Yankee Doodle Dandy

When asked to think of a few truly patriotic songs–the ones that have been around in the United States for centuries–only a couple come to mind. The national anthem is likely the first for most. But there is one older still, and as is implied by the title of this post, that is the sing-song tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy.

This funny little song with its unusual lyrics is often associated with the conflict that gave the United States their independence–the Revolutionary War. However, the song actually originated during the French and Indian War when disorganized, rag-tag colonials were mocked by their British allies as “Yankee Doodles,” or American simpletons.

The song was brought back into popularity during the Revolutionary War as an insult to those fighting for independence. But the colonists ended up embracing the catchy song.

The colonials made the song their own

The colonists often took the song and twisted the words, making parodies of the original that they sang to friend and foe alike. Some are seen in the clippings below (click the images for larger versions on Newspapers.com):

Revised Yankee Doodle

Yankee Doodle on the Fourth of July

In the centuries since, the song has acquired hundreds of new verses. The only thing that remains the same through every version is that goofy gentleman, the Yankee Doodle Dandy.

For more articles with different versions of this song throughout the years(some more offensive than others), check out this search on Newspapers.com

Amelia Earhart Disappears: July 2, 1937

Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan

Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan

On July 2, 1937, famous aviator Amelia Earhart disappeared along with her navigator while attempting an around-the-world flight at the equator. At the time of her disappearance, the 39-year-old Earhart was the most famous female pilot of her day.

Earhart had first learned to fly in 1921, at the age of 23. Although she had a passion for flying, it was largely a hobby until 1928, when she gained fame as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean while a passenger aboard the plane Friendship. After this, flying became Earhart’s career, promoted by her publicist and later husband G.P. Putnam.

In 1932, Earhart again shot to fame when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic—this time as pilot rather than passenger. In the following years, she also became the first woman to fly coast to coast nonstop (1932), the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California (1935), and the first person to solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City (1935).

In June 1937, Earhart began her biggest record-breaking attempt yet: to fly around the world at the equator. Flying west to east, Earhart made it about three-quarters of the way along her planned route of approximately 30,000 miles and landed at Lae, New Guinea. For the next and most dangerous leg, she would have to fly to the middle of the Pacific and land on tiny Howland Island, aided by her navigator, Fred Noonan.

Amelia Earhart mystery continues
Once Earhart and Noonan left Lae, there were problems communicating with them by radio. As Earhart neared where she thought Howland Island should be, she reported her plane’s fuel was running low and that she couldn’t find the island. The last she was heard from in the air was on July 2, more than 20 hours after takeoff. She and Noonan never arrived at Howland Island, and the massive search effort was finally called off after more than two weeks of searching.

The mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan remains unsolved today, though there are a multitude of theories about their fate. Perhaps the most common theory is that they ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean. Also popular is the idea that, low on fuel, they landed on a small island in the Pacific and lived there for a time as castaways.

Interested in learning more about Amelia Earhart’s life and final flight? Start a search on Newspapers.com to find thousands of matches.

Pickles the Dog


Pickles earns silver medal

A dog named Pickles made headlines in 1966 after finding the World Soccer Cup under a bush. Eight days earlier the cup had been stolen, leading to worldwide anger and accusations of carelessness toward England, who hosted the championship that year. But Pickles saved the day when during a walk with his owner, David Corbett, he became interested in an area of the garden and discovered a bundle of newspaper. Corbett picked up the object and unwrapped the paper to find the 10-inch gold cup. Corbett went in to show his wife, stunned, then drove to the police station to turn it in.

Pickles saw it first

Tip: How Do I Find Out Which Papers are on Newspapers.com?

People often come to Newspapers.com looking for a specific newspaper title or for papers from a certain town where their ancestors lived. They want to know, “Is the paper I want on Newspapers.com?” If you fall into this category, read on to learn three ways you can find out if the papers you’re interested in are on our site.

Browse. If you’re interested in seeing papers for a particular city, Browse may be the most helpful method. To use Browse to find papers, first select “Browse” from the top of any page. This will take you to the Browse flow, where you can choose the country, state, and city you’re interested in viewing papers for. After you select a city, you’ll see a list of which papers for that city are on the site. You can browse even further to see which years, months, days, and pages we have for a given paper.

Papers page. If you want to search for a paper by name, the Papers page is the best place to do it. The Papers page is also helpful if you want to see papers from more than one state or from a particular time period(s). Like Browse, the Papers page can be accessed from the top of any page. Once on the Papers page, you can use the filters in the left-hand column to narrow down the displayed papers to those that fit your criteria. You can filter by paper name or keyword, date, or location—or by any combination of the three.

