What was the world like when Gladys May Tepe was born? In 1909 the first Lincoln head penny had just been minted. General Electric introduced the incandescent light bulb. The Wright Brothers produced a flying machine that could carry two people and stay aloft for 60 minutes at a top speed of 40mph. George Eastman acquired rights to manufacture Velox photographic paper. Thomas Hunt Morgan figured out the chromosomal theory of heredity. Selma Lagerlöf was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature — although more people read Beatrix Potter’s Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. Henri Matisse painted The Dance. Pablo Picasso painted Woman with Pears. Their contemporaries were Henri Rousseau, Amédéo Modigliani, Diego Rivera and Egon Schiele. The song of the year was I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now. The Pittsburgh Pirates won The World Series against the Detroit Tigers. Not one to wallow in defeat, Tigers outfielder Ty Cobb used his earnings to invest in shares of a copper mine at $3 per share. (He sold them in 1910 for a whopping $1000 a share.) JL Kraft Brothers Company was founded, banking everything on the hope that hesitant Americans could be persuaded to eat more cheese. Fashionistas of the day scandalized their mothers with low-busted corsets.
I don’t know if the birthday honoree surfs the net — who knows, after experiencing 100 years of radical change and groundbreaking technology, she might find blogs a trifle underwhelming — but if she logs on, I want to join her chorus of well-wishers.
Happy birthday, Ms. Tepe!
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