Test case: A case brought to trial to uphold or reject the legality of the underlying legislative mandate. The test case is selected either because it is among the earliest applications of the law, or, best fits the circumstances the new law was designed to address. During the 1870s there was a proliferation of test cases to overthrow local and state prohibitions against Sunday theatrical performance and the sale of alcohol. Another spate of test cases followed the passage of civil rights legislation expanding minority access to the public sphere, an effort ultimately turned back in the early 1880s when the legislation was dismantled by the Supreme Court.
Tintype: An early photographic technology that reproduced an image on a small piece of metal. The clarity of images captured in this way was excellent. The term for this technology was later used to convey a more general meaning that refered to any brief excerpt in a larger sequence. During the 1880's the Bristol Phoenix headlined a regular column of short notices about people and events in Bristol, RI with the label "Local Tintypes." See "stereotype" for a similar application of technological terminology to model social and psychological phenomenon.
To-day: An archaic spelling of the word "today." The hyphenated construction commonly used in the 19th century made plain the compounding of "to" and "day" to project the sense of a present, culminating in the moment, and indirectly making reference to a sequence of circumstances 'up to this day.' This seemingly inconsequential, hyphenated spelling is one of a number of frequently used 19th-century terms and abbreviations marking time that have disappeared from print. Because of the unavoidable delays between authorship and publication, or between events and their reporting, it was often necessary to qualify to-day as the 4th of this month inst. The abbreviation for 'instant,' specified the 4th of the present month. The 4th ult., or ultimate, took place last month. Nineteenth-century conceptions of time, or "figures of print," are the subject of Lloyd Pratt's study Archives of American Time (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010). The radical break with sequential time that provided a framework for ideological appeals to a "Manifest Destiny" or "Progress," may be rooted in the advent of photographic imagery extracting an instant "out of time," and thereby lending a very new cast to history, as repetition, or genre, or montage, rather than chronology.