Cool Time to Be Alive

I offer the following moment in time for your consideration, a year during which some amazingly cool people lived. The year is 1890, and alive during this brief snapshot of history were 25 individuals whose contributions have an impact on our lives to this day. 

This list started because I’ve always been intrigued that some of my favorite painters and writers were contemporaries. I sometimes wonder if they knew each other, although I know it is not likely. I just like to imagine DH Lawrence sitting at a cafe with Rainer Maria Rilke, telling him that he needs to lighten up and find someone to love. I picture Monet inviting himself to sit down, complaining about the critics of Impressionism. Freud leans in from another table to tell them all that they are stuck in the “id” stage of personality development.

I began to notice other monumental historic celebrities were also cranking out their brilliance around the same time. I did some googling and came up with more important figures, and a few who are lesser known but equallly important. In the end, the list is entirely based on my own personal taste and random whims, but I welcome you to comment and toss in your additions.

I can tell you that as a result of these 25 historic celebrities, Angela’s life is richer. I am able to read my favorite books while listening to impressive music and viewing amazing art, while wearing jeans and eating corn flakes. I can enjoy the conveniences of lights and phones, the priveledge of voting, and the reassurance of the modern nursing system to care for me if I fall ill. I can pursue philanthropic endeavors and engage in esoteric debates about philosophy and psychology. And finally, I can enjoy the world of fashion, rich with colors and textures.

I am not saying that I wish I had been alive during this time, as I willingly acknowledge my spoiled nature could not carry me more than a couple of days without modern amenities. I can, however, express my gratitude to all of these go-getters, whose ambition and ingenuity has propelled me into a far more comfortable and richly diverse existence.

I’m sure you will recognize almost all of these names, with the possible exception of the person who invented the electric guitar, the chemist who brought color to the fashion world and the Reverend who started the Salvation Army. See if you can figure those out.

1. Writers, Poets, Publishers, Philosophers:

D. H. Lawrence 1885-1930

Rilke: 1875-1926

Robert Frost: 1874-1963

Nietzsche: 1844-1900

Joseph Pulitzer: 1847-1911

Stephane Mallarme: 1842-1898

Mark Twain: 1835-1910

2. Academics, Scientists, Inventors:

George Washington Carver: 1864-1943

Sigmund Freud: 1856-1939

Thomas Edison: 1847-1931

Florence Nightingale: 1820-1910

Adolph Rickenbacker: 1886-1976

Alexander Graham Bell: 1847-1922

Sir William Henry Perkin: 1838-1907

3. Business, Philanthropy, Human Rights

Levi Strauss: 1829-1902

John Kellogg: 1852-1943

Andrew Carnegie: 1835-1919

Susan B Anthony: 1820-1906

William Booth: 1829-1912

John D. Rockefeller: 1839-1937

4. Art and Music

Matisse: 1869-1954

Monet: 1840-1926

Van Gogh: 1853-1890

Pablo Picasso: 1881-1973

Tchaikovsky: 1840-1893

3 thoughts on “Cool Time to Be Alive

  1. Old Jules

    No problem knowing who they are and what they did, but there’s a bit of a problem figuring out why some of them made the A-Team you’ve created. But the others on the list carry it, I suppose, same as being on a team of workers where a few work horses carry the load and the slackers ride and share the credit.

    Reply
  2. Art of Olive Green

    I like the idea of listing out inspirational people from an era. However, and please don’t think me pedantic, you might ought to check your spelling of Nietzsche. I hope you’d correct me when I stray 🙂

    Reply
  3. Pingback: The Goldilocks of Blogging | angelamaskey

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