Klondike Gold Rush Begins: August 16, 1896

Amelia Earhart Disappears: July 2, 1937

Editorial cartoon about the Klondike gold rush

Editorial cartoon about the Klondike gold rush

On August 16, 1896, gold was discovered at Bonanza Creek in northwest Canada, launching the 1896–99 Klondike (Yukon) Gold Rush.

It didn’t take long after gold was discovered in the Yukon for word to spread to the surrounding areas. Prospectors from nearby parts of Alaska and Canada quickly snapped up the most promising claims. But due to a lack of contact with the outside world, word didn’t reach beyond the area until prospectors toting large amounts of gold got off ships in San Francisco and Seattle in mid-July 1897, nearly a year after it was first discovered.

As word of the discovery of gold spread like wildfire, people rushed to buy passage on ships heading north, and the gold rush understandably became a major story in the newspapers. But Klondike gold permeated more than just the headlines. It was the subject of editorial cartoons as well as advertisements, such as those selling supplies for the Yukon and those drumming up support for mining ventures. One paper even used the prospect of winning a small amount of real Klondike gold as an incentive to increase subscriptions and advertising.

In all, about 100,000 people started off toward the Yukon to find their fortunes. It was a long, difficult trip to get there, and Canadian authorities required each person to bring a year’s worth of food and supplies since resources were scarce that far north.

Illustration showing the character and dress of the men now at Klondyke
While some people traveled the entire way by ship, the majority traveled partway by ship and then came the rest of the way via various overland and river routes through Alaska and Canada, braving rough terrain and freezing weather. Unfortunately, when main rush of newcomers arrived in Dawson City (the boomtown nearest the discovery) in late June and early July of 1898, they found that the best claims had already been taken, as it had been two years since the original discovery.

Out of the 100,000 people who set out for the Yukon, only about 40,000 actually made it. Of those 40,000, about 20,000 worked claims, but only about 4,000 ever found any gold. And of those who found gold, only a few hundred made it rich.

Do you have an ancestor who was part of the Klondike Gold Rush or just want to learn more about it? Start a search on Newspapers.com.

Happee Birthdae Harry!

This is a great week for famous children’s book authors. J. K. Rowling was born on this day in 1965, making this her 50th birthday. July 31st was the birthday also given to the character that would make her famous, Harry Potter.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter Books a Phenomenal Success

As the article above mentions, the books were an instant hit, and with their popularity came the clamor for more. More books, of course, and later a series of eight movies. Harry Potter is now a beloved cultural icon and a name known by millions in the real world, just as it was in the world of wizards and muggles.

Newspapers in the early 2000s did not skip out on their fair share of Harry Potter love. Search “Harry Potter” on Newspapers.com and you’ll see a flood of articles starting the year after the first book was published. In honor of the birthday of “The Boy Who Lived,” here are some Harry Potter facts you may not know from the Hood County News (2001):

Harry Potter Facts

Fact 3 is almost true—Harry Potter lead Daniel Radcliffe’s birthday is actually July 23rd. And though the Goblet of Fire ended up being released as a single film, the seventh Harry Potter book did become a two-part movie deal in the end.

Not familiar with the world of Harry Potter? Not to worry! This clipping from the Indiana Gazette in 2003 gives a rundown of the books’ most central characters:

Characters in Harry Potter

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter and like to test your stuff, try out this quiz from 2005, once again found in the Indiana Gazette:

Harry Potter Quiz

(Answers here)

Of course there are many more articles to be found. A general search of “Harry Potter” brings up these results, but try specific years or names for more narrowed down articles about the author, her books, or her characters.

Newspapers.com has millions of pages that can be searched or browsed through for any other topic of choice, or you can look through specific papers here.

Beatrix Potter

On this day in 1866, children’s author and naturalist Beatrix Potter was born. Her family was wealthy enough that Beatrix and her brother were taught at home in a school room, in which they kept a good deal of small pets like rabbits, mice, a hedgehog, and many others. Beatrix was devoted to her pets and they were no doubt a source of inspiration for her books; she grew up drawing them and studying them and often took them with her on trips.

Beatrix Potter early life

Potter was always very curious about the natural sciences, and an avid observer. She became especially interested in naturalism and mycology, the study of fungi, and often made detailed illustrations of the things she studied and saw. In 1897 she even wrote and submitted to the Linnean Society a scientific paper based on her own theories on the germination of fungus spores, though because she was a woman she was not allowed to present it or attend the proceedings.

