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.

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!

Bonus Army Forced from the Capital: July 28, 1932

Bonus Army Forced from the Capital: July 28, 1932

On July 28, 1932, U.S. troops expelled thousands of American World War I veterans—known as the Bonus Army—from their camps in Washington DC, after months of protests and marches by the Bonus Army failed to result in legislation that would allow them to receive promised government funds early.

Bonus Army after being evicted from DC In the years following World War I, Congress passed legislation that would pay veterans of the conflict an adjusted “bonus” compensation for their time in the service, to be paid out in 1945. However, when the Great Depression struck, many veterans were out of work and wanted the government to pay them the money immediately rather than in 1945.

Starting in May 1932, veterans from across the country made their way to Washington DC to lobby and show their support for a bill introduced in Congress that would pay them their money early. Soon, an estimated 11,000–20,000 veterans—who quickly became known as the Bonus Army, or Bonus Expeditionary Force—as well as some families, crowded the capital, setting up massive camps in the area.

On June 15, the bill was passed in the House of Representatives, but it failed in the Senate two days later. The veterans were disappointed, but they largely reacted peacefully and many returned home—though thousands still remained in the capital.

In late July, after Congress had adjourned, the government decided that the veterans should vacate the abandoned buildings they had occupied along Pennsylvania Avenue. However, the veterans refused to leave, and on July 28 violence broke out between veterans and police, resulting in the deaths of two veterans.

The district commissioners requested that federal troops intervene, and hundreds of infantry and cavalry were sent out, led by General Douglas MacArthur. The troops used tear gas, bayonets, sabers, and tanks to push the veterans out of the downtown area, and then MacArthur proceeded to likewise clear out the veterans’ main camp at Anacostia Flats, which went up in flames.

Though the government claimed that the troops only used minimal force, and alleged that many of the marchers who were routed were radicals and criminals rather than veterans, the public largely reacted negatively to the use of federal troops on the veterans. The incident increased the public’s dissatisfaction with President Hoover, who would lose reelection that fall. The early bonus payments the veterans sought would not be approved until 4 years later, in 1936.

Do you have any family stories about the Bonus Army? Tell us about them! Or learn more about the Bonus Army on Newspapers.com.

The Star Tribune and Other Minneapolis Papers

Do you have family from Minnesota, particularly the Minneapolis area? Or are you interested in Minnesota history? Come explore* three related Minneapolis papers on Newspapers.com: the Star Tribune, the Minneapolis Star, and the Minneapolis Journal. The pasts of these three papers are closely connected through a long history of buy-outs and consolidation, finally resulting in the Star Tribune that exists today as Minnesota’s biggest newspaper

First issue of the Minneapolis Daily Tribune, 25 May 1867The “Tribune” part of the Star Tribune’s title refers to the Minneapolis Daily Tribune, founded in 1867, less than a decade after Minnesota became a state. During the late 19th century, the Tribune became one of the city’s top papers.

First issue of the Minnesota Daily Star, 19 Aug 1920The “Star” in the Star Tribune’s name comes from the Minnesota Daily Star, which was started in 1920. Due in part to the paper’s controversial socialist-leaning agenda, it went bankrupt in 1924 and was eventually purchased in 1935 by the Cowles family, under whose leadership the Star achieved the highest circulation in the city.

In 1939, the Cowles family also bought the Minneapolis Journal (a top Minneapolis paper that had begun publication in 1878) and combined it with the Star as the Star-Journal. Not long after, the family also bought the Tribune, and the Tribune then served as a morning paper, while the Star-Journal (renamed the Star in 1947) functioned as the evening paper. Due to low circulation, the Star was discontinued in 1982, and the Tribune was renamed the Minneapolis Star and Tribune; the title was simplified to the Star Tribune in 1987.

The Minneapolis papers on Newspapers.com contain a wealth of information for anyone looking for information on ancestors from the area or doing research into Minnesota’s history. The overlap of the dates coved by these papers means that you’re that much more likely to find mentions of the person or topic you’re looking for. The Star Tribune (which on Newspapers.com also includes issues of the Tribune) has issues from 1867 to 2017. Newspapers.com has issues of the Journal from 1901 to 1906. And the Star has issues from 1920 to 1982.

Get started searching or browsing the Star Tribune, the Minneapolis Star, and the Minneapolis Journal on Newspapers.com!

* With a Newspapers.com Basic subscription, you can view issues up through 1922; or, with a Publisher Extra subscription, access those early years as well as issues between 1923 and 2017.

Make a Difference with History Unfolded!

History Unfolded
November 9, 1938
Anti-Jewish Riots Convulse German Reich (Kristallnacht) Father Coughlin Blames Jews for Nazi Violence April 9, 1939
Marian Anderson Performs at the Lincoln Memorial June 2, 1939
Jewish Refugees Desperately Seek Safe Harbor

Looking for an easy way to make a big difference? Newspapers.com invites you to participate in the History Unfolded project run by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum!

What is History Unfolded?

History Unfolded is a project that seeks to expand our knowledge of how American newspapers reported on Nazi persecution during the 1930s and ’40s so we can better understand what Americans knew about the Holocaust as it was happening.

To help achieve this, the History Unfolded project asks people like you to search local newspapers from the 1930s and ’40s for Holocaust-related news and opinions and then submit them online to the museum. The newspaper articles you submit will be used to help shape the museum’s 2018 exhibit on Americans and the Holocaust and related educational materials. The articles will also be made available to scholars, historians, and the public.

Who Can Contribute?

Everyone! History buffs, students, teachers . . . All you need is an interest in the Holocaust and access to a newspaper from the 1930s or ’40s, either online (using Newspapers.com, for example) or through a physical archive, such as a library. Simply create an account with History Unfolded, and away you go!

How Do I Contribute?

History Unfolded has created a list of more than 30 Holocaust-related events to focus on. Choose one of these events to research, then search for content related to that topic in an American newspaper of your choice from the 1930s or ’40s. After you find an article related to one of the events, submit it online to the museum through the project’s website.

Newspapers.com and History Unfolded

You can contribute to this important project whether or not you use Newspapers.com to do so. But using Newspapers.com makes it even easier to submit the articles you find. Simply use Newspapers.com to create a clipping of an article you’ve found, then submit that clipping through the submission form on the History Unfolded website. The submission form has a special tool created specifically for Newspapers.com users that makes submitting your clipping a snap.

Your help with this project will help shape our understanding of the Holocaust and the lessons it holds for us today. For more information on how to get involved, visit the History Unfolded website.

St. Louis Refugee Ship Forced to Return to Europe: June 6, 1939

St. Louis Refugee Ship Forced to Return to Europe: June 6, 1939

On June 6, 1939, the St. Louis, a German transatlantic liner, was forced to sail back to Europe after more than 900 of its passengers [https://newspapers.ushmm.org/article/4716] (primarily German-Jewish refugees) were refused entry by Cuba; over 200 of these refugees would later die in the Holocaust.

St/ Louis Steams AwayThe St. Louis departed Germany for Cuba on May 13. The majority of the 937 passengers were German Jews fleeing the increasing discrimination and violence against Jews under Hitler, and many planned to stay in Cuba only until they received U.S. visas. However, unbeknownst to most of the passengers, a week before the ship sailed, the Cuban government invalidated one of the types of travel documents held by the refugees.

When the ship arrived in Cuba on May 27, fewer than 30 passengers—those who had the proper papers—were allowed to disembark. Despite days of negotiations, the Cuban government could not be persuaded to allow the refugees to enter. Leaving Cuban waters on June 2, the ship sailed near the Florida coast. Passengers petitioned President Roosevelt for refuge but received no answer. The St. Louis was finally forced to return to Europe on June 6.

