Kansas Papers

Content Update

The Evening Kansan
Got ancestors from Kansas? You’re in luck. Newspapers.com has recently added more Kansas papers to its collection. So if you haven’t browsed the Kansas collection recently, you might be surprised to find that it currently has more than 190 papers from almost 90 Kansas cities for a total of 4.3 million pages. One paper even stretches back as far as 1840—20 years before Kansas was even a state!

If you’re interested in how historically significant periods affected your Kansas ancestors, there are currently 16 Kansas papers from its pre-state years, 15 papers from the era of Bleeding Kansas, 11 papers from the Civil War, 62 papers from the Indian War years, 121 papers from the Old West era, 73 papers from World War I, and 11 papers from the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.

Recently added or updated Kansas papers include (but certainly are not limited to):

If you want to see more Kansas newspapers, you can access a full list of which Kansas papers are available on Newspapers.com from the Papers page. Or if you prefer to see them listed by city, use the Browse.

A Good Day for Flying

If you’ve a record to break in aviation, today’s the day to do it. On May 21, both Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart completed transatlantic solo flights, one in 1927, and the other five years later in 1932.

Charles Lindbergh Makes First Solo Nonstop Transatlantic Flight in the Spirit of St. Louis

Lindbergh made the flight first in response to the challenge set by Raymond Orteig, who offered $25,000 to whomever could fly from New York to Paris. Such a flight was nearly twice the distance of the first successful nonstop transatlantic flight, completed by British fliers John W. Alcock and Arthur W. Brown in 1919. And although others also took up the challenge, Lindbergh was the only one planning on a solo flight. At nearly 8 a.m. on May 20, 1927, a sleep-deprived Lindbergh took off on a journey that had already taken the lives of six people.

Thanks to pulling an all-nighter before he left, Lindbergh’s exhaustion set in pretty early. To keep himself awake he spent some time flying just ten feet above the water, and at another point held his eyelids open with his fingers. Nevertheless, at 3 p.m. for Lindbergh (8 p.m. local time), The Spirit of St. Louis had slipped into the air over France.

Lindbergh Lands

Thousands gathered to witness the landing of the solo pilot as he glided to a perfect landing at 10:24 p.m. local time. The flight had taken 33.5 hours, and Lindbergh hadn’t slept in 55 hours. His success instantly elevated him to celebrity status internationally.

In 1932 Amelia Earhart, already a beloved icon, set out to make the same grueling flight. She had crossed the Atlantic once before as one of a three-person crew, during which she kept the plane’s log. In an interview after landing she clarified that she’d done none of the flying, but said that someday she might try doing it again herself.

First Woman to Fly Atlantic, second pilot to repeat Lindburgh's feat

On May 20th that thought became a reality. She set off early in the morning from Newfoundland, planning to land in Paris as Lindbergh had. However her flight was beset with troubles, which Earhart recounts in the article below:

Amelia Earhart wished she'd made it to Paris

She landed in an unmarked pasture in Culmore, Ireland, after a difficult 15-hour flight. The landing was witnessed by only a couple of people rather than by throngs of fans, who still expected her in France. But even with the early landing, Amelia Earhart had done what only Lindbergh had done before: completed a transatlantic flight, alone and with no navigator or mechanic, in a single, nonstop trip. It was an incredible feat, and for her success she was given the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor, and President Herbert Hoover presented her with the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society.

Blonde Flier Crosses Sea

Amelia Flies Atlantic in 15 Hrs

For more on Lindbergh and Earhart and their respective flights, try the following searches on Newspapers.com:
Charles Lindbergh
Lindbergh lands in Paris
Amelia Earhart (more here on her later disappearance)
Earhart lands in Ireland

And be sure to peruse the papers for more topics of interest using the search or browse pages.

Bonnie and Clyde Killed: May 23, 1934

Bonnie and Clyde Killed: May 23, 1934

Posse that killed Bonnie and Clyde

Posse that killed Bonnie and Clyde

On May 23, 1934, the legendary criminals Bonnie and Clyde were shot and killed by police while driving a stolen car in Louisiana.

