The Leap Year Privilege

It’s 2020, which means another Leap Year is upon us once again! For an event that only shows up once every four(ish) years, traditions associated with it are fairly scattered and inconsistent. But if any one tradition is firmly tied to Leap Year, it’s that of women proposing.

Here’s some history on how that might have come to be.

Up To The GirlsUp To The Girls Sat, Jan 2, 1904 – 2 · The Topeka Daily Herald (Topeka, Kansas) · Newspapers.com

St. Bridget’s Request

Legend says that St. Bridget, back in the 5th century, had some thoughts on proposals that led to the tradition as we know it today. The clipping below shares one version of what happened.

One version of the St. Patrick and St. Bridget origin of Leap Year proposalsOne version of the St. Patrick and St. Bridget origin of Leap Year proposals Mon, Feb 27, 1928 – 4 · Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida) · Newspapers.com

What’s a single young man to do if he must say no to a proposal? Give the young lady an apology gift, of course. The payment of a silk dress is a common recurring part of the proposal tradition.

Queen Margaret

The idea of a payment for spurned proposals is reinforced in this next part of Leap Year lore. As the story goes, in the year 1288, Queen Margaret of Scotland made it law that a man who dared turn down a perfectly good proposal without proof that he was already otherwise spoken for must pay—quite literally.

Queen Margaret's 1288 law, according to legendQueen Margaret’s 1288 law, according to legend Sat, Dec 30, 1967 – 15 · Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) · Newspapers.com

Yet, despite the very specific year of 1288 and decades of dedicated historian research, no such law has ever been proven to exist. Not only that, but the actual Queen Margaret on whom this legend is based was born in 1283, making her 5 years old at the time of the law. So this bit of Leap Year history is almost certainly nothing more than a fun bit of mythical trivia.

The Scarlet Petticoat

Perhaps as a reaction to all of these rules for the proposee, a more recent bit of lore adds a restriction for the ladies. Sure, a man must still pay for refusing, but the whole transaction could be nullified for the lack of a bright red petticoat.

Absence of a red petticoat cleared a man of paying a leap day proposal fineAbsence of a red petticoat cleared a man of paying a leap day proposal fine Thu, Jan 14, 1960 – 1 · The Brockway Record (Brockway, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Leap Year Critics

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this tradition based on open season-style female proposals has often been derided in articles, cartoons, post cards and more over the decades. Men were considered, generally, to not be fans of the whole idea. Cartoonist Al Capp even played off the whole idea in his comic Li’l Abner, leading to the creation of Sadie Hawkins Day.

Many women looked down on it as well, thinking it made girls unbecomingly bold to the point of being embarrassing for all involved.

Some find Leap Years Some find Leap Years “Make a Girl Bolder Than Is Becoming” Mon, Mar 21, 1904 – 5 · Buffalo Courier (Buffalo, New York) · Newspapers.com

Now, as gender roles shift and progress, the idea of the “Leap Year Girl” doing things she could never otherwise do is fading into the past. Who knows but that the tradition will continue to change with it?

Find more clippings about Leap Year and the “Ladies’ Privilege” with a search on Newspapers.com. And follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more historical content!

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How Victorian “Bachelor Girls” Revolutionized America’s View of Single Women

Members of a 1900 Kansas Bachelor Girls ClubMembers of a 1900 Kansas Bachelor Girls Club Tue, Aug 7, 1900 – 8 · The Sterling Kansas Bulletin (Sterling, Kansas) · Newspapers.com


If you were a single woman living 100 years ago, would you rather have been called an “old maid” or a “bachelor girl”?

Growing Opportunities for Women

In the late 19th century, a cultural shift was taking place among young American women. Empowered by growing educational and career opportunities, women increasingly saw marriage as one option rather than the only option for their futures.

They more and more often attended college instead of marrying immediately, creating a growing force of university-educated women seeking careers—not just “jobs”—in fields that had previously been unavailable to them. Though their opportunities were still far more limited than men’s, women began to work as stenographers, typists, secretaries, department store workers, academics, doctors, nurses, writers, artists, journalists, and more.

