Newport News Daily Press

Do you have ancestors from the Tidewater region of Virginia, or are you interested in the area’s history? Check out the Newport News Daily Press on Newspapers.com, with issues dating back to 1898*!

Sample Daily Press front pageWhen the Daily Press began publication in 1896, Newport News was in the middle of making the transition from rural town to urban city. Fifteen years earlier, a railway had been built to allow coal to be shipped from the town’s port, and a few years after that, an influential dry dock and shipyard had opened on the waterfront—both of which led to an economic boom for Newport News.

The Newport News Daily Press started out as a four-page paper, sold for a penny a copy. The owner and first editor was Charles E. Thacker, who ran the paper for about 14 years. The Daily Press eventually became the primary daily morning paper of the Virginia Peninsula. In 1913, the new owners of the Daily Press also bought the Times-Herald (the area’s main afternoon paper), and the two papers were jointly owned but separately operated for many years (until 1991, when the Times-Herald ceased publication).

In 1930, the two papers were bought by William E. Rouse, and they stayed in the family for more than 55 years. From 1958 to 1973, the Daily Press was published in a 9-column format, making it the widest in the state. In 1986, the papers were finally sold to the Tribune Company (now Tronc, Inc., which continues to own the Daily Press). The Daily Press is today the main paper of the lower and middle peninsulas in Virginia.

If you’re looking for your ancestors in the Daily Press, a good place to look—as in many papers—is the society and personal columns. Over the years, as the Newport News got bigger and the paper got longer, so did the society column, which eventually evolved into a society section multiple pages long. Society news is wonderful for finding anecdotal information about your ancestors, such as whose card party they attended, where they traveled, whose funeral they attended, when they got sick or went to the hospital, where they went to school, and so on.

If you love old comics, the Daily Press is a great place to find them, as it expanded its Sunday comics section to 16 pages starting in February 1935.

Get started searching or browsing the Newport News Daily Press on Newspapers.com!

* With a Newspapers.com Basic subscription, you can view issues of the “Daily Press” from 1898 to 1922; or, with a Publisher Extra subscription, access those early years as well as issues between 1923 and 2017.

Solar Eclipse – 100 years ago

Solar eclipses are remarkable natural phenomenons that reliably send humanity’s gaze skyward. The upcoming solar eclipse is particularly exciting, with the phrase “100 years” getting thrown around a lot. It’s not because this is the first solar eclipse to happen in 100 years—far from it. But it is the first solar eclipse in nearly 100 years to cross over the width of the United States, making it possible for millions to witness totality from within the arching pathway. The last time that happened, it was June 1918.

1918 Solar Eclipse

A description of the approaching solar eclipse, 1918

Traveling to the path of totality was just as expected then as it is now—and automobiles have definitely been in use for a while these days.

People will travel to the 1918 eclipse in now-universal automobiles

With any luck, good weather will allow clear observation of this century’s sequel to 1918’s eclipse, with all its similarities and differences.

Diagram of total eclipse

During the Eclipse

Remarkable because of the path

Safe travels to those making their way to the path of totality! Find more on the 1918 eclipse and reactions to it with a search on Newspapers.com.

Find: Vintage Jell-O Recipes

News, Finds, Tips of the month

While many of us probably associate Jell-O most closely with the 1950s and ’60s, this gelatin dessert has actually been around since 1897. Recipes using Jell-O started appearing in newspapers not long after, which means there are roughly 120 years’ worth of Jell-O recipes out there! If you love Jell-O, Newspapers.com is a great place to discover vintage Jell-O recipes from decades past.

Jell-o TipsSome early Jell-O recipes include:

The number of Jell-O dessert recipes out there is truly astounding. Have you tried any of these?

Or have you ever tried a savory Jell-O recipe?

On Newspapers.com, you can also find tips and trivia about Jell-O, see some of the earliest Jell-O newspaper ads, and read about the Jell-O recipe a Kansas minister claimed was sure to make the fish bite.

Share your favorite Jell-O memories with us in the comments! Then get started searching for Jell-O recipes on Newspapers.com, or look for other recipes that interest you.

Telephones and Tubes

Ah, romance. Methods of flirting sure have changed over the years, haven’t they? With the introduction of the internet, dating has become so impersonal, so informal. Just a glance at a face and a flick of the finger. So different from the way it used to be.

But perhaps not so different as it seems.

A mention of the 1920s brings with it visions of sparkling flapper dresses, ornate decor, city living, and some sweet jazzy tunes to dance to. Dating apps were a feature of the distant future, but in 1920s Berlin, the concept of dating from a distance was alive and well in the form of telephones and pneumatic tubes.

The idea behind the system

Two nightclubs in particular provided these handy services: The Resi and the Femina.

Femina and Resi

The Resi

Femina Tubes and Telephones

For the bold, there were the telephones—simply dial up the lady or lad who catches your eye and ask them to dance. For those more timid attendees, there were the tubes. Pencil down a message of admiration or wrap up a little gift, send it rocketing through the conveniently located tube to the table of your choice, and wait to see if they receive it well.

Sounds pretty familiar after all, doesn’t it?

Find more on these nightclubs and dating practices of the past with a search on Newspapers.com.

Remembering Marilyn

On this day in history, the discovery of Marilyn Monroe’s unexpected death spread across headlines.

Sleep Pills

Victim of Movies' Ballyhoo

Untimely Death

Though speculations and theories about her death spread like wildfire, the official cause of death was reported as a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs.

But before this sobering end of life there was a glittering and memorable career that—whether you care for her acting or not—turned Norma Jeane Mortenson (Baker) into a cultural icon whose memory and influence has yet to fade even 55 years later.

Marilyn Monroe

Seven Year Itch Review

Marilyn in The Seven Year Itch

On

Marilyn Monroe

Monroe's influence

Marilyn

Find more on Marilyn with a search on Newspapers.com.

Deaths of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane: August 2, 1876/August 1, 1903

Bonus Army Forced from the Capital: July 28, 1932

August marks of the deaths of two of the Wild West’s most famous figures: Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Hickok was killed August 2, 1876, at the age of 39, and Calamity Jane died of illness on August 1, 1903, at age 51; both died in South Dakota.

Headline announcing Calamity Jane's deathDuring his life, Hickok was a soldier, scout, stagecoach driver, lawman, gunfighter, showman, marksman, gambler, and more. He died after being shot from behind while playing poker in a saloon. Calamity Jane was a frontierswoman known for her men’s attire, hard drinking, and skill at profanity. She claimed to have been in love with Wild Bill Hickok and even to have gone after his killer with a meat cleaver—though there is no evidence to support this; she is, however, buried near him, as she requested.

Both Hickok and Calamity Jane were famous during their lifetimes, with their legends quickly outgrowing the actual facts of their lives. Hickok gained national fame in 1867, when he became the subject of an article in Harper’s Magazine. Calamity Jane similarly became well known around 1877, when she was used as the basis for a fictional character in the “Deadwood Dick” dime novels.

After the two gained fame, they were regularly mentioned in the newspapers of the time. An excerpt of one article about Hickok from 1870 reads:

“Wild Bill is a man of great physical power and an unerring marksman. He never comes out of a fight second-best. He was at one time surprised by ten guerrillas in a cabin, where he fought and killed them all, being himself pretty well cropped to pieces with their knives.”

While Hickok died at the height of his fame, Calamity Jane outlived hers. An article published in 1903, shortly before her death, describes it thus:

“It is not the Calamity Jane of today […] that you want to remember. She of today is old and poverty stricken and wretched. The country has outgrown her and her occupation is gone. […] It is the Calamity Jane of the old days, the Indian fighter, the scout, the mail carrier, the cow puncher, the man among men, who stands heroic.”

In both of the case of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, myth became more important than reality in the public’s perception of them, and they both still remain larger than life today.

If you’re interested in Wild Bill Hickok or Calamity Jane, look for more articles about them on Newspapers.com, especially in our South Dakota papers. Through cooperative projects with the Black Hills Pioneer and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, Newspapers.com has a large collection of papers from South Dakota, where both Wild Bill and Calamity Jane spent significant time.

Arizona Daily Star

Do you have ancestors from Arizona? Or are you interested in Arizona history? Newspapers.com has added the Arizona Daily Star, with issues from 1879 to 2017.*

Sample Arizona Daily Star front pageThe Arizona Daily Star is a daily morning paper that began publishing in Tucson on January 12, 1879, more than 30 years before Arizona became a state. The paper was started as a complement to the already existing Arizona Weekly Star (which would publish until 1907). The Daily Star’s first editor was L.C. Hughes, who would later go on to become governor of the Arizona Territory. Though it was initially called the Arizona Star, within a matter of months the name was changed to the Arizona Daily Star, which it has kept ever since. Despite competition, the paper eventually grew to be a powerful force in Arizona politics and influential throughout the southwest.

Some items of interest from the Daily Star include:

  • 1880 editorial calling on Tucson authorities to improve sanitation in the city
  • Front page from when Arizona gained statehood in 1912
  • Front page from 1934 announcing the capture of John Dillinger and his gang in Tucson
  • The 1939 15th annual special rodeo edition
  • Article from 1981 announcing that Daily Star reporters won a Pulitzer Prize
  • 2011 front page reporting the Gabrielle Giffords shooting

If you have ancestors from southern Arizona or the Tucson area, you might just find them mentioned in the Daily Star. Likely places to find them include the personals column, society column, and local news briefs.
From these columns you can learn tidbits like “Miss Vida Cooper, daughter of Mrs. William F. Cooper, […] is spending the summer in San Francisco where she is continuing her vocal studies” and “Frank Tom Gibbings, graduate second lieutenant in the cavalry reserve has received promotion to grade first lieutenant.”

Get started searching or browsing the Arizona Daily Star on Newspapers.com!

With a Newspapers.com Basic subscription, you can view issues of the Daily Star from 1879 to 1922; or, with a Publisher Extra subscription, access those early years as well as issues between 1923 and 2017.

Who Was “Smart Alec”?

Turns out, the term “Smart Alec” almost certainly exists because of a real life man named Alec Hoag. He was a crafty criminal who was a little too clever for his own good.

Hoag and

His usual method of thievery is described in the clipping above, but the “smart” part of Alec’s con was that he got the police in on it too, bribing them with shares of the stolen goods if they looked the other way. Of course, working out a way to cut the police out of their shares was probably not so smart, but that’s exactly what Alec did. The police eventually figured it out, and thus came the downfall of the original Smart Alec.

Find more like this with a search on Newspapers.com.

What Did Your Ancestors Wear?

When trying to find out more about an ancestor’s life, have you ever thought about what they wore? Many people already know to look in newspapers for things like birth, marriage, and death notices; but one way you can flesh out your ancestor’s day-to-day life is by discovering what they may have worn.

Advertisement for women's clothing patterns (Missouri, 1875)
Newspapers are a great resource for this, as papers have long carried ads for clothing—or for the fabric and patterns to make them. You can trace how fashions changed throughout your ancestor’s life—discovering what they might have worn as kids, as young adults, and as older adults. You can find out what these fashions would have cost your ancestors as well, and learn which clothing and accessories they could have afforded in their daily lives and which they probably would have bought only for a special occasion. You can search papers from across the nation during your ancestor’s life to get a general idea of the fashion of the time, or you can look in papers from the state or even town they were from to see if local fashion trends were any different from national ones. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Here are a few examples of the types of fashions you can find in newspapers. Who knows? Your ancestors may have worn them!

Start exploring what your ancestors wore by browsing Newspapers.com!