Were you there – 1980? Elton John performs in Central Park…

September 16, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Price being equal, would you typically choose a tangible gift, or an experience? Why do I ask?

Context: My wife and I have been blessed with 6 children. As each approached the end of their high school education, we offered each of them a sizeable (to us – the parents of a large family with only one of us working outside the home) amount of money as a graduation gift, or its equivalent in cost to go on a trip of their own creation. Two of them opted for the $$$ to put toward items they wanted (at the time), while the other four each elected to go on a trip. Many years later, as we all reflect back on the “gifts”, those who chose the “experience” are pleased they did – and have vivid fond memories, and the others struggle to remember what it was they had purchased. The reality is, “things” are typically for the moment, and have short life-spans, whereas memories are for a lifetime.

It is with this in mind we embark on a new, experiential series of posts: “Where you there?” Our hope is that in so doing, those of you who were present will be flooded with good memories of your experience. To kick things off…

On September 13, 1980, Elton John performed a free concert in Central Park, New York. To this day, it remains one of the top ten most-highly attended musical events held in Central Park. Were you there? The ad below was printed in the September 9th, 1980 (f0r the 10th-16th) issue of The Village Voice. Feel free to share your family-friendly memories.

Snapshot 1968… One of the more eerie ads we’ve seen…

September 9, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the Village Voice, Greenwich Village, New York, June 6, 1968. In a bizarre twist of fate which is a bit stranger than fiction, Robert (Bobby) Kennedy died this same day at the hand of an assassin, and although the coverage was not included since this issue had already been printed, the back page has an eerie ad soliciting help with his campaign which states: “ROBERT F. KENNEDY is alive and living in N.Y.” What could possibly have motivated the one placing this ad to include such wording?

Labor Day – back to school, end of summer, and hurricanes – Oh My!

September 2, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Labor Day weekend is often received with quite divergent emotions. Most children view its encroachment with sadness as marks the end of their summer and a return to school, whereas at least a portion of parents view it in a positive light as a return to a bit of normalcy, and to sports enthusiasts, the onset of football season. However, regardless of which point of view one embraces, for coastal residents in the east and south, their emotions are typically coupled with a bit of trepidation as it also signals the onset of prime hurricane season. In this regard, the Albany Evening News for September 4, 1935 tells of what has become known as The Great Labor Day Hurricane. The image below tells of at least the initial detail of this historic weather-generated disaster. So, as we ask the Lord’s blessing before enjoying our outdoor BBQ’s today, let’s be thankful these tragic events are few and far between.

Snapshot 1945… America at Iwo Jima – a melting pot forged in blood…

August 26, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune, dated April 22, 1945, which shouts of America as the world’s melting pot in a thousand words… and perhaps a million drops of blood.

I’m New Here: Week Twenty-Seven…

August 23, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Vacation is a good thing – as is coming back after a small change of scenery. I was up in Maine on a pond that is larger than any lake in my home state. And, while there, I was introduced to some important, prestigious folks who are third generation cabin (“camp” in the local vernacular) owners . We met at a covered dish supper out on one of the islands, bringing our contributions of bread and pie by way of a handmade wooden boat with a small outboard motor. And the inevitable question, “what do you do?” gave me a temporary fascinating status within the small group that included a renowned city planning consultant, a state representative, a former missionary to one of the Pacific islands and a couple of people who loosely classify themselves as “working in finance”.   And, once again, I can reflect on the wealth that comes to anyone with access to information and knowledge.
Last week I had intended to tell about The National Tribune – a paper packed full of everyday life. My bit of time away in a very small town where people still own the original house that their great grandfather built, or moved, or rebuilt after fire swept through that portion of the town, made me even more eager to share it.
We have here, in the annex, the years of 1885 through 1887. Within these weekly offerings is that strange blend of folksy and elite – the movers and shakers of a national capital as they move around town and shop and advertise and gossip and greet. Unlike that other Washington title The National Intelligencer, the first of the eight pages contains very little news, while the third page is devoted to veteran accounts of the American Civil War, with columns headed by campaign and battle names. Sandwiched between the words of the wife of the Speaker of the House concerning her eight children and the scientific reporting on the application of incandescent mantles to carriage lights are details of Senate hearings and policy matters that still impact us today.
If you have the opportunity, consider purchasing a random date from this collection. It’s less than two movie tickets and popcorn, and will likely enrich your life as much as it entertains. The newsy, small town tone reminds me of my recent time in New England, with the strange familiarity induced by elements we all have in common, whatever our circumstances or position.
Anyway, I plan to wander the New England titles from the 1800’s in my next bit of adventuring time. Life, as described by a community newspaper, is filled with unexpected moments of beauty, kindness and every day heroism.