Professions of New York bachelor girls, 1894Professions of New York bachelor girls, 1894 Sun, Jan 7, 1894 – 13 · The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.com


And not only did these single women go to universities and support themselves financially, they also often lived in towns and cities away from the family home. Depending on their circumstances, some lived in homes of their own, while others lived with roommates or in boarding houses specifically for women.

No More “Old Maids”

This shift started to change the way people thought about single women. For most of American history, single women had been seen as “old maids” or “spinsters,” pitiable women who lived off the kindness and condescension of their family members.

But the changing prospects for women in the late 19th century created the more modern “bachelor girl”—independent, educated, cultured, and fashionable. As it slowly became less shameful for a woman to be single past a “marriable age,” some women even publicly celebrated their single status by joining “bachelor girls clubs.”

No more old maids, 1890No more old maids, 1890 Sun, Oct 12, 1890 – 10 · The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) · Newspapers.com


Even the name “bachelor girl” indicated their growing independence, as did other terms in use like “bachelor woman” and “bachelor maid.” Use of the term “bachelor”—a term typically used for men—reflected the perception that this new generation of single women had some of the freedom previously enjoyed only by their male counterparts.

Not a One-Size-Fits-All

Of course, there was no one-size-fits-all “bachelor girl.” Not every unmarried woman was single because she wanted to be. And while some women declined marriage altogether, others were simply delaying it by a few years. Additionally, some of those the world saw as “bachelor girls” were likely privately in committed relationships—just with other women, rather than men.

Bachelor girl photo, 1902Bachelor girl photo, 1902 Sun, Nov 2, 1902 – 6 · The Buffalo Times (Buffalo, New York) · Newspapers.com


Plus, the “bachelor girl” lifestyle of the time was largely (though not exclusively) a privilege of middle- or upper-class white women. Those of other socio-economic classes and ethnicities did not always have the same opportunities as their wealthier and whiter counterparts.

Society’s View

Still, there was a fascination in American society with the lives of these independent single women. Throughout the late 19th century and early 20th, there were numerous newspaper features and columns about the “bachelor girl.” While some of this newspaper coverage gave a realistic view of the lives of these women, far more painted what was surely an overly glamorous and stereotyped picture of their lifestyle.

1903 feature article about the bachelor girl lifestyle1903 feature article about the bachelor girl lifestyle Sun, Aug 30, 1903 – Page 42 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com


But while it may have entertained Americans to read about bachelor girls in the newspaper, many in wider society did not support this new lifestyle for unmarried women. Most people still subscribed to the traditional view that a woman’s place was in the home. They rejected the idea that a woman could find lasting meaning in a career, arguing that her only “real” fulfillment could come from being a wife and mother. Bachelor girls challenged the existing social conventions too much to receive immediate widespread acceptance.

Anti-bachelor girl opinion from 1902Anti-bachelor girl opinion from 1902 Fri, May 2, 1902 – Page 10 · The Commoner (Lincoln, Nebraska) · Newspapers.com


A Modern Perspective

Though the idea of the “bachelor girl” took off around the 1880s, it was most popular in newspapers from about 1900 through the end of World War I. But it remained prevalent in various iterations in the papers until around the 1960s, when progress in the women’s rights movement made it less novel for women to support themselves and live independently.

Today, the idea of the “bachelor girl” may seem antiquated and quaint, given the strides women have made in the century since. But they were quite revolutionary in their time, making it fascinating to look back on newspaper clippings about their efforts to gain more educational, financial, and social independence for women.  

Sun, Jun 28, 1896 – Page 13 · San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California) · Newspapers.com


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Weather Predictions: Not Just for Groundhogs

Groundhog Day 2020 is just around the corner (on February 2nd, for those curious). With it comes the usual hullabaloo surrounding the noble groundhog and his mystical weather predictions. But while groundhogs are firmly established as the main prognosticators in U.S. culture, they are fairly new to the centuries-old prediction game.

