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.
Perhaps a precursor to what would now be a typical Facebook post…
The June 19, 1804 issue of “The Balance & Columbian Repository“ newspaper from Hudson, New York, has a brief and seemingly purposeless news report reading in its entirety: “Monticello–Yesterday morning the President arose precisely fifty-nine minutes past four, and put on a clean shirt and breeches.” Had this appeared on the President’s Facebook page today, what might be some of the comments from his followers?
Interesting wording for historic headlines always get my attention. We recently discovered an 1865 issue of the “New York Day-Book” which has at the top of the front page: “Execution Of The Alleged Conspirators…”. Makes one think: shouldn’t they be determined to no longer be “alleged” before they are executed?
Today my journey took me to London, England, by the means of The Post Boy dated September 20, 1716. There I found the Ottoman-Venetian War was going strong with little relief for the Turks. Even their truce request of a couple hours in order to bury dead had been denied. Then only to be faced with coming into battle with nails and iron and iron spikes being hidden in the sand and planks at the Communication Bridge which lamed their horses and then to be fired upon by cannon and small shot, killing more men.
I found an interesting article on the back page. “…Last Wednesday night, a Man being at the Gallows, about to be hang’d, was pardon’d; and the Friday following, another being just ready to be turn’d off, the Duchess of Berry pass’d by that Place to the Opera, and ask’d what was the Matter. Being told, she order’d the Lieutenant-Criminal to deferr Execution, while she went back, and interceded for him to the Duke-Regent. Having obtain’d his Pardon, she sent one of her Pages with it; whereupon, the Cord was cut from about his Neck, and he with much ado brought down the ladder…”
A well-known “letter” has been making its rounds for many decades which was supposedly written by a young female college student to her parents, updating them on the recent events that had befallen her. While the letter is fictitious, it certainly encourages us to keep perspective when hearing bad news concerning loved ones. A (modified) form of the letter is as follows:
Dear Mother and Dad:
It has been three months since I left for college. I have been remiss in writing and I am very sorry for my thoughtlessness in not having written before. I will bring you up to date now, but before you read on, please sit down. You are not to read any further unless you are sitting down, okay.
Well then, I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire shortly after my arrival are pretty well healed by now. I only spent two weeks in the hospital and now I can see almost normally and only get those headaches once a day.
Fortunately, the fire in the dormitory and my jump was witnessed by an attendant at the gas station near the dorm, and he was the one who called the Fire Dept. and the ambulance. He also visited me at the hospital and since I had nowhere to live because of the burnt out dormitory, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him. It’s really a basement room, but it’s kind of cute. He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get married. We haven’t set the exact date yet, but it will be before my pregnancy begins to show.
Yes, mother and dad, I am pregnant. I know how very much you are looking forward to being grandparents and I know you will welcome the baby and give it the same love and devotion and tender care you gave me when I was a child. The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend has some minor infection which prevents us from passing our premarital blood tests and I carelessly caught it from him. This will soon clear up with the penicillin injections I am now taking daily.
I know you will welcome him into the family with open arms. He is kind and although not well educated, he is ambitious. Although he is of a different race and religion than ours, I know that your oft-expressed tolerance will not permit you to be bothered by the fact that his heritage and religion are different than ours. I am sure you will love him as I do. His family background is good too, for although I’ll need to learn my place when I visit, I am told his father is one of the most respected men in his village and is often called upon to help keep order when those from his community step out of line.
Now that I have brought you up to date, I want to tell you there was no dormitory fire; I did not have a concussion or a skull fracture; I was not in the hospital; I am not pregnant; I am not engaged. I do not have a communicable disease, and I am not dating someone from a culture which is oppressive to women. However, I am getting a D in sociology and an F in science; and I wanted you to see these marks in proper perspective.
