May 2008

Wild Animals Loose In Manhattan

Imagine the panic, on Monday, November 9, 1874 when people in New York City read their morning edition of the New York Herald and saw the headlines:

The Wild Animals Broken Loose from Central Park
Terrible Scenes of Mutilation
Savage Brutes at Large
Awful Combatants Between the Beasts and Citizens

The first four columns of the five column front page related an eyewitness account of the dramatic escape of a giant rhinoceros that quickly went about freeing the other animals by breaking down the bars of their cages. Before long, the article continued, forty-nine people were dead and 200 injured. It went on to describe how a panther had pinned a zoo keeper and was gnawing at his head. In another case, a leopard had killed a small child and mutilated several women. An African lioness was saturated in the blood from eighteen victims, men, women, and children.

Police stations were flooded with people demanding protection. Newspaper editors as far away as Boston, flooded the New York Herald newspaper offices demanding more information. Many men took to the streets armed with revolvers and hunting rifles. Among them was Samuel Tilden and Chester A. Arthur; Both became presidential candidates in just a few years.

Few people took the time to read the entire article. The last column explained that there were not ANY animals who had broken out of their cages in the Central Park Zoo. It went on to explain that the purpose was to bring public awareness to the shortcomings of the zoo. Cages were rickety, animals were underfed, and animal transfer methods were not secure. Unfortunately, it is not recorded if the zoo made the necessary changes.

In the week following the wild animal hoax, Thomas Nast (at the time a staunch Republican) had one of his illustrations published in Harperís Weekly. It satirized both the hoax and the Heraldís attempts to scare voters about Grantís intentions. The illustration showed the Democrats as a donkey, disguised in the skin of a lion tagged "Caesarism." The donkey was scaring zoo animals who were running frightened through the woods of Central Park. One of the animals was an elephant labeled "The Republican Vote." The cartoon was captioned "The Third-Term Panic." For some reason, these political symbols stuck in the peopleís minds and remains today as a legacy of the animal hoax.

A Different Style of Hawaiian Music
Several times a year my mother would go visit Nellie, one of her friends that lived out of town. Although it was 1960, and I was only twelve at the time, I still remember these trips quite well. I loved to go with because each time we visited, Nellie would put on her stereo an album by Martin Denny called Quiet Village. This was to keep my sister and I entertained while Nellie visited with mom. Due to Hawaii becoming a state recently, Hawaiian music was ever so present. Although the album Quiet Village was marketed as Hawaiian music, it was certainly unique. My sister and I would stand there looking down at the record player and watching it spin as the music played. I have no idea why the album was named Quiet Village, because thoughout the album, the music had bird calls, frogs croaking, and other tropical sounds in the background. To listen to the title song, click the blue player button with the white sideways triangle. To stop the music from playing, click the square button to the right of the Play button. (For those with a dialup connection, the music will likely start and stop several times. Let the music play through completely once, then click the play button again. This time the music will play all the way through without the starts and stops.)

From the same album, see if you can recognize the tune below. It is a well-known song from a classic Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical.

The album, even though first released nearly fifty years ago, was reissued in 1997 and is still available for purchase on CD. It can be purchased from

More Panoramas Now Ready For Viewing

Although it took longer than anticipated, there are finally new panoramas to view. The tours include: The Henry Clay Ashland Estate (exterior and interior of the home) in Lexington, Kentucky; The Anna Jarvis home (originator of Mother's Day and headquarters for General McClellen during the Civil War) in Grafton, West Virginia; William Howard Taft home (exterior and interior) in Cincinnati, Ohio; sites related to William McKinley in Niles and Canton, Ohio, Daniel Boone Childhood home in Morristown, Tennessee; William Henry Harrison's Homestead in Vincennes, Indiana; and Davy Crockett's tomb in Frankfort, Kentucky.

The new panoramas have enhanced features, such full screen, audio commentary, control of zoom levels, improved quality, and others. The Abraham Lincoln panoramas currently online will be eventually converted to the new format.

