Champion of All, 1916
The portrait of Kitty Canutt was taken after she won first place in the Cowgirl’s Bucking Contest at the 1916 Pendleton Round-Up in Oregon. Kitty competed for three days in the bucking horse and relay race events to the roar of 30,000 rodeo fans. She earned prize money and two trophy saddles.
Kitty was known as the “Diamond Girl” because she had a diamond set in her front tooth, which it is said, she’d remove occasionally to pawn when she need her entry money.


The Great War in Europe is taking a heavy toll but the US remains neutral. That doesn’t mean that the US isn’t engaged in fighting. Mexican bandit Pancho Villa forces 18 American mining engineers off a train and shoots them in cold blood in an attempt to embroil the US in the turmoil in Mexico. He later leads an attack of 1500 men into New Mexico and kills 17 Americans. General John J. Pershing is ordered to take 6,000 men to pursue Villa into Mexico and capture him “dead or alive.” Pershing will spend the next two years in the attempt and fail. Mexico and America will settle their differences in 1917 by arbitration and withdrawal. US troops also travel to Santo Domiingo in the Dominican Republic to settle internal strife. They won’t leave until 1924.
The Great War isn’t the only battle going on in Europe. The Irish rise against the British in a great Easter rebellion beginning April 24. It lasts a week but has little popular support. An Arab revolt against the Turks begins in the Hejaz. The British appoint T.E. Lawrence the political and liaison officer to Faisal’s army. He will become famous as Lawrence of Arabia.
National Park Service is established under US Department of the Interior.
Sparked by the war in Europe, the American economy has its most prosperous year in history. Foreign trade soars to a record $8 billion while domestic output hits a high of $45 billion (due to selling war supplies to the Allies). John D. Rockefeller becomes a billionaire.
1916 is an election year. The Republican Party holds its National convention in Chicago to nominate Charles Evans Hughes of New York for president. The Prohibition Party holds its National convention to nominate Frank Hanly of Indiana.
April 8. Women win the right to vote in national elections – in Norway.
Women have their own political party, The National Women’s Party. At its annual convention in September President Wilson states that he “comes not to fight for you, but with you!” He continues to promise that women will get the vote “in a little while.” That isn’t good enough for . CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT, the party leader, or DR. ANNA SHAW a former party president, who tells Wilson and the 4,000 delegates, “We have waited long enough to get the vote. We want it now.”
Woodrow Wilson is re-elected President of US, on a platform that includes the slogan “He kept us out of war”. He barely defeats Charles Evans Hughes.
As the year progresses, Wilson begins to support the concept of “preparedness.” This attitude is boosted by last year’s movie, The Fall of A nation, depicting an invasion of the United States by a Germanic looking army. When the luxury liner Lusitania is sunk by German U-boats, there is a groundswell of support for a buildup of American armed forces.
CARRIE CHAPMAN CATT was an American suffragist and peace activist who always fought for equality. When her father refused to send her to college, she worked her way through Iowa State College by teaching and housekeeping. She was a superintendent of schools in Mason City and assistant editor of the Mason City Republican. She was active in the suffrage movement and rose rapidly, becoming a close friend of SUSAN B. ANTHONY, who selected her to succeed her as head of the National American Women Suffrage Association. She served as its president from 1900 until 1904 and again from 1915 to 1920. Known as a brilliant tactician and organizer, she believed that if women had political participation, it would give them a chance to become a force for world peace and help improve living conditions for themselves and their children. In 1919 she founded the League of Women Voters.


Prices and profits are up but so are wages. The biggest problem is a labor shortage created by a low jobless rate.
There are jobs but the working conditions are only slowly improving. There are 2,000 strikes in the first seven months of the year. US iron and steel workers return to work January 13 after receiving a 10% wage hike. When railroad workers threaten a nation-wide strike, it results in the passage of The Adamson Act which establishes an eight hour work day for railroad workers.
After years of weak state efforts, the federal government signs the Keating-Owen Act which bans interstate commerce in products made by children under 14. It also protects children under 16 from mine work, night work and work days longer than eight yours. The cotton-producing southern states protest, arguing that many children work out of necessity.
There are approximately 1.8 million child laborers in the country.


Responding to the wartime need for simpler clothes, COCO CHANEL makes jersey, previously a fabric for underwear, chic.
ErtÈ begins drawing covers for Harper’s Bazaar.
The British edition of Vogue is launched.
John Redfern of Britain designs the first women’s uniform for the Red Cross.
Treatment of war casualties leads to the development of plastic surgery.
Converse , an 8 year old Massachusetts company, introduces canvas shoes with rubber soles specifically as a basketball shoe. Sneakers have been available since the late 1860s but brand names have been almost non existent. The United States Rubber Co. follows with their with their own canvas and rubber shoes marketed as US Keds.


