1919 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

1919 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Top Ten Baby Names of 1919

Mary, Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ruth, John, William, James, Robert, Charles

US Life Expectancy

(1919) Males: 53.5 years, Females: 56.0 years

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders

Copacetic is a word meaning ‘completely satisfactory.’ This mysterious word first appeared in a 1919 Lincoln biography by J. Alfred Sharp… “Now there’s the kind of a man! Stout as a buffalo an’ as to looks, I’d call him, as ye might say, real copasetic.” Its unknown origin provokes endless etymological speculation

Optimist International was founded in Louisville, Kentucky

The American Legion was formed on March 15, 1919

Enterprise, Alabama, erected an elaborate monument in the middle of town to honor the boll weevil for its profound influence on the area’s agriculture and economy. This is probably the world’s first monument built to keep an agricultural pest.

The Dutch airline KLM was formed. It is the oldest airline flying under its original name.

Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was founded.

Japanese Chemist Akira Ogata developed crystal Meth.

Bentley Motors Limited was founded.

American Meteorological Society was founded in Boston.

Grand Canyon National Park: An act of the United States Congress established most of the Grand Canyon as a United States National Park.

Harold Hamgravy, Popeye’s Olive Oil’s longtime boyfriend, debuted in Thimble Theatre Comics.

Pepperoni is a variety of salami created in the US, and the word was first used to describe the sausage in 1919.

On January 16, The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, authorizing Prohibition, was ratified.

The Most Popular Singers and Artists of 1919 include

Norah Bayes, Al Bernard, Henry Burr, Albert Campbell, Conway’s Band, Arthur Fields, Earl Fuller’s Novelty Orchestra, Marion Harris, Charles Harrison, Vivian Holt & Lillian Rosedale, Al Jolson, Olive Kline, John McCormack, Billy Murray, The Peerless Quartet, Prince’s Orchestra, The Shannon Four, Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra, John Steel, The Sterling Trio, Wilber Sweatman’s Original Jazz Band, Van & Schenck, The Victor Military Band, Bert Williams, Yerkes Jazarimba Orchestra

The Scandals

A 480-inch tall “skyscraper,” which defrauded investors thought was to be 480 feet tall (actually 480 inches, about four stories), was built in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1919, and it still stands.

The Black Sox Scandal, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of intentionally losing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money from gangsters. The scandal led to the appointment of the first Commissioner of Baseball.

Pop Culture Facts & History

The Pennsylvania Hotel has had its telephone number longer than anyone else in the United States. They were given the number Pennsylvania 6-5000 in 1919. When area codes were added, and exchange names eliminated, the number became (212) 736-5000.

Indians Pitcher Ray Caldwell was struck by lightning on the mound and subsequently won the game against the Philadelphia Athletics on August 24, 1919.

Racehorse Man o’ War won 20 races in a row. He lost his last race in 1919 to a horse named Upset.

The US Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed the right to vote for women, and sent it to the individual states for ratification.

The Green Bay Packers got their name in 1919 after the Indian Packing Company gave the team $500 to buy equipment.

The longest Tour de France was held in 1919 and was 3,455 miles.

The Dodge Brothers, John and Horace, sued Henry Ford in 1919 because a company should act in the interests of its shareholders and not for the good of society, its customers, or its employees. They owned 10% of Ford stock, and the Michigan Supreme Court agreed.

Pachelbel’s Canon was written in the 1690s but forgotten. It survived in only two manuscripts, was first published in 1919, and first recorded in 1940.

Oregon became the first US state to tax gasoline… 1 cent per gallon.

The name ‘Aspirin’ was originally a trademark belonging to the German pharmaceutical company, Bayer. Still, after Germany’s loss in WWI, the company was forced to hand over the trademark as a part of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. They lost the trademarked name ‘Heroin’ too.

When the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 26, 1919, a French General, Marshal Ferdinand Jean Marie Foch, declared, “This is not peace; this is an armistice for 20 years”. WWII started 20 years and 64 days later.

It was confirmed in 1919 that ‘The sun never sets on the British Empire.’

In 1919, Michael Keogh stopped an angry mob of men from killing two right-wing political agents they were beating up. In 1930, at a Nuremberg rally, Keogh recognized one of the agents he had saved. It was Adolf Hitler.

Eisenhower and 80 US Army vehicles attempted to drive across the country. After the experience, Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System when he became President. #Nebraska #6milesperhour

Edith Bolling Wilson, the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, is often considered the first unofficial female President. She functionally ran the Executive branch of the government for the rest of her husband’s term after he suffered a stroke in 1919.

Nerd News

Einstein used 1919’s total solar eclipse to prove that Newton’s theory of space was wrong and that gravity can bend spacetime, causing light to take a different path.

Gravity assists, or “Gravitational Slingshots,” which can be used to propel a spacecraft for interplanetary travel, were first theorized in 1919.

A Social Experiment

Charles Schwab met a bunch of black American soldiers on a boat’s commissary in 1919 and offered to lend each a dollar as an experiment. He gave them all his address if they wanted to pay him back. 138 of 154 men did, almost 90%.

The Tragedies

A large molasses storage tank (over 2,000,000 gallons) burst in Boston in 1919, creating a 35 MPH flood of molasses that killed 21 people and injured 150; it became known as the ‘Great Molasses Flood.’

On July 21, 1919, the Goodyear Blimp crashed through the Illinois Trust & Savings Building skylight in Chicago, killing 13 people.

The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919 is known as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history, and it killed more people in 1 year than during the four years of the Black Plague. It was most deadly for people aged 20-40, and many died within hours of contracting the virus.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Johannes Stark
Chemistry – not awarded
Physiology or Medicine – Jules Bordet
Literature – Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler
Peace – Woodrow Wilson

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1919

Fiction Bestsellers

1. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by V. Blasco Ibanez
2. The Arrow of Gold by Joseph Conrad
3. The Desert of Wheat by Zane Grey
4. Dangerous Days by Mary Roberts Rinehart
5. The Sky Pilot in No Man’s Land by Ralph Connor
6. The Re-Creation of Brian Kent by Harold Bell Wright
7. Dawn by Gene Stratton Porter
8. The Tin Soldier by Temple Bailey
9. Christopher and Columbus by “Elizabeth”
10. In Secret by Robert W. Chambers

Nonfiction Bestsellers

1. The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams
2. The Years Between by Rudyard Kipling
3. Belgium by Brand Whitlock
4. The Seven Purposes by Margaret Cameron
5. In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
6. Bolshevism by John Spargo

Other Books of Note

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
Ten Days that Shook the World by John Reed
The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes
Commentary on Romans by Karl Barth
The Waning of the Middle Ages by
Outline of History by Johan HuizingaH.G. Wells
Rousseau and Romanticism by Irving Babbitt


World Series Champions: Cincinnati Reds
Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadiens (NHL) vs. Seattle Metropolitans (PCHA), but canceled due to flu epidemic, no champions
U.S. Open Golf: Walter Hagan
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): Bill Johnston/Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Bill Tilden/Suzanne Lenglen
NCAA Football Champions: Harvard, Texas A&M, and Notre Dame
Kentucky Derby Winner: Sir Barton (Triple Crown Winner: Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes)
Boston Marathon Winner: Carl Linder Time: 2:29:13

More 1919 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us) 
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1919
1919 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com 
Fact Monster
1919 in Movies (according to IMDB) 
Wikipedia 1919