Both Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker grew up in the slums of Dallas, Texas, but while Clyde ended up on the wrong side of the law by his teen years, Bonnie seemed to stay out of trouble. The two met in 1930, when Clyde was 20 and Bonnie 19; Bonnie was already married but was separated from her husband. Clyde was sent to prison for robbery not long after their meeting, but the two reunited when he was released in 1932. Clyde initially appeared to try to straighten out his life but soon returned to small-time robberies, this time involving Bonnie in some of his criminal activities.

Bonnie and Clyde, along with various accomplices, began a crime spree that would last two years. They mostly robbed gas stations, restaurants, and stores, sometimes hitting small banks as well, and in 1934 they engineered a prison break. Whenever the police caught up with them, Clyde and his accomplices rarely hesitated to shoot, allegedly killing 9 officers of the law—and 13 people total—while they were on the run.

Clyde with gun. Photo of Bonnie at right.
Bonnie was often portrayed in newspapers as a “cigar-smoking gun moll,” after police raided a hideout and found photographs of her with a gun in her hand and a cigar in her mouth. (Bonnie vehemently denied she ever smoked cigars, only cigarettes, and there is little evidence that she ever murdered anyone.)

Their crime spree finally ended in May 1934 when Frank Hamer, a Texas Ranger, and his posse tracked down Clyde and Bonnie in Louisiana. The group set up an ambush, hiding along the side of a road. When they saw Bonnie and Clyde’s car, the posse let loose with a hail of more than 100 bullets, killing both of the car’s occupants.

Clyde’s and Bonnie’s gunshot-riddled bodies were taken back to Texas, and thousands of people came to see their corpses. In accordance with Bonnie’s mother’s wishes, the two were given separate funerals and Bonnie was buried apart from Clyde in a different cemetery. At the time of their deaths, Clyde was just 25 and Bonnie 23.

Want to learn more about Bonnie and Clyde? Newspapers.com has thousands of articles about them. Get started searching for them here.

The Slave Quilt Code

Underground Railroad Quilts

Have you ever heard of the code quilts of the Underground Railroad?

The idea of these quilts is a clever and exciting one. In the days of slavery, escaped or fleeing slaves could depend upon subtle signals in the form of quilts hung from porches or clotheslinse. Depending on the pattern, the escapee would know to keep off the road, or to confuse their path, or any number of instructions to better help them evade recapture. It was, in essence, a secret code hidden in plain sight.

Guiding Quilts

Quilt Messages

Quilt symbols

Most historians do not consider the idea of the slave quilt code to have any factual backing, and many have tried to debunk the entire idea. One historian, Dr. John Michael Vlach, has stated that though it’s a compelling thought, the quilt code would simply have been too much of a risk to be practiced in reality.

Quilt code wouldn't have been worth the risk

In the end, the quilts may not have been a code at all, but simply a story to stir the imagination. On that count, the quilts succeeded.

Read on about the quilt code in this article, or make a search of your own on Newspapers.com.

Find: Victory in Europe Day

Newspapers.com News, Finds and Tips

This month marks the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day in the final months of World War II.

Headline announcing Germany's surrender

On May 7 and 8, 1945, exultant crowds poured into streets across many Allied nations to celebrate the news of Germany’s surrender and the Allied victory in Europe. Huge crowds gathered in New York’s Times Square, London’s Piccadilly Circus, and other cities to celebrate and let loose after years of fear and tension. Although news broke about the end of the European war on the 7th, it wasn’t officially announced in either the United States or the United Kingdom until the 8th, which was declared “Victory in Europe Day” in both countries (the Soviet Union, however, didn’t celebrate the victory until the 9th).

On Newspapers.com, you can explore front-page headlines from May 7 and 8 and other accounts of VE Day in over 150 papers. Many of the newspapers from the 7th hit the same major stories on their front pages. News of the German surrender was understandably Headline announces VE Day will be postponed until tomorrow often the biggest headline, but stories of President Truman postponing VE Day until the following day (the 8th) in order to coordinate with other Allied nations was also major news. Another common news item from the 7th detailed how Germany had broken news of its surrender before the Allied nations had. Many papers from the 7th also announced when and where local VE Day celebrations would be held.

Since the major news had broken on the 7th, papers from the 8th often carried follow-up pieces with more details about the surrender. The biggest headlines from the day, however, were typically about President Truman’s VE Day speech, and newspapers—like the speech itself—highlighted the fact that though Germany had surrendered, the war with Japan was far from over.

VE Day political cartoon emphasizing that the war with Japan isn't over

In addition to VE Day headlines and articles, newspapers from the 7th and 8th also featured photos, political cartoons, and business-sponsored propaganda about the Allied victory in Europe. One of the most popular photos showed the crowds in Times Square, but some papers featured photos of local celebrations as well.

Want to learn more about VE Day? You can find thousands of matches by searching Newspapers.com.

The Oak Island Money Pit

Oak Island Money Pit the Ultimate Prank?

In the late 1700s a teenage boy named Daniel McGinnis explored the inland areas of Oak Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, and found an unusual depression in the ground. Some reports also say he noticed an old block and tackle hanging from a sawed-off tree limb, just above the dip in the earth. The area was known to have been frequented by pirates in earlier years, an idea which had no doubt occurred to the eager young man. McGinnis found this reason enough to being digging with the help of two of his friends.

Oak Island

When they had dug through ten feet of soil, they hit a layer of wood that had been purposefully laid across the pit. Surely the treasure they dreamed of was under those timbers! But when they pulled out the wood layer there was nothing below but a two foot tall pocket of air…and more dirt. So they kept digging, disappointed but undeterred.

Hole is hundreds of feet deep

After digging another twenty feet down and finding two more layers of timbers—and no sign of any treasure—the three boys gave up. They would not be the last to try and fail.

With the discovery of the log platforms, it became clear that the pit had been made intentionally by some person—or more likely hundreds of persons—in the past. The promise of wealth hung in the air over Oak Island. Many more came to continue to dig, determined to find the treasure they knew must be buried deep in the earth and to claim the fame of success.

Oak Island Money PitA Fortune in Gold

Men and money were thrown into excavating the hole, and more log platforms and water traps impeded their progress. At 90 feet, diggers found something that renewed the effort…a stone with a strange inscription, decoded thanks to James Leitchi, a professor of languages. The wide, flat stone read, “Forty Feet Below Two Million Pounds are Buried.”

Thousands of dollars and even a handful of human lives were sacrificed in the search for the money pit’s treasures. Curious hopefuls tried draining the hole as they worked, digging new shafts parallel to the money pit, building dams, and any other method they could think of to get to the bottom of the pit. But even today, the mystery remains unsolved. The pit continues to attract treasure hunters and tourists alike.

Oak Island Money Pit

Still, it’s said that some small pieces of treasure have been found here and there over the decades. And there’s that mysterious stone that promised a fortune. Is there really a hidden secret at the bottom of the money pit, or could it be an incredibly elaborate hoax?

To read a fairly comprehensive summary of the Oak Island Money Pit mystery, take a look at the article on this page. More articles about this mystery can be found here. 

“May Day is a Very Fine Day”

As the first day of May, today is a day to celebrate the beauty of Spring and the coming of Summer. It is a day to be outside, enjoy the flowers, dance and frolic and leave little gifts for your neighbors—at least by some traditions. Found in the newspapers from May Days’ past are these drawings done by fourth graders in 1934.

May Day Drawing, Eunice V. Walter, 1934

May Day Drawing, Carol Vincent, 1934

There were May Day stories too, like this one from seventh grader Laura Waller which describes many traditional activities practiced on the first of May:

May Day Story, Laura Waller, 1934

And no one describes May Day better than little Kenneth Sayers in his prize winning story that same year:

May Day Story, Kenneth Sayers, 1934

Have a Happy May Day! And check out this search for more articles about this spring-loving day.

