BROWSE DECADES
   
 

1890's

1650  1660  1670  1680  1690  1700  1710  1720  1730  1740  1750  1760  1770  1780  1790  1800  1810  1820  1830  1840  1850  1860  1870  1880  1890  1900  1910  1920  1930  1940  1950  1960  1970  1980  1990  2000 

     
 
 

Events of the Decade:

The Gay "90"s
Influenza epidemic spreads through 40% of world
Spanish American War
Cuba fights for independence from Spain
Great Alaska gold rush
Serious famine in Russia
Anglo-Boer War
Ethiopian War; Italians defeated
Republic of Hawaii established
Armenians massacred by Russians at Constantinople
Natives revolt in Mozambique
Turkey vs. Greece
Colonialism: Uganda occupied by British East Africa Company, Rhodesia organized, French colonies Ivory Coast and French Guinea
Japan vs. China over Korean problem
Populations in millions 1901:
China 350
India 294
Russia 146
U.S. 75.9
Germany 56.3
Japan 45.4
Britain & Ireland 41.4
France 38.9
Italy 32.4
Austria 26.1

Who's 'In':

President Benjamin Harrison
President Grover Cleveland
President William McKinley
Czar Nicholas II
British PM's: W.E. Gladstone, Archibald Philip Primrose, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil
Fictional Sherlock Holmes
Pianist Paderewski
Sigmund Freud
Louis Pasteur
The Lumiere Brothers

Who Died:

Another million Chinese in severe droughts and famine and another five million in India
10,000 in earthquake in Japan
350 Indians killed by U.S. Cavalry at Wounded Knee massacre
260 sailors in Battleship Maine explosion mystery
Vincent Van Gogh, 37
César Franck, 67
Georges Seurat, 32
James Russell Lowell, 72
Herman Melville, 72
Arthur Rimbaud, 37
Johann Strauss, 74
R.W. von Bunsen, 88
Walt Whitman, 72
Alfred Lord Tennyson, 83
Lewis Carroll, 65
Henry Bessemer, 85
Aubrey Beardsley, 25
W.E. Gladstone, 89
Otto von Bismarck, 83
Johannes Brahms, 63
Guy de Maupassant, 43
Charles Gounod, 75
Petr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 53
Czar Alexander III
Oliver Wendell Holmes, 85
Robert Louis Stevenson, 44
Louis Pasteur, 73
Paul Verlaine, 51
Harriet Beecher Stowe, 85
William Morris, 62
Anton Bruckner, 72
Alfred Nobel, 63
Sir Isaac Pitman
Matthew Brady
Lord Randolph Churchill
Abner Doubleday
Adolphe Sax
William Tecumseh Sherman
Blondin
Frederick Douglass
P.T. Barnum
John Merrick (the Elephant Man)
Edwin Booth
Leland Stanford
John C. Fremont
Thomas Cook
Friedrich Engels
James Watt
John Greenleaf Whittier
Saint Therese
George Pullman
Sir Richard Burton
Emperor Alexander III Russia
Alexandre Dumas (fils)
Jay Gould
Emperor Pedro II Brazil
Sitting Bull

Bad Guys:

Suppression of evidence in the Alfred Dreyfus case in France
Oscar Wilde thrown into jail for homosexuality; suit fails against Marquess of Queensberry for libel
Lizzie Borden
Dalton Gang
The Seventh Cavalry, killers of innocent Indians at Wounded Knee

What's 'In':

Rise of the Skyscraper
New inventions at the Chicago World's Columbia Expo: light bulbs, electric coil, alternating current dynamo, electric motor and the Ferris Wheel by George Ferris.
The first horseless carriages: Duryea, Haynes- Apperson, Packard, Stanley Steamer and Henry Ford's first car
Peanut butter
Michael Marks's clothing stall in Leeds England becomes Mark and Spencer, Britain's largest retailer
Swiss army knives
Edison invents the fluorescent bulb
Bicycling craze
Gibson Girls
Gugliemo Marconi's radio and wireless telegraphy
Art Nouveau style in furnishings
Hand-held puzzle called "Pigs in Clover"
Postcard collecting
3-D stereopticons with travel photos and "girlie" pictures
Coney Island, New York - notorious amusement resort
Modern Olympics reborn in Athens
The Fig Newton
Detergents and shampoo in Germany
Pedigree dog shows in England
Aspirin and Ben-Gay ointment
Gold in the Klondike
Swimming the crawl in Australia
Electric ovens and aluminum saucepans
Melba toast, shredded wheat, Cracker Jacks, Hershey bars, and Pizza in America
Animal cookies in Britain (later crackers in America)
Flash-light photography
Count von Zeppelin's airship
The Paris Métro
Nobel Prizes
The Lumière Brothers" cinematograph
Emile Renaud's Theatre Optique in Paris
Modern Olympic games
Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis
DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution)
Mergenthaler's linotype machine
Trans-Siberian Railway
Auriga-the new star in the milky way
Rudolf Diesel's gasoline engine
Karl Benz's 4 wheel car
Telephone switchboards
Canned pineapples
Ellis Island
Cleopatra's tomb discovered
Basketball
Travelers Insurance issues auto insurance
National Congress of Mothers, later the PTA
Heinz Co's celery sauce and ketchup.
First submarine
Championship weightlifting
Boston marathon
First cat show at Madison Sq
Car and motorcycle racing
America's first commercial museum at Philadelphia
First execution by electric chair
Chop Suey first cooked
First professional football games
Women get vote in New Zealand
World's first bus with a motor runs in London
S&H trading stamps
Other inventions: The zipper, "Book matches," refrigeration machine, telegraph enabling 2 operators to work simultaneously, movie projector, toothpaste tube, gas-driven tractor, glass- blowing machine, the thermos bottle, and the pneumatic hammer

