What a Difference a Century Makes: 1917
By: M. Callahan
1917 US Population: 103,268,000
President: Woodrow Wilson
Vice President: Thomas R. Marshall
Sect. of State: Robert Lansing
Virginia Governor: Westmoreland Davis
Chief Justice Supreme Court: Edward Douglass White
Speaker of the House: Champ Clark (D-Missouri)
VA Senators: Thomas Martin & Claude Swanson
John F. Kennedy, Indira Gandhi, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ernest Borgnine, Ferdinand Marcos, Jackie Robinson
Queen Liliuokalani, August Rodin, Buffalo Bill Cody, Edgar Degas, Mata Hari, Scott Joplin
HISTORICAL EVENTS & WAR HIGHLIGHTS
Some of the Major Battles of 1917: Battle of Khadairi Bend, Battle of Nahr-al-Kalek, Capture of Baghdad, Samarrah Offensive, Seizure of Fallujo, First Battle of Gaza, Battle of Vimy Ridge, Second Battle of Aisne and Gaza, Battle of the Boot, Battle of Messines, Battle of Ramadi, Battle of Caporetto, Battle of Chateau-Thierry and Belleau Wood, Battle of Tikrit, & the Fall of Jerusalem.
COST OF COMMON CONSUMER GOODS
Federal spending: $1.95 billion
Consumer Price Index: 12.8
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.02 ($0.03 as of 11/3/17)
Unemployment: 4.8% down from 5.1%
Loaf of bread: $0.08
Gallon of gasoline: $0.25
Pound of Butter: $0.43
One dozen eggs: $0.39
Quart of milk: $0.131
25# Sack of Sugar: $1.89
Pound of Bacon: $0.22
Roast Beef: $0.18 per pound
Pound of Coffee: $0.19
Pound of Tea: $0.29
Movie Ticket: $0.07
1 Oz Gold: $20.67
World Series: Chicago White Sox defeats NY Giants (4-2)
Stanley Cup: Seattle Metropolitans
Wimbledon Women: Not Held (WWI)
Wimbledon Men: Not Held (WWI)
Kentucky Derby Champion: Omar Khayyam
NCAA Football Champions: Georgia Tech (9-0-0)
Boston Marathon: Billy Kennedy
Nobel Prize for Literature: Karl Gjellerup (Denmark) and Henrik Pontoppidan (Denmark)
Nobel Peace Prize: International Red Cross
Washington, DC: 1917
Suffragettes peacefully protested in front of the White House asking for the right to vote. On Nov. 14, 1917, thirty-three women were arrested & charged with obstructing traffic. Without any due process they were forcibly taken to the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia.
Superintendent WH Whittaker, a particularly harsh critic of The Suffrage Movement admitted publicly, “I am willing to practice cruelty.” He ordered the guards to beat and torture the suffragette inmates. Some were cuffed to window bars with their arms stretched overhead for days on end. They were housed in freezing cold cells without blankets, water, or sanitation arrangements. However, the worst depravation was the food chronicled as, grits with worms, rancid meat, cornbread covered in green mold, sprinkled with rat droppings & dead flies. No medical attention was ever provided and few visitors, including their lawyers, were admitted.
Six months was the average term of incarnation. To gain attention, possibly even freedom as their jailors did not want deaths attributed to their callous care, some of the women began a hunger strike. Their jailors reacted with even more severe treatment. The women, including the elderly, were strapped to a table with one male guard kneeling on their body, others holding them down while a tube was forced down their throats and into their stomachs. Hot, often rancid gruel or even raw beaten eggs, were forced down the tube. This cruel and inhumane torture continued three times each day for weeks.
Eventually, legal representatives petitioned the court for relief. The women, who had never been provided with due process, were released from the workhouse and completely exonerated. Their imprisonment was worse than most US soldiers ever experienced at the hands of German captors.
It was not until 1920 that the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was passed permitting women the vote. By then it was impossible to postpone since The Suffrage Movement was being promoted in the rural regions as well as the cities. Women had also proven to even the worst skeptics, that US war efforts could not have been managed without the huge force of women who distinguished themselves by mastering every job sector previously held by men, as well as the home front.
Women Take the Jobs Left Behind by Men
Women became bank clerks, ticket sellers, elevator operator, chauffeur, street car conductor, ambulance driver, mechanic, delivery persons, railroad trackwalker, section hands, locomotive wiper and oiler, locomotive dispatcher, block operator, draw bridge attendant. They were employed in machine shops, steel mills, powder and ammunition factories, airplane works, boot blacking and farming. (1)
(1) “Protecting the Working Mothers” Seattle Union Record. April 24, 1918
Photographs from Library of Congress, Imperial War Museum, Library of Virginia, Wikipedia, & Private Photographic Archives. Reproduction of this story and photographs, in part or in whole, requires the written permission of the author.