The War of the Worlds — Relevant a Century Later

H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds has been, since its publication in 1898, one of fiction’s most lasting science-fiction stories. In 1938 a radio broadcast of the novel famously caused real-life panic. Multiple movie adaptations have brought the horror of the tripods into modern settings. And this year’s new BBC television series takes the story back to 1905, just a handful of years after the book’s first publication.

H.G. Wells' Martian fighting-machine

H.G. Wells’ Martian fighting-machine Mon, Oct 31, 1938 – Page 1 · Press and Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, New York) · Newspapers.com

Setting this story in a time very like H.G. Wells’ own makes the technological superiority of the Martians all the more clear. It may also better emphasize the destruction of comfortable structure—a society of rules and customs—by a force that simply doesn’t care.

And yet the horror of The War of the Worlds transcends generations and even technology. Orson Welles, who directed and narrated the 1938 radio performance that made such a stir, expressed surprise at listeners’ reactions. He’d worried the story might seem “too old-fashioned.” But the frenzied fear of invasion that resulted just goes to show how pertinent such stories can remain decades—and centuries—later.

Orson Welles thought

Orson Welles thought “War of the Worlds” might appear “too old-fashioned for modern consumption” Mon, Oct 31, 1938 – 1 · The Huntsville Times (Huntsville, Alabama) · Newspapers.com

Perhaps the greatest reason for this was Wells’ emphasis on surrounding the fictional with the real. His stories were called “scientific romances,” an acknowledgement of the inspiration he found in scientifically-based speculation. He gave his aliens evolutionary traits, reasons for their existence and appearance, and even based their defeat on science we’ve witnessed in our own Earth-bound history. And among all this science was sprinkled a healthy dose of humanity, in which readers, listeners, and viewers see themselves and people they know.

Analysis of Wells' use of scientific and social inspiration in crafting realistic fiction

Analysis of Wells’ use of scientific and social inspiration in crafting realistic fiction Sat, Oct 27, 1962 – Page 19 · The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) · Newspapers.com

H.G. Wells had flaws too, which are reflected in his work. Women play little part in his stories, a fact he acknowledged in this contemporary interview, and that is remedied in the new BBC series. He held many troubling beliefs on race and religion. And as the article above states, some found and continue to find his endings too sentimental, and some plot points irrelevant. Nevertheless, H. G. Wells and his stories continue to fascinate and inspire more than a century later, which is perhaps the best review an author can hope for.

Find more clippings about H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds and similar topics with a search on Newspapers.com.

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7 Unusual Pumpkin Pie Recipes to Make Your Mouth Water

Pumpkin pie image, 1921Pumpkin pie image, 1921 Tue, Nov 22, 1921 – 11 · Courier-Post (Camden, New Jersey) · Newspapers.com


November is here, which means it’s time to start thinking about that classic holiday dessert—pumpkin pie!

Pumpkin pie has been an American tradition for at least two centuries—which means a lot of people have a favorite tried-and-true recipe. But sometimes we’re in the mood for something a little different! So we took a look to see what non-traditional pumpkin pie recipes we could find in the historical papers on Newspapers.com.

Here are our top picks from across the decades. Beneath the original recipes, we’ve written them out in a way that’s a bit easier to follow. Click on any of the recipe images to see the original clipping on our site. And for even more pumpkin pie recipes, visit our Topic Page!

[Note: In old recipes, a “slow oven” typically means 300-325 degrees Fahrenheit; a “moderate oven” means 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit; and a “hot oven” means 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit.]

Pumpkin-Date Pie – From 1916

1916: Pumpkin-date pie1916: Pumpkin-date pie Thu, Oct 19, 1916 – 13 · The Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer (Bridgeport, Connecticut) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients (for filling)

  • 1 pint pumpkin pulp
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup chopped dates
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 cup cream or rich milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Directions

  1. Blend all the ingredients to a cream. Beat up the yolks and whites of eggs separately and fold in the whites the last thing.
  2. Pour into crusts and bake.
  3. Serve cold with a layer of whipped cream on top flavored with a little vanilla and dotted, if liked, with a few crystallized cherries.

Note: These pies can be made in the form of patties.

Pineapple Pumpkin Pie – From 1930

1930: Pineapple pumpkin pie1930: Pineapple pumpkin pie Fri, Nov 21, 1930 – Page 40 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients (for filling)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup drained crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup cooked and strained pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

  1. Make a flaky crust and line the pie plate.
  2. Mix sugar, pineapple, and pumpkin with spices and salt. Add slightly beaten eggs and milk; mix well.
  3. Turn into well-lined pie plate and bake in moderate oven 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Honey Pumpkin Pie – From 1932

1932: Honey pumpkin pie1932: Honey pumpkin pie Fri, Nov 11, 1932 – 9 · The Miami News (Miami, Florida) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups canned or cooked pumpkin
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ¼ cups evaporated milk
  • Pastry

Directions

  1. Mix ingredients thoroughly. Pour into a pie can lined with pastry.
  2. Bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes, reduce heat, and continue baking in a slow oven until set. Time for baking—40 minutes.

Raisin Pumpkin Pie – From 1940

1940: Raisin Pumpkin Pie1940: Raisin Pumpkin Pie Wed, Jul 31, 1940 – Page 23 · The Daily Tribune (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients (for filling)

  • 2 cups stewed strained pumpkin
  • 2 cups rich milk or cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup seedless raisins

Directions

  1. Mix pumpkin with milk or cream. Add brown sugar, eggs, salt, ginger, allspice, walnuts, and raisins. Beat 2 minutes.
  2. Pour into unbaked shell. Bake in hot oven 15 minutes, reduce heat, and bake 45 minutes in a moderate oven.

Apple-Pumpkin Pie – From 1941

1941: Apple-pumpkin pie1941: Apple-pumpkin pie Thu, Nov 13, 1941 – 33 · Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients (for filling)

  • 2 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples
  • 2 cups peeled, thinly sliced pumpkin
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp orange flavoring, or 2 tsp grated orange rind

Directions

  1. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry and fill with apple and pumpkin slices.
  2. Sprinkle with sugar, spices, and salt. Add flavoring or grated orange rind.
  3. Moisten edge of crust, cover with top crust, and press edges together. Brush crust with milk or cream.
  4. Bake 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, then 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes.

Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Pie – From 1944

1944: Caramel pecan pumpkin pie1944: Caramel pecan pumpkin pie Thu, Oct 5, 1944 – Page 18 · The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups pumpkin
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp lemon extract
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 unbaked pastry shell
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Directions

  1. Mix pumpkin, cream, and eggs. Blend the sugar, flour, salt, and spices, and add to the pumpkin mixture, stirring well.
  2. Add extracts and melted butter, and pour into an unbaked pastry shell.
  3. Bake in hot oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate (350 degrees Fahrenheit) until filling is firm, or about 40 minutes.
  4. Cover filling with pecans which have been mixed with the ¼ cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar. Place under broiler until slightly caramelized. Makes one 9-inch pie.

Pumpkin Parfait Pie – From 1952

1952: Pumpkin parfait pie1952: Pumpkin parfait pie Wed, Nov 19, 1952 – 9 · The Semi-Weekly Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients

  • 1 package lemon-flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 pint butter pecan or maple walnut ice cream
  • 1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1 baked 9-inch pie shell

Directions

  1. Dissolve gelatin in hot water in 2-quart saucepan. Add ice cream by spoonfuls, stirring until melted. Then chill until thickened but not set (15 to 25 minutes).
  2. Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, and spices. Fold into thickened gelatin mixture. Turn into the cooled baked pie shell.
  3. Chill until firm (15 to 25 minutes). Garnish with whipped cream and sliced dates.

Note: Mashed cooked sweet potatoes, yams, or squash may be used in the place of pumpkin in this recipe.

Want more vintage pumpkin pie recipes from newspapers? Visit our Pumpkin Pie Recipes Topic Page. We’ve got some already clipped for you!

Or find even more pumpkin pie recipes by searching the papers on Newspapers.com. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more historical content like this!

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Telephone Technology: Push Buttons and Party Lines

In the Spring of 1963, President John F. Kennedy sat down at his desk in the oval office. With cameras clicking, he picked up the handset of a telephone and pressed the numbers “1964”. The connection activated a countdown clock for the New York World’s Fair, set to open the following year. The photo opportunity was noteworthy, however, because Kennedy’s call showcased an amazing new technology – the push-button dial telephone

Later that year, on November 18, 1963, Bell Telephone officially rolled out push-button telephones to the public. A push-button interface meant customers no longer had to wind a rotary dial and wait for it to spin back when dialing each number. This technological achievement was the latest in a long line of telephone innovation that dated back to when Alexander Graham Bell received the first patent for a telephone in 1876.

Back then, Alexander Graham Bell and his colleague Thomas Watson shocked the world when they carried on a 30-minute telephone conversation from two miles apart. Their newly invented telephones converted sound into electric pulses that traveled along a wire connecting the phones.

The popularity of the telephone quickly grew and soon everybody wanted one. However, it wasn’t feasible to stretch a wire between every set of telephones, so inventors developed a telephone exchange. Each telephone connected to the exchange by wire. To place a call, a caller would pick up the phone and turn a crank. This illuminated a light at the switchboard at the central station and an operator would plug a wire into your jack and ask who you needed to reach. She then connected a wire to the appropriate customer and sent an electrical current down the line to alert them with a bell. 

Operators became a familiar voice to every telephone user. They generally worked with a relatively small group of customers and often knew each one. In 1903, one mother discovered a new use for her telephone when she opened the receiver and asked the operator to ring her at the neighbor’s house when her sleeping baby woke up! On any given day, an operator might soothe a frightened child, or even save a life. Rose Coppinger was an operator in Webber Falls, Oklahoma in 1914. When a fire raged through town, she refused to leave her post at the telephone exchange and warned neighbors of the approaching flames.

By 1918, ten million telephones were in use in the US. Rotary dials were the norm and party lines were common. A party line was a telephone line shared by more than one user and came at a reduced cost. It was not uncommon to pick up a telephone receiver and hear a conversation already occurring. The town’s news often traveled this way despite party line etiquette which dictated never listening in on another’s conversation. A party line presented challenges during emergencies, though, and tragedies occurred if users failed to yield the telephone during a crisis. The last operating party line in Woodbury, Connecticut shut down in 1991.

Technology has come a long way since party lines and push-button phones. Today, an estimated 5.3 billion people worldwide communicate daily using mobile devices. To learn more about the changing technology in telephone communication, search our archives today on Newspapers.com!

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The Ghost of Clinton Avenue

From 1878 comes this real-life ghost story that even the skeptics couldn’t explain. With its ringing bells and rattling doors, this residence on Brooklyn’s Clinton Avenue became the talk of the town.

The Ghost of Clinton AvenueThe Ghost of Clinton Avenue Fri, Dec 20, 1878 – Page 1 · The Sun (New York, New York) · Newspapers.com


The residence’s owner, Mr. Smith, appeared to be a level-headed, logical sort of man. But when a skeptical reporter visited the house nearly a week later, as reported in the article below, Mr. Smith was too nervous to be interviewed and believed the disturbances to be the work of an evil spirit.

The Clinton Avenue Ghost follow up articleThe Clinton Avenue Ghost follow up article Thu, Dec 26, 1878 – 2 · St. Louis Globe-Democrat (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.com

Find more ghost stories like this in the pages of Newspapers.com.

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New Papers Added From New Mexico!

Are you interested in the history of Rio Arriba County in New Mexico? We are pleased to announce the addition of the Rio Grande Sun to our archives. Based in the city of Espanola, the Sun is a weekly that began publishing in 1956. The paper competed with the Espanola Valley News until the Sun purchased the Valley News and shut it down. The Sun is known for its fearless old-school journalism and focus on local politics and issues.

The history of Espanola dates back to 1598 when it was founded as the capital of Nuevo Mexico. Some of the valley’s historic buildings remain, including La Iglesia de Santa Cruz de la Canada, a church built in 1733 that is still in use today.

In 1880, after the railroad expanded to northern New Mexico, the town took on the name Espanola. Early settlers described the town as “really wild and wooly, having eighteen saloons…” In 1943, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, located about 18 miles from Espanola, was founded as part of the Manhattan Project. The lab remained top-secret during the war and has provided many jobs in Espanola.

When the Sun published its first edition in the 1950s, the population of Espanola was about 3,000. The first issues were printed on an old press that required single sheets of newsprint to be hand-fed into the press one at a time. The population of the valley continued to grow and in 1957, local churches coordinated a door-to-door church census intending to document every resident.

As Espanola grew, some of the city’s historic buildings were torn down. In 1957, the city purchased a home that belonged to one of the valley’s early settlers and turned it into City Hall. Known as the Bond House, the historic home served as the city offices until 1979. After it was vacated, vandals broke in and did extensive damage. The Historical Society started a grassroots preservation effort and encouraged residents to donate $10 for repairs. In March 1982, the home was reopened as the Bond House Museum and celebrates the transition of Espanola from a frontier outpost to a modern city.

If you are researching ancestors that lived in Espanola, columns like Eavesdropping and the

Grapevine provides news on Espanola’s residents. You’ll also find birth announcements and obituaries like this one for one of Espanola’s oldest residents born in 1869!

Start searching the pages of the Rio Grande Sun today on Newspapers.com!

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6 “Buried Alive” Newspaper Stories to Send Shivers Down Your Spine

San Francisco Examiner, 07.19.1896
San Francisco Examiner, 07.19.1896

“The greatest horror that the human mind can picture is that of being buried alive,” read an article in the 1896 San Francisco Examiner. “The agony, of course, would be of short duration, but, even though it lasted only two minutes, it would, in its intensity, contain a world of misery and anguish too horrible to contemplate.”

Historical newspapers are full of bone-chilling tales of people being mistaken for dead and buried alive. Some of these stories are likely embellished or altogether fictional, while others have a ring of truth that make them all the more terrifying.

We’ve selected 6 of these “buried alive” stories from the papers on Newspapers.com. Decide for yourself if they’re true or not. If you’re brave enough to read them.

The excerpts below are just a taste of the full stories. Follow the links to read the jaw-dropping newspaper accounts in their entirety.

From 1729

The Pennsylvania Gazette, 02.24.1729
READ THE FULL STORY in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 02.24.1729.

From 1836

The York Gazette, 08.30.1836.
READ THE FULL STORY in the York Gazette, 08.30.1836.

From 1845

The Jeffersonian, 12.18.1845.
READ THE FULL STORY in the Jeffersonian, 12.18.1845.

From 1849

The Abbeville Press and Banner, 07.21.1849
READ THE FULL STORY in the Abbeville Press and Banner, 07.21.1849.

From 1850

Wilmington Journal, 06.06.1850
READ THE FULL STORY in the Wilmington Journal, 06.06.1850.

From 1883

Fall River Daily Evening News, 10.18.1883
READ THE FULL STORY in the Fall River Daily Evening News, 10.18.1883.

Find more “buried alive” stories by searching Newspapers.com. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more historical content like this!

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Destruction of the 1890 Census

1890 United States Federal Census Fragment sample image.

Genealogists and historians have lamented the loss of the 1890 census for more than a century. When researchers inquire about the 1890 census, their questions are quickly dismissed with the explanation that a fire destroyed the records. The truth, however, is more complicated. The 1890 census records did sustain extensive smoke and water damage in two different fires (1896 and 1921), but the damaged records sat languishing in a warehouse until the 1930s when Congress ordered their destruction.

The 1890 census was unique for several reasons. For the first time, officials decided to gather data on a separate schedule for each family. Families answered questions about race, immigration and naturalization, the number of children born and living, and questions relating to service in the Civil War. It was also the first census that used punch cards and an electrical tabulation system.

After enumerators finished the 1890 census, the Department of the Interior stored portions in Washington D.C. in the basement of Marini’s Hall. On March 22, 1896, a night watchman discovered the rear of the building was on fire and notified the fire department. Firefighters arrived to find dense smoke pouring from the basement. Though they extinguished the flames before sunrise, the fire damaged or destroyed the special schedules for mortality, crime, pauperism, benevolence, special classes (e.g., deaf, blind, insane) and portions of the transportation and insurance schedules. The general population schedules, however, were safe and stored in the basement of the Commerce Building.

The Washington Post, January 11, 1921

On the evening of January 10, 1921, an employee at the Commerce Building noticed smoke rising through the elevator shaft and sounded the fire alarm. For hours, firefighters soaked the building with water to quench the flames. When the smoke cleared, archivists found 25 percent of the 1890 census schedules destroyed, while half of the rest sustained serious water damage. Government officials debated whether the burnt and waterlogged records could be salvaged.

This tragic fire spurred discussion about the need for national archives to hold public records. While awaiting funding for an archive building, Census Director William Steuart warned the damaged records would continue to deteriorate. Not much is known about what happened to the census records between 1922-1932, but in December 1932, the Chief Clerk of the Bureau of Census sent the Librarian of Congress a list of documents deemed no longer necessary and scheduled for destruction. Included in the list were the 1890 damaged census records. The Librarian approved the list and forwarded it to Congress who authorized it and the damaged records were destroyed. Ironically, just one day before Congress authorized the destruction of these records, President Herbert Hoover laid the cornerstone for the new National Archives Building.

In 1934, the National Archives Building opened in Washington, D.C. In 1942, officials found a damaged bundle of 1890 census records from Illinois that escaped destruction. In 1953, they also found fragments of records from Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and the District of Columbia. These rediscovered records comprise just a tiny fraction of the 1890 census, leaving 99.99 percent of the original records lost forever. Visit Ancestry.com to see the surviving 1890 census fragments, or search Newspapers.com to see more clippings about their destruction.

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8 Steps for Telling Your Ancestor’s Life Story with Newspapers

Do you know your ancestors’ names but not their stories? Historical newspapers are an important resource for discovering who your ancestors were beyond names and dates. But if you’re not sure where to start, read on to learn how to use Newspapers.com to piece together your ancestors’ life stories.

1. Build a basic timeline with the facts you already know.

Before you start searching for your ancestor’s story in newspapers, it helps to have at least a rough knowledge of when and where they lived. These basics will serve as the backbone for the story that you build and help guide you in your newspaper search.

Image from the 1880 census on Ancestry®
Image from the 1880 census on Ancestry®

One way to do this is by locating your ancestor in as many state and federal censuses as you can. Write down the year of the census and the city/county/state where the person was living. It may also be helpful to note their occupation (if provided) and who else was living in the household at the time. These facts can help you identify your ancestor when you begin your newspaper search. You can also use dates and locations pulled from other records, such as those for birth, marriage, and death.

2. Begin your newspaper search.

Enter your ancestor’s name into the Newspapers.com search bar. Scroll through some of the results to see if there are any likely hits for your ancestor. If there are too many results for people who aren’t your ancestor, try adding date, location, and other filters to narrow down the possibilities.

Remember, however, that people didn’t always appear in newspapers by their legal name. Try searching for your ancestor using nicknames, alternative names, initials, and misspellings. In older newspapers, men were often referred to by initials or abbreviations, and women were often referred to by their husbands’ names (e.g., Mrs. John Smith).

And here’s a tip: When you find a search that returns results for your ancestor, use the Save/Notify feature to be automatically alerted when we add new newspaper pages that have matches for your search.

3. Sort your search results chronologically.

Image showing how to sort results chronologically
Image showing how to sort results chronologically

It’s often easiest to understand how the events of a person’s life tie together when you learn about them in the order they happened—just like reading a biography. So once you’ve found search results for your ancestor, sort the results chronologically. This will help you see more easily how the newspaper articles you find fit with the timeline you made in Step 1.

The default for search results on Newspapers.com is “Best match,” but you can easily order them chronologically by choosing to sort them by “Paper date (oldest first),” which is found under “Sort” in the upper left of the search results page.

4. Start reading!

You’ve got your search results, so now it’s time to start reading! Using the image thumbnails on the search results page as a reference, open up articles that seem like they might be about your ancestor. The timeline you made before you started searching will help you determine which articles are about your ancestor and which are not. As you find articles about your ancestor, you’ll become more familiar with their life, making it easier to spot which other articles are about them too.

5. Clip the articles you find.

When you find articles about your ancestor, use our clipping tool to save them to your Newspapers.com account.

It’s important not only to clip the article but also to title the clipping in a way that will make it easy to find again. For example, the clipping’s title could include your ancestor’s name and a brief summary of the article. Then when you need to find that article again, you can simply go to your clippings page and search for the person’s name to quickly pull up all the articles you’ve clipped about them.

Example of helpful information to include in a clipping
Example of helpful information to include in a clipping

When making a clipping, you can also use the “Add more details” field to make notes about the clipping. For example, you could use this field to indicate details in the clipping you want to research further or to specify how the clipping ties into a larger story.

Another great feature of clippings is that you can easily share them on social media or via email. So if you find an article about your ancestor, you can post it to social media and ask your family members if they know anything else about the story. You can also save clippings to your Ancestry® tree.

6. Take notes along the way.

As you start reading newspaper articles about your ancestor, they’ll likely spark ideas about other people or topics to research. Make sure to take plenty of notes about these so you can come back and search them later. It’ll be tempting to research them right away, but that can lead you down a rabbit hole that takes you far away from the person you were originally researching. So instead make a note to return to it in the future.

It’s also a good idea to take notes about ways you could adjust your search terms. For instance, if you find an article that uses an alternative spelling of your ancestor’s name, make a note to come back later and search using that alternate spelling. 

7. Branch out.

Once you learn everything you can about your ancestor’s life by searching for their name, try searching for their family member’s names. People don’t exist in isolation, so learning about the stories of their family members can help you understand your ancestor. For example, your ancestor might not be mentioned by name in an article about a tragic death in the family, but it nevertheless likely had a direct impact on their life.

News from an ancestor's childhood about his father and uncle (Chicago Tribune, 11.09.1865)
News from an ancestor’s childhood about his father and uncle (Chicago Tribune, 11.09.1865)

Searching by family members names (particularly parents’ names) is especially key to learning about your ancestor’s early life, since adults are more likely than children to be mentioned by name in a newspaper. By doing this, you might find out that their family moved when your ancestor was young or that their father was injured in an accident—events that would have shaped your ancestor’s childhood.

8. Explore the social history of your ancestor’s life.

Learning about the time and place in which your ancestors lived can also help you understand their life. Take time to look through their local newspaper to find out what life was like in the town or city they lived in. Try browsing through national and local news stories, ads, articles about the economy, the entertainment and leisure sections, war news, transportation schedules, and more to learn about the context of your ancestor’s life.

Social history research is also helpful if you weren’t able to find much about your ancestor when you searched for them by name. Researching the world around them can give you a pretty decent idea of what their life may have been like.

Happy searching!

We hope this has been useful in helping you uncover your ancestor’s life story. If you have any tips we missed, be sure to post them in the comments!

Get started finding your ancestors’ stories by searching Newspapers.com! And follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more articles like this!

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Nancy Drew and the Attempted Banishment

It’s a testament to the lasting power of Nancy Drew that yet another screen reincarnation of the beloved book sleuth is on her way. The character may be closing in on 100 years of existence, but many readers today still fondly remember following Nancy through many mysteries. Not all have loved Nancy Drew from the beginning. But she couldn’t be taken down, thanks in part to the teenage girls who channeled their heroine and saved the day.

Not Just Nancy Drew

In the early 1900s, a literary war was being waged on “nickel novels.” Mostly aimed at boy scouts, these novels were considered by librarians to be a “menace of mediocrity.” Rather more graphically, they were thought to “blow out, shoot to pieces, or burn out boy’s imaginations.” It was thought the average 10-year-old ought to turn their sights to higher literature.

Nancy Drew would not be published until 1930, but this was just the beginning of a controversy that would dog series books for decades to come.

Nickel Novel is Peril of Youth

Nickel Novel is Peril of Youth Wed, May 27, 1914 – Page 6 · The Washington Herald (Washington, District of Columbia) · Newspapers.com

Nancy Comes to Life

The instant popularity of Nancy Drew novels painted a target on the series’ back. By 1933 there were already ten titles to her name, and young girls loved them. But these .50 novels, considered successors to the nickel and dime novels, were still being fought against primarily by librarians. One even called them “devices of Satan.” This article from 1944 shows librarians left them out of the stacks because of too-similar plots and impossible situations:

Library doesn't carry Nancy Drew because of

Library doesn’t carry Nancy Drew because of “similarity in plot” & “impossible situations” 1944 Sat, Nov 18, 1944 – Page 12 · The Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa) · Newspapers.com

The 60s saw another wave of parent and librarian disdain for the popular series, while readers continued to be infatuated with Nancy’s cleverness and moxie. When papers shared negative opinions about the “literary garbage” that was Nancy Drew, readers gave back as good as they got:

“Nancy Drew books are not rubbish” 1964 Thu, Feb 6, 1964 – 4 · Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) · Newspapers.com

Teen defense of Nancy Drew series, 1959

Teen defense of Nancy Drew series, 1959 Sun, Feb 22, 1959 – 9 · Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, Florida) · Newspapers.com

Group of High School Pupils Speak Out on

Group of High School Pupils Speak Out on “Series Books” Mon, Feb 1, 1965 – 8 · The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah) · Newspapers.com

The books were still removed from many libraries, but they could not be kept away from eager readers completely. In time the fervor of fans and changing attitudes toward literature would soften the fight for reform.