Gus Ground Hog, Weather ProphetGus Ground Hog, Weather Prophet Tue, Feb 2, 1937 – 2 · () · Newspapers.com

Before Groundhogs, there were…

BADGERS OF YORE

Badgers to GroundhogsBadgers to Groundhogs Thu, Feb 12, 1931 – Page 8 · The Evening Standard (Uniontown, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Groundhogs only have their current job thanks to their predecessors: badgers. It was only because groundhogs were more easily found in the United States that the groundhog entered the shadow-seeing spotlight.

BEARS OF ALL SORTS

Bears have also had their fair share of predicting the weather. How that worked, exactly, is unclear. It seems unlikely that crowds of people were standing around waiting for a bear to emerge as is done with the groundhog today.

Bear as weather prognosticatorBear as weather prognosticator Fri, Feb 2, 1923 – 2 · The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) · Newspapers.com

This next clipping takes an entirely different direction. Shadows are cast aside in favor of a furrier approach. Unfortunately for Snow Star, the prognosticating zoo bear, her thin winter coat gave an unreliable prediction.

Prognosticating Bear may be fired for inaccurate weather forecastPrognosticating Bear may be fired for inaccurate weather forecast Thu, Jan 16, 1964 – 3 · The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) · Newspapers.com

The Woolly Bear—a much different kind of bear—had its day in the sun when scientists looked to the caterpillars’ coloring for answers.

The Woolly Bear weather predictorsThe Woolly Bear weather predictors Tue, Oct 11, 1983 – 34 · Lancaster New Era (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

SAME DOUBTS AS GROUNDHOGS

Science-based or not, the thickness and color of an animal’s (or insect’s) fur is about as convincing for some as the sight of a groundhog’s shadow.

Animals Animals “predicting” weather with winter coats Sun, Dec 24, 1916 – 62 · The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · Newspapers.com

Whether you stand by the predictions of shadows and fur, or find it all a “fairy story” like the zoo head quoted above, the prediction tradition still holds strong.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Find more on the traditions of Groundhog Day and the history of animal prognosticators with a search on Newspapers.com.

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The 100 Year-Old Plan to Light a Sunless Town

For almost half of every year, Norway’s valley town of Rjukan sees no direct sunlight. Cable cars to the mountaintop allow residents to seek out sun in high places, but in 2013 the town found a way to bring the sun to them.

Rjukan residents play in the mirrored sun, Norway 2013Rjukan residents play in the mirrored sun, Norway 2013 Thu, Oct 31, 2013 – A11 · The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Sam Eyde

Though this project was completed in 2013, it actually began over a century ago with a man named Sam Eyde. Eyde’s name is very familiar to those living in Rjukan; his work using the Rjukan falls for hydropower and the development of saltpeter led to the creation of Rjukan as an industrial town between 1906 and 1916.

Sam Eyde, saltpeter, the Rjukan waterfall, and the development of RjukanSam Eyde, saltpeter, the Rjukan waterfall, and the development of Rjukan Thu, Sep 18, 1913 – 3 · Jamestown Weekly Alert (Jamestown, North Dakota) · Newspapers.com
Huge water wheel like the ones used at Rjukan circa 1912Huge water wheel like the ones used at Rjukan circa 1912 Sun, Oct 13, 1912 – Page 1 · The Washington Post (Washington, District of Columbia) · Newspapers.com


Seeking Sunlight

It wasn’t long before Eyde realized that the people had given up half a year of sunlight to work at Norsk Hydro. From necessity came this new and incredible plan: bring the sunlight to the people with giant mountaintop mirrors. Eyde supported early efforts to make this plan a reality, but nothing stuck.

Early efforts by Sam Eyde to reflect sunlight into RjukanEarly efforts by Sam Eyde to reflect sunlight into Rjukan Wed, Mar 2, 1955 – 15 · Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) · Newspapers.com

In 1928, Eyde decided that if the sun wouldn’t come to the valley, he could bring the people of Rjukan to the sun. He had a cable car built. It gave access to magnificent views of the valley, and still does to this day. And at the time it was the residents’ only way to feel the sun on their faces during the long winter.

