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From Middletown to Salem: Virginia Chronicle takes a road trip

The Virginia Newspaper Project is happy to announce new additions to the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Chronicle. The number of historical newspaper pages available on Virginia Chronicle continues to grow–We’ll take a quick road trip to discover the latest titles that have been added:Middletown Weekly Masthead

Let’s start in northwestern Virginia in Middletown, located fourteen miles south of Winchester in beautiful Frederick County. The Middletown Weekly began in 1912 and was in the family of titles published by the Strasburg News Company. The last known issue, printed December 20, 1912, claimed the paper was taking a Christmas hiatus, but it may have been a permanent hiatus as there are no known copies found that were published after the yuletide. Thirty years later, in the 1940s, Patsy Cline, who was born in nearby Gore, VA, would make regular visits to Middletown.google maps

Now we’ll hop onto route 81, or route 11 if you prefer the scenic route, and drive ninety miles south of Middletown to visit the small and bucolic town of Greenville, Virginia. From 1882-1885, Greenville had its own newspaper, the Greenville Banner In its introductory issue it explained, “We will do the best we can to present a readable sheet and ask its patrons to make all allowance in reason and bear with its imperfections.” A motto we subscribe to ourselves! One fun fact about Greenville: It is where Kate Smith, famous for her rousing rendition of God Bless America, was born. Greenville Banner Masthead

Let’s get back in the car and go another seventy six miles down 81 until we hit Salem, Virginia, home to Roanoke College and the Salem Red Sox. Newspaper issues from 1883-1920 of the The Salem Times Register (called the Salem Times Register and Sentinel from 1903-1920) are now available on Virginia Chronicle as well. Additional issues of … read more »

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A History of the Fairfax Herald

By Anne McCrery, Virginia Newspaper Project Intern

Founded in 1882 by Captain Stephen Roszel Donohoe, the Democratically-affiliated Fairfax Herald was published weekly in Fairfax, Virginia, where it served as the area’s dominant newspaper for many years. Fairfax, located near Washington D.C., underwent significant industrialization and population growth throughout the twentieth century, with the city’s population reaching 21,970 and the county’s reaching 455,021 by 1970, around the end of the Fairfax Herald’s run. In 1880, however, just prior to the Herald’s founding, the town of Fairfax had only a population of 376, while the county had a population of 16,025. The community was largely agricultural, producing “corn, wheat, oats, butter, hay; livestock,” according to the 1890 Ayer and Son’s American Newspaper Annual.

It was in this small farming community that S. R. Donohoe founded the Fairfax Herald, bringing the town its first printing press, advertisements for which stated: “Equipped with Type Setting Machine and Steam Press. All kinds of job printing. Splendid advertising medium.” The Fairfax Herald was four pages long and 20 inches by 26 inches in size originally. It had a circulation of 1,225 in 1904, 900 in 1911, and 1,000 in 1920.

FH 1886Born February 1, 1851 in Loudoun County, Donohoe was successful in multiple ventures of public service, in addition to his prolific career in newspapers. He served in the Spanish-American War as a lieutenant with the Fairfax company. He then served as Treasurer of Fairfax County between 1889 and 1891; state senator for two terms, beginning in 1900; Auditor of Public Accounts of Virginia from 1910-1912; a member of the State Tax Commission in 1914, and Federal Prohibition Director of the State, beginning in 1919. Moreover, he is listed as a director at the National Bank of Fairfax in advertisements appearing for the … read more »

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Seeing the light of capitalism–Virginia Electric and Power Company ads in the McCarthy era.

By Anne McCrery, Virginia Newspaper Project Intern

Emblematic of Cold War era America, these anti-socialist advertisements for the Virginia Electric and Power Company appear in issues of the Fairfax Herald from the 1950s. These ads emblematically reflect America’s fears over the internal threat of communism, driven by McCarthy’s anti-communist efforts, such as the formation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. One ad reflects the fears created by this political climate, urging people to “help your friends and neighbors see the danger.”

They also seek to assert American superiority, with one ad saying, “forbidden would be a frequently used word if you had the unhappy task of teaching young Russians…you couldn’t tell them that in America opportunity is unlimited…”

In many respects, an electric company advertisement seems a strange place for fear-mongering propaganda; however, during this time technologies that served to make life more convenient and comfortable were lauded as symbols of capitalism’s success and America’s superiority. This would later become epitomized in the 1959 “Kitchen Debate” between Richard Nixon and Nikita Krushchev, wherein Nixon presented a model American kitchen, adorned with modern appliances, and argued that the conveniences it offered were evidence of capitalism’s superiority over communism.

April 25, 1952.

April 25, 1952.

September 7, 1951.

September 7, 1951.

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Reading between the lines: the Comstock Act and ads for the treatment of “female complaints” from the Fairfax Herald.

By Anne McCrery, Virginia Newspaper Project Intern

If you read a newspaper from the late 19th century, you’re liable to be bombarded by various medical advertisements—treatments for catarrh, scrofula, and “watery-blood;” cure-alls like sarsaparilla and cod liver oil (described in an ad found in the Fairfax Herald as “palatable as milk”); and vegetable compounds that passionately avow efficacy in curing cancer.

