What year ISIS?

While researching the life and work of Prof. Max Von Pettenkofer, distinguished chemist and one-time cholera-sample drinker (“The Pettenkofer Files” in SW will give you the full story), I came across a link to a NY Times news story about his his (non cholera-related) 1901 suicide.

result 19 of googling “Pettenkofer” (near the bottom of this page)

gives us this text:

“Max Von Pettenkofer. the distinguished German chemist, committed suicide to-day by shooting himself in a fit of depression. He was born Dec. 3, ISIS. Prof. …”

ISIS? Had the NYTimes switched to an arcane Egyptian numbering system at the turn of the last century?

The Full article, scanned for posterity, dissolves the mystery.


It is a tedious job, I imagine, transcribing all these ancient clippings for posterity down at the Times’ basment floors…

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