Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

News, Finds, Tips of the Month

What do Chef Brockett, Mr. McFeely, King Friday and Daniel Striped Tiger have in common? If you’re humming “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” then put on your sneakers, zip up your cardigan, and let’s take a magical trolley ride down memory lane.


Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood first aired February 19, 1968, on black-and-white television screens. At that time, nobody could have predicted that the show would continue on for 33 seasons and nearly 1,000 episodes. Fred Rogers, with his kind and soft-spoken voice, won the hearts of children and their parents. He embraced “make believe” with his puppets and explored things that might seem strange or threatening to a child, like a visit to the doctor or physical handicaps. He promoted values and wanted children to feel safe. Early on in his career, Rogers told The Decatur Daily Review, “We are trying to build the imagination of the child. There is no real work or sport for preschoolers. Their sport and their work is their imaginative play,” Rogers said.

Rogers saw his first television in 1951 during his senior year of college. He immediately recognized that TV could be a powerful educational tool for children. In 1953, Rogers developed his first show, The Children’s Corner, for WQED Pittsburgh. He was the puppeteer, composer, and organist. The success of The Children’s Corner later led to the creation of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. As the show prepared to wrap its final season, Rogers gave an interview to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pointing to a framed quote on the wall that read “Life Is For Service,” Rogers said it was based on a favorite sign from Rollins College, his alma mater. “I’ve never tried to make a decision that had to do with selfishness. I think we certainly have done the kind of work I have wanted to do for children and one of the avenues has been the Neighborhood,” he said.

Rogers passed away on February 27, 2003, of stomach cancer, but his legacy continues. A documentary film commemorating the life of Rogers called Won’t You Be My Neighbor premiered in select theaters on June 8. You can find many more newspaper articles about Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood in our archives. Do you have any memories of Mr. Rogers? Share them with us!

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Robert F. Kennedy Fatally Shot: June 5, 1968

Robert F. Kennedy Fatally Shot: June 5, 1968

Fifty years ago this month, Robert F. “Bobby” Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles moments after stepping off the stage where he claimed victory in the California presidential primary election. Kennedy died the next day. The gunman was 22-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan who later confessed to the crime.

Senate pays tribute to Robert F. Kennedy
The news stunned the world. Senators paid tribute to Kennedy, and religious leaders exclaimed, “Something’s wrong with us!” When word of the shooting made its way to Vietnam, one American soldier responded saying, “What the hell is going on back there?”

Kennedy campaigned aggressively in California, crisscrossing the state. He won with a narrow victory. The mood was celebratory the night of June 5, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel. Kennedy addressed the crowd shortly after midnight and exited the ballroom through a kitchen. Sirhan rushed towards him in a narrow corridor and shot him at close range.

The gun was wrestled away as Sirhan continued firing resulting in five others being wounded including William Weisel, Paul Schrade, Elizabeth Evans, Ira Goldstein, and Irwin Stroll. The cheers and applause heard seconds before quickly turned to screams and panic when the shots rang out.

Kennedy was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital where doctors performed surgery but were unable to save him. At the time of Kennedy’s assassination, presidential candidates did not have Secret Service security. His death stirred Congress to pass a law providing that protection for future candidates.

Kennedy’s death came just five years after that of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. Robert Kennedy’s body was flown to New York, where he lay in repose at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral before burial. The nation mourned with Kennedy’s widow Ethel and his 10 young children. An eleventh child was born after Kennedy’s death.

In 2016, Sirhan was denied parole for the 15th time and remains in prison today. What do you remember about the day Robert F. Kennedy was shot? You can search our archives to find more articles on his life and death. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for trending news and updates!

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Northwest Indiana Times

Hoosier Momma? If you’re looking to fill in blanks in your family tree from the Hoosier state, or have an interest in history from Northwest Indiana, then you’ll be delighted to know we’ve added the Northwest Indiana Times to our growing archives. Issues on Newspapers.com date back to 1906.


