always be condemned. Traveling in a 
country but a few years reclaimed from savagery could not 
be expected to provide such comforts as were possible in 
England, and the unending hordes of visitors naturally over- 
taxed a region as yet but scantily provided with inns or even 

So some writers wrote under the stress of feeling induced 
by such vexatious experiences in a strain that was occasion- 
ally uncomplimentary. Yet the picture they painted was true, 
but unfortunately provided a basis for wholly unjustifiable 
attacks by the Edinburgh Review and other Tory publica- 
tions in England. These articles should have been ignored, 
but instead they produced much indignation on this side and 
were the cause of much ill feeling. Some of our journals went 
so far as to denounce them as arrogant propaganda designed 
to create a desire on the part of the United States to rejoin 
the British Empire. 

This peculiar sensitiveness to English opinion seems no 
longer to exist in New York. George Bernard Shaw tells us 
over the radio that we are a lot of boobs and we rush to his 
lecture, buy his books, and pay top prices to see Caesar and 
Cleopatra, Candida, and Man and Superman. That is as befits 

a great cosmopolitan commonwealth and is about the most 
convincing evidence I can produce that New York is a real 

Along with the growth of public education, the city could 
boast of not a few literary celebrities. It was Carlyle who re- 
marked that lives of poets read to him like the criminal cal- 
endar at Newgate— and while we had no such romantic rascal 


Where James Fenimore 
Cooper set to work on his sec- 
ond novel, immediately, after 
the publication of "The Spy" 
had made him famous. 

NO. 6 ST. mark's place, 

Where James Fenimore Cooper 

wrote "Homeward Bound" and 

"Home as Found." 

as Byron, we had his prototype, minus the tinsel and spangles, 
in Edgar Allan Poe. 

Sentimentalists are fond of reproaching the city itself for 
the cruel life which was Poe's while sojourning here, but the 
plain truth is that Poe would have suffered equal hardship 
in any community as a result of his own irritating conduct. 
Poe would rather say something nasty about an editor and 
live in a boarding house tenanted by the freaks from Bar- 
num's Museum, than sell him a story at a good round price. 

Thomas English, writer of the words of Trilby's song, 
"Don't You Remember Sweet Alice, Ben Bolt," was a special 
object of Poe's sarcasm. Brown had started a magazine which 
had for a motto on the cover the words of Richelieu: 

"Men call me cruel. 
I am not, I am Just" 

to which Poe added two little words with a quixotic result: 

"Men call me cruel. 
I am not. I am just an ass." 

He also remarked that Mr. English as a literary personage 
would shine far better as a worthy successor of his father's 
profession, that of a ferryman on the Schuylkill River. 

Mr. English, it may not be inappropriate to recall here, 
attended in person one of those dinners which Colonel 
Harvey was wont to give whenever the Harpers launched a 
new edition of some author's works, dead or alive. He was 
then over ninety years of age. The crowd were singing "Ben 
Bolt" when someone suddenly discovered that the author of 
the famous ditty was among the invited guests. It was a tre- 
mendous sensation to find among them a contemporary of 
Poe's and a man whom they regarded merely as a legendary 
figure like Keats or Shelley, dead and forgotten years and 

years ago. When the members recovered from their astonish- 
ment, Mr. English received a great ovation. His song was re- 
peated over and over again, and I guess the old man had a 
moment of ecstasy that may have atoned for the many years 
of obscurity which fall to the lot of the man who has outlived 
his day and generation. 

It is not possible in this book to add much to the already 
well-known facts of Poe's life. His was not a lovely character. 
The man who wrote "The Raven" and "Annabelle Lee" had 
only himself to blame for his unquestioned sufferings. That 
his superb genius was at all times equal to the task of provid- 
ing him with a comfortable living, is beyond question. But 
literature must be sold to editors and if you insult every 
editor you ever heard of you make the going rather rough. 
And if in your capacity of editor you insult every author, 
then you don't get the material that will make your publica- 
tions a success. Poe did both these things and poor Virginia 
Poe bore the brunt of the subsequent result. 

When the cottage in which Poe lived at the corner of 
Broadway and Eighty-ninth Street was about to be demol- 
ished to make room for the extension of Kingsbridge Road, 
it was fortunately rescued just in time by the members of the 
Shakespeare Society. It has been restored and adorns a neat 
little park in Fordham near which he also lived for several 
years. The enclosure has received the distinction of being 
named in honor of this gifted genius. With all his faults his 
work seems likely to endure. His fame has immeasurably in- 
creased since his death. 

Other well-known names which appeared in the literary 
firmament at that time were Charles Brockden Brown, the 
first novelist to gain distinction in the world of fiction. The 
curious Warner sisters, Susan and Anna Bartlett, who lived 
semi-hermitlike on Constitution Island, near West Point, 
wrote books, which for their day, enjoyed tremendous popu- 
larity, especially The Wide, Wide World, Susan's composi- 

76 uonjcwku&tmAi <Jiant& anA Q)a/vataaa O nAXXvbb. 

tion. It is interesting to note that Anna Warner and Mrs. 
Russel ,£age gave Constitution Island to the Government. 

A fine figure and very patriarchal was William Cullen 
Bryant, who lived on Twenty-second Street and was fre- 
quently encountered on Broadway. He was editor of The 
Evening Post, but found time to write occasionally a sonnet 
or poem that was eagerly read. His "Thanatopsis" was the 
literary sensation of the day. It is a glorious work and added 
no little to the growing fame of American cities in spite of 
Sidney Smith's sneering remark, "In the four quarters of the 
globe, who reads an American book? or goes to an American 
play? or looks at an American picture or statue?" 

Mr. Smith should have been more discreet in his remarks, 
for at the time of this mammoth criticism, Mr. Smith him- 
self consulted an American grammar for aid in composition 
and spelling, as the standard work on this subject then in 
use in English schools and colleges was written by an Amer- 
ican and a New Yorker, Mr. Lindley Murray, late of Murray 
Hill, Fifth Avenue and Thirty-eighth Street. 

Despite the fact that an American Sidney Smith— the ador- 
able and always entertaining H. L. Mencken— says Washing- 
ton Irving is not so much, the fact remains that he is today, 
next to Fenimore Cooper, the most popular American author 
in England where he first gained recognition for American 
letters. His biographies of Washington and of Columbus have 
no doubt suffered from the result of continued research since 
his volumes appeared, but his Conquest of Granada still re- 
tains a high position. His description of the Alhambra is as 
perfect today as the day it was written, and recently the town 
council of Granada named one of the principal streets lead- 
ing to the Alhambra in his honor, and that part of the work 
is quoted and used almost exclusively by guidebook writers 
and tourist companies as the best and most scholarly descrip- 
tion of Spain's proudest possession that has yet appeared. His 
Knickerbocker's History of New York still sells, and the play 

<$Lttc/ia£u/&e JjlaatYiS in J \AAv<dMmi& {jetdwiu 77 

based on his Hudson River story of Rip Van Winkle has de- 
lighted millions. Incidentally, it robbed the American stage 
of the incomparable genius of Joe Jefferson as an actor. The 
public stubbornly refused to attend his show unless he put 
on old Rip, and you were not competent to discuss the 
American stage if you had not seen his delightful portrayal 
of the lovable old Catskill souse. The W. C. T. U. used to 
froth at the mouth at the mere mention of Rip and insisted 
that he had been mainly instrumental in depriving us of 
the blessings of prohibition many many years before they 
were able to present this inestimable gift to their dear 

Mr. Bryant was quite a venerable personage when he pre- 
sided over the meeting in Cooper Union to hear an address 
by the Hon. Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, whose great de- 
bates with Stephen A. Douglas had awakened an intense de- 
sire to see and to hear him in New York. Mr. Bryant was 
evidently less in touch with current events than he should 
have been, as he found no words to properly introduce the 
speaker of the evening whom he presented as "a lawyer well 
known in the West, Mr. A. Lincoln." 

The real reason why Lincoln appeared at all was not so 
much to gratify this natural curiosity as it was to straighten 
out a tangle in which his son, Robert, was involved, having 
flunked his exams at Harvard. Robert inherited the spirited 
qualities of his mother, more's the pity, and was a vulgar- 
spoken, tobacco-chewing person all his life. He religiously 
abstained from attendance at any of the many dinners held 
on Lincoln's Birthday during his lifetime; he thought the 
President of the Pullman Palace Car Company a much more 
important personage than "Old Abe" and wouldn't play 
second fiddle. 

But we shouldn't be too hard on Mr. Bryant for his un- 
fortunate faux pas. The Committee, who were appointed to 
escort him back to the Astor House where he was staying, 

78 Jjsvw&nAtana Ononis anA Q)wtcdaaa O sum&s 

were frugal souls and provided him with a five-cent street 
car ride on the University Place cars that ran to Vesey Street. 
They thought so little of him that one by one they excused 
themselves and got out when the car reached a corner near 
their homes. For two-thirds of the distance, Mr. Lincoln 
rode alone. 

Knox, the hatter, who had a shop nearly opposite the 
Astor, made some amends. He presented Mr. Lincoln with a 
brand-new silk topper for the huge beaver one he wore. That 
was a hobby of Colonel Knox's, and the attic of his store on 
Fulton Street had a fine collection of old headpieces belong- 
ing to Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Calhoun, and many 
other celebrities of the day. 

Another poet who deserves honorable mention is Rodman 
Drake, who is buried up in the Bronx. Drake wrote a really 
beautiful poem, "The Culprit Fay," with much of the beauty 
of certain passages in "Midsummer-Night's Dream." It 
should enjoy greater vogue than it does today, for it is one 
of those beautiful fantasies that are ever entrancing. For 
beauty of thought, exquisite imagery, and feeling of expres- 
sion, "The Culprit Fay" is well worth a high rank in our 
national literature. The popularity of his other well-known 
bit of doggerel, "Three Cheers For The Red, White and 
Blue," has so overshadowed the "Culprit" as almost wholly to 
overwhelm it in popular estimation. In a pecuniary sense the 
antics of George M. Cohan with the American Flag have 
yielded far more money than poor Drake ever thought there 
was in the world; but Irving Berlin even with his "Alexan- 
der's Rag Time Band" hasn't written anything more endur- 
ing than the music supplied by Drake's lilting stanzas. 

Drake's friend, Fitz-Greene Halleck, has also a permanent 
niche in our Hall of Fame. His lament for the early death 
of Drake, beginning 

"Green be the turf above thee, 
Friend of my better days," 

is quite a nice sonnet to read. But his "Marco Bozzaris," be- 
loved of the amateur elocutionists, is the poem by which he 
will best be remembered, although I think he has a stronger 


Formerly Villagrand's hotel, the head- 
quarters of the French refugees, and 
where Fitz-Greene Halleck lodged. 

and better claim in the affections of old New York. He was 
confidential clerk to the first John Jacob Astor, and I imagine 
played no small part in the early stages of founding the Astor 
Library. His own tastes would incline him to a project of 

this kind and doubtless he was a warm advocate of the project 
whenever the matter came up. Washington Irving had a 
hand in it too, as his name appears among those of the first 


N. P. Willis bought the house in 1850 

and lived there until he moved to his 

ideal residence on the Hudson River. 

Board of Trustees. He was also a close friend of the Astors. 
Both of them deserve well of the city for their good work in 
this direction. 

It is not my purpose to more than glance at a few names 

^LAtoAxiiu/va. <J5laamA in <J tltvciecnin \^jtntuAu 8i 

that flourished prominently in the literary world in the early 
half of the last century in New York. Many more might be 
included with equal justice. There were one or two literary 
journals that should be mentioned, particularly The Mirror 
under the editorship of Nathaniel P. Willis and William 
A. Morris, gentlemen of rare literary culture and ornaments 
of their profession. The Mirror enjoyed a long and prosper- 
ous career, but finally succumbed to changing tastes as is the 
fate of many publications when the controlling spirits that 
brought them into existence have disappeared from the scene. 
There are many good articles in the old Mirror that reflect 
the time and tastes of New York at that time, one of the best 
of which describes a trip across the East River to Brooklyn 
on the ferryboats then existing. 

It is not pleasant, nor is it sometimes safe, to cross a river 
in a ferryboat crowded with carriages, carts, horses, etc., and 
we have often wondered why separate and distinct boats were 
not provided for the accommodation of all parties, more par- 
ticularly at a ferry so much frequented as that at the foot of 
Fulton Street. The decks of these boats are not unfrequently 
jammed with a heterogeneous mass of live and dead stock; 
hucksters and their miscellanies; milkmen with their pans; 
hay-carts, wagons, drays, men, women, children, pigs, sheep, 
ducks, pigeons, geese, eggs, hens, clean and unclean things, 
all promiscuously huddled together, and affording a minia- 
ture view of the interior of the ark of old. This might be 
obviated by appropriating the present boats exclusively to 
the accommodation of the market people, and such others as 
may have produce or merchandise to transport in vehicles or 
otherwise; and by adding a couple of neat and comfortable 
boats, with warm and commodious deck apartments, for the 
exclusive conveyance of unencumbered pedestrians. This 
ought to be done, and at this season of the year iceboats 
should be procured, and, in short, every facility afforded the 
public by the holders of a monopoly so lucrative as the 
Fulton-street ferry-company. 

Two books appeared at this time, the work of New York 

men, which have endured since then and so far as we can 
see will probably be with us for all time. One of these is 
Audubon's Birds of America and the other is The Hudson 
River Portfolio by Hill and Wall. Original editions of these 
works now command prices in relatively the same classes as 
Shakespeare's first folios or the Gutenberg Bible. 

Audubon's home was in the little village of Carmansville, 
which was long ago swallowed up by the city. His old home, 
"Minniesland," stood until recently just below the viaduct 
at Broadway and One Hundred Fifty-fifth Street, near Mr. 


Where Audubon lived in 1840. 

Huntington's Spanish Museum. Part of his old farm is now 
Trinity Cemetery and his grave is there. When Morse built 
his first telegraph line to Philadelphia, he had it strung 
across the river to the basement of Audubon's house. Thus 
was the first message sent to New York. 

Audubon's life is a story of unbelievable achievement 
under most extraordinary perils and adventures. Year after 
year was spent in the forests primeval, sketching from life 
the specimens which were later to delight and astonish the 
world by their accuracy in both form and color. His draw- 
ings were reproduced in life-size in what is called Elephant 
Folio— measuring about two and a half feet by four. Few 
copies of this first edition are now extant in private libraries, 
practically all of them being in public libraries or museums. 

Early views of Audubon's home on One Hundred Fifty- 
fifth Street, which extended to the river and had considerable 
shore front, shows a square wooden structure of no archi- 
tectural beauty whatever— square, with Mansard roof and the 
inevitable front stoop and porch. He kept a few tame deer, 
some peacocks and other unusual birds and animals, which 
are shown in these old prints, standing on the lawn. 

Audubon's work awakened a world-wide interest in bird 
life and to his influence we owe our present widely organized 
Audubon Societies whose sole purpose is the care and protec- 
tion of our lovely feathered friends. Our State and National 
Bird Sanctuaries are also part of the same work. Altogether, 
John James Audubon was a notable New Yorker. A copy of 
the first edition of his Birds containing the list of patrons, 
whose support made this monumental work possible, is in 
the possession of the New York Historical Society, where 
many of the original drawings themselves can also be seen. 

The artists who made the Hudson River Portfolio are 
perhaps better known for the few sketches they also made of 
scenes in the city itself—the view of Broadway and Canal 
Street (1835) being one of the best-known subjects and 

rarest. The Portfolio consists of a series of large mezzotints, 
twenty-two in all, depicting scenes along the Hudson River, 
beginning with a view of the city from the Bay and continu- 
ing up the River to its source in the Adirondacks. West Point, 
Newburgh, Troy and other cities are shown. 

Where the money came from to support such an enterprise 
at this early date is a mystery. Certainly no such costly and 
magnificent work of this lordly River ever appeared before 
or since. An excellent copy in good condition is quoted in 
London today at $2500. It rarely appears in the auction 
rooms, and when it does is usually short one or two plates. 
Part of the edition bears the imprint of a Charleston firm as 
printers, part by H. J. Megary & Son, a New York firm, and 
some were printed in London. Considering the time in which 
it appeared, it is remarkable that a market should be found 
for such an expensive publication. A new one today on the 
same elaborate scale has lately been projected, but condi- 
tions financially have temporarily suspended operations. But 
both these publications originating in New York, are among 
the prize possessions of the bibliophiles the world over and 
are worthy of recording in these pages. 

Herman Melville, whose Moby Dick is now a sea classic, 
was born and lived at 104 East Twenty-sixth Street where he 
wrote it and other famous novels. 

"The Old Oaken Bucket," by Samuel Woodworth, was 
inspired by the pump that stood before his door in Duane 

John Howard Payne was born at 33 Pearl Street near 
Whitehall. In 1845, n ^ s opera containing "Home, Sweet 
Home" was sung at La Scala, in Milan. 

The Mercantile Library was started in 1830, with the gift 
of a History of England by Geo. De Witt Clinton. The Cen- 
tury Club was founded by William Cullen Bryant in the 
house at Fifteenth Street, between Irving Place and Union 

oLlte^aiuA^ uSlaamb in t) tlftcteentii \^j2mIuau 85 

Ray Palmer, in a room overlooking old St. Paul's, found 
inspiration for that beautiful hymn, "My Faith Looks Up 
To Thee." 

Dr. Muhlenberg, rector of the Church of the Holy Com- 
munion, announced one morning that half the collection 
would be set aside for an organization to care for the sick 
poor. That was the origin of St. Luke's Hospital, now on 
Cathedral Heights. 

Robert Louis Stevenson, coming off the steamer, stopped 
at 10 West Street. 

Bryant and Robert C. Sands founded The Atlantic 
Monthly with Verplanck. All were members of the Bread 
and Cheese Club founded by J. Fenimore Cooper in old 
Washington Hall, Broadway between Chambers and Reade 
Streets, afterwards A. T. Stewart's store. 

"Woodman, Spare That Tree," was penned by George P. 

Two women have so far written the best histories of the 
City of New York— Mary L. Booth and Martha C. Lamb. No 
male writer has ever equalled them. 

In addition to John Johnston who founded the University 
of the City of New York, his son-in-law, John Taylor, who 
founded the Metropolitan Museum of Art, should be men- 
tioned the name of James Lenox, son of another Scotchman, 
Robert Lenox, whose priceless library forms one of the foun- 
dations of our present New York Public Library. 

Mr. Harry L. Stevens, who acted as literary agent for Mr. 
Lenox, in assembling his priceless treasures, has written a 
most interesting short biography of this first and greatest of 
New York's distinguished bibliophiles. 

Mr. Stevens enumerates many of the great jewels of litera- 
ture included in the Lenox Collection. I am, like most of 
us, tolerably familiar with the contents of many of these 
rarities. Yet upon careful consideration and unbiased reflec- 
tion, I find none among them more fascinating, more utterly 

86 <J5xa\&tUilariQ. OnxmiA. anA Q)wvcdacLa U iuaxk6 

satisfying than a short monograph written by Mr. Robert 
Lenox himself. It is not included in the son's collection, and 
the only copy extant is in the records of the Surrogate's Court 
in the County of New York. It is a description of a certam 
tract of land— some three hundred acres, to be exact— which 
Mr. Lenox purchased from the city anxious to dispose of 
some "surplus public land" at the time. The tract lies east 
of Central Park and extends north of Seventy-third Street 
about a mile and west to Madison Avenue. Mr. Lenox wrote 
to his children begging them to be guided by his advice. 
Being Scotch, in whom family affection is deep and abiding, 
they heeded his words. This property, except for some 
donated to hospitals, etc., etc., is still in possession of the 
Lenox Estate. 

Chapter IV 

Turning from the field of literature for a moment, let us 
glance at its handmaiden— journalism. Beginning with Wil- 
liam Bradford, who established the first newspaper in New 
York, the city has always possessed one or two journalists of 
outstanding ability whose publications afforded them an ex- 
cellent outlet for their astounding personalities. 

Alexander Hamilton, dissatisfied with the spasmodic ap- 
pearances of the pamphlet school of journalism, founded the 
modern school with the Evening Post, which continues to 
this day. But the most picturesque figures in the early half 
of the Nineteenth Century were undoubtedly James Gordon 
Bennett of the Herald, and Horace Greeley of the Tribune. 
In the art of gathering news, Bennett was undoubtedly the 
greatest publisher of his day. There was never any great 
moral purpose behind his work as in the case of Greeley, nor 
of public service as in the later cases of George Jones, of the 
Times, or of Godkin and Pulitzer. Whether GBS took a leaf 
out of Bennetts Herald we do not know; but a short illus- 
tration of the Bennett style is strangely suggestive of Shavism. 
Mr. Bennett is reviewing the city as it looked to him in 1835. 
He writes in part: 

We pay 12 millions into the public treasury and expend by the 
city government alone one and a half millions a year, part of it 
in poor house champagne dinners. We had in 1834 9,082 deaths; 
births and marriages unknown and unnumbered. We have in the 


88 JjsuiA&nAtanAL 0*an&& onA Q)a/udaaa O /tanks 

city directory the names of 10,038 mechanics and probably 25,000 
not in the directory. We have in the same directory a total of 35,- 
510 names of which 1592 are cartmen, 2704 grocers, 3751 mechan- 
ics and over 4,000 widows, many of them fat, fair and forty and 
willing to marry again. We have 36 daily papers, 16 of which is- 
sue 17,000 large sheets a day and 25,000 small, the best large 
morning sheet being the Courier and Enquirer and the best small 
one the Morning Herald. We manufacture goods to the amount 
of 25 millions a year and sell at auction 40 millions. 

We value the gross amount of our real and personal property 
from New York to Buffalo at 460 millions. We have 566 miles of 
canal and 100 miles of railroad and all in use, and yielding a 
revenue of one and a half million a year, and only 3 millions in 
debt. We have projected 400 miles of canals, and incorporated 
railroads to an amount of 34 millions both of which are intended 
for speculation and the taking of the flats. We have 89 banks 
with a capital of 35 millions, a circulation of 17 millions, specie 
in vault 10 millions, public and private deposits 1 million, and 
loaned out at interest 85 millions. We have had heretofore only 
8 broken banks, with a capital of 5 millions to cheat the mechan- 
ics, but in time we may break hereafter a score or two, and thus 
far outstrip Pennsylvania, Ohio or Kentucky in the art of rifling 
the poor. We have 6 or 7 colleges, all poor and proud, except 
Columbia, which is rich and lazy— educating only 100 students a 
year and yet complaining of hard work. We have 8 or 10 Theo- 
logical seminaries, for making clergymen, 90 out of 100 of which 
would make good tillers of the ground. We have over 50 female 
academies for finishing the education of young ladies, where one- 
half of the number are "finished," as we once heard John Ran- 
dolph of Roanoke say in the House of Representatives, in his 
flageolet-sounding voice— "finished Mr. Speaker; yes sir, finished 
for all useful purposes." We have in State prison 1,492 rogues, but 
God only knows how many out of prison, preying upon the com- 
munity in the shape of gamblers, blacklegs, speculators and poli- 
ticians. We have 6,457 paupers in the poor-house, and double that 
number going there as fast as intemperance and indolence can 
carry them. We have about 500 dandies who dress well, wear gold 
chains, spend first their fathers' earnings, then their tailor's, and 
hotel keeper's and close their career with a pistol or a glass of 
laudanum. We have 249 people of fashion, who had an unques- 
tionable grandfather and grandmother and 750 parvenues who 

like Melchizedick, King of Salem, have neither father nor mother. 
We buy and sell of each other, in Wall Street, 300 millions of 
stocks a year, and by the operation only ruin 100 families to make 
the fortune of 5 or 10 overgrown ones. 

And to close all we have twenty-three States and 3 territories 
lying to the South, the West and East more or less tributary to 
New York, getting from us our foreign and domestic goods, our 
fashions, our newspapers, our politics, our thoughts, in exchange 
for their cotton, their rice, their tobacco, their wheat, their corn, 
their coal, and "though last not least," their electoral votes. 

Here's an "empire state" for ye! And yet one half of its magnif- 
icence, greatness, power, etc., is behind the curtain and unreveal- 
able till 1845. Scholars talk and twaddle about the States of 
Greece— the supremacy of Athens— the moral grandeur of Sparta 
—the magnificence of republican Rome. Mere shadows to New 
York as she is and means to be. 

In this diverting article, we have a few pictures of New 
York a century ago, that are direct and illuminating. Many 
of our readers will be surprised at the large item forty mil- 
lions, the result of auction sales, forgetting that much busi- 
ness was then conducted in this manner. Few goods were 
bought direct by merchants from foreign ports. Most of it 
was disposed of on the docks upon arrival and paid for in 
cash. All the dealers would next day advertise that they had 
just received from packet so and so, a large consignment of 
sheetings, brandy, hardware, calico, rum, etc. We were still 
in the sailing ship era and no telegraphs. Some of these ships 
brought cargoes picked up along the coasts of Africa, Central 
America, India, China, and the Orient. Trade was still in a 
primitive state and ships sailed from New York with cash 
and miscellaneous stuffs to barter with the natives of unknown 
lands; so with the tea and spice merchants of the West India 
Islands. And similar ships with their miscellaneous cargoes 
would reach New York there to find a market. 

Mr. Bennett notes the absence of vital statistics and also 
questions the accuracy of the directory. No doubt, many 

90 «JWw2*tdtane JOuwitd and Q)<xA<xiaaa J /um\k& 

names were omitted, as directory-making was as yet in its in- 
fancy. Our directory, even now, is only a little over one hun- 
dred and fifty years old, while London's is over eleven hun- 
dred. Taking it by and large, Mr. Bennett's description is a 
very excellent photograph of our city at a most engaging period 
of its development and is historically of great value. 

Bennett's great contribution to New York journalism was, 
undoubtedly, his enterprise in the direction of scientific ex- 
peditions, notably in sending out Stanley in conjunction 
with the London Telegraph to find Livingstone. That still 
remains an epic in journalism. 

Stanley, then a young man in his twenties, was attached in 
a minor capacity to the Herald in London, as one of its for- 
eign correspondents. At the time of his appointment, he was 
simply one of a thousand young men in the British Metrop- 
olis, but the fierce light that beats upon a throne was his 
when Bennett's selection became known. It was a hazardous 
undertaking and called for a man of rare courage, unques- 
tioned stamina and robust health. As it turned out, young 
Stanley possessed all three. 

Last summer while driving through Wales, I saw the little 
cottage in which Stanley had passed a very bleak boyhood as 
an inmate of the most desolate of all places— a public refuge 
for destitute children. They had not even the sorrowful title 
of orphan; they had come into this world without benefit of 
clergy and dwelt in that kindly atmosphere provided by a 
penurious and moralistic community, who discharged their 
duty to these friendless little waifs not only with economy, 
but with a consciousness of having discharged a duty which 
entitled them to beam upon themselves and congratulate the 
poor children on their happy (but doubtless unappreciated) 

In such a glowing atmosphere of kindness and affection, 
Stanley passed most of childhood's happy hours. As soon as 
he was old enough to look after himself in a vague way, he 

showed his great sense of gratitude for the care shown him 
by promptly running away, and working for his keep on a 
farm. This was not the Elysian he sought, so he made his way 
to that league of all nations— the waterfront docks of Liver- 
pool, and found himself presently on board a sailing vessel 
bound for that Land of Eldorado— America. Life aboard a 
tramp sailing vessel was, if anything, more cruel than on a 
farm in Wales. So when he reached the port of destination, 
he abandoned the pitiful sum to which he was entitled and 
deserted the ship. It must have been a frightful experience, as 
Stanley ever after bore a deep and abiding hatred of the sea. 
It probably needed just such a background as this to prepare 
him for the frightful privations and perils which were in- 
separable from such an undertaking as a trek through tropi- 
cal country amidst every possible danger known to man. 

Stanley's great effort proved successful and his laconic 
greeting to the great missionary, "Mr. Livingstone, I pre- 
sume," became a classic of the day. His achievement added 
immeasurably to the fame of the Herald. 

In later years, Dana of the Sun indulged in many sarcastic 
allusions to these brave, public-spirited and enterprising jour- 
nalistic enterprises wherein Bennett the younger sought to 
emulate Bennett the elder, the great cost of which was vir- 
tuously but vociferously proclaimed by the Herald. 

"It is not the first cost that counts. It is the subsequent 
costs incurred by the Governments who are compelled to put 
out additional expeditions to hunt up the original explorers, 
that count.' ' 

The Herald is now part of the Tribune— Greeley's old pa- 
per. It would cause these two worthies to gasp in their coffins 
to know that their great journals were now controlled by one 
of the so-called "weaker sex," an appalling misnomer when 
applied to a person so engaging and competent as Helen 
Rogers Reid. 

A picture of New York at the most exotic and tumultuous 








period in her career, when the mighty force of steam had en- 
tered and utterly changed her whole social fabric, is hard to 
find. The War of 1812 had temporarily halted the advance 
presaged by the advent of Fulton's steamboat, but the mo- 
ment peace is declared the movement is once more under full 
headway. The opening of the Erie Canal adds another stri- 
dent instrument to the orchestra. Our own accounts of this 
period are meager and unsatisfactory. Carlyle might have 
written it or William Hazlitt. Harriett Martineau, Mrs. 
Trollope, Frederica Bremer, Henry Wamsey, Faaron, Fox and 
Dickens have all left us with a glimpse of the muddy streets 
we possessed, the miniature lakes and rivers on Broadway 
after every downpour, and our filthy habit of tobacco chew- 
ing and spitting. But of the life of the people, their gradual 
conquest of a volcanic ridge of gneiss, into an orderly assem- 
blage of streets and avenues; of the rearing of a modern city 
—where but a few years before the red man had roamed in a 
wilderness— there is no hint in the pages of these great 

If Philip Hone had only written his diary in the same spirit 
as did Pepys, we would have had an unforgettable picture of 
New York in those early days of the Nineteenth Century. But 
it is so obviously written for posthumous publication, that it 
has been robbed of all the charm possessed by an intimate, 
confidential record meant for none but the eyes of the writer. 

Mr. Hone was Mayor of New York in 1825, a man °f large 
wealth and the first man to introduce coal into New York in 
a big way. The little town of Honesdale in the midst of the 
Pennsylvania coal district is named after him. He was one of 
the founders of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company and 
Railroad and of high social position. He entertained lavishly 
and met everyone apparently worth meeting. It is the latter 
fact that militates against his diary as an historical record. He 
is concerned only with the great and the near great; the com- 

mon herd interests him not at all. Yet it was the common 
people who were building New York. 

"The Liner she's a lady, an' she never looks 

nor 'eeds — 
The Man-o'-War's 'er 'usband an' 'e gives 

'er all she needs; 
But, oh, the little cargo-boats that sail the 

wet seas roun', 
They're just the same as you an' me, 

a-plyin' up an' down." 

Yet although he gives you the impression of strutting up 
and down his pages incessantly yelling, "Look at me!" he has 
nevertheless recorded much of great value concerning the 
period in which he lived. Sometimes he recorded old hear- 
says. For example, he wrote that Franklin rigged up a little 
shop of his own in the belfry of Rip Van Dam's old Dutch 
church in Nassau Street, where most of his important prob- 
lems in electricity were solved; and that Talleyrand said the 
most democratic sight he saw, and the one which impressed 
him the most favorably, was Alexander Hamilton staggering 
to court with a load of law books under his arm. Nor were 
either of these men contemporaries of Hone's. 

Franklin makes no mention of his shop in New York either 
in his autobiography or in his letters to Collingwood, which 
Mr. Hone claimed to have read "many years ago." As for 
Hamilton, he might have tried to look and act like Washing- 
ton, but he would never under any circumstances try to play 
the part of a common porter, even to spread the fame of the 
new Republic to the uttermost ends of the earth. 

Nevertheless, we are deeply indebted to Mr. Hone for the 
few genuine passages in his diary. If we mourn, it is because 
Mr. Hone lost a golden opportunity. He could easily have 
made his Diary priceless and rendered a valuable service to 
the city he loved— which no doubt was what he had in mind. 

Nor, in all his sonorous sentences, in all his multitudinous 
pages is there a word of suppressed affection, of hidden emo- 
tion for his self-imposed labor of love. The last entry is as 
cold as the first. 

Pepys thought he was going blind. His farewell to his Diary 
is one of the most touching things in all literature. But the 
wind is tempered to the shorn lamb, and though Hone failed 
utterly as a Pepys or an Evelyn, an ordinary everyday business 
man has left us an unforgettable picture of dramatic intensity 
which provides us with an amazing view of New York at this 
period. Mr. William Earl Dodge made no literary preten- 
sions. He had something of interest to say and he said it. 
Had his paper been read anywhere but before a Historical 
Society, it would have found its way into general circulation 
long ago, to the great delight of writers, students and lovers 
of Old New York. Mr. Dodge was a founder of the great firm 
of Phelps, Dodge 8c Co., and one of the most eminent mer- 
chants of his day. We give you his paper of his recollections, 
and if you read nothing else in this book, you will have had 
your money's worth. 

. . . Eighteen hundred and eighteen found me a boy in a whole- 
sale drygoods store, No. 304 Pearl Street, near Peck Slip. 

It was a very different thing, in those days, to be a boy in a store 
from what it is now. I fear that many young men, anxious to get 
started, would hesitate long before facing such duties as had then 
to be performed. My father lived at that time at 98 William 
Street, now the corner of Piatt. William Street was then the fash- 
ionable retail drygoods center; at No. 90 stood Peter Morton's 
large store, the fashionable family store of that day. 

I had to go every morning to Vandewater Street for the keys, 
as my employers must have them in case of fire in the night. 
There was much ambition among the young men as to who 
should have his store opened first, and I used to be up soon after 
light, walk to Vandewater Street and then to the store very early. 
It was to be sprinkled with water, which I brought the evening 
before from the old pump at the corner of Peck Slip and Pearl 

96 UjiQtdfodtotui Ononis and Q)aAxdaaa O nutvKS 

Street, then carefully swept and dusted. Then came sprinkling 
the sidewalk and street, and sweeping to the center a heap for 
the dirtcart to remove. This done, one of the older clerks would 
come, and I would be permitted to go home for breakfast. In 
winter the wood was to be carried and piled in the cellar, fires 
were to be made, and lamps trimmed. I mention these particulars 
to show that junior clerks in those days did the work now done 
by the porters. There were comparatively very few carts used by 
the drygoods dealers, most of the business being done by porters, 
with hand-carts and large wheelbarrows, who stood at the differ- 
ent corners ready to take or go for a load. Each had a heavy 
leather strap over the shoulders and a brass plate on the breast 
with his license number. Their charges for any distance below or 
above Chambers Street were i2i/ 2 cents and 18^4 cents respectively. 
There were very few carts, and those of the old-fashioned two- 
wheel kind; such heavy two horse trucks and large express and 
other wagons as now fill our business portions of the city were 
unknown in those days. 

The drygoods auction-stores were mostly on the corners, and 
on the blocks from Wall to Pine Streets. When our employer 
would purchase a lot of goods at auction, it was our business to 
go and compare them with the bill, and if two of us could carry 
them home we did so, as it would save the shilling porterage. I 
remember that while in this store I carried bundles of goods up 
Broadway to Greenwich Village, near what are now Seventh and 
Eighth Avenues and Fourth to Tenth Streets, crossing the old 
Stone Bridge at Canal Street. This had long square timbers on 
either side in place of railing, to prevent a fall into the sluggish 
stream— some fifteen feet below— which came from Collect Pond 
where Centre Street and the Tombs now are, and was the great 
skating place in winter. Turning in at the left of the bridge I 
took a path through Lispenard's meadows, often crossing on two 
timbers laid over the ditches where the tide ebbed and flowed 
from the East River. At that time there was no system of sewer- 
age, but the water fell was carried off by the gutters and by sur- 
face draining. 

I remember well the old Fly Market, which commenced at 
Pearl Street where Maiden Lane crosses. There was a very large 
arched drain, over which the market was built, extending from 
Pearl Street to the dock. It was so high that, in passing along 
Pearl on the south sidewalk, one had to ascend quite an elevation 
to get over the arch of the sewer. Maiden Lane then was as nar- 

row at Pearl Street as Liberty is between William and its present 
junction with Maiden Lane— only about fifteen feet wide. In the 
winter, when the streets were running with the wash of melting 
snow and ice, the mouth of the sewer at Pearl Street would often 
clog up, and then the water would set back as far as Gold Street; 
the sidewalk being constructed some two feet above the roadway, 
to provide for the great flow of water that came down from Broad- 
way, Nassau, William and Liberty Streets. The boys used to get 
old boots, and, placing them on a pole, would make in the slush 
of snow and ice footprints all across Pearl Street, as if persons had 
been passing, and then would run around the corners to see some 
poor stranger step into the trap and sink above his knees in 

They tell a story of a young lady who was coming down Pearl 
Street, just as a heavy rain had filled the street back to Gold, and 
of a polite young sailor who saw her stand wondering how she 
could get over. He took her at once without asking, and, himself 
wading across, knee-deep, placed her on the other side all safe. 
She at once demanded what the impudent fellow meant, when he 
replied, "Hope no harm has been done!" and, catching her up 
again, placed her back on the other side. 

At this time the wholesale drygoods trade was confined almost 
entirely to Pearl Street, from Coenties to Peck Slips, though there 
were a few firms further up, and any party intending to com- 
mence that business must first be sure that he could obtain a 
store in Pearl Street. We now talk of what Wall Street is doing; 
then, if one would speak of drygoods trade, he would say "things 
are active" (or "dull") "in Pearl Street." 

The retail trade was mostly in William Street and Maiden 
Lane, except three fashionable houses that were the Stewarts of 
that day. These were all in Broadway; Vandevoort, near Liberty 
Street; "the Heights," near Dey Street, and Jotham Smith, who 
occupied the site of the Astor House. Stewart did not commence 
until 1824. The cheap retail drygoods stores were in upper Pearl 
and Chatham Streets; the wholesale groceries were in Broad, 
Water, and Front Streets. At this time the trade was mostly di- 
vided by sections, some selling almost entirely to the South, others 
to the North and West, and others doing what was called an East- 
ern and Long Island trade. The capital and business of one who 
was then termed a jobber were very different from what are now 
suggested by that term. A firm with $15,000 to $20,000 capital 
commanded good credit, and its annual sales seldom exceeded a 

few hundred thousand. I doubt if there were half a dozen per- 
sons who sold over a million each. Now we have many who sell 
that amount every month, and some of them over a million a 
week. The styles of goods also have changed very much. Then 
nearly all drygoods were imported; our calicoes or prints came 
in square hair- trunks, containing fifty pieces each; very few goods 
came in boxes— they were either in trunks or bales. We had a few 
domestic cottons, but they were all woven by hand. Powerlooms 
were not introduced till a few years after. Our common cottons 
were all from India, and called India "hun-hums"; they had very 
strange names, such as "Bafturs," "Gurros," etc. Most of them 
were thin, sleazy goods, filled with a kind of starch to make them 
look heavy. At present nearly all cotton goods sold are of Ameri- 
can manufacture. 

Our cloths and cassimeres were all imported. Large quantities 
of silks from France and Italy, and beautiful crapes and satins for 
ladies' wear, were brought from India and China. Business was 
periodical; we had our spring and fall trade. You will remember 
there were but few steamboats, and no railroads, and it was quite 
an event for the country merchants to visit the city. They gener- 
ally came twice a year— spring and fall; those from the North and 
East by the Sound or North River, in sloops or schooners, often a 
week on their passage; those from the South and West by stage- 
coaches. It is very difficult to realize what it was to come from 
Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri, when the most 
of the long journey was by stage-riding night and day; and even 
from our Southern States it was a tedious trip to some point on 
the coast, where the vessel might make the long journey less try- 
ing. There were lines of ships and schooners running between 
Norfolk, Richmond, Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, and 
Mobile, but these trips were often very long and the accommoda- 
tions poor. 

Over the stores in Pearl Street were a large number of board- 
ing-houses expressly for country merchants; here they would 
remain a week or ten days, picking up a variety of goods, for most 
of them kept what were then called country-stores. They had to 
purchase drygoods, groceries, hardware, medicines, crockery, etc., 
etc. It was a great object with the jobbers to have one of their 
salesmen board at a large house for country merchants, so that 
they could induce them to come to their stores to trade. Most of 
the goods were shipped by sloops, bound up the North River or 
the Sound; those for the South, on schooners and brigs to ports 

from whence they were taken into the interior. There were very 
few hotels, the principal ones being the City Hotel, which oc- 
cupied the block in Broadway near Trinity Church; the Pearl 
Street House, between Old and Coenties Slips, and Bunker's, near 
the Bowling Green. These periodical seasons were active times, 
the bulk of the business being done in three months of spring and 
three months of fall. The winter and summer were comparatively 
idle. There was a limited district from which to draw customers, 
and as soon as the North River and the rivers and harbors of the 
Sound were closed by ice, Pearl Street was almost as quiet as 

. . . New York was then a comparatively small city, with a 
population (1820) of less than 120,000, and . . . extended very 
little above Canal Street. Most of the dwellings were below 
Chambers, on the North River, but on the East River there were 
many up as far as Market and Rutgers Streets. The most of the 
merchants and families of wealth lived in the lower part of the 
town, in Greenwich below Chambers, and on the cross streets 
west of Broadway from the Park to the Battery. Many merchants 
in Pearl Street lived over their stores, and John, Fulton, Beek- 
man, Gold, and Cliff were filled with private residences. I was 
married fifty years ago in Cliff Street near my present office. Then 
that good man, Dr. Milnor, preached in St. George's, corner of 
Beekman and Cliff Streets, to crowded audiences. Stores now oc- 
cupy the ground, but it is consoling to know that from the pro- 
ceeds of the sale of that church two others have been erected. The 
most fashionable residences were, perhaps, around the Battery 
and up Broadway and Greenwich to Cortlandt. It is interesting 
and instructive to think of the noble merchants who occupied 
those dwellings, all of whom have passed away— such men as 
Robert Lenox, Stephen Whitney, James G. King, J. Phillips 
Phoenix, James Suydam, Cadwalader D. Golden, James De Pey- 
ster, Pierre Irving, Gideon Lee, the Howlands, Aspinwalls, and 
many others who have honored the name of New York merchants. 

The churches were then all downtown— the old "Wall Street," 
"Garden Street," (now Exchange Place) "Middle" and "North 
Dutch," "Trinity," and "St. Paul's," "Grace," "Cedar Street," the 
old "Brick" (where now stands the Times Building), "Liberty," 
which Thorburn so long occupied as a seedstore, and "Murray" 
and "Rutgers,"— then far up town. I remember when young 
Philip Melancthon Whelpley was pastor of the Wall Street 
Church, of which my father was then an elder. He was settled 

when only about twenty-one, was a most eloquent man, but suf- 
fered from dyspepsia; he lived in Greenwich Street, back of 
Trinity Church. Some adventurous man had put up four small 
houses on White Street, then just opened, near Broadway, and 
as Mr. Whelpley felt the need of exercise, and the rent was very 
low, he ventured to hire one of these, but the excitement in the 
congregation at the idea of their pastor living out of the city was 
so great that it came nigh losing him his place. Speaking of 
churches, I often have thought there was more or real worship 
when, in place of our present quartette, there was in most of the 
dissenting churches a precentor standing under the pulpit, to 
give the key with his pitch-pipe, and all the congregation united 
in the singing. The first Presbyterian church built north of Canal 
Street was the "Broome Street," standing between Elm and Centre. 
My father-in-law, Mr. Phelps, who was on the committee of Pres- 
bytery appointed to select a location, told me that at that time the 
entire triangle from Broome to Spring was for sale, and he advised 
the purchase of the whole, as the price was very low and he felt 
that the building of the church would add to the value, so that 
the sale of the other lots would pay the cost of the church. But 
the rest of the committee felt it was so far uptown that there 
would be no chance of selling. 

Fifty years ago I commenced housekeeping in the upper part 
of the city, in Bleecker Street, between Broadway and the Bow- 
ery; there were eight new two-story attic houses just finished, 23 
by 40 feet, and three or four of us, young married people, took 
houses adjoining, and each paid $300 a year rent, and when 
newly furnished we thought them very fine. Young business men 
could afford to marry in those days. I had the curiosity to call a 
short time since and ask the present occupant what rent he paid. 
He said the rent had been reduced, and he was now paying but 
$1500. I told him I only inquired from curiosity, as, when the 
house was new, I paid just one-fifth of that. ; 

When the Bible House was to be removed from Nassau Street, 
the Committee, all but one, decided to go no further up than 
Grand Street; the present site, at Ninth and Tenth Streets, owned 
by Mr. Peter Stuyvesant, was then fenced in and rented as a 
pasture or for vegetables. Mr. Stuyvesant was at that time paying 
very heavy assessments for opening streets on his property, and, 
being himself interested in the Bible Society, offered the entire 
block for $100,000 cash, which, by one of the committee, the 
late Anson G. Phelps, was considered a great bargain. Mr. Phelps 

could not for a long time induce his associates to agree with him, 
since they felt it was so far uptown that it would be out of the 
way; but when informed that he should purchase it himself, if 
they did not, they yielded, and we can all see the wisdom of the 
choice. The rents of the portion not required for their work now 
pay all expenses, salaries, etc., so that every dollar given to the 
Bible Society goes for furnishing the Bible and for nothing else. 

Think of New York without gasl At that time the street lamps 
were few and far between, often filled with poor oil and badly 
trimmed. They looked on a dark night like so many lightning 
bugs, and in winter would often go entirely out before morning. 
In 1825, tne nrst gas-lights were introduced by the New York Gas 
Company, which had contracted to light below Canal Street. In 
1834, the Manhattan Company obtained the contract to light 
above Canal Street; we can now hardly conceive how our citizens 
could get on without gas, and yet it was much safer walking the 
streets then than now. Crime was not so rife, and a murder was 
a rare occurrence. The first murder I remember was committed 
by a tailor of the name of Johnson, living in William Street near 
Beaver; he killed his wife, and the excitement of his arrest, trial 
and hanging— which took place out of the city on a vacant lot east 
of Broadway, now a portion of White Street— lasted for months. 
We seldom open our morning paper now without the record of a 
murder in some one of the drinking saloons. 

There were no police in those days, but there were a few 
watchmen, who came on soon after dark and patrolled the 
streets till near daylight. Their rounds were so arranged that 
they made one each hour, and as the clocks struck they pounded 
with their clubs three times on the curb, calling out, for example, 
"Twelve o'clock, and all is well," in a very peculiar voice. They 
wore leathern caps such as the firemen now use. 

Our streets were kept cleaner than now, since every one was 
responsible for a space in front of his building extending to the 
middle of the street. The garbage-men with large carts came 
around to collect from the tub or half-barrel placed in the area. 
. . . Then there were a special kind of street-cleaner, in the vast 
number of pigs, owned by the poorer classes. ... It was by many 
claimed that they ate up the garbage thrown into the streets in 
spite of law, and thus were to be tolerated. 

The Sabbaths were for the most part very quiet, and but few 
vehicles were seen in the city. There were no public cries except 
those of the milkmen, who were mostly farmers from Long Is- 

\ QZ OjnxwtMdboxvL UKant& oral QaAaiaaa <J /atfvIcA 

land, and carried their milk in large tin cans suspended by a 
yoke from their shoulders. They generally served real milk, but 
it was sometimes said that they stopped to wash their cans at the 
corner-pumps. Although the Sabbath was almost free from disturb- 
ance by carriages, still, for fear that some one might be passing 
during worship, the churches had chains drawn across the 
streets on either side, which were put up as soon as service com- 
menced and taken down at its close. What would our riding, 
sporting, Sabbath-breaking citizens say to such obstructions if 
put up on Fifth or Madison avenues now? 

The Sabbath-schools were then just introduced into the city, 
and but two or three at the time to which I refer, and these were 
designed only for the poor and neglected children. The children 
of churchgoers were instructed at home in the catechism, and 
in many churches were expected to recite every Wednesday after- 
noon in the session-room to the pastor and elders. 

Our wonderful system of public schools has all been developed 
since the time of which I speak. 

The Battery was the great point of attraction as a cool and de- 
lightful promenade, and in the warm season was crowded every 
afternoon and evening; the grass was kept clean and green and 
the walks in perfect order; there was a building near the south 
end, of octagonal form, called the "Flag-staff," having an observa- 
tory in the top, and above it always waved the "national flag." 
In the summer and early fall a band of music in the evening en- 
livened the scene, and the grounds were crowded with the elite of 
the city; it was as polite and marked a compliment for a young 
lady to be invited by a gentleman to take a walk on the Battery 
as now to be invited to a drive in the Park; and on Saturdays the 
boys were allowed to play ball, etc., on the grass. Castle Garden 
was then a fort with its garrison; and the guard were always to 
be seen walking their rounds, on the parapet, and before the gate 
leading from the Battery, across the drawbridge, to the Fort. , 

The city was so compact that there were very few private car- 
riages. I venture to say that there were not then twenty-five 
families that kept a two-horse carriage. In fact, there was very 
little use for one; there were no pleasant drives out of the city; 
the old Bloomingdale Road was mostly used, but in summer it 
was very dusty, and there were no attractions. The old Boston 
Road, where are now the Bowery and Third Avenue, and the 
Albany road, which is now upper Broadway, were the only roads 
for pleasure travel, and were used by gentlemen who lived in the 

summer at their country houses. These were along the East River, 
from what is now Eighth Street up to a point opposite Hell Gate, 
on the North River, and along what were then Bloomingdale and 
Greenwich, say from what is now Fourth Street up to Eightieth 

The contrasts between the City Postoffice of my early days and 
the splendid building of today, and the amount of business then 
and now, give a vivid idea of the progress of the city and country. 
The office then was in the dwelling of the Postmaster, General 
Theodorus Bailey, who, having been appointed in 1804, con- 
verted his lower floor into the Postoffice, living above with his 
family. It was situated at the corner of William and Garden 
Streets, now Exchange Place; the two parlors were converted into 
the office; on Garden Street there was a window for city delivery 
and in William Street a vestibule of about 8 by 16 feet with 144 
small boxes for letters. Not over half a dozen clerks were em- 
ployed. This was still its position when I went into a store, and 
I well remember the fun we boys had while waiting for the office 
to open, which was not until about eight or nine o'clock a.m. 
We used to employ the time by crowding up the line, so that the 
lucky boy who first had got opposite the one small place of de- 
livery could be pushed aside to make room for some other, who 
would soon have in turn to give way. Postage then was so high 
that the number of letters sent by mail was comparatively small: 
i2i/4 cents to Philadelphia, 1834 cents to Boston and 25 cents to 
New Orleans. It was the habit to send as far as possible by private 
hands, and when it became known that a friend was going by 
stage or sloop he was sure to be the carrier of many letters— the 
exchanges between the interior and the banks being mostly ef- 
fected in the same way. 

When Abraham Wakeman, in 1862, was Postmaster, there was 
living, at an advanced age, a man by the name of Dodd; this 
person, when General Bailey was Postmaster, made a contract 
with him to take the mails from the New York office to the West- 
ern and Southern stages that started and arrived at Hoboken and 
Jersey City. He stated that for three years he carried the mail- 
bags on his back and ferried them in his own little boat across 
the river; but they then grew heavy, and for some years after- 
ward he took them in a small wheelbarrow to his boat. 

In nothing, perhaps, has there been a more beneficial change 
than in the items of water. This formerly was supplied by public 
pumps at the corners of blocks far apart; the water was brackish 

and very hard and poor; there were some few springs in the upper 
part of the city, where wells had been sunk and pumps erected 
by individuals. This water was taken about the city in large 
casks, similar to those now used for sprinkling the streets, and 
painted in large letters on the end "Tea Water." It was sold at 
two cents a pail. Besides this, the Manhattan Company was 
chartered with banking privileges to supply the city with water 
by boring and pumping into tanks, from the ground near the 
upper end of Pearl Street in Centre Street. Thence wooden pipes 
were laid to many dwellings, but the water proved poor and in 
limited supply, and the company found the banking department 
better than the water, so that the logs soon decayed and were 
never renewed. For washing and all ordinary purposes, the main 
dependence was upon the cisterns supplied from the rain caught 
on the roofs, but in long droughts these would entirely fail, and 
then the street pumps were the only source of supply, and those 
could not be used with any comfort for the family washing. 

I shall never forget one time, when there had been no rain for 
weeks, and our cistern (we were living near the Battery) was dry, 
as well as those of all our neighbors. My mother, visiting a friend 
quite uptown, near Fulton Street, was complaining that she had 
not a drop of soft water to wash fine muslins, and her friend 
offered to let her fill a demijohn from her cistern. My brother 
and myself made our mother very happy by bringing her the 
coveted vessel of water that evening. Well might our citizens 
hasten to the ballot-box, in 1835, to vote "Water" or "No Water" 
on the question of introducing the Croton; and now in its profuse 
enjoyment but few remember the old times when they were glad 
to get a pail of water for their tea at a cost of two cents. But I 
have sometimes almost sighed for the old brackish pumps which 
were used by the passing laborer to quench his thirst, and I re- 
member that for years after their removal there was not a drop 
of water to be had by any thirsty man unless he went into a corner 

Wood was then almost the only fuel, though Liverpool coal 
was used in offices and parlors. Those who could afford it pur- 
chased their sloop-load of hickory and oak in the fall, and had 
it sawed and piled in the cellar for the winter. Hundreds of 
sloops from North River towns, and from Connecticut and Long 
Island, filled the slips on the North and East Rivers, and at many 
of the street corners carmen stood with loads for sale. 

It was about this time that the anthracite fields of the Lehigh 

cfoeat QaAiMicuUMri c/luxJced c/lc^2 "cue ctnuahex 405 

were discovered, and I shall not forget the time when my employ- 
ers sent up a barrel of hard coal for trial. We made up a fire in 
the ordinary open grate, with kindlings, and it did not blaze; 
we poked it, but the more we poked the more it would not burn, 
until the Quaker's patience was exhausted and he condemned 
the stone-coal as well named but quite unfit for use. 

There were no such things as stoves or furnaces for warming a 
house. It makes one almost shiver now to remember the cold 
halls and bedrooms of those days, or the attempt to warm a large 
store in a cold winter by a coal or wood fire, at the extreme end, 
which left the front as cold as a barn. How my feet and fingers 
have ached as I have stood at the desk of a bitter morningl 

Brooklyn then was an inconsiderable village, containing in 
1823 Dut 7*ooo inhabitants, and in 1835 but 24,310. The small 
rowboats, which till 1811 had been the only ferry across the river, 
were interfered with by the introduction of the first ferryboats, 
but until 1822 the latter consisted of one small steamer and one 
horse-boat. It was not till 1824 tnat steam ferryboats of any con- 
siderable size were introduced, and the accommodations for 
Brooklyn continued on a small and inconvenient scale till 1836, 
when public meetings were held, demanding greater facilities, 
and from that time large and better boats were used in the 
transit. There was only one ferry across the East River, but at the 
foot of Wall Street, Coenties Slip and Whitehall, there were num- 
bers of small rowboats, bearing a variety of fancy names and 
handsomely painted, and, when a person wanted to go over, a 
crowd of oarsmen would gather, each offering him the best boat. 
The fare across was ten cents. The Jersey City ferriage before 
1812 was provided simply by rowboats, and by scows which 
floated horses and carriages across in pleasant weather. In 1812 
and 1813, Fulton constructed for the associate ferries two boats 
propelled by steam, the beginning of those extensive accommoda- 
tions by which many thousands now cross in a day. The first boat 
with steam was put on the Hoboken Ferry in 1812; it was so 
small that often in a strong tide it had to stop in the river to 
get up steam enough to make the transit. 

The monopoly granted to Fulton and Livingston was set aside 
about 1820 by the Supreme Court, and the use of steam was 
thrown open to public competition. Then commenced a new era: 
boats were soon started on the Sound, the first of these being the 
"Fulton," Captain Bunker, and the "Connecticut," Captain Corn- 
stock. I remember a trip to New London which I made soon after 

\ 06 Jj^avJti6tafve Oiants and Q)wiaiaaa o /umvkA 

they were started. The two formed a daily line; the "Fulton" left 
New York early in the morning, arriving in New Haven about 
4 o'clock; then all the passengers and freight were put aboard 
the "Connecticut" for New London, "Fulton" returning in the 
evening to New York. This gave time for the boilers to cool off 
and the machinery to rest, as it was not thought safe to run one 
boat so far as New London without stopping. 

Let me here revert again to the very limited facilities for travel 
and trade which existed previous to 1825. The sloops and steam- 
ers on our lakes, rivers and Sound, the small brigs and ships 
which ran to our Southern ports, with the stagecoach to all parts 
of the interior, were the extent of the facilities, and in the winter 
we were almost entirely shut in. Think of one stage a day, which 
started from No. 1 Cortlandt Street for Albany, and one for 
Boston! Who that ever made that trip in winter-time will forget 
the old agent, Thomas Whitfield, at No. 1 Cortlandt Street? He 
would book you three days in advance for a seat, and if per- 
chance there were applications for more than the coach would 
hold, and yet not enough to warrant an extra, one must wait an- 
other day for a seat. Then what a time in packing on the baggage 
and seating the passengersl Why, it was as exciting as the sailing 
of a steamer with its one hundred and fifty cabin passengers and 
its crowd for the steerage. 

It was a great undertaking in those days to come from the West 
to the city at any season, particularly in the winter, and many 
country merchants came but once a year. Those from the line 
of the Ohio River took stage at Wheeling, and came over the 
mountains to Baltimore, thence to the city by schooners or stage. 
The only wonder is that country merchants came as often and as 
far as they did, and that their goods could be transported by 
teams over so long distances and pay a profit above expenses. 
Passengers for Philadelphia, in winter, would cross to Jersey City 
the evening before, sleep at a tavern, and start in the morning by 
stage, reaching the Quaker City in a day and a night. At a later 
period they went by steamer to Amboy, and thence by stage. 
Who, that now witnesses the thousands daily crossing Cortlandt 
Street Ferry to take the cars, can realize that sixty years ago two 
stages would carry all the passengers that went to Newark or vicin- 
ity. The emigrant who went West to settle had to go by wagon. I 
vividly recall the occasion when two of my uncles came with 
their families from Connecticut, on their way to the far West, 
stopping at my father's house. It was arranged that, as they might 




never see each other again, the relatives, with several ministers, 
should spend the afternoon previous to their starting as a season 
of special prayer. The travelers left the next day by sloop for 
Albany, whence teams were to take them to their far Western 
home, which was at Bloomfield, just beyond Utica! Why, last fall 
I took my tea at my house and my breakfast next morning be- 
yond that distant point. 

The opening of the Erie Canal gave a new impulse to travel. 
The first railroad of the State was from Albany to Schenectady, 
with an inclined plane at either end; this was built in order that 
passengers might sooner reach the canal, as from Albany to 
Schenectady the distance was much greater, and there were nu- 
merous locks. It was really pleasant to travel by canal, as from 
Schenectady to Utica there was hardly a lock (after passing 
Seneca Falls), and there were but few more on the long reach 
from Utica to Syracuse. There were rival lines of packet boats, 
some very handsomely fitted up; their four horses were matched 
teams of either black, bay, or gray, and the best that could be 
found; the captains and owners took great pride in their teams, 
which were beautifully harnessed, and kept up a speed of four to 
five miles an hour. There was no motion felt, and when in the 
cabin it was hard to tell if the boat was under way. In pleasant 
weather most of the passengers sat on the trunks on deck, and 
had a fine view of the country. Some caution was required, how- 
ever. When one happened to be standing, and the driver gave a 
snap of his whip the horses would give a sudden start, which 
might throw a passenger off. Again, as the bridges, which on al- 
most every farm crossed the canal, were then very low, one must 
stoop as he passed or be knocked overboard, and the continued 
cry of the helmsman was, "Low bridge! Heads down!" which kept 
one on the lookout. The fare was so much a mile "and found," 
and the boats provided a very comfortable table. At night berths 
were made up on either side, each just wide enough to hold an 
ordinary person; they were three high, and supported by cords 
from the ceiling. Lots being drawn for the numbers, it often 
created much merriment to see a very large man trying to get 
into an upper berth, while the holder of the number for the un- 
der one looked on with fear lest the cords might break and let his 
companion down. The ladies' cabin was in the front of the boat, 
separated by long curtains, which were thrown open in the day- 

I now propose to refer to a period somewhat later and to me 

O-^cal $auAfuui6fn J\Lclka6 c/tev2 xjoruk create* 409 

more interesting. In May, 1827, I commenced at 213 Pearl Street 
the wholesale drygoods business. Here I will venture to relate 
an incident, as I think it may be of service to some of my young 
friends who are looking forward to mercantile life. A few weeks 
after we started, and when our stock of goods was small, three 
young men stepped into the store, each having two large tin 
trunks which he carried in his hands, aided by a large strap over 
the shoulders. I saw at once they were Connecticut peddlers, for 
I had often dealt with such when a clerk. They were attracted 
by some article in the window. After giving them its price, and 
while they set down their loads to rest and talk, I said pleas- 
antly, "I see you are, like myself, just starting in business. Now, 
let me make you a proposition: there is plenty of room in our 
store; each of you take one of these pigion-holes under the 
shelves, put your trunks there in place of carrying them around 
while you are picking up your goods, and just order all you buy 
to be sent here. We will take charge of your purchases, pack and 
ship them, and you can come here and examine your bills, write 
letters, and do as you like, whether you buy a dollar of us or not. 
I want to make at least a show of doing business, and it will 
really be an advantage to us as well as a convenience to you." 
They were pleased with the offer, accepted it at once, and left 
in search of such things as they wanted. My young partner waited 
till they got out, and then, with considerable excitement and 
wounded pride, said, "Well, are those what you call customers?" 
I said, "Yes, you know that tall oaks from little acorns grow. We 
shall see by and by what they will make." Suffice it to say, that 
for the six years I remained in the drygoods business, they were 
among my most attached customers. 

The time came when new channels of communication with the 
great West began to be discussed and many enterprises were 
started. The West had been tapped by the Erie Canal; the lakes 
were thus united to the Atlantic and began to pour their treas- 
ures into New York, and business of all kinds rapidly increased. 
As the canal-boats came in at the foot of Broad Street and 
Coenties Slip, and most of the goods for the West were shipped 
by them, the merchants began to move from upper Pearl Street, 
and below Wall Street the rents advanced, and from thence to 
Coenties Slip the largest Western trade was conducted. About 
this time the lines of tow-boats were established between Albany 
and New York. 

In nothing is the change more marked than between the cur- 

\ 4 uJ^wdnAmvi Ononis and, Q^wiaiaoLa «J HAXtvkb 

rency used during my early business life and that now in circu- 
lation. General Jackson had put his foot on the United States 
Bank, and we had nothing but banks chartered by the different 
States. Many of these were owned and controlled by individuals, 
the system being different in almost every State. Some had care- 
ful restrictions, others hardly any. Banks were chartered with 
capitals as small as $50,000, with no limit to their issues; and 
their great object was to get a location so far from convenient 
access that their circulation would not easily find its way back. 
Most of the country banks of respectability had agencies where 
they redeemed their bills at rates varying, according to location, 
from one-eighth to three-quarters or one per cent; but the banks 
in other distant States had no regular place of redemption, and 
their issues were purchased by brokers at all rates, from three- 
quarters to five per cent. The notes of many of the banks far 
South and West were sold at five to ten per cent discount, and 
firms doing a large business had to keep one or more clerks busy 
in turning uncurrent bills into funds that could be here de- 
posited. After the great depression that followed the financial 
troubles of 1837, many firms doing business South and West 
were compelled to settle with their customers by taking, as 
money, the currency that was passing in those sections, issued by 
banks which had suspended specie payment and yet kept up a 
large circulation, which could only be converted at a very heavy 
discount into money current in New York. A person starting 
from New Orleans for New York would have to change his cur- 
rency several times in order to get funds that would be taken 
for fares or hotel bills. The country was flooded with all kinds 
of bankbills, good, bad, and indifferent, and they became a per- 
fect nuisance. Now we have the best paper currency the country 
ever had; we never think of looking at bank-bills, for, as to the 
National banks, we know they are all secured by United States 
bonds. No matter if a bank fails, its notes are as good as gold. . . . 

In December, 1835, the great fire occurred. . . . Before the 
close of 1836 nearly all was rebuilt, and the streets looked better 
than before the fire. However, from that date the drygoods busi- 
ness left Pearl Street, was driven out of the burnt district never 
to return, and since has been gradually working uptown, and 
now has no one street to mark its locality. 

Strange as it may seem, 1836 was a year of vast trade and ex- 
pansion. All kinds of new projects for securing hasty fortunes 
were introduced, and before the capital of the city had recovered 

osteal QoAxnncuuAm. JIlaJceA <Jlcv2 JowS^ealw 444 

from the losses of the fire, its credit was extended and speculation 
ran wild; everything was advancing, and the people were intoxi- 
cated with their many schemes, but in 1837 the bubble burst and 
the widespread ruin followed which has made that year one of 
the long-to-remember epochs of New York. 

In the spring of 1 837 an event happened which was to inaugu- 
rate an entire change in the mode of ocean communication. The 
little steamer "Sirius" suddenly made its appearance in our 
harbor from Liverpool, the first which had ever crossed the At- 
lantic, and thousands of our citizens crowded to see her; she was 
soon followed by the "Great Western," Captain Mathews, which 
became so popular and successful. Many still doubted if steam- 
ships could be made safe or run profitably, but the most daily 
arrival and sailing of the splendid steamers of this day, from and 
to all the ports of Europe, and the voyages along our entire coast, 
have long since settled the question. In my early business life, 
it was a very uncommon thing for persons to cross the ocean, 
except for business, and it was still less common for those from 
the other side to visit us. There are more crossing now in a week 
than then sailed in a year. 

There are two items in Mr. Dodge's paper of particular 
interest; his reference to licensed porters who appear to have 
been the principal means of transporting goods around the 
city. Apparently horse-drawn vehicles were practically non- 
existent; distances were short, most of the business houses 
lying south of Chambers Street scattered between the two 
rivers and the area small. 

Licensed porters still exist in the old Billingsgate Fish 
Market in London, a custom that has existed for over two 
hundred years. This system seems to have been the one 
adopted by the porters of New York. 

The second is the vast amount of business conducted by 
the auctioning of goods taken from the ships and piled on 
the docks. The start of Philip Hone's fortune was made in 
this business which was an important one at this period. 

We have here an excellent cameo of the city at a most 
fascinating period. The disastrous interruption to business 

caused by the War of 1812 had been overcome. The city was 
now fairly launched on its amazing career, and Mr. Dodge's 
engaging description of its growth from 1818 almost to the 
Centennial is a most important contribution to the annals of 
our ancient city. 

Chapter V 

Another very excellent book of perhaps a slightly earlier 
period is that of Mrs. Grant, author of An American Lady, 
which describes in an engaging manner her life in Albany 
with her Aunt Schuyler. 

It is not generally known that most of our real old New 
York families originally came from these old estates along 
the Hudson, stretching from Albany south to Kingston on 
the west shore and to Hyde Park on the east; with Rhine- 
beck as the capital of this ancient oligarchy. If Margaret 
Beekman had only left her Memoirs! 

During and directly after the Revolution this section ruled 
New York politically and socially, and within its borders 
dwelt such powerful families as the Schuylers, Beekmans, 
Roosevelts, Hamiltons, Livingstons, Clintons, Cuylers, Dela- 
fields, Astors, Huntingtons, Chandlers, Miller Mills, Dows, 
Fish, Huntington Armstrongs, Dinsmores, Osbornes and 
others. They are an integral part of old New York and be- 
long in any story of the ancient city. 

Rhinebeck is the only northern town I know of that still 
owns its own Telephone Company, and whose stock is still 
held by the original subscribers of fifty years ago. The Bell 
people have an arrangement whereby they look after the 
physical upkeep of the plant, restoring fallen poles, broken 
lines after storms, etc. etc., in return for the privilege of the 
right of way through this section of the Hudson River. Rather 


2l neat arrangement for a simple group of weary plowmen to 
put over on a powerful corporation, n'est ce pas? 

Once upon a time an efficiency expert from the Western 
Union walked into their Rhinebeck office. Everything was 
wrong— everything too slipshod. Messages still being delivered 
via bicycles instead of by telephone. Outrageous! 

Messengers always collected a good tip from these old fam- 
ilies and this prerogative ranked in the bucolic mind with the 
Magna Charta or the fishermen's rights along the shores of 
Newport. But the new efficiency expert knew nothing of this. 
Messages would be relayed by telephone; so Mrs. Astor, Mrs. 
Tracy Dows and a host of others were soon being called up 
at all hours to receive telegrams. 

Where this efficiency expert missed out, was in not know- 
ing that Western Union was largely owned by Rhinebeckers 
and that a letter to the Executive Office suggesting the recall 
of the efficiency manager would result in immediate action. 
He learned this later on. Queer old town, Rhinebeck, and it 
has a wonderful weekly newspaper. Go up there next Fall for 
their Annual Dutchess County Fair. It's great! 

Mrs. Grant's book is essential to anyone desiring to know 
the origin and ramifications of our original forbears. Her 
book would be priceless were it free from the same fault that 
mars Hone's diary. It gives little or no details of the life ol 
the lower classes, but concerns itself exclusively with the 
haut ton. 

Mrs. Grant's memoirs cover a most interesting period of 
life in old Albany and bring vividly to mind that ancient 
oligarchy that for so many years ruled the State and the City 
with an iron hand. 

Meanwhile, vast economic changes were developing in the 
city as the direct result of the Steam Age which by the intro- 
duction of this mighty force was fast creating a new civiliza- 
tion. The River boats had increased mightily in size and 
speed, though somewhat retarded up to this time by the Ful- 

ton-Livingston monopoly. On behalf of downtrodden human- 
ity, a big-hearted ferryman from Staten Island undertook un- 
selfishly the struggle for the "Freedom of the Seas." The de- 
tails of this contest are well known to most of my readers and 
will not be repeated here. The case is legally known as Gib- 
bons against Fulton et al. Gibbons was a captain employed by 
Vanderbilt to operate the opposition ferry, which the latter 
had started between New York and Jersey City for the pur- 
pose of testing the Fulton patent; and Daniel Webster had 
charge of the legal end. The result was a victory for the Com- 
modore and marked his entrance into the field of water trans- 
portation equipped with something more substantial than 
sail and oars. 

The tendency of the boiler to blow up was an ever-present 
danger. At one time this difficulty was met by building 
luxurious barges which were towed by the steamboat. But 
this caused delay, and speed was the great desideratum. The 
introduction of the governor and a peculiar construction 
known as the hog frame enabled the steamers to dispense 
with the barges formerly towed, and the real development 
of the steamboat began. No matter how large or how heavy 
the boiler was built, it was easily supported by the hog frame, 
and the danger of "breaking the back" of the boat by reason 
of this enormous weight in the middle, was obviated. 

These Hudson River boats deserved their great reputation. 
They developed into a scale of magnificence which was the 
wonder of all. The cabins were furnished on a scale that was 
luxurious for those days, and the pleasure and comfort of 
travel by boat was everywhere conceded. 

As yet there was no effort made to utilize this new driver 
power in any field save transportation by water. The vast 
railroads, factories and mills that were soon to appear were as 
yet shrouded in the future. That the function of the new 
power was to revolutionize life itself, was not even suspected. 
That it was designed to lift the crushing load of labor from 







the backs of mankind, had not yet been even surmised. That 
it would change the entire face of the world, was not even 
thought of. 

The idea of spreading the use of this new giant to new 
tasks was, however, forming in many minds. Peter Cooper 
built a locomotive designed to run on rails, called "Tom 
Thumb." It was used by a railroad running out from Balti- 
more. At its first test it had hard work to keep up with the 
horse selected for its test. The horse pranced a trifle faster— 
but he was rather badly spent from his exertions, while the 
mechanical horse showed no signs of fatigue whatever. A little 
stone yard in Quincy, Mass., began using a small engine to 
haul heavy stones around its yard. The Mohawk and Schenec- 
tady stage line put down a line of rails, ran a locomotive and 
several coaches on it from Albany to Schenectady. This was 
the "De Witt Clinton," a replica of which has been frequently 
exhibited by the New York Central, as this little line is the 
acorn from which grew the present gigantic transcontinental 
service by rail out of New York. 

From Albany the railroad gradually crept down the River 
to Poughkeepsie where it rested for a while. Then it pushed 
on again, eventually reaching New York. Under the skillful 
guidance of Commodore Vanderbilt, this little railroad began 
to grow, and united or bought up connecting road beds and 
finally connected New York with Buffalo and the West. 

With the Erie Canal, the steamboats and the railroad, New 
York began to exhibit prodigious growth, and the seed was 
sown that was to make of New York the Empire City of the 

While the railroad was thus coming into life, a companion 
invention was also struggling for recognition— the Morse tele- 
graph. After repeated disappointments, Congress finally ap- 
propriated enough money to build a telegraph line between 
Washington and Baltimore. It proved a success. And another 

great link in the chain of New York's progress was com- 

In the great hall of Cooper Union, which is a trifle lower 
than the usual ground floor, nearly every famous orator in 
the latter half of the Nineteenth Century was heard. Many 
moral questions interested the public in those days. John B. 
Gough had a lurid lecture on Temperance which drew great 
crowds. Henry Ward Beecher, easily the finest orator this 
country has ever produced, was a red hot abolitionist, as were 
also William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. 

In Brooklyn, during a great meeting concerning the 
Slavery question, Beecher gave, on his platform, a dramatic 
representation of the sale of a young slave girl. 

"About two weeks ago," he began, "I had a letter from 
Washington, informing me that a young woman had been 
sold by her own father to be sent South. She was bought by 
a Federal slave-dealer for $1,200, and he has offered to give 
you the opportunity to purchase her freedom. She has given 
her word of honor to return to Richmond if the money be 
not raised, and, slave though she may be called, she is a 
woman who will keep her word. Now, Sarah, come up here, 
so that we can see you." 

The girl came slowly up the pulpit stairs and stood by Mr. 
Beecher's side. The great pastor of Plymouth Church became 
at once in voice and action, a slave auctioneer. 

"Look at this magnificent merchandise," he cried, "human 
flesh and blood like yourselves. You see the white blood of 
her father in her regular features and high, thoughtful brpw. 
Who bids? You will have to pay extra for that white blood, 
because it is supposed to give intelligence. Stand up, Sarah! 
Now look at her trim figure and wavy hair! How much do 
you bid for them? How much? She is sound in wind and limb, 
I'll warrant her! Who bids? Her feet and hands— hold them 
out, Sarah— are small and finely formed. What do you bid for 
her? She is a Christian woman,— I mean a praying nigger,— 

cJtcv2 aadk e)jvuutta Ulalc^ce A \ 9 

and that makes her more valuable, because it insures her 
docility and obedience to your wishes. 'Servants, obey your 
masters,' you know. Well, she believes that doctrine. How 
much for her? Will you allow this praying woman to be sent 
back to Richmond to meet the fate for which her father sold 
her? If not, who bids?" 

A great wave of emotion spread through the church and 
wild scenes were enacted. Women tore jewelry from neck and 
fingers, throwing it on the platform. Money was thrown from 
all directions. It was a moving scene. 

As the day dawned on which a new President was to be 
chosen, excitement in New York was at fever heat. It was the 
golden age of the lecturer, and all the popular speakers of the 
day were to be heard on the Lyceum. Cooper Institute led 
them all. A roster of all the great men who have appeared in 
this modest hall would include every man of any eminence in 
politics, religion, art, letters or science. 

The radio has killed the old Lyceum group. But the record 
of old Cooper Institute's Forum is one of the glories of our 
city. This appearance of Lincoln's was the first intuition New 
York had received that the slavery question was assuming 
formidable proportions, and events in that direction moved 

New York's huge trade with the South made it less hysteri- 
cal than New England on the Slavery question. It put forward 
as its candidate for the Presidency at this crucial time, Wil- 
liam H. Seward, who lived on the fashionable section of Sec- 
ond Avenue and St. Mark's Place. He was safe and sane. The 
merchants of New York felt that in him they had a wise coun- 
selor of proven ability. 

Dred Scott, a slave who had escaped from the South, where 
slave-holding was legal, to a Northern State where it was not, 
had been returned to his former owner. 

The scene opens in the wigwam at Chicago— a huge barn- 
like structure standing on Lake and Market Streets near the 

\ 20 Jj'iaWttdtan^ Usumib and QaAalaaa <J luxxvbb 

fork of the Chicago River. It was designed for huge gather- 
ings of a temporary character, and on this occasion housed 
the delegates forming the first convention of a political party 
destined to loom large in the history of American life during 
the next half century. 

A great cannon had been mounted on the roof of this 
building to be fired upon the nomination of a candidate. An- 
other great cannon had been dragged to the entrance gates of 
the summer home of Senator William H. Seward of New 
York whose supporters were so confident of victory that they 
meant to lose no time in announcing to the neighbors the 
victory of their favorite son in his little home town of 

Intense excitement marked every moment of the session. 
When the platform was read, the words "Life, Liberty and the 
pursuit of happiness" were omitted. Joshua R. Giddings, a 
prominent delegate, rose in his place and threatened to with- 
draw from the Convention unless this clause was restored. 
George William Curtis managed to have it reinstated. Mr. 
Giddings was thereupon appeased and consented to remain. 
A catastrophe was averted. 

Four hundred and sixty-five delegates had a vote. Two hun- 
dred and thirty-three votes were necessary to a choice. Some 
"straw votes" taken on the train running into the Convention 
a few days before had shown William H. Seward an over- 
whelming favorite. In one instance, he had 368 against a total 
of 93 for all the others. In this ballot, the name of A. Lincoln 
did not even appear. 

The chairman finally rapped for order, and amid a silence 
that was almost painful, so tense was the feeling, ordered the 
first ballot. The result showed Seward 1731/2* and Lincoln 
102, Cameron 501^. On the second ballot, Seward rose to 
1841,4, but Lincoln absorbed most of the Cameron vote, 
reaching 181. This was expected by the Seward men; but in 
the next ballot their candidate received not only the Cameron 

vote, but most of the scattering that had made the Lincoln 
figures rather impressive. 

A slight delay occurred here and the excitement increased. 
Something had happened. Order was finally restored and the 
balloting resumed. All over the house, men and women fever- 
ishly followed the announcement of each State, checking the 
various changes. A terrific wave of emotion swept over the 
hall as the figures showed Lincoln gaining rapidly on Seward. 

The chairman rapped for order and announced the result 
of the third ballot: 

Seward 184 1/ 2 
Lincoln 2311,4 

Lincoln lacked but 1 1/£ votes, which were promply supplied 
Before the chair could announce the vote, Delegate Carter of 
Ohio rose to say that, "Ohio changes 5 votes from Chase to 
Lincoln." A stampede was on. When all the changes were re- 
corded, the vote stood 

Seward 80 
Lincoln 364 

With tears streaming down his face, William M. Evarts of 
New York moved to make the nomination unanimous. 

The cannon on the roof boomed forth. The cannon in front 
of the lawn at Auburn was silent and dejectedly dismantled. 

The news of Lincoln's election reached Douglas when that 
defeated candidate was lying in a berth in a sleeping car with 
a bottle of whiskey alongside. "Abe Lincoln, President of the 
United States! My God!" he cried when he finally controlled 
the fit of laughter which seized him. "Abe Lincoln President 
-Good God!" 

It was not, therefore, without grave concern that our mer- 
chants saw our stupid politicians handle the Slavery question 
in such a crass manner as to create a situation fraught with 

\%% <J5*ciA&ti6tanAL Oxanis and, Q)aAxdacui <J/um&& 

dire possibilities to the entire country. No one, however, was 
prepared for armed conflict, and the firing on Fort Sumter 
came like the proverbial bolt out of a clear sky. The shooting 
of Captain Ellsworth of the New York Zouaves in Alexandria, 
for pulling down a Confederate flag, inflamed New York to a 
white heat; and when Gen. Dix telegraphed the Marshal at 
New Orleans, "If any man attempts to haul down the Ameri- 
can Flag, shoot him on the spot," you might say that the fight 
was on. 

Sir Walter Scott still remained the most popular author in 
the South, and his romantic tales have been largely blamed 
for the almost universal opinion in Dixieland that the shop- 
keepers of the North were clouts compared with the chival- 
rous young Lochinvars of the South and that one fiery South- 
erner was as good as a dozen "Yanks." In which belief the be- 
ribboned and crinolined young ladies, who lolled languidly 
under magnolia trees, did nothing to correct. But on such a 
fantastic foundation much of the hopes of a speedy conquest 
of arms by the South was built, only to crash at last. 

Meanwhile, poor New York is blamed for everything. Dur- 
ing the Revolutionary days it was blamed for being a Tory 
stronghold, and in the Civil War it was said to be the head- 
quarters for all the Copperheads in the country. Yet it was 
the first to form a Union League pledged to support and sus- 
tain the Government in its fight for the Union— an example 
which was quickly imitated in all the leading cities in the 
country. Echoes of this time still survive in the numerous 
Union League Clubs that adopted this name and are still in 
existence. And it sent more men in response to Lincoln's call 
for soldiers than any other city. 

The War had its practical side for New York. Credit had 
been freely extended to the merchants of the South on the 
strength of their cotton crops. Immense sums were involved; 
many merchants faced bankruptcy in the event of hostilities, 
and there were other cogent reasons why the War party was 



When in July 1863, the City of New York was under the reign of a mob, when 
stores were closed, woikshopsrtrot, pars and stages laid up, alarm bells ringing, dwellings 
burning, inoffensive women and children »eeking prisons for safety, unoffending men 
hanging and loating at lamp posts, the horizon lighted up by buining orpliau asylums, 
at such a time when no man felt mife, when every citizen had to guard his home, when 
peaceful law-abiding citizens had to patrol the streets for mutual protection, when 
law and order were as it seemed, dead, when arson, plunder, murder, and all the 
infernal passions of a brutalized mob were holding high carnival, and civilization 
went draped in mourning, then 


the candidate of the McCMIan Confederate Peart Democracy for Governor of New York- 
requested the men doing these bloody deeds, to meet him in front of the City Hall 
in New York, and there began his coaxing, blarneying address to them, with the 


IHb whole speech was in keeping with this introduction. Now let us see where " my 
friends" reside. From the election returns showing the majorities that the "Governor 
of my Jrieruls" received in certain localities in the City of New York, it will be seen 
that "Horatio" knew whom he was addressing 

Votes in the November Election of 1862. 

Mackerellville ---.-. 570 

Five Points, (or Practical Amalgamation District,) 812 
Corlears Hook, (Democratic Misegenation District,) 365 
Water Street Dance Houses, (or Free Love Dist.) S60 
Thirty-three other Districts "of the same sort," 10,657 


Seymour's majority 10,981, or more than entire majority in the 8tate 

These Election Districts figure on our Police Books as containing Two Thousand 
Seven Hundred and Fort) tlnee Croggcries, Two Hundred and Seventy nine notorious 
brothels One Hundred and Socnty places where thieves aud ruffians habitually resort, 
One hundred and Fi\e Policy Shops, with Gambling and Dance Houses to match, 
and nlso embraces the haunts of the Murderers, Robbers, and Incendiaries, who figured 
in the "Reign of Terror," in July, 18G3. 

Sold by the AmericaD News Co. 121 Nassau 8t N. Y. at 75 cents per hundred 2 

Specimen of campaign literature during Civil War days, in 

New York. 

4 %*$ Ujxa&tU&atvi Ononis anA Q)wuxiaaa <J nwtvkb 

not overwhelmingly strong in New York. Yet when the die 
was cast, it stood solidly behind Lincoln and the Union. 

We had an enormous mixed foreign population in those 
days who did not sufficiently understand the significance of 
the great struggle in which we were engaged. They did under- 
stand, however, that if you had three hundred dollars you 
could hire another man to fight for you; and if you hadn't, 
you had no alternative but to go out and stop a bullet your- 
self unless you were lucky. This was made much of by the 
soap-box orators of the day who cared nothing for the result 
of their talk, so long as it kept them in the limelight. None of 
them were ever found at the front. But they created a great 
riot in the city, during which many poor black devils lost 
their lives and some white ones were badly messed up. 

Always, in a great maritime port like New York, there is a 
lawless, disorderly element, glad of an opportunity to make 
trouble and particularly if they can annoy their ancient and 
hereditary foe— the Police. And it was against the latter that 
their fury was first made manifest. 

After a few insignificant skirmishes, the mob grew bolder 
and more sanguinary. The Police were soon unable to cope 
with the situation and the State troops were called upon for 
help. The Seventh, one of the city's most famous regiments, 
fortunately had returned from their hurried defense of Wash- 
ington and with other local militia were soon on the scene. 

The mob was not without leaders, mostly of the fanatic 
type. A huge powerfully built man was noticed at the head of 
a crowd surging through Twenty-first Street from the East 
Side. He was leaping into the air, wildly swinging his arms 
and shaking his fists and cursing. He was crazy for lust and 
blood. He was singled out and received a shot in the forehead 
and fell dead. Another lad boldly advanced ahead of his com- 
rades and stood gritting his teeth and cursing the soldiers, 
pausing at short intervals only to shout encouragement to the 
rioters. He literally exhibited demoniac rage. He too, was 

picked out, shot, and fell dead in the midst of his impreca- 
tions and threats. Some four or five hundred rioters were 
killed by the military. Victims of the mob numbered eight- 


By Resolution of a large 
Meeting of the Merchants 
and Bankers of New York, 
held at two o'clock, at the 
Merchants 9 Exchange. Mer- 
chants are requested to 
close their Stores, and meet 
with their Employees on 
South side of Wall St., for 
immediate organization. 

July 14, 2 P. M. 

Call for merchants and clerks to defend their shops during the 
Draft Riots, 1863. 

een, eleven of whom were colored men who were strung up 
to lamp posts and either shot or strangled to death. About 
fifty buildings were burned and destroyed, and the property 

\ 26 JjKQA&nAlcMve. Ononis atui Q)a/tA^aoui O -tiwiJcA 

damage from looting and sacking was over a million and a 
quarter dollars. The rioting commenced on Monday and 
reached its height by Wednesday. Merchants all over town 
were organizing their employees into improvised troops to 
protect the property in their neighborhood. A notice sent out 
by the section, now known as the financial district, is shown 

When the seriousness of the situation was at last realized, 
no time was lost by the authorities in coping with the trouble 
which at first was not expected to be of any great importance. 
The moment the troops fired on the rioters with orders to 
shoot to kill, a change came over these erstwhile braggarts. 
One whiff of grapeshot altered their attitude very quickly. 
It was a panicky time, however, and the authorities gave a 
great sigh of relief when it was over. 

The close of the Civil War seemed to work a great change 
in the city socially, politically and economically. A horde of 
parvenus, suddenly enriched by war profits, descended upon 
the town, and for a short period reveled in what became 
known as the Flash Age. 

In its endeavor [writes the author of Valentine's Manual] to 
keep pace with the Second Empire the Flash Age took note only 
of the superficial and, like all imitators, failed in the matter of 
good taste, a quality inherent in the French. The march of the 
Prussian troops through the Arc de Triomphe brought New 
York's era of extravagance and false prosperity to its close, but 
it staggered on for two years without a guide, then collapsed 
with equal suddenness. ... 

"Jim Fisk," in whose rotund person were blended all the ele- 
ments from which heroes were made in the Flash Age, brought 
over a company of French singers whom he installed in the 
Grand Opera House, the avant-scene of which he had fitted up 
with a large green-room designed ... to re-create on Eighth 
Avenue the green-room of David Garrick's time. The son of a 
New England pedlar whose cart, drawn by four fine horses, caused 
a sensation in every village in which it appeared, James Fisk 

Viewing the body of President Lincoln at City Hall, 1865. 

Junior early tasted the joys of publicity, and it was in this gor- 
geously painted vehicle, while watching his father's transactions 
with village folk as keen as himself, that he acquired the rudi- 
ments of the commercial education that eventually won him a 
lucrative position with the Boston firm of Jordan, Marsh and 
Company. But either the Hub was too slow for him or he was 
too fast for the Hub, for he soon gave up his post and entered 
upon his spectacular career in Wall Street. I recall him as of 
stout, rather short build with a face of porcine contour from 
which projected moustaches waxed to a point after the fashion 
set by the Emperor Louis Napoleon. His wardrobe contained 
two striking uniforms, one that of the Ninth Regiment, of which 
he was Colonel, the other that of an admiral, which he assumed 
in starting the steamboats of the Fall River line. His afternoon 
progress up Fifth Avenue in an open carriage with one or more 
women of vivid complexion beside him won for him the respect- 
ful salutations of admiring beholders. On one of these trips his 
companion was Celine de Montaland, a French opera-bouffe 
singer whom he had engaged for the Grand Opera House. As 
they drove through Central Park, Fisk told her that they were 
in the grounds of his New York estate, and the singer, greatly 
impressed by the grandeur of the property declared that a man 
of such prodigious wealth could well afford a higher salary than 
he was paying her and demanded a new contract. 

The events leading up to the disaster that lives in the financial 
annals of the town as "Black Friday" throw a light on Fisk's 
methods and on the frenzied speculation in gold that was one 
of the distinguishing marks of the Flash Age. In the hope of 
creating a panic and gathering up the wreckage, Fisk and Jay 
Gould bought seven or eight millions of gold, and loaned it out 
on demand notes, a transaction far in excess of the actual supply 
outside of the U. S. Treasury. Both men had paid diligent court 
to President Grant, as credulous then as in later years, and were 
doing their best to prevent him from throwing the Treasury gold 
on the market. He seemed to yield and the two speculators 
bought heavily until Gould became wary and began to unload 
without telling his partner, whom he urged to keep on buying. 
Ignorant of his partner's treachery, Fisk continued to buy, offer- 
ing to bet that he would force the price up to two hundred, and 
no one would take his bet. ... A stranger smashed the corner 
with a sale of five millions. That stranger was Jay Gould, and 

the rout of the bulls was completed by the Secretary of the Treas- 
ury, who let loose four millions more, which forced the price 
down to one hundred and thirty-three. Gould showed Fisk how to 
repudiate his contracts, and the two conspirators, fearing death 
at the hands of those they had ruined, retreated to the Grand 
Opera House, barricaded it, and with a force of armed ruffians 
defied all comers. . . . 

With the exception of the Astors, who had been from the first 
heavy investors in real estate, very few of the wealthy class were 
acute enough to foresee the enormous growth of the town toward 
the north. All distinction as a place of fashionable residence 
had not departed from Bleecker Street, where the present site of 
the Mills Hotel was occupied by the great house built by one of 
the Bonaparte princes. The ironwork and doorways still visible 
on some of the old houses in this and nearby streets tell the tale 
of old-time fashion. There was not much on Fifth Avenue above 
34th Street, where A. T. Stewart had begun work on the huge 
marble structure that in later years shared the fate of the Jerome 
mansion on Madison Square by sheltering the Manhattan Club. 
. . . Central Park Garden . . . one of the most delightful places of 
entertainment that the city has ever known, musical concerts were 
given. Never before or since, so far as my knowledge goes, has 
better music been given in association with superior beer at five 
cents a glass, than that directed by Theodore Thomas in his cool 
and airy resort. At the same time, Tony Pastor at his theater on 
the Bowery was rescuing the variety stage from its former low 
estate and engaging performers who later won fame in the 

It is greatly to the credit of the professions of arts and letters 
that they escaped the demoralizing influences of the Flash Age 
and preserved their self-respect through it all. Artists of the 
North River school that "modernists" affect to despise were doing 
honest work on very scant commons, and such writers as William 
Cullen Bryant, Bayard Taylor, George William Curtis, Donald 
G. Mitchell and F. S. Cozzens were at least upholding the dig- 
nity of their calling. Nor should we forget that the "Pfaff crowd," 
who called themselves "bohemians," numbered among its mem- 
bers George Arnold, E. C. Stedman, Fitz James O'Brien and 
Artemus Ward. Journalism was dominated by Henry J. Ray- 
mond, Horace Greeley and the elder Bennett, and, following the 
trail already blazed by Margaret Fuller, were those early disciples 

4 30 Jjim^n&tafve u lords and Q)wvaiaaa O wimlkb 

of the "chatty" school who sported alliterative cognomens like 
Jennie June, Grace Greenwood, Sophie Sparkle and Fanny Fern. 
Whatever may be said of these writers and painters, pretense 
and vulgarity could not be numbered among their faults. It was 
at this time, too, that Thomas Nast, Bavarian by birth but 
American in sympathy, entered upon the work that contributed 
so largely to the overthrow of the Tweed Ring and gave him 
lasting fame as a cartoonist of tremendous power. . . . 

The Flash Age came to a sudden and unexpected end in the 
autumn of 1873, after an existence of a little more than ten years. 

The workingman's parade enrages the 
New York police, i8yi. 

It was followed by an era of commercial depression, the logical 
result of mad speculation and the over-building of railroads, in 
the midst of which the great Moody and Sankey revival gave 
time and thought for serious matters. . . . 

The city has undergone many changes since the Flash Age 
came to an end in a single night, and in that half-century of 
material growth and moral and social betterment, commerce 
and finance have played a more important part than is generally 
understood. Streets from which decent families had been driven 
by vicious neighbors are now the centre of the silk or dry-goods 
trades and great loft buildings stand where disreputable houses 
once flaunted their loathsome business in the faces of passers-by. 

c/lc^ italic e)ptau£A ijiaSlmtw. 434 

. . . Commerce has reared the huge buildings that have given to 
the city its wonderful sky-line, and the same resistless force has 
pushed the area of paved streets and sewers farther north than 
even the original Astors ever dreamed of. Men of genius, energy 
and vision have accumulated through commercial undertakings 
great fortunes, and they have given of their wealth for charitable 
and educational purposes to an extent of which the world has 
no previous record. 

Politically, the city was completely under the domination 
of the infamous Tweed Ring, whose leader was soon to be 
arrested. In the meantime, vice was open and unashamed. 
Gambling houses flourished without restraint in the neighbor- 
hood of the Fifth Avenue Hotel and there were many "day 
games" in Ann Street and other localities downtown. Scat- 
tered all about the city were dives of a kind that happily do 
not exist now. In Water Street and vicinity were so-called 
sailors' boarding houses where mariners were shanghaied 
when drunk and awoke to find that they had been robbed and 
shipped aboard for a long whaling cruise. There were other 
evil resorts along the Bowery, and even in the basements of 
great Broadway business houses. Dance halls, frequented by 
the better dressed but equally vicious element, did business 
on Sixth Avenue near Thirty-fourth Street; and a notorious 
abortionist, of the upper ten, calling herself Madame Res- 
telle, occupied a house on a conspicuous Fifth Avenue corner. 
Her suicide in her bathtub, when the police finally called to 
arrest her, caused consternation in high society. The police 
seized her confidential list of customers, which was known to 
have contained many names of members of prominent social 
families, both married and single. The town held its breath 
awaiting its publication in the newspapers. Such an item was 
just the sort of thing that old Bennett of the Herald con- 
sidered it a sacred duty to publish and neither money nor in- 
fluence would stop him. Many persons gave a huge sigh of 
relief when this private list mysteriously disappeared and was 




"42 ** 




JIgW Ook& Q)p*aul& UiouMic^ 


never heard from again. A comic paper called Pink and very 
popular in those days published a double page cartoon by 
Keppler captioned "Fifth Avenue Two Years After Mme. 
Restelle's Death." Needless to add that this fashionable thor- 
oughfare was shown so completely jammed with baby car- 
riages and nurse girls that Avenues A, B, and C hid their 
diminished heads in shame. Valentine's Manual says: 

Crimes were frequent and many criminals were known by 
sight to the average well-informed citizen. The most sensational 

The Tombs— Bridge of Sighs, i8yo. 

of these crimes, and one that still remains a mystery, was the 
murder of Benjamin Nathan in his house, No. 12 West 23rd 
Street, on the night of July 28, 1870. Mr. Nathan was an elderly 
and highly respected Jewish gentleman connected by blood and 
marriage with the most distinguished families of his race that 
the town contained. He was a banker and broker, a member of 
exclusive clubs and a person of influence in public affairs. 

At six o'clock on the morning of the 29th a policeman passing 
the house was summoned by cries from two young men standing 
on the stoop, who told him that their father had been murdered 
in the night. These young men were Frederic and Washington 
Nathan and the night-clothes of the former, as well as his feet 

and hands, were smeared with blood, the result, as he afterward 
explained, of kneeling beside the body of his father. The un- 
fortunate gentleman had been attacked while seated in his night- 
dress at a desk, the instrument used being an iron "dog" about 
eighteen inches long, of a kind used by carpenters and frequently 
found in a burglar's kit. This weapon was found lying in the 
vestibule covered with blood on both of its sharpened ends. No 
less than fifteen blows, chiefly on the head, had been inflicted 
with this "dog," and there were evidences that the victim had 
not given up his life without a struggle. The door of a safe that 
stood in the room was wide open, its key missing, and on the 
bed was a small drawer containing only a few copper cents. Mr. 
Nathan had been staying at his country house, near Morristown, 
but, detained by business, had determined to spend the night in 
town. It was apparent to the police that his habits were known 
to the men or man who killed him and that they had not ex- 
pected to find him in the house. 

The announcement of the crime caused an excitement that 
has no parallel in the city's history. For days Twenty-third Street 
was blocked with masses of people who came to gaze at the win- 
dows of the room on the second floor in which the murder had 
taken place. Stagedrivers drove slowly past the house or else 
pulled up altogether to give passengers and driver a chance to 
stare at the spot. Even private carriages passed through the block 
all day in endless procession, their occupants leaning out of the 
windows to catch a glimpse of the scene. This excitement was 
prolonged and intensified by the revelations that followed in 
swift succession. The Stock Exchange instantly offered a reward 
of $10,000 for the apprehension of the murderer, and this amount 
was quickly swelled five-fold by offers from other sources. The 
excitement verged on public hysteria when the rumor spread, 
gathering credence as it flew, that Washington Nathan was not 
guiltless of his father's blood. To those who know the venera- 
tion in which a parent is held by Jews of Mr. Nathan's high 
caste, such a thing is unbelievable, and many years later I learned 
from an authoritative source how the story originated. A sensa- 
tional reporter in search of a "story" intruded on the members 
of the family when engaged in bewailing their loss in the devout 
fashion demanded by ancient orthodox custom, and the visitor 
was turned from the door without ceremony. Incensed by this 
treatment he wrote an article calling attention to the young 

oJCeW 3on)k Q)n^vaui& UloiWc^ 


man's rather dissipated habits and his immediate need of money 
as motives for the crime. 

The inevitable woman in the case made her first appearance 
on the scene at the inquest, whither she was summoned to give 
testimony in support of Washington's alibi. As she took the stand 
she gave a decided impression of beauty, refinement and good 

Lock-stepping their way to dinner at Sing Sing, i8j8. 

taste, and great was the sensation among the spectators when she 
declared that she was an inmate of a notorious house kept by one 
Irene McCready at No. 4 East Fourteenth Street, and that 
"Wash," as he was known there, had spent the greater part of 
the night in question in her company. 

Shortly after this a man named George Ellis wrote to Superin- 
tendent of Police Jourdan saying that if brought down from 
Sing Sing he would name the murderer. Brought with great se- 
crecy to the city, he was shown more than a score of iron "dogs" 
of all shapes and sizes, and all smeared with blood, from which 
he at once selected the one with which the crime had been ac- 

436 «Jj^av^rt4tonc Ononis anA QaAxxiaaa U turuis 

complished. Ellis said that he and a man named George For- 
rester had planned to rob the house during its owner's absence, 
but that murder was not contemplated, and on the strength of 
this statement a hunt was begun for Forrester, who had mean- 
while disappeared from his usual haunts, and it was not until 
two years later that he was found in Texas and brought to New 
York, to be held for trial. Many years later Abe Hummell told 
me that Forrester then sent for him, confessed that he owed fif- 
teen years to Joliet prison and asked to be sent there without 

"I have often been paid to save a man from prison," said 
Hummell, "but this was the first time I ever received a fee to 
send a man there, and I have never seen a happier face than 
that of Forrester when he set out to fulfill his long term." 

Irene McCready retired from business and betook herself to 
the New Hampshire home of her childhood, where she died in 
1 899. After her death her two nieces revived interest in the crime 
by relating what she had told them about a visit she received 
the morning after the affair from a woman who kept an estab- 
lishment in 27th Street similar to her own and who told her 
that one of her girls, a Spaniard of great beauty who had a key 
to the Nathan house, had been away the night before between 
ten and three. "There was murder done in that house last night," 
she added; "what shall I do about it?" 

"Keep quiet," was the other woman's advice. "Wash Nathan 
can prove an alibi by Clara Dale," the name by which the wit- 
ness at the inquest was known. 

Looking backward to the old files of newspapers in the 
early '70s one is profoundly impressed with the tremendous 
gulf that separates that short period from the present. It is a 
dramatic contrast. 

The Indians were giving us much trouble. Not a few of 
them made the long journey from the Far West to meet the 
Great White Father in Washington. In this way, we of the 
East came to catch an occasional glimpse of the red men 
whose goings on occupied so much of the sensational section 
of our newspapers. 

It read like a dime novel. Sitting Bull, Rain-In-The-Face, 

c/leW clonic Q)&iaut& Ulotcfvc^ 437 

Crazy Horse, Two Moons, Red Cloud, Geronimo and the 
well-known names of our Indian fighters, Custer, Terry, 
Crook, Miles, etc. 

The country was stunned by the frightful tragedy of the 
Little Big Horn. A whole company of United States troops 
utterly annihilated. Custer, he of the flowing locks— the ideal 
of the fearless fighters ambushed and mercilessly murdered! 
How could such a thing happen? 

But it did, and the whole country was horrified at the 
ghastly story. Not a man in the command left to tell the tale. 
Everybody killed. 

This proved the proverbial last straw that broke the 
camel's back. The Indians were finally rounded up and 
brought back to their reservation. They also experienced the 
wrath and the power of the Regular Army when it set out to 
do a thorough job. Their experience this time put an end to 
any more uprisings. Both sides received some hard— very 
hard— knocks. But the Indians finally realized that it made no 
difference to the Great White Father how many soldiers were 
killed. There were always more to take their places, and they 
came in constantly increasing numbers. It was useless to con- 
tinue the unequal struggle, and peace was eventually re- 

Nothing seems so interesting in a way as to read these old 
dispatches in the daily papers of that day and to contrast it 
with the endless chatter of the movie stars of today. 

Chapter VI 
©Z/Oaini oato at c/teW uo/vk 

An event of exceptional national interest was rapidly ap- 
proaching—the first Centennial of our Birth as a new Na- 
tion; and extraordinary efforts were put forth to celebrate 
the occasion in a manner suitable to so momentous an event. 
Plans were made for a great Exposition to be held in Phila- 
delphia on our hundredth birthday. Committees were ap- 
pointed to solicit the participation of foreign countries in our 
exhibits, and preparations were made for the most magnifi- 
cent Fair ever held in the history of nations— and right royally 
were the plans carried out. 

That particular Fourth of July was greeted with uproarious 
enthusiasm in all the leading cities of the country. In New 
York, "The Empire City," the Herald tells us, "with uni- 
versal public demonstrations of joy, stepped lightly and 
proudly into the second century of our National Independ- 
ence. Such scenes of emotion as were then enacted will be 
told by our children to their children's children and they will 
talk about them when they are gray-haired men and women. 
A great civic pageant ushered in the day's festivities. At night 
the city was ablaze with the glow of twenty-five thousand 
torches in the hands of a marching host. It was indescribably 
beautiful. Houses, stores and public buildings were gayly 
decorated and brilliantly illuminated." 

The city itself had grown rapidly with the first hundred 
years of its existence, yet all over town there were still evi- 
dences of the bucolic existence from which we were just 


4-^0 ciWwJfvdiatfte tT^ofiid and. ^wvcdaaa J liWvJeA 

emerging. Tall poplars and sycamores still threw their grate- 
ful shade in many of our downtown streets. The plague of 
caterpillars, which formerly infested these trees, had fortu- 
nately disappeared and the business man no longer appeared 
at his office bedecked with these brilliant little "fuzzie 
wuzzies" denoting residence among the leafy bowers of York- 
ville, or the bosky dells of Harlem. The ruins of the munici- 
pal birdhouses, erected at public expense by our kind-hearted 
Aldermen, for the comfort and protection of the English 
sparrow imported to devour these pestiferous insects, were 
still to be seen occasionally; but the efforts of our benign City 
Fathers were now engaged in devising a plan to emasculate 
the noisy, truculent and pugnacious "chippie," which, having 
devoured the caterpillars, were now engaged in devouring 
such of our native songsters as dared show their faces in the 
land of their fathers. 

Of the city itself, as it was then, scarcely a vestige remains. 
The most notable landmark, viewed from the Bay, was old 
Trinity Church. For more than a hundred and fifty years- 
barring the Revolution when it was burned down— Trinity 
Church enjoyed the distinction of being the first building 
the mariner saw in New York as he sailed in from the sea, 
and the last to fade from view as he set his prows toward 
Liverpool or Java Head. From the spire of this old church, 
a magnificent view of the surrounding country for miles 
around was afforded. When Uncle Henry or Cousin Kate 
came to town, we had no telephones, no radios, no motor 
cars, no movies. A woman's crowning glory was still her hair. 
Looking backward, it seems like another world. Yet that de- 
lectable era of Annie Pixley cigars, peek-a-boo waists and the 
introduction of toilet paper was one of the most glamorous 
decades of the last century and marked a distinct milestone 
in our progress from the cradle to the grave. When it passed 
into history, it left us on the threshold of a second Renais- 

cZuainl oaw al t/tev2 uafik 


sance that has already eclipsed most of the best performances 
of the Italian. 

In those dark ages, cradles were considered something 
sacred and holy. Now you find them only in museums. "Rock 
Me to Sleep, Mother, Rock Me to Sleep," sang Elizabeth 
Akers and countless thousands echoed her cry. Today if you 

These young gentlemen are not indulging in the 

filthy habit of smoking. They are only chewing 

toothpicks, the comforting and elegant practice 

so much in vogue in 1865. 

attempted to rock a baby to sleep, someone would telephone 
the police to call for a demented person. Mother no longer 
takes Precious to her ample bosom and croons it a lullaby. 
She toddles little Skookums out to the piazza, there to yell its 
head off till it falls asleep from exhaustion. 

There were also many curious superstitions and beliefs 
concerning babies in those days. Take, for instance, the "sec- 
ond summer." For some reason or no reason, every well- 
regulated infant was supposed to bid farewell to this dreary 
life in the "second summer." If he disappointed the family 

in this respect, then he would turn out to be a bank robber, 
because Daddy had neglected to carry him up a flight of stairs 
the day he was born. But if on that dramatic day he had 
raised his right arm, howling lustily at the same time, you 
had an embryo Napoleon on your hands and Daddy's blunder 
was automatically cancelled. 

There was also a peculiar idea concerning a very neces- 
sary toilet function— cutting the finger nails. If they were first 
cut with a pair of scissors, the baby would turn out to be a 
lawyer; but if they were bitten off by the mother's teeth, this 
frightful catastrophe was averted. And so this cannibalistic 
rite was performed by all mothers with religious avidity. 
Another idea was that if a baby fell out of its bed before it 
was eleven months old it would be a fool at maturity. I've 
often wondered if any of us ever escaped this unfortunate in- 

Infants always slept in the same room with their parents. 
It was rumored, at one time, that a certain young mother in 
my neighborhood with advanced ideas made her baby sleep 
in a separate room. All the other mothers promptly decided 
that such a heartless wretch was no better than she should be, 
and cut her completely. 

Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup and other poisonous narcot- 
ics were freely administered to infants in those times, but a 
baby caught taking habit-forming drugs nowadays would find 
itself at once in trouble with the police. There were no baby 
foods. Mother's milk was considered the only fit sustenance 
for a newborn babe and the papers daily printed long col- 
umns of advertisements requesting the services of bereft 
mothers who possessed an adequate supply of this nourish- 
ment, which would otherwise go to waste. The wet nurse was 
a popular and numerous personage, and her calling attained 
the dignity of a profession. 

When baby began to walk, his faltering footsteps were 
sustained by a long harness-like attachment such as older 

cJjjuiird \3wvL aL c/tev2 uqaJk, 


children used in playing horses. These reins were about six 
feet long and mother at the end pulled and tugged, keeping 
the child upright and in the direction he should go. He was 
so thoroughly wrapped up in heavy flannel petticoats, padded 
dresses, padded diapers, padded bibs, padded hats, etc., that 
he could not hurt himself if he fell off a roof. How the poor 
little thing ever moved or breathed was a problem I was never 
able to solve. 

Strange to relate, the average young American mother 
deemed it unutterably immodest to have a male physician at- 
tend her at her accouchement. Consequently, foreign mid- 
wives, of no particular intelligence, officiated largely at these 
events with a consequently high percentage of mortality. It 
was Marion Harland in her magazine Babyhood who first de- 
manded knowledge and science in maternity cases. A band 
of young doctors were recruited, who were prevailed upon to 
specialize in this particular line. Braving the sneers of their 

The Presbyterian Hospital, Fourth Avenue, between joth and 

yist Sts., 18J2. 

\h*i Jd^va^tuAanJd <Jnxmi& and Q)a/vaiacia O savtiALs 

colleagues and the jibes of the general public, they set to 
work at once and this important branch of medical practice 
at last began to receive that scientific treatment which its im- 
portance demanded, with a corresponding decrease in the 
mortality figures and a great improvement in the health of 
the mothers. Yet for years they were derided as "sissies." We 
have greatly improved in many directions in the practice of 
obstetrics since then, but still have a long way to go compared 
with European Countries. 

I think also that children were brought up more strictly 
in those days and their table manners at least were carefully 
supervised. Ours were, I know. We never acted like some of 
the rowdies we played with after school, who had no faith in 
second helpings and always said to their mothers, "Give me 
all I'm going to get on this plate." My brother, who was a 
good deal smarter than I, was always able to save a desperate 
situation. When unexpected company appeared for dinner 
and our favorite dessert seemed in jeopardy, he would say 
sweetly, "Mother, do you think the dessert will upset my 
stomach tonight or have you enough to go around?" 

When mother left the nursery and appeared upon the 
streets she was like unto what the prophet had in mind when 
he described a human being as something fearfully and won- 
derfully made. 

It also was an age of symmetry and modesty. Women took 
great pride in exhibiting the exact antithesis of the present 
popular boyish form. We liked our girls with plenty of meat 
on them in those days. The ideal figure was a waspish 1 8-inch 
waist— loudly denounced by the medical profession (and as 
usual without the slightest effect) the high voluptuous palpi- 
tating thirty-six bust, and a pair of wide and aggressive hips. 
Sometimes Nature provided all of these attractions; but 
where Nature failed, the kindly art of man supplied the 
deficiency. Numerous bust forms of padded cotton, inflated 
rubber and woven wire met with a ready sale. Sometimes dur- 

oZ^uxmt &ww ol «Jlc^2 }jQAjk 


ing a "spooning party," as we called it in those days, the 
rubber kind would collapse with a muffled bang, to the con- 

The "Gabrielle" and "Princess," house-dresses, i8yj. 

sternation of the wearer and to the hilarious merriment of 
the party of the second part. 

To the bust-form family, belonged also the bustle. This 
was a combination of braid and thin hoop iron designed to 

4-V6 <Jj*QA&tt&lotwi tJionis and. c)aAaiaaa OwLtuKA 

impart a gently sweeping curve to what was then known as 
"the Grecian Bend." Shorter bustles for girls, imitating their 
elders, were made of dad's daily newspaper and sometimes 
brother's boxing gloves. It was considered quite a tragedy 
when, as sometimes happened, the buttons at the back of the 
skirt called the placket, accidentally flew open, exposing to 
the vulgar gaze of a heartless public, the ingenious contriv- 
ance by which the faultless figure had been achieved. 



Corset, Skirt Support* 

er, and BUSTLE 

Is just the article needed by every 
lady who consults 


Testimonials in its favor are con- 
stantly being received from all parts 
of the country. 

Lady Agents wanted in every coun- 
ty of the united Statett. 
Sole Manufacturers, Nbw Haven, Conn. 

'Health, Comfort, and Style" 

White cotton stockings were universally worn. The first 
attempt at coloring was to introduce a design of circular 
stripes like a barber pole in red, green, blue, purple and 
other delicate pastel shades. Fast color dyes had not yet been 
invented and wearers of colored stripes invariably trans- 
ferred them to their own pedal extremities in a more or less 
permanent form. When black stockings were first offered, al- 
most anything was welcome in place of the interminable and 
monotonous white, and they were given a cordial welcome. 
But alas, the color though advertised as "fast," was fast only 
so far as it applied to its racing qualities when it started to 
run. But in time, permanent dyes were perfected and the 
white cotton stocking of beloved memory and distinguished 
service took its final departure. 

oZooiftt ba/io al c/leW }jo/vk 


The robe de nuit was a virtuous and voluminous affair 
which trailed on the floor. Most of them were made of 

Back and front of street and walking costume, i8jy. 

"Fruit of the Loom," a highly popular material, also largely 
used for sheetings. They were cut high in the neck, with 
ruffles at the cuffs, almost covering the hands. Slippers were 
made of carpet and home-made knitted yarn with a leather 

4-^8 cJj^uH^tv6tafxc Ononis cunA Q)wiedaaa <J iuaK6 

sole lined with fuzzy cotton. Although comfortable and warm, 
they were not fascinating in appearance. Older members of 
the family, both sexes, still clung to the rapidly disappearing 
night cap which, in those days, was made of linen. The beau- 
tiful though sinful concoctions which now parade under this 
saintly name, were unknown in those days. 

House dresses were made of percale, seersucker, eiderdown 
and canton flannel. Mother was undoubtedly the forerunner 
of the present-day efficiency expert, as she carried, attached to 
her girdle, a chatelaine. This was a rather imposing affair, 
fine ones being made of sterling silver and beautifully chased. 
It was a wonderful step-saver. It contained places for the 
thimble, needle and thread, pocket knife, pencil, memoran- 
dum pad, pincushion, scissors, smelling salts and scent bottle. 
We were still in the age when to faint was fashionable; and 
these pungent smelling salts that would knock the roof off a 
barn, were always welcome. Mother Hubbards and shirt- 
waists were in the offing, but had not yet definitely arrived. 
The "best" dress was usually of heavy black silk that could 
almost stand alone and was expected to last a lifetime. 

All women's shoes had very high uppers— reaching in some 
cases halfway to the knee. A woman bought a narrow top or 
a wide top according to the width of her pedal extremities. 
They had no legs in those days. Some rash young man who 
liked to be considered "fast" called them limbs— but legs, 
never. They were invariably buttoned up the side with a 
heavy steel button hook, or laced up the front over a 
"tongue." And the most popular model was called the Com- 
mon Sense. As its name implies, it had broad toes, flat heels, 
heavy soles and would make the present policeman's shoe 
look like Cinderella's slipper. 

Dresses in those days had very full skirts and trailed the 
ground. It took yards and yards of material to make them. 
On wet days these skirts would bring into the house a choice 
collection of sidewalk memorabilia. From today's point of 

cJAtaini &a/uh al c/lev2 %jorvk 


view, it seems strange that a gentle, refined, well-brought-up 
woman should ever have been consumed with an ambition to 
play the part of a street scavenger. In keeping with those 
skirts, the waists were buttoned severely up to the neck and 
whale-bone collars met the ears. Sleeves reached to the 
knuckles. Decorum could go no further. 

Easter bonnets of i8yy. 

In contradistinction to the ample folds of the trailing 
skirt, the balloon-like effect of the leg-o'-mutton sleeves was 
the skin-tight woolen waist, known as the Jersey. This popu- 
lar garment, on a Venus or Aphrodite, was a refreshing and 
stimulating sight; and when worn with a saucy tam-o'-shanter 
cap, the ensemble was not at all annoying to the eyes. This 
charming confection usually came in one solid color, red 
being the favorite. I think it was copied from a creation worn 

\ 50 UJKo\$4i6latv<i Ononis and QaAoiacia O nMxvkA 

by Lily Langtry, a famous beauty of those days, who hailed 
from the Island of Jersey and whose popular name among 
the gilded youth was the Jersey Lily. 

I would need the pen of Carlyle to describe adequately the 
sensation caused by the young lady who first trod the streets 
of New York in a skirt without bustle or hip pads and that 
was actually three inches from the ground! Crowds followed 
her, shrieking with loud and derisive laughter. The name of 
this Nineteenth Century Joan of Arc was Miss Daisy Miller. 
She stoutly defended her innovation on the ground that it 
was meant for rainy days only. So in this faltering manner the 
first short skirt made its appearance, with many apologies to 
an outraged public opinion. It was at first suffered to exist 
only by reason of its utility, but that was so apparent that an 
army of "Rainy Daisies" quickly appeared, as they were 
called, and the new idea took sturdy root. The Bustle Era was 

As we all know, the length of skirts continued to grow 
shorter and shorter till it looked as if the far-famed flower 
girdle of the South Seas would be the ultimate goal, while a 
few timid souls like myself were in a paroxysm of fear lest 
the fig leaf costume of Mother Eve would be chosen instead. 

Preceding this movement, however, and coincident with 
the advent of the rainy-day skirt, came the tight-fitting tailor- 
made cloth suit introduced by the more fashionable set. The 
skirt of the tailor-made gown gradually grew tighter and 
tighter until we had the "hobble" skirt. Women could not 
mount a street car step without accommodating her skirt, to 
the new effort and the world was suddenly made aware of 
the fact that women were now wearing hose. You got a very 
fair glimpse of the new scenery— a frightful exposure in those 
days— and so in the interests of better locomotion, the tight 
skirt was slashed up the side, giving us the sheath gown. This 
model naturally possessed the same sinful feature of the hob- 
ble skirt, only in a much greater degree. I regret to state that 

its popularity with both sexes was immediate and undeni- 

The famous pompon bonnet was a conspicuous item in 
the wardrobe of the well-dressed woman of the Elegant '80s. 
This was something on the order of an inverted coal scuttle, 
surmounted by nodding plumes and tied with long flowing 
ribbons. It was made of straw. Its lurid decorations presented 
a miniature garden and orchard combined. Luscious red 
cherries made of glass nestled cozily against purple grapes 
stuffed with sawdust. American Beauty roses made of pink 
velvet disported themselves gayly between clusters of morn- 
ing glories made of calico, and yards of baby blue ribbon, 
streaming from every angle, completed the dazzling picture. 
It weighed considerable and was held in place by formidable 
steel prongs called, by courtesy, "hatpins." 

Bathing suits for the gentler sex were a far cry from the 
present-day one-piece affair. They were made of extra heavy 
blue flannel, in two virtuous pieces, trouser and skirt. The 
trouser reached to the ankles, the skirt below the knee. They 
were modestly but firmly held together at the waist by a belt. 
Stockings and bathing shoes completed the costume except 
for the hat which was a straw, the same kind and pattern we 
now put on horse's heads in summer. The holes designed as 
an exit for ears, were used to tie on the bonnet with a wide 
piece of velvet braid. In the water the garments must have 
weighed a ton and bathers made a deep puddle wherever 
they stood chatting after a dip. 

The male contingent was similarly attired, except that he 
brazenly refused to wear stockings. Bare feet was the only 
difference, but this served to distinguish the male from the 
female. Beach parties were solemn affairs and the menu con- 
sisted solely of thick ham sandwiches and apple pie washed 
down with cataracts of lukewarm coffee. All was demure, 
somber and strictly virtuous. The two sexes were just begin- 
ning to rejoice in a new-found freedom— they were now 

allowed to bathe in the same ocean together! A howl of in- 
dignation, however, went up from the purists when this 
scandalous concession was followed by one even more inde- 
cent—the books of lady and gentlemen authors were now al- 
lowed to adjoin each other in the library! 

The first departure from this severe style of costume came 


Both parties in unison. "Why, is that you?' 

with the introduction of white braid around the collar band 
and edges of the waist. The white against the dark blue was 
very striking. This was considered extremely daring and it 
led to other indiscretions. As the final result of this modern 
Rake's Progress, I ask you to look at the present-day bathing 
suit— the final offspring of this sinful white braid! 

Sport clothes were non-existent, but the new fad— Tennis 
—just imported from England, was crying aloud for some dis- 
tinctive dress. It simply could not be played in 1 8-inch corsets, 

bustles, bosom pads and pom-pom hats. So a long tight-fitting 
gown made its appearance with a flounce from the knees and 
buttoned snugly up the back almost from the ankles to the 
neck. About half a dozen heavy flannel petticoats were worn 
underneath to prevent the slightest exposure of the lower ex- 
tremities. A large leghorn straw hat with nodding plumes 
completed the costume. Thus attired, the Suttons and the 
Willses of that period were the cynosure of all eyes. Not to 
be outdone, the men adopted a canton flannel coat of many 
colors in loud and strident stripes, long gray trousers and a 
natty little peak cap colored to match their coats. 

Aside from these, there was no suggestion of the hand- 
some and appropriate sport clothes that were soon to appear 
and that have added so much to the pleasure and comfort of 
outdoor life around New York. 

These were also the radiant days when "woman's crown- 
ing glory was her hair," and the Seven Sutherland Sisters, 
whose hair reached below their knees, were a popular attrac- 
tion in drug store windows. They sold a priceless concoction, 
guaranteed to grow hair just like theirs on any head, or on a 
billiard ball, if heads were not available. 

So the hirsute adornment of the belle of the '80s was some- 
thing to inspire awe in the beholder. A huge roll of horse hair 
called a "rat," together with other pyramid-like structures 
called "switches," "waterfalls," "Chignons," "pompadours," 
braids, rolls, etc. etc. were part of every woman's capillary 
adornment. "Bangs" and "spit curls" ornamented the fore- 
head and the temples, and were thought to be very "cute." 

Of course, few women possessed a natural growth of hair 
sufficient to provide all the demands made upon them by 
these voluminous styles. Consequently, our imports of horse 
hair from South America were on a prodigious scale. There 
were as yet no "beauty shops," but gradually "hair dressing" 
parlors began to appear. They had none of the embellish- 
ments of the modern establishment and performed a service 

c^Ataini &OA& al c/lev2 Honk 


that was more utilitarian than aesthetic. For the care of 
woman's hair in those days was a heavy physical task and an 
exhausting experience. Waiting hours for it to dry, combing 
the snarls out after a wash, all necessitated a wearisome strain 

The Bicycle Tournament, 1885. 

unknown to the woman of today. And yet what a fuss we 
men made when women first began to "bob" their hair. 

Lip sticks and cold creams were unheard of. Face powder, 
however, was plentifully used and many a young man was 
finger-printed at dances— and elsewhere. Rouge was the only 
other face decoration I recall. 

A sunburn tan was considered very common and denoted 
association with the lower orders. Women wore veils on every 
occasion and did everything to protect the pink and white 

complexion so highly esteemed in those days. There were no 
manicures— the very word was unknown, and a young lady 
wearing deep red nails would have been kindly requested to 
leave any gathering she attended. Toilet accessories were few 
and far between. The beautiful modern bathroom was never 
even dreamed of. In fact, indoor toilets were still quite a 
novelty and probably fifty per cent of the average dwelling 
houses were still lacking this improvement. Lavatories inside 
the home, you must remember, were only just out of the ex- 
perimental stage, and there were still many persons who 
thought them immoral, immodest, unhealthy, etc. The old 
outhouse did not die without a struggle, and the bathroom 
was far from being the refreshing, artistic attribute it is today 
in our domestic economy. Zinc-lined wooden bathtubs— in 
many instances plain roofing tin— with imitation mahogany 
rails to catch all the flying dirt and soap suds, with no hot 
water and no shower— the old-fashioned bathroom, was a de- 
pressing spectacle. It insisted, moreover, in having a tub at 
least six feet long which took an hour to fill, with one narrow 
pipe to provide the water. 

Special scented bath soaps and other refined toilet articles 
which are considered a necessity nowadays, were then largely 
lacking. Cleaning the teeth was not the universal practice it 
now is and the multiplicity of nail polishes, files, bath 
brushes, Turkish toweling, mats, and electric hair dryers, 
were all still in the future. A bar of loud-smelling laundry 
soap was not at all uncommon in the bathroom, and there 
were no shaving soaps or talcum powders, now so generally 
used. It is not at all an exaggeration to say that among the 
most desirable improvements in household auxiliaries, the 
bathroom has probably enjoyed more attention from the in- 
ventor and designer than any other department in domestic 
economy, although it was the last to make its appearance on 
the scene. 

