United States and American History: 1906

About the history of the United States in 1906, Upton Sinclair writers the Jungle, Typhoid mary is found, the great San Francisco earthquake.


--Upton Sinclair's expose of the Chicago Stock-yards, The Jungle, was published. Sinclair went to Chicago and lived in Packingtown for 7 weeks. A best seller in the U.S. and England, The Jungle has been translated into 17 languages. By describing in nauseating detail the squalid conditions of laborers and how diseased cattle were sold as clean meat, Sinclair, who claimed he had aimed at the public's heart, had by accident hit it in the stomach. As a result of Sinclair's expose, President Roosevelt appointed a commission to investigate the meat industry. Their findings corroborated Sinclair's accusations. As a direct result, in June Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act which forbade manufacture, etc., of adulterated or mislabeled food and drugs, and the Meat Inspection Act which provided for enforcement of sanitary regulations in the meat-packing industry.

--Typhoid Mary was found working as a cook under an assumed name. Eight years earlier she had been discovered to be a carrier of typhoid fever although in good health herself. She was confined by health authorities until her death in 1929 since it was impossible to change her carrier state.

--George Bernard Shaw was well represented in New York with 6 of his plays performed during the theater season: Caesar and Cleopatra, Arms and the Man, Man and Superman, John Bull's Other Island, Major Barbara, and Mrs. Warren's Profession. The latter was raided by the police and closed after one performance on grounds of obscenity.

Apr. 18 The most damaging earthquake in U.S. history devastated San Francisco. For 192 mi., from Point Arena to the Pajaro Valley in Monterey, the land shifted 16' to the north. The quake lasted for 47 seconds, buildings collapsed, fires broke out, and underground water mains were destroyed. Among the thousands caught in the disaster was the great tenor, Enrico Caruso, who vowed he would never return to a city "where disorders like that are permitted." When the last fire was put out, 400 people had died, 4 sq. mi. had burned and $500 million worth of damage had been done. The Japanese Government headed the list of contributors of funds for the victims of the quake.

Sept. 22 An anti-Negro riot in Atlanta, Ga., left 10 blacks and 2 whites dead and over 70 wounded. The militia was called out to bring order. Two days later the riot spread to the middle-class black suburb of Brownsville, where the homes of innocent blacks were looted and property was destroyed by the county police and bands of armed white citizens who joined them.

Oct. U.S. troops took over the Cuban Government for 13 days and restored order after a revolt erupted over an election dispute. U.S. intervention was requested by Tomas Estrada Palma, 1st President of Cuba.

Oct. 11 The San Francisco school board ordered the segregation of all Japanese, Chinese, and Korean children. Strong anti-Japanese feeling permeated the city from organized labor to the press. On March 13, 1907, under pressure from the President, San Francisco rescinded this action, and Japan agreed to enforce their "Gentleman's Agreement" by stopping the emigration of laborers.

Dec. 5 The Rev. Algernon S. Crapsey, Episcopal clergyman and rector of St. Andrew's Church, Rochester, N.Y., was found guilty of heresy and deposed from the ministry in a trial that began on April 18 before an ecclesiastical court. The trial drew attention both in Europe and the U.S. A highly respected and much loved minister, Crapsey had become a "rationalist" and preached against the divinity of Christ. In his autobiography, The Last of the Heretics, published in 1924, he explained:

...I have a religion and if asked to give it a name I should say I am a Pantheistic Humanist, and if one were to ask, "What is a Pantheistic Humanist?" I should say one who believes in the divinity of a telegraph pole.

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