Town Unites to Honor Soldiers During WWII

During WWII, townspeople from Perkasie, Pennsylvania, banded together in a remarkable way to honor and support the young men and women from their community serving in the armed forces. In honor of Veterans Day and those who served, we wanted to share their story!

Servicemen's Edition News HeraldIn June 1942, Perkasie community members gathered at the local Fire Hall to organize the Perkasie Community Service Group (C.S.G.). After some discussion, the C.S.G. made a list of things they wanted to accomplish. They agreed to: send a weekly letter to every service member from the community; include a special servicemen’s pocket edition of the News Herald with community news; send each service member a dollar bill once a month.

The effort would require funding and donations. Members went door-to-door soliciting dimes, quarters and dollars.  Benefits and fundraisers were held. Members of the community were each assigned special duties. Some of those responsibilities included addressing envelopes or keeping the mailing list updated. Before the war ended, nearly 800 young people serving from Perkasie would receive 70,000 letters and more than $17,500 from the C.S.G. When a soldier didn’t make it home, the C.S.G. presented the family a Gold Star Flag and a letter of condolence.

Grateful service men and women loved the letters! Many sent expressions of gratitude to the News Herald. Richard E. Moyer was a 21-year-old infantryman who was wounded and sent home. He told the C.S.G. how he and 8 buddies spent months isolated in the Italian war theatre. “No mail, no nothing,” he said, “not even pay reached us for months.” Finally, when communications were re-established, Moyer received a backlog of 196 pieces of mail, but still no paychecks. “Among them were five C.S.G. letters with a buck each. As I opened one, the bill fell out and my buddies gasped ‘real money’, and asked whether my dad sent it. As I continued to open mail and find more dollars, I explained that all the kids from my home-town get a buck-a-month from the community, and my buddies decided they came from the wrong town. We had a glorious time spending the first five dollars we saw in months,” Moyer said.

Sgt. Howard Krout received his letter from the C.S.G., but two bills had inadvertently been placed in the envelope. Several weeks later he returned the extra dollar to the C.S.G. with the explanation, “two bills were sticking together, and I knew that I am entitled to only one.”

Another recipient was 21-year-old seaman Wilbur F. Hendricks. He kept these pocket edition newspapers long after the war ended. Upon his death in 2007, his family donated the newspapers to the Perkasie Historical Society in his honor. His collection is now digitized and available to view for the first time here.

Newspapers.com salutes veterans like Richard Moyer, Howard Krout, and Wilbur Hendricks; and we salute the Perkasie community. How did your hometown support the troops during WWII? Search our archives today to learn more!

 

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World War I Ends: November 11, 1918

WWI Ends!

WWI Ends! Mon, Nov 11, 1918 – 1 · Chicago Tribune

On the morning of November 11, 1918, at 1:55 A.M., the telephone rang at the offices of the Chicago Tribune. An Associated Press operator delivered a news flash with the short message, “Armistice Signed,” and then hung up. Fifty minutes later, the U.S. State Department released the official announcement: Effective this morning at 6:00 A.M. ET, the world war officially ends. An Armistice signed by Germany in the 11th month, on the 11th day, and in the 11th hour of 1918 brought an end to the fighting in WWI. 

In France, thousands of American heavy guns fired parting shots at that exact moment. WWI, also known as the Great War, resulted in more than 37 million military casualties and 8.5 million deaths worldwide. American Expeditionary Force (AEF) casualties numbered 323 thousand with nearly 117 thousand deaths. 

As the news broke, a sleepy nation woke to celebrate! In Chicago, US Navy men (nicknamed Jackies) poured into the streets cheering. News reached the West coast just before midnight. Fireworks summoned residents in Oakland, California, to a party downtown! 

With the fighting over, transporting troops home became the next big logistical challenge. Most soldiers made it home within a year, but a few thousand didn’t return until 1920. Every available ship, and a few seized German ships, helped to “bring the boys home!” 

All over the country, communities held celebrations. In Allentown, Pennsylvania, 50,000 citizens greeted returning soldiers with a confetti parade. 

Not all the boys were coming home whole. The physical and emotional trauma suffered by the sick and wounded was astonishing. Legislation like the Adjusted Compensation Act; the Soldier Rehabilitation Act of 1918 (that provided prostheses for those who lost limbs); and the organization of the American Legion sought to help returning soldiers. 

