Through much of time certain behaviors have been universally accepted as immoral – the exploitation of women (in particular) through pornography being among them. However, perhaps it’s my age showing, but when did “Since legislating morality rarely changes behavior, let’s eliminate such legislation” become the modus operandi? As a former teacher I knew some of my students would likely cheat, but I still had rules and consequences regarding cheating. As a parent I understood my children might decide that hitting one another was a good way of handling disputes, but I still taught proper means of dealing with conflict and used my parental platform to legislate against hostile behavior. The recent (albeit well intended?) legalization of child prostitution in California in order to “protect” them from the consequences of being caught just doesn’t seem to make sense, and continues our slide down the slippery slope of immorality. I could be a bit off, but my gut tells me something is horribly wrong.
It is with these thoughts in mind I was struck by the front page of The Reform Bulletin from March 1, 1929 (see below), which focused on an effort in the State of New York to pull back on the decade old legalization of “obscene literature.” What’s “obscene literature”? Should morality be legislated, and if so, who makes the call as to which behaviors are moral and which are not? Should government take a role in the personal affairs of its citizens? Has the government overreached in this area in the past? While the answers to these questions and similar are quite complex, I think most would agree we’re not headed in the right direction – and the consequences are guaranteed to be non-partisan.
The Detroit Free Press for August 14, 1935 appears to be one of the few newspapers (perhaps only) which uncovered Al Capone’s ultimate career aspiration: that of a librarian. His life of crime may have disqualified many from pursuing such a dream, but once again he proved his mettle and determination by becoming the librarian… of Alcatraz prison. Some may sense a degree of sarcasm, however, I would like to point out the article does indicate this was a “promotion.”
Note: We have been unable to verify whether or not this report is accurate. If anyone has information which can verify or dispute this claim, please let us know.
This week I traveled to New York City by the way of the New York Tribune, February 6, 1917. I found “Immigration Bill Wins Over Veto” “Senate Adopts Measure, with Literacy Test Passed by House” as being a headline on this issue. “For the first time in the Wilson Administration, a bill has been passed over the Presidential veto… the bill had twenty-four votes more than enough to pass the bill over the veto… The Senate’s action to-day was in spite of a fervent warning by Senator James A. Reed, of Missouri, that such action might lead to hostilities with Japan…”
A segment of the literacy test meant that people had to be able to read English to enter our country but there was a fear of curtailing Asians, especially Japan.
Rare Newspapers’ monthly offering of collectible newspapers, Catalog 255, is now available. This latest collection of authentic newspapers is comprised of more than 350 new items. Some of the noteworthy content includes: Rivington’s New York Gazetteer, the Oxford Gazette, Washington’s miracle escape from Long Island, “War Declared” in a Honolulu newspaper, the death of Marilyn Monroe in a Los Angeles newspaper, a great graphic issue on Abraham Lincoln, and more. Key items which include the remaining items from the above may be viewed at: Noteworthy Catalog 255
Whereas the entire catalog is shown at Catalog 255, the following links are intended to aid in quickly finding items from the catalog based on era:
To view items from both the current and the previous catalog, go to: Combined Catalog
Note: The links shown above will expire in approximately 30 days.
As far back as 1922 the international community, including the U.S., appreciated the potential benefits of wireless communication, but also understood it was fraught with problems. At the time their greatest concern was interruption of service due to interference from other devices. Of course we now know this “issue” was just the tip of a very dangerous (invasion of privacy) iceberg. How ironic the very institutions which were decrying the inherent drawbacks are now likely those who are exploiting them – at the expense of its citizens. Still, this early article found in the February 8, 1922 issue of the NY Times makes for interesting reading.
Today I traveled to Parsons, Kansas, by means of The Parsons Sun dated January 3, 1967 where the headline read: “Cancer Victim – Death Takes Ruby; Slayer of Oswald”. “Jack Ruby, insisting to his final day that he acted along as Lee Harvey Oswald’s slayer, died today of cancer in Parkland Memorial Hospital…” This was the same hospital in which President Kennedy was pronounced dead.” Soon after Ruby’s killing of Oswald, conspiracy theories were stoked as news spread focusing on the point that Ruby knew Oswald. However, he attempted to debunk these stories as is described within the coverage: “…over the last weekend, it was revealed that one of Ruby’s last acts was to record another statement denying any conspiracy… a small recorder into the hospital room for Jack to use and tell his story — the story he died with…”
What do race riots, Kevlar, Star Trek, and Pet Sounds have in common? They all have their roots firmly established in the year 1966. While the 11:00 news brought daily reminders of the horrors of war, many back home were additionally distraught by the $14,000 price-tag for a new home and the 32 cent per gallon price they were paying for gas to fuel their gas-guzzling Bonnevilles and Oldsombiles. Young men were conflicted over whether to ogle more over Chargers, Mustangs, and GTO’s, or the most amount of bare leg they had ever seen thanks to the ever-popular mini skirt. Just for fun, we selected a New Year’s Eve issue from small-town Kansas (Parsons, Kansas) to explore how those who lived at the time viewed this tumultuous and formative time in both American and world history. Of particular note is the editorial regarding honesty in Washington, D.C.. Please enjoy: New Year’s Eve – 1966
What was it like to live in small-town America, Christmas Eve, 1966? While the Vietnam War raged on and confidence in those entrusted with political leadership was plummeting, the tense mood of the day took a breather while friends and foes alike united in a their well-wishes for a happy, blessed Christmas for all. This atmosphere of good tidings is well-communicated through the pages of the December 24, 1966 issue of The Pratt Tribune, from Pratt, Kansas. The following link will take you to a glimpse of the past: Christmas Eve, 1966.