Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What was in the News, January 4th, 1917

I typically see old newspapers at estate sales.  People like to hang on to the popular headlines like "Man Lands on the Moon", "Kennedy Assassinated", "Cards win World Series" (this is in St. Louis, of course).  But occasionally, I come across a seemingly uneventful newspaper preserved for decades for some unknown reason.  Sometimes, it's the result of something else being wrapped up in it, like dishes or Christmas ornaments.  Other times, it just seems someone set it aside for posterity.  I came across two century-old issues of "The Rolla Times" (Rolla is a small town 2 hours southwest of St. Louis known mainly for the University and Engineering School there).  While there were no memorable headlines, digging into the ads and text lead to some interesting tidbits.  Warning, this is a long one.  Sorry, but I just love this stuff.

You know how you continue to write 2015 on your checks (if you still use them, that is)?  Someone did that with the dateline of this newspaper. Given the articles inside (like a 1916 year in review), this paper is actually from January 4th, 1917. They repeat the error in the masthead. 

Googling January 4th, 1917 (which was a Thursday by the way), it appears to have been a slow news day other than a women's suffrage bill that was introduced to the New York State legislative session and the Women's Party (the "silent sentinels" as they were called by the press) picketing the White House.

The first column is dedicated to news of the Mexican-American border war.  Beginning in 1910, Mexican revolutionaries rose up against the Mexican Federal government.  War near the U.S.-Mexican border resulted in the United States stationing troops at border towns in an attempt to confine the war to the Mexican side.  Raids of U.S. border towns lead by Pancho Villa, the killing of 18 Americans in Mexico, and the discovery of a plan formulated by the revolutionaries to overthrow the governments of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California lead to President Woodrow Wilson ordering the invasion of Mexico in an effort to kill or capture Villa.  In 1917, the British intercepted a telegram from Germany offering Mexico to join them as an ally in WWI with the promise of returning the southwest United States to Mexico.  Mexico declined the offer, however, the United States used that as an argument to declare war on Germany and enter WWI.  If you'd like to know more about the Mexican-American border war, Pancho Villa or World War I, take a voyage down to your public library.  It's all in books.  Sorry, I've always wanted to use that line.

I love how the obituaries were called "Necrology".

Lots of news about the war in Europe.

Preparedness Parades were held to show support for the United States' entry into World War I.  I'm surprised they didn't mention the San Francisco Preparedness Parade bombing that occurred July 22nd, 1916.  You don't think of things like that happening back then, but to quote the American poet William Joel, "We didn't start the fire."

Ruth Law Oliver was an aviation pioneer who, as stated above, set the American non-stop flying distance record by flying 590 miles from Chicago to New York state.  She later campaigned unsuccessfully to allow women to fly military aircraft.  She passed away in 1970.

Black leg is an infectious disease found in cattle.  If you're squemish, don't Google it.

Oct. 14 - Resta won Grand American 250-mile automobile race at Chicago

From Wikipedia:

Dario Resta was killed in 1924 at the age of 42 when his racecar crashed at the Brooklands racecourse in England while trying for a new land speed record. Resta was driving a Sunbeam when a belt on his car broke on the second lap which punctured his tire sending him out of control. He crashed through the fence and his car caught on fire. This accident also hospitalized his riding-mechanic, Bill Perkins.  This crash led to the end of the practice of carrying riding-mechanics during races.

Dario Resta

Oct 3 - Brooklyn won National League Championship.  This would be the Brooklyn Robins, years before they became the Dodgers.

Lots of unrest in on the homefront.

W.O.W. or Woodmen of the World are a fraternal organization.  If you ever see a tombstone shaped like a tree stump in a cemetery, it's likely to be the grave of a Woodmen.

I'd love to know what became of Miss Muriel Oakes.  The only other reference I could find for her was in the Elmira, New York social news.

Despite the wars surrounding us and all the domestic unrest, we still thought 1916 was the Best Year in Nation's History.

Cardui was a 38 proof patent medicine taken for general female "diseases".

Chichester's Pills was another medicine sold to manage those monthly troubles.

When I was a kid, I found a bottle (empty of course) of Scott's Emulsion in the woods behind our house.

The "Bowl of Death" was another name for the "Wall of Death" which later became the "Cage of Death".

"Can't You Take a Little Ride Tonight?" Wink wink.

"She Went White and Clutched the Edge of the Table".  Swooning is a lost art.

What the stylish 1916 woman wore.

Glimpsing camisoles and hosiery in 1916 could get a man jail time.


Parker's Hair Balsam surprisingly wasn't for those monthly issues.

I'm glad Miss Clara Hans returned home safely from St. Louis, and after a whole week!

1916 filler


  1. the Preparedness Parade? i can't imagine why that EVER fell out of popularity!

    i am one who saves newspaper articles and important headlines (9/11, death of Princess Diana, on and on)... every time i set one aside i do so thinking that in some distant future someone will either just roll their eyes and chuck them out, or be far more interested in the minutia on the back. i will say that when we redid our kitchen, it was just before the 2008 election, and then Sen. Obama had just visited Reno on a campaign stop, so we wrapped the article up in a baggie and sealed it in one wall for someone to find.

    1. >the Preparedness Parade?
      Dang! That reminds me of something I wanted to mention. I'll update shortly.
      >so we wrapped the article up in a baggie and sealed it in one wall >for someone to find.
      Whenever I do a renovation project, I like to do something like that too or simply write my name and date inside where it won't be seen until the house is tore down.

    2. Updated with a reference to the San Franciso Preparedness parade bombing. Oh, and thanks for not pointing out I made the same mistake as the paper and originally titled this post 1916 instead of 1917!

    3. and here i thought it was a parade touting the necessity of preparing for house fires or shower accidents or something. i had no idea!

      as far as the "1916" vs "1917" header... i didn't notice it, either :o)


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