Louisiana Woman – Cotton Exposition, 1885

               

                The World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition was held where Audubon Park is today.  The Fair boasted an area of 51 acres “under cover” in five main buildings, and the most dazzling display of electric lights ever seen anywhere.  It could be reached from Canal Street by six street railroads or by steamers on the river which left the foot of Canal Street every 30 minutes.  In spite of art galleries, industrial displays, restaurants, railroads and rolling chairs, the Fair, built at a cost of $2,700,000, was a financial failure.   In fact, The Rink, located at Washington and Prytania Street was built by Clara Hagan as a mid-way point to the World’s Expo.

File:TheRinkNOLA1885.jpg

It is at this Expo that Francis Willard and Susan B. Anthony brought to the South their fight for national causes.  As the Exposition sought to assert agrarian and industrial issues it did also bring to the front women’s public and political lives in New Orleans.

Caroline did meet and befriend these women in their visits to the Crescent City.  In fact, she had a reception for them at her home.  Caroline writes in her memoirs that Mrs. Anthony wrote her in a private letter, “I remember my visit to the Crescent City with a great deal of pleasure, and cherish the friendships I made there.”

Frances Willard was an American educator, temperance reformer and women’s suffragist.  She was instrumental in the passage of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to the US Constitution.  She became the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in 1879 and was president for 19 years.  She appointed Caroline President of the WCTU in New Orleans.

Susan B. Anthony was an abolitionist, an educational reformer, labor activist, temperance worker, and suffragist.   Caroline recalls meeting her as an event which was an epoch-making period in the nation’s history.

                                                                                 Sources

Garvey, Joan B, and Mary L. Widmer, Beautiful Crescent a History of New Orleans:  Garmer Press, 1982, pp. 166-67.

Living with History in New Orleans’s Neighborhoods. “Tour B, Prytania St., Washington St., and Jackson  Avenue.” http://www.prcno.org/neighborhoods/brochures/GardenDistrict.pdf.

Merrick, Caroline E., Old times in Dixie Land, New York:  The Grafton Press, 1901.

Pfeffer, Miki. “An ‘Enlarging Influence’: women of New Orleans, Julia Ward Howe, and the Woman’s Department at the Cotton Centennial Exposition, 1884–1885.” http://udini.proquest.com/view/an-enlarging-influence-women-of-new-pquid:2408267521/

Susan B. Anthony House :: Her Story. “Biography of Susan B. Anthony.” http://susanbanthonyhouse.org/her-story/biography.php

Photo Source:  Herbert S. Fairall, The World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans, 1884-85 (Iowa City, 1885).

Photo Source:  http://commmons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TheRinkNOLA1885.jpg

The Battle of Liberty Place

After finishing Justin A. Nystrom’s New Orleans After the Civil War and James K. Hogue’s Uncivil War, I have some new information on my topic. The metropolitan police unit was formed in 1868 by Governor Henry Clay Warmoth as a defensive barrier between his government and his political opponents. The Louisiana state militia was formed in the same year and for similar reasons. Both the metropolitans and the state militia essentially acted as the strong arm of Warmoth’s regime, enforcing the governor’s policies and trying to maintain peace during a very turbulent time. I have discovered again that A.S. Badger’s wounds were far more serious than I initially thought. Not only did Badger barely survive the battle, but one of his legs had to be amputated after the battle. The force that Badger and Longstreet’s men faced at the Battle of Liberty Place was quite formidable. Confederate veteran Frederick Nash Ogden led the White League forces into battle and apparently his unit had better training and equipment than that of some Civil War armies. I also recently found president Grant’s papers at the UNO library and he talks quite a bit about the troubles in Louisiana including the Battle of Liberty Place.

Louisiana Woman – Southern Ladies Confront the Civil War

In the book, Mothers of Invention, written by Drew Gilpin Faust, she writes of how females of the southern elite were taught that to be a woman of the elite required the presence of slaves to perform menial labor and white males to provide protection and support.  Lady, a term central to their self-conception, was founded upon race, most especially whiteness.

Caroline Merrick was born into this fabric of southern society with an innate love of liberty as apparent in her remarks as a young girl as well as her fight for suffrage in her sunset days.  She did, however, at the same time, remain compliant to expectations of what it meant to be a Southern woman.  In reading Caroline’s memoirs, we experience these times through her perspective which seemed realistic but she presents a somewhat sterile view.  However, as the men went to war, many women who were left behind  became completely redefined by their experiences of the war and it wasn’t pretty.  These are just some of the issues Faust talks about in her book, Mothers of Invention.

First, it is important to remember white southern women of means were raised to be obedient to the male hierarchy that this was crucial to the whole of slavery.  So they were trained to be ladylike in every way in order to maintain their privileged status and their dignity.  They were well-dressed, cultured, educated (as they had time to learn to read and write with slaves to do the everyday tasks) and they expected to be protected by a husband with no need for real self-development.

The Civil War changed this slowly at first and completely by the end of the battle.  Faust talks first about their feelings of uselessness during these times as they did not know what to do.  Julia LaGrand explained “I am like a pent-up volcano.”  “I wish I had a field for my energies.”  Another young girl said she was a “cipher,” a zero in the great conflict.

Another great change due to the absence of men was in household structures.  Some women moved with their slaves to Texas and hired them out; however, they met with much jealousy from the Texans.  Others moved from camp to camp following their husbands as they felt they could not exist without them.  Some women moved to the city in search of rooms and employment as their resources begin to vanish.  The elite southern woman for the first time interacted with poor whites and shared living quarters with them along with catching lice and bedbugs.  This was a far cry from their plantation lifestyle.  Eventually, they became known as “Refugees” a term which was most detested by the southern elite.