Of course, Potter is best known for her work in children’s literature. Though it took a while for anyone to accept her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, it was finally published in 1902 and was immediately successful. For decades she continued to write short, charming tales centered around small creatures like the ones she’d grown up drawing, usually publishing two or three every year.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

A summary of Potter’s book from the year of its publication

Peter Rabbit

Later in life she married lawyer William Heelis, and lived with him in the country. Her interests only continued to grow, extending to farming and land preservation. When she died in 1943 she gave a sizable donation of land to the National Trust, the largest gift they’d ever received at the time. The lands were preserved and remain part of the Lake District National Park today.

The Tale of Beatrix Potter

For more articles about Beatrix Potter’s life and legacy, look through the results of this search on Newspapers.com. Try to search or browse the collection today for papers and topics that interest you.

Uncle Wiggly Wings

Lieut. Gail S. Halvorsen,

Lieut. Gail Halvorsen acquired a lot of nicknames during his time in the United States Air Force: The Chocolate Flyer, The Chocolate Uncle, Gum Drop Kid, The Lolipop Flyer, and, of course, Uncle Wiggly Wings (to name a few). If most of these seem to have a sweet sort of theme, that’s because candy is Halvorsen’s legacy. Here’s why:

Uncle Wiggly Wings

Halvorsen's Hobby

Checking over the candy

So Halvorsen dropped packages filled with candy for the children in Berlin—thus all the sugary nicknames. But what about “Uncle Wiggly Wings?

The plane with the wiggly wings

Halvorsen’s candy operation grew as more and more people pitched in with candy and helped attach the bundles to the parachutes. Soon it became a full blown operation, named “Little Vittles,” and donations poured in. What started as three boxes of candy on makeshift handkerchief parachutes grew to around 850 pounds of candy for Halvorsen and the rest to drop. Multiple plane crews joined in dropping the candy bombs every other day over Berlin, and the grateful recipients sent back the parachutes with thank you notes, drawings, and sometimes presents. At one point a thankful little girl sent Halvorsen her teddy bear, which became one of his favorite possessions.

Candy Bomber

Teddy Bear gift from a grateful childFor more on Halvorsen and his unusual operation, take a gander at the results of this search. You could also try searching any of his other nicknames for even more articles about his work then and now. And try out the search and browse pages on Newspapers.com to find results on other topics or to look through the pages of years past.

Tip: How to Search by County

Newspapers.com News, Finds and Tips

Did you know you can narrow your search by county on Newspapers.com?

Sometimes, limiting your search for your ancestors to just one paper or city may not return all the results you’re looking for, but widening your search to an entire state might return too many to easily sort through. So a county search can come in handy as a middle road between the two, since the results will come from the group of towns nearest where your ancestors lived.

County searches can also be helpful if the town where your ancestors lived didn’t have a newspaper (or if Newspapers.com doesn’t currently have the paper from a town you’re interested in), because it allows you to search papers from nearby towns—and since many papers carried news on residents of other towns within the county, you just might find your ancestor mentioned.

Searching within the papers of a specific county is easy.

  1. On the homepage, type your search terms into the search box. Then select “Add more info.”
  2. In the “Paper Location” box, start typing the name of the county you want to search within. As you type, a list of locations that match your search will automatically appear underneath. (If the county you type doesn’t appear on the list, then Newspapers.com doesn’t currently have any papers from that county.)
  3. Select the county you’re interested in from the list, add a date or date range if you want, then select “Search.”

This will return matches for your search terms that are found within papers in the county you chose.

Another way to get search results from a specific geographic region is to search via the “See papers by location” page. Read more about how to do this here.

Disney’s Dream

Disneyland Opens its Gates

Today is a special one for lovers of all things Disney. On July 17, 1955, Walt Disney opened the gates to a park that was years in the making—Disneyland!

Acres of farmland were given over to the building of the giant amusement park. Disney wanted the park to be an attraction of both amusement and education, an thrill for young and old alike. And it worked. When the park opened, it was not prepared for the thousands of eager visitors who bought them out of food and drink and proved too much weight for some of the rides. In the end, the park recovered despite those setbacks and continues to be extremely successful today.

Disney's Prices in 1955

You might look at that $1 pricetag with envy today, but in 1955 that fee only granted entrance to the park. You were free to wander around and look at all the wonders of Disney’s dream park. If you wanted to go on any rides, however—that was was extra.

His Dream Comes True

For more articles on Disneyland’s opening day, try the results of this search. And try looking through the pages of Newspapers.com today to find articles on family, historical events like the one above, or any other topic you choose.

