Thursday, April 30, 2009

On April 30

On this day in ...
... 1927, at a 500-acre site in Alderson, West Virginia, about 270 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., the Federal Industrial Institution for Women, the 1st women's prison run by the U.S. government, opened. Intended for every woman sentenced to a year or more, the prison run by Dr. Mary Belle Harris (far left) held, for the most part, persons convicted of Prohibition-era alcohol- or drug-related crimes. Among those urging its establishment had been Eleanor Roosevelt (center, with Elinor Morgenthau near right). According to this website:
One judge described the prison as a 'fashionable boarding school.' In some respects the judge was correct; the overriding purpose of the prison was to reform the inmates, not punish them. The prisoners farmed the land and performed office work in order to learn how to type and file. They also cooked and canned vegetables and fruits.

Today, Alderson remains a minimum-security prison holding about a thousand convicted women. (credit for 1934 photo taken at Alderson)
... 1919 (90 years ago today), at the Paris Peace Conference, the "Big Three" powers of the United States, France, and Great Britain, agreed, over China's objection, with Japan's claim to the Shantung province that once had belonged to now-vanquished Germany. President Woodrow Wilson conditioned his approval on a requirement that Japan return the province -- now known as Shandong, in red on map (credit) -- "once China's civil strife ended."

(Prior April 30 posts are here and here.)

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