Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer 2015 Upton Tea Quarterly

It struck me years ago that history is really just the news in reverse, so it's no wonder I enjoy reading the history of anything and everything. Tea history in particular is fascinating to me because it's a lazy way I've learned about geography, biography, economics and more. The new Upton Tea Quarterly continues its series titled "Reversals of Fortune in the Tea Industry" (this is part 36!), and this time, I learned more about Sir Thomas Lipton's ongoing quest for the America's Cup in 1902. That was Lipton's third try for the prize, and it had not occurred to me that his personal quest was a source of concern to the American yachting set for a fairly obvious reason: "Most yachtsmen directly involved sat on boards of large companies and had families and, of course, their own yachts to attend to and were not willing to spend every summer defending the Cup." Sir Thomas had all his tea fortune at his disposal and no family, so I have to wonder if he would have made three attempts at winning the America's Cup had he not been a bachelor—or a tea magnate.

As a former journalist, I was most intrigued by the Upton Tea Quarterly article since it revealed that "reform journalists" had begun focusing on the "conspicuous wealth" of people like Sir Thomas Lipton. The article quoted one book about the Gilded Age that noted, "By 1900 middle-class Americans were responding to two challenges to social stability. One was the control of political and economic life by big business. The other was the unrest and discontent among the lower classes, especially factory workers and immigrants. … In 1896 Charles B. Spaur estimated that one percent of the population owned more than half of the total national wealth."

Now does that sound as familiar to you as it does to me? I find it most intriguing that "the one percent" was just as much of a concern in the late 1800s as it is today. I believe most hardworking people don't begrudge others their wealth, but they do want a just and fair system and one that takes care of the disadvantaged and poor. Precisely how we arrive at that perfect formula is always the question! So if you're interested in this sort of social history, click here to read the article for yourself.

And if history's not your cup of tea but tea is, well, I still recommend reading the Upton Tea Quarterly because you can learn so much from its pages and pages of tea descriptions!


  1. getting ready for winter. I just rec'd a shipment from Upton last week. So many choices! I always try some new ones with each order.

  2. I've always loved the Upton!

  3. WELL.....the biggest differences back then is that there was no such thing as income tax back then....the wealthy were wealthy and business owners employed the masses. The problem with today is that the wealthy are so heavily taxed and the lower class doesn't pay income if one squeezes the fruit of the heart of fails when it runs out of money..........then everyone loses - no taxing that wealthy business anymore, no business to employ the masses.......we must be vigilant and very careful to curb spending and be careful having the 1% pay everything for the 99% or there won't be anything left at all, save socialism. I believe taking care of the truly needy is imperative, but there must absolutely be an overall of the dole system. (IMHO, it's just not working, too many cheaters.)

    Love political history, etc. Sorry for ranting. Blame the full moon. Hugs. ♥

  4. Fascinating information, especially the 1% with the wealth. Hummm?


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