Pierced Nails—The Latest Fad

Nail Piercings - Titenia

Does the idea of piercing your fingernails strike your fancy? This fashion was once on the borderline of becoming popular thanks to the famous dancer Titenia, whose hand is pictured above. Each nail was pierced through and decorated with solitaire diamonds or other shiny things. Saying it was the “latest fad” is a bit generous, however, as nail piercings never really took off with the majority of ladies. Still, the practice is around today for those who wish to indulge in it, though commonly on just one fingernail instead of all.

Interested in more clippings like these? Try browsing through Newspapers.com and see what catches your eye.

Davies’ Heroic Rescue

Richard Bell Davies

This unassuming death notice marked the passing of military hero Richard Bell Davies. During World War 1, Davies was on a bombing mission with fellow British pilot Gilbert F. Smylie when Smylie’s craft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and he was forced to land behind enemy lines. Smylie dropped all but one of the bombs from his plane during the descent and managed to safely land, but he could not get the plane started again. To disable the plane, Smylie set it on fire.

The next part played out like a scene from a movie. Davies, having seen his fellow officer in trouble, immediately turned back to save him with little thought of his own safety. Smylie saw Davies coming as his own plane burned behind him. Knowing the last bomb might explode at the most inconvenient of times, Smylie took aim at his craft with a revolver and exploded the bomb himself. Under heavy fire from converging Turkish soldiers, Davies landed, pulled his comrade into the plane, and took off, leaving the Turks and the flaming wreckage of Smylie’s aircraft behind. Both men made it back to British lines unharmed.

For thinking on his feet, Gilbert Smylie received the Distinguished Service Cross. And, as the obituary above states, Richard Davies was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest of Britain’s military honors, for a skillful and daring rescue.

Interested in more articles like this? Military history is especially prevalent in history’s newspapers. Try a search that interests you on Newspapers.com.

Jackie Mitchell

Her Curves Fool 'Em

The story is surprising: 17-year-old amateur strikes out two of the best baseball players of all time? So goes the tale of Jackie Mitchell, one of the first girls to ever sign with a minor league baseball team. Many thought this was so unbelievable it had to be a hoax, but whether staged or sincere the story appears to be true.

Jackie grew up next door to eventual Dodger great Dazzy Vance, who taught her classic baseball tricks and throws. She thrived in the world of sports and played on both basketball and baseball teams depending on the time of year. Eventually she caught the eye of the chief scout of the Washington Senators and president of the Chattanooga Lookouts, Joe Engel. He gave her a coveted spot on his team in their exhibition game against the New York Yankees.

Mitchell can fool

Mitchell sped to Tennessee—with her mother as chaperone, of course—and signed a contract with the Lookouts, making her an official member of the class AA minor league team. She practiced like crazy, trying to warm up her pitching arm after months of playing basketball.

Before the game Mitchell posed for pictures with some intimidating competition: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. She was put on the pitcher’s mound early on, and to everyone’s surprise, struck out Babe Ruth with two wicked curve balls—Ruth’s well-known weakness—and one straight across the plate. Lou Gehrig followed Ruth, and soon he too was sent back to the dugout after three strikes.

Girl Pitcher Who Once Struck Out Babe Ruth

Mitchell’s success against two major baseball greats certainly happened that day in 1931, but there are some who suspect Ruth and Gehrig were in on it all along. Ruth is known to have been a fan of pranks, so this is not necessarily an unfair speculation, but Gehrig was generally very unwilling to do anything that would make him look bad, even for a joke. But whether you believe Mitchell pranked the masses, got by on luck, or was just a skilled player, this unusual baseball story is certainly one for the news.

Check out Newspapers.com for more articles like this. Whether your interests be sports-related or not, there are hundreds of papers to look through using the search or browse features.

Black History Papers

Washington Bee
In honor of Black History Month, we’re highlighting some of the many historical black papers that we have here on Newspapers.com. These include dozens of papers that were either black owned, were geared toward a black audience, or dealt specifically with topics relevant to African Americans. Though some of these papers may only have a few issues available, they still provide a valuable perspective on the struggles, contributions, and everyday lives of African Americans.

Some of the longest running black papers we have on Newspapers.com are The Pittsburgh Courier, The Washington Bee, and St. Paul-based The Appeal. Long-running newspapers such as these can be especially useful for tracking long-time residents of a city or for seeing how the community and its inhabitants changed over time. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in a specific time period that was historically significant to black history, such as the post-Civil War and Reconstruction era, you can browse through black papers like the Charleston Advocate, Maryville Republican, and Concordia Eagle.

The historical black papers on Newspapers.com cover a wide geographic area. Though many are based in the South, there are also examples from the Northeast, Midwest, and West. Wherever there was a big enough population of literate African Americans to support a black paper, one often existed (though many were short-lived), with black papers popping up in places you might not initially expect, like Montana.

Though most black papers focused on news that would interest African American readers, some were even narrower in scope, concentrating on specific topics like slavery. Two anti-slavery papers you can find on Newspapers.com are the Liberator (established by famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison) and the Anti-Slavery Bugle.

The Pittsburgh Courier
Some of the black papers on Newspapers.com were quite influential during their heyday. In addition to the previously mentioned Washington Bee, some of these include the Lexington Standard, Kansas City Sun, and Richmond Planet. Others were more controversial, like the Broad Ax, which was often inflammatory. Papers that are especially useful to historians today include the Sedalia Weekly Conservator (for dealing with a variety of racial issues in addition to the news) and the Seattle Republican (for covering conditions for African Americans across the nation).

Black papers can be especially rich resources for finding information on your African American ancestors, as these papers often reported on people and events that white papers overlooked. So get started searching on Newspapers.com here.

The Tastes of Valentine’s Day

Here’s a quirky centerpiece for your Valentine’s party. The “Heartbreak Cake” can be made broken or whole, a match for any Valentine’s sentiment. This gelatin-infused white cake will, as the article’s picture caption says, “win coldest of hearts.”

Heartbreak Cake

Of course, if chocolate’s more your thing, there’s plenty to go around on the holiday of love and romance. And the good news is, these articles are happy to give you reassurance that chocolate is good, even beneficial, whatever the motivation behind the indulgence.

Chocolate for heartbreak

Chocolate is good for you

Newspapers.com is filled to the brim with Valentine’s Day articles, ads, and recipes. Try a search for more like these or on a topic that matches your interests!

Valentine’s Day on Newspapers.com

Newspapers.com News, Finds and Tips

Heart O'Mine Cookies recipe from 1977
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and here on Newspapers.com you can get in the spirit by reading all kinds of articles about the holiday of love. Some of the things you’ll learn about Valentine’s Day might even surprise you!

For instance, did you know that in the 19th century, sending paper valentines through the mail got to be so popular that during some years, post offices had to hire more workers just to get all the cards sorted and delivered? You can read all about it in an article from 1811 or one from 1846.

If you’re interested in learning how Valentine’s Day cards have evolved over the years, you’re in luck. Learn about the years when postcard, celluloid, or telegram valentines were popular. Or get started reading about Valentine’s Day card trends in 1881, 1892, and 1947. You can also find out how valentines were mass produced in 1889.

Valentine's card trends in 1947
If you like to send out valentines yourself, you might be interested in learning about Loveland, Colorado, which since 1947 has had a “re-mailing” program for valentines. Send them your valentine, and they’ll send it out to your recipient after stamping it with a verse and cachet as well as a “Loveland” postal cancellation. Read all about the program through the years in articles from 1949, 1952, 1990, and 2001.

Or if you’re into baking, the papers on Newspapers.com have all sorts of Valentine’s-themed recipes. Don’t some Heart O’Mine Cookies sound delicious? These flaky, heart-shaped cookies from a 1977 recipe are filled with strawberry preserves. Or if you like arts and crafts (or know a kid who does), you can even find valentines that you can cut out and color.

Cut-out Valentine from 1924
If humorous anecdotes are more your thing, try reading this story from 1787 about a 14-year-old girl who married a much older man on Valentine’s Day. You probably won’t be astonished that their marriage was rocky, but it may come as a surprise just why the young lady took her husband to court.

Do you enjoy Valentine’s Day? Find out more about the various aspects of the holiday using this search on Newspapers.com.

Poe’s Balloon Prank

Poe's balloon hoax

In 1844, writer Edgar Allan Poe sent The Sun, a New York newspaper, a story about an incredible balloon trip across the Atlantic. The feat was accomplished by famous balloonist Monck Mason and took only 75 hours. Incredible detail was given in the submission, including facts about the balloon’s dimensions and diagrams of the craft, and real people were cited in the story. The problem, of course, was that The Sun printed the story as news when it was entirely untrue.

Even Monck Mason, the main character spoken of in the story, was not a real person, though he was apparently based strongly off of Thomas Monck Mason, a real-life balloonist. The true Mr. Monck Mason did not, however, manage a 3-day Atlantic balloon adventure.

Poe's Sensational Balloon Hoax

“It is interesting that Riley’s hoax revolved around Poe because Poe was a great jester himself. One hoax that he perpetrated in New York in 1844 had the city by the ears and found a place in literary history. Poe had written a story, ‘The Balloon Hoax.’ He sold it to the editor of the New York Sun, who printed it as news. It created a sensation.”

The fabricated news story prompted plenty of attention for the newspaper. People were infatuated with the idea that aeronautical travel had progressed so quickly, but the first real trans-Atlantic lighter-than-air craft flight did not happen until 1919 and took four and a half days from start to finish.

