October 2020

So far the headlines of 2020 have been dominated by what might be called the five C’s:  COVID, Climate, Cops, Crime and  Census, all of which have interacted to some degree.  For example, there’s a widespread concern that the COVID pandemic has inhibited an accurate census count, which in turn would have an impact on what might be considered a sixth C: Congressional reapportionment.  On that point, as much as some alert readers (ARs) and others might worry about what’s now happening or not happening with the census, things were a lot worse 100 years ago.  Seriously.

In 1920 a census of the United States was in fact taken.  The problem was that Congress, in direct violation of the U. S. Constitution,  never authorized reapportionment.  Since the 1910 census the populations of American cities had grown tremendously.  Politicians from rural areas, who were worried about losing their influence,  remedied the situation by simply not allowing reapportionment to occur despite the explicit requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment.  It was no accident that throughout the 1920s supporters of Prohibition from rural areas were overrepresented in Congress while opponents of Prohibition from urban areas were underrepresented.

The year 1920 was politically significant for reasons beyond the census whose results never led to congressional reapportionment.  This was the year in which the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, thereby giving women across America the right to vote in the presidential election that year.  What some ARs might not realize is that one of the most important events in the drive for women’s suffrage took place in St. Louis close to the site of what is now The Schlafly Tap Room.

Pilates equipment?

In 1916 the Democratic National Convention was held in St. Louis at the old Coliseum at Jefferson and Locust.  In order to make their case with the delegates, thousands of women from The St. Louis Equal Suffrage League formed a so-called “Golden Lane” on Locust Street from Twelfth (now Tucker) west to Jefferson.  They held yellow parasols and wore white dresses with golden sashes bearing the words “Votes for Women.”  Hundreds of these women stood right outside the main entrance of the Lambert Deacon Hull Printing Company building, which is now the home of The Schlafly Tap Room.  Historians of the suffrage movement are in agreement that this demonstration by thousands of dedicated women from St. Louis made quite an impact on the male delegates to the convention from around the country.

Long before 2020 I found that Pilates was a good way to relieve physical and psychological stress.  It was not until quite recently, however, that I learned that Joseph Pilates, who developed the exercise regimen that’s named for him, began his working career as an apprentice in a brewery in Germany in the 1890s.  He designed the technique that he called “Contrology” while he was held at a British internment camp on the Isle of Man during the First World War.  In 1928 Pilates moved to New York, where he opened his signature Contrology studio.  His clients worked out on equipment he had made by cutting empty beer barrels in half and covering them with upholstery.  He was renowned for teaching classes while drinking beer and smoking cigars,  two practices in which none of my instructors have engaged while on duty.

In 1929 Joseph Pilates filled out his application to become an American citizen.  He was counted in the 1930 census and was fairly represented in Congress as a result of the belated reapportionment that finally took place.  He would have been able to vote in the 1932 Presidential election and soon thereafter would have been able to drink beer legally while teaching his classes.


Tom Schlafly
Chairman – The Saint Louis Brewery