Tag Archives: 1903


1903: R.I.P. J. Elfreth Watkins, Prophet

Two years prior to his death in 1903, Smithsonian transportation curator John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. imagined “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years” in an article for the Ladies Home Journal. He successfully predicted the mass use of central air conditioning and heating (“Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to houses […]


1903: Dogs Playing Poker

In 1903, the Minnesota advertising firm of Brown & Bigalow tasked Cassius Marcellus Coolidge with producing a series of oil paintings depicting dogs engaging in human activities; nine of the 16 paintings ultimately created by the now rarely recalled “Michelangelo of the dog world” feature man’s best friend playing poker. More than 100 years later, […]

0d Isadora Duncan on the Lido in Venice (Raymond Duncan 1903)

1903: Modern Dance

When she lectured in Berlin on “The Dance of the Future,” Isadora Duncan articulated ideas that would form the core of Modern Dance, the movement she played a key role in originating: The dancer of the future will be one whose body and soul have grown so harmoniously together that the natural language of that […]


The Enmity and the Ecstasy

In early January 1903, The New York Times deemed the serialization of a new James novel so noteworthy as to merit an article (PDF) about another article that itself heralded the debut of that serialization. Both the serialization and the commentary ran in the North American Review. As The Times reported, William Dean Howells, the […]


1903: World Series

Just a few months ago, one of only two known copies commemorating the first World Series game sold at auction for a reported $241,500. Over eight days in early October, 1903, the Boston Americans won five games to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ three, though the Pirates would take the series in 1909. More than 16,000 people […]


1903: Remembrances (and many more!)

Click here to listen to a playlist of music recorded in 1903, beginning with Edvard Hagerup Grieg playing “Remembrances.” Many thanks to Chuck Jones and friends for creating a music playlist for every year of the 20th century, so I don’t have to do it: 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, and […]


1903: The Ambassadors

As Henry James himself recounts in the preface to his 1903 novel, The Ambassadors, first serialized in twelve installments of the North American Review, “never can a composition of this sort have sprung straighter from a dropped grain of suggestion.” A few years earlier, a young American, Jonathan Sturges had shared an anecdote with James: […]

The Souls of Black Folk

1903: The Souls of Black Folk

I’ve previously introduced W.E.B. Du Bois on this blog as an opponent of Booker T. Washington’s, but he deserves significant mention in his own right as an influential and much-admired author, scholar, political organizer and, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “gifted discoverer of social truths.” A classic of early sociology and African […]