Today Then : America's best minds look 100 years into the future on the occasion of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Compiled and introduced by Dave Walter. Helena, MT: American & World Geographic Publishing, c1992.
p. 36-37

"Splendid Amazons and Pygmy Men"

    Throughout her long career as a poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) enjoyed great popularity. Ella Wheeler was born in Johnstown Center (near Madison), Wisconsin, and showed a remarkable aptitude for writing at a young age. With her family's encouragement, Ella began to publish her poems in national magazines before she was 16 years old; by 20, she brought a tidy supplement to the family income.
   In 1884 Ella married Robert Marius Wilcox, a producer of art in silver, and the couple moved to Connecticut. Although they travelled widely, Ella continued to write both prose and poetry for national publication. She ultimately published more than 30 volumes and, at one point in the early 1890s, she produced a daily poem for national newspaper syndication.
   Although some critics found Wilcox's work platitudinous and sentimental, she argued that it brought comfort and hope to millions of Americans in dire circumstances. Her message remained one of unwavering optimism, mixed with theosophy and teh occult.

   In 1993 the government will have grown more simple, as true greatness tends always toward simplicity. Railroads and telegraphs will belong to the state, thus lessening the dangerous power of large monopolies and vast corporations. Otherwise, in less than a century, our boasted American freedom would cease to exist, since it is already menaced.
   In temperance the world ere then will have realized the folly of trying to legislate upon appetites. It will realize the necessity of educating drunkards--and that to educate them we must begin with parents. People who refuse to be taught on this and kindred subjects must be prevented from becoming parents. In this way only can drunkenness be lessened.
   The same humane law will, by that time, extend to criminals--they will be prevented from propagating their kind. This will take the place of capital punishment and, after a few generations, will do away with crime, because no criminals will be born.
   The whole vast West will be irrigated and fertilized, furnishing food for all our population. Architecture will have reached a much higher state, but it will not in 500 years attain the perfection found in countries thousands of years old. Airships will facilitate travel, and the pneumatic tube will be the means of transporting goods.
   America will produce the greatest authors who shall be living in 1993. In musical achievement it will still be behind older countries.
   The occult sixth sense will be the predominant element in medicine and theology. Mesmerism will take the place of anesthetics in surgery. Theosophy--the religion of high thinking and selfless living--will take the place of creeds and dogmas. Clairvoyancy or spiritual insight will be almost universal.
   Woman will be financially independent of man, and this will materially lessen crime. No longer obliged to rifle her husband's pockets for money, she will not give birth to kleptomaniacs or thieves. Men will learn the importance of proper prenatal conditions, and children will be reared with the same care now given to colts, calves, and dogs.
   The government will establish colleges for the training of servants. And architects will consider the comfort and health of domestics in constructing homes, instead of ignoring them, as at present. Better instructed, better paid, better cared for, and more plentiful, the servant of the next century will be more useful, better content, and more respectful and respected.
   If our men keep pace with our women in athletic development and in clean morals, the race will be larger and handsomer. Otherwise we shall produce splendid amazons and pygmy men.
   Chicago will be our greatest city because she knows she is not, and desires to be, and has the energy and zeal to become so. Each of our other large cities thinks she is already the greatest and will make no pronounced effort to be greater. All permanent greatness means eternal endeavor.
   If any man now living solves the great question of the true relation of capital and labor, to him will 1993 accord the honor of the greatest man. Next to him stands [Thomas] Edison.

Today Then presents 74 pieces written in the early 1890s by noted commentators on the American scene. The American Press Association, a ready-print syndicate based in New York City, originally commissioned the writings. The A.P.A. ran this series in weekly newspapers across the country as a prelude to the opening of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago on May 1, 1893. That Chicago fair remains one of the most amazing events in an amazing decade -- an American socio-cultural landmark.
    Once Congress had chosen Chicago over New York, Washington, and St. Louis as the site of the World's Columbian Exposition, the editorial staff in Smith's A.P.A. office spawned a plan. They recalled the popular interest produced by the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia (1876) and proposed a feature series that would benefit from a similar widespread interest in the Chicago extravaganza. As finally implemented, this plan provided 74 experts a platform from which to discuss aspects of American society a century hence. As conceived, each writer would be contributing to a "Chapter of Forecasts" focusing on the 1990s.
    Some of these practiced obsservers would be members of the A.P.A.'s regular writing staff--for example, the humorist Bill Nye, the theologian Thomas De Witt Talmage, and the arts critic Octavus Cohen. The commentaries of other contributors the A.P.A. would commission individually--as those of politician William Jennings Bryan, capitalist George Westinghouse, Chicago mayor Hempstead Washburne, and political analyst Mary E. Lease.
    As a result, the syndicate created a broad-spectrum commentary on life in the 1890s and a lexicon of predictions by noted Americans on life in the 1990s. The A.P.A. asked some of the more than six-dozen authors to confine themselves to specific topics. For example, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas J. Morgan wrote solely on the future of the Native American, Methodist Bishop John Philip Newman confined his comments to Methodism in the 1990s, and entrepreneur Samuel Barton discussed only the commercial development of Florida.
    The A.P.A. provide many of the other authors with a list of questions from which to select their topics. The result is a collection of topics as diverse as the "servant problem," the most revered American personality, and the future of fashionable dress.
    The syndicate packaged these essays in 11 weekly segments--each containing from 4 to 8 individuals pieces. The segments ran in hundreds of the country's weeklies and in the Sunday feature section of scores of big-city dailies. The series began during the first week of March 1893, and concluded during the second week of May.