Entertainment:

World Exhibition in Chicago (Columbian Exposition for 400th anniversary of Columbus" discovery of America)
World Exhibition in Brussels
Legitimate Theatres in New York built in Times Square area instead of Union Square.
Edwin Booth's last stage performance; Ends career as Hamlet
George Bernard Shaw's "Widower's Houses," "Arms and the Man," "Candida," "Caesar and Cleopatra"
Maurice Maeterlinck's "Pelléas et Mélisande," "L"Intérieur"
Victorien Sardou's "Thermidor"
Edmond Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac" premieres in Paris
Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler," "John Gabriel Borkman"
Oscar Wilde's "Lady Windermere's Fan," "A Woman of No Importance," "The Importance of Being Ernest," "Salomé"
Georges Feydeau "L"Hôtel du Libre Exchange," "Un Fil à la Patte"
Gabriele D"Annunzio's play "La Giaconda"
Chekhov's "The Seagull"
Musicals:
Gilbert and Sullivan's last operetta "The Grand Duke"
"Robin Hood," "Wang," "A Trip to Chinatown," "The Passing Show of 1894," "Rob Roy," "The Belle of New York," and Victor Herbert's "The Wizard of the Nile," "The Serenade,"
and "The Fortune Teller"
Burlesque shows starring comedians Weber and Fields
Striptease show at Moulin Rouge Paris
Moscow Art Theatre founded by Stanislavsky
Eleanora Duse's début in Vienna
The Chicago World Exhibition
Thomas A. Edison's Kinetoscope Parlor in New York and motion picture studio in West Orange, NJ.

Music:

Richard Strauss" tone poem "Thus Spake Zarathustra"
Leoncavallo's opera "La Bohème," "I Pagliacci" (premiere in Milan)
Edward Elgar's "Enigma Variations"
Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 1 (first version)
Sibelius Symphony No. 1 in E minor, and "Finlandia"
Anton Bruckner's 3rd, 4th and 8th Symphonies
Puccini's opera "La Bohème"
and "Manon Lescaut" premieres in Milan
Tchaikovsky's opera "The Queen of Spades," ballet music for "Casse-Noisette,"
Symphony No. 6 in B minor (Pathétique), and music for "The Nutcracker" ballet - premiere in St. Petersburg
Carnegie Hall opens
Dvorák's Symphony no. 5
Sibelius Karelia Suite
Verdi's opera "Falstaff"
Claude Debussy's "L"Aprè- midi d"un Faune"
Mahler's Symphonies No 1 and 2
Richard Strauss" symphonic poem "Merry Pranks"
Brahms" "Four Serious Songs"
Hit songs:
"America the Beautiful," "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay," "After the Ball," "Happy Birthday to You," " "Home Sweet Home,"

Literature:

Doubleday Publishing founded
Fannie Farmer's Cookbook
H.G. Wells" "The Time Machine," "The Invisible Man," "The War of the Worlds"
W.B. Yeat's "Poems"
Bram Stoker's "Dracula"
Mark Twain's "Tragedy of Pudd"nhead Wilson," "The Mysterious Stranger"
Leo Tolstoy's "The Kreutzer Sonata"
J.M. Barrie's "The Little Minister"
Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries begin in Strand Magazine ("The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,")
A.E. Housman's "A Shropshire Lad"
Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the D"Urbervilles," "The Wessex Poems"
Henry James" "The Turn of the Screw"
Oscar Wilde "The Picture of Dorian Gray," "the Ballad of Reading Gaol"
Rudyard Kipling's "Barrack Room Ballads," (includes "Gunga Din") "The Jungle Book," "Captains Courageous"
Wedekind's "Spring's Awakening"
Émile Zola's "La Débâcle," "Les Trois Villes"
Gabriele D"Annunzio's "The Intruder"
Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Courage," "The Open Boat," "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky," "The Blue Hotel
Anthony Hope's "The Prisoner of Zenda"
"Trilby" by George du Maurier
"Princess Aline" by Richard Davis

Art:

Art Nouveau is "in"
Monet's "Rouen Cathedral" and "Water Lilies" series
Cézanne's "Bathers," "The Cardplayers," "Still Life With Apples"
Rodin's sculptures "Balzac" and "Victor Hugo"
Matisse "Dinner Table"
Degas" "Femme à sa toilette"
Paul Gauguin's "The Siesta" and he moves to Tahiti; "Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we Going?" "The Seed of the Areoi"
Camille Pissarro "Boulevard des Italiens," "Boulevard Montmartre, Mardi Gras," "Field at Eragny,"
Édouard Vuillard "Seated Woman," "Portrait of Lugne Poe"
Tate Gallery opens in London
Aubrey Beardsley's drawings to Oscar Wilde's "Salome"
Art Nouveau Gallery opens in Paris with paintings of Edvard Munch
Whitechapel Art Gallery built
Van Gogh"s" Wheatfield With Crows," "Vase with Cornflowers and Poppies"; he gets posthumous exhibition at Salon des Indépendents.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's first posters for music halls, "At the Moulin Rouge,"
"At the Moulin de la Galette," "Quazdrille at the Moulin Rouge," "Salon in the Rue des Moulins," "Women in a Brothel," "Monsieur Boileau."
Mary Cassatt's "Woman with a Dog

Fashion & Beauty:

Men:
Broad-shouldered padded Gibson-man look
Button-down collars
Clasplockers (early form of zippers)
Clean-shaven look is "in"
Knee breeches for athletes
Waxed "Kaiser" mustaches
Women:
Butterick dress patterns
Knickerbockers for bicycling
Sailor styles
Satin and lace embroidery
"Gibson Girl" look - slim, small-waisted, pompadour hair-do
Shorter skirts for biking (an inch or two from the ankle)
Shirt-waist blouses for golf
Brocaded satin dresses
"Classical" soft fabric, draped look

Media:

Vogue Magazine and House Beautiful
England's "Daily Graphic" first fully-illustrated daily
Daily Mail of London
Country Life Magazine in England 1897 still publishing 100 years later
First newspaper color section appears in New York World
William Randolph Hearst buys New York Journal
First advice-to-lovelorn column by "Dorothy Dix"
New York Times sold to Adolph Ochs who coins "All the news that's fit to print"
Ochs starts first book review supplement
First comic strip "Katzenjammer Kids" in New York Journal

Money:

Baring's Bank goes bust in London
the 2% income tax comes to America in the Wilson Gorman tariff
Inheritance taxes in England
Failure of banks in Newfoundland
Haynes-Apperson car $3,500
Japan adopts the gold standard
Business recession in U.S.; 500 banks and 15,000 companies fail

Religion:

Star of David becomes official Jewish people's emblem
Presbyterian evangelist Billy Sunday hot on the revival meeting circuit
Buddhist revival in Japan

Science:

Azoimide synthesized
Discovery of helium
J.J. Thompson discovers the electron 1897
The terms "electron" and "photosynthesis" first used
Oxygen liquefied
Alpha and beta rays in radioactive atoms discovered by Rutherford
Discovery of antitoxins
Plague and dysentery bacilli discovered
Skeletal remains of Pithecanthropus erectus found in Java
Röentgen discovers X-rays and treats cancer patients with them
Malaria bacillus identified
The Curies discover polonium
and begin experiments with radium
Discovery of neon, argon, metargon, phosphorus sesquisulphide
"Auriga," a new star, observed in Milky Way
Guglielmo Marconi transmits radio waves over long distances
The existence of the virus proven in Russia
First open-heart surgery
Artificial-respiration method introduced
Heroin first used for medicine

New Slang Words:

That guy has something about him, I must admit.
Give it an airing (take it away)
Give someone a dose of their own medicine
To be off one's trolly
Out of the frying pan and into the fire
Bite the bullet
Hot under the collar
All higgledy-piggledy
To be at the crossroads of something
To give someone the benefit of the doubt
Between you and me...
To bite off more than one can chew
To blaze a trail
Be a blessing in disguise
To burn one's boats
Something is the common garden variety
Something must cost a pretty penny
To cry wolf
An errand of mercy
The happy hunting ground
Hellbent for leather
To know the ropes
Something is a left-handed compliment
To put one's foot down
To sail the seven seas
Back to the salt mines
Wham, bam, thank you, ma"am
Cheap at half the price
It's a cinch
Rub salt in the wounds
Come up and see my etchings
(He's so ugly) his face would stop a clock
It's a small world
It's your funeral
My feet are killing me
You need your head examined
Something is below the belt
Hold your horses!
Home, James!
New words added to Collins Dictionary:
Radioactivity
aspirin
Krypton
Gamine

 

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About These Tools
An introduction to History by Decades by Larry Belling. More...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
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