On this day: the birth of a theatre star

Fred & Adele Astaire. circa 1906. The photograph is a publicity photograph illustrating Fred Astaire and Adele Astaire in a vaudeville act entitled A Rainy Saturday.

Fred and Adele Astaire, circa 1906.

Adele Astaire, stage star and sister of her movie star brother, Fred, was born in Omaha, Nebraska on the 10th of September, 1896. Her birth name was Adele Marie Austerlitz, but the surname was changed to make her sound more “American”. As a child, she and her brother moved to New York to attend the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts.

Publicity photograph of Fred Astaire and Adele Astaire in 1921.

In 1921

Three years Fred’s senior, Adele was actually the more successful stage performer of the two siblings. However her brother went on to find Hollywood fame, and while Adele considered moving into film, she abandoned the plan, admitting to being intimidated by her brother.

Astaire married twice (her first husband died in this thirties), and had three children. She was considered the more personable of the two siblings.

She died in January of 1981, at the age of eighty-four.

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On this day: work on the Uganda Railway begins.

This image was taken on the 30th of May, 1896, when construction on the Uganda Railway began.

The project was started in British East Africa, and many of the workers were brought over from India. Several thousand chose to stay on in Africa after the work was done.

Despite its name, the railway was in in what is now Kenya, with Uganda being the destination.

Uganda_railway_first_work First day of work in the Uganda railway, 30th May 1896.

On this day: the Khodynka Tragedy

Chodynka The Khodynka Tragedy (Russian Ходынская трагедия) was a human stampede that occurred on 30 May [O.S. 18 May] 1896, in Moscow Russia during festivities after the

The Khodynka Tragedy was a deadly stampede that happened during coronation celebrations for Russia’s last emperor, Nicholas II, in 1896.

Falling on the 18th of May on the old calendar (which equates to the 30th of May on the new calendar), 1389 people were trampled or suffocated to death when panic broke out in a crowd of many thousands.

Kratky,_Frantisek_-_Tragedie_na_Chodynskem_poli_(1896) Victim of the Khodynka Tragedy in Moscow Russia 1896

People crowd around one of the victims.

Evidence of the tragedy was cleared away before many at the event in Moscow became aware of it, and Nicholas and his wife Alexandra continued with their schedule, including attending a ball with French diplomats that evening. It was decided it was more important to have good relations with the French than to appease the people of the Russian Empire.

The minor imperial response to the disaster did no favours for the family’s public image.

On this day: the end of the election campaign

On the 2nd of November, 1896, Puck magazine ran a cover picturing Mark Hanna and William McKinley preparing to carve up the presidency at Thanksgiving.

The US election was held the following day. McKinley won, with the help of his adviser, Hanna. McKinley was assassinated in 1901, while Hanna only outlived him by two and a half years.

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hanna_turkey1896-editorial-cartoons-shows-william-mckinley-and-mark-hanna-about-to-carve-up-the-presidency-at-thanksgiving-2nd-november-1896

On this day: the St. Louis–East St. Louis tornado

800px-St_Louis_Jefferson-Allen_Damage1896 St. Louis–East St. Louis tornado

On the 27th of May, 1896, a tornado hit St. Louis, Missouri. Part of a larger tornado outbreak in the United States, it killed at least 255 people, but possibly more than 400.

The damage bill was over ten million dollars, which translated to around $2.9 billion a century afterwards.

 

On this day: the birthday of the Tootsie Roll

Vintage Tootsie Roll Advertisement

The famous American confection, the Tootsie Roll, was officially introduced on the 23rd of February, 1896.

Leo Hirshfield, the founder of Tootsie Roll Industries, migrated from Austria and introduced Tootsie Rolls to the candy industry on February 23, 1896 from a small store in Brooklyn, NY.

It was created by an Austrian immigrant named Leo Hirshfield, who began his business opening a small candy shop in Brooklyn, New York.

A circa 1918 advertisement celebrating troops coming home from World War One:

1918 Tootsie Roll advertisement celebrating American troops returning home from WWI