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1871: Publishing; arts and music; popular entertainment; architecture; theatre.

America had never lacked for nature writers and in the later nineteenth century the best was John Burroughs, who followed in the footsteps of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. His first work, Wake-Robin, was published this year. The book was poetic in manner, as was Birds and Poets (1877). Wake-Robin was an invitation to ornithology and imparted the author's enthusiasm for bird watching. Burroughs' later writings paid more attention to scientific observation, although in his final years he believed that the salvation of society depended more on teachers, prophets, poets, and mystics than on science.

Among books published this year was the best seller The Hoosier Schoolmaster by Edward Eggleston. A classic of regional literature, Eggleston's novel sold some 500,000 copies, a circulation never reached by Eggleston's The Circuit Rider (1874) or Roxy (1878), considered better novels. Also published this year were Their Wedding Journey, the first novel of William Dean Howells, a combination of travelogue and novel of manners tracing the honeymoon journey of the Marches (who appear in later novels) to Niagara, Montreal, and Quebec; and Passage to India, a collection of poems by Walt Whitman that reflected a broadening of the poet's scope and subject matter. In the 72 poems, Whitman's artistic powers embraced peoples of all lands.

Probably the best-known painting by an American, popularly known as Whistler's Mother, was exhibited by James McNeill Whistler at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. It was entitled Arrangement in Grey and Black. Whistler remarked relative to the title that no one would have an interest in the identity of the sitter. Actually millions since have identified the canvas with their feelings for their feelings for their own mothers.

Lenox Library in New York City was built from plans by Richard Morris Hunt, who was one of the first Americans to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was influential in introducing French architecture to the U.S.

A patent for the first hollow tile design was issued to Balthaser Kreischer, a New York manufacturer. Hollow tile, light and fireproof, came into extensive use for industrial buildings.

The first Grand Central Station opened in New York City, with tracks running into a huge vault of open, webbed wrought iron. The building was demolished later to make way for the present terminal.

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Author:Carruth, Gorton
Publication:Encyclopedia of American Facts & Dates, 9th ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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