Our ideas of Interior Decorating were bizarre, to say the 

least. I think they were inspired by the beatific thoughts 
kindled in our souls during those delightful hours spent in 
the dentist's chair before the days of novocaine. 

Take the Turkish Cozy Corner, for instance, which no 
doubt your mother has told you about. It occupied the best 
angle in the room and looked like a pup tent with a severe 
headache. It possessed a varied assortment of hardware, con- 
sisting of butcher's cleavers, which you were supposed to 
imagine were battle axes; blades from a pawnshop on the 
Bowery supposed to be from Toledo; swords from Damascus, 
New Jersey; scimitars, daggers, and other pleasant suggestions 
of the Caliph of Bagdad. 

Its interior was cluttered up with innumerable burnt 
leather cushions, satin-faced pillows and crazy quilts, and the 
crazier the better. Flowing scarves, all a-glitter with tin stars 
and crescents, were over everything. Altogether, these objets 
d'art had little difficulty in persuading a respectable old army 
cot that it was a devilish divan in a real Turkish harem. On 
gala occasions, jars of alleged Oriental incense were burned 
and the guests coughed or suffocated, according to their 
powers of resistance. 

But the effulgence of the Cozy Corner could not dim the 
lustrous brilliancy of the Rubber Plant. That always occupied 
the place of honor in the bay window of the "Best Room," 
used only for company and funerals. Its shiny green leaves 
were a patent of nobility and irrefutable evidence that in this 
house bode the prideful twins— Culture and Refinement. 

Gilded Rolling Pins also occupied high station in the dec- 
orative world. They intimated in a perfectly unostentatious 
manner that the family no longer made its own bread, but 
were financially able to endure the strain of purchasing 
ready-made loaves at the grocer's, and were prepared to live 
on the scale demanded by such affluence. 

Other interior decorations at that time were also bizarre. 
Piano legs were neatly tied with wide, baby blue sashes. The 

coal scuttles were painted with landscapes and floral designs. 
Whisk brooms had pink ribbon tied at the top and were 
placed in a receiver on the wall, also decorated. Lambrequins 
and chenille curtains were everywhere— on the mantelpiece, 
over the piano and on the backs of chairs, and wherever else a 
place could be had on which to hang them. But the piece de 
resistance, the bright particular star of the entire Victorian 
Renaissance, was undoubtedly the plaster cast replica of the 
Venus de Milo with an eight-day clock in her "tummy." 

We have greatly advanced in true culture since those days, 
decorative and otherwise. The old-time barber shop has now 
become the Tonsorial Parlor; the undertaker is now the 
Mortician; and the man who sold us a house and lot, is no 
longer a real estate man but a Realtor— a coined word from 
the Latin "real"— meaning "earth," and "tor" from the 
Spanish, meaning "bull." 

Another very charming novelty which made its appearance 
at this time was the Folding Bed. 

This ingenious piece of furniture was designed to camou- 
flage its real purpose by assuming, during the daytime, vari- 
ous alien shapes such as that of a wardrobe, desk or chiffonier. 
However, the only one who dwelt in a state of illusion was 
its owner. Everybody else knew it was a folding bed, but the 
etiquette of the times forbade discussion of the subject. It 
was perfectly obvious that the bookcase in the library of an 
overcrowded apartment was a folding bed. Likewise, that 
the large cheval glass in front of an apparent wardrobe con- 
cealed another of the genus, but these innocent fictions were 
taken as a matter of course. 

There was one type of folding bed, however, constructed 
with weights, that had a disconcerting habit, when its equi- 
librium was disturbed, of folding up like a jack-knife to the 
intense amazement of the occupants. For a stout gentleman 
to find himself suddenly awakened and standing on his head 
in bed was only a small inconvenience compared with the 

imminent danger of asphyxiation that the situation afforded. 
There were a few cases of premature burial recorded in this 
connection, and this type of bed began to be regarded with 
the suspicion that it combined the functions of an ancient 
Moloch with its inducements to repose. It consequently de- 
clined greatly in popularity and is now largely extinct. The 
folding bed, moreover, has fallen under the hygienic ban and 
its use must necessarily decline. It has, however, found a 
niche in the modern miniature flat where it still acts as a door 
or a wall in the daytime, and a haven of rest at night. Where 
it combines these essentials, I think it is charged for in the 
rent as an extra room. 

While the folding bed offered its diversions, it did not seri- 
ously compete with rummaging in garrets as an indoor sport, 
which, so far as New York is concerned, went out with the 
building of the "L" roads, and the passing of the gable roof in 
local domestic architecture. But its functions did not entirely 
cease then. All the early flats and apartment houses had "stor- 
age" rooms, both en suite and in the cellar next to the coals. 
Today "penthouses" occupy the erstwhile domain of the 
strange cat, discarded umbrellas and hoopskirts, and I trust 
that no realtor will be offended when I say that these high- 
priced sky parlors are just as hot in the summertime as any 
old-time attic, proving that the sun shines for all, in lowly cot 
or mansion grand. 

The old-time attic, moreover, had a fascination all its own. 
Now, I am not going into an idyllic reverie concerning grand- 
ma's wedding dress, or a poetic effusion on old samplers. It's 
out of my line. I can discourse learnedly on "Chestnut Bells," 
Congress gaiters, dickies, boiled shirts, reversible cuffs, chest 
protectors, liver pads, electric belts and other gaudy relics of 
President Grant's first administration, but I delicately but 
firmly assign the Empress Eugenie stuff to the bright young 
lady journalists who make the columns of our Daily Press 
such delightful compendiums of misinformation. It is so long 

since I buttoned up a dress at the back that I feel a certain 
technical ineptness in the discussion and an "inferiority com- 
plex" to M. Chanel that I would fain conceal. 

But the "Saratoga" trunk which every well-appointed gar- 
ret possessed, either singly or in quantity, deserves a place in 
memory's lumber room. It was about the size of a small bun- 
galow, with a curved top, which alone held the possible con- 
tents of a steamer trunk. I think the curved top was con- 
structed so as to prevent baggage masters from piling another 
trunk on top. I may be wrong in this impression but I know 
that my own vocabulary has been vastly enriched merely by 
standing around baggage cars while they were being loaded 
and listening to the manual laborers within recite pastoral 
poems as they sought to establish a Saratoga center of gravity. 
But revenge is sweet, and the sight of a Saratoga trunk flying, 
like a Kansas farmhouse in a tornado, out of a baggage car and 
crashing down on a railway platform, I have no doubt, was 
one of the compensations in the life of a baggage man. 

The trunk, itself, was remarkable for its longevity, and I 
have seen it in retirement from active service, standing amid 
cobwebs, almost audibly defiant, and ready for another trip 
on the People's Line to Saratoga or Richfield Springs, the 
Stonington Line to Newport or Narragansett, the New York 
& New England Railroad to the White Mountains, and other 
fabulous routes of transportation. Packing a Saratoga trunk 
was one of the extra-scholastic arts, like carving a duck, and I 
have no doubt that if its problems confronted us today there 
would be special departments in our universities established 
to grapple with them. 

In the old Saratoga trunk may still repose that venerable 
relic of Civil War days, the red plush Photograph Album, in- 
troduced originally for the specific purpose of preserving the 
tintypes of the lads who went forth to battle. They had a long 
life and were a prominent decorative feature of every parlor 
for many years. 








The Saratoga trunk also recalls to me that its heyday was 
in a period when the fashionables all sojourned in summer to 
"take the waters." After a hectic winter of twelve-course din- 
ners; of canvas-back duck, terrapin, Chambertin, Pommery 
sec, and rare "fruity" old port, a retirement to the "Spa" af- 
forded a grateful intestinal diversion. Everything from gout 
to fallen arches was supposed to yield to the "springs." The 
old family doctors knew what was wanted and prescribed ac- 
cordingly. If you lived on Fifth Avenue you were packed off 
to Carlsbad or Homburg or Saratoga. If you dwelt on a side 
street in less ornate style, the ticket read Richfield or Sharon 
Springs. Some old offenders got Lebanon Springs or Massena 
Springs for their sins— ancient spas redolent of Daniel Web- 
ster and Henry Clay— with some of the hotel accommodations 
of their day— old wooden caravansaries with enormous piazzas 
on which French windows opened from the parlors. Oh, those 
Brussels carpeted parlors. I can see the square rosewood piano, 
the steel engravings of Landseers's "Deer Stalking in the High- 
lands" and "Bringing Home the Buck"; the marble-topped 
table covered with the woolen tidy on which reposed an 
enormous gilt-edged Bible, fully illustrated with engravings 
from Genesis to Revelations, which nobody ever opened but 
children who looked at the pictures. Occasionally, the piano 
might have been heard agitated by a maiden lady of uncer- 
tain age (no one else ever touched that piano) and "Sylvan 
Echoes" By The Celebrated Composer of "Woodland Whis- 
pers" would steal out into the gloaming and adjacent regions. 
I can see the vast barrack-like dining-room to which the 
guests were summoned by a huge gong, which had remarkable 
qualities of attraction. I can see the darkey waiters with their 
elaborate flourishes of towel and napkin. I can see the huge 
platters of meat and the ridiculous little saucers of vegetables 
and side dishes arranged like a battery fronting the guest. I 
can see the bedroom with its black-walnut bed, its ditto wash- 
stand with the enormous water-pitcher and basin, its scented 

soap and thin towels, and the absurd bureau with the diminu- 
tive drawers with pendulous handles like bell pulls. I remem- 
ber the Saturday night hops, and hubby coming up from the 
station in the carry-all, in a white plug hat and an alpaca 
duster, bearing, besides his valise, the latest number of Frank 
Leslie's, Chimney Corner, or Demorest's Family Magazine to 
while away the hours between draughts from the therapeutic 
waters. There wasn't much going on at these resorts of the 
more or less decayed gentry; croquet and riding and driving 
enlivened the outdoors, but if it rained one might spend a 
thrilling afternoon looking through the stereopticon at 
"Views of the Centennial Exhibition" or "Scenes from 
Ausable Chasm." 

Along with the Saratoga trunk was the horsehair furniture. 
Who that has survived the Horsehair Era will ever forget its 
slipperiness or its upright hairs that suggested the fretful por- 

The austerities of the Horsehair Age were not entirely 
without mitigation. The well-known "woman's hand"— the 
one that smoothes the fevered pillow when pain and anguish 
rack the brow— was even here at work as it was years later 
spending a whole summer on a veranda hand-embroidering 
"drapes" to hang over the crayon portraits in red or blue 
plush frames of two sinister-looking relations hung in the 
parlor without, however, successfully obscuring those grim 
visages. I wonder how many matrimonial chances were blasted 
when young women ushered their swains into the best room 
and pointed out these counterfeit presentments as near rela- 
tions? That the girls of the '70s never suspected the devas- 
tating possibilities of these mural handicaps is one of the 
mysteries of my otherwise astute and sagacious understanding. 
Laura Jean Libby once wrote a story entitled When His Love 
Grew Cold and I am ready to affirm that it must have been 
based on a first sight of one of these crayon Rembrandts. That 
they were libels on worthy and otherwise inoffensive persons, 

who if given the chance, might turn out likeable acquaint- 
ances, hiding hearts of gold under rugged exteriors, did not 
avert the catastrophe. No one, viewing the crayons, would 
have given the originals credit for more than fifty per cent of 
the mentality of a congenital idiot; a girl had to possess con- 
siderable powers of fascination to entice the gaze of an anxious 
wooer from those brooding gargoyles over the mantelpiece, 
and it was a triumph indeed, if they were eventually neutral- 
ized by the sharp-shooting Cupid. 

But, as they used to say in polite circles in those days, re- 
tour aux montons, and I have to tell you of another phase of 
interior decoration, that was, if possible, perhaps a shade 
more inane than that hereinbefore mentioned. This was re- 
called to me recently by a book of designs showing the 
possible achievements of the bracket or fret-saw. I have no 
doubt that the gloom of the horsehair parlor placed this lethal 
instrument into thousands of hands that would otherwise 
have been commendably idle, for its ravages were among 
the outstanding cruelties of the time. This is the blurb on the 
book of designs, "Fret-Sawing has become an art of such won- 
derful popularity that the interest in it has been shared by 
both amateurs and professionals to an astonishing extent. 
Ladies and Young Folks find in it a fascinating recreation. 
and are making dozens of fancy articles at small cost to dec- 
orate their homes in a charming manner or to give as Holiday 
Presents to friends." (Italics mine.) All one needed was a saw, 
a thin piece of board and a certain degree of imbecility to 
turn out "Match Boxes, Ladies' Work Baskets, Easels, Paper 
Cutters, Calendar Frames, Pen Racks, Thermometer Stands, 
Fruit Baskets," and that vague but terrible miscellany known 
as "Fancy Work." 

The aptly named "fret "-saw contributed only partly to the 
litter that succeeding decades consigned to attic oblivion. 
There are distressing recollections of a wastebasket of silver 
perforated cardboard, handkerchief boxes, ditto; folding 

oLuaini &a/Ja, at c/tc^ aowk 465 

screens, ditto; in fact, an interminable assortment of card- 
board rubbish that always had to be folded up before it would 
go into the furnace door. But this was not the half of it, sir. 
There was also cone-work to be considered, articles made of 
pine-cones, fir-cones, beach-nuts, acorns, etc. These were fas- 
tened with glue to wood, cardboard, leather or anything that 
would hold an adhesive, and many ' 'chaste and elegant arti- 
cles" resulted. For instance, there was the Almanac-frame. "A 
frequent walk," according to a book of instruction in cone- 
work, "through the woods and forests, will bring all the mate- 
rials directly within easy reach of every lady who desires to 
construct such a frame." If you had an almanac-frame, then 
you might perpetrate a key-rack, or a hand-glass, or a maga- 
zine portfolio, or a lamp mat, or a lambrequin, or a hanging 
basket. Nature was lavish; but if you felt the need of more 
color, you might add fruit-pits— peach stones were very nice— 
and even coffee grounds might be worked up into "chaste 
and elegant" designs, especially on "cherry-colored glazed 
paper." A tasty etagere involved the use of juniper berries 
and chestnuts. "Many small things can be put in by means of 
glue; as for instance, an acorn here and there, a tiny oak- 
apple, the extreme joint of a cone, besides other things that 
will easily occur to the fair operator." "Very handsome boxes 
for envelopes, stereoscopic slides, etc. can be made by taste- 
fully covering old cigar-boxes, or empty boxes in which gen- 
tlemen's collars have been kept. In fact, the cones may be 
applied to the decoration of a great variety of articles, which 
would be otherwise useless, and perhaps meet the fate of 
household 'rubbish' generally." 

"Wall-pockets" were another manifestation of this craft, 
and an idea of the underlying mentality which produced them 
is found in another quotation from the genial tutor: "Prob- 
ably no one article of modern invention and ingenuity has 
afforded greater satisfaction than wall-pockets. It is certainly 
a great comfort to a tidy housekeeper to have all things in 

466 Jj^xwlnAund <J/um£s and o)a/iaiaaa <J MLrvkA 

her abode in a state of perfect neatness, hence these wall- 
pockets, and all their class of relations are blessings." These 
were adorned with colored pictures. "Even the fruit and flow- 
ers upon fruit cans, tastefully arranged, may be formed into 
many beautiful designs." What a field for art has been opened 
since the development of the canning industry. 

The framework of many wall-pockets was made of old 
hoopskirt springs, and it is a question in which capacity they 
were most absurdly employed. These "catch alls" began in 
the front hall and frolicked incontinently throughout the 
premises, and the result was a domestic filing system that de- 
lighted the efficiency expert of the day. The hall-pocket re- 
ceived gloves, mufflers, etc.; those in the library harbored 
letters, periodicals, newspapers, and on occasion cigar stumps 
and match-sticks. The bedroom contained an extraordinary 
accouterment of pockets, including a bed-pocket "as service- 
able as it is ornamental. It is provided with small pockets to 
contain handkerchief, flask and the like, and two hooks on 
which to hang a bunch of keys and watch." There were 
pockets for slippers, shoes, shoe brushes, whisk broom, soiled 
linen, etc. "These pockets are very stylish, hung upon each 
side of the bed for holding night clothes, necktie, collar, or 
other articles removed at night from the person"; while a 
lady's chamber demanded a hairpin case conjured from "a 
cluster of cornucopias, pinked around the edges and orna- 
mental with pictures to correspond with the other articles; 
bright ribbon bows on each, and all of them fastened on 
where fancy dictates, and attached as suspension loops." 

Then there was "A Set of Wall-Pockets for the Toilet," in- 
cluding a sponge-basket, lined with oilcloth "to which are 
attached six pieces cut in shape of oblong pentagons," and a 
battery of pockets for the kitchen, including an enormous 
sheath for an ironing board, flanked by repositories for a 
duster, scrubbing brush, string, iron holder and other house- 
keeping sundries. None of these take into account wall- 

pockets devoted to such purposes "as fancy dictates," and as 
they were all of the most perishable materials, they formed 
the most abominable outfit of dust-traps and vermin harbors 
in the history of civilization. It was an age of sentimental 
rusticity. Damsels pressed flowers and leaves in books, as 
mementoes of some fond tryst, which later found their way 
to the second-hand book dealers. "Specimens" were col- 
lected and there was a great knowledge of foliage in the land. 
Even printing was conspicuous for rustic characters. Look at 
your old magazine covers. Piazza and garden furniture was 
rustic, instead of enameled iron. From the Black Forest came 
shiploads of cuckoo clocks to give households a confused no- 
tion of time. (Did anyone ever see a cuckoo clock in order?) 
Rustic picture frames were universal. People wanted Nature 
with the bark on. Currier & Ives farm and sporting prints, 
marriage certificates, diplomas, resolutions of the United Or- 
der of Woodmen, or the Benevolent Association of Foresters 
and similar certificates and testimonials, were thus framed. 

Nor was the cone-working amateur excluded from exer- 
cising talents in more rugged woodwork, and our before- 
mentioned guide contains the following admirable paragraph: 

"There are two ways of considering a Norway spruce. One 
way is to stand off and admire its noble outline, as it rears 
itself, a pagoda of living green against the sky, with its story 
upon story of fringed branches, its beautiful long, pendant 
cones, and its delicate hue seeming dark because of the rich 
masses of foliage. The other way is to approach with a knife 
in one hand, the corners of an upheld apron, or the handle of 
a basket in the other, the head inclined a little on one side, 
and a resolute, pursed up, Tra going-to-cut expression on the 
face.' Alice and I often regard our Norway spruces in this last 
practical fashion, and when we do so it is because, in our 
mind's eye, we see something hanging there besides the beau- 
tiful long, brown cones. We see lovely easels and picture 
frames, and a host of pretty objects which will be just the 

thing for Christmas presents. So, as resolutely as the sculptor 
begins to chip from his marble the fragments that are hiding 
his imprisoned statue, we plunge into the tree, intent upon 
freeing our brackets, easels, and whatnots from the concealing 
embrace of its long sweeping branches." Here, again I ac- 
knowledge the italics. This, however, was only the prelude to 
a general assault on the Norway spruce, which eventually 
yielded rustic armchairs, garden tables, match safes, napkin 
rings, pincushion holders, reading stands and a perfect wilder- 
ness of other non-essentials. 

Perhaps the most characteristic form of rustic work was the 
motto-frame that enshrined the worsted-worked quotation 
over practically every rural mantelpiece in the land and even 
in the parlors of city dwellings. During our "aesthetic" period, 
these were relegated to the garrets or the second-hand dealers, 
but they have now become "Americana" and are highly prized 
as mural decorations in Cape Cod cottages in Queens County, 
Cotswold houses in Flatbush, and Tudor mansions in East 

There was a popular song which enumerated some of these 
righteous, though sometimes lugubrious, mottoes. I do not re- 
call it entirely, but the chorus was something like this: 

God Bless our Home, 

In God We Trust, 

Kind Words of Welcome to All, 

Love One Another, 

What is Home Without a Mother? 

Are the mottoes that are framed upon the wall. 

I should like to tell you more about this age of decorative 
innocence— or guilt— but I don't want to wax encyclopedic in 
the details of picture frames of beans and rice, or rice and 
barley, pincushions of pop corn, frames of putty or cat-tails, 
or even bundles of straw fastened with ribbons and glue; of 

oLualnt tJaAJa. aJL <J tevJ uo/iXi 469 

"table collections" of sea mosses; of "moss brackets" of "spray- 
work" and "spatter- work"; of grapevine mirror frames; of 
knickknacks composed of silver-leaf (saved from tobacco pack- 
ages) and plush. Sometimes a hardy relic appears in a "rum- 
mage shop" and is gazed at curiously by our sophisticates 
whose own modernistic eccentricities will, no doubt, some 
day, bring the smiles to the lips of their posterity, if any. 

Chapter VII 
c/lc^ %jQ/x)k c)enilm^fvtail anA Oinicizu 

Before we leave the home of our hospitable host, I would 
like to describe some other usages and customs common in 
that era that now differ greatly from our own. 

Every young lady then, owned an Autograph Album. This 
was generally in appearance like the red plush photograph 
album in the "best room." It had gilt edges with the loveliest 
robin's egg blue paper interspersed with salmon, gray, pink, 
buff, and a few other shades. It was the custom of her friends 
and acquaintances to indite verses, tender, facetious or ad- 
monitory in this treasury of mementoes. "Be good, sweet maid, 
and let who will be clever" was a favorite sentiment of a 
reprobate old uncle or cousin. Similar incongruities fell like 
pearls from the pens of spinster aunts. Gawky puppy-lovers 
wrote carefully studied verses taken from Gems from the 
Poets in flowing Spencerian hands. Every visitor was primed 
with a rhyme or a couplet in anticipation of the inevitable 
"Oh, Mr. Jinks, won't you write something in my book!" 
Whereupon you would dash off impromptu: 

You ask me to write something original 
But I don't know where to begin, 
For there's nothing original in me, 
Excepting original sin. 

or this: 

The inner side of every cloud 

Is bright and shining. 
Therefore turn your clouds about 
And always wear them inside out, 

Just to show the lining. 

cJleW aowk G)eniime*vtal and uUuwku \ 7i 

Perhaps you felt more ambitious than usual with the follow- 
ing result: 

In after years when you recall 
The days of pleasures past, 
And think of joyous hours and all 
Have flown away so fast. 
When some forgotten air you hear 
Brings back past scenes to thee 
And gently claims your listening ear- 
Keep one kind thought of me. 

Here, however, was the one great stand-by: 

In the tempest of life 
When you need an umbrella, 
May it be upheld 
By a handsome young fellow. 

A signature was a portentous thing in those days. A Gentle- 
man with an elegant set of Galway whiskers, a plush coat and 
cameo cuff buttons, was not inclined to execute his cognomen 
in any meager or cramped fashion. The name of "Alonzo B. 
Cheesecake" was written far into the night in violet ink on an 
azure blue page, to obtain the inimitable flourishes beloved 
of the "business college." 

The old autograph album is a tender memory, neverthe- 
less. We may look at some of the old verses differently today; 
but when they were fresh on the page they produced many a 
delightful thrill. 

Our pleasures in those days, as you have doubtless observed, 
were simple and inexpensive. We also generally provided as 
far as possible our own amusements. Chief among them, I 
would say, was the amateur elocutionist. She was usually a 
sweet girl graduate in a white dotted Swiss dress, with her 
golden hair hanging down her back. Her hands were inno- 
cently crossed in front. Outwardly she gave no intimation of 
the devastating power that lurked behind this guileless and 

alluring exterior. It was not until she began to shriek "Cur- 
few shall not ring tonight" that you began to suspect what 
was in store for you. That was generally followed by the 
"Face on the Barroom Floor." Then there was the "Bingen, 
Fair Bingen on the Rhine" or "The Shooting of Dan Mc- 
grew." But her crowning achievement was undoubtedly "The 
Charge of the Light Brigade." The whole room would be 
filled with the cries of the wounded and the groans of the 
dying. And when she finally admitted that the charge was a 
fizzle, we were all glad that some of the buddies muddled 
through, even although it was not-not-the-Six Hundred! 
Comic relief was furnished by our Pastor, a very thin person 
with extremely weak lungs, who always sang "Rocked in the 
Cradle of the Deep"! 

Strangely enough, the greatest sensation produced at this 
time by any performer, professional or otherwise, was made 
by an amateur elocutionist— Mrs. James Brown Potter. At a 
gathering of a noted hostess in Washington, attended by a 
glittering galaxy of world-famous personages, Mrs. Potter re- 
cited a poem called " 'Ostler Joe," written by George R. Sims, 
a distinguished performer in the lachrymose School of Poesy. 
The hero, 'Ostler Joe of "The Magpie," a small country 
tavern near dear old Lunnon, was evidently a prototype of 
the agriculturist so feelingly described by Mr. Markham in 
"The Man With a Hoe"; but he was probably a little higher 
in the social scale than the well-known Brother to the Ox. At 
all events, 'Ostler Joe apparently talked like a load of hay, 
and "fair Annie," his wife, in time became rather surfeited 
with the saintly atmosphere exhaled by the quadrupeds and 
bipeds of "The Magpie." And, of course, the inevitable vil- 
lain appears in the shape of the city swell and in the end 
Annie departs from the soul-saving protection of the sturdy 
yeoman of her native village and flees to the wicked metrop- 
olis. Some idea of the moving pathos which pulsated through 
the poem may be gained from the first verse. 

\ m u5*a>£tiduarui <Jioni& oral Q)aAxdaaa J /awwcA 

I stood at eve when the sun went down 
By a grave where a woman lies, 
Who lured men's souls to the shores of sin 
With the light of her wanton eyes. 
Who sang the song that the siren sung 
On the treacherous Lorelei Light, 
Whose face was as fair as a summer day 
And whose heart was as black as night. 

In the second verse the plot thickens. 

In the summer when the meadows 
Were aglow with blue and gold, 
Joe, the 'ostler of the Magpie, 
And fair Annie Smith were wed. 
Plump was Annie, plump and pretty, 
With a face as fair as snow. 
He was anything but handsome, 
Was The Magpie's 'ostler, Joe. 

Then Mrs. Potter went on to tell how Joe was rubbing down 
the 'osses when he was told that he was the father of a boy— 
"such a blue-eyed baby boy." Joe is so highly pleased that 
right then and there he gives his charges a double feed of 
clover, "Just in honor of his heir." 

There's no use going into the remainder of the harrowing 
details. You can easily imagine the rest— the elopement, the 
abandonment, and the final forgiveness and death. 

It was not a wonderful or even an unusual poem. It was, 
however, for those days, decidedly off color according to Vic- 
torian standards, and in consequence, Mrs. Potter suddenly 
found herself on the front page of every newspaper in the 
country. I do not now understand why this third-rate poem 
caused such a tremendous sensation, but it did. Society was 
rent asunder regarding its propriety. The Press was filled for 
weeks with letters of protest, and ministers denounced her 
from every pulpit. Meanwhile Mrs. Potter continued to give 
" 'Ostler Joe" whenever invited, and when she was scheduled 

c/ieW uosvk QetdinwrtlcuL and. OuruvkM \ 75 

to appear there were no declinations to that affair, you may be 

Her social prominence and her churchly connections had 
much to do with the excitement, I think. Her husband, Mr. 
James Brown Potter, was a prominent banker in New York 
and a kinsman of the famous Bishop Henry C. Potter, rector 
of Old Trinity, and head of the Episcopal Diocese in New 
York. She was therefore socially, as well as episcopally, a 
prominent figure in Society. Her husband and her own family 
were greatly shocked by the publicity of the affair and sought 
by every means possible to persuade Mrs. Potter to desist, but 
to no avail. 

The applause and the nation-wide notoriety evidently went 
to her head. At all events, she sailed abroad, leaving a little 
daughter behind her. She finally entered upon a stage career 
and toured the world with Kyrle Bellew, a well-known lead- 
ing man at that time. There was a great deal of unpleasant 
talk about this connection, and her husband secured a di- 
vorce. She was never again received by New York Society. 
The little girl she left behind is now Mrs. Fowler McCormick. 

Besides the parlor elocutionists, we had outdoor sports 
equally simple and inexpensive. The younger children found 
amusement in many games that now seem obsolete. A fa- 
vorite pastime that seems to belong in this category is rolling 
the hoop. I remember when every child had a hoop and there 
were various sizes, some a great deal taller than the owner. 
Most of these hoops were wooden, but some were of iron and 
were guided by what you would take for a poker in the days 
of open fire grates. These pokers were not only to speed the 
hoop, but were skillfully used in guiding it and also to bring 
it to a halt. Oh yes, rolling a hoop was a great sport at one 

Nor do I run across groups of children playing various 
games to the accompaniment of an itinerant organ grinder's 
music. One was: 







c/lcv2 <y<ydc eJ^iiiifnen^aJ! anA Uinicfcu \ 77 

Little Sally Waters 

Sitting in the Sun 

Crying and weeping for a nice young man. 

Rise, Sally, rise, wipe off your eyes, 

Turn to the East and turn to the West, 

Turn to the very one that you love best. 

This was played by a dozen or more girls who circled around 
one who sat in the center of the ring until the song said, 
"Rise, Sally, Rise." Whereupon she would rise and finally 
choose one of her companions as the one "She loved best," 
who would thereupon take her place in the ring. 

Another equally popular game was entitled "Jenny o' 
Shea" and involved quite a little acting. One girl sat in a 
corner and a dozen or less other little girls, all holding hands, 
would advance and retreat, singing meanwhile: 

I came to see Miss Jenny O'Shea, 
Miss Jenny O'Shea, Miss Jenny O'Shea, 
I came to see Miss Jenny O'Shea 
And how is she today? 

The first verse elicited the information that Miss O'Shea was 
not very well, whereupon the group fell back, singing: 

I'm very sorry to hear it, to hear it, to hear it, 
I'm very sorry to hear it, 
I'll call another day. 

Miss O'Shea lingers through several stanzas until finally the 
sad news is communicated that Miss O'Shea is dead. All the 
children then burst into cries of mock grief, and then another 
girl is chosen while the same performance is repeated ad 
infinitum. Ada Rehan in Daly's Theatre gave a delightful 
rendition of this childhood rhyme in a play called The 
Country Girl, and it was easily among the best things she 
ever did. 

4 78 Jj/tcH^n4fonc Uiant& anA cJa/uttaaa U tonicA 

Nor do I think the boys today have the variety of sports 
they had in my day. All that boys play today are supervised 
games. Where do you see a boy today with bones or clappers, 
lashing a top or snapping the whip, always the first sign of 
spring in the old times? Boys of today go in for men's games. 
Kite flying that made Ben Franklin famous is almost obso- 
lete. Nowadays boys disdain the simple kite. Marbles have at- 
tained a position of semi-professionalism. I always had a 
pocket full of "realers," "glasses," "alleys," and "agates." 
There was a wonderful variety of tops from the penny whip 
tops just mentioned, to a rainbow- tinted beauty that had a 
mechanical arrangement to revolve it. Boys matched to see 
whose top would spin the longest. There were lots of indoor 
games, too, before people went to the movies, such as indoor 
croquet, parchesi and bagatelle. 

The famous "Pigs in Clover" game was an obsession of the 
late '80s. It concerned five little leaden pellets which were 
manipulated in a glass-covered round box. The object to be 
attained was to assemble the pellets in a cavity in the middle 
of the box. This philosophic occupation engaged the atten- 
tion of a large proportion of the population of the country to 
the exclusion of almost everything for many months. In my 
opinion, it did little else than supply corroborative evidence 
of the truth of Carlyle's assertion concerning the majority of 
England's population as did its enchanting predecessor, the 
13-14-15 puzzle. 

This 13-14-15 puzzle rivaled the present cross-word puzzle 
craze, but did not last so long. It involved some mathematical 
skill akin to the etymological requirements of today's cross- 
word puzzle, and presumably this is an inborn trait in all 
human nature. 

The return of the harmonica to popular favor reminds me 
that this was the favorite instrument of the street boy of the 
'80s in the creation of home-made melody. Then there was 
the accordion and the concertina, whose strains came floating 

on summer nights over backyard fences for the benefit of all 
and sundry. There were a great many more amateur musi- 
cians then than there are today. The mechanical musical de- 
vices of the days of Moody and Sankey were limited to the 

The "Ladies' Match" at sixty yards, 1870. 

hand-organ and the Swiss musical box. The modest perforated 
paper roll of the hand organ was fortunately highly developed 
and now shines forth in gorgeous cases in wealthy homes as 
player pianos and electric organs. 

The musical box existed in many degrees of pretentiousness 
—from the child's toy that looked like a caviar tin and played 

480 tJjnxv^fuXarvo, <Jsumt& and Qwiataaa J /ottvIcA 

"The Sweet Bye and Bye" as you turned its little handle, to 
the elaborate rosewood-cased mechanism, with chimes, that 
played a repertoire enumerated on an ornamental cardboard 
under the lid. The musical box sometimes assumed the shape 
of a cart or wagon that played a tune as the wheels turned. 
There were also a large number of musical toys on the 
market, such as zithers, zylophones, toy pianos, drums, trum- 
pets, etc. There was a great sale for whistles and they were 
found attached to riding whips, pop-guns, and even to baby 
corals. Today children seem to depend upon Municipal play- 
grounds for their amusements and even have teachers to show 
them how to play. That seems unnatural to me, but I suppose 
I just haven't kept abreast of the world's progress. 

Such things as Summer Camps for boys and girls not yet in 
their 'teens would not, I am sure, have been countenanced by 
their stern parents in these bygone days. As a matter of fact, 
vacations for the older people were but slowly issuing from 
their chrysalis. They were not yet universally obtainable. And 
those delightful juvenile organizations, the Boy Scouts and 
the Girl Scouts, were yet in the land o' dreams. 

There were no entirely clean-shaven faces in those days. 
Every man wore whiskers of some sort, and the taste in facial 
ornament was as diverse as the men themselves. Some wore 
Galway Sluggers, Mutton Chops, Burnsides, Dundrearies, 
Beavers, while others preferred Mustaches, Goatees, Imperi- 
als, etc. You never knew what kind of facial decoration you 
would see next. 

A very fair type of the popular styles the well dressed men 
wore, is exemplified in the portraits of our amiable friends, 
the Smith Bros. They are excellent illustrations of the modes 
then prevailing in the better informed classes of polite society 
and may be considered as periodically authentic. Other well- 
known characters like Peter Cooper and Horace Greeley can- 
not be regarded as representing any type except their own. 
Both these gentlemen no doubt possessed the fatal gift of 




beauty, but it was effectually concealed behind the semi- 
circle of fringe which enclosed their classic features and gave 
them the aspect of two sidewalk merchants seeking to sell you 
suspenders or lead pencils. 

There were no safety razors in those days and the general 
custom was to patronize the local barber twice a week. If you 
were a permanent customer, the barber provided you with a 
special mug with your name in shiny gilt letters on the out- 
side. Some went so far as to add a symbolic sign indicating the 
nature of your business or profession. Thus, if you were a 
plumber, you were shown mending a gas leak, with all your 
tools in front of you— not one forgotten! If you were a 
butcher, they would picture you with your hands on the 
counter gazing ecstatically at a large piece of meat on the 
scales. It was considered bad form to depict the butcher 
weighing his hands in with the meat. If you kept a saloon^ 
we had four on every corner in those days— a foaming bucket 
of suds would be on the reverse of your cup. This friendly 
atmosphere did much to create a spirit of camaraderie within 
our charmed circle. One brush, one towel and the same soap 
did for all. A great sensation was created when one Knight of 
the Razor advertised "A Clean Towel for Every Customer," 
which was declared financial suicide by his envious rivals. 
While waiting your turn, you perused such unrighteous lit- 
erature as the Police Gazette and the Day's Doings. Puck and 
Judge were also carried as a camouflage for the unregenerate 
pink sheets. A shave cost 10 cents and a hair cut 15 cents. No 
tips, and journeyman barbers worked seven days a week. 

The shop was usually run by a German, who invariably 
kept a canary, and was a sort of social center. Scented oils, 
heavy pomades, bear's grease and brilliantine were highly 
popular, and when you left that barber shop you not only had 
the latest neighborhood scandal but all the perfumes of 
Arabia as well. 

Outside the barber shop "Dot leedle Cherman Bant" was 

sure to perform. The streets were filled with itinerant musi- 
cians in those days— organ grinders, whistling coons, and an 
occasional solo singer of considerable power, if not merit. 

The German band would essay "Die Wacht Am Rhein/' 
but all you could hear would be the "oompah"— "oompah" of 
the big bass horn. When they gave the Star Spangled Banner 
or the Marseillaise, it was the same old oompah!— oompah! 

There was a pair of real genuine Southern darkies that 
I particularly remember. They whistled "Listen to the Mock- 
ing Bird" in a marvelous manner, and as an encore would 
give us "Old Black Joe," "Way Down Upon the Swanee 
Riffer," or "My Darling Nellie Gray" in a way that I would 
give a good deal to hear again. Whistling was quite the rage 
at that time. There was a Mrs. Shaw who gave Whistling re- 
citals at halls and private parties, who was deservedly popular. 
She afterwards went to London and had great success. All 
these itinerant musicians were eventually banished from the 
streets; and I am afraid, when the organ grinder departed, the 
little children of the poor lost a great source of pleasure. 
They used to gather round the smiling Italian, dancing and 
playing games. "Little Sally Waters" was one, "London- 
Bridge-is-Falling-Do-w-n" was another. And I think there was 
a suspicious moisture in the eye of the Mayor when a delega- 
tion of organ grinders came humbly before him to beg for 
exemption against the edict of banishment, which he had to 

Among our more intimate attire, the most significant arti- 
cle that I recall was "medicated" red flannel underwear. 
Promptly upon the approach of cold weather all we normal 
men were immediately encased in this health-possessing gar- 
ment by our solicitous helpmates. In some peculiar manner, 
a strange and unreasoning faith prevailed in the efficiency of 
this peculiar garment to prevent colds, asthma, fallen arches, 
dandruff and nearly all the other ails to which human flesh 
is heir. I cannot account for it. Nobody could. It was simply 

\ 8-V UJixwlnAtaruL U lords and Q>4xxcdaaa O WirJbb 

an accepted fact. And it was many years ere its therapeutic 
value was even questioned. 

Another curious remedial idea swept over the country in 
the '8os. It was known as the blue glass craze. Blue glass was 
suddenly endowed with supernatural powers. It would cure 
everything from suicide to a broken neck. Every house had to 

Sunday morning in Central Park— drinking mineral water. 

have one blue glass window and more if they could afford it. 
Many families built special piazzas composed almost wholly 
of blue glass. It seems to me that this was the forerunner of 
the present violet ray epidemic. There is hardly a doctor, esr 
pecially in nervous troubles, who will not prescribe violet ray 
treatment for whatever you have. And in my humble opinion 
the only difference between Blue Glass rays and Violet rays 
is that the former cost you comparatively nothing and the lat- 
ter will easily enable you to avoid an income tax for years, 
before you're all through with it; and the results are about 
the same. Even to this day you will occasionally see a blue 

c/tcv2 3qa)L c)«*iiwncnia£ and uinictzu 485 

glass window in some old house— a relic of this once universal 

The present practice of keeping a crease in one's trousers 
was very bad form in those days. It was the unfailing sign that 
you bought your clothes ready made. Almost everybody did, 
as a matter of fact, but we liked to make others believe that 
ours were "made to order," and this crease in your trousers 
showed that it was taken from a pile of others in the store. 
So the first thing you did was to carefully iron out all the tell- 
tale marks of the ready made. 

Styles in men's clothing made lightning-like changes. One 
season their trousers would be so tight that you put them on 
with a shoe horn and the next would be exactly the reverse- 
trie legs as wide as a flour sack. The Prince Albert was largely 
worn as formal evening dress— few swallow-tails were worn 
compared with today— and those mostly at balls or weddings. 

Headgear ran into many and diversified shapes. Derbies 
were at first so low crowned as to be almost flat. Then they 
shot up into a small-sized top hat. Straw hats were black and 
had very narrow brims. Even when yellow straws came in, 
there were no colored ribbons. High hats were made of gray 
felt and were very popular. Black silk "toppers" were rare 
and far between. Soft hats were called "slouch hats" and worn 
only while puttering around the house or fishing. 

Shirts had terribly hard and stiff bosoms and were invari- 
ably white. Colored shirts didn't appear till much later. The 
shirt opened in the back only. Later they opened both back 
and front. When fashion decreed that they should open at the 
front only, they were proudly announced as "Coat Shirts." 
Coats and vests were worn in summer as well as winter. The 
shirt waist for men created quite a sensation when it first ap- 
peared and met with no little hostility. Its great comfort in 
hot weather speedily established it in popular favor and it 
soon ceased to create any comment whatever. 

Curiously enough, the now well-known Tuxedo coat orig- 

inated at a small dance given by a Chowder Club on the lower 
East Side of New York and might have died an untimely 
death but for a lucky incident which brought it immortality. 
Social etiquette in the East Side is something as sacredly re- 
garded and as strictly enforced as in the purlieus of Park 
Avenue, and the ever-growing use of the formal dress coat 
with long tails for evening wear was a cause of grave concern 
to the East Side arbiters of fashion. They solved the problem 
by following a path marked out for them by previous experi- 
ence. The bosses wore cutaways at business, but the tails of 
these garments interfered with their other and more pressing 
duties of packing, driving and delivering goods, just as the 
swallow-tail did with their dancing. So they affected a short 
coat in place of the cutaway for business, and decided to do 
the same thing with the swallow-tail— cut off its tails like- 
wise. They thus unconsciously achieved a sartorial triumph 
never contemplated in the original plans. 

On the famous night when Carmencita danced at Mr. 
Lorillard's newly formed Tuxedo Country Club, one of the 
younger bloods wore one of these abbreviated swallow-tails in 
the hope that he would achieve that immortal fame that is his 
who sets a new style. He did. His name was George Griswold. 
No doubt, he had caught a glimpse of this coat in the neigh- 
borhood of Lorillard's New York office in Water Street. The 
name Tuxedo naturally attached itself to the garment and the 
language was enriched by a new word meaning dinner jacket, 
and Griswold was the man of the hour. 

Chapter VIII 

We were still in the age of horse-drawn cars and stages. It 
seems as if it were as long ago as the dark ages since Broad- 
way's famous stages ceased to run. Yet it was only in 1884 
that Jake Sharp obtained a franchise from the Board of Alder- 
men for a street car line on that populous thoroughfare, re- 
placing the picturesque vehicles that from time immemorial 
had given to Broadway an individuality and a Wild Western 
atmosphere that was seen on no other great thoroughfare in 
the country. 

In his laudable effort to improve our transportation and 
enhance his personal future at the same time, Mr. Sharp 
brought unspeakable anguish to many members of the Board 
of Aldermen, who had bestowed upon Mr. Sharp this ex- 
ceedingly valuable proof of their affection. Many of them, as 
a result, were impelled to go far from the madding crowd and 
seek a temporary sojourn in a charming residence owned by 
the State on the beautiful shores of the Hudson. Here, amid 
the beauties and glories of the lordly Highlands, many of 
these gentlemen were compelled to seek a respite from their 
harassing labors and enjoy a protracted period of meditation 
and introspection. Others, scorning the attractions of so near- 
by a resort, proceeded feverishly northward, finally taking up 
their abode with Our Lady of the Snows. Yet both places, 
notwithstanding their undoubted attractions, were consid- 
ered by our ultra-fastidious aldermen as too far from the 
main street in our village, and much wailing and gnashing 


488 <jj*GA&ti6lafhe, Ononis and Q)a%aiaaa OnAJUvLb 

of teeth followed their enforced removal. Mr. Hugh Grant, 
then a member of this august body, escaped every effort to 
connect him with this troublesome franchise, and New York 
rewarded him by making him Mayor and bestowing upon 
him the bewitching title of "Honest Hugh." 

When Jake Sharp's street car line opened, the old stages 
were sold as junk and dispersed throughout the country. It 
was passing strange to reflect that once these vehicles owned 
our streets and in a proud, defiant way ground timid pedes- 
trians under their wheels and bumped unoffending carriages 
and carts. Now they had become an object of curiosity and 
contempt to staring countrymen. 

No man except a New York stage driver knew how to drive 
a Broadway beauty. He alone knew how to shave a lamp post 
or to keep in front of a rival and take his pavement. Only 
years of experience enabled him to master the mute language 
of the strap and to know by the slightest pressure on his knee, 
whether the strap was pulled by a pretty girl who should be 
allowed to dismount close to the sidewalk, or by a fat man 
who should be dumped in the middle of the street where he 
could minister to the rational pleasure of the public. Di- 
vorced from its natural habitat, a stage loses its interest in 
life and feels degraded when a countryman climbs to the 
driver's seat, takes the reins in his incompetent hands and 
places the strap across his dull, unresponsive knee. In its exile, 
it no more resembles the stagecoach of Broadway than the 
Indians of Saratoga resemble the Indians of Cooper. In its 
new life, it has become the most depressing of all vehicles, 
and as it waits to convey passengers from a railway station to 
a hotel or to carry a Sunday School picnic to the grove, where 
rheumatism awaits the teacher and cholera morbus the chil- 
dren, we can not but mourn to think how the mighty are 

These stages were started and stopped by means of a strap 
attached to the door and connected with the driver's leg. A 

JlxvtAe Ca/td and tlvc UXuxniXc LxloJIc 489 

pull on this strap notified the leg that a passenger desired to 
enter or leave. Fare was deposited in a box in view of the 
driver. Change to the amount of $2.00 was also furnished by 
the driver, who further possessed colossal reluctance to re- 
turn the correct amount. An envelope supposed to contain 
this amount in small coins was passed to you by the driver 
through a small opening in the roof connecting with the 
driver. The opening automatically closed with the passage of 
the money. Through a small window you could see the back 
of the driver's legs, but that was all. As a short-change artist, 
the Broadway stage driver had no peer, and he had this addi- 
tional advantage— it was difficult to discuss finance with 
merely a pair of unresponsive legs. The irate changee amused 
the passengers, however, which the driver knew was his only 
function, and he paid no further attention to him. 

A flock of these buses, careening up Broadway from one 
side to the other, presented an animated scene. They swayed 
wildly and gloriously in a mad race with their rivals. Ever 
and anon, one soul more adventurous than another, would 
essay the perilous feat of cutting a rival out of a fare. This 
was accomplished by a sudden spurt, putting one stage ahead 
of the other to enable bus No. 2 to swing to the curb just 
in front of No. 1 where the passenger awaited, and carry him 
off in triumph. A terrific volley of profanity would follow a 
successful sortie of this nature, followed not infrequently by 
a savage attack with the whip when the two coaches were 
abreast. This playful performance always made an irresistible 
appeal to the spectators on the sidewalk and was greeted with 
uproarious applause by the impromptu audience. Small boys, 
who had a weakness for sitting with the driver, who appre- 
ciated this failing and also invariably relieved the boy of the 
annoyance of putting his fare in the box, were sometimes the 
innocent victims of these conflicts and their discomfiture 
added greatly to the already enjoyable performance from the 
sidewalk point of view. 










JlxvtAe vM/t& and iHe (juLjurfia l^aMa 494 

Years afterward, when they had already become a legend, 
these old stages were still to be met with here and there in 
obscure hamlets, bearing the legend ''Broadway and Wall 
Street," "Madison Avenue and Broadway," etc., but they were 
shabby and demoralized. Their paint was old and worn, and 
their varnish had lost its luster. Some of the famous paint- 
ings which adorned their panels, "Wm. H. Vanderbilt driv- 
ing Aldine and Early Rose," "Robert E. Bonner, speeding 
Dexter," and other interesting bits, were still carefully treas- 
ured, but not because they were painted by Will Low, Elihu 
Vedder, E. H. Blashfield, and other artists who were after- 
wards to climb the ladder of fame, but because they would 
not come off. 

And so the old Broadway stage which originated in the 
West and was for so many years the City's pride and boast, 
eventually returned to the land of the setting sun, there to 
disappear and never again be seen in New York. 

Horse-drawn street cars had now clearly outlived their use- 
fulness; but for lack of satisfactory substitute, they continued 
to function, though it was plainly inadequate. The service 
was abominable, but no more abominable than the shameful 
overcrowding of the subway today. 

Some lines maintained a service known as "bob-tail cars," 
a primitive form of one-man control, now once more in favor 
among the economists of our traction systems. These were 
half-portion cars without conductors, the drivers of which 
were provided by the company with small change in en- 
velopes to expedite the collection of fares, which were de- 
posited by the passenger in an illuminated box behind the 
busy driver of the decrepit vehicle. There were many heated 
disputes regarding the performance or non-performance of 
this essential ceremony. There is a case on record in which a 
young man, claiming to have been "short changed," pro- 
ceeded to collect the deficiency from incoming passengers, to 
the intense mortification of the driver who summoned a 

policeman. The abstruse legal problems involved were fi- 
nally argued in court, and the young man admonished, in 
the future, to seek his remedy in less summary proceedings. 

Of course, there were many instances, in which passengers, 
usually boys, would deliberately seek to defraud the company 
of its legitimate revenue. In these cases, the driver would call 
the attention of the dilatory passenger to the oversight, by 
rattling the fare box and tapping the window with a most 
urgent violence. It was not always possible for the driver to 
single out the delinquent, perhaps an active young man, who 
had boarded the car without the formality of bringing it to a 
stop. The period during which the fare box rang incessantly, 
was one of great embarrassment to the other passengers, each 
of whom stared fixedly forward lest a sideward glance be in- 
terpreted as an accusation of his neighbor and a fistic en- 
counter result. 

An unrestrained and passionate desire for heat in these 
vehicles in winter was answered by a liberal allowance of 
straw. By some occult form of reasoning, this commodity was 
believed to possess this desirable property, and every car was 
equipped with a bale or two, loosely spread upon the floor. 
On wet days, the virtue of straw was further enhanced by the 
addition of mud. The combination of wet straw and wet mud 
was supposed to answer every aesthetic demand of the day, 
and was accounted an unquestioned luxury by a simple and 
confiding public. It certainly had its advantages from an eco- 
nomic standpoint, as the straw was subsequently a prominent 
item in the menu of the stables. 

Lighting was furnished by means of dismal, violent-smell- 
ing oil lamps, one at each end of the car, and a resplendent 
central fixture, generally in a condition of smoke and dis- 
repair. There was a good deal of camaraderie among the 
heterogeneous, long-riding passengers, especially when com- 
posed of mellow Irishmen and complacent Germans, warmed 
by unrestricted alcohol, and an occasional Chinaman or two 

\ 9*t *Jjsia\&tv6tatve, UianiA and. Q)aAoiaoLa <J rwutvLb. 

as universal butts. Although the comic papers drew pictures 
showing a youth of twenty boarding a Harlem car to emerge 
at the terminal an old man with a white beard almost touch- 
ing the ground, the trip was no joke at all. 

The city was still full of many precipitous hills on the way 
uptown, so at each of these ascensions were stationed "hill 
horses"— an extra team to assist in dragging the overloaded 
cars up the steep incline. When the East River section was 
still a favorite residence section among the well-to-do, the 
Third Avenue line ran a special "drawing-room" car to meet 
the fastidious demands of its patrons. An extra fare of 10 
cents was charged for this exclusive accommodation and it 
succeeded in keeping out most of the proletariat, which was 
its main object. The late Stuyvesant Fish told me the road 
had no right to charge over 5 cents, and every once in a while 
some well-informed laborer would insist on riding in this 
special car, carrying his hod and shovel with him, and refus- 
ing to pay more than a nickel. He always won out. The com- 
pany didn't want any test cases. 

The Fourth Avenue line charged a 6 cent fare— the only 
line which enjoyed this patrician privilege. It is quite im- 
possible to describe the hauteur, the superciliousness with 
which the conductors and drivers of this line looked upon 
the common herd who drove 5 cent cars. They acquired an 
air of exclusiveness, laboriously absorbed by close observation 
of the manners and customs of their aristocratic patrons; and 
their social aspirations outside of business hours were closely 
modeled upon those of the haut ton. It was wonderful what 
a difference one cent made. 

Matters had now reached a stage where the city had to do 
something. Street cars had had their day. They could no 
longer provide the service the growing city needed, and at 
last steps were taken to consider some alternatives. 

When the problem of rapid transit was at last approached 
seriously by the first Rapid Transit Commission, appointed 

Jlxvt^e Lxi/td oftd Uva. \JuLardic. Cofelc 495 

by Mayor Wickham, various methods were discussed. About 
the only thing the Commission could decide upon definitely, 
was that "underground bores were out of the question!" 
They generally favored the elevated plans, which were finally 

To the credit of this first Rapid Transit Commission be 
it said, that within one year of its appointment, it had ordered 
the Greenwich Street line extended up Ninth Avenue to 
Harlem and also commenced the Third and Sixth Avenue 
lines. The Commission promised to provide cars enough to 
carry fifteen thousand passengers daily! They were apparently 
wildly enthusiastic, as this was supposed to be far in excess 
of any possible requirement and was hailed with delight by 
the community. Seats would be certain for everybody. 

When a company was finally organized to raise the neces- 
sary funds for the undertaking, the capital was $100,000, I 
think. The great objection raised by the subscribing public, 
was that no one would climb the stairs. Ultimately, however, 
enough reckless gamblers were found to purchase the bonds 
at a huge discount, in spite of this objection, and construc- 
tion was soon after successfully accomplished. At first we 
carried time-tables just as the commuter does now; the fare 
was originally established at 10 cents and the conductor went 
through the car collecting the fare from each individual pas- 
senger in a small tin box, as they now do in the Fifth Avenue 
buses. The engines were named after more or less prominent 
citizens well known in their day, but now wholly forgotten. 
This neighborly and friendly custom obtained for many 
years. As late as 1884, the light travel on Sundays induced the 
management to reduce the fare to 5 cents from 5:30 a.m. to 
midnight. This movement was hailed with great satisfaction 
by the public, the Tribune saying— "Even those who take the 
elevated road to reach places of worship, will rejoice that the 
reduction will enable them to increase their contributions 
when the plate is passed around." One pious woman re- 

496 Oonajjku&cmAi Ononis and, Qwiuiaqa O Him)k6 

marked, "If every five cents saved on Sundays through this 
action of the elevated were placed in the collection plate, the 
heaviest debts on church edifices would speedily be lifted." 

The competing surface lines, however, took a more cynical 
view of the situation, probably alarmed at the possible loss 
of business. Mr. W. B. Foshay, president of the Broadway line, 
cryptically remarked: "This reduction may take some of the 
passengers from the surface roads who could not afford to 
pay the ten-cent fare heretofore charged. That is the only 
way in which the income of the elevated roads will be in- 
creased by this action. Travel on Broadway on Sundays is, 
however, almost a blank. We might as well keep our horses 
in the stable on that day. In the winter it does not pay the 
elevated to run its trains on Sunday." Imagine! 

It was not, however, till the fare was reduced to 5 cents 
that the real importance of the elevated became apparent. 
This step was taken, however, only under compulsion. The 
Legislature decreed it, but Governor Cleveland vetoed the 
bill on purely legal grounds and came in for much public 
abuse in consequence. The roads, however, shortly after re- 
duced the fare voluntarily and the success of the new move 
exceeded all expectations. 

Pictures in Harper's Weekly in the '80s showing the new 
elevated trains running up Ninth Avenue above Sixty-sixth 
Street, also showed potato fields, cabbage patches, and lettuce 
growing lustily in the foreground on soil that was still being 
cultivated for food stuffs. It was very much like a scene in 
Holland. These families evidently came from very rural com- 
munities in foreign countries, for they still wore wooden 
shoes, wide petticoats, and old-fashioned sunbonnets. I have 
since seen just such people tilling the soil in many parts of 
Europe. But in the heart of a great city, it was something of 
a novelty. Their farms extended all the way to Harlem and 
for a long time enjoyed a lucrative market right at their own 
door before advancing population drove them from their 

quondam possessions. The entire city north of Forty-second 
Street to Yorkville on the East Side presented a similar aspect. 
On the West Side it was still more pastoral. 

When we kids took an Eighth Avenue car going north of 
Fifty-ninth Street, the conductors always said "Oh! Keep your 
nickel, Johnny. It's so good to have a little company up here, 
it's worth the money!" And no wonder! All around us was a 
wilderness of crags and bowlders. Little wooden shacks peeked 
out here and there from behind level spaces between the 
rocks. A long stepladder was needed to reach some of these 
eerie dwellings. Pigs and children abounded, but the chief 
inhabitants seemed to be goats. They were everywhere and 
appeared to thrive on a diet of old theater posters and tin 
cans. Sometimes they stood motionless for hours on a high 
promontory outlined against the sky. Their pensive melan- 
choly attitude suggested nothing so much as Macaulay's over- 
worked New Zealander gazing on the ruins of London. Their 
prophetic vision, perhaps, revealed to their eyes the rapid 
onslaught of the coming hordes that were to engulf and ob- 
literate the squalid yet romantic section known throughout 
the city as "Shanty Town," and its inhabitants as "Squatters." 

These poor people, mostly Irish immigrants, knew nothing 
of property rights. Richard Croker's father was one of them. 
They selected a corner preferably around a rock from some- 
one they knew. A shelter was built out of discarded packing 
boxes or the lumber refuse of a near-by building. An elbow 
of disused stove pipe did duty for a chimney. Bushmen or 
Indians lived no more primitively. 

So when the advance of population demanded the reclama- 
tion of these lands, many sanguinary conflicts occurred be- 
tween the officers of the law and these ignorant settlers. This 
was especially true of the section now embraced in Central 
Park. Regular sieges were not uncommon, and many a real 
Mexican revolution was conducted with less bloodshed and 
fewer fatalities. In the end, of course, law and order tri- 

umphed. The development of Central Park then proceeded 
peacefully, and the East Side section of this strange region 
extending north from Forty-second Street is now covered by 
the Grand Central Terminal, Park Avenue, Fifth Avenue 
above Fifty-ninth Street, the most valuable part of New York, 
from a real estate point of view, we have. And yet that was 
the locale of Shanty Town almost up to the '8os. 

The Greenwich Street elevated, known for many years as 
the Gilbert Elevated, was the first attempt at rapid transit and 
was built originally by Yonkers men to connect with the 
Hudson River depot at Thirtieth Street and thence to the 
pleasant village of Yonkers and other Hudson River towns. 
It was operated by cogwheels. The train started and stopped 
with the violence of a collision. On the trial trip, one of these 
sudden stops dislodged the false teeth of President Ackerman 
and nearly choked him. As the line did not go beyond Thir- 
tieth Street for many years, its success was debatable. Its real 
service began when it was taken over and extended north on 
Ninth Avenue to One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street, Har- 
lem. The Third and Sixth Avenue lines were, however, the 
ones that really gave New York its first genuine rapid transit 
and their success produced an immediate transmogrification 
of all uptown New York. 

As for roadway traffic, it was immense. Horse-drawn drays, 
carts, vans and wagons innumerable kept New York below 
Canal Street in a perpetual "traffic jam." The only visible 
police control was by the celebrated "Broadway Squad," mas- 
sive men and handsome, whose functions, however, appeared 
to be confined to the Chesterfieldian task of escorting timid 
ladies across the streets on rainy days. A positively dangerous 
commercial vehicle was the butcher's two-wheeled cart, 
driven by a reckless diabolic youth in a white apron at a 
highly dangerous speed. The best pavements the city could 
boast, even on Fifth Avenue, were of Belgian block, which, 
under the thousand iron tires moving on it, resounded with 

a mighty roar. These pavements, laid under contract with a 
magnanimous City Government, were soon a series of hills and 
hummocks, and in the neglected poorer quarters the Irish 
teamsters had no reason to feel homesick for the "Rocky Road 
to Dublin. ,, 

Everything else we had at this time in the way of trans- 
portation, was horse-drawn and moved on wheels. A serious 
disorder broke out among our equine friends at one time and 
it spread with amazing rapidity. It was called the epizootic 
and nearly every animal was affected. Presently the street cars 
ceased to function or were operated in frightfully reduced 
numbers. Then the work horses, wagon horses and delivery 
vehicles of all kind were affected. Transportation of people 
and goods practically ceased for a short period. The streets 
were soon filled with hand carts of all kinds resurrected from 
the time they were our favorite mode of conveyance, and were 
pushed along the streets by the bosses themselves or any one 
of their clerks. In an emergency of this kind, everybody lent 
a hand. Had the epidemic been of a violent nature, the conse- 
quences would have been quite serious. It was bad enough as 
it was. Fortunately, the illness proved rapidly curable and in 
little more than a month the situation become comfortable 
again. There were, of course, many deaths, but their loss was 
speedily made up. While the sickness lasted, however, it showed 
how dependent the commerce of New York was on its horse- 
flesh and brought additional support to Henry Bergh's newly 
formed Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 
This organization at first was not accepted seriously and, in 
fact, was the cause of much hostility on the part of teamsters, 
drivers and street car conductors. But Mr. Bergh persevered 
and soon gained respectful hearing for his really commenda- 
ble and much needed Society. The citizens of this community 
eventually became very proud of Mr. Bergh, and he left for 
himself a memory of great and abiding love for dumb animals 
for whom his great fortune and kindly heart enabled him to 

200 Jj^avJodtaae <J'vant6. and, Q)a/iaiaaa O MLn&6 

do much. No doubt, the horses had a hard time in those days. 
For the most part, they were sadly overworked and woefully 
underfed. There were no drinking troughs to speak of, and 
the sufferings of the poor animals in summer was really piti- 
ful. Sometimes as many as two hundred a day would perish in 
an extreme hot wave, especially if it lasted any length of 
time. Mr. Bergh provided many watering troughs, straw hats 
to prevent sunstroke and a special ambulance to remove a 
fallen horse to a place where he could be cared for. 

In this motor age we have completely lost sight of the tre- 
mendous part played in our daily lives in the past, by our 
four-footed friends, but it was of great importance and should 
not be forgotten. It is a delight and a pleasure to recall the 
courage and humanity of such a fine citizen as Henry Bergh 
proved to be. It is pleasant to know that in his case his work 
endures and that the splendid ideals he had have been trans- 
mitted and perpetuated by others. The Society for the Pre- 
vention of Cruelty to Animals is a rare monument and one of 
which any man might be proud. But the time had arrived 
when the reign of the horse was about to end. The city now 
spread over tremendous distances. It took an hour and a half 
to go to Harlem if no delays occurred. And they always did. 
There were incessant demands for something that really pro- 
vided rapid transit. So the city took up the subject and ap- 
pointed a committee to investigate the question. Meanwhile, 
the situation remained the same. 

