Pennsylvania Papers

Content Update

Oregon StatesmanWith over 10 million pages currently spanning more than 190 papers and 80+ cities, our Pennsylvania collection is Newspapers.com‘s largest—and it’s still growing!

Our newest Pennsylvania titles include Danville’s Morning News, the Montrose Democrat, Uniontown’s Evening Genius, Shippennsburg’s News-Chronicle, the Warren Mail, and a variety of papers from the city of Wilkes-Barr. Plus, more than 40 of our existing titles have been updated recently. If you have ancestors from these areas, try searching for them in these new and updated titles!

Did you know that some of the oldest papers on Newspapers.com can be found in the Pennsylvania collection? For instance, five of our Pennsylvania papers date back to the 18th century, including two that pre-date the Revolutionary War: the Pennsylvania Gazette (with issues back to 1728), Pennsylvania Packet (1771), Freeman’s Journal or North-American Intelligencer (1781), Independent Gazetteer (1782), and Die Unpartheyische York Gazette (1796).

An interesting tidbit about the previously mentioned Die Unpartheyische York Gazette is that it’s a German-language paper. Other papers in the Pennsylvania collection likewise reflect the state’s immigrant heritage, like the Middleburgh Post, which in 1888 began running a popular weekly satirical column written in the Pennsylvania German dialect. Similarly, Philadelphia’s Evening Public Ledger included an Italian-language column to draw in readers from the city’s large Italian population.

Sumpter Miner
If you’re interested in the Civil War, the Clearfield Republican is definitely worth a read. Though Pennsylvania was a Union state, the Clearfield Republican (a Copperhead Democrat paper) was vehemently anti-Lincoln, anti-war, and anti-draft, so its editorials give an unusual perspective into the time period. Since the paper published lists of Civil War draftees from Clearfield Country, this paper can also be a good place to look for your male ancestors from the area.

Another interesting paper is the Petroleum Centre Daily Record. Like its name suggests, the short-lived town of Petroleum Centre lived and breathed one industry—oil. Thus the Daily Record revolved around oil too, from its ads to its market reports to its editorials. Even its accounts of the goings-on in the lives of the inhabitants often involved the oil industry. However, because Petroleum Centre and the Daily Record were tied so closely to oil, a drop in oil prices in the early 1870s spelled the end of both the town and its paper.

So if you have Pennsylvania ancestors, or are just interested in Pennsylvania history, try searching or browsing Newspapers.com‘s Pennsylvania collection. You never know what—or who—you might find!

WWII in the United States

Axis Declares War

Today in 1941 Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States. Days earlier, Pearl Harbor had been infamously attacked by Japan’s military, prompting the U.S. to consider their own declaration of war against the island country. This declaration passed with only one dissenting vote on the same day that Hitler was drawing up his own declaration of war against the United States, convinced war with the U.S. was inevitable. With the declaration of war from the Axis, the U.S. was drawn into a massive global conflict that would continue for nearly four more years and would later be known as World War II.

Dec 11, 1941 - US enters WWII

There’s much more to find about WWII on Newspapers.com. Use the search page for specifics, or pick a specific date using the “Show Advanced” or “Add More Info” drop-down menu on the search bar. You can also use the “Narrow by Date” option in the left-hand column of the website after making a search.

Narrow By DateAdd more info

100th Anniversary of the Christmas Truce: December 24–25, 1914

100th Anniversary of the Christmas Truce

President schedules Thanksgiving for 1940
This holiday season marks the 100th anniversary of the legendary Christmas Truce during World War I.

On Christmas Eve of 1914 and the following day, an amazing thing happened along the Western Front. The rank-and-file soldiers spontaneously arranged informal cease-fires with enemy soldiers in the trenches opposite them and, in many cases, met in the No Man’s Land between the trenches to socialize with each other, singing carols, exchanging small gifts, and burying the dead (and in some instances, even playing soccer or taking photographs together). While these impromptu truces by no means involved the entire Western Front, they were widespread, especially between German and British soldiers (though in a few places French and Belgian troops as well).

Happy Franksgiving
Reports of these spur-of-the moment cease-fires didn’t hit the newspapers until December 31, but once the news broke, stories of the individual Christmas truces began appearing in newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps one of the more surprising discoveries to come out of the Christmas truces, both for the Allied soldiers and newspaper readers back home, was that despite stories of German atrocities, the enemy soldiers in the trenches were just as human as they were. “The Germans opposite were awfully decent fellows [. . .] intelligent, respectable looking men,” reported one soldier. “I really think a lot of our newspaper reports must be horribly exaggerated.”

Not everyone supported the truces, however. High-ranking officers on both sides frowned down on the truces once they heard about them but were largely unable to stop them. Some lower-ranking soldiers disapproved as well, such as one who, upon returning to the trenches to find that the Germans had erected lit Christmas trees, remarked, “I was all for not allowing the blighters to enjoy themselves, especially as they had killed one of our men that afternoon. But my captain [. . .] wouldn’t let me shoot.”

