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Also Happened in 1877


8.1 David Duffey's Patter
8.1.1 The Phonograph
8.1.2 Famine in China
8.1.3 Louisa May Alcott
8.1.4 Henry James & William Kirby
8.1.5 American Politics
8.1.6 Executions
8.1.7 Mary Baker
8.1.8 Martian Canals
8.1.9 Test Match
8.1.10 Australia
8.1.11 India
8.1.12 Russia
8.1.13 South Africa
8.1.14 Japan
8.1.15 Lourdes
8.1.16 Sarah Bernhardt
8.1.17 The Delectable Lady Eastnor
8.1.18 Lord Henry Somerset
8.1.19 Obscene Literature
8.1.20 Dame Ethel Smyth

8.1 David Duffey's Patter

David Duffey wrote: What else happened which was of interest in 1877? Not much I suppose.

8.1.1 The Phonograph

Of central importance to SavoyNet was the simultaneous invention by Edison in the US and Charles Cros in France, of the phonograph. This momentous coincidence did not make the headlines.

8.1.2 Famine in China

But then neither did the famine in Northern China which killed 10 million people.

8.1.3 Louisa May Alcott

The Faustian legend was given an American twist by Louisa May Alcott in "A Modern Mephistopheles".

8.1.4 Henry James & William Kirby

Henry James published "The American." In Canada William Kirby published "The Golden Dog".

8.1.5 American Politics

Politically a turbulent year in the US:

  • The Electoral Commission of 1877 resolved the dispute between Rutherford B Hayes and Samuel J Tilder, but it spelled the end of 'Reconstruction'.

  • Northern soldiers left the Southern States and the 'freedom' of Southern Blacks was retarded by a century, despite the fact that Henry O Flipper became the first black person to graduate from West Point.

  • The minor political party, the Socialist Labor Party, later to be dominated by Daniel DeLeon, was founded.

  • There was a strike of railway workers. The Pinkerton Agency supplied strike-breaking labour, but federal troops were eventually called in.

  • The Cheyenne surrendered following the Battle of the Little Bighorn the previous year. Their Chief, Crazy Horse, was shot by a soldier later in the year. Chief Joseph also surrendered at Bear Paw Mountain.

8.1.6 Executions

Notable executions were those of Jack McCall for the murder of "Wild Bill Hickock" and, far more interestingly, Lt John D Lee, for the Mountain Meadow Massacre of 1859. Just what was Bringham Young's role in that business? Bringham Young died in 1877, after giving evidence in the second trial of Lee, having refused to testify in the first. Young is reputed to have had 27 wives and had a university named after him. I have never taken cult leaders' biographies at face value.

8.1.7 Mary Baker

Oh, by the way, Mary, nee Baker, took a Mr Eddy as her third husband.

8.1.8 Martian Canals

Giovanni Schiaparelli saw 'channels' [canali] on Mars, paving the way for Percival Lowell to call them a system of canals and postulate the existence of intelligent life on that planet.

8.1.9 Test Match

The fist test match between England and Australian saw a remarkable innings by Charles Bannerman, 165 retired hurt, out of a score of 245 with the next highest score 18! Australian won (nothing changes). Possibly in commemoration the flag of Victoria was officially adopted.

8.1.10 Australia

The Australian Rules Football's Victorian Football Association was founded: now there is a game I do not even pretend to understand.

Angela Georgina Bardelt-Coutts founded a mission for Australian Aborigines.

8.1.11 India

Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India, and the Indian Stock Exchange opens.

8.1.12 Russia

Russia declares war on Turkey and invades Rumania; the Russians cross the Danube (Donnau) and storm Kars. They take Plevna, Bulgaria: Bismark declines to intervene, but Disraeli takes an interest. Serbia declares war on Turkey.

8.1.13 South Africa

The First Kaffir War begins.

8.1.14 Japan

The Satsuma revolt in Japan is suppressed.

8.1.15 Lourdes

Bernadette Sourbirous, who at the age of 14 had a vision of the BVM in a grotto at Lourdes, becomes a nun.

8.1.16 Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt at the Comedie Francaise in Done Sol by Victor Hugo.

8.1.17 The Delectable Lady Eastnor

Coutts Lindsay founded the Grosvenor Gallery. Just what was his relationship with the delectable Virginia, Lady Eastnor (nee Pattle), said to be "so staggeringly good-looking that passers-by stopped dead in their tracks at the sight of her"? The painter G F Watts was also smitten, came to stay at her house for three days and remained for thirty years. She was one of six sisters. Their father's body travelled back from India encased in a barrel of rum. Unfortunately the sailors, sober men and true, tapped the barrel, got hopelessly drunk, and wrecked the ship.

8.1.18 Lord Henry Somerset

It was in 1877 also that another Prattle sister (Adeline) married Lord Henry Somerset, who turned out to prefer his footmen's embraces to hers. The resulting scandal broke in 1878.

8.1.19 Obscene Literature

Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh were convicted of publishing obscene literature. They had published a book on birth-control.

8.1.20 Dame Ethel Smyth

Dame Ethel Smythe started at Leipzig Conservatory.

Anyone with anything more - or corrections, amendations to the above, will be welcome.

Henry Odum replied: Very interesting - and appreciated as always - just a correction: Crazy Horse was chief of the Sioux, not Cheyenne. To be specific, he was of the Oglala branch of the Sioux. Sitting Bull, I believe was of the Hunkpapa branch. Cheyenne warriors did assist the Sioux at Little Big Horn, but the Sioux were the dominant presence. And Chief Joseph: Yes indeed, the Nez Perce chief surrendered after an incredible, near successful attempt to evade American troops over miles of rugged country, under terrible conditions.

And Bruce Miller Actually, the phonograph did make the headlines. Edison's first phonograph was built in late November-early December of 1877 after months of experimentation. An article was published in the fall, written by an Edison assistant, proclaiming the invention. This forced Edison's hand and he came forth with a working prototype, which he brought to the offices of the Scientific American magazine - and the announcement created a world-wide sensation. Upon hearing of Edison's achievement, the French inventor Charles Cros demanded that a sealed paper he had submitted earlier in the year to the French Academy be opened. It revealed a conception which, had the inventor followed it up with a working instrument, probably would have worked; however, it required a number of industrial processes (similar to those used by Emile Berliner in his Gramophone) which would have required, probably, years to develop before becoming practical (as was Berliner's experience).

Both Cros and Edison were indebted to an earlier invention, the Phonautograph, invented by Leon Scott which could record but not reproduce sounds. Although Cros and Edison had almost simultaneous inspiration, to give him credit equal to Edison's would be in the same category as giving Elisha Gray equal credit with Alexander Graham Bell for inventing the telephone, despite the fact that he delivered his patent application only hours after Bell. Does anyone remember, or care to remember, who was the second flyer to cross the Atlantic after Lindberg?

And Ted Rice: Wasn't it Douglas "Wrong-way" Corrigan ?


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