Note: If you would like to purchase an issue of this title from the 1800’s, feel free to do so at: National Tribune, 1885-1887

I’m New Here: Week Twenty-Six (aka, “She’s Still New Here – the first six months”)…

August 15, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

There has rarely (if ever) been someone who has walked through our archives of historic newspapers and not been overwhelmed by the history that courses through the premises, but what is uncommon is to have such an individual become a member of our staff. Unlike many things that initially overwhelm or amaze us but soon lose their wonderment, if you love history, there are enough hidden treasures buried deep within our stacks to create excitement and appreciation for a lifetime. It was with this unique opportunity in mind we decided to have Stephanie Williams, our new office manager, chronicle her “learning curve” through a series of ongoing posts titled, “I’m New Here…”. Now that she has eclipsed the six-month mark, we thought it might be nice to assemble the posts into one easy-to-access location. Please enjoy her initial 6-month trek.

I’m New Here…

Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5-6, 7, 8, 9-10, 11, 12, 13, 14-15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20-21, 22-23, 24, and 25 (this being week 26)

(Also, Stephanie was on vacation so we thought it was a good time to create this chronology.)

Snapshot 1858… A French flying machine…

August 13, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from The National Intelligencer, dated August 7, 1858. It’s a shame those in the article below this snapshot didn’t have access to such an invention.

Great Headlines Speak For Themselves… Martin Luther King Jr. march on Washington and speech…

August 8, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the HERALD EXAMINER, Los Angeles, August 28, 1963: reporting on the March which ended with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s historic, “I have a dream…” speech: “THE GREAT MARCH At Least 200,000

Snapshot 1852… Uncle Tom’s Cabin…

July 29, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the National Intelligencer dated December 28, 1852. Most are aware of the impact Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin had on the fabric of The United States, but not everyone saw eye-to-eye.  The image below shows a blurb of a politically incorrect view from the northern region of the country.

 

I’m New Here: Weeks Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three…

July 26, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Time seems to be advancing at an ever-increasing pace.  Each day is crammed with more tasks than can possibly be accomplished; I think this means I am beginning to get the hang of things.  But Monday brought me up short a bit as I searched titles tracing a particular story which initially diverted to the Freedom Ride.  As intriguing as the tone in those accumulating reports of bus rides through the South was, the heading on a neighboring column wrested my eyes and my thoughts.  I had to know the reason that divorcees (such a fancy and outmoded term) spent a night in jail.  At least that’s what I believed at the time.  However, since it has been four days since I read the report and I am still ready to sound forth at a moment’s reflection, it might have been better if I stuck to the familiar angst over bus seats allocated by color of skin.

In case accompanying photographs do not tell enough story, women went to jail because deadbeat dads (such a crass and modern term) did not pay court-ordered child support.  Just that.  The year was 1963, and I suppose I am not meant to expect much else from the era — particularly that the freedom to assemble could possibly, legally, be constrained to a total of four persons.

Because, that was the crux of the charges — the reason for the headline:  Night in Jail Makes Divorcees Contrite.  “They promised that if they ever picket the County Building again to protest lagging support payments they will keep within the legal limit of four.”  Fifty-six years ago a woman who was not receiving justice promised by the legal system had to promise to forego rights granted in 1791 by the First Amendment, even as she attempted to bring pressure to bear on the powers that be.  Of course, I’m not foolish enough to think that this tiny fragment that sparks my ire is as important than any of the other Civil Rights /liberties that seem to have too limited of a citizenry to whom they are applied.  And I am fiercely glad that the group of four swelled to an angry mob of twelve, bringing so much havoc upon the town that these single mothers had to be jailed in order to preserve the peace.  Perhaps they were granddaughters of those who marched for Suffrage .  It may be that they were inspired by other heroes that brought about change. Because things are not the same today. Here it helps me to take in the 1963 newspaper as a whole, reading again of the laws that were eventually impacted by two different groups.  In 2019, wearied with seemingly insurmountable conflict, offense, discrimination and outright hatred, the neighboring headline, “11 Riders Quietly Leave for Mississippi Test Run” provides some perspective.  Multiple barriers to equality remain, but many have been knocked down.  Many barriers have been knocked down, but perhaps some have been worn away through the centuries by those whose stories are woven through old newspaper pages, those who find their own, quiet, persistent way to push back.

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