Your loving daughter,
It is with the heart of this letter in mind I present a copy of a recent rather-lengthy text my wife and I sent to our young daughters:
As you know, the summer season is nearly upon us and your annual quest to find swimsuits your mama and I are willing (if even reluctantly) to allow you to wear in public is upon us. We know this is about as challenging and frustrating as finding a “mama acceptable” evergreen tree at the start of each Christmas season. Need I say more? However, this year, as your loving parents, we’ve decided to alleviate your stress by purchasing matching suits for all of you. While they have yet to arrive, we were able to download a picture of the ad for the style we selected from the online catalog at AuntieAmysAuspiciousApparel.com:
Okay, we didn’t purchase swimsuits for each of you, but we’re considering doing so next year. Please keep the above in mind as you begin your quest. I’m sure we’ll be pleased with your choices.
Mom and Dad
PS A special thank-you goes out to the Public Ledger, Philadelphia, June 15, 1893, for this most wonderful advertisement. It’s a bit unsettling to note the ad appears in an issue containing an article on Lizzie Borden.
Full Disclosure: My wife and I are blessed to have 5 daughters with whom we never need to fight this battle. Thank you!
The “Pennsylvania Packet“, Philadelphia, issue of September 24, 1788 contains on page 3: “Dean Swift’s idea of an attorney…”. You can read it for yourself (see below).
The Bible tells of the historical account of the Israelites’ journey from slavery in Egypt to freedom in The Promised Land. At one point, as their trek became particularly challenging, some began to grumble and complain – going so far as to attempt a coup in order to turn the wagon-train around and head back to Egypt – to slavery… to oppression… to strife… to the very misery which had caused them to cry themselves to sleep night-after-night as they called out to God for deliverance. How could they have so quickly forgotten? Yet, are we any different? Our brains have a tendency to filter the bad from our memory banks to allow our occasional backward glances to fall upon the good. If we’ve learned to walk through life with an acknowledgement of ever-present blessing and with a heart-deep gratitude for the very breath of life, this filtering-process can be healing and redemptive to our soul – perhaps even treasured as a gift from our Creator. However, when we walk with our heads down – with thoughts of dissatisfaction poisoning our minds and morsels of entitlement chaffing our lips, what was designed to be sweet-nostalgia turns into quite the bitter pill – causing us to forget just how great it is to live in the present. How sad.
BUT – In an effort to right the ship for some, reinforce good thinking in others, and foster a positive outlook regarding the present for all, we will occasionally post a newspaper article, image, or clip from the past to help remind us of how good it is to live in the 21st Century. Our first selection is a print from a late-19th century issue of Scientific American Supplement which depicts a rather precarious method for rescuing distressed air-travelers at sea – or was it air-travelers rescuing seafarers (???). Please enjoy – or better yet, allow it to nurture a thankful heart for contemporary travel methods and rescue techniques.
The “Weekly Museum” newspaper of New York City has in its August 30, 1800 issue, a: “Curious Advertisement” by a woman whose husband left her. She pulls no punches on how she feels: “Whereas my husband…a dirty Dutchman…did…absent himself in a clandestine manner from my bed & board without my approbation or any known cause of provocation on my part…I do…disown and reject him from this time forever…no one will use the last influence…to return him to me again as I am relieved from a detested nuisance…” with more (see).
I don’t think there was much hope that marriage would be saved.
An early 1800’s article of a grudge boxing match in London reports an interesting ending, when the losing boxer’s wife steps forward to challenge the assistant of the winning boxer. The October 25, 1805 issue of the Middlesex Gazette“ (Middletown, CT) states: “…They set to in great style & the wife rallied her opponent handsomely. She fought 14 strait…rounds and so completely disfigured the head of Leveret that he yielded to her superior science in the pugilistic art…The second was by far the best fight, and the delicate lady challenged her husband’s rival on the spot.” Forget the boxer… Don’t mess with his wife.
At first blush, this issue appears to be exactly what one might expect from a Government sponsored publication. However, upon closer inspection of the lower right corner, we soon realize… this is exactly what one might expect from a government sponsored publication. Somewhere, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are smiling. Please enjoy the cover of the April, 1944 issue of the U.S. Army-Navy Journal: