Here’s a funny little story from 1889, presented without further comment:
In August of 1835, the fledgling New York Sun printed the most astonishing news. Life had been discovered on the moon! An excited public ate it up, and what may have been intended as a satirical poke at past religious and “scientific” articles became the Great Moon Hoax.
As described in the clipping above, probable author Richard Adams Locke presented the article as originating from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. That, along with the name-drop of famous astronomer Sir John Herschel, lent credibility to an otherwise incredible story.
With the use of a powerful telescope, “Herschel” and his (entirely fictional) colleague, Dr. Grant, were able to make some remarkable discoveries on the moon’s surface. First, the article describes the land and vegetation.
There were descriptions of beautiful beaches lining deep blue water, green marble walls of stone, huge pyramidal amethysts that stretched for miles, and red, crystallized hills. But the most amazing discovery of all were the creatures.
Herds of something like bison, tail-less beavers that walked upright, majestic birds, beautiful black-antlered stags, and blue goat-unicorns were just some of the fauna described in “Dr. Grant’s” account. But the most exciting and sensational discovery of all was the humanoid “man-bat.”
It sounds ridiculous now, and to many it sounded ridiculous then. When the telescope that brought all this marvelous insight into the life on the moon “broke,” it didn’t take long for the truth of the hoax to come to light. Oddly enough, most people didn’t really seem to mind.
Who needs the truth when you can have a good story?
On August 23, 1902, Fannie Farmer opens a school to teach her methods of cooking. You may not have heard of her, but she revolutionized American cooking by introducing standardized measuring tools in her famous cookbook. Next time you measure a level teaspoon of baking soda, you know who to thank! Miss Farmer’s aptitude and nearly scientific approach to cooking made her a familiar name across the country.
Made Cooking a Science Sun, Nov 24, 1957 – Page 38 · Lansing State Journal (Lansing, Michigan) · Newspapers.com
Miss Fannie Farmer Sat, Jul 19, 1902 – 3 · New England Farmer (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com
Miss Farmer was unique in her field for another reason, too; not only did her cookery courses focus on fancy dinners and events, but she worked to create diets catered to the ill. She taught nutritional courses to doctors and nurses and considered her work creating meals for those who are so often without appetites to be her most important contribution. But the classes taught in her cooking school focused on all of her areas of expertise.
Want to be a weather prophet? This 1906 advice to “watch the clouds” may help.
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On August 13, 1961, barbed wire fences are put up to divide the Soviet eastern half of the city from democratic West Berlin. This would later become the infamous concrete barrier known as the Berlin Wall.
Happy National S’mores Day! Recipes for S’mores started popping up in papers around the 1930s. Back then they were often associated with scouting programs and summer hikes, and called other things like “graham cracker sandwiches” or the name from which the term S’more is derived, “Some Mores.”
In honor of such an auspicious occasion, here are a couple S’mores-related clippings from those early days of ooey-gooey goodness.
This week in 1947, a balsa raft called the Kon-Tiki successfully ends its long voyage across the Pacific with a (rough) landing on the uninhabited island of Raroia. The precarious excursion was meant to prove that the Polynesian islands could have originally been settled by South Americans, a theory posited by Norwegian anthropologist and raft captain, Thor Heyerdahl.
The 4,300 mile trip took the six men on board the raft 101 days to complete. The voyage began in late April and was anticipated to last at least four months. The raft itself was constructed as close to the indigenous ancient Peruvian style as could be managed, and would bob along from Peru to Tahiti with the help of the Humboldt Current. As you might expect, an ocean journey on a raft no bigger than a modestly-sized living room had its share of dangers.
The raft crashed into a reef off the coast of Raroia island on August 7—an almost comically bad ending to a long and difficult experiment. Fortunately, all of the crew were fine and made it back home safely afterwards. But on the bright side, they got there ahead of schedule! You win some, you lose some.
In the past, there have been many actresses whose talents and innate understanding of emotion and character have brought them fame and fortune. But perhaps none were quite as unique as the famous American actress, Charlotte Cushman. In the mid-1800s her ability to step easily into male roles was the talk of the stage and made her a celebrity whose name was known far and wide.
Cushman began her time on the stage as an opera singer, but was forced to make a change of career when her voice gave out. She stepped into the world of acting in 1835, to great success. But it was her performance as Romeo a few years later, with her younger sister Susan in the role of Juliet, that made her famous.
Charlotte Cushman as Romeo Mon, Sep 26, 1927 – 14 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com
Romeo would be the role for which she was known and remembered even after her death, and one that she played for well over a decade. Her much-admired performances earned her reviews like the one below, by dramatist Sheridan Knowles:
Cushman was also successful in the role of Hamlet, and, more unusual for women of the time, as Cardinal Wolsey in Henry VIII. She didn’t exclusively play male roles, either, often capturing audiences as female leads like Queen Katherine and Lady Macbeth.
When she died of pneumonia at age 59, papers praised her career and admirable life. But, as with many things, her fame has faded with time.
On August 3rd, 1958, the famous nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus makes a historic journey beneath the ice caps of the North Pole. Here are a handful of clippings about the journey and crew from papers across the states during August 1958: