United States and American History: 1860

About the history of the United States in 1860, the population, the Beadle Dime Novel Library, baseball adopts the 7th inning stretch, the Pony Express begins, South Carolina seceeeds.


--U.S. population--31,443,321. Center: somewhere near Chillicothe, O. New York City became the largest Irish city in the world with 203,740 Irish-born out of a total population of 805,651.

--Erastus and Irwin Beadle published a series of novelettes about pioneer life, the Revolutionary War, Indians, and Mexico. Bound in yellowish-orange paper, the Beadle Dime Novel Library offered 386 titles to start, each title enjoying sales of up to 80,000 copies. The books were eagerly sought by young soldiers desperate for escape reading. The Beadles' formula for success: Assign writers to hack out cliffhangers starring heroes such as Kit Carson, Calamity Jane, and "Deadwood Dick." By the end of the Civil War, total sales were over 4 million.

Apr. Baseball's ritual for relieving spectator fatigue--the "7th-inning stretch"--was commonly adopted. The custom had superstitious origins. It was thought to bring good luck to the home team, since "7" was a winning number at dice.

Apr. 3 The Pony Express began fast overland mail service, operating between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif. It offered 8-10-day delivery, with an "emergency" time of 7 days, 7 hours. Riders changed horses at 153 stations, spaced from 7 to 20 mi. apart. The route followed the old emigrant trail to the Platte River, through South Pass to Fort Bridger in Wyoming, then south around the lower end of the Great Salt Lake to Carson City, Nev., and through Donner Pass to Sacramento. Financially, the service was a failure and ended with the arrival of the transcontinental telegraph 18 months later.

Dec. 20 South Carolina, voting 169-0, seceded from the Union.

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