Get Today in Masonic History into your Inbox. Sign up today for one of our email lists!

TODAY in Masonic History:

Facebook Twitter Google

Sol Bloom is Born

Today in Masonic History Sol Bloom is born 1870.

Sol Bloom was an American entertainer and politician.

Bloom was born on March 9th, 1870 in Pekin, Illinois. Shortly after his birth his family moved to San Francisco, California. It was there that he was introduced to theatre production. A young age he became a theatre manager, staging boxing matches. In 1889 he traveled to France to attend the Exposition Universelle in Paris. There he became fascinated with the dancers and acrobats of the "Algerian Village." There performances were somewhat representative of the culture in France's Algerian colony.

At the age of 23, Bloom established his reputation when he created a mile-long Midway Plaisance at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Blooms "Midway" included the many things that we now associate with a midway at a fair or other event, which included games and exhibitions. It is from Bloom's Midway Plaisance that term midway was popularized. One of the attractions on his midway was the "Street in Cairo." There the traditional North African belly dance was reinvented as the "hootchy kootchy dance". The dance was accompanied by a song that Bloom wrote himself called "The Streets of Cairo, or the Poor Little Country Maid". Some of the lyrics went:

O they don't wear pants
on the sunny side of France
There's a place in France
where the women wear no pants
...where the naked ladies dance

Bloom never copyrighted the song which he created at the Press Club of Chicago on the piano.

After the Exposition, Bloom went to work for M. Witmark & Sons, at the time the largest publisher of sheet music in the country. He also began performing in Chicago. At the turn of the century he received the first musical copyright for his performance of "I Wish I was in Dixieland Tonight" by Raymond A. Browne.

In 1903, Bloom moved to New York City to try to expand his national chain of department more music departments. Bloom also changed his political affiliation from Republican to Democrat joining Tammany Hall a society in New York which was a political machine founded in the 18th century. For a long time it controlled the political landscape in New York City. It was through his affiliation with Tammany Hall that Bloom was asked to run for Congress in 1922 after the sitting Representative from the 19th district of United States House of Representatives passed away. Bloom won and continued in the United States House of Representatives until 1945 when he became the representative from the 20th district. Until 1949 when he passed away and was succeeded by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.

Bloom passed away on March 7th, 1949.

Bloom was a member of Pacific Lodge No. 233 in New York City, New York.