You can find more interesting stories like these on Newspapers.com. Try a search for something that interests you using this search page.

The Sinking of the USS Maine: February 15, 1898

Sinking of the USS Maine

Headlines from the day following the Maine explosion
On February 15, 1898, at 9:40 p.m., the battleship USS Maine exploded then sank in Havana Harbor, killing about 260 of the 355 men on board. This international disaster, which was blamed on Spain, became an important catalyst for the Spanish-American War.

At the time, Cuban guerillas were engaged in a brutal fight for independence from Spain. Riots in Havana in January 1898 prompted the United States, which supported Cuba for both humanitarian and imperialistic reasons, to send the Maine to Havana as a show of strength. The ship, commanded by Captain Charles Sigsbee, arrived on January 25 and sat quietly in the harbor for the next few weeks.

Remember the Maine
But on the night of February 15, two explosions rocked the ship, sinking the Maine. The casualties were predominantly among the enlisted men, as they were quartered in the forward part of the ship, where the explosions occurred.

Although there was no hard evidence that the sinking was caused by the Spanish, a sizeable portion of the American public began clamoring for retribution almost immediately, spurred on by “yellow press” accounts that focused on sensationalism more than fact. “Remember the Maine!” quickly became a rallying cry.

An official U.S. court of inquiry was set up soon after the loss of the Maine to investigate the cause. Its findings, which did not assign blame, revealed in March that the sinking was caused by an underwater mine, which had led to the explosion of the forward magazines. Under pressure from all sides, the pro-peace William McKinley finally saw war with Spain as inevitable (for a number of reasons, though the Maine was the most visible instigating event). President McKinley asked Congress for a resolution of war, which was declared on April 25.

Spanish blamed for sinking of the Maine the day after the explosion
In later years, two other major investigations into the loss of the Maine were completed. A second official investigation in 1911 came to the same conclusion as in 1898: the Maine had sunk as the result of a mine. However, an investigation led by Admiral Hyman Rickover concluded in 1976 that the explosions were caused by a coal-bunker fire adjacent to one of the ship’s magazines. Disagreement and speculation on the cause of the sinking continues to this day.

Learn more about the sinking of the USS Maine and the Spanish-American War on Newspapers.com. You can also find some additional records from the Spanish-American War on Fold3, including the Service Record Index and compiled service records for Florida.

Cats, Cats, Cats

Cat PortraitsAre you one who enjoys perusing the plethora of cat pictures on the internet? Today you’ve come to the right place–superfluous cat pictures are not just a thing of the present, oh no. Newspapers throughout the years have done their duty in capturing the prideful, curious, and aloof expressions of our feline companions as well.

Have a gander at this collection of feline photos. Cats make the perfect subjects for photography—at least, so says the intro to this trifecta of kitty cuteness. “Entirely unselfconscious, they fall into poses at the click of a shutter…” Click through the image below to the full page and be rewarded with tips on the taking of formal and informal snapshots of your furry friends.

Cat (S)naps!

“Cat Photos Evoke Greater Response Than Other Types,” says this headline. Oh, don’t we know it.

Here’s another article for the scrapbook. With the tips from this expert cat photographer, you too can take appealing pictures of cats toting around their adorable offspring.

Cat Photography Tips

This example brings it back to a real classic—pet art. The woman highlighted in the story had a goal to paint 1,000 cat pictures. After all, “with a 900 record behind one, 100 more seems few.” Good point, Mrs. Gardner.

Woman Who Has Painted 850 Cat Pictures

There’s more where that came from, of course! Try any number of searches about kittens, cats, cat photos and more on Newspapers.com for a slew of pictures and articles about our favorite purring pals.

The Axeman of New Orleans

Morbid accounts of the work of an ax-wielding serial killer had shaken up New Orleans for months when a mysterious and worrisome letter was printed in the local newspaper. Supposedly from the killer himself, the author claimed to be a spirit, a demon, uncatchable, and threatened to return again the following Tuesday night for more murderous mayhem. The warning came with a helpful hint, however: any house or establishment enjoying the music of a jazz band on the evening mentioned would be spared the killer’s ax.

The Axeman's Letter

Was the letter from the killer himself, or was it a hoax? Many people joked about the letter; one man even offered to leave his window open for the Axeman if he would promise to leave the door undamaged. But despite any doubts, the night of March 18-19, 1919, was flooded with music. Jazz blared in the dance halls and amateur bands played at house parties, the music drifting through open windows. True to his word, the Axeman killed no one that night.

Night-Long Jazz Music Stops Murders

A few months later he struck and killed again, the last crime ever attributed to the Axeman. Just as the letter predicted, the jazz-loving murderer was never caught.

Try your own searches for mysteries like these using the search page on Newspapers.com.