But before the Elevated came, and for a year or so after- 
ward, the most important, because the speediest, long-distance 
communication between Harlem and downtown was un- 
doubtedly the Harlem boats. A line of beautiful white steam- 
ers, the Sylvan Stream, Sylvan Glen, Sylvan Dell and Sylvan 
Grove and others were a popular mode of travel between 
Harlem and downtown New York. They were speedy little 
craft and on pleasant mornings the sail down the East River 
was a delightful experience. The boats were crowded morn- 

ing and evening. They started at One Hundred and Thirtieth 
Street and landed at Peck Slip. At the uptown terminus, they 
connected with the Emily and the Tiger, which took you to 
points along the Harlem River, Fordham, Highbridge, Mor- 
ris Dock, Kingsbridge, Marble Hill, Fort George and Spuyten 
Duyvil. The combination made a delightful trip. On Sundays 
they took us to many shaded nooks and pleasant groves along 
the East River, and their final disappearance left a void 
which has never found a satisfactory substitute. Starin's Glen 
Island boats were also very popular. 

In the early '70s, there were two familiar figures that al- 
ways attracted attention as they strolled down Broadway. Both 
were patriarchs in years and in physical appearance; in fact, 
they might be chosen as models for what we mentally connote 
when this word is used. Both wore long flowing white beards 
covering the upper half of their bodies. They were recognized 
everywhere. One was Professor S. F. B. Morse, inventor of 
the telegraph, and the other was William Cullen Bryant, the 
poet and editor of the New York Evening Post. 

Professor Morse was one of the few inventors to live long 
enough to see his great invention fully developed and to enjoy 
the fruits of his own labor. This is much better than spending 
your life in a garret, sustained only by the thought that some 
day your ship will come in. The ship, however, has often met 
with so much adverse winds and stormy weather that her ar- 
rival is seriously delayed. And when it does put in an ap- 
pearance, it is greeted, not by the progenitor, but by his heirs 
and assigns. 

As he strode along the street, Professor Morse, despite his 
eighty-odd years, was a striking figure. He was greeted on all 
sides by the passing throngs and this kindly homage made the 
evening of his life very happy. He also lived to see his grateful 
citizens erect a statue of him in Central Park, as a birthday 
gift on his eighty-first anniversary. In the evening, he at- 
tended an immense birthday party in the old Academy of 

Music, then at Fourteenth Street near Third Avenue, ar- 
ranged by his fellow-citizens, and there received the last 
public testimonial held in his honor. The weight of increas- 
ing years that now showed plainly, warned his colleagues that 
any honor given to the Father of Telegraphy must not be long 
delayed. So that night after the speeches and the cutting of 
the cake, it was arranged that Professor Morse should, as part 
of the festivities, send a message of greeting to his telegraphic 
children the world over. This was really a farewell message 
as everybody knew, but nothing was said of that nature. So 
space on the table was cleared and a keyboard connected with 
stations at the uttermost ends of the earth was revealed. 
Amid an intense silence, Mr. Morse repeated the first mes- 
sage ever sent by telegraph, "What hath God wrought," fol- 
lowed by a simple "Good night" and "Good-bye!" Before 
many minutes had passed, responses began to come in from 
everywhere. Hong Kong, Yokohama, Melbourne, Calcutta, 
Paris, Berlin, London, Chicago, San Francisco, etc., etc. It 
was a dramatic moment and the spectators were thrilled as 
they had never been before. Not many weeks after this cele- 
bration, as had been dreaded, Professor Morse caught cold, 
which developed into pneumonia, and he passed away. 

So rapid, so marvelous was the development of the tele- 
graph and so venerable was the age at which the inventor 
died, that he was already a legendary figure to most of the 
world. It seemed unnatural that the force which devised this 
monumental instrument should be of human origin; it was 
so overwhelming in its vastness that it transcended ordinary 
comprehension. And so the story of his life and his great 
achievement printed in the daily papers, suggested nothing 
so much as a tale from the Arabian Nights. 

Mr. Morse lived on Twenty-second Street not far from 
Fifth Avenue. A bronze tablet marks the house. In addition 
to being a member of the faculty of the New York Uni- 
versity, then occupying a Gothic building which covered 

t/Lo^Ac Co/tA and tfve UXuxtvtic LmMal 203 

the east side of Washington Square, he was Professor of the 
Literature of the Arts of Design, to give him his full title. 
Besides being a scientist, he was also a painter of no mean 
repute, some portraits of his now adorning the collections of 
our Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

When he first came to New York, he found the artists and 
painters divided into camps and with no organization where 
they could meet and affiliate. He thereupon founded our 
present National Academy of Design, of which he was Presi- 
dent for many years. It is today a flourishing Society and has 
accomplished much practical work among art students in its 
more than a century of existence. As his absorption in teleg- 
raphy gradually increased, his active association with the 
Academy was perforce lessened; but his interest in it was 
maintained to the last. 

A very close friend of his and associate in business was 
Cyrus Field, who lived just a short distance from him on 
Gramercy Park. It was Field who successfully laid the Atlantic 
Cable, which at once multiplied the use of telegraphy a hun- 
dredfold. Mr. Field lived not far from the home of Peter 
Cooper, which was at No. 9 Lexington Avenue, and is there 
today. It was old Peter Cooper to whom we owe much of the 
success, if not all, of the cable crossing. Long after all the 
other original subscribers had given the project up as im- 
practical, he stood by his guns and continued to pour money 
into the "rat hole," as it had become known. When the cable 
was at last completed and the last mile laid, the final chapter 
in a series of disappointments occurred and it looked for a 
moment as if this was final. Within a few miles of shore at 
Newfoundland, the cable parted and both ends fell into the 
sea. His friend, Frank B. Allen, happened to be lunching 
with Mr. Cooper when news of the disaster reached him. 

What was needed was an immense quantity of new cable, 
fresh machinery to handle it and some sort of a vessel that 
could reach the scene of the accident without loss of time. 

Mr. Allen happened to have his handsome steam yacht off the 
Battery at the time, and kindly offered his host the use of it. 
No other steam-driven vessel was available along the coast, so 
Mr. Cooper gladly availed himself of his friend's kindness. In 
a few hours, the yacht was overhauled, loaded with heavy 
cables, wrenches, provisions and other paraphernalia. In a 
short time, she reached the scene of disaster, and with fresh 
courage the new crew started the exhausting labor of grap- 
pling for the lost cable, an almost hopeless undertaking and 
in fact deemed impossible. Nevertheless, the new equipment 
proved adequate for the work and to the great surprise of 
everybody, located the broken strands and brought them on 
deck. This was doubly valuable as it solved a most important 
problem, besides rescuing the cable. It provided a method to 
repair broken strands in the future and removed the final 
obstacle to the success of transatlantic telegraphing. In a few 
days, connection with the shore was made and Mr. Field was 
able to send the first successful cable message to England. 

Mr. Morse was able to enjoy the triumph of his friend's 
success at the great celebration held in New York on com- 
pletion of the under-sea connection. It was a tremendous oc- 
casion and New York had long processions, great dinners and 
a huge display of fireworks to mark the celebration. The 
whole of the City Hall was outlined in lamps and flags, and 
the display of pyrotechnics from this particular building was 
something on a scale so large and magnificent that it has 
never been duplicated. Huge Drummond lights— a calcium 
light presaging our electric light— were perched on the roofs 
of buildings facing the City Hall and cast their beams in that 
direction, illuminating the entire Park and City Hall Square. 

Mr. Cooper reaped the reward of his indomitable courage, 
his holdings in the company now known as the Western 
Union being very large and as a result of his pluck, very 
valuable. There is, no doubt, that if a less resolute man than 
Mr. Cooper had been in charge of the venture, the world 

t/Lo^Ac Ca/tA anA Uui \J[ilardic Caalc 205 

would have had to wait a good many years longer for the 
transatlantic cable after its breakdown at Faraday Bay. 

Mr. Field was also richly rewarded for his brilliant part in 
the enterprise. One of the emoluments that came, not in cash, 
but in a way that was equally satisfactory, was a warm and 
intimate friendship with Queen Victoria. This was reckoned 
by Mr. Field as even more valuable than the fortune he ac- 
quired. The two used to correspond in the most intimate and 
friendly fashion up almost to the day of the old Queen's 
death. It was a genuine friendship based on mutual liking 
and esteem. 

Just before he died, Cyrus erected a monument to Major 
Andre at the spot where he was executed. No doubt, he did 
this to show his liking for Queen Victoria. From his home in 
Dobbs Ferry, he could see the white column just across the 
river at Tappan Zee. The populace of this village, however, 
could not see it; so they quietly blew it to smithereens and it 
was never reerected. 

Peter Cooper, the last but by no means the least of this 
telegraphic trio, was probably the most popular citizen New 
York ever possessed. Up to the day of his death, he drove an 
old-fashioned buggy with a single horse. It was a good replica 
of an old country doctor's outfit. Although the traffic jam in 
New York's streets was always frightful, yet old Mr. Cooper 
possessed apparently a right of way. It was one of those volun- 
tary things that are so nice to see. Mr. Cooper asked nothing. 
He was willing to take his turn and wait with the rest when 
a jam occurred. But everyone made way for our first citizen 
—teamsters, hucksters, street cars, stages— all made way for old 
Peter Cooper. 

When he died, by common consent all wagons, teams, 
carts and other vehicles avoided the streets through which his 
cortege passed— the final tribute by which the drivers of New 
York could show their respect for the donor of Cooper 

206 JjAtoWfv&tafve Onxmib and G)a^atoaa J /umJcd 

Jay Gould was also a prominent figure in telegraph days. 
As president at one time of the Western Union, he had the 
honor of declining the bonds of Mr. Bell's Telephone Com- 
pany, which he might have had at a price very much below 
par. I once saw the letter declining the offer. It is now in the 
Historic Museum of the Telephone Company. If I remember 
rightly, $75,000 would have been sufficient to secure control 
of the telephone in New York. Mr. Gould preferred to drive 
them out of business by lawsuits of various natures, mostly 
based on supposititious grounds but extremely serious to a 
company that had difficulty in getting fifteen dollars' worth of 
printing on credit as was the case at that time. There was a 
sort of poetic justice in the outcome when the Telephone 
finally acquired the Western Union. 

Chapter IX 

c/llc/R c/LeW uo/vk (JUitt t) Kaposi Oo/vaeX 

The great Centennial had just passed into history when there 
passed from New York the greatest, the most picturesque 
figure in some respects that the country had yet produced— 
Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. The headlines that an- 
nounced his death contained also, as the most important fact 
in his career, the statement that he left a fortune of more 
than one hundred millions of dollars. That in itself was a 
prodigious achievement, considering that he started with 
nothing; but to my mind it was the least of his amazing ac- 
complishments. We owed to the Commodore, the freedom of 
the seas as it applied to us locally. The stupid patent laws of 
those early days quietly awarded to Messrs. Livingston and 
Fulton who perfected the steamboat, but never invented it, 
a complete monopoly of all the waters on the coast adjacent 
to the mainland and all the water inland so far as steam navi- 
gation was concerned. It was a well-nigh impossible task; for 
the Livingstons were not only well supplied with money, but 
practically owned the political world that controlled the law- 
making power of the country. Had the task fallen to a less 
resourceful man and a less determined fighter, the monopoly 
would, no doubt, have persisted many more years. But he was 
successful, and the freedom of the seas restored to all. He had 
practically a canal across the Isthmus of Panama before the 
Suez was built. But for his sudden conversion from water to 
rail transportation, no doubt his Nicaraguan Canal, oper- 
ated by steamers but forming almost an unbroken chain from 


208 UJnxiAQtUitanAL OkomXa and, o)wvaiaaa OmuuzA 

the Atlantic to the Pacific, would have been built by him as 
a natural development of the route he had chosen to accom- 
modate the gold rush to California in which he was the 

He made a present to the Government of a steamer that 

Burial of Cornelius Vanderbilt. 

cost him eight hundred thousand dollars during the Civil 
War and at a time when the value of such a gift could not 
well be reckoned in dollars and cents. For this he received the 
thanks of Congress. He chose as his second wife a charming 
Southern belle from Mobile who proved a marvelous com- 
panion for this marvelous man. And one result of this union 
was the gift by the Commodore of a university for higher 
education to the city of Nashville. This institution has ever 
since been the recipient of benefactions from the family and 
is a monument of which the Commodore might be justly 

His was a tempestuous, spectacular and intensely palpitat- 
ing career. He played a prodigious part in the opening of 
the West, but his activities were felt in every direction. He 
was a grim fighter and relentless. When he was double- 
crossed in a certain steamship deal, he realized that long and 
costly litigation would probably yield nothing, owing to 
other and wholly unrelated circumstances, and he quietly 
remarked that he would ruin the company if they did not 
see fit to treat him justly. Fancying themselves secure, they 
laughed— and in two years were sold out under the hammer. 

In appearance the Commodore looked like nothing so much 
as an English Archbishop. His impressive size, his silver-gray 
hair and the parochial white choker which he affected, made 
him a notable figure on the street. Few men were more 
widely known or more readily recognized. He was human 
and had faults. But take him all in all, he was a product of 
the times, an intense American and a credit to the city in 
which he was born and which owes to him much of its com- 
mercial supremacy today. 

Bouck White gives a very picturesque and colorful ac- 
count of frenzied finance as practiced in those days. The par- 
ticular incident he describes relates to the famous fight 
between Drew and Vanderbilt for control of the Erie, the Cen- 
tral's great rival. The Commodore decided the best way to 
kill the competition was to get control of the former, and he 
forthwith proceeded to buy at the market all the stock of- 
fered. When he had acquired more than a majority, accord- 
ing to the records, he was amazed to find that there was an 
unlimited supply of stock still being offered on the market. 
Uncle Drew had simply started a printing press in the back 
room of the offices of the Erie, then in Pike's old Open 
House at Twenty-third Street and Eighth Avenue. All day 
long new stock was coming off the press as fast as the ma- 
chine could print it. 

The rage of the Commodore knew no bounds. Before he 

could get an order to seize the outfit, Drew and his cronies 
decamped in a rowboat to Jersey City, out of the courts' 
jurisdiction. But they were besieged in Taylor's Hotel. They 
could not move for fear of kidnaping, for the Commodore 
had no hesitancy against taking the law into his own hands 
if he got a chance. Vanderbilt finally concluded to see what 
could be done by gentler methods and managed to get word 
to Daniel proposing a meeting. It was no easy matter, as Fisk 
and Gould had their eyes on Drew all the time. But he finally 
succeeded. The note read: "Drew: I am sick of the whole 
damned business. Come and see me. Vanderbilt." It is Drew 
speaking: "I decided to meet the Commodore's offer of 
peace, not that I felt any great love toward him. He had been 
calling me all sorts of names during my stay in Jersey— said 
I was no better than a batter puddin'; that I would turn tail 
on my partners any time he wanted me to; that I had no 
backbone and such-like. And whilst I was starting rumors 
about him through Wall Street in return for the mean things 
he was saying about me, he up and said to friends: 'This 
Erie war has taught me that it never pays to kick a skunk.' 
It hurt me considerable when these remarks came to my ears. 
I had half a mind to resent them. But I concluded to forgive 

"So when Sunday came I set out from the hotel, supposedly 
for an afternoon's walk. When I was out of sight, I changed 
my mind and skipped over to New York. I found Vanderbilt 
at his home in what used to be Potter's field, but was now 
called Washington Square. It was a fine big house; red brick 
with white trimmings. I was very cordial in my greetings to 
him. I thought it best to show a friendly spirit and act as 
though nothing had come between us. 'How do, Commo- 
dore,' said I, and grasped him by the hand, 'the sight of you 
is good for sore eyes.' 

" 'Come in,' said he. He was short as pie crust. I saw those 
convertible bonds were sticking in his gizzard. But I made up 

my mind to keep sweet anyhow, no matter how miffed he 
might be. 

" 'You've got a fine house here, Commodore/ I remarked 
sitting down in an easy chair and crossing my legs in a 
friendly sort of a way. 'It beats all creation how this city is 
a-growin'. Why, back in my Bull's Head days this here place 
where you've got your fine house used to be called Shinbone 
Alley, and the graves around here were thick as bugs on a 
pumpkin vine. These were great old days anyhow. I often 
think of the time when you and I were in the steamboat 
business together.' 

"But Van puckered up tighter than chokecherries. 'Now, 
see here,' said he, 'Let's don't get gushy. Of course, I'd like 
to be affectionate and chat with you about old times. No one 
knows how my bowels yearn after you, Drew; but as I under- 
stand it, this is a business interview, so if you'll wipe that 
tobacco juice off your chin and draw up here to the table, 
we'll talk.' So I wiped off my chin and drew up close to the 
table. We talked the thing over." 

Just then the door opened and in walked Jay Gould and 
Jim Fisk! 

It is a matter of regret that a short biography of the first 
William H. Vanderbilt has not been written. He was a color- 
ful figure, and some things connected with his career are 
worth preserving. 

Although he was born to great wealth, it was not in evi- 
dence during his early years. The Commodore, his father, 
appeared to have been a Spartan in his idea of what his chil- 
dren should be and decreed for his son William a life as 
nearly approaching drudgery as the conditions permitted. 
His early years were devoted to the burglarious attempt to 
wrest a living from the poverty-stricken soil of the family 
homestead on Staten Island. He accepted the situation with 
rare stoicism and set about to do the work at hand indus- 
triously and as intelligently as such an occupation demanded. 
The Commodore in the meantime extended his dominion 

in the railroad world, but no word of his immense achieve- 
ments in the empire of finance ever penetrated the bucolic 
fastnesses of New Dorp, S. I. One is tempted to believe that 
William H. was never fooled for a moment. It is not at all 
unlikely that he wisely concluded that he would play the 
same part his father did— keep mum. If he was destined to 
leave a large fortune to someone, he would naturally want 
to know that that someone was capable of looking after it 
properly. With this philosophic reflection, he continued to 
plant cabbages, hoe potatoes and feed insecticide to the 
numerous pests that seemed fired with an unholy ambition 
to render all his agricultural achievements null and void. 

Having established a reputation for doing small things 
well, he was soon called upon to enter a larger field and was 
thereupon installed as bookkeeper in the offices of the Fourth 
Avenue Street Railway, then a Vanderbilt property. Years of 
deadly dull grinding followed, but the Dutch grit ingrained 
in the boy and developed on the farm now stood him in 
good stead and he endured the monotony of bookkeeping 
with heroic fortitude. His reward was the growing confidence 
of the father in the son and his preliminary entrance into the 
railroad world. Scarcely had he mastered the technical de- 
tails of his new work than the Commodore died. The entire 
railroad business together with a huge fortune in cash was 
bequeathed to the ex-farmer from New Dorp, and William 
became the head of the family. While there is a law against 
entail in this country, its main provisions are easily circum- 
vented in the hands of lawyers entirely capable. And the 
Vanderbilt fortune is in bulk devised to the eldest son. The 
rest are amply provided for; but where the eldest son sits, 
there is the head of the table. 

True to his early training, Mr. Vanderbilt developed a 
great fondness for fine horseflesh— a trait which seems to 
have persisted in the family. There is a monument in Eng- 
land to the memory of the late Alfred G. Vanderbilt who 

drove a coach from London to Brighton. He was often seen 
on the road to Gabe Case's driving a spirited well-matched 
team, Aldine and Early Rose. But the apple of his eye was 
Maud S., a beautiful mare behind which Mr. Vanderbilt 
spent many happy hours. The plot of ground whereon the 
Biltmore now stands was at that time a vacant lot. It was in 
there that Maud S. had her private quarters and she could 
wander at will over the square block that was suitably en- 
closed with a substantial fence. From his offices in the rail- 
road building across the street, Mr. Vanderbilt's eye could 
always locate his equine pet. No one was permitted to ap- 
proach except by special permission, and the grooms saw to it 
that this rule was strictly enforced. Mr. Schoonmaker, the 
druggist who kept a store where the old Belmont stood, was 
one of the few who enjoyed the privilege of giving Maud S. 
a nice choice apple now and again. Mr. Schoonmaker was 
quite a character himself and lived to see nearly all his con- 
temporaries pass away. He was everybody's friend. 

When occasion moved him, Mr. Vanderbilt could express 
himself freely and forcibly. In one of the numerous attempts 
to destroy the Standard Oil Company as a grinding monop- 
oly, the testimony of Mr. Vanderbilt stands out as a specimen 
of clarity and understanding that few of the men at that trial 
seemed to comprehend. "They're too smart," he said, "you 
can't hold 'em down. I've tried it and they licked me every 

But the remark that occasioned widespread dismay in the 
offices of the New York Central, was his impassioned reply 
to a reporter on a train who ventured to remark that the 
rights of the public should be considered in a certain matter. 

"The public be damned!" roared Mr. Vanderbilt. 

It took repeated denials and many explanations to finally 
allay the indignation caused by this remark. An attempt was 
seriously considered by the Legislature to annul the charter 
of the railroad company and it was a long time ere the irrita- 

24-V Jj^avJfv&tafie xJimds and &a/iataaa u/um$z6 

tion subsided. To the end Mr. Vanderbilt insisted that he 
was misquoted. But for years, the cartoonists lampooned him 
with this phrase attached to a streamer on his coat tail. 

Among the other really interesting and internationally 
known citizens in New York at that time was, undoubtedly, 
our genial friend and showman extraordinary, the celebrated 
showman, P. T. Barnum. For a long time he resided at 437 
Fifth Avenue, but a series of reverses induced a less extrava- 
gant mode of living, and he retired to Bridgeport, which was 
a metropolis, to the little town of Bethel in which he was 
born. His life, however, was mainly spent in New York and 
the scenes of all his great triumphs were staged here. 

A remark attributed to him (but never truthfully) , which 
has to a great extent detracted from what was essentially a 
truly great character, morally as well as commercially, was 
to the effect that the public liked to be humbugged. In all 
his life, no man was ever fairer in his dealings with the pub- 
lic than Barnum. He sometimes resorted to bizarre and spec- 
tacular methods to attract attention to his business, but he 
never took a dollar from a patron that he did not give back 
a dollar and more in service. Even in his celebrated Cherry- 
colored Cat episode, the crowds that gathered to see this 
extraordinary freak of Nature saw so many other things at 
the same time that the patron received many times the value 
of the 25 cents he paid to see a cherry-colored cat which he 
probably could have seen in his own back yard for nothing. 
For Barnum's cherry-colored cat was black, and he was not 
to blame because you confidently expected to see a bright 
red one. True, his museum was so crowded that morning 
that he had to cut open a door in the rear. He posted signs 
all over the place reading "This Way to the Egress." The 
public, thinking this was another natural wonder, hastened 
toward the door indicated, and presently found themselves 
in the street, where it cost another quarter to re-enter. But 

they had seen more than their money's worth, and crowds 
were waiting to take their places. 

One of his shrewdest moves occurred in connection with a 
visit of some Indians on the way to see the Great Father. 
Barnum knew that if he approached them with an offer of 


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Mayor A. Oakey Hall having trouble with his 
Board of Aldermen. 

money to exhibit themselves, it would be indignantly re- 
jected. So he invited them to be his guests and after taking 
them around the city in open carriages, to attract as much of 
a crowd as he could, he drove them to see some of the inter- 
esting points about the town. This concluded, he would 
presently land them on the platform of his Museum, whither 
the crowd followed to the great gratification of the red man 

who fondly imagined that these immense crowds were gath- 
ered to do them homage. Mr. Barnum accompanied them to 
the stage and would make a few remarks concerning each 
one as he passed down the line. He named each Indian and 
gave a little sketch of his career and standing in the West. 
He described this incident to a friend once and seemed to 
hugely enjoy the recollection. 

"In exhibiting these Indian warriors on the stage, I ex- 
plained to the large audience the names and characteristics 
of each. When I came to Yellow Bear, I would pat him fa- 
miliarly upon the shoulder, which always caused him to look 
up at me with a pleasant smile while he softly stroked down 
my arm with his right hand. Knowing that he did not under- 
stand a word I said, I pretended to be complimenting him to 
the audience while I was really saying something like this: 

" 'This little Indian, ladies and gentlemen, is Yellow 
Bear, chief of the Kiowas. He has killed, no doubt, scores of 
settlers and is probably the meanest black-hearted rascal 
that lives in the Far West.' Here I would pat him on the 
shoulder and he supposing I was sounding his praises, would 
smile fawningly upon me and stroke my arm while I con- 
tinued. 'He ought to be hung to the nearest lamp post. If 
the bloodthirsty little villain understood what I was saying, 
he would kill me in a moment. But as he does not under- 
stand a word, I am perfectly safe in telling you that he is a 
lying, treacherous, thieving, murderous monster. He has tor- 
tured to death unprotected women, and killed their helpless 
little ones. He would gladly do the same to you if he thought 
he could escape punishment. This is but a faint description 
of Yellow Bear.' Here I gave him another affectionate pat on 
the head. He would rise and make a pleasant smile, bow to 
the audience as much as to say, 'This is quite true and I 
thank you very much.' " 

The sad part of the story is that the Indians eventually 
found out that they were being exhibited as Museum attrac- 

tions and not as noted personages, and that the crowds which 
they had fondly imagined had come to do them honor, were 
in reality paying customers— and their wrath knew no bounds. 
So Barnum made himself scarce during the remainder of 
their visit. Barnum subsequently developed a violent antipa- 
thy to the Far West, and never could be induced to travel in 
that direction even in the serenity of a Pullman. 

Toward the close of his life, he always rode in a carriage 
at the head of the parade, which walked through the streets 
to proclaim the arrival of the Circus Season. And in his play- 
house, Madison Square Garden, he did the same. As a matter 
of fact, he attracted more attention and gave his patrons 
more of a thrill by this action, than any of his most expensive 
features in the procession, and he realized that he was just 
as much a part of his Show as any other feature. He was im- 
mensely popular with all classes. 

Barnum's personal life was as clean and inspiring as the 
most devout could desire. He was many times the victim of 
adverse fate, but always came up smiling. It was nothing un- 
usual in his early career to find himself hopelessly involved 
financially. But always he would recuperate and pay all his 
old debts. Very few men enjoyed such an admirable character 
for honesty and enterprise. He lived to be eighty-six years of 
age, and evidently enjoyed every moment to the last. His 
biography, although vastly amusing, is nevertheless full of 
lessons in grit and could be read with profit by any young 
man anxious to get along and make something of his life in 
a spiritual, as well as a material sense. 

The man to whom was first given the title "Merchant 
Prince" and who richly deserved it, was Alexander Turney 
Stewart. He is the original Captain of Industry. Coming from 
Ireland as a boy, he taught school for a while; but having 
saved up a hundred dollars, he invested it in various items 
and promptly lost most of his capital. He learned a valuable 
lesson, however. Instead of buying what he thought people 

wanted, he began to ask people what they wanted. Then he 
sallied forth to get what he knew he could sell. His acquaint- 
ances in Ireland were among the linen drapers and small 
shops catering to women, and along their lines he opened a 
small place on Catherine Street, then the leading retail dis- 
trict in town. On Marion Street, Grand, and all around that 
neighborhood were some of the finest residences in town. 
Lord & Taylor and Brooks Bros, began in the same neigh- 

Stewart seemed to possess a second sight. He judged that 
Catherine Street had already seen its best days and he 
promptly moved to Broadway between Warren and Murray 
Streets. He prospered mightily and then bought Washington 
Hall, a huge building used for balls, public meetings, etc. It 
occupied the block front on Broadway between Chambers 
and Reade Streets. There he erected a marble building ex- 
tending back from Broadway almost 250 feet. It was the 
eighth wonder of the world in its day. With that rare intui- 
tion of his, he suddenly decided that uptown was the com- 
ing site for retail trade; and long before any other merchant 
read the handwriting on the wall, he leased a large plot of 
ground at a very low rental from Sailors' Snug Harbor cover- 
ing the block front on Broadway between Ninth and Tenth 
Streets and extending back to Fourth Avenue. Here he built 
an iron building of imposing dimensions and had the most 
convenient accommodations for "carriage trade" of any store 
in New York. That was on the Ninth Street side, away from 
Broadway traffic and just the place for skittish horses, of 
which there were many. He converted the downtown store 
into his wholesale department. 

Perhaps his annual sales in those days would not be im- 
pressive compared with some establishments today; but they 
were said to be in the neighborhood of thirty millions. That, 
of course, was a staggering sum. There was simply nothing 
to compare with it in his line. H. B. Claflin probably came 

nearest, but his business was in much cheaper goods and he 
had no retail store. Stewart dealt in only the finest merchan- 

Alexander T. Stewart in his retail store, i8j6. 

dise and his profits were enormous. He functioned also as a 
credit house. Almost all merchants from out of town dealt 
with Stewart, and when they opened a new account in an- 
other line they always gave Stewart as reference. Office boys 

from all the houses were constantly waiting in Stewart's for 
a "report" just as they did at Bradstreet's or Dun's. If his 
standing with Stewart was good, he was in line for credit 

Stewart was very slightly built and not much over five feet 
in height. Getting off a Fourth Avenue car one day, he 
grasped the arm of "Billy" Muldoon who happened to be 
in his way. Looking up he said, "Good gracious! Your arm 
is as big as my leg." He had a peculiar aversion to photo- 
graphs and none were ever taken of him. There are one or 
two pen and ink sketches and an oil painting in the Cham- 
ber of Commerce. His features to the general public were 
unknown when he moved from his store between Murray 
and Warren to the new marble palace; he transferred also 
old Mary, an apple woman who had sold apples in front of 
his store so long that no one remembered to the contrary. 
Mr. Stewart regarded her his rabbit's foot, his mascot; so 
when he opened the new Chambers Street edifice, she was 
there in all her glory at the entrance. 

He was very sensitive to noise. When he walked to the rear 
part of the building where the shipping was carried on, all 
activity ceased at once. When Mr. Stewart finished the busi- 
ness that brought him there, the racket would start as soon 
as the signal was given. But no one moved while he was 

He was extremely soft-spoken. He liked to dabble in real 
estate as a side line and owned the most important hotel in 
Saratoga— the Grand Union. This hotel was afterwards to 
prove a boomerang to his heirs. He also started to build a 
town on Long Island modeled somewhat after Dublin. He 
named the place Garden City and built a beautiful Cathe- 
dral there, besides many houses. He thought his employees 
would like to live there. He also built the first hotel for 
business women. He placed such onerous restrictions around 
the movements of his guests, particularly where their boy 

friends were concerned, that the idea proved a failure. It 
subsequently became known as the Park Avenue Hotel. It 
had a beautiful interior court with fountains and shrubbery 
and enjoyed a long and prosperous career as a commercial 
hostelry. Only a few years ago it was demolished to make 
room for an office building. It seems hardly fair to say that 
this scheme and the Garden City plan were failures. Mr. 
Stewart died before they were fully developed. How he 
would have met the situation we do not know, but his mar- 
velous genius for organization would have surmounted the 
obstacles one way or another as fast as they appeared. 

General Grant, recognizing his superb qualities as a finan- 
cier, offered him a Cabinet position as Secretary of the Treas- 
ury. His position as the largest importer made his acceptance 

He was one of the early patrons of the Metropolitan Mu- 
seum of Art. I do not now recall that he was distinguished 
for many public benefactions, though he sent a shipload of 
provisions to Ireland during the famine of '49. That some 
generous impulses were stirring within him there is no 
doubt. His working girls' home as the Park Avenue venture 
was called, is an evidence of that. But he put it off too long. 
When he finally did get around to it, he was an old man, and 
the few remaining years were not enough in which to do the 
work. He had few friends, the closest being his legal adviser, 
Judge Henry Hilton. There were rumors at the end that the 
once brilliant intellect had lost some of its power. When the 
will was opened, it was found that Judge Hilton came in for 
a large share of the estate. Mr. Stewart had only a few living 
relatives, no children, and a wife who was hardly known in 
society despite their great wealth. 

He was buried in the graveyard of old St. Mark's Church 
on the Bowery. A few weeks later a great sensation was raised 
when it was found that the body had been stolen. No trace of 
it was discovered for months, when finally a letter came 

222 Jj^aWttAtofvc JOtantd anA Q)wudaaa U ftMXvkb 

from the despoilers of the grave offering to return the body 
for $25,000. 

His house on Fifth Avenue at the corner of Thirty-fourth 
Street was set in the middle of a spacious plot on the site of 
"Sarsaparilla" Townsend's home. It was built of the finest 
white Carrara marble. Italian artists were imported to dec- 
orate the ceilings and the friezes. It was by all odds the 
showiest and costliest house in town at the time. The papers 
always respectfully referred to it as a Palace. A pathetic pic- 
ture was the utter helplessness of Mrs. Stewart left all alone 
in the big house, wholly unable to handle the great fortune 
left her. She had failed to grow with her talented spouse. It 
seemed to be an ill-fated corner. After his death, the house 
remained vacant for many years. It was finally taken over by 
the Manhattan Club, but the upkeep was enormous and 
nearly ruined the Club. So it was finally torn down and a 
beautiful banking house with half a dozen imposing Corin- 
thian columns forming the Avenue front erected in its place. 
These columns projected beyond the front stoop line when 
the edict went forth to widen Fifth Avenue, and they were 
shorn off. The banking house suddenly got into trouble, 
which was greatly aggravated by the suicide of its president. 
Examination of his effects showed the situation not nearly so 
bad as anticipated. In a short while the securities left by the 
president greatly appreciated in value, wiping out all liabil- 
ities. The suicide act turned out to have been superfluous. 

Today the memory of this greatest of Merchant Princes 
of the Nineteenth Century is preserved merely by the signs 
on Wanamaker's Stores, stating that this was "formerly A. T. 
Stewart & Co." They cannot say "successors," as Hilton, 
Hughes & Co. were the successors. But they made such a 
failure of the business that Mr. Wanamaker had to start from 
the ground up, with little of Stewart's prestige to help him. 
It's merely sentiment that links the two distinguished firms 
together. Hilton, Hughes & Co., however, did one thing 

SlUfH^^ISlMQlatotS^d 223 

which will keep their memory green. They imported the first 
"Horseless Carriage," as they were called in those days. It 
was the first automobile delivery wagon ever to be used for 
commercial purpose. It was smart-looking, about the size of 
a roadster today, with a rather high body. Crowds flocked 
around it when it came to a stand-still and small boys kept 
pace with it in motion till they were exhausted. 

The Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga, of which I have al- 
ready spoken, became the property of Judge Hilton as part 
of the assets of the Stewart estate. The Judge declined to 
entertain any Jews at that caravansary and the fact was widely 
published. For once the Jews were in a position to retaliate. 
They were tremendous factors in the retail dry goods busi- 
ness, and few of them but traded with Stewart. Almost to 
a man they abandoned Hilton, Hughes & Co. both in the 
retail and the wholesale departments. Such a defection meant 
ultimate ruin. The Judge managed to dispose of the business 
while there was still something left. Hilton went down in 
history as having accomplished in a few months what few 
men could have done in a lifetime— dissipated a fortune so 
colossal, so gigantic, that the achievement must be looked 
upon as something unearthly. It was a veritable miracle. It 
was the only monument he left. But in the vernacular of the 
street, it was a corker. 

Of the merchants contemporaneous with Stewart in the 
dry goods trade, very few survived. Some of the old firm 
names are still in existence, but the present proprietors are 
not descendants of the originals nor in any way connected 
with them by family ties. Owen Winston, principal owner of 
Brooks Brothers, Stewart's old neighbor on Catherine Street, 
is descended from F. S. Winston who erected the Mutual 
Life Insurance Co.; Lord & Taylor is a corporation with 
none of the stock held by either the descendants of Lord or of 
Taylor. Jas. A. Hearn & Son and Arnold Constable started on 
Canal Street and might be called near-neighbors of Stew- 

art's. The Hearn family still control that old business, but 
the Weatherbees, Constables, Arnolds are all out of the pres- 
ent Arnold Constable firm. All the great dry goods jobbing 
firms that made the dry goods district a region by itself have 
disappeared. Dunham, Buckley & Co., Kane, Spring, Dale 
& Co., John F. Plummer & Co., Halstead, Haines & Co., 
and dozens of others were swept away by the change in 
methods of doing business whereby the jobber became super- 
fluous and was consequently annihilated. 

It was in 1870 that the Standard Oil Co. first came to New 
York. Their advertised capital of a million dollars made 
their advent of potential interest. The firms who enjoyed a 
rating of "G.Aa" in Bradstreet's were not numerous. The 
Company's first offices were in Pearl Street, running through 
to Water Street. The building stood just as it was when I 
saw it recently, and I was shown the little corner room par- 
titioned off by cheap pine board scantling that served as John 
D.'s private office. 

The world waited many years for John D. Rockefeller and 
it will wait a good many more for his successor. We are so 
close to this gigantic figure that we do not realize his real 
height and breadth. The magic touch of distance is needed to 
bring out his true proportions. 

The late J. P. Morgan was another giant of a figure. I 
remember his telling me he was a descendant of Henry Mor- 
gan the pirate. "The main difference was," he said with just 
the faintest shadow of a smile, "that he was a buccaneer at 
sea while I have been a buccaneer on land." 

At the period of which I write, Mr. Rockefeller was re- 
garded with much less kindly feelings on the part of the 
public, than even Henry Morgan was, and that attitude per- 
sisted for many years. And in his contempt for hoi polloi he 
could give cards and spades to William H. Vanderbilt. A 
preacher out West leaped at once into fame by declining a 
gift from Mr. Rockefeller, declaring it to be "tainted money." 

SR^Ql^^ml^^^I^^yc^ 225 

This phrase crept into popular use and many were the jokes 
bandied back and forth regarding "tainted" money. 

No doubt these were tough times in the oil industry. 
The very nature of the business was not calculated to breed 
a crop of house cats. They were also descendants of a hardy 
lot. Up to the time of the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania, 
our entire supply of this valuable commodity was obtained 
from the denizens of the vasty deep. And one of the first men 
who joined Mr. Rockefeller was Josiah Macy, who at the 
time was still actively engaged in whale fishing at Nantucket. 
Not a few mementoes of the Macy family are preserved in 
the little Historical Museum on that Island, and Col. Chas. 
H. Taylor of the Boston Globe is the proud possessor of a 
log book in the handwriting of Wm. H. Macy, father of 
Josiah, who made a cruise around the world when he was 
fourteen years old. One of the entries speaks entertainingly 
of seeing some young ladies from England when they put in 
one day at Whampoo. The sight of so much female loveliness, 
after staring at the sea and sky for nearly two years, produced 
a profound impression upon the susceptible young sailor boy. 
This Macy became president of our first free school, from 
which has developed our present magnificent Public School 
System. The late V. Everit Macy of Westchester County is a 
grandson; W. Kingsland Macy and J. Noel Macy, both en- 
gaged in public service, the latter as a newspaper publisher, 
are of the same family. All are well known in New York. 

It is probable that Mr. Rockefeller's chief fame will rest 
upon his surpassing ability as an organizer in the business 
world, but in the spiritual world it will doubtless rest on his 
gigantic benefactions and his never-ending philanthropy. 
All figures in this connection are so stupendous as to be be- 
yond credibility. But the world no longer doubts. 

As a fighter John D. was a marvel. When his company was 
declared a monopoly in the State of Ohio and forbidden to 
do further business in that State, Mr. Rockefeller inquired 

226 Jj^avJ*v6tafve Kjtvot&A and Q>OAaiaaa J /auiicA 

of his associates what lawyer it was that had given the 
Standard such an unmerciful licking. "Frank B. Kellogg, 
Attorney General of Ohio," was the answer. "Well," said 
Mr. Rockefeller quietly, "so much good talent should not 
go unrecognized. Engage him as our chief counsel and appeal 

Ida M. Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, and a host of "muck- 
rakers," as they were called, made a fat living from maga- 
zine articles, newspaper columns, etc., for a while, abusing 
Mr. Rockefeller and nearly everybody else who had been 
unusually successful. Through it all, Mr. Rockefeller main- 
tained absolute silence. When the news reached him that 
Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis had fined the Company 
twenty-nine million dollars, Mr. Rockefeller was playing 
golf. "Well," he remarked gripping his club a little more 
firmly, "let him go get it." 

He never did. Merritt Starr, who died in Chicago only last 
year, saw to that. Judge Landis forsook the bench and took 
up baseball where his decisions can't be appealed. 

Since 1870 the capital of the Standard Oil Co. has been 
slightly increased. In response to Teddy Roosevelt's demand 
for the control and the punishment of malefactors of great 
wealth, the Standard Oil Company was ordered dissolved, the 
practical effect of which was to increase the wealth of this 
corporation to a sum beyond the dreams of avarice. 

Mr. Rockefeller is now very much in the position of a 
man walking on a railroad trestle who has just heard the 
whistle of an approaching express. It's hard work, hopping 
from tie to tie, but it must be done to escape the onrushing 
monster. His money piles up so fast that he has almost as 
many people engaged in spending the surplus as he has in 
making it, and they have hard work to keep ahead of the 

All in all, Mr. Rockefeller and his money have been a huge 
blessing instead of a curse. As one of America's products, he 

will ever remain unique. His last birthday spent at his home 
in Pocantico Hills, to reach which you must cross the bridge 
made famous by Washington Irving's Headless Horseman, 
brings him close to the century mark. He is not much of an 
eater, and they say you could board him for $5 a week and 
make money, even with milk at 31 cents a quart, which is 
his principal diet. Here's hoping he'll round out the century. 

About this time, in a rather depressing building on Pearl 
Street, another "crank" was working on an impossible idea. 
His name was Edison, and he was telling folks that he was 
going to provide them with a light that needed no matches, 
would have no odor or heat and could not be blown out. You 
can imagine the cordial encouragement given in those days 
to such a brainless idea as that. Presently, however, the office 
of the New York Times, then at the junction of Park Row, 
Nassau and Spruce Streets, and Morgan's banking house 
were equipped with the new-fangled light. To the surprise of 
everybody, the unexpected happened; the new illuminant 
was a great success and the incandescent light took its place 
among the inventions which were among the first to mark 
the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century in New York as 
the most fruitful period in the history of mankind. 

Mr. Edison was another of the fortunate few to enjoy the 
fruits of his labor while in the flesh. The Golden Jubilee of 
lighting was a celebration that will long be remembered by 
the present generation. Singularly enough, Mr. Edison was 
on record as condemning many developments in the electric 
field that other men proved practical. He had no use for 
electric power in the beginning and told his friend Sprague 
that he was wasting time trying to make street cars and eleva- 
tors function by electric power. Yet Sprague did both of these 
things. As for the phonograph, he never regarded the inven- 
tion seriously nor worth any particular effort as a means of 
entertainment or utility. It was to be a whim— a passing toy. 

He once engraved the Lord's Prayer on a dime for Ed- 

ward Bok of the Ladies' Home Journal. He invented many 
useful devices and was credited with a vast number with 
which he had nothing to do. There was not another instance 
in all history where a man had so whole-heartedly been 
given the sole credit for every invention in a great industry, 
regardless of the real inventor, as in Edison's case. Yet I think 
he did not do this himself; it had been forced upon him in a 
large measure by the bankers who knew that the name of 
Edison made paper certificates into real money and who 
promptly bought up every new invention and promptly put 
it in the hopper labeled "Edison." So it is not fair to charge 
him with this apparent injustice. Of the vast number of per- 
sons engaged in the electrical industry in this country, it 
would not be an exaggeration to say that less than one per 
cent ever heard of the name of Faraday. But another im- 
portant thing should go to his credit— and it is most impor- 
tant. It was Thomas who told Henry that he was on the 
right track with his idea of a gas combustion engine for an 
automobile, while the others were working on steam. 

Chapter X 

yJlA-O Itna JDituveA& anA c)peaJe«/tA 

After-dinner speaking was held in high esteem in those days. 
I have never been able to ascertain exactly why mankind has 
an urge for eloquence after eating. In my school, a young 
classmate of mine who was asked to define elocution said it 
was a thing that people were killed with in some States. He 
was not far wrong. A certain irascible toastmaster I knew 
was deeply chagrined at the lack of attention paid to one of 
his speakers and rapped loudly for order. The first admoni- 
tion not having the desired effect, he essayed a second effort; 
but this time the gavel flew off the handle, temporarily stun- 
ning the guest on whose head it had alighted. In a few mo- 
ments the member recovered his senses, evidently to his 
regret, as he called out loudly: "Hit me again. I can still hear 
him talking!" 

Some of these dinners had a peculiar and useful function 
to perform. They were used by those high in Government 
positions to sound out public opinion on important measures 
before putting them into effect. A member of the Cabinet 
would attend and his speech was understood to represent 
the Administration's attitude on a certain problem. If his 
speech was well received throughout the country, the White 
House would know how to proceed. If the comments were 
unmistakably hostile, the project would be deferred or modi- 
fied in the direction where the criticism was most severe. The 
annual dinner of the Chamber of Commerce was the scene 
of these governmental gestures, but sometimes the Union 


230 cJ«5^ov2fv4t<Mt€ Ononis and Q)a/iaiaaa J/atfucd 

League would be selected. It doubtless followed an estab- 
lished English custom, where a banquet at the Mansion 
House in London following the election of a new Lord 
Mayor was utilized by the British Government for a similar 

On two occasions, these public dinners were the scenes of 
most dramatic and tragic happenings. Secretary Windom in 
Garfield's Cabinet was in the midst of an absorbing state- 
ment regarding the financial policy of the Government, when 
he suddenly paused. A second later, he slumped forward 
and was, with difficulty, saved from falling to the floor. He 
expired in a few seconds from a heart attack induced, no 
doubt, by the excitement of the evening. 

Another similar case was that of Frederick A. Schermer- 
horn, a well-known old New Yorker, and president of the 
Union League Club. The occasion was a reception of officers, 
and men back from the War with Spain. While pointing to 
our National Emblem, in this instance of extraordinary size 
and beauty, behind the speaker's chair, he too was seen to 
falter and stop. He sank into his chair, his eyes still resting 
on Old Glory to which he had pointed, and thus looking 
up, he expired. 

In addition to these public dinners, oratory was also still 
in great popular favor with the proletariat. To a large ex- 
tent, huge mass meetings and indoor gatherings were our 
only method of reaching the electorate in large numbers. 
Newspapers reported only those speeches of national con- 
cern, and local issues were neglected. So there grew up a 
body known as "spell-binders," who were employed mainly 
by the great political parties to make stump speeches for 
them during election time. 

But it was at the semi-private dinners that oratory bloomed 
in most riotous profusion. St. Andrew's Day, St. George's 
Day, St. Patrick's Day and a dozen other noteworthy occa- 
sions were annually commemorated, but the New England 

UuL-O imA JjlnrveAA and G)peaJcc/i4 234 

contingent easily took the palm for post-prandial oratory. 
The Landing of Our Forefathers was always joyfully ob- 
served and the best speakers were usually found at their 
banquets. And their speeches were prepared without the 
priceless assistance afforded these days by textbooks in "How 
to Become a Public Speaker," "How to Address a Board of 
Directors," etc. 

The Pilgrims, these hardy perennials, were the object of 
much laudatory commendation every December, and the 
striking contrast between the lives of the heroes these din- 
ners celebrated, and their frost-bitten, poverty-stricken de- 
scendants, holding forth in such abject, pitiful surroundings 
as Delmonico's or Sherry's exhibited, was the subject of 
much ribald jest on the part of the speakers on those occa- 
sions. The speeches as a rule were of a high literary character, 
interspersed with much delicious humor. Mr. Beecher, Mr. 
Choate, Mr. Bromley, Mark Twain, George William Curtis, 
James M. Beck, Chauncey M. Depew, shone with special 
luster at these particular gatherings. All being New Eng- 
enders, their mock commiseration for the rest of the popu- 
lace who were denied the privilege of enjoying this par- 
ticular mark of Divine approbation, were classic in their 
conception, and outrageously humorous in their application. 
To this day the toast of Mr. Choate is still remembered. "I give 
you," he said, "The Pilgrim Mothers: they had to live with 
the Pilgrim Fathers." It was a long time ere the laughter 
provoked by this sally was forgotten. 

Mr. Beecher's speeches were marvels of learning, logic and 
humor. His presence at a banquet reconciled the diners to 
the tedious platitudes of the average speaker, generally half 
frightened to death by the imposing grandeur of his sur- 
roundings and painfully aware of the fact that he was making 
an ass of himself. He and Mr. Choate were generally reserved 
to the last. In this way the attendance was held together till 
the closing moments. 

232 tJj^avSfvdtan^ OnxydLb cvnA Q)wtaiaaa <J /UwvkA 

Mr. Beecher at one time referred to the fact that he was 
often credited with having written Uncle Tom's Cabin, but 
through brotherly love on his part had allowed his sister, 
Harriet Beecher Stowe, to get the credit for it. "I have denied 
this story for years," said the reverend doctor, "with no re- 
sult. Finally I wrote Norwood— (referring to a novel of his 
own which was a dismal failure) and that settled the ques- 
tion forever!" 

Another toast, "Connecticut's Part in the Business," was 
responded to by Mr. Isaac H. Bromley, a former editor of 
the Tribune and a native of the Nutmeg State. It was one of 
the most illuminating pages on the development of our coun- 
try that was ever transcribed. For once the people learned 
that Connecticut, and not Massachusetts, created the division 
between Church and State, and wrote a constitution for her- 
self in 1639, which for the first time proclaimed a govern- 
ment for the people, of the people, and by the people on this 
Continent. It is a matter of deep regret that many of these 
speeches— the result of profound research and careful study 
—should have been committed to the fugitive pages of a 
daily paper. 

Mark Twain delivered his celebrated New England 
weather speech at one of these dinners, which has ever since 
remained a classic on this bewildering subject. 

Frederick R. Coudert, one of New York's greatest lawyers 
in his day, spoke on "New York." Mr. Coudert was evi- 
dently a close and accurate student of history as he promptly 
proceeded to denude New England of all her hard-earned 
reputation and glory as the only section with any considerable 
decent record of pre-Revolutionary activities. When he fin- 
ished, the New Englanders were left gasping like their native 
cod. "It was New York who first emptied tea into the har- 
bor; not in a dramatic way disguised as Indians and with a 
moonlit night. No; our practical fathers manifested their ob- 
jection to the odious tea by quietly moving it into the stream 

\JxA-0 una JuuwuiAA anA C^peaJce/tA 233 

in the broad light of day, in the ordinary accoutrements of 
business men, and there dumped it into the harbor with as 
little ceremony or concealment as our own people of today 
dump other and more objectionable material into the same 
waters. (Laughter.) It will be some satisfaction to remem- 
ber, if our noble harbor is ever choked up by these repeated 
invasions, that the foundation was laid with expensive mate- 
rial and patriotic purpose." 

At about the same time Roscoe Conkling uttered a single 
sentence that was more illuminating than a whole volume, 
regarding the development of New York. He said: "In the 
lifetime of men still living, in three-quarters of this State, 
untrodden and trackless forests, unknown lakes and rivers 
and undiscovered fields and mines, were wrapt in solitudes 
where now temples of learning and temples of mammon, out- 
glitter each other in the splendor of a wondrous civiliza- 

At one of these New England dinners— a never- to-be 
forgotten occasion, Henry W. Grady, a totally unknown fig- 
ure in New York, came up from Atlanta, Ga., where he was 
editor of a famous Southern paper, The Constitution. Mr. 
Grady spoke on "The New South," thrilling and electrifying 
his audience as it had rarely been thrilled before. Next morn- 
ing his address appeared in all the papers, and created as 
much excitement and pleasure throughout the Nation as it 
had at the dinner. Mr. Grady enjoyed to the utmost the sen- 
sation of going to bed unknown and unsung, to find himself 
the next morning among the superlatively famous. To the 
profound sorrow of the entire Nation, Mr. Grady soon after 
passed away suddenly at the very threshold of life, and the 
South lost a friend she could ill afford to spare. He was still 
in his early thirties. 

Mr. Grady's oration was somewhat inspired by the re- 
marks made by Mr. Roscoe Conkling at another banquet, 

which was at once an invitation and an admonition to the 

"The South cannot sit in the ashes of a fire kindled by 
herself and not enfeeble every Northern State. The South 
cannot grope in the desolation of shattered institutions, 
without unbalancing the healthful forces of all the Nation. 
When she can see this and feel this and know that every 
patriot in the land longs for her resurrection, longs for the 
time when in all her borders the Constitution and laws and 
right and order and peace and common sense shall reign, 
then if she can rule her own spirit, her wealth will be our 
wealth, her welfare, our welfare." (Applause.) 

Memories of the Civil War were still acute, and the heroic 
survivors in that conflict who had gained distinction were 
vociferously greeted on their appearance at these dinners. 
An incident that always provoked great merriment was that 
concerning the Burgess of Gettysburg who, before that great 
battle was fought, and while the huge armies were maneuver- 
ing for position, formally notified the Commander of the 
Union forces, General Meade, and the Commander of the 
Confederate Army, General Robert E. Lee, that it was against 
the ordinances of the town to discharge firearms within the 
limits of the village. His warning went unheeded and the 
great Battle of Gettysburg passed into history. 

An old war horse that created immense enthusiasm when- 
ever he appeared, was General John A. Dix. When he was a 
guest at a banquet, he was always asked to respond to "Our 
Flag." The toastmaster started his introduction in the usual 
orthodox manner, but before ending, managed to make a 
gradual and impressive approach to the one big thought in 
his mind, the moment when Dix telegraphed his famous or- 
der regarding the flag that floated over the Federal buildings 
in New Orleans, and which the mob threatened to remove: 
"If any man attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot 
him on the spot." 

Uild- J ime. <JJifwe/iA oftd G)neoJc€^A 235 

The moment he reached that point a tremendous demon- 
stration ensued. Three cheers were instantly given for Gen- 
eral Dix. All present would rise, making the banquet hall 
ring with their thunderous applause. The band meanwhile 
would play the "Star-Spangled Banner." Nobody would sing 
it, but everybody would be having a perfectly gorgeous time. 
There were always lots of cheering and handclapping at all 
public dinners, but this "shoot him on the spot" toast in- 
variably got a reception that completely dwarfed everything 
else in that line. 

At all these great dinners, General Grant was almost always 
an honored guest. It is difficult for the present generation to 
understand the tremendous popularity of the great Union 
leader. He lived on Sixty-third Street and was easily the First 
Citizen of the land. Unfortunately, he was utterly unable to 
do a single thing in the way of public speaking, and might 
many times have passed unnoticed, were it not that the bands 
always played "Lo! the Conquering Hero Comes" every 
time he made his appearance. He was also said to be tone 
deaf as far as music was concerned. As a matter of fact, the 
only tune he ever heard anywhere was the one I have just 
mentioned; and as that was played by all manner of bands 
and by all kinds of instruments, it is no wonder that he never 
knew exactly what the musicians had in mind. 

Another great public favorite was General Sherman. He 
lived on Seventy-second Street and was an inveterate first 
nighter at the leading theaters. Wherever he appeared, the 
bands struck up "Marching Through Georgia," so he in time 
came to believe that bands knew only one tune, also. At all 
events, these two tunes came to mean that a moment later 
you would see either Sherman or Grant. New York was very 
fond of her eminent soldier-citizens and lost no opportunity 
of testifying her affection for them. 

General Sherman greatly enjoyed his life in New York. 
The public and private demonstrations in his honor, his de- 

236 UJia\$AUiiaixQ. tXtmttd anA &a/icdacLa O /owi£i 

light in the theater, the many banquets at which he spoke and 
where he was always warmly welcomed, and a thousand and 
one other pleasant incidents, made his stay here one of un- 
usual enjoyment. He kissed innumerable pretty girls and en- 
joyed it. He was a familiar figure in our uptown streets and 
was greeted affectionately by rich and poor alike on his daily 
constitutional. Sherman Square was named in his honor. He 
found much in New York to recompense him for the tribula- 
tions of his march from Atlanta to the Sea. When he was 
finally called to his fathers, a picturesque and likable figure 
passed from New York. His great antagonist at the end of his 
final Eastern Campaign, Joe Johnston, caught his death by 
standing with his hat off on a cold February day when Sher- 
man was being carried to his grave. 

The old-time public dinner was friendly and intimate. It 
bore no relation to the prodigious affairs today at which the 
speaker has a hook-up so that all the world and his wife may 
listen in. 

So at these dinners, the City of New York received unac- 
customed compliments. Our town was enthusiastically ma- 
ligned and excoriated three hundred and sixty-four days in 
the year by our neighbors; but on Forefathers' Day they were 
polite enough to reserve that one day on which to pat us on 
the back and tell us how really fine we were, after all. 

Such sentiments so transcended the abuse to which we 
were accustomed, and were so unusual in our experience, that 
we could not feel it in our hearts to complain. These fleeting 
moments, during which we basked in the comforting warmth 
of self-appreciation, were alas only too few. The ink was 
hardly dry on the paper which carried these encomiums, ere 
the habitual baiting began again. We have now happily 
grown so great that no one takes the trouble to revile us, 
and peace has been attained upon the ground that "New 
York is well enough to visit, but for all-the-year-around-living 

\JlA- U Lnui JuitwvenA. and c)peaJc€^uS 237 

give me Belgrauve-Manor-on-the-hill." And everyone is satis- 

Among the orators whose best work was not at these semi- 
public dinners but at great political conventions and on the 
stump for the candidates, Col. Robert G. Ingersoll probably 
ranked as high as any. It was he who bestowed upon Blaine 
the grandiloquent title of "The Plumed Knight— our Henry 
of Navarre." The effect of this broadside was to sweep the 
Cincinnati Convention off its feet for Blaine, probably be- 
cause the delegates had never heard of Henry and thought a 
Plumed Knight was a new brand of eatin' tobacco. 

Colonel Ingersoll was also an agnostic, something terrible 
in those days, and went up and down the county with a lec- 
ture entitled "The Mistakes of Moses," in which he poked 
merciless fun at everything sacred and holy to the average 
person. He managed to steer a rather safe course, however, 
by admitting that he did not believe that dead babies neces- 
sarily became kindling wood for Hell. Few persons found it 
difficult to agree with him on this point. His impromptu (?) 
speeches cost him many nights of travail and much burning 
of the midnight oil. He was extremely chary of extempora- 
neous speeches and was never known to make one in his 

He enjoyed an enormous reputation as a literary genius 
among his admirers, and the following specimen of his ac- 
complishments in this direction is worth perusal. It was a 
letter which he sent to a friend along with a bottle of whisky. 
This letter found wide circulation in the newspapers and 
magazines of the day and was hailed by Colonel Ingersoll's 
admirers as the very last word in eloquent and classical 
English. Lincoln's Gettysburg Speech, Portia's Plea for 
Mercy, and Mark Antony's oration over the bier of Caesar 
were considered mere Mother Goose rhymes compared to 
the overwhelming beauty of Bob's panegyric over a bottle of 
cheap moonshine. Ministers denounced it from the pulpit, 

238 UJia\&ri6iorui OijqmXa cunA Q)€itaiaaa O tumikb 

bewailing the fact that its seductive literary charm made it 
all the more devilish. As an excellent illustration of Nine- 
teenth Century literary tosh, it still occupies a high place 
in the affections of the old-time scrapbook. It is worth the 
space of reproduction as a curiosity in literature, if nothing 

My dear Friend: 

I send you some of the most wonderful whiskey that ever drove 
the skeleton from a feast of painted landscapes in the brain of 
man. It is the mingled soul of wheat and corn. In it you will 
find the sunshine and the shadow that chased each other over 
the billowy fields, the breath of June, the carol of the lark, the 
dews of night, the wealth of summer and autumn's rich content, 
all goldened with imprisoned light. Drink it and you will hear 
the voices of maidens singing the "Harvest Home," mingled 
with the laughter of children. Drink it and you will feel within 
your blood the starlit dawns, the dreamy tawny dusks of many 
perfect days. For forty years this liquid joy has been within the 
happy staves of oak, longing to touch the lips of man. 

R. G. Ingersoll 

He chose Sunday night as one of the chief evenings for his 
lectures and managed to secure quite an attendance. He 
charged a dollar admission, which was something unusual 
for a religious performance, but many people went. Much of 
his talk was apt to give the pious an impression that Colonel 
Ingersoll was a derelict himself, which was exactly the oppo- 
site of the truth. He was personally a fine man and neighbor 
of mine for many years, and I got to know him very well. 
Being an agnostic, however, put him without the pale in the 
good opinion of many persons. He died in Gramercy Park. 
A hotel now occupies the site of his home and a brass tablet 
on the wall of the hotel records his residence there. 

Along with the dinner and political oratory, I should also 
include pulpit oratory. With possibly a few exceptions, the 
art of pulpit oratory does not exist today as it did in the time 

UlA-u ime JUifuvo/iA and c)peaJc«^A 239 

of which I speak. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick and Dr. S. 
Parkes Cadman seem to be about the only prominent ex- 
ponents of this delightful art that come to my mind readily, 
though no doubt there are many others. 

Pulpit oratory arose to its highest pitch in Brooklyn, 
largely because it was the home of perhaps the greatest ora- 
tor this country has ever known— Henry Ward Beecher. 
Strangers could easily locate Plymouth Church by the crowds 
that flocked there from all directions. 

At the time of which I write, Brooklyn Heights was more 
accessible as a residential section for business men having 
their offices below Fulton Street, than uptown, and this was 
especially true of the financial district. So the Heights were 
in a very intimate sense a part of New York. It was a 
delightful residential section and boasted of many homes 
which for size and elegance had no counterpart as yet in 
New York. Its elevated position, its stately old trees, its beau- 
tiful outlook on the ever-moving marine panorama of the 
Bay, made it a charming region. Hundreds of New Yorkers 
now living on Park Avenue opposite Central Park, first saw 
the light of Heaven from Brooklyn Heights. It was not till 
the Elevated came, that uptown New York began to blossom 
out with handsome residences. When the East River Bridge, 
as it was called, was finally opened, the glory of the Heights 
departed forever. Easy and cheap communication with New 
York brought the common herd to Brooklyn in swarms and 
millions, and that part of old New York as we knew it, passed 
into oblivion. 

So the congregations of many Brooklyn churches were 
made up of New Yorkers. And in similar fashion Old Trinity 
was equally popular with many Brooklynites who liked to 
cross the river on Sunday mornings and hear Dr. Dix or 
Bishop Potter in the venerable edifice at the head of Wall 
Street. So when I speak of Brooklyn churches, I am really 
within the purlieus of New York. 

