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Posts about Minnesota History

Sept. 18, 1904: 3-year-old toddles onto skylight

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: September 18, 2014 - 8:30 AM
This early example of a child-in-peril story, a staple of American newspapers in the middle decades of the 20th century, has a familiar ending: The wayward tot, reunited with "its" relieved parent, gets a “well directed and well meant” spanking.  Note the pronoun used for the child. Perhaps the baby’s gender was unknown to the reporter, who most likely learned of the incident second-hand. 

From the Minneapolis Tribune:


A baby 3 years of age and as active and mischievous as children of that age go caused many a tremble in the hearts of people on the second floor of the Federal building.
This baby’s particular stunt of the morning and the one which caused all of the excitement was to toddle out onto the glass roofing over the huge mailing room and there prance about like a wild Indian.
The mother, Mrs. Chaplewski of 1500 Marshall street northeast, stood aside trembling in fear lest it might fall through the glass and into the mailing room below. She pranced back and forth and beside the railing that surrounds the open court until she nearly wore out the soles of her shoes and she called for help until hoarse.
Mrs. Chaplewski and the baby had come downtown, the mother to transact a little business in the money order department on the second floor. While she was in the money order room the child was left to its own devices. The first thing that it did was to climb over the railing onto the grass roof. The sensation was novel and the pleasure exquisite. The mother returned and saw the predicament in which her child was.
Finally a janitor appeared, and he, after trying for five minutes to coax the unwilling one back to mother and safety, walked out on the beams that support the roof. He got within four feet of the youngster. The latter, however, stood in the middle of a large pane of glass which was strong enough to hold the child, but not the man. The latter begged and entreated and finally made a lunge for the wayward little thing.
His lunge was a successful one, and baby, dear baby, was taken back to mother screaming, belligerent and generally unhappy. The mother, just to show her authority, administered a few well directed and well meant spanks. That closed the incident.
The federal courthouse and post office in downtown Minneapolis in about 1904.

The federal courthouse and post office in downtown Minneapolis in about 1904.

Sept. 3, 1901: Roosevelt 'Big Stick' speech at State Fair

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: September 2, 2014 - 6:08 PM
Vice President Theodore Roosevelt delivered his “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick” speech at the Minnesota State Fair on Sept. 2, 1901. He was 42 years old; in less than two weeks he would become the youngest U.S. president in history in the wake of President William McKinley’s assassination.
Undated Star Tribune file photo
Minneapolis Tribune coverage of Roosevelt’s speech is an early example of unintentionally nonlinear storytelling. The disorganized arrangement of stories and photos spread across several pages makes it difficult to quickly figure out who he was, when he arrived, why he came and what he said. Of course, a contemporary reader keeping up with the events of the week probably would have been able to scan the paper more quickly than a 21st-century reader coming to it cold.

On the front page, there are just two references to Roosevelt’s visit: a photo of him and Gov. Van Sant reviewing National Guard troops, and an editorial cartoon showing Roosevelt tipping his hat to “Minneapolis labor” (in the form of a thinly smiling, oversize steel milk can). No mention is made of the exhaustive coverage inside. Inside, there’s a blow-by-blow account of his arrival in Minneapolis, where thousands of citizens lined Hennepin Avenue and other streets to greet him as he passed. There’s a blow-by-blow account of the vice-presidential procession to St. Paul. A transcript of Roosevelt’s lengthy speech at the grandstand takes up nearly a third of a page. You have to feel sorry for the poor sap who had to transcribe the opus without a recording device. Or perhaps Roosevelt's remarks were provided to the local newspapers in advance.

Helpfully, Tribune editors provided a highlights box — “Extracts from Vice-President’s Speech” — for readers too busy to plow through the sea of 8-point text. The highlights do not include the signature phrase for which the speech became known, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” This oversight is an example of why newspapers are known as the first draft of history.

Here are excerpts from Roosevelt’s 5,300-word speech, as reported in the Minneapolis Tribune dated Sept. 3, 1901. (Originally posted here in August 2005; reposting to clean up design, update links and allow fresh comments.)

‘We Must Raise Others While
We Are Being Benefited.”

