This Week in History – Everest Conquered

On May 29, 1953, British expedition duo Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary accomplish a feat that had never been done before: they reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Tenzing and HillaryTenzing and Hillary Sun, Jul 12, 1953 – Page 29 · The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York) ·

Hillary was a New Zealander, recruited for the expedition as part of the British Commonwealth. Tenzing was a Nepali Sherpa, chosen for his expertise in mountaineering. With the help of insulated clothing and oxygen systems, the two reached the peak shortly before noon, and the news quickly spread across the land.

The Final Assault on Mt EverestThe Final Assault on Mt Everest Mon, Jul 20, 1953 – Page 33 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) ·

Tenzing and EverestTenzing and Everest Wed, Jul 22, 1953 – Page 39 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) ·

Hillary's reactionHillary’s reaction Tue, Jul 21, 1953 – Page 33 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) ·

There’s a lot to find about this moment in history–both Tenzing and Hillary wrote first hand accounts that were included in the papers as the story of their success spread. Find more on Hillary and Tenzing’s successful trip up the mountain (and of the many successes and failures that happened before and since) with a search on

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The Mystery of the Mary Celeste

The story of the Mary Celeste is an odd one—an empty ship, a missing crew, and no explanation for either? Almost 150 years have passed since the strange day of the ship’s discovery, and while many theories have been presented to explain what happened, the mystery remains unsolved to this day.

The Mystery of the The Mystery of the “Mary Celeste” · Sun, Feb 7, 1943 – Page 31 · Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona) ·

Lost Crew of the Mary CelesteLost Crew of the Mary Celeste · Sun, Mar 9, 1902 – Page 40 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) ·

The voyage of Mary Celeste began in typical fashion. She set sail from New York Harbor on November 5, 1872, headed to Genoa with a hefty cargo of industrial alcohol. It was the last time anyone saw the captain or crew who left with the ship.

A month later Mary Celeste was spotted by the crew of Captain David Morehouse, whose ship, Dei Gratia, was also on its way to the Mediterranean. He noticed the erratic movements of Mary Celeste and sent his first mate, Oliver Deveau, to investigate.

No answer, not a soul on boardNo answer, not a soul on board · Sun, Feb 7, 1943 – Page 31 · Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona) ·

Deveau (referred to as Devon in the clippings below) was convinced he’d find signs of mutiny, sickness, or some other calamity that would explain why not a single person remained on board the almost perfectly seaworthy ship. Instead…

No signs found of sickness or mutinyNo signs found of sickness or mutiny · Sun, Mar 9, 1902 – Page 40 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) ·

Numerous theories have been put forth over the years to explain the crew’s abandonment of Mary Celeste. They cover the gamut of possibilities, from mutiny to murder to fear of shipwreck to forgetfulness. One popular theory was that the crew might have feared an explosion of the alcohol cargo.

The explosion theoryThe explosion theory · Sun, Mar 9, 1902 – Page 40 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) ·

But the ship never exploded, and regardless of their reason for going, the crew of Mary Celeste was never seen again. Captain Morehouse and his crew split the salvage money (though not without suspicion), the world moved on with no satisfactory conclusion, and only Mary Celeste ever truly knew the mysterious motivations of her vanishing crew.

This famous mystery is all over the pages of Try a search for more about David Morehouse, Captain Benjamin Briggs (of Mary Celeste) and his family who traveled with him, Briggs’ young son Arthur who remained behind, or the Mary Celeste herself.

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5 Unforgettable Eruptions in Kilauea’s History

Eyes around the world are on the ongoing volcanic eruption at Kilauea in Hawaii. But this attention isn’t new. The eruptions at Kilauea have been appearing in newspapers around the world for almost 200 years.

From the awe-inspiring rivers of glowing lava, to flying molten rocks, to the tragedy of lost property and injury, much of Kilauea’s recent activity has parallels with past eruptions. Here’s a look at five of the most unforgettable throughout history.

1924 Kilauea Eruption (from the Honolulu-Star Bulletin)

1924 Kilauea Eruption (from the Honolulu-Star Bulletin)

1790 – Kilauea Kills Hundreds of Hawaiians
Kilauea’s violent explosive eruption in 1790 killed hundreds of Hawaiians—most famously a party of warriors, who were likely killed by hot steam and sulfuric gases. In 1919, a geologist discovered footprints preserved in the volcanic ash of the 1790 eruption, and these footprints were long attributed to the Hawaiian warriors killed by the volcano. However, more recent research suggests that many of the footprints may have instead been made by women and children of that time period.

1840 – Kilauea Lights Up the Night
The 1840 eruption lasted about a month and is the largest on record in the East Rift Zone. The effusive eruption occurred from vents along 21 miles of the rift zone and was described as “glowing with extreme brilliancy.” One newspaper reported that it was so bright that for two weeks a person could read “the finest print” at night some 30 miles away. After the 1840 eruption, Kilauea became a tourist attraction.