Majority of Americans don't want to move Thanksgiving in 1939
Though the truces had to end and the fighting start up again after Christmas (with some truces reportedly lasting through the New Year), the men involved would always remember the Christmas of 1914. “It will be a Christmastime to live in our memory,” wrote one soldier, while another observed that “the recollection of it will ever be one of imperishable beauty.” But perhaps this soldier’s impression summed up the experience best: “All this talk of hate, all this fury at each other that has raged since the beginning of the war, quelled and stayed by the magic of Christmas.”

Find many articles and accounts about the Christmas Truce on Newspapers.com. Or search for other topics that interest you.

Rosa’s Prostest

Dec 1 1955, Rosa Parks Arrested

The above is a clipping from December 5th, 1955, just a few days after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. The arrest was made December 1st when Parks sat in a seat directly behind the white section of the bus.

Riding the bus in 1955

When those seats filled and more white passengers boarded, the bus driver moved the sign designating the “colored section” further back on the bus and asked Rosa Parks and three other black passengers to move. The others complied, but Parks refused, tired of bending to arbitrary and unjust rules. She was arrested at the insistence of the bus driver.

Rosa Parks on the day she was arrested

Perhaps not so coincidentally, the same bus driver had once insisted Parks pay the fare and then get off the bus to reenter in the back door. The back of the bus was brimming with people, and Parks suspected he might just leave her on the sidewalk if she got off. She was thrown off the bus when she ignored the driver’s instructions.

Rosa Parks, 75

Find more about Rosa Parks’ famous bus experience with this search or create your own search for more articles about this and other moments in history.

The Turkey Pardon

Presidential Pardon Saved the Gobbler

The story of the presidential turkey pardon is a strange and mysterious one. Strange, because it involves pardoning a large fowl to save it from ending up in your Thanksgiving dinner. And mysterious because no one is sure where or why it began.

Thanksgiving Trivia

Commonly, the tradition is said to have started with President Truman in 1947, the year the first turkey was supposedly pardoned. This is despite the lack of any newspaper articles, stories, letters or other similar things proving the connection between Truman and the turkey pardon. Stories of Abe Lincoln pardoning the turkey meant for their Christmas dinner after his son grew attached to the bird also abound, leading many to believe that perhaps he is the reason for the custom.

Lincoln's Turkey History

As the article above mentions, Reagan was the first to mention an actual pardon for the lucky turkey, but it was a passing joke. The first official Thanksgiving turkey pardon didn’t happen until 1989, during George H. W. Bush’s presidency. Since then it has been a standing tradition every Thanksgiving holiday.

Turkey gets presidential pardon

The annual turkey pardon has been fairly well-documented in the last few decades. Here are some other articles about presidents pardoning their feathered friends:

Clinton's First Presidential Pardon Granted to a Turkey

Presidential Turkey Pardon

Strong Turkey Pardon Feelings

Obama Pardons Turkey

Of course there are many more similar articles to be found, full of stories of the origins of this bizarre tradition. Some are not quite factual, but all share different angles to this silly story. See what you can find on Newspapers.com.

The Facts of Facial Hair

Mustaches

Whether you know it as Movember, No Shave November, or something in between, this month is the time when many a man forgoes the razor and lets his face fur grow freely in the name of promoting men’s health. In honor of this strange and ever-growing tradition (pun intended), today’s post will center around the lip sweater, the cookie duster, the soup strainer, the caterpillar, or, as it is most commonly known…the mustache.

Mustaches—and their frequent companions, beards—have been a rather hotly debated topic over the centuries. Some find them disgraceful and a sign of derelict character, while others see them as the ultimate expression of a true gentleman. Here are a few articles that brave the subject of mustaches (click on the images to read the whole article):

1. Waiters in years past had a struggle if they were the mustache-loving type. For a while, waiters were banned from sporting lip fuzz, a rule that began in France and trickled into the high-end restaurants in the United States. Many pushed back against the insistence on bare faces, though not all succeeded.

Let His Mustache Blossom!

2. Did you know there are national mustache days? They are varied and many now, without as much consensus on a date as this article has. The many difficulties and advantages of wearing a mustache are delved into here.

Mustache advantages vs. disadvantages

3. Ever wanted to know about the facial hair decisions of past presidents or the longest mustache in the world in 1972? Look no further: here lies the history of the mustache. And in case you were curious, the current world record for longest mustache is 14 feet, which is just a little longer than the record in this clipping…by about 5 feet. That’s a lot of mustache.

Unsightly Hair or Beautiful Brush?

4. What does your mustache say about you? (Spoiler, it says a lot.) This article amounts to a zodiac of mustache meanings. Where do you fall on the scale from timid to murderous? And don’t overlook the fabulous last line of the clip below, “The Cleanly Shaven Upper Lip is Open to Suspicion.”

The Cleanly Shaven Upper Lip is Open to Suspicion

You’d be surprised how many newspaper stories mention the mustache, some with great vitriol. Take a look at this search to look for more about how mustaches are signs of insecurity, make you more manly, or attract the ladies. It plain to see that they can do all these things and more—depending on who’s talking.