Keynote of the Opening State Fair Address Delivered Yesterday by Vice-President Roosevelt.
The Duties of One Citizen to His Neighbor Not more Important, However, Than the Duties of the United States as a Nation to Other Nations.
The vice-president delivered his address at the opening of the state fair yesterday to a larger crowd than has ever been seen on the grounds on the first day of this annual event.
The hundreds who listened to him felt they had profited by the experience. His address was an inspiriting encouragement of the right and the strength in the individual as well as the nation. The duties of the citizen of the United States to his neighbor was not more important, according to the vice-president, than the duties of the United States as a nation to the other nations of the earth. He emphasized the fact that “we must raise others while we are benefiting ourselves.”
The strength of the address appealed to the crowd, whose appreciation of its sentiments was shown time and again by the warm applause which it elicted. [sic]
Following is Vice-President Roosevelt’s address in full:
In his admirable series of studies of Twentieth century problems Dr. Lyman Abbott has pointed out that we are a nation of pioneers; that the first colonists to our shores were pioneers, and that pioneers selected out from among the descendants of these early pioneers, mingled with others selected afresh from the old world, pushed westward into the wilderness, and laid the foundations for new commonwealths. They were men of hope and energy; for the men of dull content or more dull despair had no part in the great movement into and across the new world. Our country has been populated by pioneers, and therefore it has in it more energy, more enterprise, more expansive power than any other in the wide world.
You whom I am now addressing stand, for the most part, but one generation removed from these pioneers. You are typical Americans, for you have done the great, the characteristic, the typical work of our American life. In making homes and carving out careers for yourselves, and your children, you have built up this state; throughout our history the success of the homemaker has been but another name for the upbuilding of the nation. The men who with ax in the forest and pick in the mountains and plow on the prairies, pushed to completion the dominion of our people over the American wilderness have given the definite shape to our nation. They have shown the qualities of daring, endurance and far-sightedness, of eager desire for victory and stubborn refusal to accept defeat, which go to make up the essential manliness of the American character. Above all they have recognized the practical form the fundamental law of success in American life – the law of worthy work, the law of high, resolute endeavor. We have but little room among our people for the timid, the irresolute and the idle, and it is no less true that there is scant room in the world at large for the nation with mighty thews that dares not to be great. …
Front page cartoon The caption on this front-page cartoon: “Teddy takes his hat off to Minneapolis labor.”
Every father and mother here, if they are wise, will bring up their children not to shirk difficulties, but to meet them and overcome them; not to strive after a life of ignoble ease, but to strive to do their duty, first to themselves and their families and then to the whole state; and this duty must inevitably take the shape of work in some form or other. You, the sons of pioneers, if you are true to your ancestry, must make your lives as worthy as they made theirs. They sought for true success, and therefore they did not seek ease. They knew that success comes only to those who lead the life of endeavor. …
No hard and fast rule can be laid down as to where our legislation shall stop in interfering between man and man, between interest and interest. All that can be said is that it is highly undesirable on the one hand, to weaken individual initiative, and on the other hand, that in a constantly increasing number of cases we shall find it necessary in the future to shackle cunning as in the past we have shackled force.
It is not only highly desirable, but necessary, that there should be legislation which shall carefully shield the interest of wage workers, and which shall discriminate in favor of the hones and human employer by removing the disadvantages under which he stands when compared with unscrupulous competitors who have no conscience, and will do right only under fear of punishment.
Nor can legislation stop only with what are termed labor questions. The vast individual and corporate fortunes, the vast combinations of capital which have marked the development of our industrial system, create new conditions, and necessitate a change from the old attitude of state and the nation toward property. …
Right here let me make as vigorous a plea as I know how in favor of saying nothing that we do not mean, and of acting without hesitation up to whatever we say. A good many of you are probably acquainted with the old proverb, “Speak softly and carry a big stick – you will go far.” If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble, and neither will speaking softly avail, if back of the softness there does not lie strength, power. In private life there are few beings more obnoxious than the man who is always loudly boasting, and if the boaster is not prepared to back up his words, his position becomes absolutely contemptible. So it is with the nation. It is both foolish and undignified to indulge in undue self-glorification, and, above all, in loose-tongued denunciation of other peoples. Whenever on any point we come in contact with a foreign power, I hope that we shall always strive to speak courteously and respectfully of that foreign power.
Let us make it evident that we intend to do justice. Then let us make it equally evident that we will not tolerate injustice being done us in return. Let us further make it evident that we use no words which we are not which prepared to back up with deeds, and that while our speech is always moderate, we are ready and willing to make it good. Such an attitude will be the surest possible guarantee of that self-respecting peace, the attainment of which is and must ever be the prime aim of a self-governing people. …
This is the attitude we should take as regards the Monroe doctrine. There is not the least need of blustering about it. Still less should it be used as a pretext for our own aggrandizement at the expense of any other American state. But most emphatically, we must make it evident that we intend on this point ever to maintain the old American position. Indeed, it is hard to understand how any man can take any other position now that we are all looking forward to the building of the Isthmian canal. The Monroe doctrine is not international law, but there is no necessity that it should be. …
1901 front page Four days after Roosevelt spoke at the fair, President McKinley was shot by an assassin in Buffalo, N.Y.
Our dealings with Cuba illustrate this, and should be forever a subject of just national pride. We speak in no spirit of arrogance when we state as a simple historic fact that never in recent times has any great nation acted with such disinterestedness as we have shown in Cuba. We freed the island from the Spanish yoke. We then earnestly did our best to help the Cubans in the establishment of free education, of law and order, of material prosperity, of the cleanliness necessary to salutary well-being in their great cities. We did all this at great expense of treasure, at some expense of life, and now we are establishing them in a free and independent commonwealth, and have asked in return nothing whatever save that at no time shall their independence be prostituted to the advantage of some foreign rival of ours, or so as to menace our well-being. To have failed to ask this would have amounted to national stultification on our part.
In the Philippines we have brought peace, and we are at this moment giving them such freedom and self-government as they could never under any conceivable conditions have obtained had we turned them loose to sink into a welter of blood, and confusion, or to become the prey of some strong tyranny without or within. The bare recital of the facts is sufficient to show that we did our duty, and what prouder title to honor can a nation have than to have done its duty? We have done our duty to ourselves, and we have done the higher duty of promoting the civilization of mankind. …
Barbarism has and can have no place in a civilized world. It is our duty toward the people living in barbarism to see that they are freed from their chains, and we can only free them by destroying barbarism itself. The missionary, the merchant and the soldier may each have to play a part in this destruction, and in the consequent uplifting of the people. Exactly as it is the duty of a civilized power scrupulously to respect the rights of all weaker civilized powers and gladly to help those who are struggling towards civilization, so it is its duty to put down savagery and barbarism. As in such a work human instruments must be used, and as human instruments are imperfect, this means that at times there will be injustices, that at times, merchant, or soldier, or even missionary may do wrong.
Let us instantly condemn and rectify such wrong when it occurs, and if possible punish the wrong-doer. But, shame, thrice shame to us, if we are so foolish as to make such occasional wrong-doing an excuse for failing to perform a great and righteous task. No only in our own land, but throughout history, the advance of civilization has been of incalculable benefit to mankind, and those through whom it has advanced deserve the higher honor. All honor to the missionary, all honor to the soldier, all honor to the merchant who now in our own day have done so much to bring light into the world’s dark places.
Roosevelt at 1901 fair
The vice president found time to saddle up near the grandstand during his visit to the fair. (Photo courtesy
Let me insist again, for fear of possible misconstruction, upon the fact that our duty is two-fold, and that we must raise others while we are benefiting ourselves. In bringing order to the Philippines, our soldiers added a new page to the honor-roll of American history and they incalculably benefited the islanders themselves. Under the wise administration of Gov. Taft the islands now enjoy a peace and liberty of which they have hitherto never even dreamed. But this peace and liberty under the law must be supplemented by material, by industrial development, to the introduction of American industries and products; no merely because this will be a good thing for our people, but infinitely more because it will be of incalculable benefit to the people of the Philippines.
We shall make mistakes; and if we let these mistakes frighten us from work, we shall show ourselves weaklings. Half a century ago Minnesota and the two Dakotas were Indian hunting grounds. We committed plenty of blunders, and now and then worse than blunders, in our dealings with the Indians. But who does not admit at the present day that we were right in wresting from barbarism and adding to civilization the territory out of which we have made these beautiful states? And now we are civilizing the Indian and putting him on a level to which he could never have attained under the old conditions.
In the Philippines let us remember that the spirit and not the mere form of government is the essential matter. The Tagalogs have a hundred-fold the freedom under us that they would have if we had abandoned the islands. We are not trying to subjugate a people; we are trying to develop them, and make them a law-abiding, industrious and educated people, and we hope, ultimately, a self-governing people. In short, in the work we have done, we are but carrying out the true principles of our democracy. We work in a spirit of self-respect for ourselves and of good-will toward others, in a spirit of love for and of infinite faith in mankind. We do not blindly refuse to face the evils that exist; or the shortcomings inherent in humanity; but across blunderings and shirking, across selfishness and meanness of motive, across short-sightedness and cowardice, we gaze steadfastly toward the far horizon of golden triumph.
If you study our past history as a nation you will see we have made many blunders and have been guilty of many shortcomings, and yet that we have always in the end come out victorious because we have refused to be daunted by blunders and defeats—have recognized them, but have preserved in spite of them. So it must be in the future. We gird up our loins as a nation with the stern purpose to play our part manfully in winning the ultimate triumph, and therefore we turn scornfully aside from the paths of mere ease and idleness, and with unfaltering steps tread the rough road of endeavor, smiting down the wrong and battling for the right as Greatheart smote and battled in Bunyan’s immortal story.

Aug. 19, 1920: Baseball's intricacies too much for Romanian prince

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: August 28, 2014 - 8:15 AM
Prince Carol, great-grandson of Queen Victoria and heir to the Romanian throne, toured the United States in the summer of 1920.  He was 26 years old and between marriages. During a stop in the Twin Cities, he took in a Saints doubleheader at St. Paul’s Lexington Park. At his side that day was 18-year-old Violet Oliver, “queen of California’s vineyard domain,” aka the raisin queen.

In a piece written exclusively for the Minneapolis Tribune, the sometime-actress described Carol as a “man’s man,” “a woman’s man,” a “bearcat” and, unlike the prince of Wales, whom she had met previously, “not a flirt.” “Prince Carol may flatter,” she wrote, “but he makes his eyes behave. That’s why I like him so.”

The future king and dictator had mixed luck with the ladies – and with governing his people. You can read about checkered career of the "royal rapscallion" herehere, here and here.

A Tribune reporter accompanied the prince to the ballpark and turned in a wonderful little piece that landed on page one. The raisin queen's personal account ran on the jump page.

‘Oh,’ Says Prince to Guide at First Ball Game,
Meaning, in Roumanian Slang, ‘I Don’t Get You’

Heir to European Throne Remains in Stand Until Last Man Is Out.
The St. Paul batter had two strikes called on him. The Indianapolis pitcher wound up and threw another. “Strike” said the umpire as the batter failed to swing, and the St. Paul player was called out. He had “fanned.”
“Well, now,” said Prince Carol of Roumania, who sat directly back of the catcher in a box seat at the ball game at St. Paul yesterday afternoon, “why didn’t that man strike at the ball?”
The prince lifted a cup or two of "soda pop" at the game. He pronounced it "wet."

The prince lifted a cup or two of "soda pop" at the game. He pronounced it "wet."

Thereby the prince displayed a keen analytical insight into the great American game, for that question of his probably was the same one Manager Mike Kelly of the St. Paul club was asking, only in more emphatic terms.
But there were many other intricacies of American baseball that were too much for the prince. He had never seen a ball game in this country before and [the] game was a revelation to him.
“You see,” patiently explained R.S. Bannerman, representative of the department of justice, who is conducting the prince’s tour of the country, “the pitcher threw the ball right over the plate.”
“Over the what?”
“The plate. The rubber thing in front of the batter. If the ball crosses the plate and the batter doesn’t hit it, it’s a strike.”
“Oh,” said the prince.
“Well now,” the prince broke in again a minute later, “why does that batter go to the base?”
“He was passed; he got a walk. The pitcher gave him four balls,” explained the patient Mr. Bannerman.
“He got a what?”
“A walk. When the pitcher fails to put four balls over the plate, the batter gets a walk.”
“Oh,” said the prince.
Another inning passed. An Indianapolis man was on second base and a batter hit a long fly ball to the outfield.
“That man should have run in,” commented the prince.
“Well, you see, he couldn’t,” Mr. Bannerman explained. “The fielder caught the fly.”
“He caught the what?”
“The fly; the ball; the runner had to stay on his base until it was caught.”
“Oh,” said the prince, and lit another cigarette.
“Despite his limited knowledge of what was going on, the prince was as enthusiastic as a schoolboy. He drank lemonade and pop, applauded every good hit and bit of fielding, and liked it so well he stayed for both games of the double-header.
One of the marvels to the prince was the excitement and wild cheering from the bleachers. And when one of the players almost came to blows with the umpire and the police had to interfere, he chuckled when he was told he had witnessed about all the frills to a baseball game.
“The poor umpire,” he sympathized. “He must have a hard job.”
And when someone told the prince the umpire was about as popular as Kaiser Wilhelm, he laughed uproariously.

Sept. 5, 1920: Two locomotives collide at the Minnesota State Fair

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: August 26, 2014 - 7:56 AM
The 1920 edition of the Great Minnesota Get-Together was a fair to remember. It featured 10 tons of butter, 80 acres of farm machinery, “9-foot-5″ Jan Van Albert, speeches by presidential candidates Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox, and Ruth Law’s Flying Circus. The main attraction on opening day was a “Gigantic Locomotive Collision” at the grandstand, with two 160,000-pound engines slamming into each other at 60 mph. The collision was the top story on A1 the next morning in the Sunday Tribune. The fair staged three more locomotive collisions, in 1921, 1933 and 1934.

(Originally posted in August 2007; reposted to clean up design, update links, allow fresh comments and add this gratuitous link to one of the many train crashes depicted on "The Addams Family.")
  A Minnesota Historical Society photo shows the 1933 collision —
  or is it 1934? The caption on the back lists both years.

55,117 Defy Rain for Fair’s Opening

Locomotives Crash
on Schedule Time

Crowd Waits Three Hours for Spectacle That Divides Honors With Wilson’s Flying Stunts – Opening Day Is Record.

A great big good-natured crowd of 55,117 people, intent upon watching two engines meet at top speed for the first time in their experience, disregarded a steady drizzle descending unceasingly from an overcast sky yesterday, and gave emphatic impetus to hopes of State Fair officials to make this year’s attendance break the world record set by the Minnesota State Fair last year.

The first day crowd in 1919 was only 30,631, little more than half yesterday’s attendance, despite the unkind treatment of the weather man.

Crowd Out For Good Time.

The crowd was remarkably good-natured in the face of adversity. They were out for a good time, and were determined to have it, even if their best clothes did get soaked. For three hours in the afternoon, a solid mass of humanity sat in the sold-out grandstand, unprotected from the merciless drizzle.

Thrills a-plenty rewarded the afternoon crowd for its three hours’ wait in the dripping granstands, when Ruth Law’s flying circus, featuring Al Wilson, and the engine collision, occurred exactly on schedule time late in the afternoon.

Collision Missed by None.

Visitors who had preferred inspection of the exhibits in Fair buildings to the full program of circus features and races offered on the grandstand track could not resist the chance to see the rail collision. Without question this unique feature was the crowd-pulling event of the day.

Steaming slowly up and down the brief stretch of track, the engines, piloted by W.D. Carrington and Harry Tatum of Inver Grove, made several preliminary test trips.

Then, with a shill blast of their whistles, the engines concentrated the crowd’s attention on the last trip they were to make. Carrington opened wide the throttle of engine “573,” she started forward, almost immediately gaining her maximum speed. He jumped quickly, but not quite quickly enough. Landing heavily in the adjacent mudbank, he turned three complete somersaults, and struck his ankle against a boulder, spraining it.

Tatum Swings to Safety.

Meanwhile, Tatum had started No. 478 more slowly. But as he saw the other engine tearing down the track, he threw the throttle wide, and swung to safety. The two engines, rushing inevitably toward each other, met almost squarely in the center of the track. Ther was a terrific explosion and “478” crashed clean through the front of “573,” and halted dead.

Then the fun began. Determined to get a close view, grandstand, bleacher and Machinery Hill crowds decided at one and the same moment ot reach the scene of the collision. Wire fences, wooden barriers, policeman with wildly waving arms were no barriers whatever. Within two minutes the racetrack, the central oval, and the fields beyond the enginetrack, were black with people. Up and [d]own the track and over the adjoining fields the people ranged, hunting bits of wreckage for souvenirs. Soon there was little left that was not too heavy to carry away.

Al Wilson’s Feats Win Thrills.

The collision, although it was listed as the central attraction of the day, was not so successful in rousing thrills as the unparalleled feat of “Al” Wilson, the intrepid acrobat, with Ruth Law’s flying circus. This professional daredevil, half a mile in the air, stood on the top of a plane made slippery by the rain, poised part of the time on one leg, and when the second plane approached over his head, he seized it’s wing by one hand, and swung gracefully over. 

The rain-soaked plane, however, very nearly ended Wilson’s two-year career. While the planes were jockeying for position the first time they flew over the stands, Wilson temporarily lost his balance on top of the slippery plane and fell flat.

Minneapolis Pilot Participates.

Added daring was given to Wilson’s act yesterday through the fact that the lower plane, from which he swung, was driven by Ray Miller, a Minneapolis pilot who had never practiced the feat. Ray Goldsworthy, who ordinarily pilots the lower plane, was caught in a heavy rainstorm near Mason City, Iowa, and got here too late for the show.

Style Show Deferred.

Parts of the program deferred until Monday through first-day accidents invariably disappointed large crowds gathered.

Cream of the crop: An elaborate State Fair butter sculpture from about 1920. (Photo courtesy

Governor Cox has signified his intention of visiting the Fine Arts galleries tomorrow when he speaks before the grandstand.

Two Lost Boys Sought.

Police and hospital officials had little to do the first day of the Fair. Two lost boys, Robert Owens, Cathay, N.D., 14 years old, and George Esert, Gladstone, Minn., 12 years old, were reported to the police, and had not been found late last night. Not even a severe fainting spell was reported to the emergency hospital.

At the last minute, the night show was called off on account of rain. The announcement was deferred, because the Fair management hoped that it would be possible to stage the fireworks spectacle for the benefit of those out-of-town people who could not stay over until Monday evening.

Today, “Music Day,” will be a quiet Sunday of the Fair. No entertainment program of any kind has been arranged, and the Midway shows will not be open. There will be band concerts a-plenty, and the exhibition buildings will all be thrown open. The program arranged will be entirely educational.

Feb. 13, 1921: All Minneapolis men are vain

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: August 18, 2014 - 12:34 PM
In January of my sophomore year at the University of Minnesota, I stopped at Leigh’s barbershop in Richfield for a haircut. Back then, before the genes on Mom’s side of the family took their toll, I had an almost full head of light brown hair, thin and straight, parted in the middle and long at the back and sides. I needed just a trim, really, but above the big mirror behind the barber chairs hung a photograph of a male model sporting a full-bodied cut, an appealing masculine wave.

I asked the barber about it.

“It’s a permanent,” he said, “and I think it would look good on you.”

“Not a permanent,” I protested, imagining with horror the tight curls of Greg’s later-seasons look on “The Brady Bunch.”

The barber assured me the permanent would a modest one. I think he called it a “semi-permanent.”

“Let’s do it, then,” I said, wanting to look like the guy in the photo.

Of course I left the barbershop looking like Greg Brady. No amount of shampooing could relax the curls, and I was the subject of merciless teasing from the high school hockey team I coached that year. Luckily it was winter, allowing me to hide it under a stocking cap much of the time. The curls eventually grew out, and by summer I was sporting a kind of journalism school mullet, copy editor in front, party in the back.

I wish I had read the story below before agreeing to get that perm in 1979. Nearly 60 years earlier, a “Cub Reporter” at the Minneapolis Tribune was asked to investigate rumors of men getting “marcel” waves at beauty parlors around town. She turned in a  fine piece of writing, accompanied by a half-dozen delightful illustrations by Coyle Tincher.
Gimme a marcel quick.

All Minneapolis Men are Vain
and Women Can Be Made So

Where Do All the Boys Get Those Cute Waves in Hair?
Buy 'Em at the Beauty Parlors, Just as the Girls Do, Say Those Who Earn a Living by Making Two Marcels Grow Where None Grew Before.