The Times started out as The Hammond Daily Tribune in 1883. George Hammond, the town’s namesake, was a butcher who patented refrigerated rail cars. He was looking to expand beyond Chicago for the stockyard industry. Available land, the abundance of ice on Lake Michigan, and refrigerated rail cars provided the perfect place to purchase land and open a large slaughterhouse. Many of the area’s early settlers were immigrants from Germany. Hammond hired them for their skills as butchers and sausage-makers. However, because they couldn’t read English, newspaper circulation was stagnant.

That changed in 1906 when Sidmon McHie, a wealthy Chicago grain and stock broker, purchased the struggling Hammond Daily Tribune with the intent to market the paper beyond the city of Hammond. He changed the name to The Lake County Times. Circulation increased dramatically. McHie and his wife Isabel lived a colorful life that mirrored his headlines. Social issues of the day such as the Jazz Age, flappers and divorce were covered by the paper.

The McHies became front page news themselves when Isabel was caught throwing $10,000 from a moving train. She attempted to throw away another $173,000 before police stopped her. The McHies’ eventually divorced.

The Lake County Times regularly published society pages that included news from surrounding towns like St. John, Lowell, Merrillville and others. These pages are a valuable research tool and give a glimpse into everyday life for Lake County’s early citizens. This issue dated April 8, 1922 is an example.

After the death of McHie, his nephew James S. DeLaurier took over. He sought to widen the audience and dropped Hammond from the paper’s name. In 1962, the McHie family sold the paper to Robert S. Howard. Offices were moved to Munster in 1989 and the masthead was simplified to read The Times. In 2002 Lee Enterprises purchased The Times. It is one of the largest newspapers in the state.

You can access issues of The Times through 1922 with a basic subscription; issues between 1923-2018 are copyrighted and accessible with Publisher Extra! Search our archives for The Times here.

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Remembering 10 Classic Cars through Newspaper Ads

News, Finds, Tips of the Month

Any car buffs out there? If cars are your passion, newspapers are a great place to learn more about your hobby. You can find ads from a car’s first appearance and learn things like what the original price was, what the first selling points were, what unique features it had, and how car dealers, car experts, and the general public reacted to the car when it was first sold.

We’ve gathered newspaper ads from 10 famous classic cars. Take a look and let us know if you learned anything new

  1. 1908 Ford Model T adFord Model T. As the first car that was affordable for middle-class Americans, the Model T was a big hit as soon as it rolled off the assembly line in the fall of 1908.
  2. ’32 Ford Coupe. This car became a popular hotrod in the 1940s and inspired the 1963 Beach Boys song “Little Deuce Coupe.”
  3. '55 Ford Thunderbird  ad’55 Ford Thunderbird. The first of the Thunderbirds, the successful ’55 model emphasized comfort and convenience. The later ’58 Thunderbird was so popular it created a whole new market segment: the “personal luxury car.”
  4. ’57 Chevrolet Corvette. Corvettes are one of the most iconic sports cars, and the ’57 model touted a bigger V-8 engine, 4-speed manual transmission, and other performance-oriented options.
  5. ’59 Cadillac. First introduced in the 1948 model, tailfins hit their peak in the ’59 Cadillac.
  6. '69 Chevy Camaro adTriumph Spitfire 4. First sold in late 1962, the small, relatively inexpensive Spitfire was the quintessential British two-seat convertible sportscar.
  7. ’69 Dodge Charger. The ’69 Dodge Charger was immortalized in the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard by the bright orange General Lee.
  8. ’69 Chevrolet Camaro. A classic muscle car, the ’69 Camaro had a sportier, more aggressive appearance than earlier models.
  9. '77 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am ad’69 Ford Boss 302 Mustang. A variant of the ever-popular Mustang, the Boss 302 Mustang emphasized performance (rather than power) and competed with the Chevy Camaro.
  10. ’77 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Another car made famous on screen, the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was featured in Smokey and the Bandit.

Find more classic car ads by searching for the year, make, and model on Newspapers.com!

