Santa in Sequatchie Valley, 1909

Santa delivering presents from a bi-plane

Sequachee Valley News. December 23, 1909.

In 1909, the Whitwell Drug Company (Marion County) was right on trend with this wonderful aviation-themed ad showing Santa delivering presents from an aircraft closely resembling the Wright brothers’ Kitty Hawk.

Click on the ad to see a list of gifts on offer for various members of the family.

Found Film – Horace V. Wells, Clinton Courier-News, 1968

A friend recently found a 16mm film reel at an estate sale. There was only a very small amount of film on the reel, and there were no labels or other identification.

Once the film was digitized, it was found to be a celebration of Horace V. Wells’ 35th anniversary at the Clinton Courier-News in 1968!

Wells founded the Clinton Courier in 1933. According to his entry in the Tennessee Newspaper Hall of Fame, Wells was a “a legend in Tennessee journalism, and he stood as a bulwark against injustice, tyranny and abuse of the less fortunate.” In 1941, Wells served as Tennessee Press Association president, and in 1976 he became the TPA Foundation’s inaugural president. In 1957, Wells received several awards for his editorial stance during the desegregation crisis. The award presented by the National Editorial Association was given “in recognition of his unsurpassed example in upholding the dignity of human rights and his fearless leadership in support of constitutional government.”

The footage is only 45 seconds long but it gives us a neat little snapshot of some of the newspapering people of the time. If you recognize anyone in the clip, please let us know.

Thanks to the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound for sharing this clip.

Horace Wells 1968 from TAMIS on Vimeo.

Notable Newsies Series – No.5

Newsboy acts in "Jimmy's Princess"

Seattle Star. September 16, 1913.

Long before the Disney movie Newsies (1992) and the subsequent Broadway musical, there was a real-life newsie acting in the movies – George L. Morgan. This illustrated article is from the Seattle Star in Chronicling America.

As the article explains, in 1913, Morgan – a 13 year old newsboy – took the leading role in Jimmy’s Princess, which featured players from “the first motion picture company composed exclusively of children.” Sadly, the film is long since lost.

However, I did discover another newspapering connection! The article notes that Morgan was the grandnephew of Rev. George Lorimer, “who was at one time a well-known actor.” Lorimer was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and travelled to London at a young age where he reportedly assisted his stepfather, a stage manager at the Theatre Royal, and it was here that he began acting. Lorimer moved to the US in 1856, with the hope of furthering his acting career. Instead, after graduating from Georgetown College, Kentucky, he ordained as a Baptist pastor and dedicated his life to serving the Baptist church, and writing. Lorimer  married Belle Burford and they had one daughter, Edith, and one son, George Horace Lorimer. And this is where the newspapering connection comes in …

George Horace Lorimer was a journalist, author and “one of America’s most important editorial figures.”* In 1898, Lorimer went from being a reporter on the Boston Post to literary editor at the Saturday Evening Post, but within weeks was appointed editor-in-chief of the then small, obscure publication. Over the next couple of decades, Lorimer took the circulation of the Saturday Evening Post from 1,800 to over 1 million. Under his editorship, the magazine published stories and essays by many popular writers. In 1903, for example, the Post published a serialized version of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. Lorimer was aslo responsible for hiring then-unknown artist Norman Rockwell as an illustrator. Rockwell’s work, and association with the publication, is now legendary.

I wonder if Lorimer ever saw his nephew’s cinematic appearance in Jimmy’s Princess?

* From George Horace Lorimer’s obituary in Time, November 1937, Vol. 30, No.18, p66.

Halloween in the (Old) News

Halloween costume ideas

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger. October 31, 1914.

Looking for a last-minute Halloween costume idea? Check out the Philadelphia Public Ledger from 100 years ago! (click on image above)

For more newspaper features about old Halloween customs, visit the Library of Congress Topics in Chronicling America page. Read all about the holiday’s old traditions, such as rituals carried out by young ladies in the hope of revealing the face of their future husband:

Halloween walnut tree

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger. October 31, 2014.

Halloween superstition

Washington Times. October 22, 1899.

Disclaimer: we cannot be held responsible for any bodily harm you may come to if you seriously decide to attempt this nonsense!

TNDP Brown Bag, Wed Oct 29

Learn Telegraphy ad

Columbia Herald. February 13, 1891.

Join Louisa Trott, TNDP Project Coordinator, for a FREE Brown Bag lecture at the East Tennessee History Center this Wednesday: From Rags to Pixels: East Tennessee’s Newspapers from the 19th Century to Digitization.
Louisa will talk about the Tennessee Newspaper Digitization Project and share some of the intriguing stories found in East Tennessee’s 19th century newspapers.
Wednesday Oct 29 – noon
East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay Street, Knoxville

Don’t Make Me Laugh!

More often than not, jokes in 19th century newspapers leave modern readers scratching their heads rather than splitting their sides.

The Victorian Meme Machine is a new project that will attempt to entice a 21st century audience into seeing the funny side of Victorian humor.

Victorian Meme Machine logo

Victorian Meme Machine logo

“A collaboration between the British Library Labs and Dr Bob Nicholson (Edge Hill University), the project will create an extensive database of Victorian jokes and then experiment with ways to recirculate them out over social media.” Source: British Library’s Digital Scholarship blog

Sounds like a laugh? Find an introduction to the project here or watch this video presentation.

This is a wonderful example of how digitized newspapers are being used for data mining. I’d love to hear from anyone with ideas for data mining Tennessee’s digitized newspapers!

Thanks to our friend Jenni Salamon of the Ohio Digital Newspaper Program for telling us about this project.


Walter Pulliam – Tennessee Newspaperman


Source: The Tennessee Press (official publication of the Tennessee Press Association). September 2014.

As you can see from the article and photos above, I recently had the honor of meeting a man whose contribution to the world of newspapers and journalism is widely recognized not only in his home state of Tennessee but far beyond. Walter’s story is, thankfully, well-documented—a quick internet search will return several nice articles about him (for example, here)—so I won’t take up space re-writing it. I just wanted to share this article here as I think it’s a great image of our newspaper future learning from our newspaper past, and vice versa. I loved listening to Walter’s stories about his reporting assignments during World War II (he interviewed Tito in Yugoslavia!), his time at the Washington Post, and his ownership of the Harriman Record. The visit also gave me a chance to tell Walter a little about the newspaper digitization project.

Thanks to Greg Sherrill (TPA Executive Director and TNDP Advisory Board member) for arranging this visit.

Library of Congress websites offline, Aug 22-24

Chronicling America homepage interference

The Library of Congress’s websites–including Chronicling America–will be temporarily offline this weekend. Please see the announcement below:

Websites Down Aug. 22-24, 2014

The Library’s public websites (, & others) will be unavailable from 7 p.m. ET, Friday, Aug. 22 through Sunday, Aug. 24.

The website will be available over the weekend of August 22-24. Data will be current through Thursday, August 21, and updates will resume on Monday, August 25.

On Saturday, Aug. 23, all reading rooms and research areas, Library Shop, Madison and Adams buildings will be closed to the public.

The Thomas Jefferson Building’s Great Hall and exhibitions will be open to the public from 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 23. No food service will be available throughout the day, however the vending lounge in the Thomas Jefferson Building cellar will be open.

The Architect of the Capitol will be conducting essential maintenance on the Capitol Hill campus from Friday, Aug. 22, through Sunday, Aug. 24, resulting in power outages that will require these closings.

# # #

PR 14-A03
ISSN 0731-3527