1913: The Year Before the Great War

With the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I coming in 2014, explore the last year of peace before the "war to end all wars."


Image composite of people, art and events from 1913


The cost of a loaf of bread was around 8¢

U.S. National Women's Party forms

Grand Central Terminal in NYC opens

16th & 17th Amendments are ratified - the former instituting a federal income tax, the latter requiring direct election of senators

NY Armory Show introduces Picasso, Matisse & Duchamp to the U.S.; Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase causes a huge stir

1st prize inserted into a Cracker Jack box

Garment worker strikes and uprisings reached a crescendo, two years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

Ida B. Wells demonstrates for female suffrage in Washington D.C.

Woodrow Wilson, the 28th US President is inaugurated

Bulgaria captures Adrianople, ending the 1st Balkan War

British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst was arrested, but it only increased the resolve of the Women's Social and Political Union, the group she led.

German oceanliner SS Imperator (the largest to date) made her maiden voyage across the Atlantic

One of America's first skyscrapers, NYC's Woolworth Building opens

First four-engine plane built and flown by Russian, Igor Sikorsky; it later became the world's first four-engine bomber in the war.

Frans Hals museum opens in Harleem, Netherlands

Igor Stravinsky's avant-garde ballet score, The Rite of Spring, premiered in Paris provoking a riot

Suffragete Emily Davison throws herself in front of King George V's horse at the Epsom Derby, later dying of her injuries

2nd Balkan War begins when Bulgaria overthrows Greek & Serbian troops

At the peaceful Great Reunion of 1913 on the battlefield at Gettysburg, President Wilson remarked "We have found one another again as brothers and comrades in arms, enemies no longer..."

The Lincoln Highway, the first official memorial to the 16th president, opens. It was the first paved coast-to-coast highway, it runs from Lincoln Park in San Francisco to Times Square in NYC

The Senghenydd Colliery Disaster at a Welsh mine kills 439

Henry Ford introduces the continously moving assembly line

The Mona Lisa, stolen from the Louvre two years prior, was recovered

Charlie Chaplin begins his film career as The Tramp at Keystone Film Company

President Wilson forms the U.S. Federal Reserve

Suede and leather were in fashion, as well as scarf sleeves, lace evening wraps, fur-trim and wide hip belts. View fashions from 1913

View lightbox of people, events, fashion & art from the year 1913

New vintage postcard collection

We have recently uploaded a new collection of vintage European postcards sent in 1913. From the Look and Learn archive, these cards poignantly capture life in the Edwardian era, forming a poignant snapshot of Europe poised on the brink of devastating conflict.

View the entire 1913 vintage postcard collection

Germans drinking beer and having fun with the waitress (colour photo) by German Photographer / Look and Learn



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