The year 1909 saw the inauguration of the only US President to formerly hold the position of Chief Justice: William Howard Taft. He, along with his cabinet, became notorious for their ample use of so-called “dollar-diplomacy”.
With a population of just 1.7 billion, the world was a much smaller place at the start of the 20th century. These 365 days saw the beginnings of many things we now take for granted: communist paranoia, middle schools, instant coffee, anti-drug taskforces, credit unions, and pedestrian-jammed subway lines.
Famous criminal Clyde Barrow, the namesake of McCarthyism, Joseph McCarthy, and the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah were also all born in 1909. The world also witnessed the end of the inventor of instant photography, Edwin Land, Apache-chief Geronimo, Japanese Prime Minister Ito Horiboemi, and the King of Belgium, Leopold II.
In 1909, the names Mary and John were common place choices for new parents. To help set the scene, imagine a time where the most movies were monochromatic classics like Carmen, Andreas Hofer, and The Life of Moses. Off the silver screen, the bookworms of the world were engrossed in The Road to Oz, Martin Eden, and Three Lives. Keep reading to find out what made 1909 so fundamental to life as we know it.
A lot changed on the Earth in 1909. First and foremost, let’s look at some of the year’s notable firsts. These include, the first rescue at sea facilitated by radio, the first federal legislation preventing narcotic use, the opening of the first junior high school, the first woman to drive cross-country, and the test of the world’s first army plane. For anyone out there who can’t function without a nice hot cup of joe, these twelve months also saw the invention of instant coffee.
The world became a much bigger place after these twelve months as well. Polish Explorer, Shackleton, set a world record for going farther south on the world than any other human being. In addition, Robert Peary became the first person in history to reach the North Pole, and the first cement laid at the Panama Canal heralded a future of easier travel between the Eastern and Western hemispheres. While relationships between Nicaragua and the US soured after an invasion, Japan attempted to increase diplomacy by gifting the US with the first of its infamous cherry trees.
Therefore, whether you rely on instant coffee to put some pep in your step, or have a desktop background of Washington in bloom, you should write a thank-you note to 1909.
Discover how USA looked like in 1909
Have a look at the old newspapers from 1909 and get them!
Which were the most popular movies released this year ?
Directed by: Wu Min-Hsiung
Directed by: Edwin S. Porter
Starring: Mary Fuller, Marc McDermott, Herbert Prior
Which were the top hits of 1909 ?
Which were the top popular names given to babies born in 1909 in the USA ?
Click on the dates below to find out what the world looked like in each day of 1909