Rosa Parks Day

On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus and took a seat in the “colored” section, just behind the seats reserved for white passengers. When more white passengers boarded and filled up the front section of the bus, driver James F. Blake told Parks and three other black passengers to give up their seats. Parks refused.

Rosa Parks DayRosa Parks was not the first to resist the demeaning bus segregation rules; she was not even the first woman to be arrested for refusing to give up her seat. But she became the face of a movement, an icon remembered to this day for standing up against injustice by remaining seated.

Her arrest prompted the Montgomery bus boycott, a protest against the segregation laws.

Bus Dispute

Bus BoycottDuring the boycott, the black community carpooled, took cabs, or—most frequently—walked, to get to their jobs and schools. The campaign to change the laws went on for over a year, with some buses sitting idle for months with no passengers. Finally, on December 20, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled bus segregation laws unconstitutional.

Of her own part in the events, Rosa Parks said this:

Tired of giving in
Rosa Parks in the front of a bus Dec 21, 1956Find more articles like these with a search on Newspapers.com.

Save

Save

It’s Turkey Day—But Why Turkey?

Turkey drawingIt’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A., and that means one thing—pumpkin pie. A nice big helping of rich, squashy pie topped with whipped cream. What’s more “Thanksgiving” than that?

Oh, and there’s turkey too.

So what’s with turkey anyway? How did the festive fowl come to be associated with holiday dining, and Thanksgiving Day in particular? Newspaper clippings from years past give varied views on the origin of this bird’s big break. The explanation that came up the most was that, hey—there were just tons of turkeys all over the place.

Turkeys were common
First thing they spotted
Turkey, Turkey, EverywhereYou couldn’t step into your backyard without nearly running into a turkey—or so the articles say. In reality, they probably weren’t as common as the stories make it seem.

Another explanation is (very briefly) offered in this 1928 ad. Turkey was just the thing for Governor Bradford:

It's what the pilgrim fathers directedWilliam Bradford was an early colonist often associated with the first Thanksgiving. His journals do mention turkeys being hunted throughout the fall of 1621, but no specific mention of Thanksgiving turkey is made by him or any other contemporary accounts.

This clipping is another brief explanation, offered by an American to a German tourist who wondered about the bird’s sudden significance on Thanksgiving Day:
Represents prosperityIt may not be the actual reason…but it rings true enough, don’t you think?

A good argument for the use of turkey as Thanksgiving’s central dish is simply that turkey wasn’t had every day; it was saved for special occasions, it took time and effort to prepare, and it was usually more pricey than your typical dinner fare.

Turkey used to be specialAnd Kim here has another great reason: turkeys are larger birds than ducks or chickens and are therefore perfect for stuffing and overindulging.
We can stuff it with stuffingYou can find Thanksgiving recipes, stories, poems and more with a search on Newspapers.com. Happy Thanksgiving!

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Sourest Soprano

If you’ve seen the recent movie starring Meryl Streep, then you’ll know the gist on famous soprano Florence Foster Jenkins. Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster JenkinsFlorence Foster Jenkins was one of the most famous singers of her time, but not thanks to an abundance of talent—as you might have guessed from the bluntly honest article above. The clipping below sums it up nicely as well:

The differenceJenkins’ musical career began long before her singing. She was a talented pianist from a young age—legitimately—and even performed in the White House. An arm injury cut that future short, but Jenkins’ love of music only continued to grow. In her early forties she began regular singing performances, primarily at the Verdi Club, an organization she founded and hosted herself. The recitals were always fairly exclusive, invite-only affairs, and it wasn’t until she was 76 years old that she finally went public—in a big way.

Carnegie HallShe passed away only a month after her Carnegie Hall performance, leaving behind the mystery of whether or not she really knew the true basis of her fame. Her second husband, St. Clair Bayfield, supported her throughout her singing career with genuine adoration and tried to keep the criticisms away from the eyes of his dynamic wife.

St. Clair shielded Florence from criticismBut did Lady Florence know the true depth of her lack of talent? Or was she playing the audience all along?

Was Jenkins Serious?Find more about Florence Foster Jenkins and her impressive career on Newspapers.com.