A Plan Realized

In the end, the cable car remained the sole method of getting some much-needed vitamin D for decades. But the mirror plan was not forgotten. Funding, tech, and time finally lined up to make it possible in the 21st century. And while some residents think it’s a bit silly—a tourist attraction more than anything else—the town square was filled with people ready to feel the sun’s rays at the official opening in late 2013.

Mirrors in RjukanMirrors in Rjukan Thu, Oct 31, 2013 – 15 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada) · Newspapers.com
Gathering in Rjukan for the opening of sun-reflecting mirrors, 2013Gathering in Rjukan for the opening of sun-reflecting mirrors, 2013 Thu, Oct 31, 2013 – 15 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada) · Newspapers.com

Find more on the history of Rjukan, Norway, with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Life and Light in the Dead of Winter

From Kwanzaa candles to Christmas’s electric festoons, end-of-year holidays bring light to the northern hemisphere’s darkest months. Light crackling and twinkling merrily against a frozen winter backdrop is a promise of warmth to come, both physically and metaphorically, and humanity has many traditions to celebrate that promise.

Heat the Hearth

The tradition of burning a yule log to celebrate the winter solstice hearkens back to pre-medieval times. The practice cleared the air, so to speak, of the past year, and merry-makers welcomed the return of spring. Like many wintertime traditions, this one was eventually adopted into Christian celebrations. The logs grew smaller to match shrinking fireplaces, and for many the practice of baking log-shaped cakes replaced the original burning tradition.

Royal Christmas Card from Duke and Duchess of York:

Royal Christmas Card from Duke and Duchess of York: “Bringing in the Yule Log” Sun, Oct 31, 1926 – 133 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) · Newspapers.com

Candle Customs

Throughout the festival of Hanukkah, eight candles are lit in memory of a successful rebellion and a miracle of oil.

Hannukiah, Chanukah menorah, presented 1951

Hannukiah, Chanukah menorah, presented 1951 Fri, Mar 23, 1951 – Page 6 · The Times Record (Troy, New York) · Newspapers.com

Kwanzaa sees candles lit as well. Seven candles of red, black, and green, each one a reminder of Kwanzaa’s core principles.

Lightling the Kwanzaa candles, 1975

Lightling the Kwanzaa candles, 1975 Sat, Dec 27, 1975 – Page 7 · The Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) · Newspapers.com

Saint Lucia, a Christian martyr celebrated mostly in Italy and Scandinavian countries, is represented with a crown of candles to light the way and keep her hands free to help those around her.

Saint Lucia and her candle crown

Saint Lucia and her candle crown Thu, Dec 13, 1979 – 53 · The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) · Newspapers.com

Christmas trees were traditionally lit with candles, despite the risk of fire and the fiddly nature of trying to place candles on unstable branches. One legend claims Martin Luther, historic figure of the Protestant Reformation, was the first to so trim a tree.

Lights in the tree like stars in the forest, Martin Luther legend

Lights in the tree like stars in the forest, Martin Luther legend Fri, Dec 23, 1904 – Page 1 · Breathitt County News (Jackson, Kentucky) · Newspapers.com

It’s Electric

In 1882, Christmas went electric when Edward Johnson, VP of the Edison Electric Light Company, displayed a tree in his New York home illuminated with electric lights. President Grover Cleveland’s family Christmas tree shone bright with multicolored bulbs in 1894.

Grover Cleveland's electrically lit Christmas Tree, 1894

Grover Cleveland’s electrically lit Christmas Tree, 1894 Tue, Dec 25, 1894 – 1 · () · Newspapers.com

The bright shine of festive electricity remained out of reach for most until the turn of the century, when slightly more affordable pre-wired string lights made an appearance. General Electric was the first to introduce them in 1903. But when their attempt to patent the invention fell through, the market opened to competitors and prices began to drop.

What yearly traditions bring light to your winter days?

Find more about light-centered traditions like those above with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Christmas Miracle: Mother Reunites with Kidnapped Son Missing 41 Years!

In December 1936, Camilla Warner reunited with her long-lost son 41 years after he was kidnapped and given away for adoption without her consent. She called it a Christmas miracle made possible by generous strangers across the country who were touched by her story.

In 1895, Warner, just 18-years-old, lost her young husband when he died in an accident. Pregnant with their first child, she worried about how she could provide for her son alone. She was also a new immigrant, having arrived from Denmark just two years earlier. Determined to keep her child, Warner got a job as a waitress and made arrangements with a maternity home to care for the baby while she was at work. In exchange, she promised to work for a year to pay her expenses.

One day I saw them taking the baby in the office,” she recalled. “He was the prettiest one in the nursery, and people were always wanting to adopt him. They told me they were just showing him to someone.”

When Warner went to pick up her son after work, they told her he’d been taken away by a man in a shiny carriage. A devastated Warner began searching for him vowing that she would never stop. “Nowadays there are kidnapping laws, but then the law of the six-shooter ruled Nebraska, she said. “I spent all the money I had searching for him.”

Weeks turned to months, then years, and finally decades. Warner never gave up hope. She later remarried and moved to California. In December 1936, she had a vivid dream where her son appeared to her. “He had a son with him. I said, ‘what a fine boy’ and my son kissed me,” she said. Later that day Warner found a letter under her doorstep. It included an advertisement placed by a 41-year-old Nebraska man who was searching for his mother and a note that asked, “Am I your son?” It was from Richard Douglas Foster, the baby she hadn’t seen in 41 years. He too had been searching relentlessly for her.

Anxious to reunite, neither of them had the money to make the trip to meet each other. The story was picked up by papers across the country and Canada, and as word spread, “a score of Santa Clauses made their appearance,” donating a railroad ticket, new clothing, and money to make the reunion possible. Camilla left Los Angeles and her son Richard started driving west from Scottsbluff. The two met in Yoder, Wyoming just before Christmas where they tearfully embraced. “From now on,” Warner said, “I will begin to live.” She lived out the final 13 years of her life with the love of her new-found family before passing away in 1949. Richard died two decades later in 1971. His obituary listed the name of his mother thanks to the reunion made possible by their Christmas miracle that occurred 35 years earlier.

Historic newspapers are full of more touching holiday stories like this one. To read more,

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7 Vintage Cookie Recipes to Make the Holidays Sweeter

Fri, Dec 11, 1925 – 5 · Tulare Advance-Register (Tulare, California) · Newspapers.com


Whether you’re filling your Christmas cookie jar or hosting for Hanukkah, give your holidays a vintage flair with these mouthwatering cookie recipes from our newspaper archives.

Beneath the original newspaper recipes, we’ve written them out in a way that’s a bit easier to follow. Click on any of the images to see the clipping on Newspapers.com.

[Note: In old recipes, a “moderate oven” means 350–375 degrees Fahrenheit.]

Sugar Plum Crispies – from 1949

1949: Sugar Plum Crispies recipes1949: Sugar Plum Crispies recipes Thu, Dec 1, 1949 – 34 · The Knoxville News-Sentinel (Knoxville, Tennessee) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients:

  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup chopped raisins
  • ½ cup chopped nuts

Directions:

  1. Combine shortening, sugar, salt, spices, vanilla, and water and beat thoroughly.
  2. Sift flour and soda together. Add to first mixture with oats, raisins, and nuts, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Drop from tablespoon on greased baking sheets. Stamp dough thin with a glass covered with a damp cloth.
  4. Bake in moderate oven 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from pan at once. Makes 2 ½ dozen.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies – from 1936

1936: Chocolate Peppermint Cookies recipe1936: Chocolate Peppermint Cookies recipe Fri, Dec 18, 1936 – Page 32 · The Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients:

Cookies:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2 squares chocolate, melted
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder

Frosting:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp peppermint flavoring, or ½ cup crushed peppermint stick candy

Directions:

  1. Cream butter with brown sugar. Add sour cream and egg. Beat well. Add melted chocolate.
  2. Sift flour with soda and baking powder, then add to first mixture.
  3. Bake on greased baking sheet for 12 minutes at 325 degrees F.
  4. When frosting will hold its shape, spread on warm cookies.

Hanukkah Dreidel Cookies – from 1958

1958: Hanukkah Dreidel Cookies recipe1958: Hanukkah Dreidel Cookies recipe Thu, Dec 4, 1958 – Page 24 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients:

  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp grated orange rind
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 cup ground Brazil nuts
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp almond extract

Directions:

  1. Cream shortening; gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in egg, orange rind and juice, and nuts.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in almond flavoring. Chill several hours.
  3. Roll out 1/8-inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut into dreidel shape using a paper pattern or cut into desired shapes with 2-inch cookie cutter.
  4. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets at 375 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Snowball Cookies – from 1940

1940: Snowball Cookies recipe1940: Snowball Cookies recipe Thu, Jun 27, 1940 – Page 23 · The St. Louis Star and Times (St. Louis, Missouri) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup butter
  • ¼ cup evaporated milk or cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 6 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Cream butter until very light and fluffy. Beat in the milk or cream a little at a time until it is all taken up by the butter. Add vanilla.
  2. Sift flour, then measure. Resift with confectioners’ sugar and add a little at a time to the butter. Add pecans.
  3. Roll very small bits of dough, about 1 teaspoonful for each cookie, between palms of hands to form small balls.
  4. Place on floured baking sheet and bake in a moderate oven (375 degrees F) until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  5. Roll cookies in confectioners’ sugar while they are still warm. Yield: 6 dozen small cookies.

Gingerbread Men – from 1920

1920: Gingerbread Men recipe1920: Gingerbread Men recipe Sun, Dec 5, 1920 – 15 · The Enid Daily Eagle (Enid, Oklahoma) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp ginger
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup shortening, melted

Directions:

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger together.
  2. Mix molasses, sugar, egg, and melted shortening together. Add the dry ingredients to make soft dough.
  3. Shape in form of little men, animals, or plain cookies on greased pan. Bake in moderate oven 10 to 12 minutes.

Note: The men can be made by forcing the dough through a pastry bag or cornucopia made with plain letter paper. Use tops of cloves, currants, or rice for making the faces and buttons. For colored coats, use colored icing.

Christmas Wreaths – from 1948

1948: Christmas Wreaths recipe1948: Christmas Wreaths recipe Fri, Dec 17, 1948 – Page 12 · The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter and shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour
  • Pistachio nuts, crushed
  • Red and green maraschino cherries

Directions:

  1. Cream butter/shortening; add sugar and cream well.
  2. Add egg yolks beaten until thick; then add lemon juice and rind. Add one egg white beaten until stiff and dry.
  3. Fold in enough flour to make a stiff dough.
  4. Roll thin and cut with doughnut cutter. Beat other egg white slightly and brush over tops.
  5. Place on greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with crushed nuts. Place red and green maraschino cherries to represent holly wreaths.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees F until delicately browned.

Fruit Cake Cookies – from 1938

1938: Fruit Cake Cookies recipe1938: Fruit Cake Cookies recipe Sat, Nov 26, 1938 – 14 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups pastry flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup each raisins, walnuts, and candied cherries
  • ½ cup candied pineapple
  • ¼ cup citron

Directions:

  1. Cream together sugar and shortening; beat eggs in, one at a time.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with milk.
  3. Chop fruit, nuts, and citron and mix well in mixture.
  4. Drop by teaspoon on greased tin and bake in moderate oven.

Note: Pineapple and citron may be omitted if desired. These cookies will keep for months.

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How World War II Changed Thanksgiving 75 Years Ago

Thu, Nov 23, 1944 – 1 · The News-Review (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) · Newspapers.com


November 1944 found the United States celebrating its third Thanksgiving since entering World War II. And the war certainly wasn’t taking a break for the holiday, with Americans opening their newspapers Thanksgiving morning to headlines like “50,000 Nazis Trapped on Rhine” and “Germans Fire Rocket Bombs at U.S. Army.”