Among the many injured were Pvt. Anthony Kulig, 24, who spent 19 months at Walter Reed Hospital recovering from an amputated arm, a knee injury, and 52 wounds on his body. First Lt. John W. McManigal chronicled his injuries and others he observed during his time as a POW in a dramatic five-part series printed in the Kansas Democrat in 1919. He recalled one soldier in a POW hospital having both legs amputated without any anesthetic. 

The development of an improved veteran healthcare system is just one of the legacies left to future military generations by WWI veterans. Do you have an interest in military history or have ancestors that fought in WWI? How did your hometown celebrate the Armistice? Tell us about it and search our archives at Newspapers.com!

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The Ghosts of Papers Past

Happy Halloween! Today is a day of scares and haunts, and what better captures the spirit of all things mysterious than a ghost? Ghost stories have existed for hundreds of years. Maybe you even have some of your own?

The people interviewed for this 1889 article did, and they shared it all.

Community Ghost StoriesCommunity Ghost Stories Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

The article is a full page of stories, suspicions, and skepticism. But here are some of the best and most entertaining of the bunch. From passenger-packed trains to murdered bunnies, a wide range of spirits and specters can be found in these clippings.

Ghostly Objects

First up, a carriage apparition startles a couple of interested gentlemen:

Ghost of an Old-Fashioned CarriageGhost of an Old-Fashioned Carriage Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Here, a Mr. Ed Pemberton remembers a time when the train tracks beneath his feet shook from the passage of a beautiful phantom train.

Phantom TrainPhantom Train Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Ghostly Animals

Ever heard of a phantom cow? If not, this clipping will do the trick:

Giant Ghost CowGiant Ghost Cow Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

A certain aforementioned bunny makes his appearance in this roller-coaster ride of a story:

Created a Ghost by Mistaking it for a GhostCreated a Ghost by Mistaking it for a Ghost Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Headless humans make frequent appearances in ghost stories, but how about a headless dog?:

Headless Dog GhostHeadless Dog Ghost Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Ghostly Humans

Human ghosts often present themselves in two ways: either to haunt a place where they resided or died, or to serve as an omen for the living. The following two clippings give accounts of the former.

This clipping shares a slightly longer story, but is perhaps the most quintessential ghost story in this collection. It involves an old man, the home where he died, a fiddle, and a gruesome cat.

Corroborated Ghost StoryCorroborated Ghost Story Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Here we have a spirit whose presence at the place where he was killed seems to curse the very ground:

Murdered Man Haunts the Spot Where He DiedMurdered Man Haunts the Spot Where He Died Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

The next two clippings are stories of ghosts acting as omens. In this first clipping, a super-human phantom hops into an fresh grave to warn the observer of impending death:

Grave Ghost an Omen for Things to ComeGrave Ghost an Omen for Things to Come Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

And in this clipping, the ghost of a Confederate soldier disappears when fired upon by the storyteller, who came to believe it had been a friendly warning:

A Soldier GhostA Soldier Ghost Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Ghostly Surprises

Finally, we have a couple of ghost stories with surprise endings. This clipping describes a haunting shadow that no one could explain…until they could:

Ghost Solution Leads to LaughsGhost Solution Leads to Laughs Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

And perhaps most surprising at all was this clipping, in which a man describes a very real ghost who had a very peculiar favor to ask:

Ghost Appeared to Ask For Spirit Ball ProgrammesGhost Appeared to Ask For Spirit Ball Programmes Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

So what do you think? Are ghosts real, or simply the imaginations of minds that are often over-tired or overworked? Perhaps the truth of it all should be left alone, just as this clipping suggests:

Poetic View of GhostsPoetic View of Ghosts Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Find these ghost stories and more from this article here, and more on Newspapers.com with a search through the collection.

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The Monster Vampire of Summit Street

It’s almost Halloween, so what better to read today than a clipping about a “Monster Vampire?”

A A “Monster Vampire” Thu, Mar 4, 1880 – 1 · The Morning Journal-Courier (New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Notice how it’s never called a bat? Interesting how that crucial addition is always included these days.

Find more like this with a search or browse through the collection on Newspapers.com.

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The Wisconsin Town that Tried to Secede

In the summer of 1967, the state of Wisconsin had a little oopsie with their newly released official road map. The town of Winneconne, with a population of around 1,300 at the time, had been forgotten on the map—and they did not let it go without a (lighthearted) fight.