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Haymarket Riot: May 4, 1886

Haymarket Riot: May 4, 1886

On May 4, 1886, a bomb was detonated during a peaceful labor demonstration in Chicago’s Haymarket Square. The bomb and ensuing violence left seven policemen and a number of civilians dead and many others wounded.

Headline about the Haymarket Riot
The day before the incident at Haymarket Square, two striking workers had been killed at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company during an altercation with police. The following day, thousands of people gathered in Haymarket Square to protest the police violence and to listen to a number of labor leaders speak in support of better working conditions.

The gathering was peaceful and, due to poor weather, eventually dwindled to about three hundred people. When 180 policemen were dispatched to disperse the crowd, someone threw a bomb at the police. The police (as well as some in the crowd) responded by opening fire, and when things finally calmed down, one policeman and at least four civilians had been killed (six other policemen would later die of their injuries); numerous other policemen and bystanders were wounded.

Although the person who threw the bomb was never identified, eight labor activists were arrested and put on trial. Seven received death sentences, and the other was given 15 years in prison. Of the seven who were sentenced to death, four of them were hanged in 1887, one committed suicide, and two had their sentences commuted to life in prison. In 1893, the surviving three were pardoned by the governor based on the unfairness of the original trial.

Public opinion immediately following the Haymarket Riot generally landed on the side of the police. Because the eight defendants (and others involved with the labor movement) were immigrants and socialists or anarchists, the public increasingly saw the labor movement as a hotbed of foreign-born radicals. Anti-anarchist hysteria grew, spurred by the exaggerated accounts of many newspapers. However, for those within the labor movement, the Haymarket Riot came to represent the struggle for workers’ rights, and the event inspired many future labor activists.

Do you have any family stories about the Haymarket Riot or the labor movement? Share them with us! Or learn more about the event by searching Newspapers.com.

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Austin American-Statesman

Do you have ancestors from central Texas, particularly the Austin area? Or are you interested in newspapers from that region? Then come explore the Austin American-Statesman on Newspapers.com! Newspapers.com has issues dating back to 1871, the year the paper was first published. We also have issues of two related papers: the Austin American and the Austin Weekly Statesman.

The Austin American-Statesman got its start in 1871 as the Democratic Statesman, which was published thrice weekly. That same year, a once-weekly version of the paper, the Weekly Democratic Statesman, also began publishing (and would continue to publish under various titles until 1906).

In 1915, the Statesman (which by then had become a daily) combined with the Austin Tribune. Then in 1924, it was merged into a company with a paper called the Austin American, which had been around since 1914. However, the two papers continued to publish separately (except for a joint Sunday edition) until 1973, when they were combined to form the Austin American-Statesman. Today, the Austin American-Statesman is the main paper in Austin and central Texas.

Austin has long been a cultural, educational, and political hub, and this focus has been reflected in the American-Statesman’s content over the years. The paper has also traditionally had strong local and regional coverage, making it a valuable resource for learning about interesting and important events in Austin’s past. For example, you can read about the unsolved serial murders committed between 1884 and 1885 by a perpetrator dubbed the “Servant Girl Annihilator.” Or read about a dam collapse in 1900 that resulted in the deaths of 18 people.

The American-Statesman’s strong local coverage also makes it a great resource for genealogical research. Read about your ancestors’ births, marriages, and deaths, as well as stories from their daily lives, such as this piece from an 1883 issue about a local boy who narrowly avoided being killed by runaway horses.

Get started searching or browsing the Austin American-Statesman on Newspapers.com! With a Basic subscription, you can access issues up through 1922; or with Publisher Extra, access those early years plus issues from 1923 and beyond.

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7 Common Historical Newspaper Abbreviations
and Terms

Tips, Hints and Helps

It feels great to find an ancestor in the newspaper—whether it’s in an obituary, marriage announcement, or other type of notice. But sometimes historical newspapers used abbreviations and terms that are no longer common, leaving some of us scratching our heads.

