Monday, February 28, 2011

Non-Existent Planet “Discovered” in 1931

The 7 July 1931 issue of California’s Modesto Bee carried an AP story reporting that a Japanese observatory claimed to have discovered a new planetoid larger than the Earth itself. Since then, a number of significant bodies in the solar system have been discovered and Pluto was dethroned as a full planet, but the Japanese discovery turned out not to exist. The full newspaper is available on Google News.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Legal News from 1939

This clipping from the Pittsburgh Press of 21 April 1939, available on Google News, reports two unusual legal matters. In the first, Lieutenant-Governor Lewis of Pennsylvania disguises himself as a prisoner to form his own opinion as to whether or not a condemned prisoner is “mentally normal” and determines that “if he is feeble-minded, so am I.”

Next to it is an item about a husband fined $2 for preferring two dogs to his wife.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Future of Air Travel in 1939

This article reports a speech by the manager of Union Airways, a New Zealand firm, in April 1939. He discusses his ten-day trip from Australia to England — part of which was on air-conditioned “flying boat” that carried 22 passengers and flew at 150 mph. The original article from the Wellington Evening Post of 27 April 1939 is available on the PapersPast site.

A current Airbus 380, by the way, can have a takeoff weight of as much as 575 tons.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Put the German Kaiser on Trial in 1920?

Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated on 18 November 1918 at the end of World War I and took refuge in The Netherlands. The Treaty of Versailles, signed in 1919, stipulated that he should be brought to trial. However, the Dutch refused to extradite him. The Allies kept trying, as evident in this editorial from the Pittsburgh Press of 19 January 1920, but he lived in comfortable exile until his death in 1941. The original newspaper is available on Google.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Australian Editorial Cartoon on Roosevelt and Hitler

The cartoon below appeared in Melbourne’s The Age on 2 May 1939. Franklin Roosevelt had commented that Hitler had not completely closed the door to peace in his speech of 28 April 1939 (although FDR wasn’t at all optimistic).  The Age has a bedraggled and de-feathered dove returning  from Europe while FDR says: “Well at least you got back alive.” Like many comments at the time, the cartoon holds out a thin hope of peace. The original newspaper is available on Google.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Forebodings of War in 1939

This editorial from the Spartanburg Herald (South Carolina) appeared on 17 April 1939. Franklin Roosevelt had just issued an appeal to Hitler and Mussolini not to attack a list of 31 countries.  Hitler’s 50th birthday was three days away, and people were speculating that the Nazis might occupy the free city of Danzig as a birthday present. The editorial was one of many from the period longing for a peace that was not to be. The full newspaper is available on Google News.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Miss America," as Seen from New Zealand in 1929

The Wellington Evening Post carried this story about the "American girl" of 1929 on 5 February 1929. The full newspaper is available on the PapersPast site from New Zealand.

Mail Order Goes Wrong

This article from the Davenport Weekly Republican of April 9, 1903 reports a problem. People ordered things by mail, but failed to make it clear how to deliver their orders.

The full article, like many of the others that will appear here, is from Google's amazing page of digitized newspapers.

Competition between Milkmen

When I was a child, milkmen still delivered milk to the door. But in Milwaukee in 1939, there was a choice of at least four companies providing the service.  In this letter from the Milwaukee Journal of April 21, 1939, a women defends the choices they provide.


Of late I have been reading newspapers from the 1930's as part of a larger project. I keep coming across unrelated, but interesting, stories.  Increasingly, long runs of old newspapers are available on line, and they make fascinating stories.

I'm going to post things that strike my fancy here as I come across them.  Should you find something interesting, let me know.