Secession

Winneconne to Secede from StateWinneconne to Secede from State Fri, Jul 14, 1967 – 2 · The Daily Telegram (Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

In their plans for secession, Winneconne thought of it all. There were discussions of taxing fishermen–and idle fishermen watchers—and of creating a toll for the Winneconne bridge. Officials were elected for their sovereign state, and they even created a new flag.

Flag of the Sovereign State of WinneconneFlag of the Sovereign State of Winneconne Wed, Jul 16, 1969 – Page 22 · The Oshkosh Northwestern (Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

The slogan “We Like It Where?” (a play on the similar slogan “We Like it Here”) became the catchphrase of the new Sovereign State of Winneconne.

“We Like it — Where?” Mon, May 1, 1967 – 1 · News-Record (Neenah, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

The New Sovereign State of WinneconneThe New Sovereign State of Winneconne Fri, Jul 14, 1967 – Page 4 · The Oshkosh Northwestern (Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

As playful as the whole secession plan was, however, there was genuine reasoning behind it. The town of Winneconne sought the attention of state officials to get their name back on the map. After all, how can a small town grow and thrive if no one knows where to find it?

Back in the Family

In the end, an arrangement was reached with Wisconsin’s governor, Warren Knowles, to put Winneconne back on the map and give it proper signage on the highway. Secession was avoided, and Winneconne remains a part of Wisconsin (and its road maps) to this day. There’s even an annual celebration of the whole event!

Find plenty more on this unique bit of U.S. history with a search on Newspapers.com.

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OK Corral Shootout – This Week in History

This week in 1881, a brief but deadly shootout between the Earp brothers and the “cowboys” at OK Corral results in three dead and three wounded. It has since become one of the most famous gunfights of the American Wild West.

Bloody Battle in the Streets of TombstoneBloody Battle in the Streets of Tombstone Sun, Oct 30, 1881 – Page 1 · Arizona Weekly Citizen (Tucson, Pima, Arizona, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Among the dead, as stated in the clipping above, were cowboys Tom (erroneously called Jim) McLaury, Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton. Famous lawman Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Morgan and Virgil, along with friend Doc Holliday, survived with wounds.

Find more on the OK Corral gunfight with a search or browse through the collections of Newspapers.com.

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Newspaper Highlights: Wisconsin, North Dakota, Illinois and Iowa!

This month we’re excited to highlight a few of our papers by publisher Lee Enterprises. If you have roots in Wisconsin, North Dakota, or the quad cities of northwest Illinois and southeast Iowa, these newspaper archives are a valuable resource!

Special Midnight Fire Edition - October 16, 1908
Wisconsin State Journal: In 1848, Wisconsin became the 30th state. That same year, printer turned publisher David Atwood purchased a small paper called the Wisconsin Express that would later become the Wisconsin State Journal. We have issues of the State Journal dating back to 1852! The State Journal has chronicled news, births, deaths, anniversaries and community news from the greater Madison area for more than 175 years!

One story that shocked the nation happened in 1914. Noted architect and Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright built his famous home Taliesin outside Madison in Spring Green. The home was the scene of a brutal mass murder when a deranged servant murdered Wright’s companion Mamah Borthwick, her two children, and four others at Taliesin by setting fire to the house and then killing the occupants with an ax as they tried to escape.

Bismarck Tribune: In the 1870s, railroads were given land grants to expand the rail system into the Dakota territory. In June 1873, the first train rolled into Bismarck carrying a hand-set press. Within a month, the first edition of the Bismarck Tribune was published. In this introduction in the first issue, the paper urged citizens to support it and help bring prosperity to the tiny settlement. The Bismarck Tribune is the oldest paper still published in North Dakota. It advocated for the relocation of the Territorial Capital from Yankton to Bismarck, and then lobbied aggressively for statehood. The paper recorded notable events like the fire of 1898 when flames raced through downtown buildings constructed of wood; or the floods in 1952 when snowmelt and ice backed up causing major damage in the city.

The Rock Island Argus and The Dispatch: The archives for these two papers (that later combined to form the Dispatch-Argus) are a great resource for anyone with roots along the Mississippi River in the quad cities of Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline, Illinois; and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa. The Rock Island Argus gets its name from the largest island in the Mississippi River (now known as Arsenal Island) and is one of Illinois’ oldest papers. We have issues that date back to 1855, about the time the railroad expanded to the island. This clipping from 1859, urges residents to play an active role in bringing industry to town. The island housed a fort, and later an arsenal, and was a hub of activity during the World Wars. Clippings like this one from 1863 listing citizens who have a letter to claim at the Post Office are a great way to research ancestors who lived on Rock Island.