Cub Reporter a Sacrifice on Altar of Duty

Hair May Get Straight Again But Will Never Look the Same.
“THIS fellow Blackie said he had to have his hair marcelled because he was going to a dance.”
Miss Elizabeth Erickson, lady barber with a shop at Nicollet and Lake, was telling the Cub Reporter how if it wasn’t one thing it was another in the means of livelihood she had chosen.
“Blackie, that was what we called him because we didn’t know his real name, was a handsome young man with long blue-black hair that was broken in tis glossy smoothness by a deep wave. The girls always enjoyed shaving him because he had such a pleasant way with him.
“We hadn’t seen him for a month or more. Then he came in in a tearing hurry, jammed himself into a chair, and demanded: ‘Gimme a marcel quick.’ His hair was as straight as yours.
“ ‘What do you think this is, a beauty parlor?’ I asked him.
“ ‘Aw, have a heart,’ he begged like a child. ‘The place where I usually get it done is closed, and my girl never saw me with it straight. For the love of Mike, how can I take her to a dance like this?’
“I didn’t see what I could do, but one of the girls got a curling iron, and in half an hour he looked like himself again.”
It Would Surprise Women.
“As Mrs. Mary Dahl says – she’s a lady barber in the Allen hotel – women would be surprised if they knew how much time and money men spend to make themselves look nice.”
Miss Ida Marie, assistant lady barber at Miss Erickson’s shop, couldn't keep out of the conversation here.
“They’re just awful the way they fuss over how they look,” she told the Cub Reporter. And her dimples deepened as she smiled.
 “They come in and get a massage before they call on their girls, before they go to the theater, and before they go to a dance. And then they have the nerve to say they do it because it helps them in their business.
“Me vain? Sure I’m vain, if you mean do I care how I look. But after all women kind of have a right to feel that way, haven’t they? You expect something different from a man.”
The Cub Reporter, who had been a violent suffragist in the days when that was necessary, quoted sardonically, “We don’t want ’em to be our equals or our superiors.”
They Purr Like Kitten.
Miss Marie dimpled again. “They’re supposed to have something bigger on their minds. But they try to laugh it off. ‘Better sling some mud in my face, today,’ they’ll say. And then they sit there purring like a kitten, they’re so comfortable.”
Miss Erickson had finished arguing with a youth who wanted pure olive oil rubbed into his fair mane. She thought Vaseline would create a luxuriance that would make him look like a free verse poet, but he said that nothing gave the luster like olive oil, the olive oil from Greece.
She dusted him off maternally, and he went out slowly, peeking at himself in every mirror he passed.
Miss Erickson caught up Miss Marie’s word “comfortable.” “That’s it with the older men, I think. They like having somebody fussing over them to make them comfortable. You’d like it yourself, and a good massage would take that tired look off your face.”
“But men are vain,” insisted Miss Marie, and the other girls assented vigorously.
“Men are vain,” the Cub Reporter told the editor when she got back to the office.
“Other men,” said the Boss, absentmindedly. “I’ll never let the tailor press these trousers again.”
“And they get their hair marcelled.”
“I don’t know. A lady barber told me.” And the Cub Reporter told the whole story.
Job  for Cub Reporter.
The Girl Reporter winked at the Editor.
“Why not send the Cub around to the beauty parlors with an expense account? She can get marcelled herself the while she’s finding out where you folks get your manly locks curled.”
The editor looked hopeful. The Cub clutched the little knob of straight red hair, which to say it in the kindest way, was innocent of artifice.
“It won’t hurt you to lose it,” the Girl Reporter said cruelly. "It always looked like a doughnut slipping off a shelf.”
“Slipping’s the word,” the Boss continued the attack. “Here’s a sheaf of hairpins you spilled on me yesterday when I was conferring with you about that story. You go to the beauty parlors, and start today.”
“But,” the Cub Reporter quavered, “my nice straight hair, it’s never had an iron on it.”
“And never kept a hairpin,” spat the Girl Reporter. 
“Have you no devotion to the paper?” the Boss roared. “Go out and do what I tell you. You can wash the marcel out if you don’t like it. Now go out.”
“She can wash it out,” chortled the Girl Reporter.
And to the music of office laughter, the Cub Reporter went her way.
She Gets a “Facial.”
Is something the matter with the mirrors?


On the way down in the office elevator, she took a look in the mirror that was to have been a farewell to that nice straight hair. But she was puzzled to see on her lips a fatuous smile. Could it be?
“H’m, we’re all funny people,” mediated the Cub Reporter, picking up a hairpin.
Because of that smile, she didn’t dare have her hair done first; she stepped into a little shop on Nicollet, thoughtfully named the “Sanitary,” and demanded a massage.
“You mean a ‘facial’?” the girl asked a little contemptuously.
“Whatever you call it, I’m not up on modern slang.”
She was gently lowered into the chair, protected with dry towels and swathed in hot wet ones. She wondered wherein men found the comfort which the lady barbers had mentioned.
While she lay and steam-burned, the girl was sitting in a low rocker, embroidering on something that looked dainty and feminine. All around were screens with figures of happy children prancing and playing.  It was an exceedingly domestic shop in which to lie and suffer.
Men Barred – Keeps Place Nice.
“I have heard,” the Cub Reporter ventured, “that men come in to get their hair done.”
“We don’t take gentlemen,” the girl answered, rubbing great gobs of pink cold cream into the Cub Reporter’s skin. “Gentlemen muss up a place so, and we like to keep it nice here.”
She didn’t appear shocked at the idea of a man’s having his hair done. Only it mustn’t be in her shop. The Cub Reporter kept quiet for awhile during which the girl wiped off all the cream she had rubbed on, and with it perhaps a speck of dirt.
“Dear me,” she thought, “was that what my friends meant when they said I should powder to cover my deficiencies? I must find out if they knew that I was as dirty as I am. And I must continue the search for the marceller of males. Ouch.”
The vibrator was brought into play, and the Cub Reporter felt just like going to the dentist. But she got a peek at herself in the glass, and through the depths of grease she could still see that silly anticipatory smile on her face which she had first noticed in the elevator.
“Good Lord, am I that much of a fool or is there something the matter with the mirrors? Funny idea that about men getting themselves fixed up, isn’t it,” she asked the operator.
She felt very naked.