Throughout May and June, newspapers across the United States covered the plight of the refugees on board the St. Louis. However, reactions and opinions varied on the question of the refugees and on the related topic of immigration from Europe. For example, one letter to the editor, featured in Iowa’s Des Moines Register on June 11, was passionate in its support of the refugees: “As a human being, as a Christian, and as an American, I object to the treatment of 900 Jews aboard the ship ‘St. Louis.’ Surely […] we could shelter these tortured people until some permanent settlement could be made.”

In sharp contrast, another letter to the editor, this time from the De Kalb, Illinois, Daily Chronicle on June 20, took an isolationist stance regarding people fleeing Europe: “Until we [the United States] prove that we can handle our own political affairs intelligently, the proper thing for us to do is stay in our own back yard, lock the gate, and take care of our own troubles, which are plenty. Let Europe take care of their own destitute.”

Upon returning to Europe, the St. Louis was allowed to dock in Antwerp, Belgium, on June 17. The United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands agreed to divide the passengers among them, but safety for many of the refugees was short lived. Except for the refugees accepted by the United Kingdom, many of the former passengers were subject to Germany’s destructive sweep across Europe during World War II; 254 of the St. Louis‘s refugees would die during the Holocaust.

Interested in the St. Louis or other subjects related to the Holocaust? Newspapers.com invites you to participate in the History Unfolded project run by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. As part of an effort to learn more about what Americans knew about the Holocaust as it was happening, the History Unfolded project asks people like you to search newspapers (on Newspapers.com, for example) for Holocaust-related news and opinions and submit them online to the museum. Not only will your findings be made available to scholars, curators, and the public, but you’ll also be helping to shape our understanding of this important period of history. For more information on the project, visit the History Unfolded website.

New and Updated Papers on Newspapers.com

Come explore *four new and updated papers on Newspapers.com: the Chicago Tribune, the Fort Lauderdale News, South Florida Sun Sentinel, and the Morning Call!

Sample Chicago Tribune front page
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune was founded in 1847. By the Civil War, the Tribune had adopted an anti-slavery stance and was influential in the election of President Abraham Lincoln. In 1974, the Tribune made history when it became the first newspaper to publish overnight the transcripts President Nixon had released of his infamous White House tapes. Today, the Tribune has one of the largest circulations in the country and remains an important paper in the Great Lakes region. Newspapers.com has issues from 1849 to 2016.

Sample Fort Lauderdale News front pageFort Lauderdale News and South Florida Sun Sentinel
The Fort Lauderdale News and South Florida Sun Sentinel are two related papers from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Fort Lauderdale News traces its roots back to a paper founded in 1911, while the Sun Sentinel began publishing in 1960. In 1963, both papers were bought by the same company, with the News as its evening paper and the Sun Sentinel as its morning paper. The News stopped publication in 1992, while the Sun Sentinel is still published today. The Sun Sentinel serves Broward and Palm Beach counties and has one of the largest circulations in South Florida. It is recognized for its investigative reporting and editorial sports coverage, among other things. Newspapers.com has issues of the Fort Lauderdale News from 1925 to 1991, and issues of the South Florida Sun Sentinel from 1981 to 2017.

Sample The Morning Call front pageThe Morning Call
The Morning Call, based in Allentown, is Pennsylvania’s third-largest newspaper. It serves nine counties in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey and is the leading paper in Lehigh Valley. The paper was founded in 1883 under the name the Critic but was renamed the Morning Call in 1895 as part of a contest in which the schoolboy or girl who could guess the paper’s new name would get five dollars in gold. The Morning Call was run primarily by the Miller family for most of its history, up until the 1980s. It is today known for its watchdog journalism. Newspapers.com has issues from 1895 to 2017.

Explore these and other papers on Newspapers.com!

*With a Newspapers.com Basic subscription, you can see issues of these papers through 1922; or, with a Publisher Extra subscription, access those early years and additional issues from 1923 onward.

Tip: Using Newspapers to Learn about Your Ancestor’s Life in the Poorhouse

Do you have ancestors who lived in a poorhouse? If so, newspapers are one of the resources you can use to discover what life may have been like for those family members.

Article about why many poorhouses are closing, 1938Alternatively called poor farms, county farms, or almshouses (depending on the region of the United States), poorhouses were typically run by counties (or sometimes towns) as a way to take care of people who were poor, old, disabled, or homeless and who had nowhere else to go. In Great Britain, such institutions were more often called workhouses. In the United States, poorhouses began to disappear after the Social Security Act was introduced in 1935, and they had almost totally disappeared by the 1950s.

It can be difficult to find records from poorhouses, so newspapers can be quite valuable in your research. Although individual “inmates” (as they were often called) of poorhouses are rarely mentioned by name in newspapers, you can typically discover quite a bit about the poorhouse they lived in from newspaper articles and piece together a picture of what your ancestor’s life in that poorhouse may have been like. (If you’re not sure if you have any ancestors who lived in a poorhouse, try reading this helpful article by Ancestry for guidance.)

If you know the name of the poorhouse where your ancestor resided, simply search Newspapers.com for the institution’s name to bring up search results. If you are unsure what the name of the poorhouse was in a certain area, use Newspapers.com to search the newspapers in the town or county (or even state) where the poorhouse was located using search terms like “poorhouse,” “county farm,” “poor farm,” or “almshouse.” You can then narrow the results by date range (such as your ancestor’s birth and death dates) if you desire.

If a broader look at poorhouses in America interests you, the St. Louis Star and Times published a series of articles on poorhouses in Missouri in 1922 and 1923 as part of a public awareness campaign to improve conditions in those institutions. Many of these articles paint a vivid picture of what some poorhouses were like at the time and can be quite eye-opening!

Get started learning more about poorhouses by searching on Newspapers.com!

The Johnstown Flood of 1889: May 31, 1889

The Johnstown Flood of 1889: May 31, 1889

On the afternoon of May 31, 1889, heavy rains caused the dam on Lake Conemaugh to fail, sending the water from the lake rushing downstream to devastate the city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. With a death toll upwards of two thousand, the Johnstown flood was the deadliest natural disaster in American history up to that point.

Johnstown Flood of 1889 headlinesLake Conemaugh was a manmade reservoir created in 1853. In 1879, the lake and the surrounding land were sold to the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club to create a getaway in the Pennsylvania mountains for Pittsburg’s elite, including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Although warned in 1881 by an engineer that the lake’s dam desperately needed maintenance—improper repairs, among other problems, had weakened the dam—the club ignored the recommendations.

Fourteen miles downstream from Lake Conemaugh was Johnstown, a booming steel mill city. An unusually heavy rainstorm that began on May 30, 1889, caused nearby rivers to overflow their banks, and the streets of Johnstown filled with water; the storm also caused the waters of Lake Conemaugh to rise rapidly. Despite frantic last-ditch efforts to prevent the dam from failing, the dam collapsed around 3 p.m. on the 31st.

The water of Lake Conemaugh was sent hurtling into the valley below, wreaking havoc on the smaller towns in its path and wiping out houses, trees, railcars, animals, and people. By the time the water reached Johnstown about an hour later, it was still dozens of feet deep and moving at about 40 miles per hour.

As the water cut its destructive path through Johnstown, the massive amount of debris carried by the flood accumulated against a stone railroad bridge that stood on the edge of the city. Somehow, the mountain of debris caught fire that evening, and the resulting conflagration killed many people who had been trapped in the debris.

The water from the dam took only about 10 minutes to sweep through the city, but it left incredible damage in its wake. More than two thousand people were killed, including ninety-nine entire families, and 1,600 homes were destroyed.

When news of the disaster reached the outside world, money and supplies came pouring in to help the people of Johnstown and the surrounding communities rebuild their homes, businesses, and lives. Clara Barton and her newly created American Red Cross provided relief for five months. Although lawsuits were filed against the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, none of them were successful, and the club was not held legally accountable for the disaster.

Learn more about the Johnstown Flood of 1889 on Newspapers.com.