A few miles from Rock Island lies Moline, Illinois – home to The Dispatch with papers dating back to 1894. The paper recorded the dramatic fire that ignited in the psychiatric ward of Mercy Hospital, known as St. Elizabeth’s, in 1950. Frantic patients trapped behind windows locked shut by rusty bars fought to escape. Before it was over, 41 lost their lives.

To see these newspapers and other titles, search our archives at Newspapers.com!

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Arthur Conan Doyle and the Cottingley Fairies

One day in 1922, two young cousins named Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright took some remarkable pictures.The subsequent spread of the story was something neither girl anticipated. But what else could be expected for the first captured images of fairies?

Frances, Elsie, and their fairy friendsFrances, Elsie, and their fairy friends Sun, Oct 15, 1922 – 13 · New-York Tribune (New York, New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Headline after headline from the early 1920s show the fervor of the debate. Were the photographs real or faked? Surely fairies could not be real, but the photographs showed no evidence of tampering. Besides, these were just two little girls—how deceitful could they be?

English Girls Snapshot Fairies at their GamesEnglish Girls Snapshot Fairies at their Games Sun, Jan 23, 1921 – Page 24 · New-York Tribune (New York, New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Perhaps the most famous name amongst the believers was that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes. His belief in the photos and fairies was so strong that he even wrote his own book to prove it.

Arthur Conan Doyle believes in fairiesArthur Conan Doyle believes in fairies Sun, Oct 15, 1922 – 13 · New-York Tribune (New York, New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Poor Sherlock Holmes - Hopelessly Crazy?Poor Sherlock Holmes – Hopelessly Crazy? Sun, Nov 19, 1922 – 106 · The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Equally involved was a man named Edward Gardner, prominent leader of the Theosophical Society. He took it upon himself to investigate the photos, solicit expert opinions on their legitimacy, give lectures on the topic, and even visit the girls and the place where the fairies had been seen.

Fairies in YorkshireFairies in Yorkshire Mon, Feb 7, 1921 – 6 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.com

Of course, even Sir Doyle had to admit that this whole thing could be one of history’s greatest hoaxes.

The most elaborate hoax, or an event in human historyThe most elaborate hoax, or an event in human history Sun, Oct 15, 1922 – 13 · New-York Tribune (New York, New York, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Sadly for fairy enthusiasts, the truth of the matter was revealed in 1983. Frances Griffiths came forward to admit that the whole thing had just been a trick of hatpins and cardboard cutouts. The Cottingley Fairies became, as Doyle had once grudgingly said, “the most elaborate and ingenious hoax ever played upon the public.” And that was the end of that.

Fairy confessionFairy confession Sat, Mar 19, 1983 – Page 6 · Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona, United States of America) · Newspapers.com

Just for fun, here’s a word search puzzle from decades after the Cottingley Fairy hoax.

Cottingley Fairies Word SearchCottingley Fairies Word Search Wed, Jan 2, 1991 – Page 31 · The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) · Newspapers.com

Find more on the Cottingley Fairies and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s involvement with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Hometown Tour Guide: Exploring Your Ancestors’ Hometown Through Newspapers

Ever wish you had a time machine so you could travel back in time to see what your ancestors’ lives were like? While we can’t give you a time machine, we can give you what may be the next best thing: the ability to visit your ancestors’ hometown without leaving your couch. How can you do this? With newspapers!

If you’ve already searched for your ancestors’ names in the papers, fleshing out what their lives may have been like is the next step in discovering their story. And since the place a person lived often had a big impact on what their daily life was like, it’s worth putting in some time to learn about it.

This is where newspapers come in, because they are a nearly bottomless resource for finding out what life was like in the towns and cities they served. The added benefit to this approach is that even if you can’t find your ancestors mentioned by name in a newspaper, you can still use the paper to help you piece together the details of their lives.

For your journey, we’ve put together a “tour guide” of sorts to help you use newspapers to explore your ancestors’ hometown and learn more about their lives in the process. Check it out!

