What happened in 1901?

An outline of significant events that took place in the year 1901.

Also some galleries of images to illustrate the culture, art, design, cinema, fashion and photography of 1901.


Background History

  • Queen Victoria dies. King Edward VII will be the new king.
  • US Steel Corp is formed by the Morgan family.
  • Assassination attempt on Germany’s Wilhelm II.
  • Munitions factory workers strike in St Petersburg resulting in violence with troops. Around 800 workers are arrested and imprisoned. Around 30,000 students go on strike that winter.
  • Democratic Union forms in the Netherlands.
  • The Boer wars continue.
  • Ed Prescot patents the first ever looped roller coaster.
  • Hubert Cecil Booth patents a vacuum dust cleaner.
  • Cook Islands become part of New Zealand.
  • King Milan of Serbia dies.
  • Discovery of oil in Texas.


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Gusher in a Port Arthur, Texas Oil We…

  • US President McKinley is assassinated at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo.
  • New US President Theodore Roosevelt renames his residence as The White House.
  • King Camp Gillette patents the first disposable razor and sells a new safety razor blade.
  • Marconi receives first transatantic wireless radio signal.
  • Boxer rebellion in China offically ends.
  • First ever Nobel Prize ceremony is held in Stockholm. Named after the Swedish inventor of dynamite.
  • In London, Scotland Yard creates an archive of fingerprints, inspired by a similar bureau in India.
  • The first speed limits for cars are introduced.
  • First ever public telephones are installed in Parisian railway stations.
  • The first commercial adhesive tape is invented in Germany.
  • William S Harley invents a prototype motorcycle.


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Motorcycle, 1901


Photography is either full of tricks from the professionals…

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Spirit Photograph, C1901


Or the first taste of amateur snapshot photography using the latest portable cameras:

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Album photographique : Partie de pech…


Thomas Edison closes down the USA’s first film studio, named Black Maria. Projectionist Edwin Stanton Porter is put in charge of motion picture productions at Edison’s new glass-rooftop studio facility in New York City. Porter directs several films for the studio in this year.

The first ever known colour film footage can be found in this year. Here it is:

‘Actuality’ films are popular. They show ordinary scenes from contemporary life. Also comedy and trick cinema is popular entertainment. These films are all very short.

Queen Victoria’s funeral procession is filmed.

You can view more films from 1901 here.


Eleven years after the death of Vincent van Gogh, a posthumous solo exhibition of his work creates a buzz in Paris. His talent is acknowledged and celebrated.

Pablo Picasso‘s first ever exhibition in Paris. After the exhibition Picasso’s work enters his depression-filled Blue Period following the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas.

At the Vienna Secession exhibitions, Auguste Rodin has fourteen works including The Burghers of Calais.
Also showing is Gustav Klimt’s Medicine, which repeats the scandal of his earlier Philosophy.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec dies.

Edvard Munch is represented for the first time with his paintings Angst and Beach.

Claude Monet is the first artist-in-residence at the Savoy Hotel in London. He paints views of the Thames from his penthouse room.


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Secession Building
Andrea Costantini


Pan-American Exposition opens in Buffalo, USA: promoted as a celebration of modern culture and technology and to showcase the US as a world power. It is here that designer Gustav Stickley launches The Craftsman magazine. He popularises the British-based Arts & Crafts in the USA.

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Spirit of Niagara 1901
Evelyn Rumsey Cary

In the USA, furniture designer Charles Rohlfs establishes a workshop creating custom-built furniture inspired by Arts & Crafts style.


Hats for women: the best dressed women still wore huge hats with feathers, flowers, ribbons and lace.

Hats for men: the bowler hat still reigns for workwear and the top hat for middle-class formal evening wear only.

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Cassidy And Longbaugh


Skirts are mermaid-shaped to fit inwards at the knees and flow out at the hem and always trailing on the ground.

The spiral hairpin is invented by Ernest Godward in New Zealand.

Men copy the less formal fashion preferred by King Edward VII: narrow trousers with a centre-crease and lounge suit. Younger men increasingly begin to wear these fashions to work.

Shirt-waist blouses and high, stiff necks are popular for daywear with a tailored dress or suit. Sleeves are tight at the shoulder and puff out beyond the elbow, gathering again at the wrist.

The female corset shape is becoming less extreme with a slimmer bust and hip shapes.

Women’s dresses begin to form shapes from the material rather than the corsetry underneath. Bustles, bows, applique, nips and tucks. Curved, flowing lines are the height of fashion. A low neckline and mono-bosom, is popular and attractive. The Gibson Girl remains the ideal modern, fashionable woman.


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Gibson: Turning Tide, 1901
Charles Dana Gibson


Here is my Pinterest gallery of fashion in 1901:


The Climbers, a drama by Clyde Fitch, opens in New York. It is produced by Amelia Bingham who also stars. She is the first female to manage a theatre production in the USA.

Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov opens in Moscow, Russia.

EthelBarrymore1901Ethel Barrymore stars in Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines. This is the play that makes her famous. It opens at the Garrick Theatre on 4th February.

George M Cohan writes, produces and directs his first Broadway musical The Governor’s Son.

Konstantin Stanislavski formulates a new method of acting which encourages actors to react on stage as they would in real life. This transforms theatre performances and brings the fashion of realism to acting performance and standard.


Giuseppi Verdi dies

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Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Giovanni Boldini



The Psychopathology of Everyday Life by Sigmund Freud is published.

Up From Slavery by Booker T Washington is published. President Roosevelt invites him to visit The White House.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit is privately printed by Beatrix Potter after being rejected by several publishers.

Here are my galleries from 1901:

1901 on Pinterest

Fashion in 1901 on Pinterest

1901 on Pictify

This post and Pinterest/Pictify pages get added to as time goes by.
Please do leave a comment below if you think something is missing and should be included.

2 Comments on “What happened in 1901?

  1. Laura Keene was America’s First Successful Female Theatre Manager and Producer in Baltimore, California, and New York City 1853 through 1872. She was the actress on stage when Pres. Lincoln was assassinated. I loved looking at this site for research, well done!

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