On April 15 1865, the day after President Lincoln was struck down by an assassin’s bullet, Edwin Booth, a popular stage actor in New York, was told his younger brother John had pulled the trigger.
Edwin was appearing in a “successful” show at the time and immediately asked that it shut down. “The news of this morning has made me wretched,” he wrote, “not only because of my brother’s crime, but because a most justly honored and patriotic ruler has fallen.”
Edwin and his brother were estranged. Politics and ideology had separated them, as it did the rest of the country. “When I told John I voted for Lincoln,” Edwin recalled, “he expressed deep regret.”
Edwin feared for his own life after news that another brother, Junius, also an actor, had been threatened by an angry mob in Cincinnati. “Whatever calamity may befall me and mine, my country, one and indivisible, has my warmest devotion,” Edwin explained before going into hiding.
In January the following year, friends urged him to return to the stage. He reluctantly agreed. As his favorite character, Hamlet, Edwin stepped in front of a packed theater.
In 1902, psychologist and chemist, William Thomas Sedgwick released a book titled Principles of Sanitary Science and Public Heath which was a compilation of lectures he gave as a professor of biological sciences at MIT. In it, Sedgwick extolled the virtues of good personal hygiene to keep infectious diseases away. “The absence of dirt,” he urged, “is not merely an aesthetic adornment.”
Basically, he was telling everyone to clean up. In essence, please take a bath.
Sedgwick was onto something. Until then taking a bath, for example, was an option most people chose to ignore. That’s because for centuries, cleanliness was seen as a sign of weakness or impurity. In some ancient religious philosophy’s, being wet, or letting the water touch you, was akin to allowing the devil enter your body. And in other circles, bathing was considered a sign of sexual mischievousness. Queen Isabella of Castile bragged that she took a bath only twice in her life, on her birth day and her wedding night. And Saint Benedict, an English monk who lived a solitary and monastic life, said “bathing shall seldom be permitted.”
Of course that was a long time ago when attitudes were based on god fearing principles, not logic. But even at the turn of the 20th century, personal hygiene was still somewhat taboo.
Sedgwick though wasn’t the first to encourage others to get well by getting clean. Benjamin Franklin, a man of many titles, was also an early advocate of good hygiene habits.
As America’s first diplomat in France, Franklin thoroughly enjoyed the pleasures of taking a bath, a European luxury, although his desires may have been influenced more by the pretty French maids who administered it. “I have never remembered to have seen my grandfather in better health,” William Temple Franklin wrote to a relative. “The warm bath three times a week have made quite a young man out of him [Franklin was in his 70’s at the time]. His pleasing gaiety makes everybody love him, especially the ladies, who permit him always to kiss him.” Regardless of his reasons for actually taking a bath, Franklin couldn’t help but get clean, right?
However, when a large tub of warm water wasn’t present, Franklin liked to take what he called “air baths.” Franklin thought being inside and cooped up in a germ infested, walled, and shuttered space, was the reason he got colds. So to keep from getting sick, Franklin would open the windows and stand completely naked in front of it. Ventilation was the key to prevention, he explained, although others likely weren’t so emboldened.
In the mid 19th century, bathtubs were heavy and costly and those who could afford it used it as much for decoration as for its intended purpose.
Before indoor plumbing, a large tub may have been made of sheet lead and anchored in a box the size of a coffin. Later bathtubs became more portable. Some were made of canvas and folded; others were hidden away and pulled down like a Murphy Bed. They were called “bath saucers.”
It wasn’t that most people didn’t understand the merits of taking a bath. It was just a chore to do so. Water had to be warmed and transported and would chill quickly; then dumped. Oftentimes families would use the same bath water in a pecking order that surely forced the last in line to take a much quicker dip than the first.
In the later half of the 19th century, as running water became more common, bathtubs became less mobile. Most were still bulky, steel cased and rimmed in cherry or oak, but stationary. Fancy bronzed iron legs held the tub above the floor.
Ads from the time encouraged consumers to think of the tub as something other than just a cleaning vessel. “Why shouldn’t the bathtub be part of the architecture of the house?” the ads asked. After all, if there is going to be such a large object in the home, it might as well be aesthetically pleasing.