Nancy Drew making comeback following critical period

Nancy Drew making comeback following critical period Thu, Apr 8, 1976 – Page 27 · The Journal News (White Plains, New York) · Newspapers.com

Nancy Drew Endures

Ultimately, it’s hard to argue with the evidence of pure enjoyment, as this columnist found. Nancy Drew books got people reading; they were simply a good time. Decades have passed, times have changed, and now reading for fun is not so often considered a moral failing. In fact, Nancy has become a role model for many women across generations.

Nancy Drew an inspiration still in 1994

Nancy Drew an inspiration still in 1994 Sun, Apr 10, 1994 – Page 54 · Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey) · Newspapers.com

There have been 5 feature films made about Nancy Drew, and October 9th’s new CW series will be the third attempt to bring Nancy to life on television. It just goes to show that 89 years has done little to dampen the love for literature’s favorite teenage sleuthing lass. Are you a fan?

Notice the Clues?

If you like solving puzzles and decoding clues, give this one a try to find a clipping of a real-life Nancy Drew situation on Newspapers.com:

1. Unscramble the bold letters in the “Not Just Nancy Drew” section for the month and date to search.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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2. Unscramble the bold letters in the “Nancy Comes to Life” section for the year and the name of the paper. (Hint: each paragraph contains one word)

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3. Unscramble the bold letters in the “Nancy Drew Endures” section for the Find/Search term to look for on Page 7. (Hint: each paragraph contains one word)

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The Texas Revolution

On October 2, 1835, ongoing clashes between American settlers in Texas and the Mexican government escalated into an open rebellion called the Texas Revolution, or the War of Texas Independence. Texas colonists led by Sam Houston fought against Mexican forces led by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna of Mexico. The war resulted in Texas declaring independence from Mexico and the founding of the Republic of Texas which was later annexed by the United States.

The Richmond Enquirer October 23, 1835

In 1820, American Moses Austin asked the Spanish government in Mexico for permission to settle on a tract of land in Texas. Austin intended to establish a colony for 300 families to settle near the Brazos River. He died shortly after, and his son Stephen F. Austin took over the project. In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain and the Mexican government allowed American Colonists to occupy the land in its northern reaches that was primarily occupied by Native American tribes. They also suspended tariffs and taxes for the settlers under the Colonization Law of 1823.

In the following years, settlers poured into Texas until Americans outnumbered the Mexicans. Fearing the United States may want to annex Texas, the Mexican government sought to stem the tide of US citizens in Texas in 1830 by prohibiting any further immigration of US citizens. They also reinstated tariffs on the settlers already living there.

The Arkansas Gazette May 4, 1830

Unhappy with the new rules, in June 1832, American settlers clashed with Mexican military forces near modern-day Houston and the eastern bank of the Brazos River in the Battle of Velasco. They later organized conventions in 1832 and 1833 and asked the Mexican government to repeal the tariffs and immigration laws. During the conventions, Sam Houston was named commander-in-chief over Texan forces and David Burnet as provisional president. Americans were moving closer to a full-scale rebellion. Meanwhile, Gen. Santa Anna used heavy-handed tactics to suppress dissent and directed Mexican soldiers to move into Texas and retake a cannon that settlers had used in defense against Native Americans. When Mexican soldiers arrived, a skirmish ensued resulting in the first battle of the revolution, the Battle of Gonzales on October 2, 1835.

Additional battles were fought including the Battle of the Alamo, where Gen. Santa Anna’s forces overpowered a group of volunteer Texas soldiers occupying a mission near present-day San Antonio killing close to 200; and the Goliad Massacre, where more than 400 captured soldiers were executed by Santa Anna’s troops. The cruelty of the killings acted as a rallying cry for Texas troops who shouted, “Remember the Alamo!” and “Remember Goliad!” during the final battle of the revolution, the Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836. The battle lasted just 18 minutes. Texas soldiers captured Gen. Santa Anna as he tried to flee, and his army retreated south. Held prisoner, Santa Anna was forced to sign the Treaty of Velasco recognizing Texas as an independent republic. In 1845, the United States annexed Texas and it became the 28th state. If you would like to learn more about the Texas Revolution, search Newspapers.com today.

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