27 November 1901

The US Army War College is established.

Established from the principles learned in the Spanish–American War, the College was founded by Secretary of War Elihu Root and U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, and formally established by General Order 155 on 27 November 1901. Washington Barracks—now called Fort Lesley J. McNair—in Washington, D.C. was chosen as the site. Roosevelt attended the Masonic laying of the cornerstone of Roosevelt Hall on 21 February, 1903.

The first president of the Army War College was Major General Samuel B. M. Young in July 1902 and the first students attended the College in 1904.

During the presidency of Montgomery M. Macomb in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson accused students and staff of planning for taking part in an offensive war, even though the United States had not entered World War I. Wilson was unconvinced by Macomb’s explanation that the college was concerned only with the intellectual growth and professional development of its students, and insisted that the school curtail its activities in order to ensure that the U.S. maintained its neutrality.

The College remained at Washington Barracks until the 1940s, when it was closed due to World War II. It reopened in 1950 at Fort Leavenworth, and moved one year later to its present location.

The Center for Strategic Leadership areas of emphasis are experiential education, Senior Leader education, support to Army Senior Leader research, and support to both US Army War College and Army Senior Leader strategic communication efforts. CSL’s professional staff and Collins Hall facility host, support, develop, and conduct world-class events focused on a broad range of strategic leadership and national security issues and concepts in support of the USAWC, the Army, and the Interagency and Joint Communities.

The Basic Strategic Art Program is one of the academic programs taught at the U.S. Army War College. When the program was founded in 2003, its purpose was to provide those officers who had been newly designated into Functional Area 59 an introduction to strategy and to the unique skills, knowledge, and attributes needed as a foundation for their progressive development as army strategists. FA 59 officers have deployed to combat since the onset of the Global War on Terror in 2001. Since then, graduates of this program served in key positions in Iraq, Afghanistan, all combatant commands, and at the Pentagon.

The Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute is located at the War College. The institute’s mission is to serve as the U.S. Military’s Center of Excellence for Stability and Peace Operations at the strategic and operational levels in order to improve military, civilian agency, international, and multinational capabilities and execution.

13 November 1901

The 1901 Caister lifeboat disaster takes place.

The Caister lifeboat disaster of 13 November 1901 occurred off the coast of Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk, England. It took place during what became known as the “Great Storm”, which caused havoc down the east coasts of England and Scotland.

Poor weather conditions on 13 November contributed to the disaster. A gale created lashing rain and a heavy sea. Shortly after 11:00 PM, flares were seen from a vessel on the Barber sands. The Cockle light-ship fired distress signals to indicate a vessel in trouble. The crew of the lifeboat Beauchamp were alerted and an attempt was made to launch the lifeboat. The heavy seas washed the boat off her skids and she was hauled back up the beach for another attempt. The crew fought until 2:00 AM in the dark and cold with warp and tackle to get the lifeboat afloat.

After the launch most of the launching crew went home to change their wet clothing. James Haylett Sr, who had been the assistant coxwain for many years and was now 78 years old, remained on watch despite being wet through and having no food. He had two sons, a son-in-law, and two grandsons in the boat.

The coxwain steered towards the stricken vessel but the sea conditions forced the boat back towards the beach and she struck the beach bow first about 50 yards from the launch point. The heavy sea struck the starboard quarter and capsized the boat, breaking off the masts and trapping the crew beneath the boat. Beauchamp was a Norfolk and Suffolk-class non-self-righting boat, 36 feet in length, 10 1?2 feet wide and weighing 5 long tons without her gear. When fully crewed and equipped and with ballast tanks full she needed 36 men to bring her ashore.

The time was now around 3:00 AM. Frederick Henry Haylett returned to the lifeboat house after getting changed and alerted his grandfather James Haylett Sr to the cries coming from the boat. They ran to where Beauchamp lay keel up in the surf. James Haylett managed to pull his son-in-law Charles Knights from the boat. Frederick Haylett also ran into the surf and pulled John Hubbard clear. James Haylett returned to the water to pull his grandson Walter Haylett clear. These were the only survivors.

9 May 1901

Australia opens its first parliament in Melbourne.

The Opening of the First Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia by H.R.H. The Duke of Cornwall and York, May 9, 1901, more commonly known in Australia as The Big Picture, is a 1903 painting by the Australian artist Tom Roberts. The painting, measuring 304.5 by 509.2 centimetres, or roughly 10 by 17 feet, depicts the opening of the first Parliament of Australia at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne on 9 May 1901.

The painting is part of the Royal Collection but has been on permanent loan to the Parliament of Australia since 1957. The work, currently on display in Parliament House, Canberra, has been described as “undoubtedly the principal work of art recording Australia’s Parliamentary History.”