A street scene in St. James, Missouri, in 1915. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1957)

A street scene in St. James, Missouri, in 1915. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1957)

HOMETOWN TOUR GUIDE

Step 1: Find your paper

In many cases, Newspapers.com will have a newspaper (or more than one!) from the town or city your ancestors lived in. But if we don’t, here are some tips for locating other papers that may be useful in your research.

  • Use the Newspapers Map on our site to find the paper closest to the town or city where your ancestors lived. Zoom in on a specific geographical region to find out which papers were being published in the area. Adjust the date slider to see papers from a particular time frame (such as the years your ancestor lived there).
  • Find out which county your ancestors’ hometown is in, and then look for a paper from the county seat. Newspapers from the county seat often contain news from surrounding towns. You can see which papers from a particular county are on Newspapers.com by using the advanced search. Just enter the county name into the Place/Paper Location field, and hit the search button.
  • Look at papers from similar-sized towns or cities in the same part of the state. While each community has its differences, life was probably fairly similar in towns of the same size from the same region.
  • Use the date and location filters on the Papers page to find papers in the state your ancestors lived in that were published while they lived there.

Step 2: Find representative issues of the paper

Once you’ve found the newspaper you want to use, pick some issues of the paper to look at. We recommend you pick a few issues from a variety of years in your ancestor’s life. (You could even pick significant dates in their lives, such as the day they were born, started school, got married, passed away, and so on.) The more issues you look at, the more detailed your understanding of the town will be. But if you feel overwhelmed, start by looking at just one!

A business in Fremont, Ohio, in 1933. (Fremont Messenger, 09.18.1933)

A business in Fremont, Ohio, in 1933. (Fremont Messenger, 09.18.1933)

Step 3: Browse the paper

You might be surprised at how much you can learn about a town from seemingly unimportant newspaper sections. We’ve come up with 15 parts of the newspaper we suggest you look through, but the possibilities are nearly endless. We’ve also included some questions to ask yourself to help guide your journey.

  1. Ads/classifieds – What businesses were in town? Where did people shop? What products were available? How much did things cost? What services were individuals offering? What types of jobs were being advertised?
  2. Train & ship ads/schedules Which places could people from the town or city easily travel to? Was their hometown a travel hub? (If it was, this probably meant increased exposure and access to outside fashions, trends, lifestyles, etc.)
  3. Weather reports What was each of the four seasons like? If it was a farming area, did it receive enough rain for a good harvest? Were there any big weather events (blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.) that would’ve affected the townspeople’s lives?
  4. Photos What were people wearing? What were the hairstyles? What did the town itself look like (buildings, scenery, etc.)?
  5. Local news Was there anything noteworthy going on? Was there any breaking news that would’ve been the talk of the town?
  6. Party/reunion/event descriptions What types of activities were planned? What games did they play? What food was served? What kinds of people were invited?
  7. Entertainment sections What entertainment options were available? Was there a theater or cinema? If so, what plays or movies were out? Was the local sports team doing well? Does it seem like a lot of people attended local sports matches?
  8. Crime reports/police blotters Did the town or city seem safe? What kind of crime was happening?
  9. Holiday celebration descriptions Were there any big holiday celebrations that happened in town every year? How did individual families celebrate holidays on a smaller scale? (Descriptions of private celebrations may alert you to common local traditions.)
  10. Vacation/travel notices Are there any places people from the town commonly traveled to? If it’s a small town, which bigger city did most people visit for shopping, entertainment, etc.?
  11. Obituaries/death notices What illnesses were common in the area? Did a lot of people die of the same illness around the same time? (If so, this may indicate there was an epidemic.)
  12. Local election/political news What were the big political issues in the area? What local laws and ordinances were being passed or repealed?
  13. Letters to the editor/op-eds/editorials What were some of the opinions in town? What issues did people seem divided on and on which did most people seem to agree?
  14. Recipes & grocery store ads What ingredients and food items were available? Which foods seem common and which seem like items for special occasions? Do some ingredients seem preferred over others?
  15. Articles with addresses – Are there any mentions of the neighborhood your ancestors lived in? What about the street they lived on? (Or even their specific house?) Who else lived in the area? Do there seem to be a lot of people in the neighborhood from the same family? Or immigrants from the same country? What were the neighbors up to? What was going on in the neighborhood?

What do you think? Did we miss any newspaper sections that may be helpful? Let us know in the comments! And happy travels on your hometown newspaper tour!

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