"Despite its youth, the section has a much longer history, one that encompasses the long effort of women in journalism to be taken seriously as reporters and as readers, the development of New Journalism, large-scale social changes that have brought gay culture into the mainstream, shifts in the way news is delivered and consumed, and economic consolidations and disruptions that the section has, sometimes in spite of itself, thoroughly documented and cataloged. The Styles section may well be pretty stupid sometimes. It’s also a richer and more complex entity than any of us would like to believe." - Bonfire Of The Inanities - Jacqui Shine writes a long, detailed history of the New York Times Style Section.
Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
The Trickster Prince is academic and historian Matt Houlbrook's blog about the ephemera and little-known stories of the English inter-war period (and before) with a focus on class-jumping, queer narratives, "faking it", and urban society in the 20s and 30s.
In 1962, fifty years ago this month, striking union printers shut down four New York City newspapers in resistance to computerized, automated technologies that were being introduced in newsrooms across the country. Five other area papers shut down voluntarily. The strike lasted 114 days and sounded the death knell for four newspapers. For a brief period, New York was a laboratory that demonstrated what can happen when newspapers vanish. Today, new technology is again shaking American newspapers as the Internet drains away more and more advertising revenue. Is this The Long Good Bye? [more inside]
Ephemeral New York 'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
A fellow tried to impress his friends by fitting a billiard ball in his mouth - he died. A young woman laced her corset too tightly - she died. A woman fell down the stairs, which caused one of her hairpins to penetrate her skull - she died. And, of course, many people had horrible encounters with mill and farm machinery. Predictably, they died. (warning-occasionally graphic descriptions of death and dismemberment, mostly from the late 19th century). [more inside]
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times celebrated the 130th anniversary of its first issue, and marked the occasion with 130 photos from Los Angeles history, as well as a gallery of historic front pages.
"...we still can’t tell whether we are all about to die or whether we are being sold a bill of goods."
'The stories about epidemics that are told in the American press—their plots and tropes—date to the 1920's, when modern research science, science journalism, and science fiction were born.' This is the story of how the media back then (January, 1930) helped fuel fears about a parrot-fever pandemic, and the subsequent public backlash. (Via) [more inside]
19th-century newspaper ads for patented stomach cures and digestive aids [...] foregrounded mince pie as the K2 of digestive summits. But for every published warning on the dangers of mince, the newspapers published a poem, essay, or editorial praising it as a great symbol of American cultural heritage or a nostalgic reminder of mother love and better times bygone—or even, as the State of Columbia, South Carolina, asserted in 1901, a beneficial Darwinian instrument that had "thinned out the weak ones" among the pioneering generations.So wrote Cliff Doerksen in his wonderful, James Beard award-winning article Mince Pie: The Real American Pie. Doerksen not only gives the history of this once most American of foods, he also makes two mince pies from 19th Century recipes to see if they are indeed all that. This is but one of many great articles Doerksen wrote for The Chicago Reader in recent years (links to a selection below the cut). Sadly, Cliff Doerksen passed at the age of 47 just before Christmas. [more inside]
Envisioning Chinese Society in the Late Nineteenth Century: Words and Images from the Dianshizhai Pictorial Very nice online presentation of translated content from the famed nineteenth century Shanghai pictorial journal (China's first); Dianshizhai (点石斋画报) was modelled on Britain's Punch and produced as a supplement for Shen Bao subscribers. Flash is used so elements in the cartoons can be clicked for further information: a young woman repels a thief with martial derring-do; a customer bilks on the bill in a street eatery in Hangzhou; small-town society and politics with the muddle-headed magistrate; a non-performing temple bell offers a chance for sceptical commentary on religion; the gentlemanly pastime of cricket-fighting.
"Do you love me? Will you answer this all absorbing question the next time we meet? Will you utter that winsome "Yes" fraught with all the golden dreams of heavenly realms, or will you pronounce the dread "No" and consign my soul to darkness and despair?" Advertising for Love, a collection of funny, strange, poignant and bizarre personal ads from nineteenth-century American newspapers.
The Hope Chest: Bad News from the Past is a new blog of old newspaper clippings, mostly from Detroit and Chicago in the 1930s, with true crime and other bizarre stories. Examples include Tries To Shoot A Cat And Hits Automobilist, Driver Loses His Arm Giving Traffic Signal, and Pastor Writes Spicy Book. Other highlights are a phony cop attacking a pornographer with acid and the teenage girl who became a tattooed atheist bandit.
Every issue of The Times published between 1785-1985, digitally scanned and fully searchable. (Via Wordorigins.org.)
Los Angeles in the 1900s is a collection of newspaper articles & photographs documenting life in L.A. from 1900 to 1909. Some of the articles are funny, some tragic, all informative about what life in the very young city was like prior to the explosive growth caused by Mullholland, the Film Industry, & the freeways.
The Illustrated London News :: an archive
Edinburgh's Scotsman newspaper has launched a digital archive covering all editions from 1817-1950. There are several stories with an American slant which may be something that interests you. There is coverage on such things as the hanging of the notorious bodysnatchers Burke and Hare. Unfortunately, after viewing the free archives it is a paysite, but I still think it's worth a look as there is easily a couple of hours of interesting reading on the free articles that are included. The set-up and look of this site is brilliant as well.
Images of the Southwest. The American southwest, that is. The Bisbee Deportation of 1917 - 'an event specific to Arizona that influenced the labor movement throughout the United States'; early cartography of the southwest; a rural school newspaper; mission churches; folk arts - Easter eggs, murals and so on; War Relocation Authority camps (some photos ; and more.
Paper of Record provides a hi-res, searchable(!), archive of historical newspapers, generated from microfilm collections. Looks like one for Cory at Wrote['nother couple of similar links there]. Kind of new and largely Canadian at the moment, but worth watching, and subscriptions are cheap. Remember, those are Canadian dollars.