“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, November 2, 1920, United States of America

Westinghouse-owned KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the first public commercial radio station in the U.S., is on air for the first time, broadcasting the results of the presidential election. The small percentage of the population in a large part of the eastern United States who own radio sets can hear the announcers read results right off the ticker tapes as they come in.

KDKA studio, November 2, 1920

And it’s also the first national election when women can vote. More voters than ever before—looks as though it will be a more than 40% increase over 1916—are creating a Republican landslide that is spilling into local elections as well.

Republican candidate Ohio Senator Warren G. Harding is about to be the first sitting senator elected president—on his 55th birthday.

More voters also mean more votes for the Socialist candidate, Eugene V. Debs, just about to turn 65, although he is currently serving time in federal prison on charges of sedition. If he gets the predicted almost 1 million votes, it will still be a smaller percentage than the record 6% he got when he ran in 1912.

The first lady-to-be, Florence Harding, 60, tells a friend,

I don’t feel any too confident, I can tell you. I haven’t any doubt about him, but I’m not so sure of myself.”

In Cook County, Illinois, the State Attorney General, Hartley Replogle, 40, is about to be swept out in the Republican tide, and his whole team, working on prosecuting the Black Sox World Series scandal, will soon be replaced.

Harding victory in traditional print Taunton [Massachusetts] Daily Gazette

Click here to join the centenary celebrations of KDKA’s historic first broadcast, including a re-enactment of the Harding election results broadcast from a replica of the original studio.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

My “Such Friends” presentations, The Founding of the Abbey Theatre and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, are available to view for free on the website of PICT Classic Theatre.

This fall I am talking about writers’ salons in Paris and New York after the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher program at Carnegie-Mellon University early in 2021.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.