Augusta Chronicle


Ford Fiasco: Tracking the Rise and Fall of the Edsel in American Newspaper Archives

 By Bruce D. Roberts, creator of Edsel Promo Time

Automotive sales tracker R. L. Polk & Co. recently announced that the Ford Focus was the best-selling passenger car in the world in 2012.  Impressive!

By contrast, Ford Motor Company’s ill-fated Edsel, sold for the 1958-1960 model years, is a dark icon of product failure even today.  Ford sunk $250 million into Edsel development; what on earth went wrong?

In 1948, Henry Ford II, Ford’s president and son of previous Ford president Edsel Ford, formed a committee to look into the viability of a new car in the expanding medium-priced segment of the automotive market.  General Motors, by far the largest of the Big Three auto makers, had Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick as entries in the medium-priced field, while Chrysler Corporation had Dodge, De Soto, and Chrysler.  Ford had only Mercury.

Ford Fiasco: Tracking the Rise and Fall of the Edsel in American Newspaper Archives

The First New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: A Look Back Using American Newspaper Archives

People associate many things with New Orleans—Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, Cajun food, and great jazz—just to name a few. So, could there be a better place in America to have an annual music festival? Between April 26 and May 5, 2013, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will again give fans a rich taste of not only jazz and related music genres, but also Louisiana food, crafts, and culture.

As seen in the newspaper article below, the first New Orleans Jazz Fest took place in April 1970. The list of 200 performers included Mahalia Jackson, Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, Duke Ellington, and the Preservation Hall Band. The producer was George Wein, creator of the Newport (Rhode Island) Jazz Festival. Wein said, "Newport was manufactured but New Orleans is the real thing." 

From the Times-Picayune (Feb. 21, 1970)

Tickets were reasonably priced, as one can see by this festival advertisement.    

The First New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: A Look Back Using American Newspaper Archives

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

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

The World’s Greatest Aviator: Daredevil Lincoln Beachey and the Dip of Death

Lincoln J. Beachey (March 3, 1887 – March 14, 1915)

In the early 20th century, aviator Lincoln Beachey and his Curtis biplane amazed and delighted crowds with the “Dip of Death” and his mastery of “looping the loop.” Or by daring to fly upside down, which on one occasion shook $300 from his pocket and led him to quip,
I am willing to take a chance of losing my life flying upside down but it’s certainly tough to be torn loose from my bank roll, too.1
A groundbreaking aviator and breathtaking stuntman, he could boast of having performed for over 20 million spectators, or about one fifth of the U.S. population at the time. Yet 100 years later his name is largely unknown.

Source: Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Press; Jan. 30, 1914. Click open full article in PDF.

The World’s Greatest Aviator: Daredevil Lincoln Beachey and the Dip of Death

A Sports Legend and His Dream: Bobby Jones, the Augusta National Golf Club and the Birth of the Masters

Bobby Jones entered the Roaring Twenties still the teenage prodigy who had first come to the public's attention when he qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship at the age of 14. By the end of the 1920s, Jones was firmly established as a major star. The only golfer considered one of the true icons of the Golden Age of Sports, Bobby Jones stood alongside Babe Ruth, Red Grange, Jack Dempsey and Bill Tilden as giants in the public eye.
A Sports Legend and His Dream: Bobby Jones, the Augusta National Golf Club and the Birth of the Masters

The Bomarc Missile Plutonium Spill Crisis: Exercises in Propaganda and Containment in 1960 and Beyond

According to the Boeing Corporation’s history of its Bomarc missile,

Source: Boeing.com

The Bomarc Missile Plutonium Spill Crisis: Exercises in Propaganda and Containment in 1960 and Beyond

Easy Access to Historically Significant U.S. Newspapers

A wide selection of diverse titles reveals local, regional and national history Dozens of significant titles from more than 40 states are available individually as a part of America’s Historical Newspapers. These American Newspaper Archives, many spanning two centuries, provide valuable perspectives and reporting on crucial conflicts from the Civil War to World War I to the Gulf War; movements ranging from women’s suffrage to civil rights; noteworthy citizens; local events; natural disasters; political campaigns; and much more. Featured titles:
Easy Access to Historically Significant U.S. Newspapers

The End of an Era: The Final Voyage of Space Shuttle Discovery

The 1988 return to flight launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery (Source: NASA Images)

The highly anticipated launch of space shuttle Discovery later this month will mark the beginning of an end. The United States’ era of launching manned space vehicles is almost over, or, at least, nearing a lengthy pause.  Following the final Discovery launch, only one remaining shuttle mission is planned. After that, government funding looks likely—but not definite—for one more launch.  Once the space shuttles are retired, the U.S. will relinquish its position as one of three countries with manned flight capability; only China and Russia will continue to have the capability to launch manned space vehicles.  The shuttle program kicked off a novel concept in space flight: reusable space vehicles. No longer would single-use rockets carry man and machinery into the final frontier. Instead, a craft capable of take off (albeit propelled by external fuel tanks), maneuverability in space, and re-entry and landing would revolutionize the industry. 

The End of an Era: The Final Voyage of Space Shuttle Discovery

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