Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: medicine

Thursday, December 12, 1912

Representative S. A. Roddenberry of Georgia has introduced a House resolution to “forbid the marriage of negroes and persons of any other color.” Angered by the recent marriage of “Jack” Johnson, a negro prize fighter, to Lucille Cameron, a white girl, in Chicago, Mr. Roddenberry spewed forth much vitriol. “We see an African with much brutal force, with no moral character, with no stamina, entering the office of a legal officer in that city, and calling on him to issue—’to Jack Johnson!’—a marriage license to wed a young American woman of our own blood, our own race, our own color. The young officer is directed to issue to the brute a legal certificate permitting a white woman in these days to be bound in the wedlock of black slavery.” Black slavery! He went on and on and on, apparently, and it looks as though the papers printed most of it. “No blacker incubus ever fixed itself upon the social politics of this republic than the embryonic cancer of negro marriage to white people that has lately been in evidence,” he emitted, probably turning redder and redder. “No more voracious parasite ever sucked at the heart of pure society and moral status than the one which welcomes or recognizes everywhere the sacred ties of wedlock between Africa and America.” What a horrible man. I feel sorry for his wife.

Meanwhile, Senator Benjamin F. Shively of Indiana disdained ether and chloroform before an operation in which his toe was to be removed. Instead, while it was being cut off, he smoked a cigar. I expect he hopes to be shot on his way to a speaking engagement so that he may give a speech while a bullet is in his chest, just like Theodore Roosevelt.

The Courier-Herald consulted various Urbana residents and came to the conclusion that the temperature last night dipped below zero. The headline is “MERCURY LOSES STANDING LOCALLY,” and below that, it says, “Weather Indicator Tries to Sneak Out of Bottom of Tube.”


Saturday, December 7, 1912

A man in Pittsburgh is becoming a giant, to the consternation of physicians. Charles Yost’s head has enlarged, and his features are becoming “like those of a lion.” Over the past three months, his height has increased nearly six inches. Some doctors suggest that the man is afflicted by a rare type of leprosy, but his attending physician disagrees. “He says if Yost continues to grow as he has in the last three months the man will become the most remarkable giant of modern times.”

Tuesday, December 3, 1912

One of the men who went off a bridge in an automobile the other day has died. James B. Busey, assistant cashier of Busey’s bank at Mahomet, died this morning at the Burnham hospital due to uremic poisoning resulting from internal injuries. This came as a bit of a surprise, as it had been thought that he was only suffering from exposure and nervous shock. He leaves behind a young wife and two infant children.

The District of Columbia court of appeals held that Thomas Edison is not the inventor of the motion picture film and that his patents are invalid, having “merely solved camera apparatus problems.” Mr. Edison had brought suit against the Chicago Film company for infringement on his patent. This decision will save millions of dollars to motion picture concerns.

Hsuan T’ung, the boy emperor of China, is seriously ill. “By the terms of the edict of abdication the boy emperor of China was permitted to retain his title and to reside in a palace in the Forbidden city with the dowager empress, Lung Yu. There he has been living in strict seclusion, in accordance with the ancient usage, and has been treated by his attendants and others as though he were still ruler of China.”

Thursday, November 21, 1912

W. C. Woodward, University of Illinois class of 1911, broke the world record for working the way around the globe. He completed his tour of the world in 245 days. “In Paris he sang American ragtime songs to amuse frequenters of the cafes.” Woodward, a crack swimmer, now resides in Chicago but is back in Champaign for the time being.

The United States government launched a sudden crusade against “physicians and manufacturers who exploit for profit the demand for methods conducive to race suicide.” Postal inspectors in all parts of the country conducted raids simultaneously. A total of 173 persons were brought in, charged with using the mails to promote criminal medical practices or the sale of materials for illegal purposes. Most of those arrested are “pill doctors” who operate using the mail. I am still trying to figure out what exactly is meant by “race suicide,” but it must be very important, since “BLOW TO RACE SUICIDE” is one of the headlines.

Friday, November 15, 1912

The Pastime Club, a colored organization, held a public dance last night, but no one attended. “That mingling of the races in such a manner is held in disfavor both by whites and blacks is shown by the fact that members of neither race attended. Today the committee is trying to figure up the club’s deficit. Colonel Williams will have to shine a good many shoes, and Commodore Anderson will have to make a lot of trips with the hod to square the account.”

Margaret Lowry, who was attacked with a hammer here Wednesday evening, will recover. Physicians say there is no injury to her brain.

Weird surgical feats are being performed at the clinical congress of surgeons in session in New York. A man whose nose had been destroyed by an accident had it replaced with one of his fingers. A cat was made to live without its head, “as if the cat were only asleep with all its personality intact.” Dogs were killed and brought back to life. I am uncertain of the value of any of these experiments, to be honest.

Tuesday, November 5, 1912

All I have to report upon today is loads of madness and death. Perhaps it is is somehow indicative of my character that I should find these stories interesting, out of all the stories in the paper, but I think I will avoid dwelling upon that.

The big news from Chicago is that Conway, “the wooden-footed clown,” has confessed to the murder of Miss Sophia Singer. He said, “Sophia came to the rooms where we were living together and asked my wife to go out with her with two men. She wanted her to do something that was immoral. That made me angry and we got into a quarrel.” His wife, he said, left the room, and Miss Singer attacked him with a handkerchief containing a doorknob. He seized it from her, she snatched up a nearby razor, and he struck her with the doorknob-kerchief. Not knowing she was dead, he said, he gagged her and tied her up, and left with his wife. “I did not mean to kill her, but if a man cannot protect the name of his own wife, who in the world will?”

A woman named Pansy Lesh has confessed in Los Angeles to the murders of two women in Missouri by poison; a prominent alienist says she is sane, and Mrs. Lesh agrees, although she says she has no idea why she killed either of them. A Chicago negress (who is a spirit medium and crystal gazer) was found guilty of poisoning her son for the purpose of collecting life insurance; five other members of her family (two husbands, a brother-in-law, and two children) were also murdered, but it is not known whether she poisoned them too. And a millionaire cigar manufacturer was taken to the Boston Hospital for the Insane because he fears that someone is trying to poison him.

Here is news from Joliet: “Driven insane by the constant clicking of a telegraph sounder, Mrs. Mabel Plumbe, an employe [sic] of the Postal Telegraph company for twenty-five years, killed herself by firing a bullet into her brain.”

A horrible ten-year-old girl in Pennsylvania named Gazelle buried a five-year-old girl alive in the woods. Detectives with bloodhounds found the child, and she is now in critical condition.

I will end this day’s report of death and madness with the sad story of an actor whose corset was laced too tightly while impersonating a woman. He was stricken with apoplexy onstage, and he died in the hospital.

Monday, November 4, 1912

The Twin City Ministerial association has decided to set apart December 8 as a “white plague day” in the churches of Champaign and Urbana. At least 129 people in the county are afflicted with tuberculosis. The Champaign County Anti-Tuberculosis Health league is seeking more funds in order to open a free dispensary to the poor in the Twin Cities.

A woman telephoned police headquarters and said, “A man at 803 East California street is beating his wife something awful,” but the police declined to interfere without a warrant.

The Twin City Equal Suffrage league will bring the noted author and lecturer Charlotte Perkins Gilman to speak in town on December 5. It is likely that the Illinois theater will be the location.

A motorman was severely injured and two horses killed when a street car struck a dairy wagon on West Oregon street yesterday. The wagon driver, by a miracle, escaped injury. Witnesses say that he drove onto the track in front of the car while the gong was ringing.

Finally, James S. McCullough, a candidate for state auditor and an Urbana man, is “the only soldier of the Civil War on the Republican State Ticket. He lost an arm in battle for his country,” says his rather large campaign advertisement.

Saturday, November 2, 1912

Important front-page news! “William, the little son of Mr. and Mrs. John Turner, pushed a button up one of his nostrils, and the services of a physician were required to remove it.”

Besides that fascinating story, there is more on the Singer murder in Chicago. Lillian Beatrice Ryall-Conway, “burlesque actress and animal tamer,” whilst screaming and cowering and generally carrying on, told the the fascinatingly named Captain Nootbaar that her husband, Charles Conway, “the wooden-footed circus clown,” murdered Miss Singer after a quarrel. Whew! I think that sentence is going to get right up and walk off the page.

Also in the paper today were the official ballot, the woman’s ballot, and the proposals to be voted upon, which seem to me to be worded in such a way as to imply that anyone who votes against them must be very stupid indeed. I have decided to clip them and paste them in here; I will be interested to see whether any of them do not pass.

Tuesday, October 29, 1912

Vice-President Sherman lies at the point of death. He has Bright’s disease and a weakened heart. His doctor did not disclose his critical condition until last night. “The secretiveness of the physicians was undoubtedly inspired by a desire to hide the true situation regarding Mr. Sherman’s illness in the closing hours of the campaign, in which he is a candidate for re-election to the second highest office in the land.”

A couple from Fort Wayne, Indiana, eloped by flying 71 miles to Hillsdale, Michigan, and wrecking their aeroplane during the landing. They were married in their hospital beds.

Surgeons in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, removed 102 nails, two keys, a button hook, and a partly digested three-inch iron spike from the stomach and intestines of a man they are calling “the human ostrich.” The man has craved metal since accidentally swallowing some shingle nails ten years ago.

Finally, there is a short article mocking Johns Hopkins university for studying “the blues” as a mental disorder. Whoever wrote the piece (for it is not attributed) says that “the blues” has its origin in the stomach or liver and recommends “a dose of calomel followed by a sane system of eating and living.”

Sunday, October 27, 1912

Things That I Learned Reading the Daily Illini Today

1. They are calling female university students “co-ednas.”

2. In order to appear up-to-date, a young man must be properly “hatted and cravatted.”

3. Eyestrain can be fatal!