Getting people to actually use it, however, that was another matter.
Sedgwick had medical reasons to back up his claims. As an epidemiologist, he studied diseases caused by poor drinking water and inferior sanitation practices. Good scientific research, he implied, should be all the proof needed. But attitudes and decades old habits needed to change too. “It follows as a matter of principle,” Sedgwick wrote, “that personal cleanliness is more important than public cleanliness.” He had a point. Largely populated cities were dirty messes, full of billowing black smoke from factories, coal dust, and discarded garbage and waste. Affixing blame for such conditions was more popular than actually doing something about it. Sedgwick focused on self-awareness to make his point. “A clean body is more important than a clean street,” he stressed.”Sanitation alone cannot hope to effect these changes. They must come from scientific hygiene carefully applied throughout long generations.”
People, it seemed, had to literally be scared into taking a bath.
Something Sedgwick understood, but fought to amend.
“Cleanness,” he wrote in concession, ”was an acquired taste.”
Ken Zurski’s Unremembered: Tales of the Nearly Famous & the Not Quite Forgotten has been recognized by Readers’ Favorite as one of the Top 5 “Non-Fiction-Adventure” books of 2019.
The prestigious Readers’ Favorite Annual Book Award Contest showcases both independent and publication house releases and features multiple winners in specific categories. According to information on the Readers’ Favorite website: “We receive thousands of entries from all over the world. Because of these large submission numbers, we are able to break down our contest into 140+ genres, and each genre is judged separately, ensuring you only compete against books of your specific genre for a fairer and more accurate competition.” Submissions for the Readers’ Favorite book contest are taken through March of each year and winners are announced in early September (Read more about the contest here: .https://readersfavorite.com/2019-award-contest-winners.htm).
In each category, a gold medal. silver medal, bronze medal, honorable mention, and finalist awards are granted. Zurski’s book picked up an “Honorable Mention” award in the category of “Non-Fiction-Adventure.”
“I’m thrilled,” said Zurski. “Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest and most respected book review sites for independent authors. It’s an honor to get a good review and even better to be recognized for it with an award.”
Zurski received (3) five-star reviews for Unremembered. As one Readers’ Favorite reviewer stated: “Zurski is a gifted storyteller…I was fascinated by his stories and loved learning about the unknown heroes, villains and trailblazers he highlights in this work.”
“Unremembered” was released by Amika Press in August of 2018. It’s described as “a fascinating collection of once famous people and events that are now all but forgotten by time.” The multiple story lines featured in the book are woven together “into a narrative that reveals history’s many coincidences, connections, and correlations.”
Zurski says the book’s concept is something he envisioned while working on his blog site http://www.unrememberedhistory.com. “I’ve always been fascinated by people who were once celebrated for their achievements and then just seemed to drop out of memory. Some of the characters and connections in the book are more obvious than others, but all fall under the category of being famous once and now mostly forgotten. ”
Amika Press is based out of Northfield, Illinois and is known for publishing independent authors in all genres. There have been several past Amika Press winners of the Readers’ Favorite book contest including two Gold Medal award winners: Ruth Hull Chatlien’s The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte in the category of Historical Fiction-Personage (2014) and again for Chatlien’s Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale for Fiction-Western (2018). This year, along with Zurski’s Honorable Mention award, another Amika book, Pushing the River, by Barbra Monier won the Bronze for Fiction- Literary. (See all of Amika Press books here: http://www.amikapress.com.)
Zurski is a longtime broadcaster, author and speaker based out of Peoria, Illinois. A native of the Chicagoland area and a veteran of radio news, Ken released his first book, The Wreck of the Columbia, in 2012. Peoria Stories, released in 2014, is his second book, Unremembered is his third. Ken resides in Morton, Illinois with his wife, Connie, and two children, Sam and Nora.
Visit his website at unrememberedhistory.com, follow him on Facebook at @kenzurskiauthor or @unrememberedhistory, and find him on Twitter at @kzurski.
Contact Ken at (309) 642-1267 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Seven years before President John F. Kennedy announced intentions to put a man on the moon, Walt Disney, in his own magical way, was doing just that. Not physically of course, but imaginatively.
