Archive for November, 2012

The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska, July 11, 1919

Morals Squad Officer Raids Relative of Ringer Pet, But Superintendent Dares Not Squawk-Department Never Under Similar Fire in City’s History.

The incomings and outgoings of some of Mr. Ringer’s police officers is again concerning the people of Omaha to such an extent that positive action against Mr. Ringer and one or two other commissioners may be seen within a short time.

Recent events indicate that law enforcement is not nearly of such importance to Mr. Ringer as is the raising of pets in the department and reducing men who do not always spit in the same cuspidor he uses. During the last week a raid was made on a down town place where bootlegging was suspected. The man arrested was a relative of one of Mr. Ringer’s pet officers and it caused suite a stir. After looking over the matter to learn who was responsible for the raid Mr. Ringer is said to have received  shock.

It appears that the moral squad officer who engineered the raid has known Mr. Ringer for a long time, but he went to the job just the same.. He has not thus far been been molested by the police superintendent and it is not believed he will be molested. Knowing persons say this officer “has it on” the police head and for that reason that official does not dare to open his face. Whether or not that is true, no action has thus far been taken to demote the plain clothes man, who is to be congratulated on his nerve.

Other instances of favoritism have also come to light. One morals squad officer who has been active in midnight raids in the uptown district pays no attention to what goes on in his own residence neighborhood. Within the last week newspaper men were served drinks over the bar within half a block of his house. So far as known, however, this man has never been molested.

These instances give some idea of the “safe and sane” manner in which Mr. Ringer is choosing his men for important positions in the police department. Elmer Thomas continues to be a big factor in the operation of the entire department, being paid a salary of $300 per month contributed by certain elements which pose as reformers and work under cover. Never in the history of the city has the police department been under fire as it is at this time and Omaha is wondering how long this travesty on reform will continue.

Victor Rosewater administered a stinging rebuke to Mr. Ringer the other day. It is a safe bet that the Bee’s reporters would make better policemen than a lot of Mr. Ringer’s recently acquired pets.

If Mr. Gillin will get after the rental syndicate in Omaha he will prove himself a porthy official. That syndicate is working overtime in this city.


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The Mediator
Omaha, Nebraska, July 11, 1919

Indiana Senator’s Illegitimate Offspring Murders Unfaithful Paramour.

Congressional Scandal Stirs Nation

Has Counterpart in Famous Suit of Kentucky’s Silver Tongued Orator-How Young Man’s Act Taken by Polite Society The Christian Solution.

     The mark of scandal has been placed on United States Senator Harry S. New because his illegitimate son slew his sweetheart in a fit of madness, resulting, it is alleged, from her refusing to become the mother of a child conceived out of wedlock, the same as its father. Senator New has wisely admitted his parentage of the boy who committed this crime. His explanation is not an apology. On the other hand Senator New says the boy is the result of early foolishness, in the same breath declaring that his reputation since that unfortunate occurrence has been beyond reproach. So far as known that is the truth.

     Senator New got into Indiana politics several years ago and his first influential job was that of secretary of the republican national campaign committee. He was a success in that position and was elected United States senator, a position in which he has also been a success.

     Now come the California tragedy which has opened up the door to the New closet in which has so long reposed the family skeleton. As the father of an illegitimate sno, Senator New is not an exception, even in Congress. A decade ago Congressman Breckenridge, silver tongued Kentucky orator, was brought into the Washington courts by a woman whom he had “known,” according to his own admission, in a fashion not in keeping with the ethics of Christian teachings. She charged that he was the father of an illegitimate son, a charge he never successfully denied.

     Thus the wheels of the world go round. It would be hard to enter the closets of any big family without finding some touch of similar scandal. It crops out from time to time, but is usually kept from the public prints in the case of prominent persons. In the event of the sinner being of less importance the world cares not a tinkers darn.

     The case of Harry S. New is a sad one. This young man, named after his father, but born out of wedlock, went through the world in an attempt to live down the stigma of his birth. He had well nigh done so when he met up with the woman who caused his downfall. He knew the circumstances of his own birth and did not feel that any act of his own which might continue the production of illegitimacy was a serious sin.

     Young New says he wished to marry the woman whose trouble he had caused and became crazed when she refused to become a wife and the mother of his unborn child. Her refusal caused him to commit murder, he admits. It is not easy for the layman to conceive the condition of this young man’s mind. He had a belief in the reasons for and creation of humanity quite out of keeping with the usual tenets of human propagation, but it is a question for more than human judges to decide his guilt.

     It is said that Senator New will be called upon to foot the financial bills to be incurred in his defense. We fancy the senator, inferring from his admissions and public statements will not hesitate to do so. The unfortunate tragedy will doubtless end this brilliant man’s political career. It may even end in his resignation. But the world is full of Harry S. News. Only a few of them are discovered and even fewer ever are victims of public disgrace, such as has come to this United States senator.