See papers by location. If you want to see what papers the site has for a geographic region (eastern Kansas, for example), “See papers by location” is the most convenient way to locate them. You’ll find a link to “See papers by location” on the homepage, which will take you to an interactive map. As you zoom in on an area or region, red pins representing newspapers will appear. Selecting a red pin will list all papers for the location. If Newspapers.com doesn’t currently have papers for a city you’re interested in, “See papers by location” is also useful for locating nearby towns with papers on the site.

Once you’ve used one of the above methods to narrow down to a paper (or group of papers) you’re interested in, you may wonder how to get started finding your ancestors within that specific paper. An easy way to begin is by searching, and each of the pages mentioned above provides you with a way to search only within the paper(s) you’ve chosen:

  • From the “Browse“, once you’ve selected a paper, simply type your search terms into the “Search within” field directly above the browse flow. This will return results for only the paper you selected.

  • From the “Papers” page, once you’ve filtered down to the paper(s) you want, enter your search into the “Search within these papers” box at the top right. Searching this way will return results for only those papers matching your filter criteria. .

  • To search within papers you’ve found using “See papers by location,” enter your search into the search box labeled “Search within the area show below.” Doing so will return search results for all papers represented on screen by the red pins.

Olive Oatman

A Desert Tragedy

In 1850, 14-year-old Olive Oatman traveled across the country to find a new home in California, along with six other siblings and her parents. After separating from the other families on the trail, the Oatmans were attacked by a group of Native Americans and all but three were killed. Olive’s brother Lorenzo survived by feigning death after he was clubbed, and he made his way back to safety once all had fallen quiet again. Olive and her 7-year-old sister Mary Ann were taken by the attackers and used as slaves.

The surviving son's account

After a year in captivity they were traded to a group of Mohave, who treated them a little better. It was among this people that Olive received the distinctive chin tattoo:

Olive Oatman

They’d lived in harsh captivity for five years when young Mary Ann became sick and died, leaving Olive alone and depressed. She remained among the Mohave for six more months before rumors spread that she was among them. Negotiations were made to let her return and, within days of her release she was happily reunited with the brother she had thought to be dead, who had been trying all that time to find a way of rescuing his sisters.

After her rescue

For a more complete version of the story, click through to this article from 1893 on Newspapers.com. There is more to find on Olive Oatman, too: try this search. You can also use the search or browse pages to look through the collection of papers on the site.

Rosenberg Execution

6 to 2 Decision

Atomic Spies Doomed

Rosenbergs Executed

On June 19, 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for treason and conspiring to pass top secret information on the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. They were not the only ones to be arrested, but they were the only ones to refuse to confess for a lighter sentence. The Rosenbergs protested their innocence throughout their trial and imprisonment, and the peacetime execution of this couple remains controversial to this day.

It was later found that though Julius had been a spy, his wife was innocent. Ethel’s brother, David Greenglass, had given the testimony that condemned his sister and brother-in-law. Years later he recanted what he had said about Ethel, admitting that he had lied about his sister in order to save his wife, who had been the real spy.

For more, take a look through the results of this search on Newspapers.com

A War Begins

Today marks the start of the War of 1812.

Congress declares war, June 18, 1812

The declaration was an unpopular one, scraping by in both Congress and Senate with the barest of majorities. The conflict lasted 2 1/2 years and was eventually considered to be something of a second war of independence for the United States by the time the Treaty of Ghent was signed in December 1914. Both sides had achieved their goals and did not care to spend any more lives or money on further conflict.

All The Points Gained

For more on the War of 1812 in the news, check out this seach on Newspapers.com. 

The Mysterious Demise of Ludwig II

If there’s one thing people generally agree on, it’s that mysteries hold a strange sort of magnetic power over our minds. They make us pause, they make us wonder. They add an element of the unsolvable to a world that often seems all too ordinary. And when a mystery also coincides with a death, that interest is doubled.

Add that with royalty, and you’ve got a front page news story.

The Mad King of Bavaria

Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm, also known as Ludwig II, was the king of Bavaria in the mid to late 1800s. He enjoyed arts and architecture and was responsible for the creation of the now-famous Neuschwanstein Castle, among several others. And in 1886 he was found dead in the shallows of Lake Starnburg, along with his psychiatrist, Dr. von Gudden.

Ludwig’s reign was fraught with difficulties, particularly in the years preceding his death. He had a tendency to overspend on his opulent castle projects, borrowing excessive amounts of money against the advice of his harried cabinet until they finally decided the king must be deposed before he dismissed them all. They conspired together with four psychiatrists—one of whom was Dr. von Gudden—to declare Ludwig clinically insane. They bribed the servants for details on Ludwig’s eccentricities, of which there were admittedly quite a few, and used these and their own reports of Ludwig’s uncontrollable spending habits to solidify their assertion. Conveniently, Ludwig’s younger brother Otto was also considered insane, which allowed the claim of hereditary insanity to hold more weight.

