1919 — Sir Frank Crisp dies of old age

Sir Frank Crisp was an English lawyer and microscopist. He was an enthusiastic member of the Royal Microscopical Society, generous in his support of the Society: he donated furniture, books and instruments in addition to his work on technical publications.

Professionally, he worked as a solicitor, acting in many important commercial contracts. He counted several foreign railroad companies and the Imperial Japanese Navy among his clients, and drew up the contract for the cutting of the Cullinan diamond. In 1875, he bought Friar Park in Henley-on-Thames, where he entertained the great and the good. He was a keen horticulturalist and developed spectacular public gardens there, including an alpine garden featuring a 20-foot (6-metre) replica of the Matterhorn. He published an exhaustive survey of medieval gardening titled “Mediaeval Gardens”, and received his baronetcy in 1913 for services as legal advisor to the Liberal Party. Crisp died on April 29, 1919.

Referenced in:
Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp – George Harrison

1919 – The Treaty of Versailles is signed

Nearly a year after the guns fell silent – and five years to the day since the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand – the Treaty of Versailles marked the formal ending of hostilities between Germany and the Allies, Germany’s allies having been dealt with in separate treaties. The Treaty of Versailles was hailed as a great triumph almost everywhere except in Germany, which had been forced to take the blame for the war, forced to disarm and saddled with ruinous war reparations to pay – in addition to surrendering territory to Poland in the east and France in the west, and being stripped of all its colonial possessions.

As such, the treaty imposed a burden upon Germany that was certain to foster resentment and to cripple the German economy. When the Depression hit, a decade later, Germany was one of the places it hit hardest, since the government had to pay reparations ahead of any attempt to alleviate the economic effects. Come the hour, come the man – unfortunately for everyone, the man for that hour would be an Austrian named Adolf Hitler.

Referenced in:
I’ll Meet You in Poland Baby — Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel

1919 — Walter Gropius founds the Bauhaus School

The Bauhaus school was founded in Weimar, Germany (the town, not the government) by Walter Gropius, an architect. Ironically, as first comprised, the Bauhaus lacked an architecture department, although given its project of creating a “total” work of art in which all arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together, this was an oversight that was corrected in short order.

Bauhaus would become one of the most – if not the most – influential schools of design in the twentieth century, affecting art, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, typography and, yes, architecture. Ironically, its wide influence had much to do with its suppression by the Nazis – many Bauhaus alumni were exiled by the Nazi regime, others fled it. They spread its influence to Western Europe, Britain, North America and Israel (Tel Aviv, for example, built more than 3000 buildings influenced by Bauhaus ideas from 1933 onwards).

Referenced in:
Alma — Tom Lehrer

1919 – The US Congress ratifies the 19th Amendment

As in many countries, the struggle of women for equality under law in the United States of America was a long and difficult one. The passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919 was a major step in this process, granting women the right to vote at a federal level. Although a majority of states in the union had already granted suffrage to a greater or lesser degree, the 19 Amendment granted the franchise to women across the entire nation.

The bill passed only after having been rejected once already earlier that year – on this second occasion, its passage was widely atrributed to the passionate appeals made to Congress and the Senate by President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat and a staunch supporter of the suffragist cause.

The move towards suffrage was led by a number of women who are now renowned as the heroes of both feminism and democracy they truly are. Although the woman most closely associated with the passage of the Amendment was Susan B. Anthony, the roles of Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, who founded what would become the primary suffragist movement, the National Women’s Party, should not be overlooked either.

Women voted for the first time in the Presidential elections of 1920, at which the Republican Warren G. Harding was elected President.

Referenced in:

The Right To Vote — Laura Nyro
Sufferin’ ’til Suffrage — Schoolhouse Rock