"Rolf, the mandolin-playing terrier, was regularly featured on Art Nudnick’s Musical Menagerie. The Sunday afternoon variety program was a hit for the better part of 1925."

Photo ‘discovered’ by the NYPR Archives Dept. on April 1, 2004 and used in the WNYC History Notes e-newsletter. Thanks to former Senior Archivist Cara McCormick.

Traffic tower on Fourth and Pike, Seattle, Washington.

The officer was assigned to operate all the traffic signals on Fourth Avenue between University and Pine Streets, and on Pike Street between First and Fifth Avenues, while watching out for disobedient pedestrians.  And no left turns were allowed.

Circa 1925.

3

March 21, 1925: Tennessee passes the Butler Act, a law prohibiting its schools from denying the Biblical account of human origins.

That same year, the media flocked to Dayton, Tennessee, to witness and document a court case that unfolded out of one substitute teacher’s violation of the act, which became a microcosm for schisms within American culture between theology and science, fundamentalism and secularism, Jesus and Darwin. Specifically, the Butler Act - named for the state representative who introduced the bill and who thought evolution might steer his children away from Christianity - decreed that:

it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities, Normals and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the Story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.

In the ACLU-backed Scopes Trial, the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld the law on the grounds that they could not “see how the prohibition of teaching the theory that man has descended from a lower order of animals gives preference to any religious establishment or mode of worship.” The state legislature repealed the law in 1967, when another teacher disputed his dismissal and argued that the law violated his right to free speech.

Many of the basic principles of Charles Darwin’s theories had become widely accepted among scientists and the religious alike within Darwin’s own lifetime. Even in the United States, debate prior to World War I focused primarily on scientific alternatives to Darwinism and how Christians might reconcile science and faith. But anti-evolution sentiment gained significant traction in the country after World War I. The great populist politician William Jennings Bryan (who later faced Clarence Darrow during the “Scopes Monkey Trial”) campaigned against the teaching of evolution on the grounds that, as he wrote in 1922, teaching evolution weakened Christianity and therefore morality. Bryan opposed these teachings believing that Darwinism undermined the whole basis of societal morality. A man most famous for his campaigns against the corrupting forces of modernity - of elites, monopolies, and banks, imperialism - opposed evolution on the same grounds, linking Darwinism with Social Darwinism and scientific justifications for economic, social exploitation. He wrote in 1925 that “science is a magnificent material force, but it is not a teacher of morals.”