Mr. Beecher's church was of Puritan simplicity as to its 
furnishing, but excellently arranged for the huge crowds 
that made their appearance each Sunday. Every nook and 
cranny was occupied, and the aisles had extra folding chairs 
attached to the pews. The rear and the walls were lined with 
standees and even the steps leading to the pulpit were occu- 
pied. There were no loud-speakers in those days, so you can 
imagine the power of a voice that could make itself distinctly 
heard by everyone in that vast audience. The rustling of the 
leaves, as the congregation turned to find the place in the 
hymnbook, was as the sound of many waters, and the singing 
of "Abide With Me" or "Rock of Ages" was an experience 
never to be forgotten. As for the sermon itself, I cannot be- 
gin to describe it adequately. Ever and anon his voice would 
sink to a whisper and suddenly sound forth with a boom that 
shook the rafters. At the most unexpected moments, a bright 
shaft of wit would convulse his hearers, to be followed by a 
beautiful thought that would be remembered for weeks. 

As a political stump speaker he was matchless. The elec- 
tion of Grover Cleveland as President was in a great measure 
due to Beecher. His church, being stanchly Republican, 
was naturally much cast down, and resentment ran high. I 
was there the morning Mr. Beecher took cognizance of this 

"I am told," he began in that matchless voice of his, "I 
am told that my days of usefulness to Plymouth Church are 
over and that the income of the church is now greatly re- 
duced and you can no longer afford to keep me. Let us reduce 
the salary, but do not send me away. I came to you as a young 
man from Lawrenceburg, Indiana, now almost fifty years 
ago. I have been with you ever since. You and I have seen old 
Plymouth grow strong in the sight of the Lord, and in my 
old age you must not send me away. I came to you for fifteen 
hundred dollars a year and I can still live on that, but don't 
send me away from old Plymouth!" 

By this time the entire congregation was in tears and with 
every reference to his going away Beecher made no effort to 
conceal the grief that was his. The tears coursed down his 
venerable cheeks. It was a moving incident in the history of 
that old church and was long remembered in Brooklyn and 
one I shall never forget. 

What had happened was this. During the Cleveland-Blaine 
campaign, Cleveland was accused of grave moral misconduct. 
The charge was baseless, but Cleveland declined to enter 
into a discussion of the matter beyond a laconic telegram 
to a friend saying, "Tell the Truth." 

To those on the inside it was known that Mr. Cleveland 
immediately visited Mr. Beecher and at a secret meeting 
with his friends and Mr. Beecher's friends, explained the en- 
tire situation. For reasons equally satisfactory to Mr. Beecher 
and his friends, this explanation could not be made public. 
Beecher in characteristic fashion having thus been satisfied, 
promptly proceeded with his campaign regardless of criticism 
and knowing the real truth, Beecher became exasperated 
beyond measure at the repeated charges of immorality and 
in an unguarded moment thundered out, "If every man who 
had violated the seventh commandment was to vote for Cleve- 
land, he would be almost unanimously elected!" This un- 
fortunate remark was, of course, widely exploited by his op- 
ponents. No doubt, it was deeply regretted by Beecher a 
moment later. But the exigencies of a heated campaign, the 
anger caused by the unwarranted assumption of a guilt that 
never existed, were a severe strain on a high-strung tempera- 
ment such as Beecher's. However, the damage was done. It 
was suppressed as much as possible, but a remark like that 
could not be ignored, and it remained to plague Beecher for 
many a long year. This particular campaign was unusual for 
its personal vilification and abuse on the part of Blaine's 
partisans, nor were Cleveland's friends much less blamable. 
The entire country experienced a feeling of deep disgust and 

gave a great sigh of relief when it was over. It produced one 
good and lasting effect: every subsequent campaign was con- 
ducted on a much higher plane; and vileness and slander dis- 
appeared from political discussions. In this respect, it was a 
blessing in disguise. 

The Rev. Richard S. Storrs was another mighty force in the 
church life of that day. There were so many sacred edifices in 
Brooklyn at that time that she was called the City of 
Churches. The Reverend T. de Witt Talmage was also im- 
mensely popular. His pulpit manners were the absolute antith- 
esis of Beecher and Storrs, and much fun was poked at the 
curious antics he performed during his discourse. He also 
had immense congregations. The singing was led by a cornet- 
ist, but the organ played by Mr. George W. Morgan was 
famous all over the country. The list of divines in Brooklyn 
at that time was long and distinguished and many will recall 
Drs. Storrs, Behrends, Darlington, Eggleston, Wells, Gunni- 
son, Hall, and many others. 

The Rev. Dr. Chapin of the Universalist faith in New 
York enjoyed great popularity, as did Dr. Robert S. Collyer, 
known as the blacksmith minister— having graduated from 
that humble occupation to become head of the Church of 
the Redeemer at Thirty-fourth Street and Park Avenue, one 
of the most prominent churches in New York. The Rev. Dr. 
Charles H. Parkhurst of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian 
Church also attained eminence, but of a sizzling sensational 
kind. Vice and its attendants were rampant in the town. 
Disorderly resorts, gambling houses, policy and pool rooms 
flourished openly. Juries refused to punish criminals except 
on eyewitness testimony. Dr. Parkhurst and his friends, clev- 
erly disguised, made the rounds of numerous bawdy houses 
and Dr. Parkhurst related in unvarnished detail just what 
he had seen, where it occurred, gave names and addresses and 
supplied the Grand Jury with evidence which they could 
not ignore. The result of his disclosures was a special legis- 

\JxA-0 uno. Ju'vtwwAA anA G)peaJc€/tA 


lative committee to investigate every department of the 
City's activities, and Tammany as usual came in for excoria- 
tion. This Lexow Committee brought to light some strange 

Cardinal McCloskey, 1884. 

fish, and New York had its first taste of what was then a 
novelty— the underworld of the City. All the secrets of the 
criminal classes, their haunts and methods of living were laid 
bare before this Commission and it made sensational reading 

for many months. Dr. Parkhurst was a practical reformer and 
a distinguished example of the church militant. 

The Roman Catholic Church was prospering amazingly 
under the Archbishoprics of Farley and Hughes. The impor- 
tance of the Catholic Church, which less than seventy years 
before had only one church and two priests to minister to 
the spiritual needs of its followers, had now grown to enor- 
mous dimensions and in its magnificent Cathedral in Fifth 
Avenue owned the most costly and imposing church edifice 
in America. In a few years, the archbishops were exalted to 
Cardinals— Bishop Farley becoming the first Cardinal of the 
Holy Roman Catholic Church in New York. 

The Jews were also increasing in power and influence. 
They had always been an important factor in the religious 
life since the opening of the first place of public worship in 
William Street while New York was still New Amsterdam. 
Their principal synagogue was the Temple Emanu-El then 
on Fifth Avenue, corner Forty-third Street, though they had 
many smaller but vigorous branches all over the city. 

In addition to this church life, we had also a great re- 
ligious awakening all over the country, caused by the revival 
meetings of Moody and Sankey, a pair of evangelists who cre- 
ated great interest and excitement in religion. They traveled 
all over the country, spending a week in a city. Great crowds 
gathered everywhere to hear them, and thousands were 
turned away nightly. They always had the largest auditorium 
in town, usually the Armory, and it was packed to the doors. 
Mr. Moody was an earnest, forcible speaker, and his very 
earnestness made up for whatever else he lacked in pulpit 
attractiveness. It is said that he knew every word in the 
Bible and could give verse and chapter for every possible 

In Mr. Sankey, a singer of unusual sweetness, he had a 
valuable assistant. I have heard Mr. Sankey sing such a sim- 
ple hymn as "Where is My Wandering Boy Tonight?" in a 

UHd-tJ Ifnc JuivvrvQAA anA q)^qxx)Lqaa 2-^5 

manner that brought tears to the eyes of his listeners. By and 
by they collected their hymns into a volume, which was 
known as the Moody & Sankey Hymn Book. It contained 
such stand-bys as "Hold the Fort, for I am Coming," "Stand 
up for Jesus," "Ninety and Nine," "Pull for the Shore," and 
a hundred others that are familiar today to most of my 
readers. As a result of his work, Mr. Moody was able to estab- 
lish a school in Northfield, Massachusetts, for religious in- 

Always after a great war there is a spiritual awakening 
among the people and the consolations of religion are eagerly 
sought. Sometimes it is ten or a dozen years after the event. 
Moody and Sankey were the aftermath of our Civil War. 
Before that time, religious Camp Meetings sprang up all over 
the country in response to the same demand. Sing Sing on 
the Hudson, Sea Cliff on Long Island, Ocean Grove in New 
Jersey, Martha's Vineyard, and countless other now popular 
summer resorts got their start in that way. They flourished 
for many years. All through the summer, crowds used to 
throng the headquarters of the Methodists where they had 
a Temple at Ocean Grove capable of seating ten thousand 
persons. Eminent divines of that persuasion were heard in 
that resort. I was there one season at the final meeting of that 
year. The thousands within the Temple were joined by 
other thousands who were gathered outside on the beach. 
Hymn singing was the principal feature of the services, so 
the crowd on the beach missed little of what was going on 

The last hymn was "God Be With You Till We Meet 
Again." The effect of this beautiful hymn, together with its 
appropriateness at the moment, was very emotional. I imagine 
more than twenty thousand voices were raised that moonlight 
night in singing this hymn and the effect was strangely mov- 
ing. There was no doubt that everyone there was deeply 
touched by its power and pathos. It was a great experience. 

2-^6 «Jj/xav3fi^tofte Ufumib and Q)wvcdaaa O AutnJcA 

These camp meeting people were devout in their way, but 
were only human after all. A young man who applied for 
enlistment in the Army, could not give his father's name. 
" 'Spect I'se just one of these Camp Meeting babies," he ex- 

Rev. Charles F. Deems, D.D., pastor of the Church 
of the Strangers, 1876. 

plained to the sergeant. John Hay says Lincoln told him that 
story during the Civil War. 

There were many eminent divines who were so often in 
New York that they became one of us, in a measure, and 
Bishop Brooks of Massachusetts was one of them. He was so 
much thought of everywhere that he belonged to the country 

\JlA-U Itne, JDitute/iA anA e)<peaJc€/t& 2-V7 

at large and not to any one town. His church in Boston, 
architecturally one of Richardson's masterpieces, was the 
Mecca for pilgrims from all parts of the land. With spar- 
kling humor and a rare gift of eloquence, he was a shining 
mark in Episcopal circles. He was the idol of the Hub, and 
his sermons were delightful. I presume there is not a Chris- 
tian community in the universe that does not sing this beau- 
tiful hymn of his on Christmas Eve: 

O little town of Bethlehem! 

How still we see thee lie; 
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep 

The silent stars go by; 
Yet in thy dark streets shineth 

The everlasting light; 
The hopes and fears of all the years 

Are met in thee tonight. 

As a beautiful tribute to the memory of Phillips Brooks, 
the choristers of his old Boston Church, Trinity, sing this 
hymn every Christmas Eve as their leading carol. 

It is probably one of the most exquisite possessions in the 
realm of sacred music, and church life the world over is 
richer for it. When this rare spirit passed on, he left a void 
which has never been filled. His was a singularly beautiful 
and gracious soul. 

His colleague in New York, the Rev. Dr. Henry C. Potter, 
Bishop of the Diocese and pastor of old Trinity, was almost 
more popular and more erudite, if such a thing could be. 
As an after-dinner speaker, Bishop Potter was a tremendous 
success, and where he presided as toastmaster, the table was 
kept in gales of laughter. 

There were few more genial companions than Bishop Pot- 
ter in any gathering, and he was a more than welcome guest 
at any function which he found time to attend. I remember 
being at a dinner given in honor of Barrie (not Sir James, 

2-V8 tJjfiQA&wslatwi <Jfiani& anA Q)aAxxiacui J haxavkA 

at that time), but just a budding author, yet already recog- 
nized as a coming figure in English literature. His publisher, 
the late Charles Scribner, was with him. Included in the 
company was also Conan Doyle, whose "Sherlock Holmes" 
was making his first bow to the American public. It was for- 
tunately a small gathering, in the old Aldine Club, where 
everyone knew everyone else, when it was still in Lafayette 
Place, the home of its origin. The Bishop was toastmaster, 
and his wit and repartee made the evening a delightful one. 
No one, I think, ever had a happier faculty of placing a 
speaker at ease with his audience or launching him on his 
speech with greater confidence. 

It was under Bishop Potter's guidance that the first steps 
were taken toward the erection of the present magnificent 
Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Cathedral Heights. He 
lived long enough to see this mighty undertaking successfully 
launched. His was a useful and valuable life to New York, 
which he deeply loved and which loved him devotedly in 

Reading over these notes, I am painfully conscious that I 
have omitted many names that could be rightly included in 
these reminiscences, and whose life in New York added to its 
charm and intellectual atmosphere. But I did not meet nor 
hear all who would necessarily be embraced in such a list, 
so my readers can supply from their own memories those 
whom I have omitted and accept in advance this explana- 
tion of my apparent oversights. 

The aftermath of the Civil War left no such devastation 
in the North as in the South. There an entire social system 
was upset, valuable property utterly destroyed and a huge 
country laid waste. The embers of the conflict were still red 
hot and flared up at the slightest provocation. When Cleve- 
land, the first Democratic President since the War, proposed 
in a spirit of reconciliation— and what he thought was the 
sincere feeling of the North— to return to the South the 

The Red Cross Nurse of i8yi. 

250 Jj/to^rAtone Utantb and QoAataaa O MwvkA 

various battle flags captured during hostilities from our late 
antagonists, such a howl of indignation went up that even 
Cleveland, with all his inflexibility and mule-like obstinacy, 
was utterly dismayed and the order instantly canceled. Few 
persons were prepared for the tremendous feeling aroused 
by this incident and it was some time before the excitement 
died down. Of course, there were no end of demagogues to 
whom such an occurrence was meat and drink, and they 
made the most of it. They were the high priests and apostles 
who practiced what was popularly known as "Waving the 
Bloody Shirt." Any man who could point to an honorable 
record of service in the Union ranks and who decided to run 
for political office, was reasonably certain of the old soldier 
vote, which was then an important factor and usually the 
deciding influence. In the course of the campaign, he would 
naturally recall the anguish and the travail endured by the 
country at the time; and regardless of his fitness for the 
office, the sympathy evoked by this recital, greatly embellished 
by the sufferings and gallant conduct of the doughty hero 
himself, now seeking the favor of his constituents, would gen- 
erally decide the contest in his favor. The Grand Army of 
the Republic had grown to enormous numbers by this time, 
and like all organizations born in the white heat of passion, it 
soon became in many cases the dupe of unscrupulous and un- 
principled scoundrels. Yet such was their numerical strength 
that it meant practically political death to offend them. 

The pension list became the object of their solicitude, and 
additions, increases, etc., were made in shameless disregard 
of merit or service. Washington fairly swarmed with Pension 
Agents. The situation became notorious and public opinion 
was defied. In such an atmosphere, it was with ill-suppressed 
excitement that the public observed a raid on the Treasury 
under the guise of beneficence to the veterans, which fairly 
reeked with corruption. So great, however, was the power of 
the G.A.R. and so fearful were the Congressmen of its retri- 

Ui!cl-<J ime JDinne/v6 and, G)jieaJec/LA 254 

bution, that none dared oppose the bill. The Dependent Pen- 
sion Bill passed both Houses of Congress and went to the 
President for signature. To the utter amazement of the 
politicians, but to the gratification of all right-thinking men 
and women, Mr. Cleveland vetoed the bill! It was to the 
G.A.R. as if the end of the world had come. 

Cleveland pointed out the many abuses in the bill and in 
his message to Congress made the now famous remark, "The 
Pension Roll is a Roll of Honor," and he did not propose to 
see it degraded by the illegal and criminal additions proposed 
by this measure. 

Strange to relate, the country rallied to Mr. Cleveland's 
support and the bill failed to muster the necessary strength 
to be passed over his veto. This was nothing short of mar- 
velous in those days and it dealt a severe blow to the abuses 
that had crept into what was originally meant to be a patri- 
otic organization, but which was fast becoming a vicious in- 
fluence in politics. A few years later, Col. George E. Waring, 
himself a veteran of unblemished record, stigmatized the as- 
sociation as a "grand army of bums." This created some news- 
paper talk, most of it in a whimsical vein, but instead of hav- 
ing Colonel Waring shot at sunrise, the G.A.R. pocketed the 
insult and the incident was permitted to pass without another 
civil war as might have been the case a few years earlier. The 
Cleveland and Blaine campaign marked the end of the 
Bloody Shirt Era so far as presidential politics were con- 
cerned. People grew tired of rehearsing the Civil War con- 
troversy every four years, and with Cleveland's election this 
issue as a great issue to place before the electorate ceased to 
exist. That there was still a great deal of feeling existing be- 
low the surface was amply demonstrated by the flag incident 
I have just related and by the enthusiasm which everywhere 
greeted a lecture by the Rev. T. de Witt Talmage who had 
a powerful description of the disbanding of the Union troops. 
This he recited at dinners in his church and on the Lyceum 

U£cl- <J ime Ju'wwviAA wnA C^peoKe/tA 253 

platforms. But as a major incident in American politics, the 
Civil War ceased to exist. 

I have elsewhere alluded to the prominence and popularity 
of General Grant as a private citizen in New York at this 
time. Universal sympathy went out to him as a result of his 
unfortunate association with Fred B. Ward in the brokerage 
firm of Grant & Ward. A less sophisticated person in matters 
financial would have been hard to find. Nevertheless, General 
Grant permitted himself to be inveigled into what became 
the most notorious partnership in Wall Street. It is unneces- 
sary to go further into details beyond stating that the inev- 
itable duly happened and the firm failed, owing the not neg- 
ligible sum of fourteen million dollars— a staggering sum for 
those days and equivalent to about ten times that amount to- 
day. Ward was sent to jail for a long term. Grant parted with 
all his personal possessions, including his remarkable col- 
lection of gifts and souvenirs from potentates and princes 
throughout the world. His friend, William H. Vanderbilt, 
took them as collateral for a quarter of a million loan. Mr. 
Vanderbilt was not actuated by any Shylock spirit, and in 
trinsically the collection was not worth anywhere near that as 
collateral; but he saw that the souvenirs would be dispersed 
by other creditors if not rescued and thus was saved a collec- 
tion of great historic interest. This money, however, com- 
pared with the magnitude of the total liabilities was merely a 
flea bite. The failure completely beggared Grant, and in a 
vain attempt to earn money enough to pay off some if not all 
his creditors, the General undertook the preparation of his 
memoirs. The work was only started, when rumors of a seri- 
ous illness began to circulate. In a few months, these rumors 
proved a certainty, and the whole country became resigned to 
the fact that her great Union General would not be with 
them long. The dread disease was cancer of the tongue. 

The fight to finish his book ere death removed him be- 
came an exciting episode. The progress of his sickness was fol- 

25-V tJj^tav2fv4tattc O/umib oral o)wtaiaaa <J /amJcA 

lowed day by day in the newspapers. Soon it became known 
that he could no longer speak— that his wants and desires 
were now made known by means of written slips of paper. In 
the vain hope of prolonging his life, he was moved to Mount 
MacGregor, a resort in the Adirondacks. This proved abor- 
tive, and when the end was plainly in sight his family yielded 
to his desire that he be taken back to his own home in New 
York. Here in Sixty-third Street he spent the remaining weeks 
of his life. On Decoration Day, he reviewed his swiftly van- 
ishing hosts for the last time. The Grand Army of the Repub- 
lic changed its line of march so as to pass the home of its 
great Commander. Propped up in the window Grant received 
their homage and their tears. He scribbled a message, "Let us 
have Peace," which immediately appeared in all the papers. 
It was his benediction to the South. By a superhuman effort, 
he practically completed his book. In a few weeks the General 
answered the last roll call and joined the army invisible, and 
this imposing figure was no more. His funeral in New York 
was a momentous occasion. All business was suspended. 
Practically all the great Union Generals then living were 
present. A unique feature of the parade was the great dele- 
gation of Confederate officers who were specially invited to 
attend the ceremonies. They were well known by name to 
New Yorkers, but few were known by sight. When they 
were pointed out and their identity disclosed, they received 
tremendous applause despite the solemnity of the occasion. 
It pleased them very much. No such mighty gathering had 
been seen in New York for generations. In fact, no public 
funeral of so distinguished a citizen had ever occurred before 
in New York, and the outpouring of the crowds on that 
occasion was phenomenal. Public and private buildings every- 
where were draped in purple and black. The General's por- 
trait looked out from every window, and his last message, "Let 
us have Peace," was hung from every point of vantage. It was 
a solemn and impressive occasion, and New York has never 

\JXA-U ima JDirvn&iA. cuvd, c) peaJcc/tA 


again seen such a gathering of the great as marked her streets 
and avenues on that historic occasion. 

His body was deposited temporarily in a vault near River- 
side Drive, there to await the completion of the Memorial 
Tomb to rival Napoleon's which New York promised and 
which was nearly a generation in building. However, through 
the efforts of General Porter, New York was saved the dis- 
grace of the threatened failure of the plans. 

The temporary Tomb of General Grant. 

Chapter XI 

oLcctcvted onA u qjuqajoav KjuaXajutjl 

The Lyceum platform in those days was the scene of much 
intellectual accomplishment. Every little town had a "Ly- 
ceum," and it was astonishing the amount of talent these lit- 
tle bushrangers could assemble for their winter's entertain- 
ment. And the addresses were as a whole so excellent, so 
scholarly, so humorous and informing that many of them are 
still preserved in these old books that still adorn our libraries: 
Modern Eloquence, Great Orations, Masterpieces of English 
Literature, etc., etc. I remember Joel Benton, of Amenia, 
N. Y.— a little town of only a few hundred inhabitants, but 
having a good "Lyceum"— telling me that they had heard in 
one season alone, Henry Ward Beecher, Wendell Phillips, 
Edward Everett Hale, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Cul- 
len Bryant, Horace Greeley, and I can't remember how many 
others. Yet I understood that this was not at all an unusual 
record. There is no doubt of the fact that the little country 
Lyceum played a tremendously important part in our cul- 
tural development in those days and was a mighty moral force 
in the land. Thousands of men and women were engaged in 
this occupation and few men attained eminence in any field 
of endeavor without hearing the call to the platform. And an 
audience in a country town in those days could not assemble 
without considerable physical effort and no little discomfort. 
Yet these meetings were popular and were sustained for many 
years. The desire for a higher education, no doubt, was 
greatly stimulated by these modest meetings at the Lyceum in 
little country towns. 


The lecture field was apparently a lucrative source of in- 
come, and one lecture would answer for a whole season. In 
the absence of a radio and a gentleman's agreement among 


Where Horace Greeley lived before he moved 
to his farm in Westchester. 

the newspapers, not to spoil a lecture by reporting more than 
enough to give an idea of its excellence and create a desire to 
hear the rest— this was perfectly feasible. In this way, Robert 
Collyer, Russell Conwell, Edward Everett Hale, John B. 
Gough, "Bob" Burdette, "Bob" Ingersoll, Wendell Phillips, 

Horace Greeley, Emerson, Beecher, and many others traveled 
the country from one end to the other, delivering the same 
speech. So that a lecture, like a play, enjoyed a similar popu- 
larity and you would be asked, "Have you heard So and So's 
lecture?" just as we would say, "Have you seen such and such 
a play?" There was undoubtedly a moral and educational as- 
pect to this form of intellectual dissipation, which was highly 
commendable. Our fifteen-minute broadcasts of today have 
no such virtue, but they cover a much larger and wider field. 

Gen. Horace Porter was always a much admired speaker. 
He afterwards performed a notable public service for New 
York by completing the fund necessary to erect the Tomb of 
General Grant— an enterprise that languished so long as to 
bring great reproach to the city. General Porter headed a 
committee, and in a few short months the entire huge amount 
was in the hands of the builders and the work commenced. 

There were many clubs that gave notable dinners during 
the season, and all were marked by forensic oratory of the 
first quality. Besides the Union League, there was the Lotos 
Club and numerous Societies of this, that, and the other. 

When Gilbert and Sullivan were entertained at the Lotos, 
Mr. Gilbert in his whimsical fashion made an adequate ex- 
planation of their presence on this side. "We have come 
over," he said, "to go into the musical comedy business; it ap- 
peared to be so prosperous here." 

This allusion referred to the fact that no less than twenty 
companies at that moment were playing pirated versions of 
Pinafore in New York, out of which Gilbert and Sullivan 
made not a penny. Our copyright laws did not then protect a 
foreigner unless he came here, gave his first performance in 
this country, and thus established a basis for a copyright. So 
they had put on a dress rehearsal of Ruddigore and the Pi- 
rates of Penzance, neither of which were a tenth as popular 
as Pinafore or The Mikado. Both Mr. (not then, Sir Arthur) 

oLectu/teA and Oo^eian \mXaxaa. 259 

Sullivan and Mr. Gilbert were received with tremendous en- 

Many accounts are given of the quarrel that separated these 
two friends. Some say Gilbert disliked a rug that Sullivan or- 
dered for their office. The truth is that at a command per- 
formance given for Queen Victoria at Windsor, the program 
omitted all mention of Gilbert's name as librettist, though it 
mentioned the names of the bootmaker, who furnished foot- 
wear for the players; the mistress of the wardrobe, who 
looked after the costumes; the call boys, prompters, etc., but 
not a single mention of Gilbert. This was the final straw that 
broke the camel's back. In this way, he suffered very much as 
did Harry B. Smith, who wrote the librettos for Robin Hood 
and most of the other successes of Reginald De Koven's. But 
Mr. Smith took it more philosophically. His big checks con- 
soled him. For years Mr. Gilbert had to endure this constant 
ignoring of his important part in the success of the comedies 
and read only eulogies of his partner, Sullivan. As he re- 
marked bitterly on one occasion: "If the opera is a success, 
the composer gets all the credit. If it fails, it is the fault of 
the librettist." Finally, the strain became too great and the 
friends parted. Curiously enough, the two men never after 
succeeded in their separate undertakings. 

It is not generally remembered that Gilbert is also the au- 
thor of this whimsical ditty, uproarious in its conception and 
irresistible in its jocundity, and made many other valuable 
contributions to contemporary humorous literature: 

'Twas on the shores that round our coast 
From Deal to Ramsgate span, 
That I found alone on a piece of stone 
An elderly naval man. 

His hair was weedy, his beard was long, 
And weedy and long was he, 
And I heard this wight on the shore recite, 
In a singular minor key: 

260 tJj^uiWfustafic Ufumlb atui Q)wtaiaaa u nAXxvkb 

"Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold, 
And the mate of the Nancy brig, 
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite, 
And the crew of the captain's gig!" 

Sir Edwin Arnold at the Lotos Club recalled to its presi- 
dent, the genial Frank R. Lawrence, the fact that Sir Edwin 
was largely instrumental in arranging with the New York 
Herald, the expedition subsequently headed by Henry M. 
Stanley, which penetrated the wilds of Africa on the search 
for Livingstone. I followed this expedition with a peculiar 
personal interest. My father lived in part of the same house in 
which Livingstone also dwelt and worked with him in the 
same mill in Blantyre side by side. 

Sir Edwin was a universally popular visitor from England 
and paid us the compliment of selecting his wife from this 
country. During Mr. Lawrence's tenure of office as President 
of the Lotos Club, this organization rose to a position of 
great and commanding influence among literary men and 
journalists. Mr. Lawrence made it his life work. He labored 
for the success and reputation of the Lotos in season and out, 
and was amply rewarded by seeing his club grow to be one of 
the most renowned organizations of its kind in the world and 
an adornment to the cultural life of New York. Almost every 
man of achievement in the intellectual world was enter- 
tained by the Lotos at one time or another. 

Another Britisher who visited us at this time was Oscar 
Wilde. So much water has run over the dam since he gradu- 
ated from Oxford and paid his first visit to New York that 
some of my readers will not recognize in the debonair, cul- 
tured and highly educated young man who made his bow at 
Chickering Hall on the evening of January 10, 1882, the Os- 
car Wilde of legend. All New York was there. At five o'clock 
no more tickets were to be had. Even the speculators had but 
few left. These rascally brigands, as the papers called them, 
had the effrontery to demand no less a figure than two dol- 

dLectit^eA and, OoAxiafi KMXiwui 26d 

lars for them. "Outrageous," "Scandalous," etc., were only a 
few of the epithets hurled at them. Fifty cents was then top 
hole for admission to entertainments of this kind. 

Inside, the hall was packed. In defiance of the fire law, peo- 
ple stood in the aisles. There was not room left for another 

At 8:30 Mr. Wilde appeared. He was strikingly dressed in 
a regulation swallow-tail coat with white satin low cut vest, 
double buttoned; black knee-breeches, black silk stockings 
and low-cut shoes. A single diamond shone in the exact cen- 
ter of his expansive shirt front, and a fine handkerchief was 
thrust negligently between it and his waistcoat. His collar 
turned down but was not cut very low, and a white silk tie 
was knotted evenly below it. At top and bottom he was artis- 
tic, but the middle was commonplace. 

He made a rather effective figure on the platform. His 
brown hair, waving and fluffy, was pasted in the middle and 
fell in mass like the pictures of Charles the II, to his shoul- 
ders. He began his address in a well-modulated voice, and 
even when he delivered some of his characteristic epigrams 
there was no change in his tone. The audience listened to 
an excellent scholarly address on iEstheticism, enlivened with 
shafts of humor, and the impression on the whole was dis- 
tinctly favorable. For more than a year Gilbert and Sulli- 
van's opera Patience had been running to crowded houses, 
and in it Wilde as Bunthorne had been cleverly but merci- 
lessly caricatured. Bunthorne with his cluster of chaste lilies 
was familiar to the audience and they were not a little sur- 
prised at the evident erudition of Bunthorne in the flesh and 
of his calm assurances regarding his own position. He began: 
"As you have listened for three hundred nights to my friend 
Arthur Sullivan's charming opera Patience (laughter) I will 
not ask too much, I hope, if I request your kind indulgence 
for only one night. (Great laughter.) As you have had satire, 
you may make the satire a little more piquant by knowing a 

little more of the truth and not take the very brilliant lines of 
Mr. Gilbert any more as a revelation of the movement (aes- 
theticism) than you would judge of the splendor of the sun 
or the majesty of the sea by the dust that dances in the beam 
or the bubble that breaks on the waves." 

This simile was warmly applauded. A little later he re- 
marked nonchalantly, "Satire is the homage which medi- 
ocrity pays to genius," and "To disagree with three-fourths of 
all England on all points is one of the first elements of san- 
ity, and I hold the first duty of an art critic is to hold his 
tongue at all times upon all subjects." The nub of his dis- 
course was probably contained in his closing sentences, "Into 
the sacred house of beauty the true artist will admit nothing 
which is harsh or disturbing: nothing about which men ar- 
gue. The simple utterance of joy is poetry." 

There is no doubt that the address struck a loftier note 
than was expected and that the young man, instead of being 
the posturing idiot the Press made him out to be, was justly 
admitted to be possessed of much wit, much culture and on 
the whole a decidedly worth-while person. At this particular 
moment in Wilde's career, Fate was kind to him. She opened 
wide for him the gates of Fame and Immortality. It was 
Wilde himself who closed them. 

Many, many years afterward, seated in the Library with 
Vance Thompson, who had just returned from an extended 
stay in Paris, he remarked: "It's too bad about Wilde; he is 
merely a human cask for the reception of free whiskey. He 
will sit and talk with anyone who will buy him a drink." 

Shortly after the news of his death was in the papers, and 
thus ended a career which might have furnished one of the 
brightest pages in English literature. 

Chapter XII 

Our city had at one time a Street Cleaning Commissioner 
who made and kept New York a clean city. He really be- 
lieved that he should manage his department solely in the in- 
terest of the work in hand and not for the benefit of a lot of 
politicians. Col. George F. Waring is a name to revere and to 
remember. And he maintained that ideal in the highest de- 
gree in the face of the fiercest ridicule that ever pursued an 
idealist, always setting an example that no commissioner 
since his time has been able to follow, despite all the money 
that has been allocated to the department every year. With 
all that he accomplished, it is a singular mystery why no other 
commissioner since his day has made more than a perfunc- 
tory effort to keep the streets of this city clean. 

It was Colonel Waring who originated the phrase White 
Wings when he ordered the employees of his department to 
wear white duck raiment when at work, a measure designed 
to provoke cleanliness and that acted as a deterrent to loafing 
on the job, since it made the street cleaners as conspicuous as 
window sitters in Fifth Avenue clubs. The order aroused de- 
rision and sneers as well as considerable newspaper criticism: 
the notion that men cleaning the streets in white garb, and 
ordered to keep it white, was almost too ridiculous for words. 

But Colonel Waring persisted, and as he had the backing 
of Mayor Strong, who appointed him, the street cleaners 
blossomed out in gorgeous white uniforms and became a de- 
lightful feature in the New York scene while the novelty 


26-V uJ^as^n^tano. <Jfumi& cunA QaAalaaa U nMXvbb. 

lasted. When this passed off and the Colonel had had time to 
equip his department adequately, he decided to show the city 
what it possessed in the way of a Street Cleaning Department 
—something no one had given much thought to before that. 
It had been considered just an institution for politicians to 
play with in handing out jobs to lowly constituents. Cleaning 
streets figured only as surplusage. 

This showing of the one city department that was worth 
exhibiting was to be made by means of a parade of all the 
employees of the department, with its equipment. The affair 
was properly publicized and the line of march laid out and 
announced. And everybody prepared to have a good time 
watching a procession of motley. But Colonel Waring had 
given orders that all uniforms were to be furbished up like 
new, the equipment was to be spick and span and the men 
cautioned to be on their mettle for the gala event. 

When the day of the parade arrived, the streets through 
which it was to pass were lined with people, most of whom 
had come to scoff. But it was an amazing sight to which they 
had been bidden. Instead of a procession of shiftless-looking 
laborers they had expected, there marched before them as 
proud-appearing a lot of workers as had ever paraded about 
this city, and their manifest pride as they trundled after them 
a great variety of street-cleaning apparatus won deserved and 
unashamed applause. The apparatus alone was a marvelous 
demonstration of the efficiency which had penetrated the de- 
partment. And those of the populace that had come to scoff 
remained to praise. 

After this signal service to New York, Colonel Waring took 
up the fight against cholera in Havana. In this noble work, 
his life was forfeited. It was a characteristic ending to a man 
who had proved his courage and his ability in the service of 
his fellow-men, despite the attacks of politicians and defamers 
of whom he had more than his share. 

I am always greatly interested in the sales of Currier & Ives 

266 UJKQA&tidlarvQ. Uiardd. and, Qwuxiaaa J wiaxk6 

prints and rejoice exceedingly at the high prices they bring; 
it seems to be some justification for the many hours I spent 
gazing at the pictures in their old shop in Nassau near Ful- 
ton Street. It was a fine large window— one of the very few 
plate glass windows in town of that size. 

Behind it was spread a feast of art for a boy's hungry eyes. 
I remember the fascination the old shop pictures possessed 
for me, especially the old Clippers— Sovereign of the Sea, 
Dreadnought, Three Brothers and the North Star. The North 
Star was published in London, probably imported by them 
because it was the first steam yacht ever to cross the ocean on 
a purely pleasure trip. It was owned by old Cornelius Van- 
derbilt, and was the eighth wonder of the world. The Alvah, 
on which his grandson, William K., now tours the world in 
search of marine treasures, is no more costly for its day than 
the North Star. Another picture that drew much attention 
was the America— that blue ribbon winner built by Henry 
Steers up on the old dry-dock section where all the shipyards 

Since those early days I have never lost my interest in these 
old ship pictures. At one time when they could be bought for 
50 cents to a dollar each, I had quite a collection stuck up on 
the walls of my modest room, and ultimately I came to know 
a lot about Captain Nat Palmer, Captain Cressy, Captain 
Clarke, and a dozen other of these old master mariners. 

It's astonishing to recall how many of our old families 
made their first big money in shipping— John Johnston, 
grandfather of Mrs. Robert de Forrest; Warren Delano, one 
of Franklin D.'s ancestors, and whose grandson of the same 
name was a member of the Federal Reserve. John Jacob As- 
tor, who evaded Jefferson's embargo and on the plea that he 
was returning a high-class mandarin to China, cleared a ship 
for the Orient which presently returned with a huge cargo of 
tea, silks and spices. Astor cleared a huge fortune from this 
voyage alone. 



268 <JjKa\&rUilaru>. Ononis atui Q)wvaiacLa O nAXxvbb. 

One might go on indefinitely about these old ships; for the 
Clipper Era was a brilliant page in American maritime his- 
tory and I never tire reading about them. Up the Hudson 
was the favorite home port of many of these old shipping 
merchants. The Aspinwalls, the Havilands, the Minturns, 
the Webbs, Marshalls, Macys, etc., etc., all had stately homes 
between Spuyten Duyvil and Tarrytown. 

The Low family of Brooklyn, whose best-known represent- 
ative in the present generation was the late Seth Low, former 
Mayor of both Brooklyn and New York and President of Co- 
lumbia College, were among the largest families in New York. 
And on Columbia Heights in Brooklyn where they lived, it 
was no uncommon sight to meet Abner Low, head of the 
house, coming down the street with Capt. Nat Palmer, Cap- 
tain Cressy, or some of the other famous ship commanders. 

South Street in those days, with its forest of masts, was a 
fascinating sight. The bowsprits of many of these ships 
stretched clear across the street and almost poked their noses 
in the windows of the offices opposite. The odors of pine, tar, 
oakum, fresh shavings and spices of the Orient, were intoxi- 
cating to my boyish senses and an errand along that pictur- 
esque thoroughfare was always an event looked forward to 
with pleasurable anticipation. I have since seen the famous 
Lime House district of London and the India Docks, have 
walked along the seven miles of shipping in Antwerp, and 
along the waterfront of Marseilles, but none of them today 
even approach old South Street as it was in the days of my 

With the rapid development of the marine boiler and the 
opening of the Suez Canal, the end of these square-rigger 
belles of the Seven Seas was plainly in sight. For eighteen 
centuries, man had sailed the oceans, helpless alike in storms 
or in calm, and forever at the mercy of wind or wave. Now 
his mastery of the deep was accomplished. He could leave 
Southampton one day at noon, predict his arrival in New 

c)pot(!cAd <J a\&n and k^ovulqa. &, JaJcA <j «in\A 269 

York six days later, at a certain hour, and tie up at the dock 
exactly on schedule. It is practical, but not romantic. No 
more sighting Java Head in the morning and landing God 
Knows Where in the evening. All very pretty and nice to 
have Joe Hergesheimer tell about it. But, alas! it isn't cricket 
any more. 

The old Mississippi also came in for a fine showing in these 
old Currier & Ives windows. The Robert E. Lee and her fa- 
mous race with the Natchez was shown in lurid colors. A 
bright moon was shining and the stacks of both steamboats 
belched forth lurid flames. You could almost hear the cap- 
tains cursing and the Negroes piling on the fire wood. It was 
a stirring picture. There was a song written about the Robert 
E. Lee. 

Edna Ferber's Show Boat has recalled a pleasant bit of life 
on the old river, and Ida Tarbell's description of Lincoln 
making his own raft and sailing down from New Salem to 
New Orleans gives us another glimpse of a most engaging pe- 
riod in our country's progress. Currier & Ives rendered a 
great public service, however unwittingly, in thus preserving 
for us these bits of real Americanism in the early life of Old 
Man River. 

I am justified in speaking thus at length of Old Mississippi 
in an Old New York book, because the first steamboat to ply 
these waters was built by a New Yorker, Nicholas Roosevelt, 
another brilliant member of this famous family. 

There was always a gaping crowd in front of 150 Nassau 
Street, and it was not always composed of messenger boys, 
bearing packages marked "Immediate" or "Special Delivery" 
There was always a good sprinkling of the average business 
man, country visitors, etc. One particular series of pictures 
had its own special school of admirers— the Darktown Series. 
This was a series of Negro pictures by Thomas Worth that 
were irresistibly funny and portrayed our colored friends in 

270 <Jj'tav2fv&ta*te Uiant6 and Q)axataaa <J tumk& 

characteristic scenes. "The Darktown Fire Brigade" was my 
favorite series— the rickety old hand- worked fire engine, the 
valiant fire laddies in red flannel shirts, huge leather hats, all 
of them constantly getting in each other's way, was to my 
mind indescribably funny. I used to laugh my head off. Then 
there was the billiard series. "Two to Go!" and "Got Them 
Both!" In "Getting Them Both," the hero's cue slipped in 
some mysterious manner and before equilibrium was re- 
stored, the entire billiard room was wrecked. Worth used to 
draw these sketches in Sandy Spencer's oyster saloon in the 
basement of the building under what was then the National 
Park Bank Building on Broadway just a short block from the 
Currier place. 

Currier & Ives prints have real historic interest, and as the 
country grows older, they will constantly appreciate in value. 
When I see some of these old pictures bring eight and nine 
hundred dollars apiece at auction these days and think that 
I could have had all I wanted from twenty-five cents up, I 
begin to realize that I wasn't such a smart office boy as my in- 
dulgent employers used to think. 

Chapter XIII 
«JleW ila*Jc Q)taao, atui JliiAtuxLrd c)itppe/iA 

One of the pleasantest memories left of the Centennial '70s 
is undoubtedly the career of Augustus Daly's company at 
the old playhouse on Broadway and Thirtieth Street, known 
the length and breadth of the island as Daly's Theatre. 
And a first night at this celebrated shrine of the mimics 
was a ritual in old New York society. It was graced by the 
presence of men and women eminent in all walks of life; not 
to be at the first night of the opening of a new season was to 
bury yourself in social oblivion. Many of the names are now 
familiar to the great majority of present-day New Yorkers. 
Fifth Avenue from Washington Square to the park was still 
the citadel of Who was Who in New York. After six o'clock 
you could hear the tinkle of the bells on the Forty-second 
Street crosstown cars clear up to the Plaza and as far south as 
Madison Square. Scarcely a soul would be in sight, and when 
the time came to leave for the theater, the staccato slam of 
the carriage door closing and the clop-clop of the iron hoofs 
on the Belgian highway could be heard for blocks. 

The height of Daly's success starting in '79 was achieved in 
the '80s. Starting with a hastily formed organization, he rap- 
idly built up a company that was afterwards to achieve inter- 
national renown and was to become famous, not only in New 
York, but in London, Paris and Berlin as well. Shakespearean 
scholars abroad were extremely anxious to see what an Amer- 
ican company could do with A Midsummer-Night's Dream, 
The Merry Wives of Windsor, Taming of the Shrew, and 


272 JjiaA&tUitorve. <Jsvant& and Q)oAaiaaa U kuawA 

other light comedies of England's greatest dramatist. The 
complete triumph of the company especially in England is 
now a pleasant legend in the history of the American stage. 

Ada Rehan was, of course, the bright particular star of the 
company. Few actresses on our stage ever enjoyed the popu- 
larity and the general esteem bestowed upon this charming 
woman. Possessing with a marvelously musical voice, the fa- 
tal gift of beauty, and liberally endowed with natural talents 
for the career which she had chosen, Miss Rehan reigned su- 
preme in her field for many years. The death of Mr. Daly 
produced a profound change in Miss Rehan's career. Some- 
thing seemed to have gone out of her life. The advancing 
years wrought havoc with many old-time favorites and also 
with Daly's famous old company, and soon the playgoing 
public were to know them no more. 

In a light society skit called Newport, the play called for 
the appearance of a small donkey in the last act. Till then he 
was discreetly tethered behind stage. One evening when Mr. 
George Parker, the leading man in the play, was making vio- 
lent love on a bench to Miss Rehan, a ravishing young belle, 
he recited these lines with fine effect: "Adorable creature, 
never have I met a soul so congenial, so perfectly a mate for 
my own," when that absurd donkey standing in the left wing 
lifted his voice in a terrific "hee haw, hee haw" completely 
drowning the rest of the speech. 

But that was not all. (This is taken from a diary kept by 
one of the younger members at the time and was never ex- 
pected to be seen by other eyes than the author.) The same 
donkey, when he did come upon the stage, committed a hor- 
rible breach of etiquette and wound up by butting Mr. 
Parker so violently that he fell amid the debris and arose 
with his light lavender trousers bearing visible marks of his 
mishap. The audience was convulsed and the curtain de- 
scended upon a wholly demoralized company. 

John Drew, James Lewis, John Gilbert, Mrs. Gilbert, 

c/lev2 tjowk c)£cup. and JlUAniahi ^ttppc/tA 273 

Harry Lacey, Charles Ledercq, Charles Fisher, Isabelle Eric- 
son, Helen Blythe, Clara Morris, and a host of others, were 
soon to be on Daly's staff and his theater to assume the first 



Where William E. Burton lived many years while he 
enjoyed the reputation of a popular comedian. 

rank in American stage life. The decade in which Daly's 
troupe reigned supreme were golden years for polite comedy. 
The Shakespearean plays were always awaited with delight 
and in The Taming of the Shrew with Ada Rehan as Kate 

27-^ Jj^wM^n^tcMxe Ononis atul Q)wvaiaaa J /omvkA 

and John Drew as Petruchio, the highest pinnacle in Shake- 
spearean presentations on this side was achieved. The final 
supper scene in Taming of the Shrew was long remembered 
in the annals of the New York stage. 

Besides being a rendezvous of society, Daly's Theatre was 
one of the most successful matrimonial bureaus in the history 
of the local stage. Only the record of the original Florodora 
girls rivals the connubial annals of the premier playhouse of 
Gotham. Of course, the classic instance was the marriage of 
Edith Kingdon to the oldest son of the enormously wealthy 
Jay Gould. But there were also some less glamorous alliances 
of interest such as that of Mabel Thompson and Howard 
Chandler Christy, Mabelle Gilman and William Ellis Corey, 
and Minnie Ashley and William Astor Chandler. Minnie 
Ashley will be remembered by many oldsters as the charming 
Rhoda of San Toy, singing, 

Rhoda, Rhoda, had a pagoda 
Serving tea, and ices, and soda. 

One of the minor players in Daly's company in the '90s was 
Isadora Duncan, the late famous classic dancer, and the first 
exponent of bare legs on the American stage. Both Isadora 
Duncan and Mabelle Gilman made their New York debuts 
in Daly's production of The Geisha. Later on, Miss Duncan 
danced in the prologue of Meg Merrilies in the gypsy dance 
that was Daly's added feature to Charlotte Cushman's famous 

No one who is unacquainted with the "society drama" of 
the past can have any idea of the supreme importance of the 
feather-duster in the furtherance of its plot. The feather- 
duster was the playwright's invariable formula whenever he 
opened his drama on a "drawing-room" scene. It was never 
used in any other apartment so far as my recollection serves, 
but every well-regulated salon in the Bronson Howard- 

cTleW italic Q)iaa4L atui J\ll<Lniahi c)itpp«^A 275 

Bartley Campbell drama was disclosed with a housemaid 
wearing a dainty white apron and high-heeled patent leather 
shoes, wielding this now discredited domestic implement; 
and so "Mr. Van Alstyne's Morning Room, 10 a.m. New 


Where Edwin Forrest, the actor, and his wife, 
Catharine Sinclair, lived. 

Year's Day" or "Mrs. Stuyvesant Park's Drawing Room, 5 
p.m. on Washington's Birthday" were both subject to the 
same curious application of feathers. Of course, the house- 
maid got out of the room as soon as "Master" appeared, 
whether she had finished her stint or not; but sometimes she 
ceased operations to banter Sam, the footman, or to sauce the 

pompous English butler of every well-regulated New York 
stockbroker's domicile. I am pleasantly reminded of this an- 
cient theatrical tradition by some notes from the same diary, 
from which I have already quoted. 

"A curious thing happened at rehearsal one day this week, 
in which we saw the effect of Mr. Daly's discipline. A young 
lady, Miss B , who has not been in any play since the pro- 
duction of Newport } had the part of a maid in An Arabian 
Night— quite a good part it is too. At rehearsal, when she was 
'discovered' dusting furniture at the opening of the first act 
(by the way, that dusting business is so old— why don't they 
ever water the plants, feed the canary or the goldfish or ar- 
range the books in the bookcase?) she handled the feather- 
duster in the most awkward way and didn't really dust at all. 
Mr. Daly called out to her two or three times to do it differ- 
ently, but she wouldn't; so he clambered up over the seats 
and up on the stage, grabbed the duster from her, and pro- 
ceeded to go for the furniture with all the energy of a brand- 
new housemaid. 

" 'That's the way to dust,' he said. 'Haven't you ever dusted 
any furniture, Miss B ?' 

" 'No, sir, I never have,' was the haughty reply, at which we 
all smiled. Then he said something that I did not catch ex- 
actly and handed back the duster to her. She made a few 
more feeble little dabs at a table, looking very angry. Mr. 
Daly gave one of his withering, sarcastic laughs and said, 'Oh, 
Lord!' whereupon the distressed damsel burst into tears, 
threw up the duster, and went home. Mr. Daly simply turned 
and said, 'Send a messenger at once for Miss Flagg.' So no girl 
can make a bit of an impression by playing the fine lady and 
pretending she doesn't know how to dust. Miss Flagg arrived 
within half an hour. She read the lines when they went over 
the scene again, and she took that duster and dusted." 

The first attempts to gain serious consideration for the 
work of American dramatists began about this time. Bron- 

<JteW }jon)k e)tcuxe anA JluA^iiahi QuxwaAA 277 

son Howard, Bartley Campbell, McKee Rankin, Steele Mac- 
kaye, Augustus Thomas who gave us The Banker's Daugh- 
ter, Hazel Kirk, My Partner, The Danites, Arizona, etc., 
marked a distinct departure from the exclusively British pro- 
ductions interminably provided for that by the indefatigable 
Wallacks, father and son. They were a welcome relief from 
the red-coated Britisher, the lordly earl and the Irish villain 
always dressed in green. And the plays were refreshingly in- 
teresting. In My Partner, we saw the forerunner of all the 
Wild Western drama that was to bloom so luxuriantly a few 
years later and to give us such fascinating dramas as The Girl 
of the Golden West, Rose of the Rancho and many others. 
The list of these thoroughly American plays was further aug- 
mented by a similar contribution depicting life in New Eng- 
land, 'Way Down East and The Old Homestead. That they 
were the literary and dramatic equal of any that came out of 
h'old H' England, I have no doubt. They were also box of- 
fice successes, which is the final test for everything artistic in 
this country. 

The star system had not as yet become the institution it 
was later destined to be, and stock companies were the rule. 
Madison Square, Union Square, Wallacks and the Lyceum 
were organized on the stock plan. It would be interesting to 
recall some of their successes, but a representative portrayal 
of the many fine plays produced by these capable persons can- 
not be adequately covered in the limited space at my com- 

Although The Black Crook may be called the grandpa of 
all our Follies of late calendar years, of our Scandals and Re- 
vues, it was not until the '70s that the burlesque queen and 
the professional stage beauty really got geared up for making 
the grade. Then came Lydia Thompson and her company of 
"British Blondes" to avenge York town and Saratoga, and to 
excite the local stage door Johnny and clubman to a state of 
mild hysteria. These ladies literally cast our caramel-chewing, 

278 <J5/LOA^tAtonc OrvordA. omA Q)a/iataoLa J /uwvIcA 

soda-water gulping damsels in the shade, in the amplitude of 
their 12 "stone" and upward. They looked like the daughters 
of hardy Norsemen and their complexions didn't owe a thing 
to anybody's cold cream or mud pack. A little souper a deux 
with one of these coryphees was a fearsome thing. I have it on 
unimpeachable first-hand authority that sirloin steak and po- 
tatoes, preceded by anchovies on toast, and succeeded by a 
platter of tripe and onions, and a wedge of Stilton, the whole 
washed down by a couple of pints of Bass's, was only an ordi- 
nary midnight snack to this cheerful emigre, calculated to in- 
duce a sound night's sleep and a healthy appetite for break- 
fast in the morning. 

I have no doubt that a reference to a "silhouette," or a 
"straight front" or a "boyishform" or any of our late fashion 
page patter would have been regarded by these ladies as qual- 
ifications for Bedlam or Colney Hatch (what a delightful 
name for this latter, almost as flavorsome as Wormwood 
Scrubs). Curves, undulations and sinuosities were the cov- 
eted outlines of the day, and the British Blonde had them all, 
and then some. 

There were no drug-store lunches in those days, and if 
there were, I cannot imagine one of these sturdy troupers 
wasting her time on lettuce-leaf sandwiches and orange juice. 
The nourishment required to support an Amazon during a 
tour of these United States, fifty years ago, could not be ac- 
quired by Vitamin A, B or C. One had to work further down 
the alphabet and then add a plate of corned beef and cabbage 
as ballast. But food was amazingly cheap after the panic of 
'73 and for many years thereafter. There were no food trusts, 
and I have seen a fine box of strawberries sell for four cents. 
There were boarding houses of a humble class where one 
could live substantially with occasional luxuries, for as little 
as five dollars a week, and in the very poorest districts there 
were eating houses serving dishes at three, four and five cents 
each. Of course, wages were correspondingly low, but many 

JXasd aowL e^tacpe anA c/IGuifviaJvt Q^wmojoaA 279 

of the city's greatest merchants of later years found the pe- 
riod a favorable one to obtain a foothold on prosperity. 

The long reign of the Wallacks, father and son, was, how- 
ever, at last ended and American productions then had a 
chance for existence. The Wallacks' era was naturally a con- 
tinuation of the British traditions and nothing that did not 
reek with old castles, titled lords and ladies and missing heirs, 
had a chance. We might as well have brought over His Maj- 
esty's Theatre and Drury Lane complete. 

The old stock companies, which for many years were a fea- 
ture of the New York stage, provided much better entertain- 
ment on the whole than the star systems, which succeeded a 
few years later. In the stock companies, the entire company 
was made up of competent players. The result was a perform- 
ance of equal brilliancy throughout. The members of the cast 
were known to the audience individually and each actor re- 
ceived due praise for her or his work. There was an atmos- 
phere of friendliness in the theater which was strangely lack- 
ing under the star system, and the names of the players are 
still remembered by many old patrons, though the exact roles 
which each of them essayed has long been forgotten. Fanny 
Davenport, Kate Forsythe, Rose Coghlan, Erne Shannon, Mir- 
iam Ponsini, are only a few of the many favorites in the days 
of the Union Square, Madison Square, the Lyceum and the 
old Bowery. 

The city at that time had a tremendous population of 
Irish and Germans. The Latin races were negligible in num- 
ber. And a series of plays by Harrigan and Hart, based largely 
on the Irish element in New York, reached a degree of popu- 
larity which, for many years, was an important factor in our 
native drama. Although plays were based on foreign peoples, 
the production was essentially American, and Harrigan and 
Hart contributed original work based entirely on local life. 
In this sense, their work can truly be said to belong to the 
American school and ranked equally high with the more fin- 

280 «Jj^toWft4tone Utantb atuL Q)a/vaiaaa <J nAMvkA 

ished and representative school of Bronson Howard, Bartley 
Campbell, Steele Mackaye, Augustus Thomas, Clyde Fitch or 
Eugene O'Neill. 

We had two extraordinarily good actors in those days- 
Edwin Booth and Joseph Jefferson. They were exponents of 
the star system to the point of absurdity. Sterling actor as 
Booth was, he would tour the country with such a company 
of unspeakable mediocrity that his performances took on 
more the character of a monologue than a play. Jefferson, in 
the vernacular of the mining camp, struck pay dirt early in 
his career as Bob Acres in The Rivals. A man of rare histri- 
onic ability, he buried his talents in this napkin. And for al- 
most half a century, the public saw nothing of Jefferson in 
the extensive repertoire of which he was capable, but only in 
the one shopworn play which each succeeding generation 
must perforce endure. It provided Joe with a satisfactory and 
comfortable living, an unusual happening to the average 
Thespian, and perhaps I should not thus criticize him. But I 
cannot help thinking of Mansfield who tempted Fate time 
and again and left the stage immeasurably richer for his brief 
appearance on it. 

One is fain to linger on these far-off days of the theater. 
They seem so much more romantic, so much more enchant- 
ing, than the present vogue for celluloid counterfeits. But 
one must not forget that youth— the painter, the sculptor, the 
poet of all things beautiful— was also with us in those days 
and that makes a great difference. 

One of the outstanding vocal features in the less preten- 
tious theaters of my time, was the quartet. No well-conducted 
musical program was complete without this contrapuntal 
firing squad lined up for "Annie Laurie," "Oft in the 
Stilly Night," and other unnecessary noises. All the old- 
time melodramas included a quartet in their mise-en-scene 
as they did trick sharpshooters, trained mustangs, broadsword 
experts and other developers of the plot. The announcement 

«JLe^2 oqjvL Q)iaae. anA JlUxLniard Q)uoruix& 281 

that the Big Four, or the Empire State Entertainers would ap- 
pear in the big Waterloo Bridge scene of Lost in London 
was an immeasurable enhancement of that priceless drama. 
Of a verity, as soon as the quartet got into a position, which, 
over the turbid Thames, always reminded me of a Bowery 
photographer's bridal group, they discharged "I Stood on the 
Bridge at Midnight." This was a ritual. I have no doubt that 
an instant insurrection and a demand for the return of our 
money would have been the result of the substitution of any 
other song. And don't think that the second line— "As the 
clocks were striking the hour"— was ignored by the astute 
stage managers of the innocent '70s who had all the "props" 
of radio hokum, even before this divine invention was 
thought of. As the quartet appeared, the boom of Big Ben 
was the leit motif of the song. How the audience would count 
the strokes, to make sure that they were getting all they paid 
for, and that no midnight savings scheme was attempted. 
After the Baltimore Ideals had cleared the traffic over the 
bridge, the heroine, fresh from Devonshire, in a tight-fitting 
black dress that followed her contours with a laudable tenac- 
ity, appeared bearing the child. Some day I shall reveal the 
antecedents of this infant. How its parents, despite the ill- 
natured slurs of Devonian purists, had been married all the 
time. But now the bonny lassie from the hedgerows is on the 
bridge, pursued by a male in a high hat, cutaway coat, black 
satin cravat, tight trousers, pointed shoes, and spats. No 
sophisticated audience needed any psychoanalysis of this crea- 
ture, for was he not the appointed instrument of the high 
gods to hurl the heroine and her "brat" from the bridge; and 
we may be sure he did so, for did we not witness the splash 
that rebounded over the parapet— yes, we will go before a 
Commissioner of Deeds at any time to solemnly affirm that 
real water marked this dastardly attempt to do away with the 
rightful heir. 

Nor shall we forget the quartet of the English "Sporting" 

282 tjj*a\&ttdiatve. Ononis and SaAxxlaaa O MwiiLb 

melodrama; the jolly roysterers on the way home from the 
Henley Regatta, who paused, in the dead of night, on the 
banks of the Thames, to pay lyric tribute to the "Twicken- 
ham Ferry." This was also accompanied by realistic clock 
chimes from a belfry on the opposite shore, and followed by 
a scene of violence involving the destruction of the hero to 
prevent his winning the boat race on the morrow. The quar- 
tet always served as a kind of overture to the catastrophe. All 
Southern plays from Uncle Tom's Cabin to The White Slave 
had an "Old Kentucky Home" quartet, regardless of whether 
the locale chanced to be in Georgia or Alabama. A quartet I 
once heard in Madison Square, sang "The Old Oaken 
Bucket" with a back drop showing the Hoffman House, and 
no one complained. 

By far the greatest record in quartet longevity was achieved 
by that in The Old Homestead, a bucolic drama that would 
put any McCormick reaper to shame in the matter of reaping 
shekels for its owner and perpetrator, Denman Thompson. 

Scene from an early New York drama. 

'A word first , if you please, sir!" 

cJCc^ OonSk G)taac arvd. Jludtdaftl Q)up^vS 283 

The quartet in this instance made the Broadway front of 
Grace Church a kind of wailing-wall for the earnest inquiry, 
"Where is My Wandering Boy Tonight?" This did not cause 
so much concern in New York, where everybody knew that 
the blithesome lad was down at the Dutchman's or shooting 
pool for the drinks over at Dolan's; but many an eye welled 
up in the Home Town thinking of the boy trying to make 
good in that cesspool of iniquity, "The New Babylon." Their 
anguish would, no doubt, have been greatly intensified had 
they learned that he was at that very moment paying five 
cents for a schooner of suds, while there was a cellar full of 
galvanic applejack in the old homestead at that very moment, 
that could be had for nothing. So this song ranked with East 
Lynne, Camille, and the apotheosis of Little Eva, as sure-fire 
sob-stuff, and any show that could excite the lachrymal glands 
of the road, needed only Bullinger's Guide as a booking 
route. For years, the Old Homestead was a perennial rite like 
Barnum's Circus, sulphur and molasses, seedtime and har- 
vest, and Santa Claus; the quartet waxed from stentorian 
youth to quavering old age, and passed down the aisles of 
time like animated phonograph records, until their vocal 
chords ultimately cracked as records also do. 

"Silver Threads Among the Gold" had tremendous vogue 
in those days, as did "Juanita," "The Blue Danube," "Rocked 
in the Cradle of the Deep," "My Bonnie Lies over the 
Ocean," "Monastery Bells," and "Good Night, Ladies!" 

A peculiarity of the theater in those days was the adoration 
of the matinee girl for her favorite on the stage. During the 
run of The Little Minister, the stage entrance of the Empire 
was thronged with violet-laden devotees who stood patiently 
waiting for Maude Adams to come out to her hansom, hop- 
ing that, as she hurried by, she might accept one of the bou- 
quets held out to her or perhaps by some lucky chance drop 
a glove or a handkerchief. These would be snatched up and 
carried off to some schoolgirl sanctum. Ethel Barrymore's ad- 

28-V cJj^toWfvdtanc Uianis cutui Q)wudaaa u ^twvJcA 

mirers were about evenly divided between the young bloods 
of the day who wanted to marry her and the matinee girls 
who tried to copy her delightful, seductive, throaty voice and 
mobbed her after performances in the hope that the haughty 
Ethel would glance their way, which she rarely did. Mary 
Mannering likewise had her quota of stagedoor followers 
who imitated the Janice Meredith curl which the actress 
made famous during the run of that play. Unlike the shy 
Ethel and the mystery-enshrouded Maude Adams, Mary 
Mannering rewarded her devotees with a dazzling smile and 
always some warm-hearted expression of appreciation of their 
devotion, so that when she married Hackett, it seemed a 
right and fitting climax to the many romantic love scenes 
they had seen these two enact. 