The President at Gettysburg

Address by President Lincoln given at Gettysburg

It’s been over 150 years since the president stood before an audience of thousands and proclaimed the words, “all men are created equal,” but President Lincoln’s stirring address just four months after the battle of Gettysburg still remains one of the most memorable speeches in American history. Brief and stirring, the speech was given as part of a ceremony to consecrate a new cemetery for the thousands of men who had died in that terrible battle. Lincoln’s words only lasted about three minutes, in contrast to the hours of speeches that preceded him, but it clearly defined Lincoln’s vision of winning not only victory for the Union, but unified freedom for everyone: “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Lincoln’s full speech was reprinted many times in newspapers throughout the country. Here is just one version (click to make the image larger):

Lincoln's Remarks

More on Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address can be found on Newspapers.com. Try narrowing down the dates for more contemporary articles, or see how the newspapers refer back to the occasion over the years with a broader search.

Elvis in CinemaScope

November 15th, 1956, was the day the film Love Me Tender premiered, featuring none other than 21-year-old Elvis Presley. Originally called The Reno Brothers, the title of the film was changed to capitalize on Presley’s famous tune, which Presley sang during the movie in the role of the youngest Reno brother, Clint. Presley hoped the film would be his first step on the road to becoming a serious actor, one of his dreams. Unfortunately for the famous singer, Love Me Tender was just the first in a long string of musicals in which his beloved songs were used to garner attention for the films. The public wanted his music, not a new James Dean.

November 15, 1956 - Elvis make film debut in Love Me Tender.

Still, regardless of Presley’s own disappointment in his role as the famous face on the posters, his movies, including Love Me Tender, were box office hits, selling out almost as quickly as his albums. In fact, Love Me Tender was the first movie ever to recover its initial investments in just three days. It wasn’t long before Elvis was perpetually cast in the role of the dashing young love interest with a talent for song. It wasn’t what he wanted, but Elvis certainly loved to entertain and continued to do so through both movies and music for years.

Presley's movie debut:

Presley’s movies aren’t considered the greatest of all time, but they definitely have their fair share of fans. Are you an Elvis Presley fan? Were his movies or his music more to your taste? Let us know, and if you’re interested in more articles about anything Elvis related, see what else you can find on Newspapers.com. 

“Give Up or Give In!”: Advertising during World War I

Newspapers.com News, Finds and Tips

James Montgomery Flagg's famous Uncle Sam recruitment image
Following the creation of the Committee on Public Information in April 1917—and especially its advertising division in January 1918—official propaganda for World War I spread like wildfire. In fact, pro-war propaganda became so prevalent that it began seeping into a myriad of aspects of daily life—including newspaper advertising.

Some ads were for products with an obvious connection to the war, such as the omnipresent advertisements for Liberty Loans. These ads often echoed the sentiments seen on propaganda posters, using patriotism and pride in equal measures with guilt and even fear to persuade newspaper readers to purchase Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps to help fund the war effort. For instance, one Liberty Bond ad made it clear that it was either “give in” and participate in the Liberty Loan or “give up” hope of winning the war. Another ad asked “What is YOUR standard of patriotism? . . . In an hour like this it is not true patriotism to give merely what we don’t need. True patriots will sacrifice.”

Liberty Bond ad (New York)
Then there were the ads in which advertisers found ways to associate their everyday products and services with the war effort. Nemo Self-Reducing Corsets used this technique in an ad that stated, “Women who work, especially those who are doing unaccustomed war-time labor, must guard their health to retain their efficiency. Therefore, Nemo Self-Reducing Corsets are now, even more than ever—a national necessity!”

Likewise, ads that demonstrated support for America’s soldiers also became a popular marketing tool. A classic example of this is a Wrigley’s gum ad that underneath an image of a soldier hugging his mother reads, “He’s telling her that nothing he received from home brought him more joy, longer-lasting pleasure, greater relief from thirst and fatigue, than Wrigley’s.”

World War I Wrigley's gum adAnother way ads capitalized on the war was by referring to Herbert Hoover’s request as head of the U.S. Food Administration for Americans to conserve certain kinds of food, such as wheat. Such an ad for a Roberts & Leahy store advertised, “Eat more potatoes and less wheat products and you will be doing a little bit more to help our own boys over there. We will help you do your bit of saving by selling potatoes so cheap you can afford to eat more of them and less wheat products.”

Whatever their technique, ads like these counted on Americans’ patriotism—and the newspapers’ increased wartime readership—to sell their products. Have you come across any interesting wartime ads or propaganda in the papers on Newspapers.com? Tell us about it! Or clip and share them with your family or friends.

Thank You to Our Veterans

Thank You, Veterans: Veterans Celebrate Their Day

In 1954 an Act of Congress declared that November 11th would become Veterans Day, a day to honor the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who served in the armed forces of the United States.

November 11, Armistice Day, Becomes Veterans Day in 1954

A Grateful Nation

A Grateful Nation, cont.

Thank You, Veterans

For all those veterans out there, this day is to honor you. Thank you for your incredible service for this country.