Brooklyn Boro

July 31: ON THIS DAY in 1914, Germany put under martial law; all Europe now an armed camp

July 31, 2020 Brooklyn Eagle History

ON THIS DAY IN 1909, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “WASHINGTON — Orville Wright traveled 47.431 miles an hour in his flight yesterday in returning from the Alexandria end of the course to Fort Myer …His speed to Alexandria from the Fort Myer end of the course was 37.735 miles an hour, making his average 42.583. The Wright brothers will receive $30,000 for the aeroplane, $5,000 of which is the bonus for excess in speed over the contract requirement … Orville Wright’s great flight last evening, in which he took Lieutenant Benjamin D. Foulois over the ten-mile course from Fort Myer to Alexandria and return at a speed of more than forty-two miles an hour, has amazed the Army and Navy officials. They contend that the accomplishments of the cross-country flight demonstrated thoroughly the availability of the aeroplane for use in warfare.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1914, the Eagle reported, “A general European war seems inevitable. The Kaiser today issued a proclamation declaring Germany under martial law. The Hamburg-American and Lloyd lines have suspended the sailings of all their transatlantic steamers. The Imperator, due to sail from Germany tomorrow, will be kept in port. The Vaterland, due to sail from New York tomorrow, will be kept here. Germany fears their seizure by England. There is a run on the Bank of England, due to the failure of English banks to make payments in full in gold. The Kaiser has sent Prince Henry of Prussia on a confidential mission to the Czar, in a last hope of averting war. The New York Stock Exchange was closed today. All exchanges in the world are closed today. Secretary [William] McAdoo promises to aid New York and other sections with funds as needed.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1920, the Eagle reported, “BOSTON, MASS. — [Charles] Ponzi, the international exchange wizard, expects within a short time to open a huge bank and to pay 50 percent of the profits to depositors. While the federal authorities are going over his books — so far without discovering any trace of irregularity or illegality — he is making his plans for extending his immensely profitable business. The reports of his tremendous profits have brought him an offer of $10,000,000 from a New York concern, Ponzi says, for the secret by means of which he managed to accumulate somewhere between $9,000,000 and $16,000,000 in the operations of a few months. The finance king has not yet decided whether to accept or reject the $10,000,000 offer.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1940, the Eagle reported, “Otto Wetzel completes 50 years of service in the law library in the Brooklyn Supreme Court today and, Otto said, nothing unusual will happen. He will be on the job same as always and will regard Aug. 1, 1940 merely as a date. The quiet, unassuming librarian, who looks much younger than 68, came to work in the library on Aug. 1, 1890, after tiring of his job in George Lockett’s grocery store at Myrtle and Carlton Aves. He started as ‘page’ at $5 a week and has worked since then in the same rooms on the second floor of the courthouse alongside the rotunda. He was made assistant librarian in 1907 when Alfred J. Hook was made librarian upon the death of Stephen C. Betts and shortly afterward was made librarian. In his half century of service he has seen the library grow from 15,000 volumes to 75,000 … ‘I still am hopeful of seeing our precious books in a much-needed new courthouse,’ he commented.”

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ON AUG. 1, 1917, the Eagle reported, “The conviction of Mrs. Margaret Sanger, in the Court of Special Sessions, in violation of Section 1,142 of the Penal Laws, was confirmed today by the Appellate Division, while the conviction of her associate, Fannie Mindell, who was found guilty before the same tribunal of selling obscene books, is reversed. Both women appealed from the conviction through their counsel, Jonah J. Goldstein. Mrs. Sanger’s conviction grew out of alleged violations of the law in her birth control clinic at 46 Amboy Street. It was there, too, that Miss Mindell, a Russian revolutionist, sold copies of the book, ‘What Every Girl Should Know.’ The Appellate Division held in the case of Miss Mindell that the book sold was not obscene.”


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