It started in July of 1955, when Disney’s visionary theme park Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California. Inside an area dubbed “Tomorrowland” was an 80-foot rocket named the “Moonliner.” It’s purpose was for show, but it’s intent was far-reaching. This was “tomorrow’s” transport and the goal: space travel.
The exhibit was sponsored by Trans World Airline (TWA) with a promise that the air carrier “would send passengers to the moon in 30 years” [That would be 1985 back then]. Rocketing along at flight speeds of 172 mph, TWA claimed the trip would take about eight hours. Next to the rocket was a multi-sphere building and a sign that read: “Rocket to the Moon.”
At the base of the rocket was an explanation: “Stabilized in flight by gyroscopes, it would be controlled by automatic pilots and magnetic tapes. Landing tail-first, no air-foils or wings would be necessary, its vertical descent controlled by its jets. The 3 retractable landing legs would be equipped with shock absorbers. Launching and landing would be done over a “firing center” to confine and lead off the superheated exhaust gases.”
Inside “Rocket to the Moon,” thanks to a projection screen both on the ceiling and on the floor, park guests could experience this flight themselves – or at least a simulation of it. “You don’t actually land on the Moon, but you get to fly around the back side of the Moon,” was the ride’s description. “Along the way, you learn interesting facts about the Moon and the planets. Soon you’re heading back to Earth. After your craft turns around, you see your destination on the floor screen. Prepare to land.” The total duration of the ride was about ten minutes.
Disney himself explained it this way: “Kids and grown-ups too can take a trip to the moon from here. Well, at least they can board a passenger rocket and have all the thrills of such a trip – and in accord with the latest scientific theories on interplanetary travel.”
Yes, “scientific theories,” is how Disney put it in 1955.
He added: “Timid souls who don’t care to risk outer space can peer at the U.S. from an inner space, man-made satellite orbiting 500 Disney miles above the earth.”
In 1961, TWA dropped its sponsorship and Douglas Aircraft took over the”Moonliner.” The rocket was repainted to represent Douglas Aircraft’s color and brand. It lasted until 1966, when it was shut down and the building demolished. By this time the prospects of a moon flight was in reach. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things,” President Kennedy famously said in September of 1962, “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
In 1967, the ride was rebuilt, adding more amphitheater rooms and more seating. A pre-show lobby was redesigned and featured the park’s animatronic figures. Gone was the “Moonliner” rocket, or as one Disney historian described: “It had been scrapped.”
The exhibit was given a new name: “Mission to the Moon.”
Then in July 1969, millions of Americans watched as a man walked on the moon. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” astronaut Neil Armstrong proudly proclaimed upon making the first footprint. Suddenly, Disney’s futuristic moon ride was no longer “tomorrow’s” fantasy.
“First Think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare,” Disney once said, although he wouldn’t live long enough to witness man’s first flight to the lunar surface. He died in 1966 at the age of 65.
The ride stayed open through all six manned Apollo Missions. Finally, in 1975, the name changed again. This time passengers were still going into space, but now they would travel further than the moon and certainly farther than any man so far.
Unremembered: Tales of the Nearly Famous & the Not Quite Forgotten is a nonfiction collection of historical events and figures written by Ken Zurski. Zurski is a broadcaster, speaker and author whose books recreate the past. This book casts a spotlight on several dozen personalities and shares their contributions to society and progress. Among them are Nellie Bly, who bluffed and blustered her way into a well-deserved career in journalism when women were not welcome, and who circumnavigated the globe in less than 80 days; Nathaniel Currier, whose lithographic processes changed how news was disseminated, and Sam Patch, the Jersey Jumper, whose acrobatic skill and daring finally met its match in the Genesee Falls. Zurski covers the tragic, fiery destruction of the Lexington in the Long Island Sound on a freezing winter night; the fiery conflagration that leveled the New York City’s Wall Street Area and the Great Chicago fire; and the evolution of the flying machine.