The Professional Golfer’s Association of America (PGA) is founded, organized after the PGA established in Great Britain 15 years earlier. The first US PGA tournament is held at the Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, NY.
College football holds its first Rose Bowl game between Washington State College and Brown University. Washington wins 14-0.
Women are playing sports, too. In 1916, The Women’s International Bowling Congress is established.
Even though there are 3.5 million automobiles in the United States, there are no tailgate parties as the Anti-Saloon League achieves Dry Laws in 24 states.
Ford’s mass production techniques turns out almost 2,000 cars per day. This year, the Model T price drops from $400 to $360 . The price decrease doesn’t hurt Ford’s profits which are $59 million. The motor car is cheaper than the new mechanical home refrigerator marketed for the first time but with a $900 price tag. Other new products include a mass produced, double shell enameled bathtubs to replace the cast iron tubs with roll rims and claw feet that have been standard for decades, a prototype of an agitator washing machine, mechanical windshield wipers and electric clocks.
In Seattle, Washington, a young man named William E. Boeing starts a plane factory with 21 employees, mostly carpenters and seamstresses.
Planters Nut and Chocolate introduces “Mr. Peanut.” The company chose its trademark by holding a contest among a Suffolk, VA. high school. The winning designer received ad $5 prize. Another distinctive trademark is adopted by Coco-Cola which bottles its beverage in a bottle that will identify it for years.
Nathan Handwerker, 25, and his 19 year old bride IDA, begin selling hot dogs in a Coney Island stand. Ida laces the franks with her secret spice. They invest their life’s savings and work side by side 18 to 20 hours a day, selling the franks at 5¢ each. The successful company becomes known as Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters.
Nathan Handwerker, 25, and his 19 year old bride IDA, begin selling hot dogs in a Coney Island stand. Ida laces the franks with her secret spice. They invest their life’s savings and work side by side 18 to 20 hours a day, selling the franks at 5¢ each. The successful company becomes known as Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters.
US cigarette production reaches 53.1 billion.
Louis Brandeis named to US Supreme Court by President Wilson He is the first Jewish associate justice. That year the Supreme Court rules that federal income tax is constitutional and that users and sellers of opium are liable to prosecution.


On stage, ADELE ASTARIE (1898-1981) wins fame as the dance partner of her brother, Fred. She is said to have been the more talented of the two. EDNA FERBER’ s Our Mrs. McChesney drama is presented starring Ethel Barrymore. Twenty seven year old Eugene O’Neill’s play Bound East for Cardiff opens. ZOE AKINS Magical City one act drama is presented but The Zigfield Follies predominates the American stage. The Follies highlights W.C. Fields, FANNY BRICE, INA CLAIRE, ANN PENNINGTON and Will Rogers who states this year, “All I know is what I read in the papers.” Ed Wynn appears in The Passing Show which include the song Pretty Baby. MARIE DRESSLER appears in The Century Girl with music by Irving Berlin that includes the song You Belong to Me. Other popular songs of the year are I Ain’t Got Nobody, La Cucaracha, Ireland Must Be Heaven for My Mother Came from There. Aside from these popular songs, a new American form of music called jazz begins to sweep across America.
In literature, James Joyce publishes Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Novelist Jack London commits suicide in California on Nov. 22. Women writers include American poet AMY LOWELL who publishes Men Women and Giants and Patterns. Lowell will win a posthumous Pulitzer for What’s O’Clock, published in 1925 a work which includes The Sisters, an ode to women’s rights. She is an influential poet and large woman with a passion for cigars. She is also a generous patron and friend of D.H.Lawrence who published Women In Love this year. MARIE LOUISE VAN VORST publishes War Letters of an American Woman; ELLEN GLASGLOW’S book Life and Gabriella . Glasglow is known as a feminist whose work shows fine characterization, keen wit and clear, forceful language. She will win a Pulitzer in 1942.
British composer ETHEL SMYTHE has an opera, The Boatswain’s Mate opens in London. This year Smythe composes March of Women, the anthem of the suffragettes.
Frank Lloyd Wright designs the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo , built to withstand earthquakes. While watching his father work, John Wright, decides that building is something children can do, too. He invents Lincoln Logs of wood so kids can make their own buildings.
Norman Rockwell’s , 22, who dropped out of high school to work for the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America, has his first cover illustration for Saturday Evening Post appear on May 20. He will produce an average of ten covers per year until the magazine ceases weekly publication in 1969.
LOIS WEBER (1881-1939) directs the film The Dumb Girl of Portici starring Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. The film is praised as a “testimonial of the finest female imagination in filmland.”
The major film event of the year is D.W. Griffith’s epic film Intolerance with LILLIAN GISH. The film is an epic historical story with a strong moral theme and revolutionizes the concept of what a motion picture can be.
The National Committee on Public Morals of the American Federation of Catholic Societies says “Alien radicalism” in the form of socialism is menacing the nation. The committee also denounces motion pictures for “foisting upon our women and children immoral ” films and “insidious attacks on Christianity.”


MARGARET SANGER opens the first birth control clinic in Brooklyn with her sister ETHYL BRYNE and FANIA MANDELL. The opening is publicized through the distribution of 5,000 leaflets printed in English, Italian and Yiddish. In 1914, when she was accused of distributing birth control literature, she was sentenced to one month in jail. She then traveled to Europe to learn more about birth control methods, and came back with information about condoms and pessaries. One month after its opening, the clinic is raided and Sanger is jailed for 30 days. She will found the Birth Control League, publish the Birth Control Review and spend the rest of her life challenging the laws against the dissemination of birth control information, which classifies it as obscene. In spite of continued harassment, public opinion changes and in 1936, the Comstock Law of 1873 is modified allowing physicians to give birth control information for the “cure or prevention of disease.” In 1942, the American Birth Control League will become the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
JEANETTE RANKIN of Montana , 36, becomes the first woman elected to Congress, four years before the 19th Amendment gives any woman the right to vote for her. She will serve two terms, one from 1917 to 1919 and again from 1941 to 1943. An ardent pacifist, these two terms give her the unique distinction of voting against American involvement in both world wars. In 1968, at age 87, she led a march to Washington, D.C. to protest the Vietnam War.
ZAWDITU rules as empress of Ethiopia from 1916 to 1928; during her rule, slavery is abolished.

HETTY GREEN, known as the Witch of Wall Street, dies at age 80 leaving an estate of more the $100 million that has made her the richest woman in America. She inherited $10 million when she was 29 from her father and kept her finances separate from those of her late husband Edward H. Green. Through shrewd stock investments, she multiplied her fortune but lived as a pauper in a small Hoboken apartment that she occupied since 1895. Her son lost his leg because she would not hire a physician to treat him.