On 1 January 1901, after years of debate, the various colonies in Australia joined in a federation. While the new Constitution of Australia called for a new capital to be constructed, away from the major cities, until that time Melbourne would act as the seat of government of the new nation. Elections were held for the first Parliament of Australia and on 9 May 1901, the new parliament was sworn in at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.

The opening of the new parliament was seen as a historic and momentous occasion with King Edward VII’s son, the Duke of Cornwall and York coming to Australia to officially open the new parliament on behalf of the King. To appropriately capture the occasion, the “Australian Art Association”, a consortium of private benefactors, sought to commission a painting of the event as a “gift to the nation”. Their motives were not entirely altruistic; the consortium hoped to profit by selling prints. Roberts was not the consortium’s first choice, with J. C. Waite initially preferred.

he painting was first exhibited in the Royal Academy in London before being presented to King Edward VII by the Commonwealth Government in 1904. It was then moved to St. James’s Palace where it remained on display until 1957. That year, Robert Menzies, the Prime Minister of Australia requested the permanent loan of the painting from Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen consented and the picture returned to Australia in 1958.

The picture was to be exhibited in the King’s Hall of the then Parliament House with the other historic records of events as the opening of the first Parliament in Canberra in 1927 and the Royal opening of Parliament in 1954, however it was too big for the available space. The decision was made to store the painting at the Australian War Memorial after a tour of the various state galleries. In 1969, the painting was moved to the Parliament House basement where it remained until 1980.

As a result of its travels, the picture had deteriorated considerably and required major restoration work.

The picture had long been unprotected from changes in temperature and humidity, it had been constantly rolled and unrolled and untacked from its stretcher frame. At one stage it was even folded in half for transport. All this seriously affected the canvas. It gradually sagged, undulated and malformed and was in danger of becoming completely dilapidated.

—?Katrina Rumley, quoted in Mackenzie.
The School of Materials Conservation at the Canberra College of Advanced Education started restoration work in 1980. The work included infra-red and ultra-violet photography to determine the condition of the painting followed by removal of old varnish and grime, repairs to the tacking margin and restoration of some small areas of paint. The work was completed in time for it to be taken to the new High Court of Australia building for its official opening by the Queen in 1981.

The designers of the new Parliament House were mindful of the need to provide an appropriate space to display The Big Picture in the new building. The Joint Standing Committee responsible for the new building made the decision to place the painting in the Main Committee Room Foyer. The architects worked to ensure that major design elements in the room such as the skylight and balustrade around the work allowed for the integration of the painting with the available space. Because the fragile state of the picture prevented it from being rolled, moving the painting from the High Court to Parliament House was a major logistical exercise. The move required removal of some windows at the High Court, the construction of a special carrying frame and scaffolding and a system of winches to support the picture in place. The painting remains in this specially designed location to this day.

On the occasion of the centenary of Federation in 2001, the Premier of Victoria Steve Bracks led a call for ownership of the painting to be formally transferred from the British Royal Collection to the Australian Crown. This was opposed as being both impracticable and unnecessary, as the Queen or her successors were unlikely to request its return.

2 February 1901

The funeral of Queen Victoria.

In 1897, Victoria had written instructions for her funeral, which was to be military as befitting a soldier’s daughter and the head of the army, and white instead of black. On 25 January, Edward VII, the Kaiser and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, helped lift her body into the coffin. She was dressed in a white dress and her wedding veil. An array of mementos commemorating her extended family, friends and servants were laid in the coffin with her, at her request, by her doctor and dressers. One of Albert’s dressing gowns was placed by her side, with a plaster cast of his hand, while a lock of John Brown’s hair, along with a picture of him, was placed in her left hand concealed from the view of the family by a carefully positioned bunch of flowers. Items of jewellery placed on Victoria included the wedding ring of John Brown’s mother, given to her by Brown in 1883. Her funeral was held on Saturday, 2 February, in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and after two days of lying-in-state, she was interred beside Prince Albert in Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park.

Westminster Abbey. Special Service To be held on the occasion of the Funeral of Her Late Majesty Queen Victoria, Saturday, February 2nd, 1901, At Two o’clock. Order of Service. The state funeral of Queen Victoria took place in February 1901; it had been 64 years since the last burial of a monarch. Victoria left strict instructions regarding the service and associated ceremonies and instituted a number of changes, several of which set a precedent for state funerals that have taken place since. First, she disliked the preponderance of funereal black; henceforward, there would be no black cloaks, drapes or canopy, and Victoria requested a white pall for her coffin. Second, she expressed a desire to be buried as “a soldier’s daughter”. The procession, therefore, became much more a military procession, with the peers, privy counsellors and judiciary no longer taking part en masse. Her pallbearers were equerries rather than dukes, and for the first time, a gun carriage was employed to convey the monarch’s coffin. Third, Victoria requested that there should be no public lying in state. This meant that the only event in London on this occasion was a gun carriage procession from one railway station to another: Victoria having died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, her body was conveyed by boat and train to Waterloo Station, then by gun carriage to Paddington Station and then by train to Windsor for the funeral service itself.