The Ghost of Zona Heaster Shue

Ghost Solved Crime

Once upon a time, a manly, talented blacksmith—Mr. Edward Shue—met a beautiful country girl—Ms. Zona Heaster. The two fell in love, and before long they found themselves at the altar of matrimony. A few weeks passed, and as far as anyone could tell the couple lived happy together. And were it not for the ominous image above and the rather tell-tale title of this post, you might think that’s where the story ends. But here’s where events take a morbid turn.

One day Shue sent a boy to his home to help his wife with chores. The poor boy arrived at the house only to find Mrs. Shue lying at the bottom of the stairs, laid out perfectly still as though sleeping.

Boy finds the woman dead

Of course, the woman wasn’t sleeping at all. A physician came to examine the body, but Shue became frantic with grief every time the doctor tried to examine the woman’s head and neck. The doctor gave up and declared that Mrs. Shue had died of heart failure. All through the funeral, Shue fussed with his late wife’s collar and how her head was placed, but everyone who noticed chalked up this odd behavior to the depths of his grief. Only Mrs. Shue’s mother, Mary Heaster, suspected her son-in-law of being false.

Mrs. Heaster, a very religious woman, spent many nights praying about her daughter’s fate. According to her testimony, it was during one of these nights of prayer that Zona Heaster Shue first appeared to her.

Zona Heaster Shue appears to her mother to reveal she was murdered

As the article above mentions, the dead woman’s ghost told her mother that she had been murdered by her husband. After this experience Mrs. Heaster demanded that her daughter’s body be exhumed and reexamined. Mr. Shue could do nothing to prevent a thorough examination this time, and it was found the the woman’s neck had been purposefully broken. Shue’s history didn’t help his case here, either: he had been married twice before and both of those wives had also died under suspicious circumstances. Shue was arrested for the murder of his wife, and after an hour’s deliberation the jury found him guilty. Shue died in prison eight years later.


The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Content Update

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Newspapers.com, in cooperation with The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, now has issues of that paper! You can find the years 1877–1921 on our site, and if you take into account the earlier papers that evolved into The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (like The Pittsburg Post, The Pittsburgh Gazette, and others—also on Newspapers.com), you’ll find issues dating back as far as 1786. That’s 135 years of Pittsburgh history!

Pittsburgh has a long history of industry, especially steel, glass, petroleum, foods, and coke (a coal product), and men like Andrew Carnegie, Andrew W. Mellon, Charles M. Schwab, and Henry J. Heinz got rich there. However, being a center of industry also meant that Pittsburg was a hotbed of labor unrest, and you can find articles in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, the Homestead Strike of 1892, the Pressed Steel Car Strike of 1909, and others.

You can, of course, also find items and anecdotes of local interest such as an article from 1900 about a zebra and lemur being born at the local zoo on the same day, or a short piece about the daughter of a Pittsburgh woman fleeing to Japan from China to escape the Boxer Rebellion. Or you can read about a stranger who returned a missing wallet with $1,600 still in it, or about a Halloween prank with unintended negative consequences.

Pittsburgh Pirates win the 1909 World Series against the Detroit Tigers
You can also read all about Pittsburgh sports teams, including an article from 1909 about the first time the Pirates won the World Series and an article from 1885 about a baseball game the author called “one of the best games of ball ever played in this city.”

If you have Pittsburgh-area ancestors, there are all sorts of places to find them in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. You might find them in the society columns, obituaries, death notices, school honor rolls, or lists of pensions granted. Or you might find them in marriage notices, lists of marriage licenses issued, lists of property transfers and mortgages, summaries of the court record, or gossip columns—just to name a few.

So if you have Pittsburgh-area ancestors, or are just interested in Pittsburgh history, take a look at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette!