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Television and copy advertisements for prescription drugs are a common sight these days. But the obsession with finding the latest and greatest cure-all is nothing new. At the turn of the twentieth century, before the discovery of antibiotics and other wonder drugs, consumers were desperate to find palliatives for problems ranging from the common cold to cancer. The search for the perfect panacea combined with the huge number of newspaper readers made newspapers the primary medium for shrewd concoction makers to hock their potions. The medicinal advertisements below are from the Alexandria Gazette, the Daily Times (Richmond, Va.) and the Free Lance (Fredericksburg, Va.) of 1899-1911 and represent companies which were successful thanks, in part, to convincing and pervasive newspaper advertising campaigns. All images are from Chronicling America, a digital repository of historic newspapers. Original and microfilm copies of these papers can also be found in the collections of the Library of Virginia.
Ely’s Cream Balm, manufactured by the Ely brothers of Owego, NY, was a popular remedy for catarrh, “an Inflammation of the mucus membranes in one of the airways or cavities in the body.” The Ely Brothers started producing Ely’s Cream Balm, a compound similar to today’s Vicks VapoRub, in Owego in the early 1860′s. They moved the company to New York City in the early 1890′s and it was later sold to Wyeth in the mid 1930′s. In this ad from January 1, 1910 in the Alexandria Gazette, an illustrated head appears with congestion-causing ailments written all over it. In bold, capital letters, the ominous words CATARRH and HEY FEVER appear at the top and bottom of the afflicted head. It calls itself a “reliable remedy” that “cleanses, soothes, heals and protects the diseased membrane resulting from Catarrh.” In the days when quackery … read more »
An earlier posting promised some additional remarks about a pair of recent arrivals to the LVA/VNP microfilm collection: the Metro Virginia News and the Public Pamphlet of Leesburg, Virginia. Rather than just a masthead, as earlier, let’s take a look at a complete front-page for each of these Northern Virginian papers. First the weekly Metro Virginia News:
This copy of July, 1974 is an example of the paper at its best. It provides to readers detailed coverage of a local governing decision relating to an issue of increasing concern and debate: managing economic growth. The goal was to provide an alternative to the more established Loudoun Times-Mirror, a paper without competition since the mid 1950’s, and to the advantage of interested readers, they often succeeded. But, as journalist A. J. Leibling reminds, “The function of the press in society is to inform, but its role in society is to make money.” The enterprise was ill-timed. It coincided with a recession.
The Metro Virginia News published for just over two years, November of 1972 until December 1974, reaching a circulation of about 4000, some 8000 shy of the Times-Mirror. A financial sinkhole, not profit, beckoned. The newspaper, as well as ownership of the more solidly grounded Fauquier Democrat to the county south, was sold to Arthur Arundel, publisher of, pause, the Times-Mirror. The Democrat continued while the Metro Virginia News, to no one’s surprise, was shuttered.
But to return to the paper’s origin – an experienced editor, a young and extremely capable staff cannot simply will itself into being. Who provided the catalyst of money?
Again Leibling, a remark in greater circulation than of previous: “Freedom of the Press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” Helmi Carr, unhappy with her representation in the local … read more »
Advertisements from the Blue Ridge Herald (Purcellville, Virginia), Jan. 6, 1955
What was the cost of tuna, sugar or rice in 1955?
Advertisements are from the Blue Ridge Herald (Purcellville, Virginia) of January 6, 1955. Tune in tomorrow for more…….… read more »
|NDNP Podcast 1||About the “Using Chronicling America” Podcast Series||Jenni Salamon &
|NDNP Podcast 2||What Is Chronicling America?||Jenni Salamon||http://youtu.be/Bvg73KAyTDA|
|NDNP Podcast 3||How Do I Browse?||Kaylie Vermillion||http://youtu.be/a9mD5A-c5jg|
|NDNP Podcast 4||How Do I Perform A Basic Search?||Jenni Salamon||http://youtu.be/cIB_Eso44B0|
|NDNP Podcast 5||What Will My Search Results Look Like?||Jenni Salamon||http://youtu.be/lzKLUwgzTuA|
|NDNP Podcast 6||How Do I Perform An Advanced Search?||Kaylie Vermillion||http://youtu.be/rEs4YgtpqB8|
|NDNP Podcast 7||How Do I Use The Image-Viewing Screen?||Jenni Salamon||http://youtu.be/iHvdqCOd4hw|
|NDNP Podcast 8||How Do I Zoom On An Image?||Jenni Salamon||http://youtu.be/Au-XwW50hJw|
|NDNP Podcast 9||How Do I Print An Image?||Jenni Salamon||http://youtu.be/NlguUm8agBE|
|NDNP Podcast 10||Overcoming Historical Language Barriers & Learning Alternatives To Controlled Vocabulary||Jenni Salamon||http://youtu.be/L_SBG7RLQIs|
|NDNP Podcast 11||Understanding Keyword Searching||Kaylie Vermillion||http://youtu.be/Dhf8Sx0ap-Q|
One of the things that I do with the Newspaper Project is mending newspapers. Last week I repaired an issue of The New York Tribune, a 12-page newspaper from New York City dated May 13, 1862 that was recently donated to the Library. Although it is not a Virginia newspaper, it still contains relevant information about the conduct of the war in Virginia. Many of the articles are simply reprinted dispatches from Union Generals. The articles on the front page describe the capture and occupation of Norfolk, Virginia. The map depicts Union and Confederate positions just southeast of Williamsburg, Virginia.
Another interesting feature of the paper is a 4 page section listing of properties that were going to be auctioned off in order to pay off assessments. This was a public notice that the properties could be redeemed if the owner paid the amount due with a penalty of 14% interest per year within a 2 year period.
Below are before and after photographs of reassembled pages.
How It is Done
With a few household items and one specialty item, I am able to make my repairs. The required items are a pair of scissors, parchment paper (like what you would use to bake cookies — I also prefer the unbleached parchment paper), an electric iron, and Filmoplast R. Another item that is helpful is a large smooth board to iron on. I use a piece of 1/8″ cardboard that is not corrugated and I also have a piece of parchment paper taped onto the board.… read more »
While the Library of Virginia’s historical newspaper collection is extensive and varied, it has a genre of newspaper that may be surprising to some: twentieth century high school newspapers. Thanks to a generous donation, the Library of Virginia recently added another high school newspaper to its collection, the Star, of South Boston. Edited and published by the students of Halifax County High School, it featured stories on student life with a graphic sophistication that encouraged comparisons to the look of a professional daily. That’s certainly one reason the Star attracted a diverse advertising base from a student hang-out such as Johnny’s Place (“Eat a Snack and You’ll Be Back”) to Wilborn’s Toytown and the Main Street department store G. J. Hunt & Son.
Issues of the Star span from 1955-1960, and offer a fascinating depiction of the teenage experience from a small city in Virginia’s southern Piedmont.
Other high school newspapers in the Library’s collection include, the Monocle (Richmond), the Highland Fling (Highland Springs), the Shooting Star (Middleburg) and Tattle Tale (Harrisonburg) among many others.
Despite the fact that the Library of Virginia holds the largest collection of historic Virginia newspapers with 2616 titles on microfilm and over 2000 titles in original format, we are always interested in locating new issues of old Virginia newspapers to enhance our collection. If you or someone you know has old newspapers moldering away in an attic or basement, please send them our way.
We may be interested in your collection (even if it only a few scattered issues), especially if it contains newspaper titles we do not currently have represented in our collection. One of our main goals at the Virginia Newspaper Project is to promote access to these one-of-a-kind primary sources. You may donate your old newspapers or loan them to us long enough to allow us to microfilm them. Once on microfilm, they will be available to the public at the Library of Virginia and through our inter-library loan service. We are available to travel to your location to pick-up original newspapers, and depending on the quantity and condition of your newspapers, we can usually complete the microfilming task in the course of several months. If it is a significant collection, we can also provide a copy of the microfilm to be deposited to your local library so it may be used by your community.
You may direct your questions and inquiries to our Director Errol Somay at 804-692-3559 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org .
How much was a bottle of bourbon in 1941? How about a “beautifully rebuilt” Electrolux vacuum? The prices of these and other items can be found on the back page of an issue of the Washington Daily News that was recently given to the Library of Virginia. While the nation was preoccupied with impending war, evidenced by the issue’s bold headline, “IT’S WAR, SAYS JAPAN AFTER ATTACK ON US,” the everyday life of people is revealed in the ads, classifieds, movie announcements and local news found in the Daily News.
The gift given to LVA also includes several issues of the Evening Star, a daily published in Washington DC from 1854-1972. Among them is a January 20, 1941 Inaugural Issue of Franklin D. Roosevelt with three sections devoted to full page photo layouts of the people, places and events on the political scene as Roosevelt entered his second term. There are also issues of the Star from December 1941 announcing the US’s declaration of war with Japan and Germany.
A supplement of the Richmond Times Dispatch celebrating the 350th anniversary of Jamestown, a Bicentennial Edition of the Progress-Index (Hopewell) and a Richmond News Leader announcing the death of King George are part of the gift as well.
Come take a look at history as it was written in the newspapers. To search titles held by the Library of Virginia, visit the Virginia Newspaper Project’s Newspapers in Virginia Bibliography on the Library’s web site.… read more »