She Felt Very Naked.
But the girl didn’t answer until after she had adjusted a powerful light which showed through even the wads of cotton she put on the Cub’s eyes. She was evidently peering though a magnifying glass in a determined search for imperfections.
“She needn’t have done that,” thought the Cub Reporter resentfully, “there are enough right out on the surface.” And she felt very naked.
“Oh, my, yes, gentlemen are very careful of themselves. One of my friends says that some day she is going to start a beauty parlor in the Elks’ club or some place like that where gentlemen can go without the embarrassment of finding their wives go to the same place as they do. You’ve got a lot of blackheads, miss.
“My friend says that gentlemen would never think of letting the wrinkles get the best of them, the way women do. You must laugh a lot, miss, there’s so many crow’s feet around your eyes. It’s all right to be jolly, but you’ve got to think about how you look. Will you have a bleach?”
The Cub Reporter thought she’d better have everything going. So she was put into a sort of icy plaster cast and left to sit while the girl embroidered placidly.
“That smile’s out of way, anyhow,” she congratulated herself as she viewed her plastered features and shivered.
All things end. Denuded of the cast, she emerged, looking somewhat skinned. She stopped the girl who was trying to pluck her eyebrows, refused to have them blackened, and blushed as she was powdered and rouged a trifle.
The girl’s eyes were glued on the “doughnut and shelf” arrangement of her hair.
“Wouldn’t you like to have your hair dressed?”
But she didn’t know enough about the vanity of men, so she didn’t get the Cub’s trade.
It was too late then to go to another place, so the Cub went back to the office. She walked around the block twice before she had the courage to go in, and was then a little hurt because no one noticed the change in her.
She had an appointment with the dentists. By way of being entertaining and postponing the evil moment, she told the youngest dentist, a youth just out of college, about her quest. He flattered her with deep interest, then he drew her aside.
Oh No, They’re Not Vain.
“Say, if you find out how to grow new hair, let me know, will you? My mop’s getting thin, and a fellow kinda hates to feel that he’s getting on. Don’t say anything about this to anybody. I’ve tried barbers, but maybe they don’t take the interest that a woman would.”
While she was having her teeth overhauled she heard some high school girls chattering outside.
“Girls, I’m perfectly positive. I knew him in grade school, and he had hair as straight as anything then. And he hasn’t had a typhoid fever, either. Him with a wave you could lose your finger in. Humph!”
“Well, I know how he got it. I caught my brother trying to put one in the other night. They let their hair grow long; then when they go to bed, they tie tape around their heads under their chins, wet their hair, pull it out a little, and there they are with a water wave. Wouldn’t it make you sick?”
“You know Philip? He’s the one that used to cut his hair so short that it stuck up straight and sharp like a scrubbing brush, just like his brother’s. His brother went away, so’s now he can do what he pleases, and it’s long enough for him to braid. I s’pose his is too stiff to try the tape treatment on. Then they talk about us being foolish.”
A Man at Last.
A little gossip she heard on the car the next morning sent the Cub Reporter to Madame de Guile's beauty shop, where she asked for a shampoo.
“Would you mind,” she suggested to the attendant in the office, “giving me the most talkative girl you have?”
The astonished attendant raised her eyebrows.
“I just love being talked to,” she tried to explain, “I’m such a poor conversationalist myself.”
There were some more hot towels, a new stunt to the Cub, who had always thriftily washed her own hair. Vibrator and violet ray followed, to the deep astonishment of the subject, who was so excited she could scarcely remember what she was there for. The girl didn’t talk at all.
The Cub Reporter was trying to think of some way to open the subject of men in beauty parlors when one stalked majestically through the aisle between the lines of booths.
“What, a man in a beauty parlor?” she inquired, properly shocked.
“Oh, yes. We have many gentlemen come in here.” The girl’s tone was indifferent.
“What for?”
“Just what the women come in for, manicures, marcels, massages, and all that. That gentleman you saw just now, he’s rather elderly but he wants to be married. All the girls in the place are talking about him.
Nose Wart, His Bane.
The Cub Reporter lay back comfortably, enjoying the skillful fingers manipulating the skin of her scalp and listening to the flood of talk she had started.
“He’s got a big wart on his nose that makes him look like a, a, oh some sort of animal with a horn on its face that you see in the circus. There’s a girl in his office he’s crazy about; she’d marry him too, he’s rich enough. Only she can’t go the wart on his nose.
“So the poor goof’s coming up here to have madame take it off. Some job, taking off a horn like that.
“It’s kinda pitiful to hear him talk. Funny the way folks just naturally have to have somebody to slop over on, ain’t it. ‘Mary and Emma never seemed to mind it,’ he whines, ‘they both married me, and Mary, specially, never had a cross word on her tongue all day long.
Doesn't seem's if Josephine could really love me.