The funeral procession
The rare sight of a state funeral cortège travelling by ship provided a striking spectacle: Victoria’s body was carried on board HMY Alberta from Cowes to Gosport, with a suite of yachts following conveying the new king, Edward VII, and other mourners. Minute guns were fired by the assembled fleet as the yacht passed by. Victoria’s body remained on board ship overnight before being conveyed by gun carriage to the railway station the following day for the train journey to London. Victoria broke convention by having a white draped coffin.

Victoria’s children had married into the great royal families of Europe and a number of foreign monarchs were in attendance including Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany as well as the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

10 December 1901

The first Nobel Prizes are awarded.

On 10 December 1975 the 75th Nobel banquet was held. On that day, Folke Henschen told radio listeners his personal memories of the very first Nobel Prize awards, which he experienced as a student marshal. What follows here is a more detailed version.

After long protracted negotiations, partly with the French government and partly with the Nobel family, the first awarding of five Nobel Prizes could finally take place on 10 December 1901 – four of them given out in Stockholm and one, the Peace Prize, in Christiania, as Oslo was then called. Five years had passed since Alfred Nobel had died in San Remo, on 10 December 1896.

In the days leading up to the awarding of prizes, there was certain tension in the air. The Nobel Laureates’ names had been kept secret – they were not, as now, revealed months in advance. When three distinguished German – speaking gentlemen arrived by train from the south and were taken to the Grand Hotel, it was clear that they must be the Nobel Laureates. International traffic was not as commonplace then as now.

Folke Henschen
Photo of Folke Henschen kindly provided by his son, Anders Henschen.
The Nobel Prizes were presented in the large hall of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music1 at Nybroviken. The unpretentious, rather boring hall had been richly decorated under the supervision of the much sought-after royal architect, Agi Lindegren. As one of the so-called student marshals, decked out in student cap and a broad silk blue-and-gold band over my left shoulder, I had an excellent view of everything from my seat in the gallery to the right of the podium. The large bandstand where the royal orchestra was to play was completely decorated with plants and pine boughs. Centered at the back of the stage, beneath a giant laurel wreath tied with blue-and-gold ribbon, was a large broad obelisk with a white bust of Alfred Nobel. At the front there was a lectern and four more obelisks with the inscriptions PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY, MEDICINE, LITERATURE. Just in front of the stage were three armchairs for royalty, and behind these was a semicircle of chairs for the prize winners, the presenters, and attendants. Back of the semicircle there were places for all the intellectuals, distinguished officials, and military officers from Stockholm and around the country.

The hall filled gradually with people dressed in festive attire. Then, the three current prize winners entered and sat down, without music or fanfare as now is customary. First came the stately German, Wilhelm Conrad von Röntgen, with his large dark professor’s beard, then the smiling, blond, clean-shaven Dutchman, Jakobus Hendricus van t’Hoff, followed by the elegant German Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Emil Adolf von Behring. Last came the French minister, who was to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature for his countryman, the poet, Sully Prudhomme, who was ill. Finally, the royal family entered: in the middle, Crown Prince Gustaf–later to become King Gustaf V–standing in for King Oscar who had been forced to travel to Christiania because of the threatening break-up of the Swedish Norwegian union. With him, came the 19-year old Prince Gustaf Adolf together with Prince Eugen. The seating arrangement meant that the royalty sat more or less with their backs to the Nobel Laureates and presenters.

Musical Academy in Stockholm
The first Nobel Prize Award Ceremony at the Musical Academy in Stockholm.
When the royal family was seated, the royal orchestra burst forth with a pompous festival overture by Ludwig Norman. Thereupon, the Nobel Foundation chairman, the former Prime Minister E G Boström, rose to the lectern and described in a speech of some length Alfred Nobel’s life, character, discoveries, and his warm wish to benefit mankind with annual awards from his fortune.

Thereafter, the Swedish Academy’s powerful permanent secretary, C.D. af Wirsén, came forward and read a “poem” – or so it states in the program I still have. I still remember his deep grandiloquent voice: “No desire became duty, no striving that bore down on Swedish shoulders” – and the end: “Two things induce us to bear the heavy responsibility: the will of Death and our Mother’s honor.” Then followed an augmented men’s quartet that sang the old mighty student song, “Open thy gates, thou radiant temple garden of memory”.