Cancer

“Mason’s Vegetable Cancer Cure is the greatest triumph of the age.” From the Fairfax Herald.

Amongst these medical advertisements appear a multitude of supplements for treating “female complaints.” On first glance, these treatments appear to be simply another amusing example of 19th century medical quackery; however, these were not just any pills—these were abortifacients.

Abortion was a relatively common method of limiting family size in the 19th century, an era lacking in other forms of birth control; however, women did not truly consider themselves to be pregnant prior to the “quickening” of the fetus, the point in which she could feel the fetus move, usually around the fourth month of gestation. Abortifacients, therefore, were taken to relieve “obstructed menses.” Traditionally abortions were induced by ingesting home-remedies prepared with toxic herbs, such as pennyroyal, to induce miscarriage. By the mid-19th century abortifacients were widely available commercially, appearing frequently in newspaper advertisements which described the products in vague and euphemistic terms.

Despite the commonality of abortifacients in the 19th century, the emergence of anti-abortion campaigns in the mid-19th century ultimately led to the prohibition of abortion that lasted until the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Moreover, the Comstock Act of 1873 banned the circulation of abortifacients and information about them, including advertisements, as they were deemed “obscene.”

Despite the restrictions placed on abortifacients in the late 19th century, advertisements for them continued to … read more »

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Be True to Your School:

Question: What do the following five quotes have in common?

“‘Pep! That’s what we want and that’s what we’ll get,’ Mr Archer H. Brown, director of Pep Club told a STAR reporter today.”

“It was in the dull grey mist of the morning that the enemy planes droned towards Pearl Harbor, and it was on that morning that the most treacherous trick ever played became known to the world. Bombs fell. Bombs from enemy planes on our base of Pearl Harbor! Treachery! This one word alone filled the air as reports came over the radio to all parts of the United States. People alone in the streets shouted to one another about it. Mothers whose sons were at the base sobbed quietly, fearing death and disaster for beloved ones. We, the American people, finally saw the light and knew that now the whole world would be at war.”

“Oh, Mama! I’ve found out where they make horses. I came by a shop where a man was finishing one; he was just nailing on his last foot.”

“Urging the working of all creeds without intolerance of each other, Rabbi Colin, Dr. Boyd, and Father O’Connell spoke to assembly on Monday. Rabbi Colin’s vivid illustration of the joined fingers making a forceful fist against hatred drove home this idea.”

“I hope my column this week will help someone who may be wrestling with a problem that always comes to light about this time of year. Of course, I am referring to the choice of Christmas presents. . .Father can always use a cigarette lighter and a carton of cigarettes, toilet articles, clothes or jewelry.”

Answer: They are all quotes taken from high school newspapers. And while academic newspapers cover topics from the silly to the serious, they provide a unique opportunity to … read more »

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Newsies! Not the Movie!

Richmond’s Style Weekly published an engaging cover story about “Children of the Streets of Richmond, 1865-1920,” a book recently published by local writer, Harry Ward.

cover27_streetkids

We’ll let the article do the talking, but suffice it to say, the book covers a lot of ground about an era of Richmond history that often makes the state capital sound like a wild west boom town:  5-6-7 year old newspaper boys, a rasher of neighborhood  gangs, red light districts, and other sordid stories describe a city quite different from the one we know today. Which is no surprise given that many of the tales told took place over 100 years ago.

As it relates to Fit To Print, the author appears to make good use of newspapers to support his research into an array of court cases.

http://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/street-wise/Content?oid=2222010

The Virginia Newspaper Project recommends the Style Weekly article as the images and text provide a glimpse of Richmond history now gone but not lost thanks to thousands of stories and reports found in our local newspapers.

 

 … read more »

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American Pharoah: Will he Make it a Dozen?

The last of the Triple Crown’s three stakes races will be run at Belmont Park tomorrow.  In the history of the Triple Crown, its winners number only eleven–will there be a twelfth added to this illustrious group of thoroughbreds on Saturday? If American Pharoah wins the Belmont Stakes, he’ll be the first to take the crown since 1978. As you’ll read below, it was not until War Admiral’s win in 1937 that the term “Triple Crown” was used to describe the “great turf stakes of the season.” Here’s a look back at the eleven horses who managed the exceptional feat as seen through the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Sir Barton, 1919

Richmond Times Dispatch, 12 June 1919.

Richmond Times Dispatch, 12 June 1919.

Gallant Fox, 1930

Richmond Times Dispatch 8 June 1930

Richmond Times Dispatch, 8 June 1930

Omaha, 1935

Richmond Times Dispatch, 9 June 1935

Richmond Times Dispatch, 9 June 1935

War Admiral, 1937

Richmond Times Dispatch, 6 June 1937

Richmond Times Dispatch, 6 June 1937

Richmond Times Dispatch, 6 June 1937

Richmond Times Dispatch, 6 June 1937

 Whirlaway, 1941

Richmond Times Dispatch, 8 June 1941

Richmond Times Dispatch, 8 June 1941

 Count Fleet, 1943

Richmond Times Dispatch, 6 June 1943

Richmond Times Dispatch, 6 June 1943

 Assault, 1946

Richmond Times Dispatch, 2 June 1946

Richmond Times Dispatch, 2 June 1946

Citation, 1948

Richmond Times Dispatch, 13 June 1948

Richmond Times Dispatch, 13 June 1948

Secretariat, 1973

Richmond Times Dispatch, 10 June 1973

Richmond Times Dispatch, 10 June 1973

Secretariat 3 RTD June 10, 1973Seattle Slew, 1977

Richmond Times Dispatch, 12 June 1977

Richmond Times Dispatch, 12 June 1977

Affirmed, 1978

Richmond Times Dispatch, 10 June 1978

Richmond Times Dispatch, 10 June 1978

 

 … read more »

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The Princess Anne Times 1915-1918: Boosting the Beach

Princess Anne bannerOf historical anniversaries noted large and small, what follows is of the second type and left unremarked, if not here within this very blog.  Last Friday was the one hundredth birthday of the first issue of the Princess Anne Times, not a delicate imprint of royal society from a tiny office tucked within Windsor Castle, but a record of life from the southeastern corner of Virginia.

33 of the 95 counties of Virginia possess a name of royal origin, but Princess Anne is no longer among them.  The county disappeared from the map in 1963, closing a 272 year history when it was incorporated into the much larger independent city of Virginia Beach.  The chance observation of the newspaper’s birthday suggested an additional incentive to announce its arrival a few weeks ago to Virginia Chronicle, The Library of Virginia’s digital newspaper archive managed by the Virginia Newspaper Project.

6-25-15 Beach editorialReal estate adTo the person who turns his back to the Atlantic and faces west from the Virginia Beach boardwalk and wonders, “How did this happen?”, the Times offers propitious clues.  The current population of Virginia Beach stands near 450,000, making it the state’s most populous city.  The reader of the Times in May of 1915 shared residency with about 438,000 fewer.  Here’s the complete front page for that first issue (with a stage direction to the far left column).

Front page issue 1And now here’s a portion of the lead editorial, page 2.  Note at the bottom, the anticipated entry of enormous Federal expenditure-“monster guns etc.”- a springboard to prosperity.

Introductory wordsAnd those “public-spirited citizens” referenced above who sponsored the newspaper?  It seems more than likely that at least a few of them appear on this front page from volume one, number 2:

Officers of Virginia BeachThey assigned themselves a mission and it was propelling this county forward … read more »

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Happy Mother’s Day from the Virginia Newspaper Project

Photo of Anna Jarvis, from the Times Dispatch (Richmond), 12 May 1912

Photo of Anna Jarvis, from the Times Dispatch (Richmond), 12 May 1912

The Virginia Newspaper Project wishes mothers everywhere a very happy Mother’s Day.

The idea for a Mother’s Day was originally conceived by Anna Jarvis, after her own mother’s death in 1905. The work her beloved mother, Ann Jarvis of Grafton, West Virginia, had done as a peace activist, Civil War nurse, and Sunday school teacher inspired Anna to want to create a day honoring “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”

In May 1908, Senator Elmer Burkett, a Nebraska Republican, introduced a resolution to the Senate to establish a nationally recognized Mother’s Day. While many had already embraced the idea of signifying a day to honor mothers, creating an official holiday was met with resistance by some lawmakers.

By a vote of 33 to 14, the Senate referred the Burkett Resolution to a Judiciary Committee. The 9 May 1908 issue of the Alexandria Gazette reported on the proceedings of the committee and the resistance with which the resolution was met: “There are some things so sacred that they are belittled by such a movement,” said committee member Fulton, “If we are going into this thing, there should be a father’s day and a grandfather’s day and then bring in our cousins, our uncles, and our aunts.” Another committee member, Jacob Herold Gallinger, said he “never heard of this movement and he did not need to wear a flower to remind him of his mother.” Another senator called the idea “absurd” and “trifling.”

After years of persistent pressure by Jarvis to establish the holiday, West Virginia became the first state to officially celebrate Mother’s Day in 1910. By 1912, “every governor in the land [had] issued proclamations calling upon the people to spend one day. … read more »

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Spanning the Commonwealth: New to Virginia Chronicle

The Virginia Newspaper Project is excited to announce several new additions to Virginia Chronicle, the Library of Virginia’s digital newspaper database.

First, thanks to a generous private donation, the Evening News of Roanoke from 1903-1913 is now available. Look for more Roanoke newspapers to be added to Virginia Chronicle in the coming months, including earlier editions of the Roanoke Evening News, 1915-1922 of the Roanoke World News, 1883-1901 of the Salem Times Register, 1900-1917 of the Salem Times Register and Sentinel and the Roanoke Times from 1899-1910.

Evening NewsAlso available now on Virginia Chronicle, antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction era newspapers from the Huntington Library in Huntington, California. Some of the Huntington additions enhance holdings already available, while others are entirely new:

Commercial BulletinDaily State JournalPenny PostRichmond RepublicanUnion RepublicanFinally, the Princess Anne Times, a newspaper published from 1915-1918 out of what is now Virginia Beach, has also been added. . .but more on that coming soon. . .

PATimesread more »

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