In those days we said it with flowers to our stage favorites 
right out in front of everybody, usually at the end of the first 
act when the hurried tramp of the ushers' feet, as they rushed 
the huge floral offerings to the stage and handed them over 
the footlights to riotous applause, was as much a part of the 
entr'acte as the selections by the orchestra. Nor did the audi- 
ence wait until the end of an act, either, to show its appreci- 
ation of some particularly thrilling or charming bit of acting. 
A heroic speech, a rescue of the leading lady in the nick of 
time, and bouquets which a moment before had ornamented 
the bosoms of the well-dressed feminine theater-goers, were 
torn loose from their moorings and hurled at the stage, some- 
times with disastrous results. It must also be confessed that 
the behavior of the audience was frequently embarrassing to 
the players, since they often insisted that the dead cr fainting 
Thespian arise, take the flowers and bow, before the action 
was allowed to proceed. 

Out in the lobby, before the performance, these floral 
tributes were on display so that all who looked might see 
which members of the cast received the greatest number; but 
alas for this most charming custom, it was whispered by some 

cJleW italic o)taaa anA JllicLniahi Sttppe/td 285 

old meanies that many of the five-foot floral offerings were 
purchased by the actors themselves and sent to the theater 
with fictitious names attached. Of course, there was no truth 
in this, but the rush of the flower-laden ushers down the aisles 
was found to be a serious interference with the carefully se- 
lected ent facte program. Some hard-boiled conductors were 
even said to have objected strenuously to being hit on the 
head with the flying bouquets. Followed a managerial pro- 
nouncement and one more prerogative of the audience passed 
into history along with the wearing of hats by the ladies. 

Another and more celebrated feature of New York after- 
theater life was the bird and bottle supper with the musical 
comedy stars. The witching hour at these parties was eleven- 
thirty, when the show girls began to drift in from the vari- 
ous Broadway successes. It was a sight for the gods to watch 
their majestic progress down the room. The famous beauties, 
whose pictures were in the lobbies and whose names were in 
the feature stories, knew just the right moment for their en- 
trance into the crowded restaurants. The wise orchestra 
leader knew his cue and, as a headliner appeared at the door 
with her escort, he gave the signal to his men and the strains 
of her song hit greeted her. She was always just so surprised; 
fluttered nervously with the great bouquets of violets or or- 
chids which her well-repaid admirer carried for her and fi- 
nally, with every eye upon her, walked slowly to their re- 
served table. Her costly pearl dog-collar was well displayed 
upon her shapely neck; her beautiful arms bare to the shoul- 
der, her tightly laced waist throwing into bold relief the 
rounded bosom and the swelling hips, swathed in the most 
clinging of satin skirts that swept the floor in a long, billow- 
ing train. 

Each talked-about beauty, whether show girl, high-priced 
star or member of the chorus, had her similar entrance, drew 
her own little crowd of devotees and provided ample thrills 
and excitement for the crowd without the slightest effort. 

%86 Jj^vQA^ruAatvQ. Ononis anA Q)wvcdaaa O nAixukb 

True, these abandoned creatures did not smoke in those days 
—for well they knew that an outraged proprietor would have 
had them unceremoniously escorted to the door, at such an 
open affront to public decency. However, there were compen- 
sations. Hundred dollar bills and diamond necklaces were 
frequently tucked into the bunches of flowers that the flower 
girls sold from high-heaped trays; champagne flowed like 
water; it did not need Texas Guinan in those rosy days to 
plead: "Give this little girl a hand." The little girl of the 
'90s didn't need a bit of help. 

These recollections of other and younger days brings back 
also the unalloyed delight with which I watched the bill 
poster cover the fence around the empty lots near my house 
with the most exciting, thrilling, blood-curdling pictures that 
ever were on land or sea. I remember, as if it were but yes- 
terday, Augustin Daly's first play, Under the Gaslight. The 
hero was tied to the railroad track and the headlights of the 
express rounding the curve were throwing their beams upon 
him, so close was the impending doom. Of course, the hero- 
ine breaks down the door of the cabin that confined her and 
cuts her lover loose just in time. Then there was that pure 
young soul in Only a Working Girl smarting under the in- 
sults of the proud and haughty daughter of the rich. Then 
there was The Silver King returning to his snow-laden cot- 
tage, just in time to save it from the ruthless extortioner 
about to foreclose the inevitable mortgage. I can see the hero 
of The Still Alarm driving his white horses and fire engine to 
the rescue of the maiden in the burning mansion. I can see 
the boat race in The Dark Secret, rowed in I don't know how 
many thousand gallons of real water. This was the first tank 
drama. I can see Bettina Girard riding the winner in Old 
Kentucky and Leonard Boyne, in The Prodigal Daughter. I 
can see any number of bodies lashed to the rails of The Lim- 
ited Mail, The Pay Train, The Fast Express, or lashed to the 
plank in Blue Jeans. I can see the duel in the snow of The 

cJlev2 aoJvk Q)taa& cunA JluA^^iahi q)wmmaa. 287 

Corsican Brothers, and Monte Cristo on the wave-lashed rock 
shrieking "The World Is Mine!" I can see the human bridge 
over which the heroine of Hands Across the Sea crosses the 
chasm in escaping from her pursuers. An unforgotten scene 
is that of the troupe of exiles in Siberia on their way to that 
airy region under the lashes of the Cossacks. I think it was in 
this play that the phrase "Back to the Mines!" had its origin. 
Other Arctic pictures that cross my mind while my feet are 
on the fender and I watch my twenty dollars a ton coals go to 
blazes, are those of The Land of the Midnight Sun, The Sea 
of Ice with which Kate Claxton followed The Two Orphans, 
and Storm-Beaten. The great raft scene in The World was a 
crackerjack and "Davy Crockett" thrusting his arm through 
the hasps of the cabin door is a classic, as is also Eliza Cross- 
ing the Ice in Uncle Tom's Cabin. So were scenes in The 
World Against Her, The Black Flag, and The Danger Signal. 
Fascinating too, were the scenes from The Sporting Duchess, 
The White Heather, The Fatal Card and The Power of the 
Press, while the pictures of that first and best of "crook" 
plays, Jim the Penman, riveted the passer-by. The perennial 
Barnum came with the flowers that bloom in the spring and 
brought an art gallery to the small boy that not all the Met- 
ropolitans, Louvres and Salons can ever obliterate. 

Among the more important plays produced is one to which 
I would call special attention, as it has unusual historic sig- 
nificance—that of Pudd'nhead Wilson. It was played at the 
Herald Square Theatre, by Frank Mayo, also of Davy Crock- 
ett fame. The action of the play hinges upon an identification 
by means of the thumb prints of two persons, the scientific 
study of which had been Pudd'nhead's hobby. This identifi- 
cation brings his enemies to confusion, and the play to a tri- 
umphant close. Although Galton's thumb-print theory was 
not unknown to local criminologists, it was the striking ex- 
emplification of its use in this play that directed the special 

288 Jj/iQA&tUilatiQ. Jf/LOtvks 04xd Qaiataaa <J ravwkA 

attention of the New York police officials to it and led to its 
adoption by the department. 

At the close of the play, Frank Mayo was called upon for a 
speech. He read the following dispatch from Mark Twain: 
"Cable me the jury's verdict." The audience cried in answer, 
"A success." 

A long time after Al Woods, one of the highlights in the 
'90s, had become a prominent figure on Broadway, he still 
clung to some of his old Bowery customs. One of these was to 
sit in a wooden chair tilted back against the wall and sink a 
wicked wad of Virgin Leaf back of his tongue and shout 
" 'lo Sam," " 'lo Bill," "How do, Mis' Smith," to the passing 
throngs. The atmosphere of a general country store has al- 
ways been like a letter from home to Al, and the big thing he 
misses in this crowded city of ours is the smell of the old liv- 
ery stable with the little sign of T. J. Smith, Veterinary, in 
the window. Anyone can get a rise out of Al by making a 
noise like a tree toad and handing him a bunch of pussy wil- 
lows. And if you can smell like a load of new-mown hay, he is 
yours for life. 

The New York stage in the '90s was a glittering spectacle. 
Many of us think it was then at the highest point of its artistic 
and cultural life. Certainly, the men who directed it were 
less commercial than their immediate successors. That Daly 
and Frohman died practically penniless was no reflection on 
their artistic abilities, no matter how much of a reproach it 
may have been to their business side. The blood of the mar- 
tyr is the seed of the church; and in the sacrifices demanded 
of these managers, succeeding generations reaped the benefit. 
The Stage as a whole was immensely enriched by their ef 1 

A whole chapter in these memoirs might be given to Mrs. 
Fiske alone; there is a colorful figure if ever there was one. 
For some fool reason or other she never was seen often 

JXcW Oonk Q)taae. atiA Jliiclnialfit c)itpp€/iA 289 

enough in New York. Yet as Woollcott says: "It is pleasant to 
know that she passed this way." 

Then again there are a lot of delightful personages whom 
we would all like to see take one more curtain call. Ada 
Rehan, Maude Adams, Margaret Illington, Blanche Bates, 
Lillian Russell, Edna May, Maxine Elliot, Mary Mannering, 
Edith Kingdon, Viola Allen, Maud Brunscombe, Fanny 
Ward, Virginia Harned, Annie Russell, Fanny Davenport, 
Frankie Bailey, May Irwin, Rose Coghlan, Fay Templeton, 
Mrs. Leslie Carter, Mrs. Whiffen, Mrs. Gilbert, Mrs. John 
Drew, Kate Claxton, Clara Morris, Ellen Terry, Mary An- 
derson and a heavenly host of others. What a glorious galaxy 
they would make spread across the stage! 

With them should be John Drew, Jimmie Lewis, John Gil- 
bert, Maurice Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Sydney Her- 
bert, Frederick de Belleville, Kyrle Bellew, John McCul- 
lough, C. W. Couldock, Lester Wallack, Frank S. Chanfrau, 
W. H. Crane, C. E. Robson, Ed. Harrigan, Tony Hart, 
Johnny Wilde, E. M. Holland, Sidney Drew, James K. Hack- 
ett, Walker Whiteside, Richard Mansfield, William Faver- 
sham, Augustus Thomas, Walter Hampden, Henry Irving, 
Lew Fields, Joe Weber, Pete Daly, Wilton Lackaye, Henry E. 
Dixey, De Wolf Hopper, George M. Cohan, Honey Boy 
Evans, George Primrose, Billy West, the four Mortons, the 
four Cohans, Eva Tanguay, Jim and Bonnie Thornton, Wil- 
lie Collier, Williams and Walker, Eddie Foy, and Murphy 
and Nichols, whose skit called From Zaza to Uncle Tom 
would still bring out the S. R. O. sign at any vaudeville the- 
ater, if they could be lured from retirement to play it once 

Musical comedy was high in public favor in the 'gos. The 
spectacular success of The Belle of New York with Edna 
May; Florodora with its now historic sextet; The Geisha; 
De Wolf Hopper's Wang with Delia Fox and her famous 
curl; La Poupee, which owed its long run to Anna Held's 

much imitated song, "I Just Can't Make My Eyes Behave," 
these and many other tuneful and eye-filling musical shows 
not only created new stellar favorites but unloosed upon the 
Broadway night life a host of chorus beauties who, with their 
proud escorts, graced the tables of Rector's, Martin's and 
Shanley's for the after-theater supper without which no self- 
respecting male would think of winding up an evening at 
the play. 

The Casino was also the birthplace of The Belle of New 
York, which was the first American Musical Comedy to make 
a hit abroad. This amusing farrago was also the making of 
Edna May, whose demure Salvation Army lassie so captured 
the British aristocracy that Miss May became a figure in 
Mayfair drawing-rooms. The Belle of New York was Miss 
May's outstanding theatrical success, and after a few later 
ventures on the stage, she retired to private life in London. 

The Casino girls of this time had no little success in the 
eligible "catches" they made in the enhanced glamour of the 
footlights. The Florodora sextet became the shining ex- 
ample of what the $15 a week chorus-girl could accomplish 
when she set her mind to it, as common report had it that 
they had all been allied to a corresponding sextet of honest- 
to-goodness millionaires— not the stage kind. One of the no- 
tables among this class of Casino girls was Mabelle Gilman 
Corey, who took into camp no less a personage than William 
E. Corey. This little excursion, however, cost him his job 
as president of the United States Steel Corporation, and 
eventually Mabelle herself gave him the blue envelope. 

Years ago, tableaux were a staple form of public amuse- 
ment, not to speak of their private employment as "parlor 
entertainments." All the "moral shows" of all the ages lead- 
ing up to the "Age of Innocence" had them. Then art struck 
the old Bowery, and the cellar "free and easies" of old Broad- 
way and the tableaux assumed a wider latitude; in fact, so 
wide that the "leathern eads" (now "cops") used to make 

periodical descents on them, very much in the same manner 
as they do today with reference to the unabashed drama, 
proving that things haven't changed so much, after all. The 
tableaux were part of all the old calcium-lit spectacles and 
burlesques, and brought down the curtain amid tumultuous 

Finally, this naive entertainment passed out with the Crys- 
tal Palace school of art and the Black Crook coryphees, and 
for many a long day the motionless human figure was un- 
known to the stage. The '90s, however, saw a recrudescence, 
or rather a variation of it in the "Living Pictures," which, 
after creating some stir abroad, came to New York to advance 
local education in art. The Living Pictures were simply more 
or less faithful reproductions of celebrated paintings and 
sculptures by the human model. They were represented in 
a gilt frame under a powerful light behind a red plush cur- 
tain, which was closed to afford the necessary changes. 

Some of the pictures were very like the originals, others 
required imagination. "Paul and Virginia" flying from the 
storm were quite good if they were not kept too long stand- 
ing each on one leg. The "Dying Gladiator" was often the 
victim of a conqueror who lacked biceps, and there were 
other lapses from strict realism observable to the captious. 
The reproductions of the nude were prime favorites in an 
age that considered "flesh-colored" tights the very minimum 
of public attire, although most of the "Venuses" and the 
"Springs" and "Summers" were generally wanting in that 
desirable pulchritude necessary to classical allegory. 

In Europe these pictures were presented without the pro- 
tection of even flesh-colored tights, and persistent rumors 
were kept in circulation that the same idea would be fol- 
lowed here. But that old "Roundsman of the Lord," Anthony 
Comstock, was on the alert, and such an exhibition would 
have been pie for him. Enough was attempted, however, to 

292 JJ^Mj^rtdtottc Ononis and, Q)wiuiaaa O lAxxvLb 

create tremendous interest in the scheme, with the gratifying 
result of crowded houses at every performance. 

When an exhibition of classic statuary was held in Cincin- 
nati at about the time Living Pictures were rampant, the 
good ladies of that virtuous town decided that it would only 
be a wise precaution to have all the figures draped in cloth- 
ing before the young people were admitted. Powers' Greek 
Slave was accordingly arrayed in a dainty little calico blouse 
and a pair of canton flannel drawers reaching, as was then 
fashionable, to her ankles. The others were tastefully arrayed 
in panties of dotted swiss, dimities and other popular fabrics 
of the hour. 

The plague of Little Lord Fauntleroys at this time was 
something of stupendous proportions, and besides Wallace 
Eddinger, many another boy inwardly swore at his doting 
mama who rigged him up in the now well-known costume 
immortalized by Reginald Birch in his famous illustrations 
of Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett's story then running se- 
rially in St. Nicholas. While it would not be true to say that 
Mrs. Burnett's story could not have scored the success it did 
without them, here was one case at least where the illustra- 
tions really helped and Birch's interpretation of the Little 
Lord became second in popularity only to the story itself. A 
whole generation of boys would have been glad to see Birch 
hung, drawn and quartered. The "Little Lord Fauntleroy" 
suit, with its insipid sash and wide "sissy" collar, peered from 
every shop window in the land and the streets were filled 
with quondam Fauntleroys. 

Chapter XIV 

c/tcv3 oqa)L Q)lrva6 uLwrvnA 

It will, no doubt, in view of what I have just written, seem 
strange to my readers to think that a very pleasant Sunday 
evening was often spent by us in singing the hymns of Fanny 
Crosby, accompanied by a venerable Mason k Hamlin organ. 
This very remarkable woman was a pupil and then a teacher 
for many, many years in our New York Institute for the 
Blind. At the early age of six months, she lost her sight en- 
tirely and lived for nearly a century in total darkness. Such 
was the spirit, however, of this wonderful woman, that she 
refused to be cast down by her heavy misfortune and all 
through life maintained a smiling attitude that was the 
marvel and the admiration of her millions of friends. For 
there was no home in this whole land from Maine to Cali- 
fornia, there was no church, no Sunday School, no religious 
gathering of any kind, that did not, as part of their proceed- 
ings, sing some of the beautiful hymns written by Fanny 

During her period as a teacher, for in addition to her 
physical affliction, the problem of earning her own living was 
also to be faced, Miss Crosby found a willing helper in one 
of the half-grown boys in the office. This particular lad took 
infinite pains to be of as much use to the handicapped teacher 
as he could. She would scribble her verses on fugitive scraps 
of paper and he would immediately copy them in a neat cop- 
perplate hand and file them carefully for future reference. 
In a hundred little ways he sought to lighten her burdens 


29-V tJj^uM^fi&tane <Jiank& at\A Qarudaaa u nAxxvbb 

wherever possible. The friendship thus formed lasted 
throughout their lives. 

The boy's name was Grover Cleveland. And in later years 
when Miss Crosby visited Washington, the business of the 
mightiest Government on earth ceased, while the President 
himself put his strong arms around the frail body of his old 
teacher and gently guided her faltering footsteps to a com- 
fortable chair next his desk. 

When our great Union General was laid to rest on River- 
side Drive, Gilmore's great band of five hundred pieces 
played Miss Crosby's hymn, "Safe In the Arms of Jesus," as 
the body was lowered into the vault. I stood with that im- 
mense throng that afternoon in the woods that then faced 
the Hudson. And I shall never forget the solemn hush that 
spread over that huge gathering as the last notes of Fanny 
Crosby's beautiful hymn died in the gathering dusk, and we 
realized that our Great Warrior was at last at peace. 

She was fortunate in having as an associate teacher in the 
Institute, another interesting figure, George F. Root, whose 
gift as a composer translated Miss Crosby's poems into im- 
perishable music. Miss Crosby wrote more than three thou- 
sand hymns, a prodigious accomplishment. Many of them re- 
tain their popularity to this day and some seem likely to 
become immortal. I shall mention but a few, though many 
others will naturally suggest themselves to those who lived 
through the religious revivals of Moody and Sankey's time, 
in which the hymns of Fanny Crosby played so important a 

In emotional appeal and soul-satisfying content, I would 
probably place in the first rank, "Pass Me Not, O Gentle 
Saviour," though some prefer, "Saviour, More Than Life to 
Me." Yet "Lord, at Thy Mercy Seat, Humbly I Fall" and 
"Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross" are prime favorites of many. 

She wrote one hymn which did much to arouse interest in 
missionary work and which became the favorite farewell 

cJleW <jQJvL Q)ltvaA uLtmwUi 295 

hymn of those about to leave for foreign shores and which 
was sung at hundreds of departures as the missionaries set 
out upon their noble errands. It had a snap and a go to it 
that was indescribable:— 

Speed away, speed away on your mission of light 
To the lands that are lying in darkness and night, 
Take your lives in your hands, to the work while 'tis day; 
Speed away! Speed away! Speed away! 

Most of us knew Miss Crosby's hymns by heart and there was 
never any diffidence or reluctance to give them a hearty ren- 

These Sunday evenings, with their simple hymn singing, 
were not at all an unusual or novel occurrence. There was 
a wave of religious revival all over the country at that time 
and the work of the evangelist was a prominent topic of 
general conversation. Some of the principal singers at these 
revival meetings enjoyed great popularity. Ira D. Sankey was 
one of them and Philip Phillips another. 

Philip Phillips was induced to give up everything and 
adopt the calling of a gospel singer as a result of his experi- 
ence in singing "Your Mission" before President Lincoln dur- 
ing a meeting in the Senate Chambers of a distinguished 
group of soldiers and civilians during the Civil War. The 
meeting was under the auspices of the United States Chris- 
tian Commission, an organization for the care of sick and 
disabled soldiers. The climax is reached in the fifth stanza: 

If you cannot in the conflict 
Prove yourself a soldier true, 
If, where fire and smoke are thickest 
There's no work for you to do, 
When the battlefield is silent 
You can go with careful tread, 
You can bear away the wounded, 
You can cover up the dead. 

296 <Jj^avJfvAtonc fJ^anis and Q)aAxdaoia U rwutvLb. 

Through the example of Mr. Phillips, Mr. Sankey was 
also induced to give up his business as a revenue officer and 
devote his life to the ministry of sacred song. All this can be 
traced to the influence of Mrs. Gates, who composed the 
music of Miss Crosby's famous missionary hymn. 

Mrs. Gates (Ellen M. Huntington) was the youngest sister 
of Collis P. Huntington, the builder of the first great trans- 
continental railway and an aunt of Archer M. Huntington, 
who has given New York the beautiful Hispanic Museum at 
Broadway and One Hundred and Fifty-eighth Street and whose 
timely contribution to the Museum of the City of New York 
at the first meeting held in the office of James Speyer the 
banker, did much to lift the idea out of the welter of doubt 
and uncertainty which always surrounds a new project. 

Undoubtedly, the exquisite literary quality of each was 
inspired and would have insured them high and permanent 
place in hymnology in any event, but their extraordinary 
vogue could never have been achieved but for the singular 
beauty of the tunes to which they were finally united, almost 
a century after they had been written. 

Mr. Beecher was an enthusiastic admirer of "Abide With 
Me" and included three verses of it in a collection of hymns 
in his Plymouth collection, but without any music. When it 
was decided to include it in a new compilation, it was sud- 
denly realized that there was no tune for "Hymn 27," as it 
was called. It had no name. The editor of the proposed com- 
pilation, Dr. Monk, thereupon set to work on the spur of the 
moment and produced in ten minutes the tune that ever 
after carried "Hymn 27" to the uttermost parts of the earth. 
Millions of people now sing these familiar verses, and I am 
glad to say I can still hear them as frequently as I did fifty 
years ago. 

Only recently at a great spectacular show in England, I 
was amazed and, at the same time deeply moved, to hear the 
loud speaker suddenly boom forth the opening bars of this 

<J teW oowL Q)iivas tjLmrutS 297 

beautiful hymn. Sixty thousand persons immediately rose and 
joined in the singing. The English are certainly a queer 
people. The entertainment was secular in the extreme. It 
portrayed the British Empire in its most militant mood, with 
pageants depicting her great warriors and conquerors— Nel- 
son, Wellington, Kitchener, Roberts, etc. The floodlights 
were suddenly darkened. Kipling's "Recessional" came from 
the microphone, to be followed by "Abide With Me." It did 
not seem in the least incongruous, though it had that appear- 
ance now that I write about it away from the influence of 
the brilliant pageant I had just witnessed. 

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide; 
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide: 
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee, 
Help of the helpless, O abide with me. 

Queer, lovely people, those English. It is a pleasant land 
to live in. 

Strange as it may appear, two of these beautiful hymns owe 
their tremendous popularity largely to old New York— 
"Abide With Me" and "Jesus, Lover of My Soul." Both have 
the same singular experience. While written in England, 
each had to wait for American music to endow them with 
the immortality which is now theirs. 

Simeon B. Marsh, a choir leader in the central part of our 
State, became leader of a choir in the Presbyterian Church 
at Amsterdam, and during a walk one morning jotted down 
on a piece of paper the notes of some music that persistently 
occurred to him. Years afterwards, his great friend Dr. 
Thomas Hastings, of the Presbyterian Church on Bleecker 
Street, thought that the tune was much better adapted to the 
great hymn of Charles Wesley than to the verses which Mr. 
Marsh had composed. So he sought and obtained permission 
to make the change, Mr. Marsh sending him a copy of the 
original score with his name inscribed as a friendly greeting. 

298 Jj^uM^tdWte <Jiahi& anA Q^wtcdaaa O iajltikA 

The adoption o£ "Martyn" as Mr. Marsh called his tune, had 
an immediate effect on the popularity of Wesley's hymn. 
Gilmore, at the Peace Jubilee in Boston, selected it as a rep- 
resentative American tune and invited Mr. Marsh to hear it, 
which he did. 

It is, indeed, pleasant to know that old New York, in spite 
of its world-wide reputation for wickedness, cynicism and 
general ungodliness, has, nevertheless, thus given the Devil 
two good cracks that he is not apt to forget in a hurry. 

These hymns and dozens of other old stand-bys were 
known and sung in almost all the houses I visited, and pro- 
vided many a pleasant Sunday evening for young and old. 

I might also add to this list of songsters, the name of an- 
other New Yorker who wrote what, I think, is conceded to 
be by far the most popular song ever written in the English 
—or for that matter— any other language— "Home, Sweet 
Home." That is the work of John Howard Payne, who first 
saw the light of day when our city was still in its cradle days 
and practically unknown to the outside world. He was not 
born in Boston, as was stated on the inscription which for 
many years stood over his grave in Tunis. 

The little home to which he was removed after his birth 
in New York and where he spent a good part of his boyhood, 
still stands in old East Hampton. Thus the lad, though 
brought up in the city, had authentic early associations with 
a "lowly cottage" and with "birds singing gayly that came at 
his call." 

It was recently owned by Mr. Gustavus Buck, an old-time 
partner of Peter Marie's, in the lithograph business in this 
town and who had enough sentiment to repair it and bring 
it back to its former glory. Hundreds of golfers drive past it 
on the way to the links every day in summer, but few know 
that the modest little farmhouse is the boyhood home of the 
author of "Home, Sweet Home." 

Payne did not live a life of disappointment, penury and 

cJte^ aonXi e)inoA uLuinnA 299 

toil, as so many writers tell us. He was undoubtedly a disap- 
pointed man in at least one respect. He wooed and lost Mary 
Shelley, widow of the poet, who was in love with his whim- 
sical and fascinating friend, Washington Irving. 

Even in the world of musical comedy, generally regarded 
as the stronghold of the Devil's cohorts, the church has been 
able to capture another effective ally. Few song hits in the 
history of this attractive field of vocalism have ever equaled 
the popularity of "Onward, Christian Soldiers!" written by 
Sir Arthur Sullivan, composer of The Mikado, Pinafore, and 
a dozen other seductive wiles of Satan, as the churchgoers of 
my day described the theater. 

When Kitchener received a telegram from a chaplain who 
thought peace would soon be declared between the Boers and 
the British, stating: "I am Acting Chaplain and shall conduct 
divine service in several camps tomorrow. May I ask if 'Peace, 
Perfect Peace' would be a most appropriate hymn to sing?" 
Kitchener answered "Please yourself, but I think 'Onward, 
Christian Soldiers' quite as good." 

Chapter XV 

O QAX/fjLoAb. u \j2Ad6toane/i c/ileft 

Of the great editors who were then prominent in New York 
Mr. Dana of the Sun probably headed the list for individual 
ability. George Jones, after his terrific contest with the 
Tweed ring, had practically retired to a well-earned rest. 
James Gordon Bennett was dead. Horace Greeley was dead. 
Whitelaw Reid was coming into prominence as the Young 
Editor of the Tall Tower, as Mr. Dana facetiously described 
him, alluding to the new building erected by the Tribune 
which completely dwarfed and darkened the decrepit quar- 
ters of the Sun. Edwin L. Godkin held forth with Horace 
White in Hamilton's old paper, the Evening Post. The Com- 
mercial Advertiser , under Hugh Hastings, was a nonentity 
except for a brief period when Lincoln Steffens essayed to 
breathe new life into the moribund corpse. George William 
Curtis, the impeccable, of Harper's Weekly, should also be 
mentioned. The Weekly, under Mr. Curtis, wielded a tre- 
mendous political influence, but the beginning of the end 
was in sight for this particular class of journal owing to, the 
recent invention of a process by which news events could be 
illustrated and printed simultaneously. 

Mr. Dana was the enfant terrible of the Press, and in the 
gentle art of making enemies could excel even the justly cele- 
brated James M'Neill Whistler himself. All the editors were 
given to polite adulation of each other and their pretty com- 
pliments added to the gayety of nations. In this renowned 
sport, Mr. Dana, like Abou Ben Adhem, led all the rest. One 


bottle on his desk was filled with ink and another with the 
milk of human kindness. One was always empty and the other 
overflowed. To illustrate. 

"If any person supposes that the revelation of what White- 
law Reid wrote to Blaine against Roscoe Conkling, can add 
a pang to the reminiscences of that great stalwart, he is 
doubtless mistaken. Does the lion care when he is told that 
amid the hurly burly assaults of many base animals he was 
also kicked by an ass without knowing it?" 

A trifle turgid but understandable. 

In addition to settling the affairs of the nation and of the 
universe, when necessary, the intellectual resources of the Sun 
were also occasionally employed to solve some of the sur- 
plus social problems that presented themselves from time 
to time as in the mooted question concerning table napkins. 
Should the guest fold them up after using them or should he 
nonchalantly abandon them to their fate? There was no 
Emily Post in those days to tell you what was wrong with this 

Mr. Laffan was known to be a high authority on Ancient 
Ceramics and Oriental pottery. The question therefore was 
referred to him and decided in favor of leaving the napkin 
unfolded. "Thus," explained the naive Mr. Laffan, "paying 
your hostess the delicate compliment of knowing that she 
didn't care how much her wet wash cost." 

At that time, our Navy was in swaddling clothes and a 
prolific source of scandal were the curious circumstances sur- 
rounding the awarding of construction contracts. I was one 
of the so-called "bright young men" of the Sun who penned 
the alleged letters highly commending (?) the Navy on every 
occasion. A collision in the Bay between the U. S. S. Ajax 
and the old Dominion liner, the Guyandotte, whereby a hole 
was stove in the bow of the Ajax, would produce an imagi- 
nary communication like this addressed to the Secretary of 
the Navy: 

302 <Jjiav2*i^£aae J'^umvLs and Q>aAxdaaa J /uwvJcA 

My dear Robeson. 

I see by the papers that the Ajax has run into the Guyandotte, 
has had a hole stove in her bow, and is now useless. 

Not at all, Sir. All you've got to do is to hunt up that hole- 
it must be floating around the bay somewhere— and have it 
towed over to our yards. I will build a new ship around it. 

Sincerely yours, 

John Roach 

Dana would chuckle as he put a head on it— "An Inter- 
cepted Letter." I had a narrow escape from joining the im- 
mortals of the Sun permanently. 

The Tribune thoughtlessly uncovered a hitherto unsus- 
pected gusher of vituperation when it rented one of its street 
stores to a lager beer saloon, as we called them in those days. 
The lessees were Koster & Bial, who were later to shine as 
promoters of the great Carmencita, the Spanish dancer, and 
to revel in a green or "cork" room in their Thirty-fourth 
Street establishment, which was a veritable sensation in the 
theatrical world. As Greeley was nationally known as a vehe- 
ment teetotaler, Mr. Dana had a slightly justifiable basis for 
his attack. And he reveled in the opportunity. 

Beecher, Cleveland, Grant, Hayes and half a dozen others 
were included in his violent love-making. I often wondered 
why one of them didn't cane him. 

When Cleveland died, the Sun had a long leading article, 
highly eulogistic of the man it had once pilloried as hiding 
behind his wife's skirts to escape merited punishment for 
some offense or other, and ended with a paragraph to the 
effect that all unhappy differences with the ex-President had 
long ago been pleasantly adjusted. 

I always thought Mr. Mitchell wrote that wind-up. 

Enterprise in journalism had slumbered since the death 
of the elder Bennett. No one of them was trying to steal the 
other's circulation. Peace and quiet reigned everywhere. 
Serene in the knowledge that their properties were amply pro- 

<Jea/i£e&A cJteWdjiape/t c/llen 303 

tected from outside competition by their possession of a 
monopolistic franchise in the Associated Press, they were like 
a lot of sleek, well-fed tabby cats warming themselves before 
a kitchen fire. Self-approbation and contentment were so 
thick you could cut them with a knife. 

And then the right honorable Joseph Pulitzer of St. Louis 
meandered into the room and looked around. 

A diamond-studded belt on the waist of Mr. Dana at- 
tracted his attention. "A Million a Week," it read, in glitter- 
ing letters. He promptly removed Mr. Dana from the warm- 
est and most comfortable position near the fire and sat down 
in it himself. The others looked askance, but said nothing. 
Mr. Dana wrote a piece in his paper next morning, entitled 
"Move On, Joe" which was creditably written. Joe pretended 
not to hear; he only crept closer to the fire. 

The door opened and the wind blew in a young, good- 
looking cat. This time from California. The newcomer 
decided at once that he wanted the choice place preempted 
by Pulitzer. He arched his back, hoisted his tail, gave a 
warning s-s-sp-i-tt and proceeded to dig his claws into the 
thick fur of Pulitzer. It was a most unseemly gesture and 
brought forth loud expressions of disgust from the others 
who abhorred scenes of violence and bewailed such lack of 
good form. They tried to excuse it on the ground that he was 
an untutored prospector from the wild and woolly West. 
"Back to the Mines," they cried, but Hearst only grinned. 
Besides he was very busy at that moment. Pulitzer was de- 
fending himself. The police appeared and haled the two 
malefactors to court. Before the judge, Hearst admitted that 
the scrap had cost him over eight million dollars. Pulitzer, 
who hated to lose money, could not even articulate. Someone 
stole Dana's beautiful "Million a Week" belt during the 
melee, and he never found it again. Pulitzer finally vanished, 
leaving three kittens to take his place. The Black Cat made 
one mouthful of the three. 

30-V J«5^o^2nAtaac Oiard& and &€ifccdaaa OiMntte 

It is doubtful if there ever was a more picturesque, bizarre 
and eccentric genius in journalism than Pulitzer. A story was 
once current that when he first arrived from Hungary a 
penniless immigrant, he sought shelter one night from the 
bitter cold in the corridor of French's Hotel, then on the 
site of the present World building. No doubt, he presented 
a rather depressing sight as he huddled up against the grate- 
ful warmth of the steam radiator. The contrast between the 
shivering derelict and the comfortable well-fed patrons of 
the hotel was doubtless disconcerting. So the porter was 
ordered to chase the boy out. It was said that the young immi- 
grant then and there resolved that some day he would have 
money enough to own a big building and when that time 
came he would pull down French's Hotel and erect in its 
place a structure that would be of some use to the world at 
large and not merely a refuge for the plutocrat. 

Be that as it may, this dream came true. And French's 
Hotel was pulled down and the new World building with a 
brilliant, glittering, gold dome erected in its place. This bur- 
nished blazing sky piece catches the rays of the rising sun and 
glows in its effulgence all day long. 

Regarding his paper, he was noisy, vociferous and tumul- 
tuous all the time. He shouted the praises of the World week- 
days, Sundays and holidays. His want ads were numberless; 
his circulation was tremendous; his zeal for the dear people 
was overwhelming. You couldn't see the forest for the trees. 

Yet he put out a surprisingly good paper. He also knew a 
good thing when he saw it. One day a young artist shyly 
dropped a package of pen and ink drawings in the office and 
hastily disappeared. They were "take-offs" on the news of 
the day— cartoons, they call them now. That young man 
might have taken them to every newspaper office in the coun- 
try and never heard from them again. But Fate guided him 
aright, and Pulitzer hired Walt MacDougall to do just the 
kind of work he wanted to do. A drawing of his, "Belchazzar's 

O qxx/iam6&. JLe\$6nati&i c/lten 305 

Feast"— apropos of a dinner given by millionaires to Blaine 
during the 1884 campaign— was given a prominent place on 
the front page— thus showing Pulitzer's unerring instinct for 
news-values— created a sensation and was deadly in its effect 
on Blaine's aspirations. MacDougall continued to be a head- 
liner with Pulitzer for many years. 

Pulitzer had now gained enormous wealth. He had every- 
thing life had to offer except one trifling detail— health. In 
his struggle for fame and fortune, he never spared himself. 
He simply knew no limits to his own capacity. He labored 
all the time. So he began to break down. First his eyes, then 
his nerves. And soon his beloved newspaper office, dearer 
almost to him than life itself— was to know him no more. 

There is something indescribably sad in the cruel fate that 
overwhelmed so brilliant a soul. At the very pinnacle of fame, 
the fruit of his labor was snatched from him. In a very literal 
sense, he was Midas reincarnated. Everything he touched 
turned to gold. And of all the metals known to man, gold in 
itself is the most worthless. So it could not buy him eyesight; 
it could not buy him sleep. It enabled him to purchase the 
means to search the world for these elusive attributes— but 
all in vain. 

After his home in New York was built, a hidden stream 
appeared. The water had to be diverted by a small steam 
engine. The throb of this little motor racked his worn frame. 
A sound-proof room had to be built in the small space re- 
served for sunlight and air. In his magnificent estate in Bar 
Harbor, the moan of the surf at the foot of his castle drove 
him frantic and a huge tower was built of such massive 
strength that it kept out everything— moans, light, air— and 

A great yacht was built and its mighty engines were stilled 
when the owner wished to walk on deck. He would have 
quieted the waves, but the waves were not on the pay roll 
of the World and they refused to be stilled. The turbulence 

306 J,5>'ta4$fL&tafve Onxm^A anA Q)axaiaaa O WLnJib 

of the ocean was like the turbulence of his own soul, and 
perhaps that gave him solace. 

Surrounded by doctors and nurses, secretaries and cable- 
grams, the great editor passed the remnant of his life. He 
deserved a better fate. There was much that was kindly, 
much that was lovable, behind that bristling red beard and 

Old quality advertising. 

those steely eyes. He meant to be, and has been, of service 
to mankind. But the monument he reared to his memory 
crumbled to dust in the hands of his heirs and assigns. Requi- 
escat in pace. 

Hearst, his one and only rival, came of good stock. He was 
the son of George Hearst, an Argonaut, and United States 
Senator from California. He was one of the few fortunate 
gold seekers and amassed a huge fortune from the celebrated 
Comstock Mine, one lode of which yielded the enormous 
sum of seven hundred millions and made a dozen multi- 

Uea/uUtex dwA&&ato&i c/lleix 307 

Young William R., his only surviving son, had just gradu- 
ated from Harvard. Offered his choice of ranching or mining, 
he surprised his father by deciding in favor of publishing. 
As a political expedient, the elder Hearst had purchased the 
San Francisco Examiner. This the son chose as the starting 
point for his career. He made a success of it and decided to 
enter a larger field. And this led him to New York. 

His appearance in the great metropolis caused no great 
excitement— at first. It was merely a millionaire's son come 
to dissipate some of papa's money. His advent was looked 
upon more as a shower of manna from Heaven for needy 
journalists, than what it really turned out to be— an epoch- 
making event in the publishing world. 

He did not achieve his present eminence merely as a result 
of countless financial resources. He is at present one of the 
world's great publishers, owning more newspapers, peri- 
odicals and magazines than any other single individual. Out 
of them he derives an income almost beyond belief and he 
is constantly expanding. His public benefactions have been 
many, but are rarely recorded. One I think of particular 
value is the purchase of the entire site of the little town of 
New Salem in Illinois where Lincoln spent the years of his 
very early manhood, and where he met Anne Rutledge. As 
a surveyor, Lincoln laid out almost the entire town and many 
of the markers now there are his handiwork. As a place of 
interest in a study of Lincoln's life, this little spot is unique. 
It had reverted to pasture land when Mr. Hearst saw it. After 
its purchase, he presented the land to the State of Illinois as 
a site for a public park. A society has since been formed for 
the purpose of restoring the vanished village, and now many 
of the old buildings have been erected, especially the grocery 
store where the firm of Lincoln & Berry held forth, the cabin 
of Jack and Hannah Armstrong, and the tavern where dwelt 
Anne Rutledge. It is a public benefaction of great value and 
interest, and well worth a visit when you motor out that way. 

308 JJ^MH<2tt4tatvc Oxanis anA Q)wvaiaaa <J nAXXvbb 

Mr. Hearst is also a prominent figure in the production of 
moving pictures. He resides on a huge ranch in California 
a large part of his time, but has several other homes and a 
whole medieval castle in Wales. His young sons are now 
grown up and take part in the management of the vast 

Among the men who joined Hearst at the outset of his 
career and have achieved both fame and fortune, Mr. Arthur 
Brisbane is probably the best known. He received his earliest 
training under the redoubtable Dana of the Sun and from 
him passed to Pulitzer. He was in receipt of an income of 
$15,000 from the latter, when for reasons best known to him- 
self he decided to transfer his affections to Hearst, although 
the latter did not then have an opening of the same pecuni- 
ary value. Brisbane started at about half the sum— $8,000— 
but for many years his income has been placed at consider- 
ably over one hundred thousand dollars. He is the highest- 
paid journalist at large. 

His peculiar style of writing has had many imitators, but 
few possess the erudition, the wide background of reading 
and philosophy which are the distinguishing features of his 
writing. It is entirely within reason to say that more persons 
read his editorials every day than of all other newspaper 
writers together. They possess a quality that makes a unique 
appeal, and Mr. Brisbane enjoys the distinction of never hav- 
ing written for a paper that did not at once grow in circu- 

At about this time the great New York Times, its owner 
being dead, was for sale. It was purchased by the late Mr. 
Adolph Ochs, who hailed from Chattanooga, Tennessee, 
where he had a small paper. The Times was sadly run down 
at the time of his purchase, and the eyes of the reading public 
were largely upon the acrobatic doings of Pulitzer and Hearst. 
So the appearance of Mr. Ochs and the significance of his 
advent passed without notice. 

Ooxx/JuiMi. JLeAdtoiew&i JUjux 309 

Mr. Ochs proceeded quietly about the business of rebuilding 
the ruined Times. Despite the noise of the captains and the 
shouting, he took no part in the squabbles of his contempo- 
raries. His task was to make the Times the organ of a less 
hectic constituency than were attracted by the yellow jour- 
nals. Mr. Jones had left a great reputation and a tradition 
that was a valuable asset in the hands of the right successor. 
And Mr. Ochs proved to be the one. He early flew his ban- 
ner, "All the news that's fit to print," and soon after reduced 
the price of his paper to the modest sum of one cent. A vast 
army of readers, wearied unto death with the shriekings and 
fireworks of middle Park Row, welcomed the tranquillity 
and repose of the Times, and soon its circulation grew with 
seven-league strides. The Sunday Times, under Jones, had 
achieved a high rank as a literary production— its articles by 
Drysdale and others were charming essays in delightful Eng- 
lish—and Mr. Ochs proceeded to enlarge and enhance the 
literary atmosphere of his paper. Except for the Sunday edi- 
tion, illustrations formed no part of his plan except where 
they applied directly to a news article and then mostly por- 
traits. He eschewed the comic cartoon entirely. He ignored 
everything except the news. 

He early became a stanch supporter of every scientific 
effort that seemed to promise a betterment of conditions of 
mankind. Consequently, large sections of the paper were 
given up to Aviation, Exploration, Inventions and other 
events which he judged to be epoch-making. Mr. Jones, hav- 
ing imparted an independent character in politics to its 
editorial page, after years of slavish adherence to the Repub- 
lican Party, the same policy was pursued by Mr. Ochs. It 
seemed to be a change in keeping with more enlightened 
public opinion. The great masses of the people were no 
longer willing to have their thinking done by one man, as 
in the case of Greeley. And this policy seems to be the right 
one. It is no party organ of any faction. It treats political 

340 tJjAuiWfv&tane <J/iant& and o)axaiaoLa O nAJLtvkb 

news very much after the fashion of everyday news and seems 
not insistent on your believing as the Times believes, if you 
do not happen to agree. 

Some reference to The Evening Post those days might be 
in order. It was an anomaly of its kind. It was the organ of 
the plutocrat and famed for its financial news, and at the 
same time was Tammany's most dreaded foe. It was then 
edited by two of the best men in the profession, Horace 
White and Edwin L. Godkin. White had reported the de- 
bates between Lincoln and Douglas for the Chicago Tribune, 
and his occasional contributions to Lincolniana were unique 
and valuable. 

It was a newspaper of this scholarly type that Mr. Godkin 
served as editor. And of all the castigations that Tammany 
received, there were none to compare with the lashings that 
they received at the hands of Godkin. The man was fearless. 
I often wonder how he escaped with his life. Probably his 
prominence was all that saved him. They arrested him once 
and kept him locked up all night. Of course, in the morning, 
bail was easily secured. 

There was no doubt that under Godkin, the Post was a 
scourge to the saloon keepers and heelers that dominated 
membership in our Board of Aldermen at the time. He was 
a stanch upholder of the newly created Civil Service Com- 
mission and his work was effective and constructive. He was 
truly a great journalist and his passing away left an unfillable 

The marvelous Mr. Cyrus Curtis of the Ladies' Home Jour- 
nal, the Saturday Evening Post and a string of other publica- 
tions, bought Hamilton's paper and a new era was opened 
up for the Post. Now it has passed into other hands and is 
edited to catch the popular public. 

The Herald editorially never had much prestige; but as 
a newsgatherer it was supreme. And it had a unique depart- 
ment in its maritime service and in its Paris edition. This 

marine department was exclusively devoted to Shipping 
News, and word of the movement of nearly every ship at sea 
was faithfully portrayed the next morning in its columns. It 
seemed to have a much more personal interest for its readers 
than the same news has today. But in those days we had no 
wireless, no radio, and the world's commerce was still largely 
carried on by sailing ships. So the movements of these vessels 
were of vital concern to many persons and the item in the 
Herald was often all that was heard for months. This column 
spread the fame of the Herald from Singapore to Calcutta 
and from Liverpool to the uttermost corners of the Seven 
Seas. It contributed immensely to the prestige of the Herald 
and so this paper in the world's estimation was practically the 
only journal printed in North America. 

Whitelaw Reid, successor to Horace Greeley as editor of 
the Tribune, won his journalistic spurs as a correspondent in 
the field during the Civil War with Dana. He was a man of 
rare executive ability, as well as a man of letters and of ex- 
ceptional business capacity. Realizing the plight of the Trib- 
une brought about by Greeley's eccentric attitude immedi- 
ately following the close of the war, he secured sufficient 
capital to purchase control of the paper, and after Greeley's 
death assumed entire management editorially and otherwise. 
He was the first publisher to install a typesetting machine, 
and he early became financially interested in the Mergen- 
thaler invention for this purpose. He was high in the councils 
of the Republican Party for a third of a century, and under 
his administration the Tribune prospered. He married a 
daughter of D. O. Mills who, like Senator Hearst, was one of 
the original Comstock Mine owners. He subsequently became 
Ambassador to England, a post which he filled with distinc- 
tion. He died in London and his body was returned to New 
York aboard a U. S. warship escorted by British cruisers— 
an unprecedented honor. His son, Ogden Mills Reid, now 
conducts the Tribune. 

342 uJuvdnAtanA. Onxm&& and, Q)wtcdaaa O iumvkA 

The advent of the Tabloids and the ultimate effect it will 
have on journalism yet remains to be seen. The idea is an 
English one, being the development of an insignificant paper 
in London devoted to sports. The late Lord Northcliffe was 
much intrigued by the idea. During a visit to New York he 
was invited to produce his conception of a daily paper of 
this diminutive size and Mr. Pulitzer placed the World at 
his disposal for the experiment. It was an amusing incident 
in the travels of his lordship, but it produced no particular 
impression. About the only tangible result of the effort was 
the acquisition by Northcliffe of one of Pulitzer's most able 
lieutenants who had been of great help to him. Instead of 
feeling complimented by this additional approbation of his 
skill in picking clever associates, Mr. Pulitzer, probably re- 
calling Mr. Hearst's enthusiasm in the same direction, took 
umbrage at it and the cordial relations heretofore existing 
between "J. P." and a peer of the realm suddenly acquired 
an icy frigidity which was never dispelled. 

I first met Northcliffe in London. Motor cars were then a 
new thing but he had the latest and best French model. We 
toured through part of the Lake Country and spent a mem- 
orable day at Bath where he showed me the haunts of Beau 
Nash and the homes of many of England's fashionables when 
Bath was her great resort. 

During the trip to Bath, Northcliffe was emulating one of 
Pulitzer's pet circulation schemes; that was, making a great 
fuss about some criminal sentenced to pay the just penalty 
of his crimes. Some such cases possessed the necessary qual- 
ities for an increase of circulation in certain directions. 
Strenuous efforts would accordingly be made to interfere 
with the orderly procedure of justice accompanied by loud 
railings on the part of J. P. whose heart was bleeding for the 
penniless malefactor who would never have been so harshly 
condemned had he been a wealthy transgressor, etc., etc., etc. 

In Northcliffe's case it was a woman guilty of an atrocious 

kJ^wiIUss Jbi^Atoanari c/lten 343 

murder, who had been condemned to death. The time of 
execution was only a few hours distant, and all day emissaries 
from the Daily Mail had besieged the office of the Home Sec- 
retary for a reprieve, the Circulation Department meanwhile 
deluging London with Extras every half hour. At each of the 
quaint old English Inns at which we stopped for lunch and 
tea, a bundle of telegrams would await Northcliffe's arrival. 
At intervals, couriers would even overtake us on the road. 
The news was not encouraging. 

When the guests assembled for dinner, a wire came in 
announcing that the Home Secretary had flatly declined to 
listen to any more remonstrances. Just as the dinner was 
ended, a final telegram arrived stating that the murderess had 
been hanged by the neck till she was dead. 

Poor Northcliffe! The strain of the World War in which 
he played a great part, and a quarrel with Lloyd George 
brought him to an untimely end at the comparatively early 
age of fifty-five. 

Don Seitz said he went crazy. Well, what if he did? Lots 
of people go crazy. 

During his several visits to New York he always looked me 
up and my last breakfast with him was at Bolton Priory in 
Pelham where he stayed during a rather prolonged visit to 
New York during the War. He was an ardent Englishman 
and like Disraeli, an impassioned lover of the British Empire. 
I can well understand that sentiment in Rupert Brooke's 
poem when I think of Northcliffe: 

If I should die, think only this of me: 
That there's some corner of a foreign field 
That is forever England. There shall be 
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; 
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, 
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam; 
A body of England's, breathing English air, 
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home. . . . 

I am glad to know that a statue of him now stands on busy 
Fleet Street, the newspaper row of London, the scene of his 
labors. It is an inspiration to the craft of which he was so 
distinguished a member. 

Chapter XVI 

(l/eeK-C9ncllna in vha (bwvLa Juaa& 

There were no elaborate country estates to speak of and the 
present "week-end" visiting was not even thought of. There 
were, of course, a few estates along the Hudson closely mod- 
eled in the English manner; but in the sense that country 
life existed as it does today, there was none. 

The precursor of all country clubs and week-end resorts 
in America was Tuxedo Park, a kind of aftermath of the 
Anglomaniac movement, which was such a source of amuse- 
ment and diversion in the halcyon days, when the Saturday 
half-holiday was first timidly broached by the workaday 

Tuxedo Park was founded by Pierre Lorillard who in- 
herited 6000 acres of Orange County from his grandfather 
who was "up to snuff" in more ways than one. Mr. Lorillard 
formed a club, limited to the Brahmin class of New York 
society, and after three years of clearance converted a wilder- 
ness into a superb park, "the like of which," to quote an 
early contemporary, "does not exist on this continent, which 
half the English peerage might envy, and where the sale of 
building lots goes briskly on." 

Arriving at the Keeper's Lodge, which in that pre-gasoline 
age "looked like a frontispiece to an English novel," one 
found "a liveried servant in charge of a little yellow buck- 
board and two satin-skinned, short-tailed brown ponies, and 
a mail phaeton with a big English horse waiting for the 
train." Passing the gate lodge in the autumn dusk, "the light 


from a big log fire streams through the open door, and pas- 
sengers see a gamekeeper in cords and leggings, with a pair 
of tall hounds on either side of him, standing near the blaze 
and gossiping with the lodge-keeper's wife." 

The club house— on a Saturday evening in autumn— finds 
Lander's band in the big circular ballroom at the rear of the 
house. "There is a brown plush divan around the room be- 
tween the windows, and a row of camp chairs where a few 
chaperons sit (italics mine), while slim girls in gauzy skirts 
and long corset-like silk bodices circle about in the arms of 
men whom an all-afternoon's tramp in the stubble after birds 
has not fatigued. There is a handsome stage at one end of 
the room with velvet curtains, scenery painted by Goatcher, 
and all the appurtenances for amateur acting. The room had 
often been crowded to see Mrs. James Brown Potter act, but 
since she deserted the amateur ranks there was no one to 
succeed her, and the curtain remains unlifted. There are 
traditions of Mrs. Potter all about the place. She was one of 
the earliest guests and cottagers here, and it was on the club 
paper she wrote that famous note of recommendation to a 
well-known complexion nostrum which created some excite- 
ment at the time. It was conceded to be a serious social error. 
She helped to make the place popular, engineered amateur 
theatricals, looked after the first great balls, invited influen- 
tial people to stop with her, and wrote much matter out into 
the world on the club paper. . . . With the exception of Mrs. 
Potter, no actress has ever been the guest of the club." In 
winter, the stables were full of sleighs for the thirty miles of 
snowy roadway the Park afforded. There was also the famous 
Tuxedo toboggan slide, nearly a mile long, lit with electric 
lights with sleighs waiting at the lower end to carry riders 
to the top again. 

Among the original cottagers at this de luxe retreat were 
William Waldorf Astor, Peter Cooper Hewitt, Grenville 
Kane, and Sir Roderick Cameron, sometime British Consul 


I 3 




© 3 

at New York, who had a shooting box in first class "moor" 
fashion and who only lacked salmon fishing to reproduce a 
Scotch holiday. 

Mr. Lorillard, when he began building this unique experi- 
ment, sold out his famous racing stable, but later on returned 
to the turf, and at one time was considering the establishment 
of a race track in the Park. His investment in Tuxedo was 
over two million dollars. "Though the land sells at high 
prices," says a contemporary prophet, "he will never, of 
course, realize from his experiment any interest on his money. 
. . . This may seem an expensive luxury to the practical 
American mind, but though Mr. Lorillard may not, himself, 
get six per cent on his capital, his grandson, little Pierre, to 
whom the whole estate has been willed, with a life interest 
for his father, will be heir to a superb inheritance in the 'un- 
earned increment,' and it is only by such great ventures on 
the part of their ancestors that the estates of the English peers 
have been brought to their present conditions of splendor." 

It was about this period, that the vogue of the horse as a 
social adjunct became one of the chief concerns of the smart 
set, as of course was befitting a close observance of British 
custom. Fox hunting was one of the attractions of Tuxedo, 
but there were also many hunting clubs on Long Island and 
elsewhere. The sound of the hunting horn emanated from 
such groups as The Rockaway Hunt Club, The Meadow- 
brook Hunt Club, The Country Club at Pelham, The 
Queens Country Hounds, and the Essex County Country 
Club. Theodore Roosevelt used to hunt with the Meadow- 
brooks, and other noted followers of the aniseed were Fox- 
hall Keene, Frank Griswold, Robert Carter, Count Elliott 
Zborowski, Wright Sanford, Thomas Hitchcock, J. Burke 
Roche, William R. Travers, J. L. Kernochan, George Work, 
E. D. Morgan and Adolph Ladenburg. 

Another exotic equine fashion of that day was tandem 
driving. The "horsey woman," as depicted in some of the 

320 uj^a^ndianAi Ononis cuul Qwudaaa O wwvkA 

cartoons of Gray Parker, Charles Dana Gibson, in her Melton 
box coat with big buttons, and her tip-tilted hat, also dates 
from this period. She, and her older sister, the tailor-made 
girl, began that vogue of masculine attire which, developing 
into the bicycle bloomer, startled the gay but still sedate 'gos. 

All this equine excitement had its "grand apotheosis," as 
the showmen say, in the Horse Show, that characteristic so- 
cial function of the Peacock Alley period, in which horses 
claimed such attention as was never their lot before. Even 
work horses were "judged" in the good old fashion of the 
English "shires," and finally Gotham was treated yearly to a 
"work horse parade" on Fifth Avenue, which continued until 
a comparatively recent period. Mrs. James Speyer offered a 
prize for the best turnout. It was something on the lines of 
the London costermongers' parade, but lacking the inevitable 
donkey and some of the trappings of the Cockney procession. 
Mrs. Speyer is gratefully recalled for her great kindness to 
horses and dumb animals. A hospital and home for friendless 
and ailing pet cats and dogs has been founded to her memory 
in this city. 

There were of course several noted summer resorts before 
Tuxedo came but they were open to the public without re- 
straint or selection. It was Tuxedo that started the vogue for 
private country places, as against plebeian resorts. 

It was in the '70s that Saratoga, whose fame is more apt 
to be perpetuated in the redoubtable trunk to which it has 
given its name, than to the battle that proved the undoing 
of "Gentleman Johnny Burgoyne," reached its zenith as the 
premier summer resort of America. The season then was a 
whole summer, not a few flying weeks devoted to the racing 
calendar, and the weather and fashion of the entire country 
moved en masse to "The Spa." The result was an unparal- 
leled scene of splendor, with just a tinge of the rakish to add 
a thrill. Newport was more exclusive, but it was the "Cot- 
tage" life. Cape May had the old Bourbon society of the 

(JUeeJc-C9rallfixi In Uie &a/ilu JDauS 324 

South, now shattered by the war, and practicing an unwanted 
economy. Long Branch was rather a parvenu, but Saratoga 
had the biggest resort hotels in the world, sylvan beauty, 
therapeutic waters and a fashionable tradition going way 
back into the beginning of the century. 

Before the war, Saratoga had been the favorite mecca of 
the Southern aristocracy fleeing from the miasma of the old 
Kentucky home, the Swanee River, and similar delectable 
resorts of the cholera, yellow fever, and malaria; and if 
Gettysburg and Antietam had not decimated the flower of 
the South, there were domestic bacilli that would have done 
the business instead. To the Springs, therefore, came the 
planters and their families, stopping over in New York to 
visit Mr. Stewart's great store at Chambers Street for gowns 
and Paisley shawls. In those days, the South had all the 
money and looked with a contempt on the grubby Northern 
industrialists and their immigrant labor. Newport was filled 
with "those damned Yankee abolitionists"; but Saratoga was 
tolerant, "in the New York manner," alive with Democratic 
politicians, and fast horses. Besides, it had ice for the juleps 
and French cooking. So the F. F. V.'s and the Georgia 
Crackers and Dixie in general came there periodically, to 
wash out the winter's quinine and listen to the band playing 
"The Grand Duchess" and the latest airs of the Christy 

But the war changed all that, as wars have been known 
to do; and now came the war "contractors," the "speculators," 
the railroad men, all bloated with new-found wealth and 
ready to spend it. Mr. Stewart put up the Grand Union Hotel 
on a scale to dumfound Baden-Baden and Aix-le-Bains, and 
all Wall Street crowded its parlors to look at an enormous 
allegorical painting, as big as the drop-curtain of the Grand 
Opera House, depicting America shaking out a cornucopia 
to the assembled nations of the world. It was one of those 
pictures that cost $150,000 to paint and bring $49.75 at auc- 

tion. Here came Bill Tweed, Peter Sweeney, Pete Connolly, 
and the rest of the "boys," wearing velvet waistcoats, big 
diamond rings and shirt-studs, and chewing tobacco in a 
noiseless and genteel manner as befitted corridors boasting 
the most highly polished brass spittoons in the United States. 
Adjacent were the United States Hotel and Congress Hall, 
both on the same colossal scale of innkeeping, their verandas 
swarming with gay toilettes of the Second Empire. "There 
was gold in them thar hills" in the Age of Innocence, trailing 
skirts and Climax Plug. You couldn't walk along one of these 
verandas without stumbling over the boots of a Vanderbilt, 
a Jerome, a Gould or someone else positively filthy with 
money, seated in a rocking chair, discussing the water-holding 
capacity of a new railroad along the Ashtabula River. 

Around the corner in a by-way not far from a little white- 
spired church was John Morrisey's Chateau du chance, where 
one found amusing little balls running like mad along num- 
bered wheels, and similar quaint contrivances, calculated to 
relieve the strain on a rubber band encircling a bank roll. 
It was wide open— that is, if you didn't look as if you had just 
come in from the haying; and even if you hadn't over a quar- 
ter left after paying for a shave and a shoe-shine, you could 
sit down in one of Morrisey's saloons and tell the colored man 
in the white jacket— he himself wearing a neat two-carat stone 
in his polished shirt bosom— to bring you some of the white 
meat of a chicken, a salad, a morsel of Camembert and a little 
Bar-le-duc jelly. No, you wouldn't take a half-pint of Pom- 
mery (wine was charged for)— against the doctor's orders, 
you know— but you laid down your last quarter in the lee of 
the cheese plate as the waiter lit your stogie, and then you 
strolled into the main salon as if you were about to lay a 
hundred on the red, looked a little bored at the rabble chanc- 
ing tens and twenties— and so home and to bed. 

All the New York Broadway jewelers, milliners and haber- 
dashers had Saratoga branches, and they did a thriving trade. 

(jUecic-femlwia in live Q)aAla Juoma 323 

As for the bars in the hotels— well, I don't want to start an 
insurrection or I would recite in a thrilling monotone the 
catalogue of labels, fascinatingly reflected in the huge mirrors 
of the Grand Union. 

And then the driving in the afternoon. The landaus, the 
victorias, the coupes, the phaetons, the barouches, with the 
rattling harness chains, and the lolling ladies shading their 
eyes with tiny parasols of point lace and jeweled handles. No, 
there is nothing in a platinum-mounted Rolls-Royce to equal 
the spectacular effect of Mrs. Johnny Coaloil riding in a 
Brewster barouche, behind two cockaded servitors, and a 
pair of manicured roans, along the Saratoga macadam. 

Chapter XVII 

O/vetvcfo dOaMWita Lxtdtumed ami tlte 
Jj^aclleu c/Ita^tlf^d , UJaluL 

Saratoga was somewhat on the wane when President Grant 
decided to make Long Branch, N. J., his summer home, and of 
course, set it to the forefront as the chief seashore resort of 
the nation. Prior to this time, however, it had been much in 
favor as the holiday ground of Wall Street and the theatrical 
profession. Jarrett & Palmer ran a speedy line of boats to 
Sandy Hook— famous flyers in their day, which provided 
rapid and convenient transit from the foot of Cedar Street. 
Edwin Booth built a house there, in which he was married, 
and which was afterwards occupied by Maggie Mitchell, who 
also owned a number of other cottages and farms in the 

"The Branch" did not grow up slowly year after year, as 
Saratoga and Newport did. Before the flash age of the '70s, 
it was only a lonely stretch of sandy shore, with a village half 
a mile back of the beach. Its transformation was effected by 
a few capitalists who bought farms in Monmouth County for 
thirty or forty dollars an acre, and thus began a ballyhoo. "A 
scheme of advertising was adopted," says a contemporary, 
"brave, expensive and perilous, by which the place was per- 
sistently brought before the public attention, summer after 
summer. The ubiquitous correspondent of the daily Press 
was sent down to report. It was not a very fascinating spot 
in those early days, but the reporter who cannot write an 


attractive letter merely because there is nothing attractive to 
write about, has mistaken his vocation. By one device or an- 
other, legitimate and illegitimate, by building a new railroad, 
by improvements of various sorts, the capitalists forced the 
growth of the place, and achieved a veritable coup d'etat 
when they induced President Grant to go and live there in 
the summer. Long Branch became the summer capital and 
its fortune was made. Lots that sold for $500, one summer, 
were held at $5,000 the next. Everybody was elated, excited; 
there was champagne in the air, and life was gay and fascinat- 
ing to residents as to the going and coming crowd." 

One of the most noted resorts of early Long Branch was 
Chamberlain's "Cottage" near the West End Hotel, where 
nightly may have been seen throngs of Wall Street men and 
other skirmishers with the goddess of luck around the rou- 
lette and card tables. This was the celebrated Chamberlain of 
Washington Restaurant renown, later boniface of the big 
hotel at Old Point Comfort. Ladies, however, did not mingle 
in the scene at Chamberlain's, as they do in the European 
casinos, but they had their day at Monmouth Park race track, 
where the "mutuels" were in effect, and one might lay a 
wager on "Harry Bassett," "Longfellow," or "Hindoo" with 
the same facility as at Longchamps or Chantilly. 

Long Branch at this period is pungently described by the 
beforementioned writer as having a "gingerbread appearance 
at which solid old Newport and substantial Saratoga sniff 
with scorn. When the dinner train arrives from town, Ocean 
Avenue is alive with fast flying horses, driven by men in 
livery— sometimes as gaudy as those of the equine dramatic 
tent— numberless flags flutter from liberty poles on lawns 
and hotel tops, brass bands blare on the grassy lawn, and here 
and there side-show-like tents for the sale of pop and ginger- 
bread, or practice with air guns at striped targets, and the 
whole thing is irresistibly suggestive of sawdust and a ring." 

I know that the bright young people from our inland 

326 OjnxwkviXanAL Onxmkb and Q)a/udaaa <J tuuuz6 

towns, who write facetiae in the Press about the old-time 
bathing dress, are convinced that they are the very first to 
discover its lack of aesthetic appeal. Let me, with the greatest 
kindness of which my cynical old heart is capable, disabuse 
them of this idea by again quoting my senior contemporary. 
"If the Witch of Endor had presided at the construction of 
these miraculous bathing suits, they could scarcely be more 
ugly and fantastic than they are. Bathing dresses, less shabby, 
to be leased for a sum less absurdly close to their net value, 
are one item of the reform which is imperatively demanded 
at Long Branch. A group of bathers such as may sometimes 
be seen at a French watering place, where the suits are varied 
in color and pattern, and fit neatly, is a sight so picturesque 
that one does not tire of it. The idea that a handsome bath- 
ing suit 'attracts attention' is absurd; nothing attracts so 
much attention or attracts it so unpleasantly as an ugly and 
unbecoming bath dress. French ladies realize this, and dress 
accordingly, selecting their bathing outfit as carefully with 
respect to becomingness in color and cut, freshness and fit, 
as any dress they wear. It is a delicate rose flannel, with pleat- 
ings of white; hat trimmed in accordance; pink hose and 
straw shoes; or it is a navy blue serge, with stripes of yellow 
or of white, or of brown merino, or some other tasteful com- 
bination. At Long Branch, it is almost always a coarse dark 
flannel, much too large, and crowned with a straw hat more 
fit for a gutter than for a lady's wear. And as for the gentle- 
men! Ye heathen deities! What scarecrows they usually are! 
Yet once in a while a handsome or a picturesque costume 
may be observed among them— a tight-fitting blue gilet de 
laine, or a loose sailor's shirt and trousers handsomely 

The French bathing costume began to attract the attention 
of our local natatorialists when it appeared on cigarette pic- 
tures, which were assiduously collected by small boys along 
with "Flags of All Nations," and similar colorful prints. I 

Jjotluna Ca^ttwned cmd Jj/tadtea c)\va/ditiS f UJwUL 327 

may add one word about sea bathing half a century ago; there 
were no professional lifeguards; no elevated platforms to 
overlook the bathers. The only guardians of the beach were 
the bath house lessees, who kept a good-natured eye on the 
bathers, ready to go in and assist should there be a cry for 
help. Drownings, under this system, were not uncommon, 
and only in quite recent times has the stalwart professional 
lifeguard become an institution on our bathing beaches. 

Long Branch came once more into the spotlight when the 
lamented Garfield was borne from Washington to die com- 
fortably, if not painlessly, in the less torrid atmosphere of the 
ocean compared with Washington. Garfield's premature end- 
ing filled the nation with mourning, but did much to hasten 
the adoption of Civil Service Reform. Woodrow Wilson also 
chose this Jersey resort as a rest cure. The White House, 
which he occupied, subsequently passed into the possession 
of Hubert T. Parson, president of the Woolworth Company, 
and forms one of the chains of beautiful homes he has in 
various parts of the world, including Fifth Avenue and Paris. 
How many will be in his chain when completed, I do not 
know, for he is a hospitable person. 

The original Hollywood was also a Long Branch product, 
the south end of the village occupied as residences in contra- 
distinction to the great hotel section being thus called. While 
the Branch is today no doubt larger, it has none of the hectic 
qualities which distinguished it in the '80s and is now emi- 
nently dull and respectable. All the old Continental snap 
and go has disappeared. The Monmouth Beach Races no 
longer intrigue the erstwhile devotees of Twenty Grand, 
Gallant Fox, or Man O' War. 

Of course, the great society tradition of the last years of 
the past century, was the famous "400" or "Mr. McAllister's 
peerage" as some called it. Nothing ever lifted the "society" 
columns in the Press to a kind of "Court Gazette" level as 
did this inspired social fiction. What maneuvering, what 

UjoMnina Costumed and Jj/tadteu c/Ila/lfin<A , Jjatt 329 

wire-pulling to enter the charmed circle! What heart-burning, 
what chagrin for those who failed to crash those golden gates! 
To subscribe to the Patriarchs or the Assembly, to sit in a 
box at the Horse Show; to find oneself part owner of a stock- 
holder's box in the Diamond Horseshoe for either Monday, 
Wednesday or Friday nights and to sit therein, the cynosure 
of a battery of Lemaire opera glasses— this was the meaning 
of success to the climbers of those golden days. How the 
dandies were watched for the latest fad in collar or cravat. 
How the toilettes at the opera or the winter's routs on Fifth 
Avenue were recorded to the last flounce of lace in next day's 
chronicles. Not the Venezuela question, nor Dr. Cook's dis- 
covery of the North Pole, not even the sordid but absorbing 
details of Carlyle Harris on Trial, were allowed to "kill" the 
details of Mrs. Van Asdorf's latest creation by Worth. First, 
Second and Third Avenues were bound to have the very last 
scrap of information regarding it, and no excuse would de- 
prive them of it. 

But there came a time when certain members of this daz- 

The Westchester Polo Club. Match game for the 
Challenge Cup, 1876. 

330 <Jj*a»dtv6tcme. onjox&A and, Sa/ialaaa, O nAxxvbb 

zling arcanum of a particularly pre-adamite ancestry, felt that 
some of the lower orders had been included in the original 
allotment; that in reality there were only 150 real, genuine 
blue-bloods in New York whose visiting cards entitled them 
to rank in the local peerage. There had to be a line drawn 
somewhere. When you have an established social status, guar- 
anteed by rent rolls that have been in the family since before 
the Erie Canal, and you find yourself in the company of 
persons who weren't even in the Directory before the Cali- 
fornia gold rush, well, you know, it's rather pathetic. You 
begin to think that our set is getting a little mixed— and that 
the dinner dance last night was certainly a bit raucous— and 
a great deal of attention seemed to be devoted to the punch 
bowl, in quite a Western fashion. 

But, be this as it may, the 150 were only a flash in the pan, 
and only a rat-bitten relic like the present scribe ever alludes 
to them or can recall their existence. 

Even at this late day, there still lingers a certain but con- 
siderable interest in the famous Bradley Martin ball— a social 
event that threatened at one time to arouse such animosity 
among the poorer classes as to constitute a distinct danger to 
the city. 

"Once in a generation or thereabouts the rivalry of social 
ambitions crystallize in an entertainment so stupendous in 
scope and sumptuous in detail that it makes an epoch in the 
history of society. The fame of the function goes forth to the 
uttermost parts of civilization. Such was the ball given by 
Mr. & Mrs. Bradley Martin and participated in by the greater 
part of the society of New York at the Hotel Waldorf last 
night. One of its 1200 odd invitations was to be a patent right 
to a place in the social list; hence the eagerness with which 
the gilded ones looked forward to the event." Thus the New 
York Sun began a two-page account of the last great revel of 
the city's Upper Ten of the Nineteenth Century. 

The protest against the prodigal expenditures of this most 

Jjainina Lxj^ttwneA anA Jj^vadJUa tJluvdittiS JjwUL 334 

advertised social function in local history, has an odd sound 
today when we are all urged to spend in order to revive trade 
and resuscitate the public welfare. Dr. Rainsford from the 
pulpit of St. George's Church inveighed against an entertain- 
ment of such lavish display at a time when popular discon- 
tent ran so high. Others opposed his view, and controversy 
on the question raged back and forth. "Meantime," says the 
Sun , "while the disputants called heaven and earth to witness 
the infallibility of their respective arguments, hundreds of 
dressmakers drew wages— and in a dull season— while working 
upon dresses for the ball; hundreds of extra hands were hired 
by costumers and bootmakers; hundreds of advance orders 
set the florists to hiring what help they could find; extra 
forces were put on at the hotel, making ready for the event, 
and throughout the rank and file of the unemployed the stir 
of preparation was felt in beneficial effects." 

Through the discussion thus stirred up, the ball became a 
national topic, and newspapers from the Pacific to the sea- 
coast villages of Maine expressed their reactions. The Brad- 
ley Martins were overwhelmed with advice on all possible 
and impossible aspects of their project. The editor of a so- 
ciety weekly in New York solemnly adjured all prospective 
guests to study carefully the characters of the personages they 
intended to represent, so that their conversation might be 
historically accurate and avoid anachronisms. Editors in Lon- 
don and Paris, hearing that American splendor would reach 
its climax at the ball, sent orders for special cable reports, 
and what had been intended by the Bradley Martins as an 
elegant private entertainment became a sort of Barnumized 

There were no less than a score of Central Office detectives 
watching the guests' private entrance to the hotel, on the 
lookout for "Tommy the Dip" or "Six-Finger Mike," who, 
it was conjectured with all the foresight of Mulberry Street, 
might appear as Henry of Navarre or Richard Cceur de 

Lion in appropriate Bowery costumer's apparel, or perhaps 
an anarchist or two bent on devastating the chauds and the 
froids of the supper room. But it was long before the day of 
the "gate-crasher," and neither Herr Most or the editor of 
Das Arbeit er Zeitung got at the Bradley Martins' free lunch. 

"In the smoking room," says the Sun, "there was much 
practice on the part of the men in the matter of management 
of swords, and inconveniently trailing ruffles and laces." One 
man came as Sitting Bull, and when taken to task by some 
of the kings and courtiers present, replied, "If a full Indian 
headdress, beaded buckskins, and war-paint isn't de signeur, 
what in hell is de signeur?" During the dancing there were 
not a few contretemps. "There was one man there and he 
was not the only one who essayed to dance a waltz with his 
sword. He had a partner, too, but she didn't count. At the 
first turn, the cavalier got his sword entangled with his hose 
and kneeled down, swiftly but not silently, upon the floor. 
Arising with an apology to his partner, he whisked around in 
a quick swing and smote a French gentleman so violently 
athwart the shins that the French gentleman said things 
which it were better a gentleman should say in French. The 
cavalier apologized again, seized his sword by the handle, 
tilted it up, and committed lese majeste on an English Mon- 
arch's bearded chin. Promptly dropping the sword, he again 
got tangled in it and then sought to grasp it with a singleness 
of purpose worthy of a kitten in fierce pursuit of its tail. 
Meantime his partner— he had forgotten he was dancing with 
her— had gone and sat down, and the Cavalier, having finally 
achieved his weapon again went to the dressing room and 
exchanged it with a liveried valet for a metal check." 

There was a later correction in the columns of the Sun re- 
garding the Indian Chief, who was not Sitting Bull, but 
Miantonomoh, "whose costume was made under the eye of 
Prof. Putnam of Harvard." It was worn by R. W. G. Welling, 
a descendant of John Greene, who had dealings with the 

Jjcdnina Ca&tomeA auA UJ^oALqax uiuxAMtvi? UJouUi 333 

Chief in the matter of a sale of real estate in Rhode Island. 
Mr. Greene was assured that he could have all the land 
around which he could ride mounted on a bull backward, 
and the mere fact of Mr. Welling's appearance at the ball was 
eloquent testimony as to his ancestor's capacity as a rider. 

For the benefit of the patrons of the Owl Lunch Wagons 
I reproduce the menu of this notable fete. 


Consomme de Volaidle, Bouillion de Clovis 
Homard a la Newburg, Huitres a la Viennoise 
Poularde farcie aux truffles, Filet de Boeuf Jardeniere 
Terrapense deccossee a la Baltimore— Canard Canvasback 


Galantine a la Victoria— Terrine de Foie Gras 
Cailles Pignees a la Gelee— Chand-froid de Pluviers 
Jambon en Danier— Mayonnaise de Volaille 

Entremets de Douceur 

Gelee aux Fruits— Gouffres Chantelly— Gateaux Madeline 
Bisquits glaces, Fatma— Sorbet fin de Siecle— Tutti Frutti— 
Cafe Parfait 

Plombiere Aux Marrons 

Glaces de Fantaisie— Petits Tours— Fruits, Bonbons— Cafe— 
Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial, 1884 
Chateau Mouton a Armagnac, 1884 

On the night of the ball, there was a meeting of the Nine- 
teenth Century Club at Sherry's to discuss the question of 
"Culpable Luxury." "Inasmuch," said President John A. 
Taylor, in opening the meeting, "as two of your lecture Com- 
mittee were not invited to the Bradley Martins' ball, they 
thought it might be well to hold an overflow meeting here 
tonight and make it the subject of discussion. I take it that 
luxury is that which somebody else has and that we, our- 
selves, cannot afford, but that is a matter to be left to the 

33-V tJj^taWfv6tanc <Jioni& anA Q)<xxcdaaa u fUJUVKA 

gentlemen who will discuss the question for us." These gen- 
tlemen were Prof. Franklin H. Giddings of Columbia Uni- 
versity and John Graham Brooks of Boston. The debate, a 
very learned one, expressed alarm at the threat to our repub- 
lican institutions in the jamboree at the Waldorf, but it does 
not seem to have penetrated its walls, for there is no record 
of any of the gay cavorters of that evening, appearing there- 
after on Fifth Avenue in a costume of sackcloth and ashes. 

The Sun declared that every woman of wealth in New 
York, who was known to be going to the ball, received a 
threatening letter. Mrs. Martin received a dozen. As a con- 
sequence, Manager Boldt of the Waldorf took particular pre- 
cautions that only vouched-for employes worked in the hotel 
on the night of the ball, and a corps of Pinkerton men were 
also spread out in the premises. 

Gilbert the photographer, at Fifth Avenue and Thirty- 
fifth Street, and twenty-six assistants were kept busy all night 
taking pictures of nearly four hundred guests, who were 
posed against backgrounds appropriate to their costumes. 
The Bradley Martin ball was the swan song— and dance— of 
New York Society that was. "After us the deluge," was the 
motto of the retreating gentry of fin de siecle Gotham. Trade 
was nibbling at their Fifth Avenue brownstone fronts and 
the next score of years would see their fabulous highway a 
mart of trade and commerce. 

The City fathers were so impressed by the magnificence of 
the Martins that they promptly showed their appreciation by 
raising their tax assessments to a dizzy height. This deeply 
offended Mr. and Mrs. Martin, and they promptly shook the 
dust of New York from their feet and repaired to a castle on 
the moors of Scotland where they revived all the splendor 
and glories of the Martin clan, including grouse shooting, 
deer stalking and innumerable gillies to decorate the ap- 
proaches to the castle. 

Chapter XVIII 

JSnMLani y^eJUh/udio4v6 in, \Jufi uLidt&iu 

The closing years of the Nineteenth Century included many 
dates that recalled the stirring events of a hundred years 
which made them forever illustrious. 

The Centennial Celebration of the Inauguration of Gen- 
eral Washington as first President of the United States, was 
probably the most important in the series and the most mag- 
nificent spectacular event in the history of the city up to that 
time. The Celebration lasted three days— and duplicated as 
near as possible the scenes and incidents which marked the 
original ceremonies. President Harrison, who was then our 
chief magistrate, reached Elizabeth, the New Jersey town, in 
the morning, just as his predecessor General Washington had 
done a hundred years before. The place was brilliant with 
decoration and every house was bedecked with flags and 
bunting. The streets were thronged with enthusiastic crowds, 
and the reception given the President was so whole-hearted 
and spontaneous that it will surely be talked of until the next 
Centennial Celebration comes around. President Harrison 
was accompanied by his official family and many of their 

The procession to Elizabethport, the point of embarka- 
tion, marched through the same road which Washington took 
when he went to embark on the barge that carried him to 
New York. At Elizabethport the President and the gentlemen 
of his escort, together with the officers of the various commit- 


336 tJJ^uw2fa^to*ve Ononis cuxA Q)a/uniacLa <J nMxvbb 

tees, boarded the Government steamer Despatch. The ladies 
of the party and the invited guests were taken on board the 
steamers Wiman and Monmouth and these vessels proceeded 
to New York, with a swarm of minor craft following in their 
wake, reproducing the Naval Parade as it was in Washing- 
ton's time. 

The harbor and rivers were crowded with a collection of 
all kinds and conditions of steam vessels and floating craft, 
from the powerful and dignified man-of-war to the impudent 
little tug darting hither and thither with reckless impetuos- 
ity. All the river steamers were crowded with passengers go- 
ing to view this unparalleled naval spectacle, and every vessel 
was radiant with color and bedecked from stem to stern with 
flags and bunting. The harbor was one mass of color and a 
perfect maze of bunting and flags of all nations. The United 
States war ships were anchored in a line on the upper bay, 
headed by the Boston, Admiral David D. Porter command- 
ing the fleet. 

When the Despatch reached the position assigned her op- 
posite the foot of Wall Street, the barge approached and the 
President and his escort boarded her. The scene, as the Presi- 
dent stood in the stern of the barge with his aides around 
him, was a striking reproduction of the original event when 
Washington sailed over the same course in 1789. The barge 
was manned by a crew consisting of twelve retired ship mas- 
ters, with Captain Ambrose Snow as commander. Each wore 
a suit of black broadcloth, a high hat and a blue badge. 

At the same old landing place, the President stepped on a 
float covered with purple cloth and proceeded up the steps 
to the street. The landing was made at twenty minutes past 
one, and the President was received by Governor Hill, Mayor 
Grant and Hamilton Fish. He was at once whirled off to the 
Equitable Building where a luncheon was served. 

After the repast the President went to the City Hall and 
held a public reception, and when this ordeal was over he 

uJ^Wliani ^jdldn/taiianA In \J\rn, Jlx^toAut 337 

went to the residence of Vice-President Morton on Fifth 
Avenue to rest. 

The next day, April 30th, was the actual day of the Inau- 
guration of Washington, and the program began with divine 
services in the churches and the ringing of church bells. Old 
St. Paul's Chapel was the center of attraction and here great 
crowds congregated. A procession in carriages conveying the 
President, Vice-President, Governor, Mayor, Supreme Court 
Justices and Senators of New York, two ex-Presidents and 
the Bishops of New York, Long Island, Iowa and Tennessee 
and many other notables went to the old Church. The 
President occupied the pew that Washington used when he 
went to church on the morning of his Inauguration, and 
Governor Hill the one used by Governor Clinton. Bishop 
Potter preached the sermon and the choir performed its part 
with distinction. Services over, the line of carriages pro- 
ceeded to Wall Street, Mayor Grant's carriages being first, 
the President and Vice-President and all the other dignitaries 

Wall and Broad Streets, especially about the Sub-Treasury 
building, were packed with people eager to see and hear all 
that took place. St. Gauden's heroic bronze statue of Wash- 
ington, erected on the site occupied by Washington when he 
took the oath of office, stood out in all its fine proportions and 
about it was grouped the notables who were to take part in 
the proceedings. The Bible on which Washington took the 
oath of office; the table on which it originally rested, and the 
chair Washington used during part of the ceremony were all 
brought out for this great centennial occasion. President 
Harrison occupied this chair. Chauncey M. Depew was the 
orator. The resplendent military uniforms of the officers on 
the platform and the somber robes and gowns of the judges 
and clergy made a contrast that was both striking and effec- 
tive. When Rev. Dr. Storrs of Brooklyn came forward to pro- 
nounce the benediction, President Harrison rose and took his 

UJsiWlianl LjMbAxdianA in Uu/l JlXato/ut 339 

place beside him, with his head lowered and his hand resting 
on the identical Bible that Washington had used. Thus the 
exercises ended here. 

In the meantime, the great military parade was under way 
on Broadway. All the suburbs and the country around poured 
in streams of visitors to view this great event. The line of 
march was from the Equitable Building in Broadway to 
Waverly Place, into Washington Square and thence up Fifth 
Avenue to Central Park. The whole line of march was black 
with people and platforms were built on every spot of ground 
from which a sight of the parade could be obtained. 

The great industrial parade, to many people the most in- 
teresting of all, was the third great event of this historic cele- 
bration and occupied the entire day of May ist. The route 
was from Fifty-ninth Street down Fifth Avenue and Broadway 
to Canal Street, passing the official stand at Madison Square 
where it was reviewed by the President and other dignitaries. 
General Sherman and his brother Senator John Sherman ac- 
companied him. 

The floats were wonderful. There were nearly a hundred 
of them and such an exhibition of industrial and commercial 
activities was never before witnessed. It was a fitting observa- 
tion of the hundredth anniversary of the Inauguration of 
George Washington as first President of the United States. 

Few persons observing that beautiful Washington Arch at 
the head of Fifth Avenue where it emerges from the Square, 
are aware of the fact that it is the one permanent memorial 
of the great celebration. 

The design is by Stanford White, then the leading architect 
of the day and who was at the apex of his fame. No shadow 
of the coming tragedy that was to blast his reputation forever 
fell upon him on the day of Dedication. For one brief mo- 
ment he tasted all the sweets of professional acclaim and the 
plaudits of the multitude for his beautiful creation. It is 
without question a notable work of art and a great ornament 

to a city, whose efforts up to that time in the way of municipal 
decoration were not always crowned with laurel and bay 

The Washington Arch, however, was not a municipal 
enterprise. It was largely the gift of the late William Rhine- 
lander Stewart and his neighbors in the immediate vicinity 
of the Square. Miss Serena Rhinelander, an old New Yorker, 
then lived in the Square Georgian house on the northwest 
corner; Edward Cooper opposite, William H. Butler at No. 
1, Mrs. Robert W. de Forrest at No. 7 opposite the Park, and 
quite a few others. 

The First Centennial Celebration of Evacuation Day was 
held on Monday, Nov. 26, 1883, the actual day falling on a 
Sunday. The great military and civic procession marched 
down Broadway and was witnessed by hundreds of thousands 
of people standing on the line of march and crowding the 
side streets as far down as it was possible to see anything. At 
every window which came within the plane of vision could 
be seen a bevy of laughing and cheerful faces enjoying the 
fine spectacle. Besides the President of the United States, 
there were the Governors of seven of the original Thirteen 
States and many other notables. In the procession there were 
over 20,000 men and their fine appearance and splendid 
marching did credit to both the military and civic authorities. 

Shortly after eleven the vanguard appeared. The mounted 
police led the way, followed by the Marshal, Gen. M. T. 
McMahon, accompanied by several Army officers and fol- 
lowed by his aides. The West Point Cadets came next in 
order, then the men of the Regular Army, the marines and 
artillery making a fine showing. The sailors from the war- 
ships next came along and made a splendid appearance, com- 
pletely capturing the fancy of the populace. Next came the 
State Guards. First the Signal Corps and following them the 
Eighth, Ninth, Twelfth, Twenty-second, Seventh, Seventy- 
first and Sixty-ninth Regiments, the First Battery and the Sec- 

ond Battery, N. G. S. N. Y. and after these the boys of the 
Naval Reserve. 

The Second Brigade was composed of out-of-town regi- 
ments, including the Thirteenth, Twenty-third, Fourteenth, 
and Forty-seventh, the Third Battery and the Seventh sepa- 
rate company, all of Brooklyn. Next came the National Guard 
of Pennsylvania, a contingent from New Jersey, the Gate 

fi&^: ! W;i!^!il^ 

Reception of the Grand Duke Alexis, i8yi. 

3-V2 <Jj/taW*v6iafxe <J/umi& and e)a/ia£aaa O fuvnKb 

City Guard of Atlanta, and four regiments from Connecticut 
with the Governor of the State at their head. The parade 
ended with a procession of officials and civilians in carriages. 

The second event in the great pageant was the naval parade 
on the waters of the harbor and North and East Rivers. These 
two pageants divided the attention of the multitudes and 
packed every important street in the city. From McGowan's 
Pass to the Battery and at all the vantage grounds of the 
North and East Rivers, spectators occupied every foot of space 
and witnessed a scene both on land and water never to be 
forgotten. Superb bands of music, battalions of brilliantly 
uniformed soldiers, companies of veterans, fire companies, 
industrial and political associations, colleges and schools, rep- 
resentative groups of labor and finance, the civic and federal 
officials, with the glorious old battle flags and other time- 
honored relics, moved and glittered by in seemingly endless 
procession. The next day the second act was presented in a 
colorful procession on the river near by. 

This naval parade of war ships and merchant ships started 
from the Narrows, proceeding up the inner bay and then 
into the North River as far up as One Hundred and Twenty- 
sixth Street. The program provided for all other vessels to 
follow the line of battleships; but instead of falling into line 
as intended, they moved about at their own discretion and 
made a very interesting escort to the great line of cruisers 
and men-of-war moving slowly up the river. All sorts of craft 
were out and were festooned with bunting and flying flags, 
making a gay and striking scene for the thousands of people 
who crowded the shores of Staten Island and the water front 
of Brooklyn. At the Battery there was a solid mass of human- 
ity as far back as it was possible to see, and the windows and 
roofs of every building where a glimpse of the parade could 
be had was filled to its capacity. 

Brooklyn Bridge was crowded with a great gathering of 
people to view the water procession. From this point of view 

















3-V-^ tJj/'uHCfvdtofxc OnjQA^A anA Q^oaxuXoojx <J honied 

the scene that presented itself to the observer was inexpressi- 
bly inspiring and striking. The waters of the bay and rivers 
were alive with vessels of all sorts, and the orderly procession 
of this great fleet presented a panorama of picturesque and 
fascinating interest. 

The line of vessels stretching far up the Hudson and fill- 
ing the upper bay steamed around the Battery up the East 
River as far as the Navy Yard, then turned back and headed 
for Bay Ridge where it dispersed. In the evening there were 
great festivities and a splendid display of fireworks. It was 
far into the following morning before New York's gayety sub- 
sided and the people returned to their homes conscious of 
having fittingly commemorated this great historic event. 

As the ships passed Bedloe's Island and Castle William, 
the national salute was fired and the battleships responded, 
and as the great parade ended at One Hundred and Twenty- 
sixth Street the foghorns and whistles of countless river craft 
burst out and finished a day which will linger in the memory 
of many New Yorkers. 

Thus ended the third in the series of celebrations held to 
commemorate important historical events which had oc- 
curred at the birth of the Nation a hundred years before. 

Another celebration of unusual splendor and magnificence 
was the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of 
America by Columbus. It was celebrated with a vim and 
enthusiasm surprising even to New Yorkers. For three days, 
New York was in the streets and kept the city in a tumult of 
unprecedented excitement and amusement. Representatives 
of Spanish royalty and descendants of Columbus were among 
the City's guests. Replicas of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria 
sailed into the harbor. 

A notable incident of the occasion was the meeting of the 
two candidates for the Presidency just on the eve of the elec- 
tion and in the last days of a hot campaign— President Har- 
rison and ex-President Cleveland, and their meeting was of 

Jj'tWliant L^ilc/Q/tailafiA in kJu/l t/Lldtaxu 3-V5 

the heartiest. They approached each other wreathed in smiles, 
shook hands warmly and seemed to enjoy the humor of the 
meeting as much as the cheering mass of their admiring 

The parade started by a Grand March of the City's School 
children down Fifth Avenue from the Columbian Arch, at 
Fifty-ninth Street made by Hertz— himself a product of the 
public school, to the Washington Arch, at the foot of the Ave- 
nue, led by a line of mounted policemen, followed by the 
Grand Marshal and his staff, also mounted, and then by 
Mayor Hugh J. Grant alone and on foot. 

Then came the Seventh Regiment band, followed by 
twenty regiments of boys of the public schools ten thousand 
strong. Next a division from Long Island City, one from 
Jersey City, and one from the Catholic Schools. Following 
these, a division of private schools headed by a drum corps 
of boys with a very important drum major marching in front. 

The College division was headed by six hundred students 
from the College of the City of New York, followed by stu- 
dents from Columbia University, University of the City of 
New York and finally the Art Students' League. 

One of the features of the day was the representation of 
schoolgirls, arrayed in white garments with a touch of bright 
color here and there. They were seated on a great stand 
built in front of the reservoir at Fifth Avenue and Forty- 
second Street. The young ladies filled the air with their 
music, singing one song after another, and as their clear 
voices rang out, the music of the bands ceased and the march- 
ers themselves changed for the time being from entertainers 
to entertained. 

A million and a half is the estimate of the number of peo- 
ple who viewed the night pageant. A long procession of floats 
and equestrians occupied many hours in passing up Broadway 
and Fifth Avenue and made a display long to be remembered 

' V V«I II 

by those who were fortunate enough to secure a vantage spot 
to see it. 

Some of the Floats, particularly the great Brewery trucks, 
made a great hit with the spectators. These vehicles, crowded 
with good looking Frauleins in native costume half hidden 
behind enormous bushes of hops, were warmly greeted. One 
or two rampant Harlem goats coyly covered with dogwood, 
pussy willows and other harbingers of Spring to indicate the 
coming of Bock Beer, also caught the favor of the crowd. We 
had a vast German population at that time and very few 
Italians. So Columbus, to the great majority of our East side 
citizenry, was simply another "wop." But East Side, West 
Side, and all around the town was proud of the fact that in 
New York you could get the largest schooner of beer in the 
country for five cents. 

So the celebration was a great success and resulted in nam- 
ing the space at Fifty-ninth Street and Broadway leading to 
the Park in honor of the great Italian navigator— Columbus 
Circle. Later on, the Columbus Monument was erected based 
on the temporary staff construction designed by Hertz for this 
particular parade. 

The Nina , Pinta and Santa Maria proceeded to Chicago 
and formed one of the main attractions of the great World's 
Fair in that city held to commemorate this same event. 

Chapter XIX 

c/lc^2 aoAM UdxAttled oral JxixuxfaxmA al ifoe. osteal 

It is extremely difficult, almost impossible, I might say, for 
the present generation to believe that not so very long ago, a 
young woman seen smoking a cigarette was immediately 
classed as a person of decidedly questionable character, to use 
a mild description. The custom was imported from the Con- 
tinent, where it had already attained considerable vogue. Its 
appearance in London caused quite a commotion, but noth- 
ing to compare with the agitation which marked its introduc- 
tion to New York. 

The very high-class restaurants like Delmonico's and 
Sherry's were the first to face this dilemma. Some women who 
had traveled much, had become accustomed to the sight of 
other women smoking in foreign capitals, and although they 
had not yet themselves adopted the habit, were nevertheless 
tolerant of others who did. Naturally, the great majority of 
women were ignorant of European customs, and a large 
leaven of Puritanism was still to be considered. The result 
was that the question of whether women should be allowed to 
smoke in public places became one of burning interest. Men 
at that time were not allowed to smoke in a room where 
women also dined, so the question was fraught with greater 
difficulty than seems at first sight possible. And the women 
who wished to indulge in the seductive weed belonged to 
families of such importance in the social scale that their re- 
quest amounted to a command. 

To set aside a room in which both men and women could 


c/LcW %jon)k U*l<IttleA cunA c/llanAtaruA oL tlve otecit 3-V9 

eat and smoke, but apart from the general dining-room, was 
not a successful compromise. The women wanted absolute 
freedom in the choice of rooms, and after many embarrassing 
experiments, the very exclusive hotels and restaurants were 
obliged to capitulate. It was many, many months, however, 


In 1841 James K. Paulding had become prosperous, 
and he chose this house for a residence. 

before a woman could smoke in public without becoming the 
target of all eyes, and if she was at all sensitive, suffered con- 
siderable embarrassment. As the habit spread and finally 
came to be regarded as the last word in "smartness," the cus- 
tom became quite popular. The waiter no longer interrupted 
to say " 'scuse me, madam, but zee smoking, he not allowed." 
Another circumstance which gave rise to much public dis- 

350 OJn&sfku&jQxvi Uiani& and, c)a/uitaaa O n\\xvk& 

cussion in the Press, in society and whenever women met, 
was the burning question of whether to wear or not to wear 
your hat at the play. 

Except to those who remember the enormous "Cartwheel" 
hats worn by women, with their towering plumes and feath- 
ers, no one can realize the irritation caused in the theater by 
the wearing of such styles in the old days. No matter where 
you sat, you were obliged to dodge from one side of your 
seat to the other, in order to get a view of the stage. And as 
the wearer herself, in turn, was obliged to do the same, it 
was quite an ordeal to sit through a play while the use of the 
big hat continued. 

One would imagine that a slight regard for the comfort 
of others would have served to remedy this evil the moment 
such an objection was raised, but, strangely enough, a very 
decided opposition sprang up. It couldn't be said that this 
was wholly an exhibition of bad manners. To remove one of 
these ungainly headgears in a public place was no small un- 
dertaking. And after they were off, the next problem was 
what to do with them. They were too large to go under the 
seats and too wide to go on the lap, and as they were stuck 
on with hatpins that penetrated vast bunches of false hair 
as well as real hair, it was no small matter to get them on 
again properly once they were off. A mirror was needed. So 
it was quite a dilemma. 

The change came gradually after months of tearful suppli- 
cation by the managers, printed requests in the programs, in- 
dignant letters in the papers, and a general realization on the 
part of women themselves, that something ought to be done. 
The first concession was to sit with the hat on till the curtain 
was about to go up. Then a few removed their hats. The idea 
spread. More women adopted this idea and were rewarded by 
the appreciative thanks of the persons behind them. Fashion 
aided the movement by reducing the size of the hat and 
abolishing the "Cartwheel" altogether. Then a special theater 

hat was designed. This could be easily removed and held on 
the lap without discomfort. But it was several years before it 
became an accepted custom to remove the hat before taking 
a seat and leaving it in the cloakroom, to the great relief and 
greater comfort of all concerned. 

Among other random recollections of my period, there is 
one which might appear too trivial for the record were it not 
that it is to some degree significant of the enhancement of 
personal comfort that has been coincident with the progress 
of the last half century. I refer to such a commonplace as 
doorways to shops and public places. Less than forty years 
ago there was no such animal as a revolving door. Much fre- 
quented entrances were protected from wintry blasts by the 
common device of a storm door, not always an ideal arrange- 
ment. Many— in fact, nearly all— small stores were without 
this luxury, and it was the distressing habit of hasty cus- 
tomers and uninvited casuals to leave the door ajar on enter- 
ing or leaving, giving admittance to such blasts as the outer 
elements afforded, with, of course, consequent distress to the 
inhabitants. I have known the mildest of shopkeepers to be- 
come transformed into a bellowing bull, simply because of 
the necessity of shouting continuously, "Shut that door!" 
Others acquired laryngitis, not from the cold, but from this 
unremitting vocal exercise. A Doctor Jekyll of storekeepers 
would under these conditions end the day as Mr. Hyde, and 
go home a terror to his family. Some amelioration was af- 
forded by pasteboard cut-outs of beautiful ladies, bearing the 
printed legend, "Please shut the door," visible through the 
glass. But this was noticeable only to the incoming patron, 
who on emerging, would very likely forget all about the 
blandishments of the pasteboard damsel and leave the door 
open, followed by a choice volley of smothered profanity. 
Finally, one of those celestial benefactors of harassed mer- 
chants, unknown to those halls of fame containing the busts 
of machine gun inventors and dynamite chemists, devised the 

pneumatic door control, now so common. These lines, I fear, 
are probably the only public recognition his genius will ever 


In 1829 the ex-president (Monroe), having met 

with losses that swept away his fortune, left his 

Virginia home and journeyed to No. 63 Prince 

Street, where he died July 4, 1831. 

Of course, this train of thought recalls the hardships of 
outdoor life during "an old-time winter." It may be that win- 
ters were more severe than those we now enjoy— or undergo. 

c/lev2 uqaXl kjAAWajqA cmiA <J\\xmMxmA ol Vko, aimed 353 

But I am inclined to think that conditions made them so. 
Certainly no modern motorman would endure the rigors of 
an old time car-driver on an exposed platform, and a taxi 
driver is a coddled darling compared with the petrified Jehu 
of a "hack," whose circulation depended on an envelope of 
moth-eaten fur, aided and abetted by the unwonted luxury 
of a hot water can or hot brick under his feet. Nor did pas- 
sengers in horse cars fare much better in these frigid arks, 
with icy floors and an anemic stove nursed by a conductor 
who administered coal to its iron constitution in homeopathic 
doses. In some miraculous manner, the addition of straw to 
the floor was supposed to provide sufficient heat for all prac- 
tical purposes in the absence of a stove; but I still retain a 
vivid impression that this subterfuge was a delusion and a 
snare. Yet a belief in its efficacy remained for many years, and 
was only with great reluctance finally abandoned. Many were 
the long delays encountered after a heavy snowfall, and the 
cruelty to horses was something I wish to forget. 

But the summertime offered some compensations to the 
street car rider. Open cars afforded cool, cheap, and outside 
of rush hours, comfortable transportation. I think the Third 
Avenue line was the first to introduce open cars to this city. 
One of its long rides was up to Fort George, "Little Coney 
Island," it was called, on whose cliffs overlooking the Har- 
lem River, stood a diminutive reproduction of the famous 
seaside resort at the other extremity of the big town. There 
was a Ferris Wheel, pop corn and peanuts, merry-go-rounds, 
and above all refreshment stands where the famous Fort 
George Schooner used to navigate unceasingly. 

Of other notable horse car rides one of the more interest- 
ing of all New York was that on the old "Belt Line" which, 
as its name suggests, used to circumnavigate the lower reaches 
of Manhattan below Fifty-ninth Street. The old tinkling horse 
car used to ply a leisurely route down along the North River 
docks, up along the East River front, then across Fifty-ninth 

35-V UJK4^auAxm\ai UfcardA anA Q)wtataaa O fuvruis 

Street to the point of beginning. Nearly all the city's pictur- 
esque marine activities were visible from this old imitation of 
a jaunting car; the North River steamers and the East River 
windjammers, which were still a surviving relic of the famous 
old Clipper Ship era. Past the old piers of the long defunct 
Inman Line, Monarch Line, National Line, Thingvallia Line, 
State Line; past the white oyster boats at Tenth Street, very 
argosies of gastronomical delight to a generation that knew 
its oysters; past the old steamboat wharves of the Hudson 
River and Sound liners, the Glen Island boats, and the Pat- 
ten Line down the Shrewsbury to Long Branch; past Castle 
Garden and up South Street under the bowsprits of the deep- 
sea sailing ships; past the shipchandlers with their delightful 
tarry smell and the canal boats at Coenties Slip which was a 
sight all by itself— a veritable Chinese river-front colony where 
children were born, went to school, and never knew any 
home but in the stern sheets of a canaler; past Fulton Market 
and the ferry to Brooklyn; under the Big Bridge, up through 
a highway of sailors' boarding houses and dives, then the Dry 
Dock district, Corlears Hook and into the doldrums above, 
until the car turns into Fifty-ninth Street and bowls along the 
southerly margin of Central Park. 

The old "Belt Line," with its little half-portion bobtail 
car has long ago ceased to function, but for many years it led 
a useful and laborious life. 

Another ride that was a veritable treat in summer to many 
people was on Jake Sharp's famous Broadway line, with its 
extra wide seats. This busy thoroughfare was practically de- 
serted after six o'clock; but by eight, numerous trippers made 
their appearance from the teeming East Side, above Houston 
Street and supplied a very acceptable substitute for the va- 
cant benches that hitherto had made the journey in silence. 
This trip became decidedly popular after the road substituted 
cable cars in place of horses. The cars were roomy, driven at 
a much higher speed than in the daytime and were seldom 







356 <JjKas&xu3LcmAi OhjqmXa cunA Q)a/iataaa <J /WtnJcA 

required to stop for passengers. The result was a refreshing 
breeze all the way to the Battery. There the passenger dis- 
mounted, strolled along the waterfront and gazed at the con- 
stantly moving ships in the harbor with their green and red 
lights bobbing in the moonlight. On a hot summer night, this 
ride was positively thrilling to the patronage it served. 

The towers for Brooklyn Bridge were only just beginning 
to rise in the '70s, and travel to our sister city was entirely 
by means of ferryboats. Fulton Street on account of this was, 
perhaps, the busiest cross-street in the city, and the famous 
Fulton Market did a roaring retail business. The street was 
originally called Fair Street, but after Robert Fulton estab- 
lished his Ferry to Brooklyn at the East River end of the 
street, the municipality changed the name, in honor of the 
great inventor, to "Fulton." Brooklyn did the same thing. So 
when you left Fulton Street, New York, you landed on its 
continuation in the sister city. The Brooklyn approach to the 
ferry was ornamented by a huge cast-iron statue of Fulton, 
which is now, I believe, in the campus of Vassar College. This 
was the first steam ferry in the world organized for daily 
passenger traffic by Fulton and Livingston. 

Lower Fulton Street in Brooklyn was the most important 
thoroughfare in town before the Bridge opened. All the prin- 
cipal retail stores were located there, F. Loeser & Co., S. 
Wechsler & Bros., now Abraham & Straus, formerly Wechsler 
& Abraham, and many others. Brooklyn's oldest store, Jour- 
neay & Burnham on Atlantic Avenue when that was the prin- 
pal street, finally went out of business. Adjoining the Fulton 
Ferry slip was "Jewell's Wharf," quite a famous stopping-off 
place in its day. All the Coney Island and Rockaway Boats 
stopped there and no end of Sunday School excursions started 
from it in summer. Finally, the Pennsylvania Railroad ran an 
annex line of boats connecting Brooklyn with its depot in 
Jersey City, so that Jewell's Wharf became one of the best- 
known spots in Brooklyn. 

'Saddle-Rock Fry"— a Fulton Market oyster saloon. 

358 Oj/xxwhuAoAui OnxMrd& and QaAataaa O >\A\xvk& 

Trolley car parties on gayly decorated cars with multi- 
colored lamps, in the near-by unoccupied reaches of Brooklyn 
and of the city stretching into Westchester and the Bronx, 
were another popular diversion, but were a later development. 
Some streets were specially attractive for aimless strolling, but, 
unfortunately, there are no pleasant walks about the river- 
fronts of our city, as there should be, like the embankments 
along the Thames or the Seine, which is a matter of regret. 
Still, along the East River above Fifty-ninth Street, the idea 
seems to be starting. So if I take you for a moment along 
some half-forgotten highways and byways, I cannot always lead 
my readers along the sunny roads of decorum and propriety. 
All big towns have their shady bypaths; not necessarily by 
virtue of umbrageous elms and oaks, but by a rather more 
sinister history. 

In my salad days, Greene Street was one of these inviting 
tours. Greene Street, now a region of dingy, outworn ware- 
houses and workshops, with only the old-world estate office of 
Sailors' Snug Harbor to suggest a more antique gentility, was 
in its earlier era inhabited by the gentry, but at the time of 
which I write, it was one of those streets in which Zola or 
Peter Arno might have made some interesting researches, but 
which, I regret to say, enlisted the attention of a great many 
others less altruistically inclined. Ladies, in various stages of 
deshabille, lolled at ground-floor windows and addressed 
male passers-by in familiar and sometimes endearing terms. 
In fact, the total absence of formality in this district was 
charming to many who were irked by the ceremonious eti- 
quette of Washington Square and points north. I refer now 
to the Washington Square of Henry James and not to the 
present-day spaghetti squad of Macdougal Street. 

Every old street is, in its way, a kind of palimpsest under 
whose visible writing one may find the record of earlier hands, 
and Greene Street is no exception. Its original complexion, as 
is known to all old New Yorkers, was one of exceptional— 

c/lev2 IjqjvL kjAAaXajhA oral JiLcwtiiiatUi at Uvd S^t^al 359 

nay, ultra— fashionable character. It was then in the desirable 
St. John's Park section. In its palmy days, its better known 
residents included Benjamin Seixas, a son of the first presi- 


Here John Ericsson, the immortal inventor 
of the Monitor, lived for more than a gen- 
eration, and it was here he died. 

dent of the New York Stock Exchange, who lived at 133; his 
brother, Nathan Seixas at 116; Dr. Markoe at 175; Mont- 
gomery Livingstone at 80; George Henriques at 120; Alexan- 
der Forbes at 201; W. S. Vanderbilt at 194, while within a 

short walk, at No. 10 Washington Place, lived the great Com- 
modore himself. Thompson Street, likewise, had the address 
of Dr. Valentine Mott, a famous surgeon in his day, at No. 
185; No. 36 Clinton Place, now Eighth Street, was the domi- 
cile of C. A. Hecksher, and 39 that of Eliza Cruger. At 42 
lived Edward Minturn, at 2 1 Mrs. Cutting, at 20 E. A. Duy- 
ckinck, the historian. On Fourth Street lived Park Godwin 
at 331, Peter Gilsey at 338, Anson Livingston at 314. Bleecker 
Street boasted Dr. Delafield at 108; Benjamin Nathan, presi- 
dent of the Stock Exchange, and victim of one of the most 
celebrated murders in New York's criminal history, who lived 
at 153, adjoining the noted Depan Row, where at No. 6 
lived no less a personage than A. T. Stewart, before his mar- 
ble palace was built on Fifth Avenue. The rapid fortunes of 
the California trade and the enormously augmented profiteer- 
ing of the Civil War hastened the development of Fifth 
Avenue and the disintegration of St. John's Park, Stuyvesant 
Square and other strongholds of wealth and social position, in 
what was probably the swiftest decadence of any neighbor- 
hood in local history. The region we have just passed through 
became first a slum and then a shabby early "garment center." 
In recent years, however, the city has turned in its tracks and 
there are indications, in the "walk to your work" movements, 
that this one time "silk-stocking" district may again renew in 
some degree its former residential amenities. 

Chapter XX 

Q)wqXai uLaKlam,, tlvc o^cxtt UJiAxyza/iA, cunA we OlwrdincL Jvlcn 

Adjacent to this region was another legendary section, the 
Black Belt of that period. Of course, it had not the huge pop- 
ulation of contemporary sable Harlem— was only, if I may so 
term it, a baby belt; but South Fifth Avenue, Thompson 
Street and Sullivan Street, with patches of Bleecker Street, 
were a very fair (!) nucleus of Lenox and Seventh and had 
some of the "attractions" of that delectable faubourg. There 
was the "Burnt Rag" and the "Black and Tan" on Bleecker 
Street, which were a contemporary "police problem." No- 
body ever went to these places to hear spirituals or the trans- 
lated music of the Congo and other African musical centers. 
Students of "rhythm" made pilgrimages for inspiration to 
Christy's Minstrels and later to Jack Haverly's or Thatcher, 
Primrose and West. 

Of course, our colored population had not then made the 
remarkable progress in the arts and industries that they have 
since then developed. But I think that something has been 
lost in the resulting sophistication. The old Negro was enor- 
mously amusing, and the Amos 'n' Andy of today were mul- 
tiplied in the comparatively insignificant racial population of 
the past. Perhaps the passing of the "nigger minstrels" had 
something to do with it. I cannot remember Dockstader or 
Billy Emerson or any of that legendary corps of the "black 
art" ever cracking a Scotch joke. There was a wilderness of 
darkey humor to explore in the naive and lazy traditions of 
the race. No "comic strip" of today's journalism has anything 


on "The Thompson Street Poker Club," "The Darktown 
Fire Brigade," and "The Lime-Kiln Club" of Currier & Ives, 
and I, for one, would trade any number of spiritual choruses 
for the quaint loquacity of the Kalsomine man, "The Whis- 
tling Coons," or the melodious chant of that most charming 
of sable nightingales, the hot-corn vendor. 

Coney Island in those days gave not the slightest indication 
of what it was ultimately destined to be. And Rockaway was 
so far distant as to have only an occasional visitor. Yet Rocka- 
way a dozen years before was quite a famous resort and was 
fairly entitled to be called fashionable in the best and most 
elegant sense of the word. Old New York families went to 
Rockaway each summer as religiously as their heirs and as- 
signs now go to Southampton. Long Island is an old settled 
community and many of its villages have a long and historic 
career behind them. John Howard Payne's home is still stand- 
ing in East Hampton and I believe one or two old Dutch 
windmills still survive. So it was quite natural that Rockaway 
should be our first officially recognized Summer Capital. But 
the great hotel at Rockaway, patronized almost exclusively 
by New York's old families, burned down one summer and 
was never rebuilt— Long Branch taking advantage of Rock- 
away's disaster to blossom forth as a formidable rival. As 
Rockaway was always difficult to reach, the easier means of 
transportation to the Jersey Coast started that section on its 
present successful career, which has continued ever since. In 
its early days, Long Branch was a beautiful place. After- 
wards came horse racing, great gambling establishments, and 
many of the better sort of people commenced migrating else- 

The question of where to spend the summer had none of 
the importance that attaches to it today. You generally went 
to your relations in the country and protested loudly when 
they returned the compliment in the winter. Vacations were 
not yet considered an absolute necessity. Offices and manu- 

Q)cuq)Lq, uLxx/il&m, Afloat Jju^a/ui, ulaYdlrta Jvlcft 363 

facturing plants still worked the full ten hours on Saturdays 
as other days, many retail stores celebrating the week-end by 
keeping open till ten o'clock. Gradually, a few merchants 
closed a little earlier on Saturday and by slow and easy stages 
the half day quietly took a permanent place in our scheme of 
things. But that half day at first was portioned off among the 
clerks, each taking turns at keeping the store or office open 
while the majority went off. 

The idea of a whole week off at a time, was one of grad- 
ual growth. We had no such ideas as prevail today regarding 
hygiene in offices, the virtue of rest and the value of vitamines. 
It was largely a matter of grind, grind, grind all the time. 
Still, the idea was born and as business men prospered, the 
cost of vacations appeared less formidable and began to grow 
in favor as its wholesome effect on employees was noticed. A 
firm giving vacations was held in higher regard than one that 
didn't. And so the idea spread. But it was many years before 
the streets took on the deserted appearance that is now char- 
acteristic of them today at week-ends in summer. As if to 
quiet consciences for these lapses from grace, camp meetings 
sprang up all over the country. That seemed to provide an 
adequate excuse for loafing in the country. So long as you 
were engaged in nurturing your spiritual life, that seemed a 
justifiable reason for neglecting business. So the combination 
was successful till the people tired of harmless deception and 
decided to take a holiday without any subterfuge. And the 
time devoted to recreation steadily advanced from one week 
to ten days and then two weeks. While it has remained station- 
ary at that period for some years, there is an increasing 
tendency to lengthen that period and three weeks to a month 
is not now an isolated instance. 

Winter vacations were not dreamed of till decades after 
the period I am writing about. Coronado Beach, California, 
was probably the scene of the first innovation of this hitherto 
unheard-of dissipation. The Atlantic Seaboard was, as yet, un- 

thought of for this purpose, and it was many years before 
North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and New Orleans were even 
considered in this connection. California was not only bet- 
ter known, but had the enterprise to put up suitable accom- 
modations for the wealthy and the fame of these Western 
caravansaries soon traveled to the East. 

Henry M. Flagler, at that time seeking some sort of pleasant 
distraction from the irksomeness of the oil business, suddenly 
determined to develop Florida, and started in with two mag- 
nificent structures, the Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine and 
the Alcazar in Palm Beach. It was to the former that President 
Cleveland took his bride on his honeymoon. Yet strange to 
relate, in this magnificent hotel of over three hundred rooms, 
there were only fourteen with baths. For the rest, the public 
shower was all that could be had. 

Florida today, however, rivals the Riviera in Europe and 
is only at her beginning, despite her setback from unwise 

The telephone girl was probably the first woman in the 
commercial world who escaped the charge of taking a man's 
job away from him, for from almost the very beginning, 
"operator" has been of the feminine gender. In those days, 
the girls spoke common or garden English, or what sounded 
like it, and their elocution was devoid of the "nye-un," 
"thr-r-r-ee," "fie-ev" of the A. T. & T. dictionary. 

A topic that was a subject of conversation for many many 
years was the Great Blizzard which suddenly descended upon 
the City without warning in the middle of March in 1888. I 
am not a close student of meteorological records, but think I 
am safe in saying that nothing equal in intensity, fatalities 
and general all-round devastation has ever since been experi- 
enced by New York. The present generation can form no 
idea of the havoc wrought by the howling gale, that avalanche 
of snow, and the freezing temperature that accompanied it. 
I believe there is now a Society of the Great Blizzard in ex- 

istence, the members of which like myself were caught in that 
terrible storm and were among those fortunate enough to 
escape without serious consequences. One citizen who lived 
in the Seventies and resided but a short block or two from the 
Ninth Avenue Elevated, became bewildered by the blasts, 
wandered around aimlessly and finally sank down in the snow 
to perish within a few yards of his home where warmth and 
shelter awaited him. 

Elevated trains stalled on their tracks. On Sixth Avenue, 
extension ladders were employed in one instance to rescue 
the marooned and frozen passengers. The descent was by no 
means unattended with danger, but happily there were no 

Some hardy citizens of superb health and who were in the 
habit of walking from their homes to their offices downtown, 
suffered severely. Most of these fortunately decided that for 
one day discretion was the better part of valor. They had 
reason to congratulate themselves on their decision when 
they attempted the heretofore short walk to the Elevated. 
Street cars had, of course, ceased to run. Many of them re- 
turned completely exhausted, while others were compelled to 
seek refuge in the first house they could reach. Senator Ros- 
coe Conkling, one of the best known citizens and about as 
perfect a specimen of physical manhood as there was in New 
York, reached Madison Square after the walk from the 
financial district. That was his daily practice and a storm was 
not to be allowed to interfere with his daily routine. He lived 
at the Hoffman House. Instead of bearing to the left at 
Twenty-third Street and continuing along Broadway, he 
walked straight ahead into Madison Square. Here he became 
confused and lost all sense of direction. How long he had 
wandered aimlessly around the Park he never knew. He was 
fortunately seen and rescued. But the exposure was too much 
for even a man of his robust physique, and he contracted 
pneumonia from which he died a few days later. How many 

366 tJjKav&nAlanAi <Jiani& cunA Qa/uxlaaa O nuxvLii 

other deaths directly due to the same experience by others 
was of course never known, but the toll was heavy. 

Every hotel that night was crowded and you were lucky to 
get a chair, a cot or even a space on the floor to rest till morn- 
ing. There were, of course, no telephones to speak of and all 
telegraph wires were down. Messengers could not be had for 
love or money. So thousands of families spent that night in 
an agony of fear and suspense. 

Dozens of local trains from commuting sections were stalled 
on their tracks. The passengers suffered acutely, as presently 
the heat gave out. There was no steam in the engine and fuel 
for the stove which supplied most of the warmth in those days, 
was soon exhausted. Some of these trains were not located for 
two or three days and most of the passengers were in a bad 
way for want of food. 

In most of the streets snow piled up against the houses, 
hiding the front stoop completely. It ran from four to ten feet 
deep according to the direction of the wind, which formed 
at some places drifts of even greater depth. For several days 
one walked through high banks of snow on every street. 
When the snow was finally shoveled into huge piles in the 
streets, these miniature mountains soon blossomed with iron- 
ical signs giving fancy locations to the mounds— Mount Blanc, 
St. Moritz, "Baldface," Bunker Hill, together with kindly ob- 
servations regarding the Department of Street Cleaning which 
had apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. 

The storm disappeared as suddenly as it came and the next 
day the sun shone as brightly and warm as on a May morning. 
But it was the end of the second day ere the City began to 
show real life again. All business in the meantime was com- 
pletely suspended and it was more than a week before the 
City's transportation approached the normal. The loss in life 
was never accurately estimated, but it was heavy and indi- 
rectly it was the cause of many other deaths. 

For months the papers contained odds and ends about the 

q)cJq)U uLoAX&rn, <3nuoX uoXXwxxwA, U lamina JvicJi 367 

storm that related many almost unbelievable happenings. 
Fortunately, the rise in temperature due to the approaching 
Spring continued and what could never have been accom- 
plished by man— the complete removal of the snow— was mer- 
cifully removed by Nature herself. I have witnessed almost 
every severe storm in New York since that memorable Bliz- 
zard, and I can truthfully say that none of them were any- 
thing but child's play compared with that terrible visitation, 
the Blizzard of '88. 

The 'gos were not only gay, but golden. This era in Wall 
Street saw the banking business for the first time, forsaking 
the heretofore monopolistic avenues of finance, such as rail- 
roads which were supposed to be, when built, free from com- 
petition to a great extent. In fact, that had been the theory 
and practice of all railroad building, and it was not until 
Senator Brice built a road from Chicago to New York, par- 
alleling the great Vanderbilt System, that any predatory road 
of this sort had ever been attempted. In time, of course, Brice 
managed to unload the West Shore on the Vanderbilts and it 
cost the latter a pretty penny. It also proved to investors that 
a railroad bond was not necessarily the one safe investment 
on earth, as they had been reared to believe, and it also made 
the bankers think. It destroyed their hitherto sacred fetish 
that only railroad securities were worthy of their attention. A 
certain oil company had also been able to grow up without 
the aid of banking capital and its securities now ranked higher 
in the financial world than any railroad's on the list. So the 
bankers began to look into the industrial field as it was called, 
and presently began an era of combinations, amalgamations 
and mergers that opened up a new and tremendously big field 
for fresh exploration. 

For some years it had been known that Andrew Carnegie 
was anxious to retire from his immense business responsibili- 
ties, but there was no other firm in business at the time able 
to take over the Carnegie organization. A rumpus with the 

368 JjiQA&nAlathQ, <Jiohi& atui Q)anxdaaa O WLtvkA 

Pennsylvania Railroad over freight rates brought a threat 
from Carnegie to build an independent line to the seaboard. 
Mr. Rockefeller was also having the same kind of trouble. 
There was talk at one time of a merger of the steel people 
with the oil people, and such a combination would mean a 
drastic rate war which would affect not only Pennsylvania 
stocks but New York Central and others as well. The security 
market grew nervous. 

A Western crowd headed by a couple of clever young law- 
yers in Chicago, the Moore Brothers, suddenly discovered the 
possibilities of this new development and began their prac- 
ticed hand in Trust-making by organizing the Diamond 
Match Company, which proved a fizzle at first but ultimately 
became a success. They made the acquaintance of a hustling 
young barbed-wire salesman at about this time named John 
W. Gates— "Bet-a-Million" Gates, as he later became known. 
Starting with the wire branch of the steel business, they en- 
larged their operations to include several important steel 
mills, and the Federal Steel Company was added to the Amer- 
ican Wire Company. They were able to pay good dividends 
on the huge amount of stock they issued and were much em- 
boldened by their success and followed it up by the formation 
of a Tin Plate Trust, and later on by the American Can 
Company. Quite a record in a few years for two hitherto un- 
known lawyers. 

In the meantime, Carnegie stood pat, when suddenly the 
financial world gasped with astonishment at the announce- 
ment of the formation of a billion dollar company— United 
States Steel Corporation— formed by J. P. Morgan & Company 
around the Carnegie business which Charley Schwab had sold 
to Morgan for five hundred millions in bonds and several 
hundred more millions in cash. When Mr. Morgan rounded 
out his plan, it was disclosed that it included the Federal 
Steel Company and all its subsidiaries, besides numerous ore 
mines, coke ovens, etc. etc. It was a gigantic accomplishment 



370 ti5'Xav3fi4tattc <J*ani& anA o)a/udaaa O /umxA 

and placed J. P. Morgan & Company at the head of private 
bankers the world over. 

The next great coup was the Tobacco Trust. The germ of a 
combination among cigarette manufacturers originated in the 
brain of an employee of a trade publication— Charles Allen, I 
think the name was. He was constantly adjusting disputes 
among the various manufacturers regarding trade-marks, 
brands, etc. etc. He saved the several firms much time and 
money in these amicable settlements and finally suggested one 
huge organization to control the entire industry. Oudin and 
Oakley, an unknown law firm at the time, handled the proj- 
ect which at first was a small one. The Duke factories at that 
time on their letterheads were bragging that they had a capi- 
tal of $600,000. 

The original merger included only W. Duke Sons & Com- 
pany who received $7,500,000 in stock and the presidency of 
the Company for Mr. J. B. Duke, the head of the firm. Kin- 
ney Bros, came next, then Allen and Ginter of Richmond, 
Marburg Bros, of Baltimore and Goodwin & Company of 
New York. The main business of the new Company was 
cigarettes. Plug and Pipe Smoking were afterthoughts. 

Lorillard, now Liggett & Myers, were in the original 
group. A disagreement between William H. Butler, secretary 
of Kinney, who thought he should have been president of the 
new company, finally broke out in open rupture. Mr. Butler 
had handled the firm's Wall Street manipulations and came 
to know Thos. F. Ryan, then a hustling young broker from 
Richmond. With the assistance of the Widener crowd in 
Philadelphia, they formed the Union Tobacco Company and 
purchased "Bull Durham," a popular smoking tobacco which 
was managed by P. S. Hill for General Carr in Philadelphia. 
They then got hold of Liggett & Myers of St. Louis, a huge 
plug tobacco concern. 

A tobacco war was imminent, but that was never in Mr. 
Ryan's mind for an instant. By means of the Union Tobacco 

Company, he got hold of the American, placing Duke at the 
head. Butler was out. Lorillard soon after capitulated and the 
present organization was completed. Additions and extensions 
have since followed— the formation of the Imperial Tobacco 
Company of Canada, the British American Tobacco Company 
of London, etc.— all tremendously wealthy and successful con- 

Other great figures arose in Wall Street, notably James 
Stillman, who took a comparatively unknown bank— the City 
National— and made it the largest of the institutions on the 
Street. The present J. P. Morgan was connected with the bank 
in a minor capacity. Most of his life had been spent in London 
and he was not so prominent in New York as abroad. It was 
not until the death of his father that his latent power de- 
veloped. While the handling of the finances of the Steel Cor- 
poration required great ability, the handling of the finances 
and purchases for Mr. Allen in the World War was infinitely 
a greater task. Mr. Morgan venerates his father's memory and 
any comparison showing him in a favorable light to his father 
is very distasteful to him. 

Wall Street in those days around the Morgan corner held 
more of the world's financial celebrities than any other city 
in the world. The Stock Exchange is just across the street 
from Morgan's as is also the U. S. Sub-Treasury. A dozen of 
the most important banks are within a stone's throw. 

The Morgan building at that time was an old-fashioned 
bank, an iron affair built and owned originally by Anthony 
J. Drexel of Philadelphia. The firm name over the door in 
heavy block stone letters was Drexel, Morgan & Company. 
Strange to relate, the basement was occupied by a firm of coal 
dealers, Jeremiah Skidmore's Sons, and a small shop where 
watches were repaired. The banking firm occupied the first 
floor reached by a flight of stone steps. The rest of the 
premises were sublet as offices to lawyers, brokers or anyone 
else who could pay the rent. Originally it had no elevator, but 

toward the end it boasted of an asthmatic contraption, started 
and stopped by a steel cable. The elder Morgan made no 
particular impression on the banking world as a young man. 
He did not join the famous banking firm of his father in 
London, but accepted an apparently modest position with 
Duncan, Sherman & Company, a firm unknown to finance. 
His name as part of a firm first appears in 1891 as Dobney 
Morgan & Company, dealers in Investment Securities. A year 
or two later, he joined the New York branch of Drexel & 
Company, Philadelphia, and the new firm is known as Drexel, 
Morgan & Company, Mr. Drexel erecting a building on the 
site of their present location. In his middle thirties he began 
to show the metal he was made of, but his great coup— the 
Steel Company— was not accomplished till the time when 
most men have retired— he was sixty-four. 

Both father and son had one trait in common— a deep-seated 
aversion to publicity and particularly to photographs; and yet 
each, as the years rolled on, experienced a change in heart in 
this respect. Both of them smashed cameras more than once. 
Both lived to see the day when they faced the camera with 

While the offices of the senior Morgan were often the scene 
of many important meetings, it could not compare with 
what the Library saw on Thirty-ninth Street. This was where 
the great conferences were held, and where many incipient 
panics were averted. This little building has at times held 
groups within it who actually, not figuratively, held the coun- 
try in the hollow of their hands. For these were the days before 
the Federal Reserve and when the money power was in the 
hands of a few "benevolent despots," as Untermeyer called 
them. If the walls of this old building could speak, they 
could tell stories that would put to blush many a so-called 
"thriller" which would turn out to be mush and milk by 

Mr. Morgan had a few very intimate cronies— men whom 

Q^cuULo. oLaAto4n f &iacd tJjUxfflcutA, <JiardituL Jvlcll 373 

he liked aside from business. "Jim" Hill was one of them, 
Phil Armour another, George F. Baker a third, and Frederick 
Schumacher a fourth. Although a Connecticut man, he was 
much attached to the city which has always been his home, 
and many a member of an old New York family on that 
score alone has benefited by it. In the world of finance, he 
was an absolute monarch. He was a product of his day and 
generation, and there will never be another like him. He 
passed away in Rome, city of the Caesars and a fitting place 
for the exit of a modern Alexander. 

A strange figure on the street, and one of the most remark- 
able and yet about whom little has been written, was John 
Sterling, personal lawyer and mentor to John D. Rockefeller, 
James Stillman, and a dozen others equally prominent. He 
was an old-time shipowner of the '40s. There was a rumor 
that early in life he was a gay blade and fell in love with a 
reigning beauty. That must have been about the time that 
Second Avenue and St. John's Park were the regions of wealth 
and fashion. At all events, so the story goes, she refused him 
and Sterling remained a bachelor all his life. He was not, how- 
ever, immune to the charms of the fair sex and he looked 
after about sixty aged women whom he kept in an old ladies' 
home in Rye. Some client had wished the Institution on him 
and John Sterling was true to his trust to the end. No matter 
how urgent the demand for his services nor how valuable 
his time might be, Saturdays always found him up at Rye 
counting the pots and pans and seeing that everything was 
all snug and tight, Bristol fashion, in the old ladies' home. I 
suppose those old ladies must have wondered many a time 
who that old-fashioned gentleman was who came to see them 
so regularly, and who was so fussy about everything. 

His private office was easily the most poverty-stricken one, 
so far as furnishings went, of any in the Street. There was 
one small deal table in it, a couple of shabby chairs and a hat- 
rack. Yet in that shabby little room, more important conclu- 

37-^ <J5/to^Cfi^tafvc <Jfumt& and Q)axaiaaa <J nAxxvbb. 

sions were reached, more momentous decisions made, than 
in any of the manufacturing law offices of today. When he 
died he left some twenty millions to Yale, his Alma Mater. 
No more singular character ever appeared in Wall Street; he 
shunned publicity and was never interviewed. But his clients 
included the most powerful, the most important figures in 
all the realm of business. 

The tall, aesthetic-looking man with graying stubby mus- 
tache is James Stillman, alias the National City Bank. Mr. 
Stillman came to the bank when it occupied the old-fashioned 
residence house at 52 Wall Street. The old iron railings, go- 
ing up the stoop to the entrance of the old house, still re- 
mained part of the old bank till it vacated the premises to 
move across the street and occupy the old Custom House 
which had moved to its new building at the foot of Broadway. 
When alterations were completed, it was regarded as the 
finest banking house in the Street. 

It was probably the Rockefeller business that made the 
National City— that and the personality of James Stillman 
himself. No doubt, the wise counsel of John Sterling was also 
a factor. The two were the closest of friends and the day was 
not a day till they had exchanged good-night greetings ere 
putting out the light. 

A strange reticent man was Stillman. Perhaps the strangest 
thing he did was suddenly to decide to end his days in a 
foreign land, France. It was then disclosed that his home life 
had been unhappy and that he had lived apart from Mrs. 
Stillman most of his life. There certainly was a Nemesis 
hovering over the domestic affairs of the family. It seems quite 
true that mere riches do not guarantee happiness. 

But of all the picturesque figures who made Wall Street 
a cynosure of all eyes in those days, the son of an obscure 
minister in Long Island easily occupied first place— Edward 
H. Harriman, builder of the Union Pacific. 

This historic old road had figured sensationally in pre- 

Q)wq)U, uLaAX&m, tlntioX ujUwzjmA, Oiardirva JvlcK. 375 

war days as one of the greatest gambles in the Stock Market. 
Much of the stock was held in England and in its early days 
it had been a good money-maker. It superseded the Pony 

Interior of a Pullman car, smoking saloon, i8j6. 

376 Jj/uj^ftdtcm^ Ononis anA Q)aAxdaaa O ixA\xvk& 

Express and the Overland Stage from Omaha to the Pacific. 
It still had some rolling stock, a roadbed— and in Harriman's 
opinion a tremendous future. The stock was then selling 
around five or ten dollars a share. 

The story of the regeneration of this road is one of the 
romances of railroading. When Harriman's rehabilitation 
was complete, earnings began to climb. In about k^s time 
than it takes to tell, the stock was paying 10 per cent plus and 
was quoted around a hundred and fifty. Then came the 
struggle for control of the Northern Pacific, which Harriman 
needed for some expansion he had in mind. If Jacob Schiff 
had carried out Harriman's instructions to buy fifty thousand 
shares at the time he wanted them, the Morgan forces would 
have been caught napping, so it is said, and there would have 
been no Northern Pacific "corner." Schiff refused to make the 
purchase till too late and the rumpus was on— with the old 
Giant Morgan idling on the banks of the Nile where a stone 
from the sling-shot of David found him and hit him low. 

Mr. Harriman was far from a mere speculator. Whatever 
profit his stock holdings showed, was by reason of increased 
earnings which the policy and ability of Harriman produced 
out of the roads themselves. The public who bought his stocks 
as an investment soon came to realize that a Harriman stock 
was a good stock to own outright, but a poor stock to buy on 

Harriman tried hard at first to interest Morgan in his 
scheme. He failed. His only comment was, "Guess I wasn't 
feeling just right." He then turned to Kuhn, Loeb & Com- 
pany and found a sympathetic listener in Jacob Schiff, a 
member of the firm and a son-in-law of the senior founder, 
Solomon Loeb. They became bankers to the Union Pacific. 
The health of Mr. Harriman, never a very robust man, began 
to break under the terrific strain he put upon it, and long 
before his time he passed on. He was always a builder-up, 

never a destroyer; and as such he is held in affectionate re- 

Jacob Schiff, his closest friend, rose to an enviable position 
among the people of New York. He was loyal to his ancient 
Faith and did much for the Jews of his adopted city. Few 
men were more highly thought of, and his wise counsel was 
sought after in many affairs. 

Through their connection with the Union Pacific, the firm 
prospered, which enabled Mr. Schiff to expand his philan- 
thropies in several directions. Always a serious-minded man 
and deeply religious, Mr. Schiff was among our really great 
personages in the business world. His unscrambling of the 
finances of such a mixed-up corporation as the Union Pacific, 
revealed him as a master of detail and a wizard in administra- 
tion. He was an admirable foil for the impetuous and head- 
strong Harriman. It was a great combination. 

Of Otto Kahn, it can be said that his responsibilities and 
duties came first. An ardent lover of music, Mr. Kahn was a 
staunch supporter of the Metropolitan. There is no doubt 
that his plan for a new Opera House in the new Rockefeller 
Center was a logical development in the life of this institu- 
tion, and no doubt it would have been realized but for the 
obstinate opposition of an influential group headed by R. 
Fulton Cutting. Now that both are gone, steps may yet be 
taken to supplant that moth-eaten old relic on Fortieth Street 
for a building commensurate with the importance of operatic 
music in New York and in keeping with the wealth and cul- 
ture of the city. 

The original Rockefeller brothers, John and William, were 
seldom seen on the streets of the financial district— John 
never. The Standard Oil came from Cleveland in 1871 and 
opened their first offices in an obscure building on Pearl 
Street near Wall. I was in it a few years ago. The cheap 
wooden partition that separated John D.'s personal corner 
from the general office was still there. It was an old build- 

ing and never was a costly one. But that is where the first 
million-dollar firm opened its doors. They now occupy a 

Interior of a Pullman car, the parlor, i8j6. 

G)me xjLaAto4n f Steal Jjllizza/iA, Oiafafatia JvlcK 379 

magnificent building of their own at 26 Broadway. At that 
time it was much smaller— very much— than the present struc- 
ture, which actually extends from 26 Broadway to Beaver 
Street and includes probably a dozen numbers. 

The original building, however, was quite luxurious for 
those days. It had excellent elevator service and was substan- 
tially built with heavy mahogany woodwork everywhere. It 
had every requisite for convenience and comfort within its 
own doors, including a well-equipped and well-stocked restau- 
rant. In those days, the oil officials who traveled much would 
take a fancy to this or that Pullman porter and give him a 
job as attendant in one of their numerous offices. That is 
why you see so many colored men around the Standard Oil 
building. They seem to be very polite and efficient; evidently 

So Mr. Rockefeller, Sr. had little occasion to go outside his 
own bailiwick once he reached it, and there were not any 
people that he needed to call on. He would occasionally be 
encountered hatless in one of the numerous elevators in the 
course of the day going from one department to another. 
And he had his frugal lunch of milk and crackers in the com- 
pany's private restaurant. His brother, William, was more 
often seen. He was a regular attendant at the Tuesday board 
meetings of the National City Bank of which he was a direc- 
tor and one of the largest stockholders. He was also interested 
in other boards whose meetings also took him to the Street. 
Young John D., Jr. had not yet appeared on the scene— at 
least, in a big way. 

Other important Standard Oil Chiefs included H. H. 
Rogers, John D. Archbold, Walter Jennings, George D. and 
Herbert L. Pratt, H. M. Flagler, Edward L. Harkness, J. A. 
Bostwick and some others. With the exception of H. H. 
Rogers, they were seldom in the public eye, holding down 
closely their jobs in the Company. Mr. Flagler retired and 
started in to develop Florida. 

380 cJjAuiWfL&tane <J tont& and Qwiataaa O >*umJcd 

He was rather a good-looking man personally, though by 
no means a fop. He had rare constructive ability and in 
modern Florida has left a magnificent monument. 

None of the Vanderbilts were ever seen on the Street those 
days. Whatever errands had to be done fell to the lot of 
Chauncey Depew. Perhaps William H. may have been in Mor- 
gan's office when he arranged to sell a hundred and twenty- 
five thousand shares of N. Y. Central in London, but I'm not 
sure. The old Commodore in his day was a familiar enough 
figure, but the sons were rarely seen. George J. Gould had 
an office at 165 Broadway, which he rarely left. He did not 
inherit his father's ability as a speculator or money-maker. 
Frank played around with Dillingham, the musical comedy 
manager, but developed no taste for business. Edwin was 
very retiring; Howard was more in the papers than was good 
for him, but never in connection with any weighty business 
enterprise. Old Phil Armour used to come to town fre- 
quently, drop into the office of a religious weekly he sup- 
ported, leave a fat check to carry on and then go down to 
the Street to get enough to make it good without having to 
use any old money. Mr. Armour was a very able man— one of 
the ablest of them all. He, "Jim" Hill, and Mr. Morgan were 

James J. Hill, president of the Northern Pacific, and who 
was everywhere known as "Jim," was one of the most pic- 
turesque characters that ever was on the Street. He was a 
practical railroad man and could lay a rail with the best of 
them. He would build a section of the road and make it 
earn a dividend on the bonds it cost; then he would proceed 
with the next section. When he was "on location" in the 
early days, he worked with pick and shovel or acted as fore- 
man if needed. He was a fine man in the best sense of the 
word and built his road through a howling wilderness and 
lived to see his dream of Empire come true. 

The Stock Exchange was one of the sights of the city and 

Q)wald 0\MA)iQ4yi f &iacd OjUxwoutA, tJlaifdirva Jvlcn 384 

strangers were always taken to see it. No tickets of admission 
were needed. Trinity Church at the head of the Street was 
open every day. On Good Friday a special noonday service 
was held at which some eminent divine would officiate. In 
that way Dean Stanley of Westminster Abbey, Bishop Brooks 
of Boston, Bishop Potter of New York, and nearly every 
man of prominence in the Episcopal Church, was heard at 
these special Lenten services held at noon. 

Occasionally, a funeral of some old New Yorker having a 
vault in Trinity Church would bring down a contingent of 
old New Yorkers and many prominent in Society to mingle 
for a moment with the hurrying throngs on Broadway. It 
usually attracted a crowd, as the music was fine and the ring- 
ing of the chimes gave notice of something unusual. 

Quite a number of eminent members of the Bar had their 
offices on or near Wall Street. Evarts, Southmayd & Choate 
were among the most prominent. The diminutive, gaunt fea- 
tures of Senator Evarts, with his old beaver high hat, senior 
member of this firm, fresh from his Genoa Award victory; 
Joseph H. Choate, the greatest after-dinner speaker of his 
day; Robert W. de Forrest, president of the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art and of De Forrest Bros.; ex-President Cleve- 
land, Tracy, Stetson & Bangs; ex-Judge Howland; Stewart L. 
Woodford; Roscoe Conkling (who perished soon after the 
Great Blizzard); District Attorney Jerome; De Lancey Nicoll, 
S. D. T. Todd of the Standard Oil, and dozens of others were 
frequently encountered. Gen. U. S. Grant, while a member 
of that unfortunate firm, Grant & Ward, was a frequent visi- 
tor and always excited great interest as he entered his office. 
And any distinguished visitor such as a Russian Grand Duke, 
Prince Henry, or a foreign soldier of renown was sure to be 
taken downtown by one or another of his friends to see the 
most famous street in America. Uncle Russell Sage was al- 
ways pointed out, Jay Gould, James R. Keene, Thos. F. 
Ryan, Henry Clews, Frank Work. 

The great ironmasters, Carnegie, Schwab and Frick, were 
occasionally seen, but not often. It is not possible, of course, 
to include within the limited space at my command a com- 
plete list of all the well-known people seen in the financial 
district in the golden 'gos. I have tried to recall the most 
outstanding figures and the most interesting names of the 
period. Already many have almost ceased to be remembered 
and a new set of names is in the making. But the list, short 
as it is, will no doubt bring back stirring memories to those 
who like myself were of that day and generation. 

Chapter XXI 

J ho. Q)acial Jveaiaie/t anA c)ame $)&iiaiv6. UccavLeoceA 

Early as it was in our National life there had already ap- 
peared indications of a desire in certain quarters to be what 
we now know as "Social Registerites." The publication of 
Washington Irving's Knickerbocker's History of New York, 
in which the Dutch are made the victims of Irving's good- 
natured though perfectly accurate satirization of the early 
Dutch burghers, created a tremendous sensation at the time, 
and the gentle saga of "Sleepy Hollow" came in for a terrific 
barrage of criticism and abuse. His portrait, however, of the 
Dutch regime is in the main correct. The artistic license occa- 
sionally used by the gifted writer, in which he purposely ex- 
aggerates the National shortcomings of these stolid people, 
in no wise detracts from whatever credit to which they are 
entitled. Being practically British himself, Irving quite natu- 
rally looked upon the Dutch occupations of New York as a 
huge joke. But, of course, the descendants of the few settlers 
who had remained here, and who had profited immensely by 
the enhanced value of the generous-sized farms bequeathed 
them by their ancestors, naturally resented Irving's amusing 
description of these legendary worthies and set up a vocifer- 
ous wail of protest. Most of them, however, were half or 
three-quarters English by this time, so the irritation was soon 
lost sight of in the subsequent fame which came to Irving, 
who remained a staunch New Yorker to the end. 

It would be quite possible up to the age of steam— 1835— 
to count all the families in New York who owned their own 

38-V uysvaWfidtatvQ. <Jiani& anA Q^axataaa O mmikA 

carriages. That was the accepted credential that permitted 
you to be a social registerite of those days. With the enormous 
changes in our social fabric that began with steam, and our 
rapidly expanding national wealth, due to the opening of 
vast domains hitherto inaccessible, all exclusive social distinc- 
tions became more and more difficult to maintain. Yet there 
remains today in New York a class of society in which family 
and not worth is the only open sesame. It may not be ad- 
mitted that such a clique exists. Its members are not banded 
together; they do not sound their praises from the house- 
tops. But try to enter without proper background and see 
what happens. 

There have always been certain things in New York that 
constituted what is known in the best sense as "Society." 
Away back before the Revolution it was Trinity Church, 
Kings College, the Society Library and the Society of the 
New York Hospitals, and after the Revolution the New York 
Historical Society. Although John Pritchard's organization was 
not formally chartered till 1804, a preliminary group had ex- 
isted many years before. This is a short list, but it is all there 
is of real Old New York. 

The knowledge that such a coterie exists, has always been 
recognized in New York. The desire to codify it— to set apart 
the sheep from the goats, has never come from any initiative 
on the part of this group. They have ever been a law unto 
themselves and utterly callous to outside opinion. But the 
existence of such a circle and the great curiosity to know who 
actually compose it resulted in 1870 in the compilation of the 
first issue of the most heartbreaking publication in New 
York— the Social Register. 

When a girl got a job in the telephone company in the 
'80s, she received a temporary appointment for six months in 
which to learn the business, during which period she received 
$3 a week; that is, if she was very circumspect, and pleased 
the superintendent, who was empowered to discharge her at 

Parade of the New York Coaching Club, 1885. 

386 Uj^vQAQ^dtoive. JOtatiid anA Q)<x/vaiacia u nAxxvkA 

will. Once passed the probationary stage, however, she could 
be discharged only for cause. The main cause was for flirting 
over the wires and making dates; a minor cause was for being 
"pert" to subscribers, according to the manager of the Cort- 
landt Street Exchange, then the New York Headquarters. 
The girls who came at seven in the morning got away at 


"Hello! Santa Claus!" 

five; those at eight left at six, and so on, day and night. At 
noon you would see every other girl leave her place and go 
down to the dining-room for her luncheon. The girl next to 
her took charge of her place in her absence. The work was 
not apt to be heavy, as all New York lunched between twelve 
and two o'clock. The highest wages paid to a girl at the 
switchboard was $10 a week. "Bless their dear hearts," said a 
lady visitor to the exchange, "I ought to congratulate them 

u Jve Q)ocial u\jiauAaik atul eWne q)*iaaquA Uccu/i/u&ficeA 387 

instead of sympathizing with them. They look so healthy 
and so happy and are paid twice as much as the average shop- 
girl. Besides, they are so protected here." 

''Although the telephone system is still almost an infant," 
said the manager, "it is rapidly becoming universally recog- 
nized as an important part of the general machinery of busi- 
ness. Only a few weeks ago a subscriber, whose wife had 
scarlet fever and was quarantined in the upper story of the 
house, had a telephone put by her bed and one in his library, 
and for six weeks they communicated with each other in this 

The Telephone Company commenced business in a top 
loft in Cortlandt Street. They had a desperate struggle for 
existence at first. There is still a firm on that street that has 
the distinction of once refusing them credit for a small print- 
ing job amounting to fifteen dollars. The headquarters of the 
Company remain in the same neighborhood to this day. 

In the '70s before the advent of Stanford White, Madi- 
son Square Garden was a sad spectacle. For years, it was 
a huge barn-like structure and performed the dual function 
of depot for the Harlem line of steam cars and later on as a 
barn for the Fourth Avenue horse cars. It had now added 
another character to its role and was appearing as the head- 
quarters of Barnum's Circus and the justly famous band 
brought together by Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore. For many 
years, Gilmore's Band was part of New York, and in the 
summertime he was a great attraction at the Oriental Hotel, 
Manhattan Beach, where, with the renowned Levy, the 
cornetist, he entertained many thousands every season. 

After Stanford White had razed the old Garden and had 
reared upon its site a charming structure in the Spanish 
School, reproducing the Towers of Seville, it took its place 
as one of the show buildings of the city. New York had 
readily risen to its feet in appreciation of the genius of White, 
and when his beautiful Washington Arch reared its loveli- 

388 Jj/tov^ti^Wte jOuwttd unA Q)wuxiaaa O nAxxvkA 

ness on lower Fifth Avenue, we began to think there was 
such a thing as beauty in buildings, after all, and the name 
of Stanford White was on every tongue. 

A superb office building, erected by a large insurance com- 
pany, now occupies the site of the Spanish garden erected by 
White, and on a spot that might correspond with a window 
looking out on Twenty-fourth Street, just east of Madison 
Avenue, one can almost visualize White, in evening dress, 
slumped in the chair where he died. 

His partner, Charles McKim, soon after followed White to 
the grave. His funeral was at old Trinity, and all of New 
York that was worth while was there to pay a last tribute to 
his memory. A more distinguished gathering has seldom been 
seen, even in that historic edifice famous for its final cere- 
monies to more distinguished personages than any other 
building in the country. 

One of the events about this time was the great Westfield 
disaster which occurred July 11, 1881. That was a Staten 
Island ferryboat whose boilers blew up shortly after she left 
her slip. She was heavily loaded and the sad part was that the 
violence of the explosion blew many persons into the water 
and killed scores on the deck. No such frightful disaster had 
occurred in years. The late Billy Muldoon, ex-Boxing Com- 
missioner, was then on the Police Force and told me about 
it. He immediately joined the rescuing party. They got as 
many Whitehall boats as they could and rowed to the sinking 
Westfield. Hundreds were in the water. Scores were fright- 
fully injured. For twenty-four hours these boats picked up 
fragments of human bodies— heads, arms, legs, feet, etc. 
These were loaded in boats and taken to the Morgue at Belle- 
vue which was soon over-crowded. 

The next day, July 12th, brought another catastrophe— 
the riot between the Orangemen and the Irish. This occurred 
on Eighth Avenue. These two rival clans had transported an 
Old World feud to New York. The Fenians threw bricks 

<J He facial Jveai&tex anA C)atm G)e/dauA Uceu/t/xetvceA 389 

from the roof of the houses on the marching ranks of the 
Orangemen and soon a full-size bloody war was in progress. 
The State Militia were called to the scene. Their rifles were 
supposed to be loaded with blank cartridges, but by mistake 
regular bullets were substituted. Under these circumstances, 
the order to fire should have been withheld. It wasn't and 
more than thirty innocent bystanders were killed and hun- 
dreds wounded. When these bodies were added to the already 
over-crowded Morgue, Muldoon says the sight was terrible. 
They lay around everywhere, and anywhere. The police 
worked twenty-five and thirty hours at a stretch trying to get 
some sort of order out of chaos, but it was practically impos- 

Col. Jim Fisk, of Erie fame, who had a flair for military 
clothes, had arrayed himself in a Major-General's uniform 
and rode at the head of the procession. When the trouble 
reached a really serious stage, Jim spurred his horse and 
rode at a break-neck pace down Eighth Avenue to Twenty- 
third Street. There stood the Opera House which he owned. 
He made for the stage door, dismounted and was safe. This 
exploit drew bitter criticism which never really subsided. The 
charge of cowardice clung to him all his life. 

This penchant for showy clothes was also a feature of the 
sailing of the Fall River Line which Fisk owned. He would 
dress himself up in an Admiral's uniform and parade the 
upper deck where all could see him till the boat started. He 
wore his mustache waxed at both ends and curled to a 
nicety. "He was certainly a queer character," added Muldoon, 
"and I wasn't so much surprised as many other people when 
he was shot and killed in the Broadway Central Hotel by his 
jealous rival, Edward S. Stokes." Josie Mansfield, the cause 
of the tragedy between Stokes and Fisk, survived nearly fifty 
years after the trial that ended in Stokes' acquittal. Her days 
in Paris were spent in squalid poverty and I think she now 
lies in a pauper's grave. 

390 JjKQA&rtiilanAL <J/ioni& cunA Q)a/uxiaaa O luxwkb. 

Many old New Yorkers recall affectionately that fine old 
athlete, William Muldoon, who, in later years, owned a fine 
farm, up in Westchester, where many celebrated public men 
went to regain their shattered health. Taft, Roosevelt are 
only examples of the type who repaired to Billy's sanitarium. 
He never preached but said, as an expert in bringing men 
back to health, "If you want to enjoy real health, then leave 
whisky and tobacco alone." 

Chapter XXII 

Few buildings in our city enjoy such a national and inter- 
national reputation as old Castle Garden, now the Aqua- 
rium. Mr. Wall, the learned librarian of the New York His- 
torical Society, tells me that more inquiries reach him from 
the hinterland for picture postcards of this building than for 
any other structure in New York, not even excepting the 
Wool worth or the Empire State. 

To me and to most New Yorkers, this seems quite under- 
standable. For nearly thirty years, it was the sole landing 
place for emigrants from all countries. There were no excep- 
tions. Every foreigner coming here to make his home, must 
first pass through the portals of Castle Garden. As it func- 
tioned in this capacity during the generation in which liter- 
ally millions of foreigners landed, they naturally carried away 
with them a vivid recollection of the building with which 
they first came into contact on their arrival at their new 
home. Many thousands went to the Eastern and Middle 
States. Many more thousands settled in the West where free 
land awaited them. The huge Norwegian and Swedish popu- 
lations of the Northwest were only one contingent. The others 
were equally large, if not larger. 

As their families grew up, they were naturally interested 
in the countries from which their parents came. So in the 
course of that recital, Castle Garden naturally took a prom- 
inent place. The story of this old landing place was in this 
manner handed down from one generation to another. So it 

39 1 

392 uJnxiA&tuXcmAi. Uiani& and Q)axataaa <J /umiJcA 

is quite easy to agree with Mr. Wall when he places that 
building at the head of the best-known buildings in America. 
A large oil painting owned by the Society shows the building 
as it was in 1812 when it was first erected as a fort during the 
War with Great Britain. It stands quite a distance from the 
shore, as it was not until 1851 that the land at the foot of 
Broadway was extended and what we now know as "Battery 
Park" was created. During this filling-in process, the island 
on which Fort Clinton stood, as it was then called, was joined 
to the mainland and the island disappeared. The picture of 
which we speak gives an excellent idea of just how the old 
fort looked and how far it was from the shore. 

Its use as a fort was soon abandoned. But its superb loca- 
tion, facing one of the most beautiful harbors in all the 
world, made it a popular resort in summertime, and it be- 
came something of an outdoor refreshment garden. There 
are still extant many humorous references to ice cream which 
was introduced to New York at the Garden and the writers 
describe how it made them "feel real chilly" when they first 
tasted this confection. Both the Garden and the ice cream 
increased in popularity. Then along came the celebrated P. 
T. Barnum who turned it into a beautiful music hall, open- 
ing it with the famous Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind. 
Almost ten thousand persons greeted the singer on her first 
appearance and she sang there nightly for a long time. 

As the city grew in population and business houses crowded 
out the private houses that formerly clustered round the 
Park, the old Garden suffered from the competition of amuse- 
ment houses more conveniently located for the shift in pop- 
ulation, and its popularity declined. The Government then 
decided to use it as an Emigrant Landing Station in place of 
Ward and Blackwell's Islands hitherto used for that purpose. 
And so began that colorful career which was to endear the 
old structure to so many of our people. 

It is doubtful if any building ever before received so many 

1S^ QoAL Qwubm, ds dLbzAxA, 393 

poor and unknown persons who afterwards became rich and 

A. T. Stewart, Andrew Carnegie, Jacob H. Schiff, Alexan- 
der Graham Bell, Michael Pupin, are only a few and I could 
fill up many pages of this book if I were to attempt to men- 
tion even a small part of the great men who first saw the Land 
of Opportunity through the portals of Old Castle Garden. 

A change in the method of handling incoming strangers 
and the necessity for larger and better accommodations led 
to the selection of Ellis Island as a new receiving station and 
Castle Garden once more reverted to a period of inaction. 
This was short-lived, but even then it was busy as a public 
swimming bath. Finally, a new and splendid use for it was 
found in using it for an aquarium. Its location for this pur- 
pose was ideal, and already it is one of the largest and most 
interesting marine museums in the world and boasts the at- 
tendance of many thousands weekly. Many additions and 
extensions have been made to the old building, but in its main 
features it is still the original structure erected as New York's 
first line of defense over a hundred years ago. 

Early in the last century, there was no more beautiful 
parade ground in the world than this same Battery. At all 
times, it provides one of the most entrancing marine specta- 
cles in the world and its vast ocean-going liners is a sight 
that brings many strangers every day to view it. 

Castle Garden will ever remain a pleasant memory in the 
hearts of thousands who recall nothing else of New York, but 
who fondly recall the house that opened its hospitable doors 
to the stranger within its gates. 

Along with the Nihilists, Fenians, tongs and other flora 
and fauna that flourished at that time were secret organiza- 
tions who anticipated the present pastime of the racketeers 
for taking certain persons "for a ride." 

The "Black Hand" was something new in our local expe- 
rience. It was an exotic imported by our Italian friends. Their 

compatriots, the Sicilians, enjoyed a similar luxury called 
the Mafia. When the wrath of these societies was directed 
toward some unfortunate member of their own race, that 
poor wretch had to comply with whatever demands were 
made in a letter signed with the imprint of an inky hand. 
So when an Italian received a missive with this artistic dec- 
oration, he promptly vanished or complied with the demand, 
whatever it was. 

All of these gentry were much addicted to the gentle art 
of bomb planting. And when a bomb went off, a whole house 
or the front of a building generally went with it. By this 
delicate bit of attention, many grievances were wiped out and 
long-concealed enmity found its release. Not until our Police 
Department decided to add detectives, etc., of foreign extrac- 
tion to our regular force, was the law able to cope with this 
new phase of deviltry. And one of our most famous detectives 
who had traced his quarry to Italy was suddenly and myste- 
riously shot while standing on a street corner in Palermo. 

Herr Most was a striking character. He held forth on the 
East Side and ostensibly raised funds for the German Social- 
ist party. He was not a pleasant person to look upon and 
must have absorbed much beer to produce his idea of a per- 
fect form, which was the antithesis of the present silhouette. 
In addition to being over-fat, he was also not over-clean. He 
was however a ready and skillful debater and prolific writer. 
He printed a daily paper, largely propaganda, which his fol- 
lowers supported and with subscriptions of one kind or an- 
other he managed to live blatantly if not comfortably. 

Emma Goldman was the most rabid of them all. A former 
garment maker, she contrived to become spokesman for the 
Anti-Czarist group in New York, and while not a practicing 
Nihilist, her literature and speeches were equally venomous. 
It was generally expected among her friends and admirers 
that when the Russian autocrats were finally dethroned, 
Emma would be high in the councils of the new Government 

1®^ CaMo. §W*n $6 9L/Wct 395 

if she chose. Contrary to these benevolent expectations, the 
Soviet Government elected her to break stones and dwell in 
a bleak fortress at Government expense. It seemed to me a 
rather poor return, for what she attempted to do in the way 
of destroying the Romanoffs. Stalin finally let her off on con- 
dition that she would leave Russia, which she did. She was 
supposed to be married to another Bolshevik, Mr. Alexander 
Berkman, who climbed to fame in her coterie by his cowardly 
attempt to murder Henry C. Frick in his office in Pittsburgh, 
which created a great sensation at the time. 

Another Bronx orator actually did achieve something- 
Trotsky. He was among the most vehement and truculent 
characters that the Socialists of the East Side ever produced. 
He was by no means so well known to the general public as 
he was to the foreign masses of the East Side, who flocked 
to his meetings and cussed the minions of the law on all pos- 
sible occasions. His opportunity came with the World War 
and nothing in all history to my mind is stranger than the 
rise of this man. And it is a moral certainty that no one else 
in New York considered that in this unkempt and disheveled 
social outcast lay one of the hopes of Russia's downtrodden 
millions. He was apparently only one of the many who give 
the police so much trouble when they have a public meeting. 
He had little or no influence even among his own circle while 
here, and his elevation to eminence in Russia is one of the 
things difficult to understand. Whether it was lack of ability 
or the arrow of outraged fortune which laid him low, I do 
not pretend to say. At all events, Trotsky is again a soldier of 
fortune. Lenin is gone; but his soul apparently lives on in 
the Soviet Republic, and he too was one of the most impas- 
sioned soap box orators the Bronx ever produced. 

Chapter XXIII 
Uafnaus <Jtev2 oqajL ljLaie£& ol true G)«^nile<S 

Few old New Yorkers do not look back with affectionate re- 
gret to the hotels that flourished when they were young and 
the town was a better place to live in than it is now. 

Most of those houses of entertainment have long since 
made way for the steel and cement skyscrapers, for which 
the city is famous, but neither they nor the landlords have 
been altogether forgotten. There are scores of those hotels 
that I remember well, far better than I do the counting rooms 
of the firms with which my employers did business. In no 
respect has the town undergone more radical change during 
the past half century than in its manner of entertaining 
strangers, and as the old customs passed away the old time 
landlords made way for the corporations and men of large 
affairs who operate modern caravansaries in businesslike fash- 
ion and are, as a general thing, personally unknown to the 
men and women to whom they give shelter. The old order 
survives in the word "guest" which has lost its original sig- 
nificance and should be changed to "customer." 

The landlord of the '70s was a personality, not a corpora- 
tion. There were families of landlords, too, for hotel-keeping 
ran in the blood as acting does in the veins of players. The 
Stetsons, the Lelands, the Kerrs were of the race that gave 
"entertainment for man and beast," a term designed to set 
the biped apart from the quadruped. On the shoulders of 
each member of those families had fallen the mantle of the 
old-fashioned country tavern-keeper who knew his guests by 

tXaAnonS JL&& Cjqmz tjLotc£d al tKe c)c^cfvtlaA 397 

sight and greeted the arriving traveler by name and with what 
well-fed reporters have frequently called a "grasp of the hand 
with his heart in it." This branch of the business has long 
since been relegated to the clerk behind the marble counter 
who is usually a member of the social club appropriately 
termed "The Greeters." 

The hotels of the Seventies were for the most part on 
Broadway below Twenty-third Street, and were as a rule, 
more home-like than the modern caravansaries and each one 
had its special and distinctive clientele. The rooms were 
larger, and many of them were heated by open fireplaces, but 
bathrooms were few and far between. The hotel-keepers 
prided themselves on their food, aiming at the high standard 
set by Delmonico whose uptown restaurant was then at the 
northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street. I 
remember that as I walked downtown in the morning I al- 
ways met Ciro Delmonico returning in a cab from his morn- 
ing's marketing, a duty that he never entrusted to a sub- 
ordinate. Another reminder of this famous house awaited 
me at Bowling Green in the shape of the Stevens House, one 
of the earliest of the Delmonico ventures and an object of 
wonder not only because of its good fare but also because 
of the great size and number of its bathtubs. My father lived 
there, I think in the '40s, paying four-fifty a week for his 
room and board, and in later years he considered that the 
Delmonico kitchen had slightly deteriorated since then. It 
was in this hostelry that Frank Forrester, one of the earliest 
writers on American sport, killed himself, and it was here 
that Midy Morgan, the pioneer female newspaper reporter, 
worked as a chambermaid. 

The Astor House, considered a marvelous edifice at the 
time of its erection, was the New York abiding place of 
Daniel Webster, and many of the most distinguished states- 
men of his day. It had an open fireplace in every one of its 
rooms and was built around a court with a fountain in the 

398 <JJ*Qs£fi6lanAi <J/tanib arid o)wvcdaaa <_) /titnicA 

middle; the entire space was afterward utilized for the lunch 
room. The St. Nicholas Hotel was a distinctively Southern 
House and the St. Charles on the other side of the street was 
patronized almost exclusively by circus people. A little fur- 
ther uptown was the Metropolitan, where Tweed had enter- 
tained his friends of the Albany legislature. It was famous for 
its crystal chandeliers and at the time of its demolition these 
were purchased by Oscar Hammerstein and placed in the 
huge amusement building that he erected at Broadway and 
Forty-fourth Street. What is now the Broadway Central and 
was then, I believe, called the Grand Central, was regarded 
as a veritable palace when it was first opened to the public. 
It was here that Fisk was killed by Stokes and it stands today 
not only as a reminder of that tragedy but as an interesting 
relic of hotel-keeping of by-gone days. I believe it is still 
conducted on the American plan and that throngs of colored 
waiters roam as of yore, through its vast dining room, bearing 
trays on the palms of their uplifted hands, an art now extinct 

The New York Hotel, also built around an open court, 
had enjoyed, even during the Civil War, for internment was 
unknown then, a large Southern patronage and was con- 
ducted by Hildreth of later Long Branch renown. The Sin- 
clair House, at the corner of Eighth Street, was famous for 
its American cookery, sharing honors with the Ashland on 
Fourth Avenue. Mr. Ashman of the Sinclair and Mr. Brock- 
way of the Ashland were about the last of New York's land- 
lords of the old school. Artemus Ward lived at the Sinclair 
during his stay in New York as editor of Vanity Fair. The St. 
Denis at the corner of Eleventh Street was popular with citi- 
zens and out of town patrons of the better class until the 
Sullivan clan moved over from their fitting habitat, the Occi- 
dental, on the Bowery. What was in later years the Morton 
House was then the Union Palace, the favorite abiding place 
of players and journalists, a patronage that it enjoyed until 

Oa^nauA cJtev2 ifmic t/LotetA al tive. G)€/Cefi£ieA 399 

the Rialto moved away from Union Square. Many actors 
were also to be found at the Union Square Hotel, kept by 
Andrew J. Dam and his son. The last named dabbled in the- 
atricals and was said to have advanced money to Henry E. 
Abbey for a small interest in the first Bernhardt season. 

On the northern side of Union Square was the Everett 
House, for years the favorite stopping place of opera singers 
and musicians, many of whom, Clara Louise Kellogg among 
the number, patronized it until its demolition not many years 
ago, although grand opera had long since migrated from the 
Academy of Music to the Metropolitan Opera House. A 
block further uptown on Fourth Avenue was the Clarendon, 
which boasted, and not without reason, of its aristocratic clien- 
tele. It was conducted on the American plan and there was 
a long table in its dining room where whole families ate to- 
gether in harmony. If it possessed a bar I never discovered it, 
but I doubt if its patrons, many of whom were of the opulent 
British class, were permitted to go dry. Further north on 
Fourth Avenue was the Ashland, already mentioned, as the 
home of excellent American cookery, and beyond that one 
came upon the Putnam House, kept by Lawrence Kerr, and 
as popular as the Clarendon though catering to a very dif- 
ferent class, among whom were many circus folk from the 
Madison Square Garden across the way. Following an ancient 
country custom Mr. Kerr kept a basket of apples on his bar 
for free munching. At Forty-second Street was the Grand 
Union, always renowned for its excellent bar and restaurant 
and in later years for its picture gallery. 

Taking up once more the route up Broadway interrupted 
at Fourteenth Street, we find the Spingler House, built by 
the family of that name on the west side of Union Square, 
and a little further north the Continental, where Chester A. 
Arthur lived in his bachelor days. The St. Germain stood on 
the site now occupied by the Flatiron Building, and on the 
west side of the block between Twenty-third and Twenty- 



fourth Streets was the Fifth Avenue, perhaps the most famous 
of the city's many hotels. Built on ground once occupied by 
a country tavern it served during the Civil War as a night 
exchange for brokers engaged in the frantic speculations in 
gold that marked that period. Its spacious lobby was to the 
last a public thoroughfare, thronged at all times by well-to- 
do citizens and strangers of every profession. It was the New 
York headquarters of the Republican party who held impor- 
tant conferences and conventions within its walls. When Pres- 
ident Grant visited the city, and in those simple days he came 
from Washington alone and without a guard of Secret Service 
men, he stopped at the Fifth Avenue and was to be seen stroll- 
ing about the lobby. The famous "Amen" Corner had its 
origin in the group of politicians and newspaper men who 
frequented the Fifth Avenue lobby. 

To the north of the Fifth Avenue was the Albemarle, a 
quiet house with an excellent bar on the Broadway side, 
much frequented by strollers who wished to drink and talk 
at small tables instead of standing. It was from one of the 
windows of this hostelry that Mrs. Langtry watched the burn- 
ing of the Park Theatre on the date of her intended Ameri- 
can debut. On the same block was the Hoffman House, con- 
ducted by Edward S. Stokes after his release from Sing Sing. 
The lobby of the Hoffman was always crowded with politi- 
cians, actors, wine agents, promoters and other bits of flotsam 
and jetsam from the pavement of Broadway. During a polit- 
ical campaign it was a betting ring for politicians who made 
huge wagers for the purpose of influencing public opinion 
and there was also much genuine betting with John Morrissey 
as stake-holder. After the Returning Board had declared 
Hayes President, Morrissey announced that all bets were off 
and returned the money entrusted to him, less his commis- 
sion of three per cent. Next in order came the St. James, 
with a cozy bar in the rear of a little room in which cigars 
were sold by a Russian of high degree. The windows of the 

•V02 <Jjfui\QAv6latvQ. OHjav&A and Q)aAxxtaaa <J nAXxvkb 

restaurant looked out on Broadway and the front tables were 
always in demand. Across the street was the building to which 
Delmonico moved from Fourteenth Street in the '70s and 
which later became the Cafe Martin. The history of Del- 
monico's marches side by side with that of social and finan- 
cial New York. At the time of which I write it stood abso- 
lutely alone as the eating-house of the polite world, the 
Maison Doree having gone out of existence after setting it- 
self up as a rival. It was said, and with no small degree of 
truth, that no man ever attained eminence in the town with- 
out passing through the cafe and restaurant of this world- 
famous establishment. Its ball-room and private dining-rooms 
were the scene of countless gatherings of wealth and fashion; 
its public dining-room on the Fifth Avenue side of the build- 
ing was filled nightly with beautifully dressed women and 
men of distinction; in its cafe one could always find many of 
the leading representatives of finance, commerce and the 
learned professions. There is no one place in New York at the 
present time of which all this can be said. Although not a 
hotel in the usual sense of the word there were on its upper 
floors rooms in which wealthy bachelors were domiciled. 

To the north of Delmonico's was the Coleman House on 
the west side of the street, a hotel that was said to offer to 
the entomologist an abundant field for scientific research. 
Nearby was the Brower House of fragrant memory because 
of the excellence of the food served at its lunch counter. It 
was liberally patronized by the better class of gamblers and 
sporting men whose fondness for good eating is notorious. 
It was also the favorite resort of such well-known exponents 
of Negro minstrelsy as Billy Birch, Charley Backus and other 
members of the San Francisco Minstrel Company, on whom 
we young fellows were wont to gaze with respectful awe as 
the source of all current humor. Over the way was the Gilsey 
House at the northeast corner of Twenty-ninth Street and 
converted in quite recent years into an office building. I am 

OcumouA <Jte^ }jqa)L uiuiiols al mul G)«^fvtleA -V03 

uncertain as to its earliest landlord, but I well remember its 
popularity under the direction of James Breslin, prior to the 
opening of the hotel bearing his name on the opposite cor- 
ner. The Sturtevant, occupying the greater part of the block 
between Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Streets, was a brown- 
stone structure of what would now be regarded as of moderate 
height, and I recall it as the stopping place of many mine 
promoters from the Far West and a few actors, though it 
doubtless had other patrons. The Grand Hotel at Thirty-first 
Street left but a slight dent on my memory, possibly because 
it was so quiet and respectable. 

If there were any hotels at this time between Thirty-fourth 
and Forty-second Streets I do not recall them, but I do re- 
member the Broadway at the last named corner, then a 
peaceful spot and quite unlike the present heart of the Great 
White Way. In later years the building was divided and part 
of it became the Metropole under the management of the 
Considines. It was in another house of the same name that 
the Rosenthal murder took place. There was a hotel at the 
northeast corner of Forty-second Street and Broadway, but I 
am not sure in regard to the date of its erection. The Royal, 
at the corner of Fortieth Street and Sixth Avenue, I recall 
distinctly. It was destroyed afterwards by fire with a disastrous 
death roll, followed by much scandalous gossip concerning the 

Fifth Avenue had its hotels as well as Broadway in the 
Seventies, ranging geographically from the Brevoort at Eighth 
Street to the newly erected Buckingham on the southeast 
corner of Fiftieth. The Brevoort was distinctly an aristocratic 
house, sharing with the Clarendon the honor of sheltering 
most of the titled and well-connected Englishmen who did 
not find free lodgings in the homes of socially ambitious citi- 
zens. Its register was marked with the names of captains of 
the ocean liners and I always suspected that they were enter- 
tained without cost to themselves because of the passengers 

whom they steered in that direction. A great banquet was 
given there in honor of the Prince of Wales, afterwards Ed- 
ward VII, a fact attested by a framed copy of the menu card 
that hangs in the hall to this day. Curiously enough the date 
on the card is some years removed from that of the Prince's 
visit to this country. The Berkeley and Grosvenor, which, to- 
gether with the Brevoort, are among the very few old hotels 
still standing, were quiet family houses entertaining no 
transient guests and depending entirely on a wealthy and re- 
fined clientele. The policy of both houses has not changed 
with the passing years. A few blocks further north was the 
Glenham in one of whose chambers the eccentric son of 
Commodore Vanderbilt took his own life. 

The Brunswick just above Madison Square was an exceed- 
ingly fine hotel, kept by Mitchell and Kinsler, who catered 
successfully to the fashionable element for several years and 
made it the favorite stopping place for wealthy Yale and Har- 
vard undergraduates. The peculiar happening that brought 
ruin to this excellent hostelry is well worth relating, for it 
shows that hotel-keeping must face other dangers than fire 
and burglary. On a certain bright winter morning, in the 
late Eighties, unless my memory be at fault, a tall, well- 
dressed gentleman whose manner of speaking rather con- 
firmed his claim to the title, entered the Brunswick and ar- 
ranged with the clerk for the entertainment of a specified 
number of friends at supper that night. The feast was to put 
the finishing touch on a sleighing party. Taking from his 
pocket a large roll of bills he offered payment in advance, 
but the clerk had been deceived by his appearance and po- 
litely declined the offer. Late that night a huge four-horse 
sleigh drew up in front of the hotel and from it descended a 
swarm of men and women of a class never seen in the Bruns- 
wick. With the polite stranger leading they entered the 
dining-room and seated themselves at the long table that 
awaited their coming. There was nothing to do but serve the 

OcumaAAA c/tev2 uonjk tjLotcXA oil. tnc G)<2^fttleA ^05 

party and this the astounded waiters proceeded to do. The 
stranger was none other than the notorious Billy McGlory, 
proprietor of a low East Side resort, called Armory Hall, and 
his guests were the hangers-on of that delectable establish- 
ment. The story of his sleighing was printed in the news- 
papers and ruined the fair name of the hotel. 

We young fellows of the '70s regarded the Grand Central 
as the very acme of splendor and luxury, but it faded from 
our imagination when the Windsor threw open its doors to 
a wondering public. The Windsor seemed to us the very 
last word in gorgeous decoration and modern convenience, 
and visitors from all parts of the country hastened to ensconce 
themselves in its large, beautifully furnished rooms. Con- 
ducted on the American plan it set before its guests a bewil- 
dering variety of dishes served in a manner of elegance to 
which many of those who ate them had previously been 
strangers. Andrew Carnegie made it his home during his 
trequent visits to New York and other commercial and finan- 
cial magnates from the West, and what is now termed the 
Midwest, were quick to follow in his footsteps. The presence 
of these visitors attracted New Yorkers of their class together 
with Wall Street brokers and speculators so that the nightly 
throng in its corridors had the flavor of the stock market. 
Thus were visitors from afar frequently enabled to behold 
Jay Gould in the flesh. The Ultima Thule in the northward 
march of hotel building was reached in the erection of the 
Windsor and Buckingham, so far as the history of the Seven- 
ties is concerned, and it was many years before anything on a 
greater scale of magnificence was attempted, for there was a 
lean era of economy after the panic of '73. The Buckingham 
has only recently been torn down, but the Windsor was de- 
stroyed by a fire that burned with such incredible swiftness 
and cost so many lives that the fact that it took place in day- 
time instead of at night seemed like a special intervention of 

•^06 Jj/uiWfi^tofvG. <Jicmi& and Q)arvaiaaa O muxkA 

In addition to the hotels on Fifth Avenue and Broadway 
there were scattered about the city many others deserving of 
mention. Those on Fourth Avenue I have already named 
and east of that thoroughfare there was the Gramercy on the 
east side of the park of that name. A quiet family house with 
a refined, unostentatious patronage, it enjoyed brief notoriety 
as the scene of the elaborate practical joke played on the sim- 
ple English husband of Adelaide Neilson by Ed Sothern and 
a few of his fellow actors. By means of a pretended fight with 
bowie knives after the fashion of the Southwest they gave the 
young and unsophisticated Briton the fright of his life. On 
Third Avenue and Twenty-fourth Street was the Bull's Head, 
a house of quite a different sort, for it was frequented by 
horse dealers and cattle drovers and bore a rustic aspect un- 
like anything else in the town. Daniel Drew, an illiterate 
speculator, had been its landlord in earlier years and it is pos- 
sible that to him it owed the aroma of the cow-yard that clung 
to it until the last. 

The most conspicuous of the houses catering to visitors 
abroad were the Cafe Martin, at Ninth Street and University 
Place, to which all newly arrived French voyagers bent their 
steps, and the Belvidere at which the German travelers 
stopped. The Cafe Martin, with its fine kitchen and well 
stocked cellar, had a Parisian atmosphere that New Yorkers 
found to their taste and it soon gained a vogue that it retains 
to the present day. There were also smaller and less famous 
hotels in which other foreigners sought shelter on reaching 
our shores. A typical American hotel which never sought 
alien guests was the Westminster on East Sixteenth Street, 
the winter home of many literary men. French's Hotel on 
Park Row lives in the legendry of the town as the place from 
which Joseph Pulitzer, then a very poor young immigrant, 
was once excluded because of the shabbiness of his attire. It 
was because of this affront that years later he bought the prop- 
erty and erected the World Building on its site. 

UcumauA c/tev2 3qaM, J"LotelA al vha e)«^eniieA -^07 

I have written these notes on the hotels of an elder day 
entirely from memory and without notes and have set down 
only those places of entertainment of which I retain a vivid 
recollection. There were many less conspicuous houses that 
I recall only by name and have left unmentioned. The period 
of which I have written antedated the apartment hotel and 
I am uncertain as to the date at which the first of the bache- 
lor apartments was built. There is more luxury in the mod- 
ern steam-heated house of gaudy furnishing, but no more 
comfort than was afforded by the larger rooms with their 
cheery open fires. Moreover, the great abundance and variety 
of game and the low price at which it was served in even the 
more modest restaurants more than atoned, in my opinion, 
for any modern improvements which we have had. 

The Hoffman House bar, at the corner of Twenty-fifth 
Street and Broadway, was known all over the civilized world 
and became more famous as the years rolled by. It occupied 
the Twenty-fourth Street side of the palatial Hoffman House, 
running from the corner a matter of seventy-five feet to the 

The bar itself was a magnificent structure of carved mahog- 
any, the mirrors that lined the walls were said to be the 
largest in America— the ceiling was very lofty— and every de- 
tail of the furniture and fixtures was of the most elegant and 
costly kind. 

No small part of its fame came from the magnificent paint- 
ings on which Edward S. Stokes, one of its proprietors, lav- 
ished thousands. He bought the immense picture— the most 
celebrated work of Bouguereau, a French painter who was 
then the rage on account of his marvelous painting of the 
nude figure— at a private auction from the Wolfe estate. He 
paid exactly ten thousand and ten dollars for "Nymphs and 
Satyr," and only a few years afterward refused thirty thou- 
sand dollars for it. The picture brought visitors from all over 
the country and many foreigners came in to see it. It was un- 

•^08 Jjxa^n^tafvd Ononis cunA QaAolaaa O ^uvrJis 

questionably the biggest single advertisement any hotel in 
this country— probably in the world— ever had during the 
twenty odd years it hung in the Hoffman House bar. In ad- 
dition, there were several other equally fine large paintings, 
notably the "Narcissus," and a great piece crowded with 
nude figures by a German painter, "The Vision of Faust." 

The entire hotel was a showplace, and that bar was its 
crowning attraction. One day in the week was "Ladies' 
Day," and any lady calling at the hotel was met by a boy with 
a printed catalogue describing the house and its works of art. 
Ladies were escorted through the bar unless they declined. 

The young scion of wealth would often spend two or three 
hundred dollars and more at a bar like the Hoffman in a sin- 
gle afternoon, if he were on a wine-spree. Sometimes he would 
come in alone and order wine to be opened "for the house," 
meaning all present in the bar at the time— there was no 
obligation even to touch glasses with him. He would lift his 
own, standing at the bar generally— making a single slight, 
bow all round, which meant that it was "on him." Strangers 
would respond by lifting their glasses. There was no noise, 
no demonstration. It was an era of good feeling and free 
spending, and such manifestations were accepted for just 
that and no more in all first-class places. In this way, even in 
those low-priced times with wine at two and three dollars the 
pint, and three to five dollars the quart, fifty dollars could be 
spent in less than five minutes. And often would come the 
order for another round. Perhaps some good spender in the 
house would take it up, and another, not to be outdone, 
would follow him. It was the golden age of "treating"— such 
"treating" as the world never knew before and never will see 
again. For most of these men were strangers to each other. It 
could never have happened anywhere except on American 
soil in such lavishness. Foolish, extravagant, whatever you 
may choose to call the custom, it still remains a glorious and 
a gladsome thing in American annals. Of course it has gone, 

never to return. Nor do I suppose any of us really want it 
back. The wine-agent was a different order of being. A 
shrewd, affable personage, full of good stories and all kinds 
of social gifts— dressed in the very best of the fashion— capable 
of absorbing and standing an enormous amount of drink, yet 
always with an eye to the main chance, knowing that his job 
depended wholly on the sales account. Personally, he did not 
seek orders for his brand. His role was that of the man-about- 
town, the swell "rounder," who dropped into one of the 
"big" cafes, sat down at a table and ordered a pint of his 
own brand. Any man he knew who happened in would be 
very cordially invited over to join him— and another bottle 
would be ordered. He would sit there for an hour in his 
elegant leisure, smoking and entertaining his little party— 
as other friends and their companions dropped in they would 
be invited to join the party— and what man could refuse a 
glass of the French champagne in those days— and would 
saunter up Broadway to the next swell place. He would 
keep up this life from the hour past noon— generally two or 
three o'clock— till the places closed. 

It is quite hard to realize when we look around us today 
and see so many very comely and bright young women on 
our streets, in our offices, and in our houses, that not so very 
long ago we classed these altogether delightful and amiable 
citizens along with our imbeciles, criminals and other unde- 
sirables. At a speech before the Harvard Alumni, Julia Ward 
Howe arguing for coeducation, exclaimed "Are women peo- 
ple?" It was quite a conundrum. A Negro could vote and an 
Irishman who hadn't yet dropped his brogue could vote and 
a German who could hardly speak English could vote. All 
these people had their say as to how we should be governed 
and under what conditions we should live. The only intelli- 
gent humans, who hadn't a thing to say on these important 
matters, were our mothers, our wives, sisters and sweethearts. 
And the calamities that were prophesied in case women got 

*k\ Jj/uM^fi^taae JOtatvtd and &a/ujdaaa O kamvkA 

the ballot! They were horrible to contemplate. So we went 
on singing "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of 
the Lord" written by a woman and looked at Uncle Tom's 
Cabin written by a woman which struck the shackles of slav- 
ery from five million serfs and calmly proceeded to repeat to 
ourselves that ancient creed, "Women's place is in the home," 
or in the language of the later Kaiser: "Kinder, Kuche, 
Kirche." The complacency of men was sublime. 

But one day there swept down Fifth Avenue a host of 
women from all over the land. Their ranks stretched from 
curb to curb. Banners flying, bands playing, and over all, the 
solemn tramp, tramp, of a million feet. From early in the 
morning, the sound never ceased— tramp, tramp— tramp, 
tramp. At times, and for the most part the women marched 
in silence. Occasionally there was laughter and sometimes a 
song. But on the whole, the marchers bore an air of earnest- 
ness that was unmistakable. There was an atmosphere of 
grimness that was significantly impressive. That was the first 
physical demonstration of women's determination to put an 
end to their servitude; to end this ghastly joke about women 
being people and to take their places among the men and 
have their say on questions affecting many things which in- 
evitably touched that most sacred of all human institutions, 
the home. 

In that parade were no small number of women who were 
no longer young; thousands, whose years of youth were fast 
receding and thousands more, whose faces were aglow with 
the lust of battle and who were ready to prove their worth. 
In England, Mrs. Pankhurst and her daughter had been im- 
prisoned for just such an exhibition of political independence. 
While we had not gone so far as that in this country, the 
gathering of women for such a purpose was regarded as un- 
desirable, and in Washington some women were arrested for 
picketing the White House too closely. We did not, however, 
treat these disturbers with the severity visited upon them in 

England. Our politicians are not so hidebound, not so tied 
up with tradition as their colleagues across the sea, and that 
impressive demonstration on Fifth Avenue caused them to 
stop and consider. Very soon after, the bill granting the fran- 
chise was passed and a fight of nearly fifty years ended in 
victory for the women. A few years later when the great 
World War broke upon us in all its frightful fury, we were 
very glad to have the assistance, the help and the support of 
our women, and thankful to be in a position to say that we 
had welcomed them into our political life without waiting— 
as in the case of England— to be coerced into it. I was rather 
amused recently in London to notice that a statue of Mrs. 
Pankhurst has been erected in the Park adjoining the House 
of Commons which she flouted in her lifetime and frequently 

In 1898, the old city of which we have been writing, in a 
sense disappears. What we have affectionately known— and 
probably always will— as Old New York, no longer exists. Its 
new name is the Borough of Manhattan, one of the five 
Boroughs of Greater New York, which now embraces not only 
New York County but Kings, Queens, Bronx, and Richmond. 
The little hamlet on the edge of a wilderness of an unknown 
Continent has grown from less than two hundred people to 
be one of the greatest cities of the whole world. 

And so we leave her. The great inventions of the closing 
days of the Nineteenth Century and which are to transform 
the lives, habits and customs of the people, are rapidly ap- 
proaching completion. A new and greater Renaissance is at 
hand. We are about to assume a new and greater civilization 
than was ever dreamed possible. 

The telephone is here; so are the electric light, the motor 
car, the movies, the subway and the radio. They are all so 
new, so fresh that Time's mellowing influence has not yet 
had time to make them history. 

In these pages, we have sought to preserve some homely 

h\% JOuv&nAkatiQ. <Jiant6 and Q)oAaiaaa OWLnxA 

memories of its rise and progress from its beginning. It is as 
if we had raised a child from infancy and now we see it march 
off to its first day in school. We seem to have lost something. 

The End 

HV1792 Brown, Henry Collins 
V Browns tone fronts and 
Saratoga trunks . 


Date Due 



Brown, Henry Collins 



Browns tone fronts and Saratoga