1924 – Kilauea Spews Tons of Rocks into the Air
Over two-and-a-half weeks in 1924, Kilauea experienced more than 50 explosive events. These explosions, caused by steam buildup, shot tons of rock from the Halema’uma’u crater into the air, with some weighing as much as 14 tons. A shower of rocks from one of the explosions crushed the leg of a visiting Chicago man. Found covered by burning ash, the man was rushed to a hospital, where he died after having his leg amputated.

1959 Kilauea Eruption (from the Honolulu Advertiser)

1959 Kilauea Eruption (from the Honolulu Advertiser)

1959 – Kilauea Produces Record-Breaking Lava Fountains
In November and December 1959 the Kilauea Iki crater produced some truly awe-inspiring lava fountains. The initial lava fountains were impressive enough at 50 to 100 feet, but they soon were reaching 200 feet, 650 feet, 980 feet, even 1,247 feet. But then on December 17, the lava shot an incredible 1,900 feet high—more than three times the height of the Washington Monument. It was Hawaii’s highest recorded lava fountain in the 20th century.

1990 – Kilauea Destroys 100 Homes
The current Kilauea eruption began in 1983, and in 1990 it entered its most destructive phase. In March 1990, lava began to enter the community of Kalapana. By late June, 86 homes had been destroyed, and by the end of the year, Kalapana was gone. The lava flows had destroyed 100 homes, a church, and a store. The famous Black Sand Beach at Kaimu also disappeared.

Discover more images of Kilauea throughout history in our slideshow below!

Eruptions in Kilauea's History Kilauea takes a life, 1924 Kilauea hurls rocks like "skyrockets," 1924 Kilauea erupts, 1955 Kilauea 1955 Lava fountain at Kilauea, 1959 Kilauea lava fountain size comparison, 1959 Kilauea 1960 House buried in ash from Kilauea, 1960 Kilauea 1983 Flow of lava from Kilauea, 1990 Kilauea 1990

Find more articles and photos of Kilauea on And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more interesting historical content like this!

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This Week in History – The Brooklyn Bridge Opens

The Great Brooklyn BridgeThe Great Brooklyn Bridge · Thu, May 24, 1883 – 1 · The Daily Union-Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) ·

On May 24, 1883, the famous bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan Island was officially opened for business. The ensuing celebration and ceremony was attended by thousands who came to witness the success of what was then the largest suspension bridge in the world.

The Big BridgeThe Big Bridge · Thu, May 24, 1883 – 1 · Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin) ·

The Brooklyn Bridge opensThe Brooklyn Bridge opens · Fri, Jun 1, 1883 – 2 · The St Johnsbury Caledonian (St Johnsbury, Vermont) ·

Effusive praise of the Brooklyn BridgeEffusive praise of the Brooklyn Bridge · Wed, May 23, 1883 – Page 3 · Green Bay Press-Gazette (Green Bay, Wisconsin) ·

Find more on the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge (as well as the accidents and deaths that happened during building and after it was opened) with a search on

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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 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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Are Hippies Quaint?

The clipping below is from a 1971 article about nostalgia, and it presents an interesting point: the further one goes back in time, the rosier the by-gone times seem. The author mentions that the 20s are all the rage because they happened 50 years prior, leaving a nice gap of time to forget the harder things and remember only the good.

Hippies may be considered quaint.Hippies may be considered quaint. · Sun, Jun 6, 1971 – Page 9 · The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah) ·

It’s crazy to think about, but it’s now been 50 years since this article was published. (Well, 47 years—we’re still three years shy of the 50 year mark from 1971.) We can ask ourselves the question that the author implies….are the 70s nostalgic to us now? Are hippies considered quaint?

Find more random clippings like this one by searching or browsing the collection on

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A Quick History of Fascinators

Tomorrow’s royal wedding is the talk of the town, and that means attention will most certainly be paid to the fashion choices of attendees. Dresses, designers, and best (or worst?) of all, fascinators.

Ah, fascinators. Those whimsical and often bizarre little hats that perch on carefully styled hairdos. They were not always this way, of course; only in recent decades have fascinators been revamped into the small and precariously pinned headpieces that we know today.

Old-style fascinator, 1896Old-style fascinator, 1896 · Wed, Dec 2, 1896 – Page 5 · Washington Times (Washington, District of Columbia) ·

The name is older than the style; fascinators of the past were actually somewhat more sensible, scarf-like things like the one in the drawing above. They were frequently marketed and sold as a seasonal item for warmth right next to scarves and mittens, and since they were knitted and draped around the head and neck it’s not too hard to see why.

Cool Nights Call for ThemCool Nights Call for Them · Wed, Dec 14, 1898 – 10 · The Buffalo Commercial (Buffalo, New York) ·

There are several clippings in the archives from younger women who lament being forced to wear “old-fashioned” and “ugly” fascinators by their mothers, as by the early 1900s fascinators were no longer the style and were usually associated with old women. This clipping below, from 1966, comments on the lull in fascinator use just before it was readopted into a more modern style that could be appreciated by all ages.

Fascinators came back in style, 1960sFascinators came back in style, 1960s · Fri, Oct 21, 1966 – 2 · Mount Union Times (Mount Union, Pennsylvania) ·

In the 60s and 70s, the definition of a “fascinator” was pretty loose. It sometimes referred to modernized versions of the original scarf style of headwear, but slowly it also began to apply to the smaller, clip-in hats that had existed for decades.

Fascinator, 1970Fascinator, 1970 · Sun, Apr 26, 1970 – Page 114 · The Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) ·

Fascinators (before they were called fascinators)Fascinators (before they were called fascinators) · Mon, Mar 8, 1943 – Page 9 · Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) ·

By the 90’s, the term “fascinator” had become firmly attached to a specific kind of hat—small, jaunty, and often bedecked in beads or feathers or any manner of frills and flounces. And, as with many trends in fashion, the fascinator is not always a favorite.

The fascinator reigns supremeThe fascinator reigns supreme · Mon, Jan 25, 1960 – Page 6 · The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) ·

Not everyone's a fanNot everyone’s a fan · Wed, Oct 19, 1988 – Page 100 · The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) ·

Keep an eye out for some fancy fascinators if you’re tuning in to the royal wedding—they’re sure to make an appearance! And now you can feel free to regale your friends with the truth about fascinators: they were once just floppy, unfashionable scarves until someone rebranded them. The magic of marketing!

Find more on fascinators and fashion history with a search on

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Poison Squad: The Men Who Ate Poison So You Don’t Have To

A group of young men volunteered to eat poison for dinner. All in the name of science.

The press dubbed them the Poison Squad, but the man in charge—Dr. Harvey Wiley—called the experiment the “hygienic table trials.” The trials, which lasted from 1902 to 1907, were part of Wiley’s crusade to prove that common chemical preservatives then in use were not fit for human consumption.

More than 100 years later, the preservatives in our food are once again a hot topic. Many food packages now declare they are preservative-free to boost sales, and an internet search for the question “Are food preservatives bad for you?” returns more than 2.5 million results.

Is there anything we can learn from Harvey Wiley and the Poison Squad?

Dr. Wiley’s Crusade
At the time of the table trials, Wiley was chief chemist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One of his passions was pushing for federal regulation of food “adulteration”—in other words, he wanted to stop food manufacturers from adding potentially dangerous substances to food and misleading consumers about ingredients.

In 1902, Wiley received money from Congress to study the effects of chemical food preservatives on humans. For the next five years, Wiley conducted experiments in which he fed groups of young men common food preservatives of the day—like borax, salicylic acid, copper sulfate, and formaldehyde.

Fully informed of what they were getting into, the volunteers received three square meals a day—in exchange for eating doses of the preservatives along with their meals. Throughout the experiment, their vital signs were recorded, and urine and stool samples were collected and analyzed.

Careful notes were taken about any symptoms the men developed. Borax, for instance, was found to cause headaches and stomach aches, while the formaldehyde test had to be ended early because the men got too sick.

The Public Joins the Cause
The press eventually caught wind of these experiments, and the so-called Poison Squad became a national sensation. Article after article appeared in newspapers around the country, generally praising the efforts of Dr. Wiley and his volunteers. “The food consumers of America owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Wiley’s ‘poison squad,’” read one such article in the Salt Lake Telegram in 1903. “Congress should give every one of them a gold medal.”

Ad for Ceylon and India Tea (from the New York Tribune)

Ad for Ceylon and India Tea (from the New York Tribune)

The high visibility of Dr. Wiley’s preservative experiment increased public awareness of food safety, an issue that women’s groups had long been championing. Because of this growing awareness, some food and beverage companies began advertising their products as being free of risky substances. A 1902 ad for Ceylon and India tea, for instance, boasted the product was “not mixed with adulterants or coloring matter”—a shift from just two years prior, when that product’s ad made no reference to food safety.

Although Dr. Wiley’s methods seem somewhat suspect today, his experiments paid off. His findings from the Poison Squad ultimately enabled him to work alongside other activists to push through the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act—the nation’s first real federal food regulation law.

The Debate Lives On
Today’s debate about food preservatives revolves around some of the same issues as in Dr. Wiley’s day. One side emphasizes preservatives’ role in prolonging the shelf life of food and making it cheaper and more accessible, while the other criticizes chemical preservatives for their potential dangers. It’s a complicated issue.

But if there is one thing either side can learn from Dr. Wiley’s story, it’s the power that passionate and persistent individuals have to shape the national conversation on food safety. Just without a Poison Squad this time.

Find more articles about Dr. Wiley and the Poison Squad on And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more interesting historical content like this!

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This Week in History – Brown Vs. Board of Education Ruling

This week in 1954, segregation in public schools is declared to be unconstitutional and “inherently unequal” in the final ruling of Brown v. Board of Education. The unanimous decision was a major win for the civil rights movement and a big stepping stone toward the eventual abolishment of racially segregated public spaces.

“Segregation is ‘inherently unequal'” · Mon, May 17, 1954 – Page 2 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) ·

Conclusion of decisionConclusion of decision · Tue, May 18, 1954 – 8 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) ·

Brown vs. Board of EducationBrown vs. Board of Education · Sun, May 17, 1964 – Page 8 · Sunday Gazette-Mail (Charleston, West Virginia) ·

Find more on this important moment in history with a search on

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