Forget the turkey …
… but don’t forget the celery.
Forget the turkey …
… but don’t forget the celery.
Doing some research in Special Collections here in UT’s Hodges Library yesterday and came across this little gem – an assignment book from the Knoxville Journal & Tribune, 1911. The book gives a day-by-day snapshot of the year’s stories and the reporters assigned to them.
Below is a copy of two pages from exactly 102 years ago this week. The handwriting is a little hard to read but once deciphered, reveals tidbits of local goings-on. (Handwriting hint: the writer places a dash above an ‘n’ and a dash below a ‘u’.)
Each page in the assignment book was divided into “Stories to be in today” and “Look up today.” On October 5, 1911, the editor was expecting a review of Oscar Straus’ 1908 opera “The Chocolate Soldier” which was playing at Staub’s Opera House. Reporter Anderson was given the bulk of stories to look up that day including Ft. Sanders Ladies Aid Society, St John’s orphanage board, and a day nursery meeting.
Unsurprisingly, one of the assignments for Friday is “Football Saturday.” Friday also saw a visit from Congressman Oscar Underwood (House Majority Leader), with the note, “Get interview.”
Click on the image for a larger version.
Ahead of the temporary shutdown of the federal government, the Library alerted patrons that Library websites, except the legislative information sites THOMAS.gov and beta.congress.gov, would be inaccessible in the event of a shutdown.
The Library has restored access to all sites in addition to our legislative information sites. Other legislative branch agencies, and many executive branch agencies with information functions similar to the Library, are granting public access as well.
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The Library of Congress issued the following advisory today. Unfortunately, this includes the Chronicling America website.
The advisory is as follows:
In the event of a temporary shutdown of the federal government, beginning Tuesday, October 1, all Library of Congress buildings will close to the public and researchers.
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Now, I don’t know if Frank was ever a newsboy when he was growing up in Hoboken, N.J., but for the two and half minutes of this catchy tune, he was a Tennessee Newsboy!
Tennessee Newsboy (The Newsboy Blues) was released on Columbia Records in 1952. Writing credit goes to Dick Manning and Percy Faith.
Chronicling America was updated last week and now contains over 6.6 million pages from more than 1,000 titles published between 1836 and 1922 in 30 states. This latest update includes titles from new awardees West Virginia, Michigan, and Iowa.
A further 27,400 pages of Tennessee newspapers have been made available in this update, bringing our overall total to just over 126,000 pages. The following titles were added:
Union and American [Greeneville], 1875-1877; Herald and Tribune [Jonesborough], 1869-1897; Union Flag [Jonesborough], 1865-1869; Memphis Daily Appeal, 1877-1885; Public Ledger [Memphis], 1875-1883; Sweetwater Forerunner, 1868-1869; Sweetwater Enterprise, 1869-1872; Weekly Herald [Cleveland], 1876- 1881; Winchester Daily Bulletin, 1862-1863; Winchester Home Journal (and its many title variations), 1857-1882.A list of all Tennessee newspapers currently available on Chronicling America can be found here.
Whenever you spot a typographical error in TNDP’s 19th century newspapers, spare a thought for the compositors who laboriously composed the text by hand. Until the introduction of the linotype machine to the US in the 1880s (more on that later), newspaper text had to be pieced together one letter at a time. As if that wasn’t painstaking enough, the letter on each tiny block was reversed and the text had to be compiled upside down, with the beginning of the text at the bottom. Confused?! No wonder so many b’s and d’s appear as p’s and q’s in those old papers. Blocks of text were created and locked into position. These blocks were then fitted together to form the page.If that whole process wasn’t tedious enough, imagine being the poor soul who had to dismantle it all after printing was complete, and return each letter to the correct case and section.
Although manual typesetting hasn’t been in general use for over a century, several phrases still used in everyday speech have their roots in the printing process. These include:
Stereotype and cliché – to printers, both these words referred to “a solid plate of type-metal, cast from a papier-mâché or plaster mould taken from the surface of a forme of type.” (OED)
Upper/lower case letters – capital letters were stored in the upper case and small letters in the lower case (see photo below).
For more printers’ vocabulary, take a look at this wonderful book, available at the Internet Archive: The Printers’ Vocabulary; a collection of some 2500 technical terms, phrases, abbreviations and other expressions mostly relating to letterpress printing, many of which have been in use since the time of Caxton (1888)
What better way to begin this series than with one of my all-time favourite jazz musicians:
King of the Vibes, aka Hamp, aka ……. Lionel Hampton!
Hamp was not only king of the vibes, he was master of many instruments and had an extensive knowledge of music. He attributed this to his time in the Chicago Defender Newsboys’ Band. “I got my music training from the Defender. [...] The paper had a newsboys band when I was a kid growing up in Chicago, and if I know anything about music, I learned it because of the Defender.”
Hampton recalls hearing the sounds of band music emanating from opera star Mme. Ernestine Schumann-Heink’s house every day on his way home from school. “I was so anxious to join that band that I got a job selling newspapers right away.”
Robert Sengstacke Abbott, founder of the Defender, hired Major N. Clark Smith–a strict disciplinarian–to form a band for the newsboys and teach them music. They used Schumann-Heink’s large house for band practice. Hamp remembered, “[Major Clark Smith] was a hard taskmaster, but we learned music. If you wanted to play under his direction, you had to learn harmony and sight reading before you’d even get your instrument. We studied every day after school. The major wouldn’t put up with loafers.”
Thanks to the Defender and Major N. Clark Smith, a young newsboy went on to create a remarkable jazz legacy. No word on Hamp’s newspaper sales though.
In the meantime, take a look at the Library of Congress’ extensive collection of photographs of newsies, many taken by the photographer Lewis Hines for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC). They can be accessed online here. Several books and many newspaper articles have been written about these young workers, who were also the subject of a WPA project, and Disney even made a musical about them, [No comment - Ed.] and subsequently a Broadway musical.
Here’s a neat nocturnal photograph of the State Capitol Building in Nashville, taken in 1903. The photo appeared in Rutledge Smith’s “Tennessee Topics” column in the Bolivar Bulletin. The writer provides some history about the “State’s most perfect building, from an architectural standpoint” and boasts of the building’s nocturnal beauty in particular. “The building, which is Grecian in its architecture, has on all its exterior lines myriads of incandescent lights, around the caves, on the cornice and reaching to the top of the dome, and is lighted every evening until ten o’clock by the city of Nashville. From the city and surrounding country this brilliant illumination presents a most beautiful appearance.”
A number of things interest me about the appearance of this photo in this newspaper. Firstly, electric lighting was still a relatively new technology* so it’s interesting to see it being used somewhat creatively here. It must have been costly, hence the 10 o’clock lights out! Secondly, the limitations of contemporary photographic processes would have made nocturnal photography very difficult. I’m going to try to find out more about the photograph, such as who took it and why. If I find anything, I’ll post it on this blog. And lastly, the appearance of any photograph in a newspaper (especially a rural Tennessee paper) was not terribly common then. The process of converting a photograph into a newspaper printable image was still being refined. Larger city’s presses would usually print two or three photographs per issue at this time, usually portraits. The ability to reproduce a halftone photograph on a printing press running at full speed had been around only a few years when this image was printed.
This issue of the Bolivar Bulletin has been digitized as part of the TNDP and will be available on Chronicling America later this year. Earlier issues of the paper are currently available here.
* Nashville got its first electric lights in 1882, but technology moved a lot slower in those days.