Posted on April 3, 2015
This is one of those confusing “holidays.” Every website I consulted claimed that this must surely be celebrating the medium-to-heavy weight cloth called tweed...but that another possible reason for the holiday is that it is the birthday of the most notorious U.S. politician of all time, “Boss” Tweed.
But who would want to celebrate a crooked politician?
|"Boss" Tweed helped give|
Democrats and all politicians
a bad name!
Boss Tweed was born William Magear Tweed, in New York City, on this date in 1823. He ripped off from taxpayers something between 25 million and 200 million dollars (pretty big range!) through money-laundering, profit sharing, and other sorts of political corruption. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1852 and to the New York State Senate in 1867, but most of his power-grubbing came from him serving on committees, boards, and commissions. He controlled to a shockingly great extent who ran for office and who won, and he handed out jobs to loyal voters.
Aaannndddd...he died in jail. Even though Tweed's corruptive touch reached even the courts, he was convicted of some of his wrong-doings in 1877, and he died a year later at age 55.
Of course we like the cloth better than a crooked politician!
This rough woolen fabric is linked to Scotland, Ireland, and the British people in general. It's thick enough to withstand a harsh climate, and it is often worn for outdoor activities such as shooting and hunting.
Scholars think that the name tweed came from the Scottish word for twill (which is a kind of weaving characterized by a diagonal pattern); the Scottish word for twill is tweel. A London merchant misread the name (documents were generally in cursive writing) and thought it must be a brand name named after the Scottish river Tweed.
And from that one misunderstanding arose a name we use to this day!
Here are a few samples of tweed:
1) looks very British, like Sherlock Holmes and Downton Abbey...
|Two of my favorite British-fictional-characters|
who wear tweed are Matthew Crawley, above,
and Sherlock Holmes, below.
2) can make you look smart-as-in-intelligent AND smart-as-in-fashion forward...
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