Two Thanksgivings

But the war wasn’t the only conflict brewing on Thanksgiving 75 years ago; there was also a ruckus much closer to home

The date of Thanksgiving was causing a stir in the U.S.—the result of federal legislation passed in 1941 declaring that Thanksgiving be celebrated on the fourth Thursday rather than the traditional last Thursday. So while 1944 saw the majority of Americans celebrating Thanksgiving on the 23rd, a few states were still holding on to custom and celebrating on the 30th.

LEARN MORE: Read our post about the fight over the date of Thanksgiving

Other beloved traditions had to change as well on that Thanksgiving. There had been no Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1941, for example, since the company had donated the rubber in its famous balloons to the war effort. And Thanksgiving Day football games were played in far fewer places around the nation due to the number of men serving in the military.

Thanksgiving at Home

But then as now, Thanksgiving dinner was the main event of the day, and the war’s effects were seen even at the dinner table. 

By 1944, millions of American men and women were serving in the armed forces domestically or overseas, leaving empty spaces at the holiday table in many homes. In cities near military bases, some of these empty chairs were filled by servicemen and women who had been invited to share a homecooked meal for the holidays with a local family. In other homes, Thanksgiving dinner was held earlier or later than usual to accommodate family members who were working the holiday in factories and other war industries.

“Let Us Give Thanks,” by African American cartoonist Wilbert Holloway Sat, Nov 25, 1944 – Page 6 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com


Even traveling to the homes of distant family members or friends for Thanksgiving dinner was curtailed, since gasoline and tires were rationed and bus and train travel were discouraged to open up seats for servicemen and women on furlough.

The Thanksgiving Menu

When it came to the Thanksgiving menu, the war’s influence was seen yet again—this time in the form of food rationing.

By 1944, Americans had been through two previous Thanksgivings under rationing. Sugar was still rationed that year, as were cheese, butter and margarine, and canned fruit—creating a challenge for home cooks hoping to make favorite Thanksgiving dishes.

But Americans had reason to be grateful, as fewer food items than before were being rationed in the United States by November 1944. Lard, shortening, and coffee were no longer rationed, for example, and items such as red meat and processed foods were experiencing a temporary reprieve.

Still, Thanksgiving dinner in 1944 required more planning ahead than in the pre-war years. Those who had heeded the government’s call to grow Victory Gardens could cook Thanksgiving dishes with the produce they had canned or preserved. Other Americans made sure to save up rationing stamps to purchase ingredients for their Thanksgiving meal—aided by newspaper rationing calendars that listed which rationing stamps could be used when and for what products.

Entry for sugar from a 1944 newspaper rationing calendarEntry for sugar from a 1944 newspaper rationing calendar Fri, Nov 24, 1944 – 24 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com


The Turkey Challenge

But even food items that weren’t rationed could still be scarce. Such was the case in 1944 with the Thanksgiving centerpiece—turkey. Due to the military’s huge demand for turkey for the troops, the bird was hard to buy in some parts of the country—unless a person was willing to turn to the black market.

Spices and other imported food items also could be difficult to find because the war affected shipping. And non-local produce was limited too in some locations due to the effect of gasoline rationing on trucking.

With this changing availability of food on the minds of many, newspapers published articles about which items were expected to be available for Thanksgiving that year. And Thanksgiving recipes using alternative ingredients became a popular feature in many newspaper food sections.

A Spirit of Sacrifice

Despite the challenges and changes that Thanksgiving 1944 presented to Americans on the home front, people were generally willing to sacrifice for the war effort—especially when they considered how much their servicemen and women were sacrificing overseas.

One newspaper editorial published on Thanksgiving reflected on this spirit of sacrifice, remarking:

Thu, Nov 23, 1944 – Page 18 · Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, The Evening News (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) · 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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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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