Popular Toys in History

Happy Holidays from Newspapers.com

Slinky ad, 1947When the holidays roll around, many children are busy compiling their lists of which toys they want most. Hatchimals and Fingerlings might be topping the lists of kids in 2017, but what toys were popular in decades past? How much did they cost? We can find out by exploring old newspapers. Here are some ads for the hottest toys of the last century:

Were any of these toys on your childhood Christmas lists? Let us know in the comments! Or find more toy ads by searching Newspapers.com!

Prohibition Ends: December 5, 1933

Prohibition Ends: December 5, 1933

On December 5, 1933, Prohibition came to an end with the repeal of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which had outlawed the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol since 1920.

Utah ends prohibition for nationThe passage of the 18th Amendment had been the result of decades of work by religious and progressive groups to permanently eliminate the consumption of alcohol in the United States. Groups such as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League believed that getting rid of alcohol would remove many of society’s ills. Brewery-owned saloons, in particular, were seen by temperance and prohibition groups as the root of many evils, and these establishments were targeted by activists such as Carrie Nation, who became famous for smashing up saloons.

Finally, by late 1917, there was enough support in Congress to pass the 18th Amendment, which was ratified by the states in early 1919. Prohibition was set to go into effect in 1920, and in preparation, the National Prohibition Act (more commonly known as the Volstead Act) was passed in late 1919. Under the Volstead Act, it was illegal to manufacture, sell, or transport any beverage with an alcohol content of more than 0.5%. Exceptions were made for medical or religious needs, and it was still legal to drink in your own home and to make wine for personal use.

Though Prohibition did see an overall decline in alcohol consumption in the country, it had many unintended consequences. It was illegal to sell alcohol, but it wasn’t illegal to buy or drink it, which led to the rise of a black market alcohol industry of bootleggers and smugglers. This strengthened organized crime syndicates, who made significant amounts of money off illegal alcohol. Gang violence increased, perhaps most notoriously in Chicago, and criminals such as Al Capone became household names. With so much money to be made from black market alcohol, bribery of Prohibition agents, police, judges, and politicians was rampant.

These and other issues—such as the onset of the Great Depression—as well as the rise of powerful anti-Prohibition groups (such as the Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform), finally turned the tide against Prohibition. The 1932 Democratic Party platform was anti-Prohibition, and when Democratic candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt won the presidential election, anti-Prohibition forces passed the 21st Amendment in Congress. The amendment, which repealed Prohibition, was quickly ratified by the states, with Utah casting the deciding vote in favor of repeal on December 5, 1933.

Do you have any family stories about Prohibition? Share them with us! Or find more articles and other information about Prohibition by searching Newspapers.com!

Find: Serial Fiction on Newspapers.com

News, Finds, Tips of the Month

Nearly everyone knows what it’s like to have to wait for the next episode of your favorite TV show to come out. But what if you had to wait for the next chapter of your favorite book? Your ancestors may have had to do just that!

The Hound of the BaskervillesSerial fiction was a bit like today’s TV shows—but instead of a new episode coming out each week, it was a new chapter, or series of chapters, of a story or book, often published in newspapers, magazines, or stand-alone installments. Some of these “serials” came out daily, some weekly, some monthly, some on other schedules, depending on the author and the publisher.

Serials found popularity during the Victorian period, though they first appeared long before that. They remained a fairly common feature of certain newspapers and magazines up until radio and then television took over as people’s main sources of entertainment.

Sometimes entire novels would be written as serials (Charles Dickens famously published some of his novels this way), while other novels would be written and published in their entirety first, and then later segmented out in installments. But not all serials were novel-length: many newspaper serials were just a few installments long, more like a short story or novella, though some did run for months.

Stories published as serial fiction were often tales of romance, mystery, or adventure—with sentimental or thrilling storylines that would catch readers’ attention and have them coming back for the next installment. And they might just hook you too! Try reading one for yourself on Newspapers.com. We’ve collected just a few of them below—some you might recognize, but many you won’t! Try one out and let us know what you think!

Want to read more? To find further installments of the stories above, try checking the next day’s issue of the paper the story was featured in (e.g., if it was in Monday’s paper, check Tuesday’s). If it’s not in that issue, try checking the next issue that falls on the same day of the week (e.g., if it was published on Sunday, check the next Sunday’s issue).

Or if you’re interested in finding other serial fiction on Newspapers.com, try using search terms such as “chapter 1”, and limit your search to papers from the decades around the turn of the 19th century. Get started searching here!

King Tut’s Tomb Discovered: November 4, 1922

King Tut's Tomb Discovered: November 4, 1922

On November 4, 1922, the first stair to what would eventually be uncovered as Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in Egypt by the team of British archaeologist Howard Carter. King Tut’s tomb would quickly gain fame for being among the most intact pharaonic tombs, as well as for the curse that some said affected those who were involved in the tomb’s discovery.

New Tomb Found Egypt's GreatestHoward Carter had been excavating in the Valley of the Kings under the patronage of Lord Carnarvon since 1917, but by 1922 he still had not made any finds of major significance. When Lord Carnarvon threatened to withdraw his funding, Carter convinced Carnarvon to bankroll a final excavation season. The request paid off, and on November 4, 1922, Carter’s team discovered the top of a staircase. Further digging revealed a door to what would turn out to be Tutankhamen’s tomb, and Carter sent word to Carnarvon, who joined him in Egypt.

The tomb was officially opened on November 29 (though Carter, Carnarvon, and others had secretly entered before that), and they discovered that though the tomb appeared to have been robbed twice in antiquity, the majority of the treasures and other items remained inside. With such a host of artifacts, work on the tomb was slow and painstaking. It took months after the tomb’s discovery for the burial chamber to be opened, and three years after the discovery for the archaeologists to finally view Tutankhamen’s mummy itself. In total, it would take eight years for all the objects in the tomb to be documented and removed.

As soon as word got out about the discovery in 1922, the world was fascinated with the wonders that were uncovered from the 3,000-year-old tomb. Despite the ancient grave robbing attempts, Tut’s tomb was still among the best-preserved pharaoh’s tombs ever discovered. However, another factor also increased King Tut’s fame: the so-called “curse of the pharaohs.”

Beginning with Lord Carnarvon’s illness and death in April 1923 (due to complications following an infected mosquito bite), rumors of the curse grabbed the public’s attention. From then on, the deaths of any of the people associated with the tomb’s discovery were attributed to a curse that was said to affect anyone who had disturbed Tutankhamen’s rest. In all, dozens of deaths were claimed to be the result of the curse—though Howard Carter himself would live for more than 15 years after the discovery.

Find more articles about King Tut on searching Newspapers.com!

New Hawaii Papers!

If you have family from Hawaii or are interested in Hawaiian history, come check out the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Honolulu Advertiser, and Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Although the Honolulu Star-Advertiser only began publishing fairly recently (in 2010), the papers that merged to create it—the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin—have histories that stretch back more than a century!

Sample Honolulu Star-Advertiser front page The Honolulu Advertiser traces its history back to 1856, with the creation of a weekly paper called the Pacific Commercial Advertiser. In 1882, the Pacific Commercial Advertiser also began publishing a daily edition, and the weekly edition was ended a few years later, in 1888. In 1921, the paper was renamed the Honolulu Advertiser, the name it would keep for the next 90 years.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin also has a long history. It began as a single-page, hand-written bulletin posted in a shop window in 1870, and by 1882 it had become a paper known as the Daily Bulletin, which then became the Evening Bulletin in 1895. In 1912, the Evening Bulletin combined with a newspaper called the Hawaiian Star to become the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

In 1962, the Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin entered into a joint operating agreement, in which the two papers would maintain separate, competitive newsrooms but share printing, circulation, administration, and advertising expenses. Finally, in 2010, the two papers were merged to create the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

In their early years, the Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin both catered primarily to the white, English-speaking population of Honolulu. But by the mid-20th century, they had begun to make efforts to appeal to more diverse segments of Honolulu’s population as well. If you’re looking for ancestors or other family members in these papers, good places to start include personals columns, society pages, local interest columns, and the like.

And for an interesting piece of history, check out the Star-Bulletin’s report on the bombings at Pearl Harbor, which was the earliest coverage of the event in the world.

Get started searching or browsing the Honolulu Star-Advertiser*, Honolulu Advertiser*, and Honolulu Star-Bulletin* on Newspapers.com! .

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

Find: Famous American Unsolved Mysteries

News, Finds, Tips of the Month

If you’re looking for some stories to make you shiver this Halloween, you don’t have to look farther than the newspaper, as real-life mysteries can often be the most spine-tingling of all. This being the case, we’ve gathered three famous unsolved mysteries from the papers that will be sure to send shivers up your spine this October.

Lizzie Borden

Free from GuiltDespite being immortalized by the rhyme “Lizzie Borden took an ax / And gave her mother forty whacks; / And when she saw what she had done / She gave her father forty-one,” Lizzie Borden was actually found not guilty of the ax murders of her father and stepmother. The pair was found murdered at their home in Massachusetts on August 4, 1892, the father struck with an ax 10 or 11 times and the stepmother struck 17. Lizzie, age 32 at the time, was the prime suspect, as she was one of the only people home at the time of the murders. She was arrested and tried but was eventually acquitted, since there was a lack of hard evidence. No one else was ever charged with the murders.

Read about it in the newspaper:

D.B Cooper

On November 24, 1971, an airplane passenger going by the pseudonym Dan Cooper hijacked a plane flying between Portland and Seattle. Using a bomb as a threat, Cooper requested that he be given $200,000 in cash and 4 parachutes. When the plane landed in Seattle, Cooper was granted his requests, and per his orders, the plane took off once again, headed toward Mexico City via Reno, Nevada. However, somewhere between Seattle and Reno, Cooper jumped out of the plane, likely in southern Washington. Despite a massive search operation, Cooper was never found, and the true identity of Cooper, as well as what happened to him, remains unsolved to this day.

Read about it in the newspaper:

The Black Dahlia

On January 15, 1947, 22-year-old waitress and aspiring actress Elizabeth Short was found brutally murdered in Los Angeles. Most notably, her upper body had been completely severed from her lower half, and her body had been drained of blood. The gruesome nature of her death made it a media sensation, and Short became known in the press as the Black Dahlia. Despite a plethora of suspects and false confessions, no one was ever tried for her murder, and it is still unsolved today.

Read about it in the newspaper:

Learn more about these and other unsolved mysteries on Newspapers.com!

Soviet Union Launches Sputnik: October 4, 1957

Soviet Union Launches Sputnik: October 4, 1957

October 4 marks 60 years since the Soviet Union launched Sputnik— the first manmade satellite—into orbit in 1957, one of the instigating events of the Cold War Space Race and one that ignited fears in the United States regarding perceived Soviet superiority.

Sputnik headline
In 1955, the United States—and a few days later the Soviet Union—announced that it would launch an artificial satellite during 1957, the International Geophysical Year, which was set aside as a time to focus on scientific research. Though the United States had the missile technology to launch a satellite, the Soviet Union beat them to it, launching Sputnik—a 2-foot sphere carrying a radio transmitter—on October 4 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, in what is today Kazakhstan. The satellite’s radio signals, heard as a series of beeps, could be picked up by amateur radio operators around the world as Sputnik orbited the earth.

Then, a month later, on November 3, before the United States could launch its own satellite, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 2, which carried a dog into space. The U.S. finally announced its own satellite, to be carried by the Navy’s Vanguard rocket, but the actual launch on December 6 ended in failure. It wasn’t until January 31, 1958, that the United States successfully launched a satellite known as the Explorer 1, using a Juno I rocket based on a pre-existing Army-designed missile.

The Soviet launch of Sputnik months before America launched its own satellite sparked what became known as the “Sputnik crisis,” as the American public grew worried that the launch of Sputnik indicated a Soviet technological and scientific superiority. Anxiety also grew over national security, as the Soviet satellite launch seemed to confirm a “missile gap” between the two nations, with the Soviets appearing to come out on top. In response to these fears, President Eisenhower announced the creation of NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), and the U.S. also revamped its education system to emphasize math, science, and engineering.

The Space Race between the U.S. and Soviet Union peaked in 1969 with the United States’ moon landing, though it would continue with varying intensity until the USSR’s dissolution in 1991.

Do you have any stories about Sputnik? Share them with us! Or find more newspaper stories about the event by searching Newspapers.com.

The Albuquerque Journal

Ever wonder what life was like in old New Mexico? Or do you have ancestors from that area? Check out the Albuquerque Journal on Newspapers.com, with issues dating back to 1882.

Sample Albuquerque Journal front pageThe Albuquerque Journal’s history began in 1880, when the death of the publisher of a paper called the Golden Gate left Albuquerque without a daily paper, creating an opening for the launch of an evening paper called the Albuquerque Daily Journal. The paper (renamed the Albuquerque Morning Journal) became a morning daily in 1882, and it is actually from this date, rather than 1880, that the paper calculated its centennial celebrations held in 1982.

In 1887, the Morning Journal was absorbed by the Albuquerque Daily Democrat, but in 1899 the combined paper was renamed the Albuquerque Journal-Democrat. It claimed to be the only New Mexico paper at the time that published the full afternoon and night Associated Press dispatches. In 1903, the name changed once again—this time reverting to the title of Albuquerque Morning Journal. It was a self-proclaimed Republican paper, though it would later shed its party affiliation and become politically independent. The paper finally landed on the title it has today—the Albuquerque Journal—in 1926, the same year it merged with the Evening Herald.

In 1933, then-publisher of the Albuquerque Journal Thomas Pepperday changed the newspaper industry when he created the nation’s first joint operating agreement by combining the business operations of two papers (the Journal and the Albuquerque Tribune) but keeping their editorial staff separate. Other cities later followed suit and adopted this model, sometimes called the “Albuquerque Plan,” which allows cities to support two daily papers when they otherwise could only support one.

Throughout its history, the Albuquerque Journal has covered local, state, national, and international news. Today, it is New Mexico’s oldest and largest paper, with circulation throughout the state, as well as into parts of Texas, Colorado, and Arizona.

Get started searching or browsing the Albuquerque Journal on Newspapers.com!

* With a Newspapers.com Basic subscription, you can view issues of the Journal from 1882 to 1977; or, with a Publisher Extra subscription, access those early years as well as issues between 1978 and 2017.

Death of President Garfield: September 19, 1881

Death of President Garfield: September 19, 1881

On the night of September 19, 1881, President James A. Garfield died in New Jersey, largely due to infection that set in after he was shot in the back by an assassin more than two months prior.

Headlines announcing President Garfield was shotA former Civil War general and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Garfield wasn’t even one of the candidates for nominee when he attended the 1880 Republican presidential convention. Instead, there were initially three other contenders: former president Ulysses S. Grant, Senator James G. Blaine, and Treasury Secretary John Sherman. However, due to fierce divisions within the party, Republicans were unable to come to consensus on a nominee.

Finally, after more than 30 ballots without a winner, Garfield’s name was suggested. Garfield was acceptable to all the various factions within the Republican Party and quickly won the nomination. In the general election later that year, he beat the Democratic nominee by a comfortable margin in the Electoral College, though his popular vote win was much more narrow.

Garfield took office as president in March 1881, but he did not have time to accomplish much. On July 2, just four months after his inauguration, Garfield was at a train station in Washington DC, when he was shot in the arm and back from close range by Charles A. Guiteau. Guiteau—who believed that it was God’s will that he kill Garfield to save the Republican Party—was apprehended at the scene and willingly admitted to shooting the president. He would be executed a year later.

The wounded Garfield was taken to the White House, where over the next two months he got worse and worse as he developed a serious infection in his back wound, likely due to the unsanitary treatment of his wound by his doctors. The public closely followed newspaper reports of his health, though Garfield’s doctors sugarcoated their accounts of his condition.

Finally, in September, Garfield was moved to New Jersey in hopes that the seaside air would improve his health. But the infection was too severe, and on the night of September 19, Garfield passed away in great pain at the age of 49. He was succeeded by his vice president, Chester A. Arthur, and would go down in history as the president with the second-shortest time in office (following William Henry Harrison, who served just 31 days).

Learn more about the shooting of President Garfield on Newspapers.com.

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.