There were many people and events that helped shape American character and history over the first three decades of the 20th century. In the late 19th century, the railroad and telegraph laid the groundwork for new modes of distribution, introducing national mail order companies, like Sears, Roebuck. In the early 20th century, technology-driven commercial inventions, including the automobile, telephone, and a plethora of household product, machines, and innovations liberated women from lives dominated by domestic responsibilities. Researchers estimate only 5% of history recorded the achievements of women and minorities; the majority of women’s contributions and achievements were unrecognized, their importance minimized, ignored or appropriated by men. This is not only a historical issue, although women represent 52% of the population, check any newspaper and see whether half of the stories are about women or minorities (except during Black or Women’s History months).
This TIMELINE is not complete; it is intended to provide context for The Legacy of Trickey’s West, of women’s contributions and accomplishments, as well as the inventions that allowed women freedom from their traditional and exclusive role as homemaker.
In 1900, the U.S. population was 75.9 million and the majority of Americans were still rural dwellers under the age of 25; 3.1 million were 65 and older (4% of the total population, and probably less in the West). The life expectancy for white Americans was 50; for non-white Americans, 35 or less. Most Americans still traveled by horse, mule or bike.
Owen Wister’s The Virginian was published, creating many of the themes about the Cowboy (no cowgirls were included). Fredrick Jackson Turner, a history professor at the University of Washington presented his seminal paper, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” at the three-day World Congress of Historians, held in 1893 in conjunction with the Chicago World’s Fair. Turner’s theorizing became the modern foundation of western history: that the process of conquering the frontier had forged the American character and transformed its people.
In 1896, women were not allowed to compete in the modern Olympics. A Greek woman, STAMATI REVITHI (called MELPOMENE by the officials after the Greek muse of tragedy) was refused entry to the marathon, ran by herself the following day. When the officials refused Melpomene entrance, she completed her final lap outside the stadium. It would take almost 100 years before women were allowed to run an Olympic marathon race (Los Angeles, 1984). Pierre La Coubertin, one of the founders of the modern Olympics, declared, that the inclusion of women would be “impractical, uninteresting unaesthetic, and incorrect.” He is reputed to have said, “The only place for women is at the sidelines applauding the Olympians.” In 1900, women were allowed to compete in tennis and golf and soon afterwards in archery, gymnastics, skating and swimming.
Confederate Colonel John Pemberton, who was wounded in the Civil War and became addicted to morphine, created Coca Cola, first registered as Pemberton’s French Wine Cola nerve tonic, in 1885. When Prohibition legislation was passed in Atlanta and Fulton County in 1886, Pemberton developed Coca Cola, a non-alcoholic temperance drink; it sold for five cents a glass at the Jacob’s Pharmacy’s soda fountain. It was a common belief that carbonated water was good for health. Pemberton’s cola was sold as a patent medicine; the first ads in the Atlanta Journal claimed it was a cure for many diseases, including morphine addiction, indigestion, headaches, nerve disorders and impotence.
Brad’s Drink was first sold at Caleb Bradham’s Pharmacy in New Bern, North Carolina. It was rebranded as Pepsi-Cola in 1898. Bradham was determined to compete with Coca Cola as a health remedy, which included all natural ingredients, including water, sugar, caramel, lemon oil and nutmeg.
The TIMELINES for the period of The Legacy of Trickey’s West is 1900-1930.