To help you get the most out of historical newspapers, we’ve come up with a list of some of the most common abbreviations and terms:

  1. Death notices describing many of the women as relictsRelict – This term is used to describe a surviving spouse, often a widow. It comes from the Latin term “relictus,” meaning “relinquished” or “left behind.”
  2. Née – This term is French and means “born.” It is used to indicate a woman’s maiden name.
  3. Instant (Inst.) – This is used to refer to the current month. For example, a newspaper article published in December that says “12th inst.” means December 12th.
  4. Proximo (Prox.) – Essentially meaning “next,” this is used in newspapers to indicate the upcoming month. So “12th prox.” in a December newspaper would mean January 12th.
  5. Ultimo (Ult.) – This refers to the previous month. A December newspaper that says “12th ult.” is referring to November 12th.
  6. Old style/New style (O.S./N.S.) – These terms refer to dates that are either prior to approximately 1752 (“old style”) or after about 1752 (“new style”). This is because in 1752, Britain (including its American colonies) adopted the Gregorian calendar, which resulted in skipping 11 days that year. To make matters even more complicated, the first of the year was moved from March to January. So to remove confusion, newspapers around the time of the change included “O.S” or “N.S” to indicate which system was being used for the dates they provided.
  7. Example of name abbreviations being usedName abbreviations – Name abbreviations are common in old newspapers. Some abbreviations are merely the first few letters of the name followed by a period, while others are contractions (the first part of the name plus the final letter). Some abbreviations are derived from the name’s Latin equivalent, which makes them a bit trickier to decipher. Below are the most common name abbreviations:
    • Chas – Charles
    • Wm – William
    • Geo. – George
    • Jno – John
    • Jas – James
    • Thos – Thomas

We hope you found the explanation of these terms and abbreviations useful! Get started searching or browsing historical (and modern!) papers on Newspapers.com.

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Major Earthquake Strikes San Francisco: April 18, 1906



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<p>On April 18, 1906, at 5:12 a.m., <a href=San Francisco and the surrounding area was struck by a destructive 7.8-magnitude earthquake,
whose epicenter lay just 2 miles west of the city. The earthquake was quickly followed by massive fires that, over the course of three days, burned a large
portion of the city. Three thousand people would be killed, and half of San Francisco’s population would become refugees.

Images of San Francisco before the 1906 earthquake and firesWhen
the earthquake struck not long after 5 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18, most people were still in bed. A brief initial shock was followed by the main quake,
which lasted 45 to 60 seconds. In that minute, buildings throughout the city crumbled or sank into the ground, roads cracked, water and gas mains broke,
and thousands of people were killed, trapped, or injured.

It wasn’t just San Francisco that was affected; nearby cities such as Santa Rosa and San Jose were equally decimated by the earthquake, and tremors were felt as far north as Oregon and as far south as Los Angeles. A strong aftershock around 8 a.m. sent further buildings toppling.

The destruction caused by the earthquake was devastating enough, but within half an hour more than 50 fires had been reported in San Francisco. Despite the response of local firemen, some of the fires grew into massive conflagrations that burned through well-known neighborhoods, including the city’s downtown,
Chinatown, and Nob Hill. By the time the fires were finally put out on Saturday, 4.7 square miles, 500 city blocks, and 28,000 buildings had burned.

As a result of the earthquake and fires, more than 200,000 San Franciscans (out of a population of 400,000) became homeless. Initially, many camped in
parks or other open spaces, but soon many fled the city altogether—some
temporarily, others permanently. Organized relief efforts distributed food, water, and shelter to the refugees, and millions of dollars in aid and donations were given to the city.

The clean-up from the disaster would take two years, and rebuilding the city would take even longer. By 1915 San Francisco had recovered enough to host
the Panama—Pacific International Exposition. In some respects, however, the city never fully recovered from the earthquake: before the disaster, San
Francisco had been the leading city on the West Coast, but following it, Los Angeles took its place.

Do you have family members who lived through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires? Tell us about them! Or learn more about the disaster on
Newspapers.com.

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Quad-City Times

If you have ancestors from southeastern Iowa or northwestern Illinois—or if you’re interested in the history of these two regions—come explore the Quad-City Times on Newspapers.com.

Newspapers.com also has a host of papers from the Quad-City Times family tree, including the Daily Leader, the Davenport Weekly Leader, the Davenport Weekly Democrat and Leader, Weekly Davenport Democrat, the Democrat and Times, the Daily Times, the Davenport Weekly Gazette, and the Democratic Banner. Some of these papers go all the way back to the 1850s, giving you more than 160 years of Iowa and Illinois history!

The Quad-City Times has existed under that name since 1975, but it was previously called the Times-Democrat because in 1964 the paper was formed by the merger of two papers: the Daily Times and the Morning Democrat (found on Newspapers.com under the Quad-City Times). The Daily Times‘ history was fairly straightforward, starting out as the Blue Ribbon News in 1878, before becoming the Northwestern News in 1879 and then finally the Davenport Daily Times in 1886.

The Morning Democrat, in contrast, had more than two dozen titles in its family tree, starting with a paper called the Democratic Banner, founded in 1848. The various papers competed, merged, and changed names over a 100-year period, until the Morning Democrat emerged as the sole surviving paper out of the bunch (at least until the Morning Democrat’s own merger with the Daily Times in 1964).

As its name implies, the Quad-City Times serves the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois (Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline), as well as the surrounding counties. The Quad-City Times, along with the earlier papers it grew out of, has documented more than a century and a half of goings on in the region. From big events (like the 1901 fire that burned 8 blocks of Davenport) to smaller occasions (like weddings and school excursions), these newspapers were there to capture local happenings, making the papers a great resource for finding stories about your ancestors or learning more about area history.

Get started searching or browsing the Quad-City Times on Newspapers.com!

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Find: Bigfoot Sightings in History

News, Finds, Tips of the Month

Frame from famous 1967 Bigfoot filmIf you think reports of Bigfoot sightings are relatively recent phenomenon, guess again. Accounts of creatures similar to Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, have been showing up in American newspapers for at least 200 years!

Take a look at these newspaper stories from the distant (and not-so-distant) past and decide for yourself whether you think Bigfoot is real!

  • Long-Island Star, 1818: “He is described as bending forward when running, hairy—and the heel of the foot narrow, spreading at the toes.”
  • Weekly Arkansas Gazette, 1851: “They were followed by an animal bearing the unmistakable likeness of humanity. He was of gigantic stature, the body being covered with hair.”
  • Southern Shield, 1852: “He is described by them as being about 7 feet 2 inches high, and covered completely with black hair, interspersed now and then with gray.”
  • Cincinnati Enquirer, 1895: “She was suddenly confronted by a naked giant, who sprang into the road in front of her horse, making savages gestures and yelling.”
  • Boston Post, 1895: [https://www.newspapers.com/clip/17486340/wild_man_account_1895/] “…that this being had a hirsute growth on its face […]; that it uttered a loud howl or yell, and with amazing swiftness leaped into the recesses of the forest.”
  • Florida Today, 1979: “…[saw] over 1,000 footprints ascribed to a crippled Bigfoot.”
  • Town Talk, 1995: “He saw three of the creatures staring back [at] him. The creatures appeared to be large stumps, but Bryant could discern heads and shoulders.”
  • Daily Record, 2012: “He looked like a human being with an ape head and had jet-black hair all over him.”
  • Detroit Free Press, 2016: “[The creature was] standing on two legs and looking back at him from the woods with glowing eyes. […] And it just casually turned to the left, walked into the woods and it met up with […] three others.”

And don’t miss these images!

  • Image of a frame from the famous 1967 Bigfoot film (from the Press and Sun-Bulletin, 1999), as well as a description of the creature in the film (from the Star Press, 1967)
  • Photo of casts of Bigfoot footprints (Decatur Herald, 1967)
  • Another photo of a Bigfoot footprint cast (Great Falls Tribune, 1967)
  • A map of 50 years of Bigfoot sightings in New Jersey (Daily Record, 2012)

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).

Got any Bigfoot stories? Share them with us! Or find more articles about Bigfoot sightings on Newspapers.com.

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