To be among the first to view the new panoramas, go to: Online Newspaper Archive Shut Down

My Online Newspaper Archives had to be shut down temporarily. It was receiving too much traffic and nearly crashed the server twice. It will go back online after a complete overhaul which is likely months down the road.

Be Careful of What You Do and Say Around Children
While at a friend's home, the father was telling me about his 16-year-old son that had just obtained his driver's permit. My friend's 8-year-old daughter came to me and annouced that she knew what the different colors on a traffic light meant. She told me that red means stop, green means go, and amber means to tromp on it! We all laughed. The daughter had a puzzled look on her face and, in an effort to defend herself, announced "That's what my dad does!"


April Contest

CONTEST ONE QUESTION: Only one United States President was a Republican and his elected Vice-President was a Democrat. Who were they?

ANSWER: Abraham Lincloln and Andrew Johnson

CONTEST TWO QUESTION: Only two fathers of United States Presidents outlived their sons who had became President then died. Who were they?

ANSWER: George Harding and Joseph Kennedy.

Since the questions were harder, only forty-four people entered. Three had the incorrect subject heading, and nine did not select a prize they wanted if they won. Three prizes went unclaimed.
The April Contest Winners Were:
  • Zach Reuther - Ohio
  • Dan Hunt - Florida
  • Rich Cunningham - Oregon
  • Kathleen Panek - West Virginia
  • Martha Jo Dennison - Alabama
  • Jerry Collins - Michigan

This Issue's Questions:

To enter Contest One, answer the question: Who was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence?

To enter Contest Two, answer the question: Which United States President was the first to officially proclaim the observance of Thanksgiving?


Contest Rules

  • Contest entry deadline is Friday, May 16, 2008. Later entries will be disqualified. Winners will be notified by email within 24 hours after the contest deadline. Winners' names and states will be published in the next issue of the newsletter.

  • To enter Contest One or Contest Two, email your answer to curator at

  • To enter Contest One, use "Contest One Entry" for the emailed contest entry subject heading. Any other subject heading will be disqualified.

  • To enter Contest Two, use "Contest Two Entry" for the emailed contest entry subject heading. Any other subject heading will be disqualified.

  • Subscribers may enter both contests, but only win one prize.

  • If entering both contests, entries must be sent in separate emails.

  • You MUST select ONE prize from the list.

  • If answering the Contest One question, select your prize from the Contest One prize list.

  • If answering the Contest Two question, select your prize from the Contest Two prize list.

  • From subscribers entering the contest, submitting the correct answer, correct subject heading, submission received by the deadline, as well as advising which ONE contest prize they want to win, EIGHT will be selected to win ONE of the contest prizes below.

  • Subscribers to this newsletter that won a prize in my trivia contests in the last 90 days are ineligible to win.
April Contest One Prize Selection
(Only one of each offered)

Tapping Hitler's Generals
Transcripts of Secret Conversations, 1942-1945
Edited by Sonke Neitzel

Between 1942 and 1945, MI-19, a division of the British Decorate of Military Intelligence, created a number of combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centers in and around London. Sophisticated tapping equipment was installed, and secret gramophone recordings were made of conversations between German general staff officers. This book is a transcript of these conversations.

This book may be ordered from

For a complete listing of this publisher's titles, please visit


Four Gene Autry Movies 1937-1947

The Big Show

Boots and Saddles

Springtime in the Rockies

Riders of the Whistling Pines


April Contest Two Prize Selection
(Only one of each offered)


Classic Comedy TV Episodes

Burns & Allen


Crusade in the Pacific Volume II

Six Episodes of this WWII Documentary Series

Original Historic Newspapers

Original Manchester American & Messenger (New Hampshire) historic newspaper from 1853

New York Tribune historic newspaper from 1860

Original New Hampshire Patriot historic newspaper from 1868

Original Coldwater Republican (Michigan) historic newspaper from 1876
That's it for this issue.

Rick Brown, a nonprofit organization, now accepts donations online with contributions through PayPal or any credit card.

Click the image above to make a donation to Thanks in advance.

To visit go to
To unsubscribe from the newsletter, click here and enter your email address in the form.

Your email address will be immediately removed.