Apollo 11

1969 - Apollo 11 lifts off for first manned trip to the moon

On this day in 1969, Apollo 11 launched into space with a mission to land on the moon. Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins were the three astronauts to take the trip that would go down in history.

The news was spread across headlines throughout the country, as you can see in these clippings:

Apollo 11 starts historical voyage

Moon Is Next Stop

Apollo 11 Historic Trip

Moon, Here We Come

Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins

There are many, many more! Try this search for more Apollo 11 articles, or try a search of your own on this topic or any other of your choice using Newspaper.com‘s search page.

Billy the Kid Killed

The Story of an Outlaw

On July 14, 1881, gunman and outlaw Billy the Kid was shot and killed.

Billy the Kid shot dead

Though most of his life he was relatively unknown, Billy the Kid’s reputation became legendary. It was said that he had killed at least one man for every year he’d lived. Now it is more widely believed that the number of deaths at his hands was closer to 8.

The Kid

Billy the Kid Dead

As the articles above mention, the Kid—whose real name was Henry McCarty—was eventually shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett. Garrett had been questioning one of McCarty’s friends about the outlaw’s whereabouts when McCarty walked right into the room, unaware of Garrett’s presence. Garrett shot him on the spot, and that was it for Billy the Kid.

Find more newspaper articles on Billy the Kid using this search. For other articles like these, be sure to check out Newspapers.com.

Find: Summertime Ideas, Tips, and Recipes

Newspapers.com News, Finds and Tips

Sandcastle Building Class is Offered (1977)
It’s summertime! Have you thought about using Newspapers.com to find ideas, tips, and recipes to get you through the summer? The site has countless articles on summertime topics from across the decades.

Want to beat the heat? Learn some tips for keeping cool from these articles.

Looking for some summer recipes? Look no further.

Need some drinks to go with those summertime recipes? Find out how to make a variety below.

Planning on spending some time at the pool? Try the water games explained in these articles.

Puppies cool off in Nashville (1952)

Putting together a picnic? Discover picnic ideas and tips from these full-page spreads.

Going to the beach? Get some inspiration for your sandcastles from these articles’ photos.

Last but not least, want to see pictures of puppies cooling off in summer? We’ve even got that too.

Get started with your summertime searches on Newspapers.com here.

Murder in Miniature

Frances Glessner Lee was not your typical millionaire heiress. She lived the early part of her life doing what a young woman from a wealthy family ought to do: she played with dolls, was educated in the lonely privacy of her own home, and eventually married a respectable lawyer instead of attending college (although it ended in divorce). Her rather unique interests in forensic pathology and crime scene investigation were discouraged by her family, and so she put them aside. But when her brother died in 1930, followed shortly by both of her parents in the years thereafter, 52-year-old Glessner Lee found herself with a lot of money and a newfound freedom that she’d never had before.

With the help of her brother’s old classmate, Dr. George Burgess Magrath, Glessner Lee established a department of legal science at Harvard University in order to train for better forensic investigation. Together they urged that coroners be replaced with medical professionals. Their efforts influenced states across the country to change the way they approached forensic science.

She Models Murder Scenes

But the most unusual and morbidly delightful contribution that Glessner Lee provided were her “Nutshell Studies,” a series of miniature model crime scenes depicting incredibly detailed versions of real-life incidents. The lights turned on and off, doors opened and closed and locked with tiny keys, and tiny dolls represented the bodies of the deceased. Glessner Lee made every detail to the exact specifications of the life-sized crime scenes with mind-blowing accuracy, down to the last gruesome detail.

Grances Glessner Lee

The Nutshells were used to train investigators to see the little things that can catch a killer. Was the death a murder, a suicide, or an accident? The scenes represented all of these options, and those observing the model rooms examined the evidence until they could figure it out, often with the aid of other information that would be provided at a real crime scene.

Mrs. Lee's Nutshells

For all her work in furthering the field of forensic investigation, Glessner Lee was made an honorary Captain of New Hampshire’s police force, a rank no woman in the United States had been given before.

Glessner Lee’s Nutshell Studies are still used in training even today. Her contributions were directly responsible for many of the changes that have led to forensic investigation as we know it. And if she seems vaguely familiar, here’s a fun bit of trivia: she was also reportedly the inspiration for the character of Jessica Fletcher in the show Murder, She Wrote.

For more about Frances Glessner Lee, articles on her work can be found using this search.