     Society will hardly forgive Senator New and the world will send him into oblivion. That act, however, will not prevent a recurrence of the tragedy enacted as a result of the senator’s indiscretions of youth, nor will it bring back the happiness which this young man had hoped might be his, with a young wife and babe, both of which lives he felt it his duty to destroy. History will record Harry S. New as a murderer, but many charitably inclined persins will declare his act was a matter of circumstanies rather than a deliberate crime.

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The Mediator
Omaha, Nebraska, July 11, 1919

     Society has chosen Krug park for the summer season. This is especially true of the society women who have neither time nor the inclination to visit the eastern bathing beaches. Only a few days ago the management of Krug park opened the new bathing Niagara at that resort and now it is being patronized by the elite of the city.

     Any of these days the common people may divide honors with the society set by visiting popular Krug park with a bathing suit. The cascades of that very excellent bathing place have been so arranged that bathers may sit and let the falling waters run over their backs and fronts and trickle down into the pool below. The slims and fats, the rich and poor may be found there daily taking advantage of this inland Coney Island resort.

     There is no place to drown at Krug park, but there is an awfully fine place to swim and bathe. A lot of Omaha people need a bath and this place was built and equipped especially for their benefit. Mr. Ingersoll, who is responsible, who is responsible for putting this modern resort in Omaha’s suburb, knows what is needed to make such a place popular. He has not overlooked any bets and has made his institution an adjunct to the country club, so to speak. Many of our popular society ladies have taken advantage of the opportunity to don their bathing costumes and rush into this fine watering place.

     Incidentally, the management of Krug park has not censored bathing costumes and the old ladies and young men who have an eye for physical beauty should not fail to be on the grounds when Omaha society is in motion at the bathing pool. They jump into the water like regular swimmers and disport themselves daily in an edifying manner.

     Krug park is being voted the synonym of perfect summer enjoyment and nobody can afford to miss it with its bathing pool, merry-go-round, dancing pavilion, peanuts and pop corn and hot Sea Island weiners, with mustard.

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(Welcome to Maria Mitchell’s childhood study. Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress’s Historic American Buildings Survey, found in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. This photograph was taken for the Survey in 1965 by Cortlandt Van Dyke Hubbard.)

By way of introduction, I’ve developed something of an obsession with the life of Maria Mitchell; enough so that I’ve started to do a lot of research on her, which, if I’m persistent enough, could possibly turn into a novel-sized work of historical fiction. In the meantime, since I seem to enjoy talking about her, I thought it would be fun to share what I learn about her along the way in a little series I’m calling Maria Mondays. This also gives me a chance to practice my writing skills because, you’ll  note, I’m not very eloquent yet.

Maria Mitchell, who lived from 1818 to 1889, would accomplish many great things over the course of her life. She would become the first American woman to discover a comet, the first American woman to make her living as an astronomer, the first professor hired by the newly founded Vassar College, a world traveler who became the first woman to gain entry to the Vatican’s Observatory, first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the first women elected to the American Philosophical Society, and an ardent feminist who co-founded the American Association for the Advancement of Women. Believe me, I’m not at all doing her justice in this brief paragraph, but I hope to do so over time.

All of her accomplishments had to start somewhere, and this room played a part in that. Maria’s father, William, built this small study in the family home in Nantucket for all of his children to use. Of the ten children, Maria was probably the one to use it the most. 19th century Quakers were unusual for their time in that they believed girls should receive the same education as boys. I can picture Maria sitting at this very desk, bent over her books, squinting to read in the lamplight.

Maria also went to work at an early age as her father’s assistant in his astronomical and other scientific activities. By the time she was 14, Maria was adjusting the chronometers on whaling ships herself, a heavy responsibility considering that chronometers were essential for accurate navigation. To keep up on all of her studies and independent calculations, she would have spent countless hours in here, walls possibly covered with notes and charts, ever-present stacks of books and scientific instruments always at hand.

Now, unfortunately for me, I don’t live anywhere near Nantucket, so I don’t have the benefit of visiting Maria’s house anytime I like, and a trip to the area is still in an unrealized future. So I still have a number of questions about the study that I want to pursue. Especially since nothing can compare to actually standing in the spot that a historical figure stood in. Questions like:

  • What’s the view from the window like?
  • What would the view have looked like almost 200 years ago?
  • What are the dimensions of the study?
  • Is this photograph an accurate representation of how the study would have appeared in Maria’s time?
  • Does the study still look as it did in this now 47 year old photograph, or have changes occurred?

This is a sketch of the second floor’s plan (also courtesy of the Library of Congress’s Historic American Building’s Survey in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog). If you click on it and zoom in as far as you can, if your eyes are good, you’ll be able to see the location of the study at the top of the stairs, as well as get an idea of how small the room is. My eyes are crap so I can’t make out any of the writing myself. If you can, maybe you can tell me what it says :).