Ken Zurski’s Unremembered is a grand and glorious tapestry of events and personages whose impacts were definitely felt, but whose stories have for the most part been forgotten or overlooked. I was fascinated by the way he weaves each person into the stories he tells, and I loved the care with which he develops his stories about Niagara Falls and aviation history, and used lithographs and historical artwork in his presentation. Zurski is a gifted storyteller who makes those forgotten people come to life — he even instills a purpose and rationale for the temperance firebrand Carrie Nation as he discusses the development of women’s rights and suffrage through the 19th and 20th centuries. I was fascinated by his stories and loved learning about the unknown heroes, villains and trailblazers he highlights in this work. I was also pleased with the extensive bibliography he included. Unremembered: Tales of the Nearly Famous & the Not Quite Forgotten is most highly recommended.
Read more reviews here: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/unremembered?fbclid=IwAR1mRGTng0j5Y-P76nGLKxcriP22-UP_xNCxVdMDjFgTvuCkTOuajddoCk8
The global library catalog World Cat categorizes UNREMEMBERED under these three Genre/Forms:
“True adventure stories. biography and anecdotes.”
Ask your local library to get it …give the book title and the author. Available on Ingram, Baker & Taylor and Amazon http://a.co/d/iteJoll
“UNREMEMBERED: Tales of the Nearly Famous and the Not Quite Forgotten“
Ken Zurski, author of The Wreck of the Columbia and Peoria Stories, provides a fascinating collection of once famous people and events that are now all but forgotten by time. Using a backdrop of schemes and discoveries, adventures and tragedies, Zurski weaves these figures and the events that shaped them into a narrative that reveals history’s many coincidences, connections, and correlations.
We tumble over Niagara Falls in a barrel, soar on the first transcontinental machine-powered flight, and founder aboard a burning steamboat. From an adventurous young woman circumnavigating the globe to a self-absorbed eccentric running for President of the United States, Unremembered brings back these lost stories and souls for a new generation to discover.
Isambard K. Brunel
Annie Edson Taylor
Father Louis Hennepin
William B. Ogden
George Francis Train
Arthur Whitten Brown
A veteran of stage and screen, Billie Burke began her Broadway and film acting career in 1906 at the age of 22.
She appeared in numerous stage and screen roles (silent films) and in 1914 married another show business impresario , Florenz “Flo” Ziegfeld Jr, of Zeigfeld Follies fame.
In 1921, Burke retired from performing thanks to a boon in the stock market and good investments.
However, in 1929 after the Black October crash, the money was gone.
Burke went back to work appearing with many top Hollywood heavyweights like Lionel Barrymore whom she co-starred in the most acclaimed and defining role of her career: Millicent Jordan, the “hapless, feather-brained lady with the unmistakably high voice,” in 1933’s “Dinner at Eight.”
Although it wasn’t her last appearance in the movies, in 1939, at the age of 54, Burke played a character for which she is most remembered today…
Glinda the Good Witch of the North in “The Wizard of Oz.”
“This is a history book about people and events that were famous once now mostly forgotten. It’s also about how lives connect and intertwine. Using a flowing narrative of multiple themes, I chronicle these fascinating figures in ways that made them instantly popular and reveal good or bad why today they are the stories of the Unremembered” – Ken Zurski, author
In 1860, while traveling by stagecoach across the Texas plains, capitalist Eadweard Muybridge fell and suffered a serious head injury. Some say he never fully recovered. His doctor however suggested more fresh air. So Muybridge took up photography and began shooting landscapes.
Then in 1872, railroad magnate Leland Stanford hired Muybridge to shoot a horse. Not literally, of course, but with a camera. Stanford wanted to know if a horse lifts all four feet off the ground simultaneously during a gait. Muybridge managed to show a horse seemingly suspended in midair. But the shot, published as a line drawing at first, drew jeers from a skeptical public.
Muybridge found a way to convince them. He invented a machine called the Zoopraxiscope, where a silhouette image of a picture is painted on a revolving glass plate. When the light is shown through the cylinder the drawings seem to move.
“A magic lantern gone mad,” raved the Illustrated London News.
Vindicated, Muybridge sought to improve his design. He went to see a man he thought might be able to put actual photographs on the cylinder.