American Newspaper Archives


From Salome to the Shimmy: Irving Berlin, Mary Garden and the Jazz Opera that Never Came to Pass

Irving Berlin, the great American songwriter, needs little introduction today, but the great singer Mary Garden is less well known. She was an opera star in the first three decades of the 20th century, ending her music career as manager of the Chicago Civic Opera. The image below is a delightful illustration of the way leading newspapers of the 1920s produced creative full-page layouts combining photos and original artwork. 

Alas, Berlin seems to have never written an opera for Ms. Garden, who performed Salome in New York. That's too bad. As the inset quote in the center of this Fort Worth Star-Telegram page says: "It's but a step from Salome to the Shimmy."

From Salome to the Shimmy: Irving Berlin, Mary Garden and the Jazz Opera that Never Came to Pass

War of the Dictionaries

War of the Dictionaries

By Barbara Shaffer, unofficial historian of Springfield, Massachusetts

The Georgian brick building of the Merriam-Webster company on Federal Street in Springfield, Massachusetts, is considered by some world headquarters of the English language.  Scholars, heads of state and judges alike often deem the Merriam-Webster dictionary the final authority in spelling, pronunciation and definition.  That standing is the outcome of winning a long-fought conflict over a century ago. The company’s founders were brothers George and Charles Merriam, young printers who settled in Springfield in 1831 to print and sell books.  Their shop specialized in school books, Bibles and, curiously, wall papers.  The second-floor presses produced titles stocked by stores in Boston, New York and Philadelphia.
Engraving of Noah Webster

 

War of the Dictionaries

Washington, D.C.'s "Paper of Record" — The Evening Star, 1852-1981

Having successfully located and digitized almost all of the American newspapers published during the 17th and 18th centuries, Readex is now focusing on 19th and 20th century newspapers. Guided by our academic advisors and our library customers, we are trying to add the most important papers first, and the Washington Evening Star is a good example. Though it closed in 1981, from its founding the Star was one of the most influential newspapers in the country, and by World War I it was the "paper of record" in the nation’s capital. For historians of the 20th century, the Star offers an unparalleled look at the intricate workings of government, as noted by these two authors: 
Washington, D.C.'s "Paper of Record" — The Evening Star, 1852-1981

New Webinars: Historical Perspectives on the American South, West and Northeast

Newspaper Archives for Academic Research and Training: A Series of Three Regionally Focused Webinars

American newspapers—with their eyewitness reporting, editorials, advertisements, obituaries and human interest stories—have preserved essential records and detailed accounts of nearly every facet of regional and national life. Now searchable online, these regionally diverse newspaper archives span centuries of social, cultural, political, military, business, sports and literary history, providing students and scholars with invaluable original reporting and fresh, local-level insights.

Newspaper Archives of the American Northeast

Thursday, October 18 -- 1 to 2 pm EST

Newspaper publishing in New England and the Mid-Atlantic stateshas had a long and proud history, going back to the colonial era. In this webinar we’ll explore the rich histories of prominent newspapers such as the Boston Herald, New York Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Springfield Republican, Trenton Evening Times, Washington Evening Star and others.

Newspaper Archives of the American South

Thursday, October 25 -- 1 to 2 pm EST

New Webinars: Historical Perspectives on the American South, West and Northeast

Remembering the “Mammy Memorial Movement”: Race and Controversy in the Press

LC-Mary-Allen-Watson-15-June-1866-193x300Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling book and film, The Help, brought to life a familiar caricature of African American women, the American “mammy.” Depicted as good humored, overweight, middle-aged, unquestionably loyal and opinionated, the mammy was an important figure in the lives of those white Southern children for whom she was the primary caregiver. In the early part of the 20th century, nostalgia for the lifestyle of the antebellum South, and particularly for the “mammy,” led to the “Mammy memorial movement,” a call for monuments commemorating the archetype throughout the South. Although largely forgotten now, proposals for “Mammy” monuments were covered and debated extensively in newspapers across the nation. Supporters saw the “Mammy” as a figure uniting both African American and white by bonds of affection and unconditional love. In their eyes, the statue was a figure that could help heal the wounds of the Civil War. The statue was often described as “a racial peace monument.”1 Opponents saw the “Mammy memorial movement” as a sentimental recollection that allowed the history of the South to be falsely romanticized and the proposed statue itself as perpetuating a racial stereotype aimed to keep African Americans in low-status occupations. Romantic sentiment for the figure of the “mammy” can be seen in this early poem, published in the Washington (D.C.) Bee in 1910. 

mammy5-376x1024_0.jpg

Remembering the “Mammy Memorial Movement”: Race and Controversy in the Press

Hitler’s Secret Mistress

Eva Braun (1912-1945)

In his recent review of Heike Görtemaker’s new book Eva Braun: Life with Hitler (New York Review of Books, Vol. 59, No. 7, Apr. 26, 2012), British historian Antony Beevor writes:
Although the American press had strong inklings of Hitler’s relationship with Eva Braun as early as May 1939, in Germany only Hitler’s intimate circle knew of her existence. (p. 26)

Springfield Daily Republican (Dec. 31, 1937). Source: American Newspaper Archives.

Hitler’s Secret Mistress

Freedom of Movement: The Shocking Life of Isadora Duncan

Isadora Duncan (May 27, 1877 - September 14, 1927). Image from America's Historical Newspapers

Isadora Duncan was dance-struck as a young child in San Francisco. By the time she was six, she was teaching neighborhood children how to move like ocean waves. The strict rules of ballet and conventions of the music hall never held her interest. Indeed, throughout her life as a dancer and teacher, she rebelled against the forms and costumes of traditional dance, preferring movements based on nature and emotion. In 1895, still a teenager, she moved to Chicago and joined the Augustin Daly Company, touring from the Midwest to New York to London. While in London, she also danced solo performances at society events.

Freedom of Movement: The Shocking Life of Isadora Duncan

The Vermilion Bridge: One of the World’s Most Admired Human Achievements

May 27, 2012, is the 75th anniversary of the opening celebrations of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. When it opened, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.  It spanned the mile-wide strait entering San Francisco Bay, a feat that had been dreamed of, and deemed impossible, for a century.  On May 27, 1937, over 200,000 pedestrians streamed over the bridge in a festive display of wonder and enthusiasm.

Dallas Morning News (May 28, 1937)

The Vermilion Bridge: One of the World’s Most Admired Human Achievements

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