At last, the actual presentation of prizes began. In regard to the scientific prizes, the presentations were made by representatives of the two institutes that selected the recipients, rather than by experts in the pertinent fields, as later became usual. Thus, the old Director General of the National Archives, C.T. Odhner, Chairman of the Academy of Sciences, gave an account of how the Nobel Laureate in Physics, Röntgen, discovered the radiation that is named after him and recited the bases for the Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, van t’Hoff’s discoveries pertaining to osmotic pressure and chemical dynamics, both of which subjects were certainly foreign to him. After each statement, he stepped down from the podium and led the appropriate Nobel Laureate forward to receive his diploma and medal from the hand of the Crown Prince.

Thereafter, the President of Karolinska Institutet, Professor Karl Mörner, came to the lectern and described Behring’s discovery of anti-diptheria serum, whereupon Behring received his award in the same way. Finally, Wirsén spoke about Sully Prudhomme and read part of his famous symbolic poem, ‘Le vase brisé’ (The Broken Vase). The vase has a crack “tout bas, invisible au monde” which the poor vessel feels spreading, so that its contents leak out. “Il est brisé, n’y touchez pas” – touch it not! Yes, certainly it was beautiful, but …

And so the awarding of the prizes came to an end. The Royal Orchestra played a march by August Söderman, the royal family rose, and the hall emptied. It was not far to the Grand Hotel2 where a festival banquet stood ready and to which even we marshals were invited. There were many toasts and a splendid ambience. And in the small hours, two marshals carried the little van t’Hoff in a gold chair around the room.

And so it was, then, that the first – and one could say historic – Nobel Prize ceremony ended.

2 February 1901

The funeral of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria died on 22nd January 1901 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and was buried in The Mausoleum, Frogmore, Windsor, on 4th February 1901 following a State Funeral in St. George’s Chapel on 2nd February 1901.
After the funeral her coffin lay-in-state in The Albert Memorial Chapel for two days and was then taken to The Mausoleum by The Royal Horse Artillery. Her son, Edward, had been proclaimed King Edward VII.The Funeral Cortège pauses for a moment just past The Guildhall on its way to Park Street, the Long Walk, and up through the castle grounds to St George’s Chapel. 2nd February 1901. As described in the letter below, the Royal Horse Artillery had been unable to draw the gun carriage and so sailors from the Royal Navy has taken over the task within moments.After the funeral service, officers of The Grenadier Guards guarded the body of the late Queen Victoria during the Lying in State in The Albert Memorial Chapel, 2nd – 4th February, 1901.Two days after the funeral, on 4th February 1901, Queen Victoria was taken to Frogmore Mausoleum to rest beside her husband Prince Albert. In this picture the cortège is on its way from The Albert Memorial Chapel through the Upper Ward of Windsor Castle, drawn by the Royal Horse Artillery.

10 December 1901

The first Nobel Prize is awarded.

Swedish chemist and inventor of dynamite, Alfred B. Nobel, established the Nobel Prizes in his will. This bequeathment allegedly shocked his relatives and the countries where he had once lived, such as France and Russia. The first prizes were awarded five years after his death in five categories, namely chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. The sixth subject, economics, was added in 1969. Albert Schweitzer used his $33,000 Nobel Prize money to expand the hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon, and to erect a leper colony. Several South Africans such as Chief Albert Luthuli, Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Nadine Gordimer, F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela had been recipients of these awards through the years. Through the years Nobel awards have become highly distinguished and meritorious prizes.

24 October 1901

Annie Taylor is the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.


On October 24th, 1901 Annie Taylor became the first person and the first woman to go over the falls in a barrel and survive. Ms Taylor, a 63 year old school teacher from Michigan, accompanied by her cat, decided to tempt fate in an effort to gain fame and fortune.

The Pan American Exposition was taking place in Buffalo, New York and Ms. Taylor felt she would be able to attract a huge crowd. On the afternoon of October 24th, 1901 a small boat towed the barrel containing Ms. Taylor and her cat into the main stream of the Niagara River where it was cut loose.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. the barrel was seen edging over the brink, only to reappear less than a minute laterwhere it was seen floating at the base of the falls. Fifteen minutes later the barrel reappeared close to the Canadian shore, where it was dragged to a rock and the barrel lid removed.

To everyone’s amazement, Annie Taylor emerged from her barrel, dazed but triumphant. Her only injury was a cut on her forehead that she received while being extracted from her barrel. Mrs. Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to ever go over the Mighty Niagara Falls and survive and she undoubtedly found the fame that she had been seeking.