It runs in the family

Ludwig II was declared insane and deposed on June 12, 1886. The next day he was found dead in waist-deep water. Near him was the psychiatrist, with head trauma and marks of strangulation around his neck. Most concluded that the “mad king” had killed the conspiring von Gudden and then drowned himself:

Mad King Ludwig a Suicide

But this is where the mysterious part comes into play. During the autopsy it was found that Ludwig had no water in his lungs—he had not been killed by drowning. He reportedly had no other marks on his body, and he had not seemed suicidal in the time before his death. There was also no evidence to prove that Ludwig killed the psychiatrist, although that seemed to be the only explanation. Since then, there have been revelations that perhaps Ludwig had been attempting an escape from his confinement in Berg Castle and was shot by his enemies, a story supposedly supported by a bullet hole-ridden coat that was said to have been worn by Ludwig that day. But as the autopsy said there were no wounds on Ludwig’s body, this can’t be proven. Another unproven theory suggest that heart attack or stroke may have killed Ludwig, a result of the lake’s cool temperatures during his escape attempt.

Though at the time it was generally accepted that he was truly insane and had killed himself for this reason, the accusation of insanity has since been refuted and it is no longer considered certain that his death was by suicide. And so the cause of Ludwig’s death remains unsolved even today.

Ludwig's mysterious death

Read more on Ludwig II with the articles found in this search. Try Newspapers.com today to find more articles about historical events, family history, or other topics of your choice.

Find: Food Will Win the War!

Newspapers.com News, Finds and Tips

Food conservation ad

When the United States entered World War I in the spring of 1917, President Wilson asked Herbert Hoover to head the US Food Administration, which would regulate American food from the ground up to ensure there was enough for both American and Allied troops as well as for the citizens of Allied nations experiencing food shortages. Although in reality Hoover predominantly accomplished this through extensive government involvement in the market, his best-known and most publicized method was a public campaign to involve everyday Americans in voluntary food conservation, which quickly became known as “Hooverizing.”

The food conservation effort, with its slogan “Food will win the war,” encouraged Americans to embrace self-denial for a greater good. However, the Food Administration frequently emphasized that it wasn’t suggesting Americans do without, simply voluntarily decrease their consumption of foods needed for the war effort (particularly meat, wheat, sugar, and fats) by substituting other foods instead. Americans were also encouraged to “lick the platter clean” (reduce food waste) and to buy less food by growing “war gardens” and raising chickens in their backyards.

Hoover’s efforts during the war proved successful, and America was able to decrease domestic food consumption by 15 percent and provide $1.4 billion of food aid to Europe over the course of a year.

Promotional cartoon about Hooverizing

Interested in learning more about Hooverizing? Newspapers.com has thousands of articles, editorials, advice columns, poems, cartoons, ads, and propaganda pieces related to the WWI food conservation effort. Not to mention many recipes to help Americans comply with the Food Administration’s guidelines on conserving food (particularly wheat).

Take a look at some of these Hooverizing recipes you can find on Newspapers.com (and maybe even try out a couple):

Find more items about Hooverizing by starting a search on Newspapers.com!

Horse of the Century

In June of 1973 a horse sprinted alone across the finish line of the Belmont stakes and became a Triple Crown champion. His name was Secretariat, and he was the first horse in 25 years to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes.

Secretariat first horse in 25 years to win triple crown

The Belmont Stakes victory was stunning: Secretariat pounded down the final stretch of the track a full 31 lengths ahead of the second-place contender, finishing the 1.5 mile race in just 2 minutes and 24 seconds. That record time still stands today, yet to be beaten.

Secretariat wins triple crown


Secretariat’s story reads like a movie script. He always started at the back of the pack, speeding to first place in a burst of energy to win his races. But in the exciting weeks leading up to the first race of the Triple Crown, Secretariat placed a disappointing third in the 1 1/8 mile race at the Wood Memorial Stakes, leading critics to proclaim that he was just another horse with speed and no distance. Many lost faith that “Big Red,” as he was called, would find success in the longer races of the Triple Crown, making his subsequent victories all the more thrilling.

Secretariat was retired later that year and put to stud. At age 19 he was euthanized after suffering from chronic, painful inflammation, and buried in a silk-lined casket near his sire, Bold Ruler.

Secretariat Dies

For more about Secretariat, take a look at the results of this search on Newspapers.com. You can find more articles about the Triple Crown win here.