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100 Years Ago: November 1917. National News


100 Years November 1917 – The Nation & Beyond

Selected from the pages of the Penny Press and lightly annotated by Sally Haase


Hoover Is Food Boss. Washington, Nov. 1, 1917: Herbert Hoover became the food boss of the nation today, when the food administrator assumed absolute control of twenty basic food products under the rigid licensing system and more than 100,000 concerns, including meat packers, millers, canners, grain dealers, manufacturers and distributors under the government’s jurisdiction in its war on waste and high prices. Under the licensing system in effect beginning today the government, through Administrator Hoover, set out immediately to stop all speculation and hoarding of necessary food.  It will be the policy to make examples of those who are caught in flagrant violations…with a $10,000 fine or two years imprisonment or both.


R.I. Bars Boston Symphony. Providence, R.I., Nov. 1, 1917: Resolutions condemning the Boston Symphony orchestra and Dr. Karl Muck, conductor, “for his deliberately insulting  attitude” in failing to play the “Star Spangled Banner” at a concert here after being requested to do so. An agent of the department of justice, would make a detailed report to Washington, with a recommendation that the orchestra be not permitted to play in other cities unless the national anthem is included in the program.

No German Operas At the Met. New York, Nov. 3, 1917: There will be no performances of opera in the German language at the metropolitan. The decision will eliminate from the repertoire probably all the Wagner works and Beethoven’s “Fidelio.”

Move Alien Enemies Inland. New York, Nov. 6, 1917: Continued activities of German spies in New York and other cities along the coast , discovery of plots to destroy shipping, burn piers and to place bombs aboard transports, has aroused the Federal authorities, and a plan is under discussion for the removal of all alien enemies to points in the interior. There are more than 100,000 male Germans of fourteen or over in New York and vicinity. Certain officials favor the plan which calls for the removal of at least fifty miles from the Atlantic of every male German.

Women Win Vote In N.Y., New York, Nov. 7, 1917:  The great state of New York awoke today to find nearly 2,000,000 new voters within its borders. Woman suffrage has won in New York after 69 years of continuous effort. New York is the first eastern state to grant women the [Constitutional] amendment.



Russian Provisional Government Ousted. Washington, Nov. 8, 1917: Premier Kerensky’s government has been overthrown. The Maximalists are declared to be in full control and it is reported they will sue for a separate peace with Germany. The Maximalists are in control of all of the telegraph and cable lines from Petrograd and every dispatch sent out is censored. A Bolshiviki manifesto has been issued calling a constituent assembly at once to administer the government.

Leon Trotsky, who returned to Russia from America following the revolution and abdication of the czar, is the leading spirit in the present activities of the Maximalists. The Bolshiviki are the most extreme radicals of Russia corresponding in many ways to the I.W.W. of this country.

Among their desires is an immediate peace without [with Germany] annexation or indemnities. Later objects are division of the land among peasants and the abolition of privately owned property and other wealth.

Tar and Feather I.W.W. Workers. Tulsa, Okla., Nov. 10, 1917: Beaten with cat-o-nine-tails, and coated with tar and feathers, 17 members of the International Workers of the World, who were taken from the Tulsa police by a crowd of men garbed in long black robes and masks, are hiding in the Osago hills. Officers who were taking I.W.W. members from the jail to the I.W.W. headquarters where they were to exact a promise [to] leave the city, were confronted by black-robed figures, armed with rifles, revolvers and shotguns, who compelled them to drive to a lonely spot. There other vigilantes joined them, and the beating and the tar and feathers were administrated.

Bomb Found In Chicago Theatre. Chicago, Nov. 17, 1917: Although scores of federal agents, detectives and police are engaged in an exhaustive investigation, no tangible clue to the identity of persons who placed a bomb in the Auditorium Theatre and started a panic that narrowly escaped turning into a tragic disaster, has been obtained today.  Two theories- one that the bomb was planted by a crank or by pro-German agents who sought to blow up the theater and the other that the bomb was not a dangerous one, but was placed by someone desirous of creating a smudge to frighten the audience for some unknown reason.

America Must Care For “War Brides.” Washington, Nov. 17, 1917: Information is daily reaching Washington of a large number of young wives who are suffering privation, while their soldier husbands are in France or in camps here. Many of these girls married soldiers on the eve of their departure for France. Now they find themselves approaching motherhood with only small remittances of $15 a month or so from their soldier husbands. Two organizations have already taken steps to provide relief for “war brides.” They are the American Red Cross and Women’s committee of the Council of National Defense. Already sent out [is] a call for layettes for the hundreds of children.

Russia Without A Government. Washington, Nov. 19, 1917: Russia today is without any semblance of stable government. Ambassador Francis reported that all foreigners in Petrograd are safe but that he has warned all unattached American women and men with women and children to leave the capital.  Unless there is an error in transmission the new party is known as the socialist. Its agitators are operating in Finland and are trying to organize strikes throughout northern Russia. Ambassador Francis said he had fear for the personal safety of the embassy attaches. “There is nothing to be called a government in all of Russia,” [he said].



100 years ago, much has changed and, then again, nothing has changed.







One Response to 100 Years Ago: November 1917. National News

  1. Jody Lynn

    November 29, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Whoa, the more things change the more they stay the same. Thanks for posting this.