“ ‘Doesn’t seem’s if Josephine could really love me. But I guess girls are more finicky than they used to be when I was a young fellow. Mary and Emma were both good women, but they couldn’t hold a candle to Josephine.
“ ‘ Josie,’ and then the poor boob gets red, ‘Gotta stop sayin’ that,’ he says. ‘Josephine don’t like it. Ouch, damn.’ The electric needle does hurt a good deal, you know. ‘Josephine’s worth it.” Poor old goof.
Same Silly Smile.
“Your hair’s all dried now. Do you want me to dress it? Better have it marcelled, don’t you think? You’ve got beautiful hair; it’d be nice for a change. You’ve done it so simple.”
The heart of the Cub Reporter grew warm in her breast. “Shelf and doughnut” indeed. Here was somebody who appreciated her. As she nodded assent to the marcelling she caught sight of the same silly smile on her face.
“There can’t be three mirrors built wrong in the same way,” she reasoned. “It must be there. Well everybody said I’d be ruined for life if I started working on a newspaper and maybe it’s true.”
“Lots of old men come in to have their bald spots rubbed for hair. And they’re not so old, either. Funny what a lot of young fellows think they’re gettin’ bald. They don’t trust their barbers; barbers have bald heads themselves.
“Talkin’ about hair, did you know that men come in here by the dozen to get waves put into it?”
The Cub Reporter jumped so that the iron burned her ear.
“Not really?”
“I’ll tell the world they do. Say, you are an innocent if you think all the curls you see your men friends wearing are made by old Mother Nature.”
“What kind of men come in for curls?”
Even Newspaper Men Do It.
“About all the kind there are. Not so many old men, of course, because they haven’t enough to curl. That old goof with the wart I told you about was trying to make us think he’d heard of some new way of planting hair on a bald pate. Said a doctor told him about it. I’ll say the guy that invents a thing like that is going to have a good chance of dying too rich to get to Heaven. They’d come to us with bags of money.
“I was tellin’ you about fellows that come in for marcels. There’s a newspaper man, works on the (naming a prominent daily), writes poetry or something for it, he’s a regular customer. And men from the Symphony orchestra, lots of them. There’s one comes in that looks like a big black bear; his hair’s kinda curly already, so he gets a water wave.
“I never get surprised at anything that musicians or newspaper people do, though. You expect them geniuses to be sorta foolish, don’t you? But business men come, too. They wouldn’t be ashamed if they met their own wives.
“When I was a kid a boy that had curly hair was ashamed of it. Well, the world changes. Your hair’s hard to curl, miss, it’s so fine. I’ll have to try that wave again. I hope you’ve got lots of time, but you know after you’ve neglected your hair a long time, it’s bound to act this way.
There’s Much to Be Had.
“Your eyebrows ought to be plucked, they’re so thick. They ought to be blackened a little, too. Bein’ so light the way they are, you can’t see them ’less you look close. Your lashes are kinda long, ’s a pity they are so pale.
“I always say a woman owes it to herself to do the best she can for herself, and beauty counts more’n you’d think if you haven’t been out in the world.
“Where’d you say you work? Oh, in an office. Well, I bet you ain’t got any women friends in there that’d tell you what to do for yourself. You keep on getting’ your hair curled, and take my word for it something’s sure to happen.
“Want your hair inside or out? Well, maybe you’re right. It would be kind of hard for you to do yourself with it in.
“Do men come in here to get their eyebrows plucked? You tell ’em, funnybone, you made the hit. As far as I know there’s just one thing they don’t come for, and that’s the rejuveniler treatment that takes away wrinkles permanently. And they say that they get that in Chicago.
Men Are Vainest.
Ain't it awful how vain women are.


“Vain? Say, the vainest woman that ever lived couldn’t hold a candle to a man when he’s really got woke up to how he looks. The other day I was putting a marcel in an artist gentleman’s hair, and didn’t he go and say to me, right while I was working on him, ‘Ain’t it awful, dearie, how vain women are? I caught you lookin’ in the glass three times.’
 “Things like that kinda get a girl’s goat, and I said to him, right sharp, ‘If you hadn’t been lookin’ in the glass all the time yourself I guess you wouldn’t a seen me there,’ I says.
“But that don’t mean anything to him. You can’t phase a man with gall enough to have things done to him in a beauty parlor. Mostly I shut up when they kid me about women’s vanity, but sometimes it gets too much for me.
“There. Now, you do look nice. It won’t matter about the ear that’s burned because that’s under the hair anyway. Do come in again, you’re such a pleasant kind of conversationalist.”
The Cub Reporter looked at herself in a mirror. She was a mass of frizzes and bore some resemblance to a type of flapper she had never cared much about. Her sense of humor struggled with that new silly smile and won.
She Finds Whole Crew.
She went back to the office and walked the length of it defiantly.
But the hoots drove her into the street again.
She went back to the shop she had just left and had a manicure.
A number of men were having them at the same time, and she listened in on the conversations.
“Nobody cares about me at home; I’m only the guy that brings home the bacon, that’s all.”
Nobody cares about me at home.


“How you do go on. There, your wife will enjoy seeing you look so nice.”
And at another table.
“Just keep on talking, girlie, I don’t care what you say, but I like the sound of your voice. I’m tired, and if I go to sleep just wake me up when it’s closing time.”
“Funny thing,” the girl who was doing the Cub’s nails said, “but the guys that come in to have their hands gone over, do it ’cause they’re lonesome more’n because they’re vain. They want somebody to make a fuss over them, as the old song said. That’s our experience here. No, not exactly flirtatious, though I guess maybe they would be if we’d encourage ’em a little.”
And the Cub Reporter was so excited and so anxious to get back to the office with the news that she forgot to look at her back hair, and so betrayed to the hairdresser that she was not quite what she seemed to be.
“All men are vain,” she announced to the Boss.
“Other men,” said the Boss, looking at the crease in his trousers. “I must get another tailor.”
“And women can be made so,” said the Cub Reporter, burying her fingers in the crest of her marcel.


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