Another aspect they dealt with was feeling unprotected and afraid.  The rumors of slave insurrection mounted.    They were more afraid of the slaves than the northern invader.  Additionally, enslaved people did not want to do the work of slaves anymore and the women had a hard time managing them and looking over the property.  Their feeling of anger and resentment towards the men only escalated.

These are just a few of the complications they would endure through the war.  They also fought within themselves, always feeling they had to be demure and ladylike despite all of these radical shifts in their lives which only added to their question of self-identity.  Ultimately, they would change and the old ways would die as their desire for their rights and liberty would be on the forefront after the war ushering in Women’s Suffrage.

Source:  Faust, Drew Gilpin, Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press), 1996.

Photo Source: “Le Monde Élegant,” color print, 1859.  http://www.costumes.org/classes/fashiondress/IndustrialRevolution.htm

Photo Source:  A nanny and her charge, albumen print of ca. 1870. Collection of Okinawa Soba.  Online at Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/2723653939

Al Spalding

Today I did some research on the America’s Historical Newspaper on Al Spalding and found some interesting facts about him and the Chicago White Stockings. Spalding had many good games and I even found out some rare times when he did not do so well. One article I found reported that when Chicago beat the Cincinnati Reds 15-9 on May 2nd, that day was was a normal day for the White Stockings and Al Spalding had a normal day also. Another article, dated April 27, described a game where Chicago obliterated the Louisville Browns 10 to 0. That article also states how Spalding was the only one from the Chicago White Stocking to Push Jim Devlin to his limits hitting 3 of the 8 base hits. Spalding and McVey had exceptional playing that day at pitching and first base.

These articles are helping me learn about the individual aspects of the teams and how people perceived how they played.

Cayetano Mariotini: Short time, Big Impact (Part 1)

Cayetano’s time in the United States was relatively short.  From what I have gathered thus far, he arrived in the US via Cuba in 1809.  Upon arrival, Cayetano promptly joined a circus troupe with Victor Adolphus Pépin and Jean Baptiste Casmiere Breschard.  Their’s was an equestrian circus company of known as The Circus of Pépin and Breschard The Circus of Pepin and Breschard is considered the first American circus, and is mentioned in the United States Congresional Record of 1810.  Cayetano was made an apprentice and began touring with the company.  In the following years Pépin and Breschard’s company built circus theatres in cities across the United States, including New York City, New Orleans, Charlestown (Mass.), Baltimore, Richmond, Alexandria, Charleston, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.  In addition to the US theaters, they also built a theatre in Montreal, Canada. The oldest continuously operating theatre in the English-speaking world and the oldest theatre in the United States, the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, was built by Pépin and Breschard in 1809.  Eventually, Pepin and Breschard made Cayetano a partner and the company became know as The Circus of  Pépin, Breschard and Mariotini.  Circus troupes associated with The Circus of  Pépin, Breschard and Mariotini  were the first to bring a circus west of the Appalachian Mountains to such frontier cities as Pittsburgh, PA, where Benjamin Latrobe, a designer of the United States Capitol, was the architect for a circus he built for them in 1814.  In 1815, Cayetano branched out on his own with New Orleans in his sights.  

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Portrait of John Bill Ricketts or Breschard, the Circus Rider, circa 1808

National Portrait Gallery, Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828)

The Battle of Liberty Place

I had a very fruitful day at the library today, thanks to the spectacular efforts of Connie Phelps and Sonnet Ireland. I was able to find an article in an issue of the Louisiana Historical Quarterly about the history of the events leading up to the battle, and the after effects of the conflict. What’s really exciting about the article is it contains a report from the leader of the White League forces and also the State Supreme Court’s take on the events. I’ve also checked out Jacob A. Wagner’s dissertation, The Myth of Liberty Place: Race and Public Memory in New Orleans, in hopes that I will come across some useful works in his bibliography. With America’s Historical Newspaper database, I found that the New-Orleans Times covered the incident quite extensively. I was surprised to find that the Times even had a report on the battle the day after it happened.

Little Big Horn

While researching Major Marcus Albert Reno, I came across a document on the Library of Congress on the trial of Marcus Albert Reno after the Battle of Little Big horn. The trial was the military vs. Albert Reno from special orders from the headquarters of the Army General’s Office in Washington, DC. The original court date was scheduled for January 13, 1879 for his conduct during the Battle of Little Big Horn. Nineteen people were summoned to testify during the trial. The trial was to take place in Chicago, IL. On the 13th of January, Reno was waiting for his lawyer Lyman D. Gilbert, so the court was suspended until the two days later. On the 15th, Reno’s attorney arrived in Chicago and the court convened. The first matter of business was a letter sent from Reno to man named Whitaker. Reno did not want this letter to be evidence for the trial. His lawyer tried to get it dismissed, but the court ruled it would be evidence. The first person to take the stand was a lieutenant named Edward McGuire. McGuire was an engineer officer that arrived after the battle was over. The court had asked him questions about positioning on maps, location of the dead, condition of the grounds, and proximity of locations. The lieutenant responded to the mapping questions and the map was allocated as exhibit 2. The positions of each battalion (American and Indian) were placed on a map for the court to have a visual illustration. McGuire also explained to the court the morale of the troops upon his arrival. He claimed Reno’s men had mixed emotions, from crying to insanity. The court documents are long and lengthy. I am looking forward to see what is in the letter that Reno wrote to Whitaker and why he did not want the courts to have it in the trial. I made it through the first 40 pages and I have about 600 to go.