Henry Chadwick, sportswriter, historian

Henry Chadwick (1824 – April 20, 1908) was a sportswriter, baseball statistician and historian, often called the “Father of Baseball” for his early reporting on and contributions to the development of the game. He edited the first baseball guide that was sold to the public. He was born in England and moved to Brooklyn with his family at the age of 12. He began to write music and to teach piano and guitar, somewhat against the education he received in commerce and finance. As an adult he played cricket and rounders for amusement and began writing about the games for local newspapers.  He came across organized baseball… Read More

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Hippolyte Havel, writer, anarchist

Hippolyte Havel (1871–1950) was a anarchist from Czechoslovakia. He was friends with Emma Goldman. He lived in Greenwich Village, which he declared to be “a spiritual zone of mind”. When young, he had been imprisoned by the Austria-Hungary government for his anarchistic activities and declared insane. He was imprisoned, eventually moved from the insane asylum to a regular prison and escaped to England. Ms. Goldman brought him to NYC. Mr. Havel was married to the anarchist Polly Holliday, who with him ran a restaurant on Washington Square in Greenwich Village frequented by radicals and artists. He worked there as a waiter, often calling customers “bourgeois… Read More

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Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, architect, writer

Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes (1867 – 1944) was an architect and pioneer in social housing who co-authored the 1901 New York tenement house law. His most important contribution to NYC may have been his  The Iconography of Manhattan Island, a six volume compilation he worked on for over 20 years and published between 1915 and 1928. It became one of the most important research resources about the early development of the city. He was educated at St. Paul’s School, Concord, and Berkeley School in New York City before graduating from Harvard in 1891. He later took post graduate courses at Columbia University and then in Italy and at… Read More

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Wilhelm Christian Weitling, writer, tailor, inventor

Wilhelm Christian Weitling (1808 – 1871) was a tailor, inventor, and radical political activist. He immigrated from Germany and invented attachments for commercial sewing machines like devices for double-stitching and the button holes. Prior to his inventions, these had been done by hand and kept many families afloat with piece work by the women and children of poor areas in NYC. Weitling was raised in dire poverty, while his mother made a meager living as a maid and cook. His father, who never married his mother, was killed in war before Wilhelm turned 5.  His education was limited to elementary school and any… Read More

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