American profile, 1900-1909 by Edward Wagenknecht

By Edward Wagenknecht

Describes American lifestyles, actions, faith, schooling, artwork, and activity in the course of Theodore Roosevelt's management, and contains profiles of widespread americans who formed the last decade.

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With the younger children, all except Ethel boys, his relations were very close. "You must always remember," said Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, "that the President is about six," and Mrs. " He manifested no eagerness to hurry his offspring out of their childhood; the boys took an array of stuffed animals to bed with them long after most fathers would have thought they should have outgrown such nonsense and kissed him good-night when they were at home together as long as he lived. He loved Little Women as much as any girl ever did, and he read children's books and popular women's magazines with the same zest that he read everything else.

Before that, streets had been paved with wooden blocks, set close together and fastened with tar; if a hole got started, it was a great temptation to a small boy to kick it and make it larger for the pleasure of watching the wood shred. The first bicycle in America had been seen at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, but the "safety," with pneumatic tires, did not come in until just before 1890. During the last decade of the old century, bicycling had become a craze with both men and women, but the absence of modern paving in many localities was a handicap.

New York City was planning a subway (Boston, often called slow, had stolen a march on her by opening the first in America three years before, but Chicago was to drag her own feet until the forties). In 1901 New York would build the Fuller ("Flatiron") Building, where Broadway crosses Fifth Avenue; Chicago had pioneered with the skyscraper, but New York would take to it with a vengeance. In 1901 too, Tulsa, Oklahoma, would strike oil and begin its phenomenal growth. Against such achievements not even disasters like the Galveston "flood" of September 8, 1900 (more accurately, the almost complete destruction of the city by a cyclonic hurricane from the Gulf of Mexico), made much impression, and indeed the calamity itself inspired a heroic and amazing engineering achievement, calculated to prevent a repetition of the calamity, that boosted the coming century's estimate of itself.

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