Save

Save

Monsieur Mangetout

When someone’s got a nickname like “Mr. Eat-all,” you can be sure he must have earned it. And Michel Lotito certainly did. Over the course of his lifetime he ate quite the interesting assortment of objects—metal objects, primarily.
Monsieur Mangetout beats own world record
Monsieur Mangetout, list of some of what he ate
Michel LotitoYes, those last two clips do say “Cessna.” Lotito consumed the small plane from 1978-1980. But he didn’t get there in one fell swoop. From his teenage years, Lotito realized he could stomach pretty much everything, in the most literal of ways. Glass, metal, rubber—anything was fair game, and Lotito claimed not to suffer any ill effects from this unusual, nearly life-long stunt diet. He passed away in 2007 from causes unrelated to his metal consumption.

Find more on Lotito and other bizarre world record holders with a search on Newspapers.com.

Save

Save

How Many Ways Can You Cook a Turkey?

Newspapers.com News, Finds and Tips

Turkey timetables
How many ways can you cook a turkey? Quite a few, judging from the number of recipes found on Newspapers.com! If you’re looking for a new way to cook your Thanksgiving turkey this year, look no further than your Newspapers.com search results to find turkey recipes from over the decades and across the country. Below is a selection of recipes to get you started, though these are just the tip of the iceberg:

And need some help with carving that turkey? Or want to know how to deep-fry your turkey safely? Or curious how long you should thaw your turkey? Newspapers.com can help you with that too:

Not only can you find recipes for how to cook your turkey on Thanksgiving, you can also find recipes for your turkey leftovers:

And these are just the turkey recipes! We haven’t even gotten into all the Thanksgiving side dish and dessert recipes you can find on Newspapers.com. So if you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year, take a look at some of the many recipes and tips you can find by searching Newspapers.com!

In Prison and in Plane

Two strangers, one placeOn December 17, 1944, Bernard Cytryn made his way with his fellow prisoners to a Nazi-controlled synthetic oil refinery for another day of forced labor. In the distance a steady done could be heard, buzzing like the sound of bees. Cytryn recognized the sound—American planes—and dove for a tree as bombs dropped on the refinery.

On high alert in the nose-gunner’s seat of a plane far above sat Hjalmar Johansson. Anti-aircraft fire took out one of the plane’s wings and the men inside were forced to abandon ship. Johansson, who had never even practiced jumping from a plane, landed safely, only to be captured by Nazi soldiers.

Before they spoke at the same keynote, decades after the war, the two men never met. But they’d both been in the same place on that same day during one of the world’s most devastating wars.

Hjalmar Johansson and Bernard CytrynCytryn was sent to Auschwitz at age 16. He outlived the rest of his family, who were murdered at the camp. Cytryn recalls an experience when he realized he was in line for one of the gas chambers:
Cytryn avoids deathAfter a year in the death camp he was sent to work at the oil refinery, which is how he happened to be there when Johansson flew overhead. The American bombing mission did not result in Cytryn’s freedom that day, but it did give him a break while the fires were put out at the refinery, and that was more than he’d had in a long time. He was finally freed in April 1945 and eventually made his way over to the United States, where he met Johansson all those years later.

Hjalmar JohanssonWhen Johansson joined the U.S. Air Force at age 18 with hopes of becoming a pilot, he had no idea he would be taken prisoner by the men he fought against.

Johansson capturedHe and the other prisoners spent the winter huddled together for warmth. He kept a journal written on cigarette papers with a mechanical pencil he kept hidden in his collar. They were given foods like “grass soup” that barely kept them alive until Russian forces arrived in May 1945.

Malnourished, given vodka Johansson’s story is featured on History.com with a great video of him recounting his experiences as a gunner and prisoner of war.

Johansson and Cytryn were on two sides of the same experience, two incredible stories among many, many thousands. Find more articles on these and other war veterans in the pages of Newspapers.com, and thank you to all our wonderful veterans who have risked it all to serve our country.

Save

Save

Save

The Palm Beach Post

Content Update

Do you have ancestors from Florida? Check out the Palm Beach Post on Newspapers.com! With a Newspapers.com Basic subscription, you can see issues of the Palm Beach Post from 1916 through 1922; or, with a Publisher Extra subscription, access those early years and additional issues from 1922 to 2016.

Florida’s Palm Beach Post first began publishing in 1908 under the name Palm Beach County, but in 1916 (by this time called the Palm Beach Post) the paper made the switch from running weekly issues to being a morning daily.
As the self-proclaimed official paper of the city of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County, the Post ran many interesting articles, editorials, and cartoons over the years, reporting on issues and events that were important to the county’s residents.

For example, in September 1928, the Palm Beach Post covered the Okeechobee hurricane, which made landfall not far from West Palm Beach. While the hurricane itself was deadly and caused much damage, also extremely threatening was the storm surge caused by Lake Okeechobee overflowing its dike, which resulted in flooding over hundreds of square miles—up to 20 feet high in some places. Altogether, the storm caused more than 4,000 deaths. A few days after the hurricane, the Post reported on a family who survived because their house had floated in the floodwaters. The wife is recorded as saying, “The wind seemed to change and I stepped off the porch and immediately disappeared in water over my head. […] Our house was afloat, it floated for more than half a mile.”

City okays circus parade, 1938

Another item of local interest ran in October 1938, when the paper followed the local upset surrounding a canceled circus parade. A circus had come to town, and there was much discussion about whether the circus would be able to parade its animals through town as part of the show. When the city decided last minute to allow the parade, excitement was high; but disappointingly for the local kids, the circus decided not to hold a parade, as it would conflict with the afternoon performance. The Post ran an editorial the following day that piled on the guilt, remarking, “Sometime the guy who gave the order to cancel the circus parade yesterday will remember a crying kid along the curb, and he’ll wonder if the money he saved was worth it.”

If you have family or ancestors from the Palm Beach area, you might find them in the Post in “personal mention” columns, news of local WWII servicemen, engagement announcements, death and burial notices, birth announcements, society and club news, court records, school honor rolls, or maybe even lists of candidates running for local office—just to name a few!

Get started searching or browsing the Palm Beach Post on Newspapers.com!

Remembering the Alamo

If you’ve been keeping up with the history-packed time travel drama Timeless, you’ll recognize the reason for today’s post. This week the show tackled the battle of the Alamo, an ill-fated last stand that took place in what was then called San Antonio de Béxar in February and March of 1836. Though small pieces of the true history were changed in the show (thanks to the meddlesome, time traveling antagonist), for us the history of the Alamo remains the same—a poignant piece of Texas’ past that inspired an army and led to the eventual end of a deadly revolution.
Important From TexasThe Alamo was a garrison of the Texian Army, though fewer than 100 men were stationed there by January 1836. By early February a few score reinforcements had arrived, along with Colonel James Bowie and the legendary Davy Crocket. Bowie and cavalry officer William Travis shared command of the men at the Alamo.

By February 23, 1500 Mexican Army soldiers had settled in around Béxar and the few hundred Texians at the Alamo who refused to surrender. A 13-day siege followed, during which Travis wrote the now-famous letter that was given hefty focus in Timeless. His letter and multiple others were only successful in gathering another 30 or so men; meanwhile, the Mexican army received another 1000 reinforcements which left them sitting pretty with a force of about 3100 men. The situation was dire, and Travis began to prepare his men to die nobly for their cause.

Bowie and Crockett slainOn March 6 the Mexican soldiers advanced on the Alamo. The battle was long and brutal. In the end, all Texian soldiers were killed, including those who surrendered, but they did not go down without a fight—approximately 600 Mexican soldiers were killed before the men at the Alamo fell. The events at the Alamo were not entirely in vain, however, as you’ll see in the article below:

Response to the fall of Bexar (San Antonio de Bexar)The army raised in reaction to the news eventually drove the Mexican army from Texas in late April, spurred on by the memory of their fallen comrades at the Alamo.

Find more about the events at the Alamo as reported in the papers with a search on Newspapers.com.

Save

Save

The Great Diamond Hoax Is Revealed: November 25, 1872

The Great Diamond Hoax Is Revealed: November 25, 1872

Headlines about the Diamond Hoax
On November 25, 1872, one of the greatest hoaxes of the day was revealed when it was discovered that some of the biggest names in business had been conned into investing in a fake diamond field by two Kentucky swindlers.

Following the gold rush of 1849 and silver rush of the Comstock Lode in 1859, it seemed like the American West held endless possibilities for wealth. So when two Kentucky prospectors showed up at a bank in San Francisco in 1871 with a bag full of uncut diamonds, news of the gems quickly leaked to the founder of the bank, William C. Ralston. The two prospectors, Philip Arnold and John Slack, were tracked down, and eventually they were persuaded to divulge that they had found a major diamond field, loaded with a variety of gems in such abundance that they could practically be plucked off the ground. Ralston alerted some of his business associates, and after the two prospectors reported they had returned to the diamond field and found even more stones, Ralston and his associates decided to try to buy the two men out.

But what Ralston didn’t know was that Arnold and Slack were con men. The bags of diamonds they presented were actually ones of inferior quality that they had acquired, and as soon as they got money from Ralston, they used that money to secretly travel to London and buy more inferior uncut diamonds (along with some rubies, emeralds, and sapphires for good measure).

Nov 26 headlines about the diamond fraud

Under the pretense of going to their “diamond field” along the Colorado-Wyoming border (though some newspapers would report it as being in Arizona) to find more gems for the businessmen, Arnold and Slack actually went there to salt their diamond field. When Arnold and Slack returned with the gems they had “found,” the businessmen took a sample to famous diamond expert Charles Lewis Tiffany in New York for authentication. However, neither Tiffany nor his lapidary had experience with uncut stones, so they mistakenly valued the gems at far more than they were actually worth.

With luck still on his side, Arnold got more money from the businessmen and once again secretly traveled to Europe to buy more low-quality uncut gems to further salt the so-called diamond field. Arnold and Slack’s luck continued, because when the businessmen hired an expert mining engineer—Henry Janin—to travel to the diamond field to authenticate it, Janin somehow concluded that the diamond field was real. Deciding it was time to leave before the scheme collapsed, Arnold and Slack sold off the rest of their interest in the diamond field (netting an estimated $8-10 million in today’s money).

News of the rich diamond fields hits the newspapers
The hoax was finally discovered when Janin happened to meet government geologist Clarence King on a train. King decided to take a look at the diamond field himself, and not long after he arrived he and his team began noticing suspicious things about the site, like diamonds and other gems being found in places and groupings where they wouldn’t naturally occur.

King immediately informed Ralston and the other investors about the fraud, and news of the swindle broke in San Francisco newspapers on November 25, 1872, revealing that many high-profile figures from both coasts had been duped. When Arnold was eventually tracked down back home in Kentucky, he settled out of court and ended up only having to pay back a fraction of the money he had earned from the con. Slack was never found.

Want to learn more about the Great Diamond Hoax of 1872? Start a search on Newspapers.com!

The Legend of Stingy Jack

Ever wondered, as you plunge your hands into a pumpkin’s gooey innards, why we bother carving pumpkins at all?

History of the Jack-O-LanternThat helpful graphic sums up the history nicely. The practice originated in Scotland and Ireland and eventually morphed into a combination of paganism and Christianity that celebrated and welcomed ancestors who had passed on while simultaneously warding off evil spirits. The latter is the reason for the grotesque faces we carve into the pumpkins—nothing scares off the baddies like a gap-toothed pumpkin grin.

But on the other, less historical hand, a figure of legend named Stingy Jack has also been given some of the credit for the tradition of carving pumpkins.

The coin trick
The deal
The coin ruse was just the start of Jack’s mischief:
The tree trickOther versions mention that Jack also made the Devil promise to leave him alone for another 10 years. When Jack died soon after the bargain, he found himself rejected at the pearly gates for the wretched life he’d lived. So he paid a visit to hell:

Talking to the Devil…he’s been wandering the world with his gourd lantern, looking for a place to rest eternally. This is how he earned the nickname Jack of the lantern—or, more familiar to us, Jack-O’-Lantern. We carve Jack-O’-Lanterns now, just like the lantern ol’ Stingy Jack carries, and their creepy faces keep him away with the rest of the bad spirits.

Who knows—maybe if you keep an eye out this All Hallow’s Eve, you’ll see Jack’s lantern-light bobbing in the distance as he wanders ever on.

Find more history and legend like this with a search on Newspapers.com.

Save

Save