So much to learn, so little time. Why oh why doesn’t osmosis work? I suppose if it did, the learning process would be a heck of a lot easier and faster, but not nearly so much fun. I’m only just beginning to learn about my subject matter here; much, much more to come.

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Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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The Mediator
Omaha, Nebraska, July 11, 1919

     The “big four” in the city council has recommended to Governor McKelvie that he fire Municipal Judges Holmes, because he dismissed a case against a bootlegger on motion of the city prosecutor.

     Without discussing the merits of that case, which the public already has had opportunity to learn, let it be said that the action of these four commissioners was about the most high-handed affair that they have committed since they came into power. The people should not be surprised at their action, however. It was quite in keeping with what they have been doing from the moment they came into office.

     Judge Holmes will not have to apologize for anything when he comes before the people for re-election. As much can not be said of the commissioners who are trying to “jam” him. We can conceive that the attorney general will not take cognizance of the resolution of the council recommending the dismissal of Judge Holmes. He is big enough and broad enough to understand the petty larceny system of the four city councilmen and will doubtless act accordingly. That fact, however, does not remove the odium that is being put on our city by the action of this bunch of pig-headed, blustering and ignorant dubs who have sought to pose as reformers.

     If this bunch would go ahead with their reform business and turn the business of running the city over to some level-headed men who have some regard for law and order, and who have some conception of the duty devolving upon them, there would be some sense to their action. You can go into fifty large cities of the country and learn that Omaha has the reputation of having about the rottenest bunch of city commissioners that has come to the lot of any municipality in existence. That is the reputation we are getting. It is heard in San Francisco, in Denver, in Chicago, in New York and other large cities. We are the laughing stock of such cities as Kansas City and other of our real competitors. Even up in the smaller river town of Sioux City we are coming to be a huge joke.

     The men who are creating this condition are the men who have just condemned Judge Holmes. We out to purge our city of such a record.

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The Mediator

Omaha, Nebraska July 11, 1919

Miss Buckwalter is Again in Limelight: North End Beauty Learns Former Husband Seeking Her With Gun; Just One Thing After Another; Striking Brunette Laughs at Danger and Seeks Excitement – Big Cadillac Roadster Source of Much Recreation – Former Sweetheart Back to Pen.

La Ranee Buckwalter is having troubles of her own again. This little but much married woman, is doubtless congratulating herself that she did not have to dodge a bunch of bullets which Jess Howard, her former husband, admitted to the police he had saved up for her.

Jess dropped into town unexpectedly the other day. He sawed his way out of the Iowa penitentiary, where he was confined for a crime committed in that state. La Ranee sure has had a fast time with Howard, but she admits she would rather see him locked up than running at large. Howard is said to have had a way of loving his former common law wife not in keeping with her notion of what caresses outght to be.

Miss Buckwalter lives at ‘016 Florence boulevard, out among the regular society people. She has not been taken into the confidence of her neighbors to any great extent, it is said, but she simply smiles at their rebuffs and repeats the assertion of a great actress that “I don’t care.” Sometimes she makes it a little stronger.

Some time ago Joe Bauer, who went crazy over La Ranee, made a mess of things by bringing a big lawsuit against his sweetheart. La Ranee says he is a mischief maker. She is now defending herself against Joe’s suit for money. A few short weeks ago she was defending herself against his attentions. Down at Joe’s country home, which “Miss” Buckwalter visited, and was introduced as his financee, she was not taken into the bosom oft he family, but still she did not care. But Joe proved a regular Lochinvar for a long time and spent his money in gobs on the Prettiest Mile beauty.

Following this Jess Howard affair, an enterprising newspaper man secured a picture of La Ranee and printed it. She was all put out over the affair because, as she said, they got about the boorest picture she ever had taken. She can dictate some pretty hot stuff for the newspapers, once she gets started. She has a line of talk that will even make the hardened reporters set up and take notice.

Miss Buckwalter has absolutely no intention of moving her domicile from the Prettiest Mile nor from Omaha, despite effort sby neighbors to purchase her property. She puts on her stunning gowns and jumps into her Cadillac roadster for a spin when she needs entertainment. She used to be fond of mint juleps until the law put an end to them. But that law did not put an end to her heart smashing ability.

Howard is a pretty live wire himself, despite his incarceration in the penitentiary. He told Chief Dunn that he intended to “bump off” his old sweetheart and take his own life. La Ranee believes he would have done it, too, if the law had not beat him to it. She is not very much scared of guns, and says she presumes something of a tragedy may come to her yet.

In many respects La Ranee is a remarkable woman. Unlike many women who have followed similar lives, Miss Buckwalter is not ready to retire from sight, even though she long ago went out of business. She needs excitement and is not averse to seeing her name and picture in print. She is an expert driver and tears up the streets when she takes the big roadster out of the garage. She maintains legal counsel right along and has a pretty clean conception of her rights before the law.

Howard still has four years to serve and Miss Buckwalter believes he will have a change of heart before he again receives his freedom. She admits that even she might feel differently toward him by that time.

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