August 16, 2014

Exercise Your Way to Good Health

written by Rosa Morgan

Ladies, do you suffer from insomnia, constipation, or hysteria? Do you wile away the hours with inactivity or faint with the slightest of exertions? Then exercise is for you! 

Human powered treadmills originated 4,000 years ago to lift buckets, and after that they were used at mills to grind grain, but now they are available to achieve good health. Just look how much fun these stylishly dressed ladies are having.

Indian clubs are a great way to enhance your coordination and build up arm muscles. Coming in various sizes and weights, these clubs are so popular they will be featured in the 1904 Olympics.

Nothing beats the Molby for straightening the spine, so why not give it a try?

Ten minutes of climbing on the bars is sure to bring rosiness to your cheeks and stimulation to the digestive system. 

Hooray for this young woman, she's showing the boys how to stay fit.

A unique substitute for horse riding with all its health giving properties. It guarantees a complete cure for obesity, hysteria, and gout.

Just strap yourself in and Dr. Gustav Zander's massaging machine will relax and rejuvenate you.  

Exercise is the true fountain of youth and now you too can reap its benefits.  But take care in your efforts, the constitution must be coaxed not strained.

July 12, 2014

Seaside Pleasures

written by Rosa Morgan

What a wonderful way to spend the day with the invigorating sea air and surf to enjoy.

There are donkey rides.

And Punch and Judy shows.

You can relax and watch the world go by.

Or enjoy a picnic.

Best of all is to brave the waters in your woolen bathing suit and stockings.

Just make sure it's not too revealing, lest the fashion police cite you.

Even men can make a stylish statement. Stripes are always in vogue.

So take the plunge and hold onto the rope.

And enjoy the pleasures the seaside has to offer.

June 14, 2014

Spite houses

written by Rosa Morgan

Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself, but when that oafish neighbor inspires your ire with a laundry list of offenses: blaring phonographs, shouts of obscenities, barking dogs, banging of walls and stomping of stairs at indecent hours, obnoxious drainpipes, rattling carriages, yards littered with empty bottles from a previous night's carousing, opium dens and brothels, what does the decent homeowner do?

Perhaps build a Spite House!
Or at least that's what some desperate souls have felt compelled to do.
Imagine going off to serve your country at war only to return to find your brother has built a large home on land the two of you inherited from your deceased father. Left with a slice of land and with revenge burning in his heart, the soldier built the four story Skinny House at 44 Hull Street, Boston with its narrowest interior point at 6.2 feet across. Blocking windows and views, brotherly love had no part in building this abode. 

Tiny Spite Shop in NYC at the corner of 161st and Melrose in New York City is another example of anger gone awry.When a tailor refused to sell his property to his neighbor, he instead built a four foot wide edifice which he used as his shop.

In 1882 Patrick McQuade, wished to build apartment houses on his property and offered $1000 to Joseph Richardson who owned the very narrow strip of land adjoining it. Richardson, who was a millionaire and had executed projects for the Vanderbilt and Gould families, and was responsible for the expansion of the original Grand Central Depot, was affronted by so paltry an offer and demanded $5,000. McQuade refused the price and proceeded with the construction of his apartment house.

In retaliation Richardson built The "Spite House" at Lexington and 43rd. It was 4 stories high, 104 feet long and 5 five feet wide with eight suites, two on each floor. Taking advantage of a building regulation clause that permitted corner houses to have bay window extensions, he was able to build rooms that were a little more than seven feet wide.

The halls throughout the house were so narrow only one person could pass at a time and all the furniture was lilliputian size. 

The wealthy Richardson being tight with his money, moved into one of the tiny apartments with his wife and rented out the other apartments for $500 a year. 

May 12, 2014

The Sisters of Pudding Lane

written by Rosa Morgan

They were once a happy family: mother, father and six daughters in all, though many believed they were too original in their thinking. They were staunch suffragettes and believed their bodies were not merely temples for men to adore and control, nor solely to beget offspring, and so they vowed to never marry, lest they lost their independence.
Fate soon dealt them a heavy blow when their father died under mysterious circumstances. In order to not lose the very roof over their head through inheritance laws to a feckless male cousin, they vowed to keep their father's death a secret.

Initially they economized, selling off much of their property including their horse. They went without heat and ate thin gruel, but eventually were forced to obtain a livelihood to sustain their family.

Myrtle was the eldest and the cleverest of the girls and did not find difficulty in finding a position as a teacher at the Ragged School for street children off of the Strand. She was a respected instructor though she refused to flog her students.

Elsie was next to venture out and possessing no marketable skills, it grieved her to resort to house cleaning. She became a parlor maid to a fine family and telling herself it was honest work, she put her back into it.

Blanche was the prettiest with a well turned leg and so became an opera burlesque star named Ruby Rose. She was popular for her dance of the seven veils and found fame and notoriety in Gilbert's show, "The Little Duck and the Great Quack".

Influenced by the courageous adventures of Florence Nightingale,  Dora became a nurse and changed many a bedpan at the Brompton Hospital for Consumption.

Charlotte was athletic and did not object to wearing flesh colored tights and so became a tightrope walker. Her greatest feat was doing somersaults on a tightrope spanning the Crystal Palace.

Bernice was the bravest of all and became the Tattooed Lady in a Freak Show, however she ended up in a Magdalene asylum for fallen women where Catholic nuns had her do backbreaking laundry for her penance.