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Category: Digitized Newspapers

The Bones of Thomas Paine

Posted by: Heather Thomas

They dug up the body in the dead of night. Men armed with shovels and pickaxes extracted the coffin and fled into the October darkness. Authorities gave chase until the body snatchers’ wagon raced over King’s Bridge and into Manhattan. Thus began the saga of the remains of Thomas Paine. At the end of the …

A child carrying a bundle of newspapers in one hand, the other arm held high with a copy of the Anchorage Daily Times, the headline reading

Gladys Pyle: American Trailblazer & “Ultra Modern” Woman

Posted by: Megan Halsband

This is a guest post by Valerie Haeder, a reference librarian in the Serial and Government Publications Division. South Dakota’s Gladys Pyle was the first woman elected to the South Dakota House and South Dakota’s first female U.S. Senator.  But she wouldn’t have cared about such distinctions as much as she did about getting things …

A photo of a young woman is highlighted with rays of light coming from behind the image. The rays of light continue behind text to the left of the young woman.

Radium Girls: Living Dead Women

Posted by: Arlene Balkansky

Catherine Wolfe Donohue is not a well-known name, but in the late 1930s newspapers featured her as she lay dying. She was among the women who painted luminous numbers on watch, clock, and instrument dials using radium-laced paint in factories in New Jersey, Illinois, and Connecticut. Dubbed “Radium Girls” and “Living Dead,” they suffered radium …

Sissieretta Jones: World-Famous Black Soprano

Posted by: Heather Thomas

Sissieretta Jones sang for kings, presidents, and to audiences around the world, becoming the highest paid African-American entertainer of the late 19th century. She headlined at Carnegie Hall and was hailed as one of the greatest sopranos of her time, yet she never performed on the operatic stage. She was born Matilda Sissieretta Joyner in …

A child carrying a bundle of newspapers in one hand, the other arm held high with a copy of the Anchorage Daily Times, the headline reading

His Superfluous Excellency: Tales of the Vice Presidency

Posted by: Arlene Balkansky

This is a guest post by Valerie Haeder, a reference librarian in the Serial and Government Publications Division. A handful of presidents are remembered for their greatness, but most are relegated to the footnotes of history. Even fewer vice presidents have achieved fame and favor, with one—Vice President John Nance Garner who served under Franklin …

A child carrying a bundle of newspapers in one hand, the other arm held high with a copy of the Anchorage Daily Times, the headline reading

Harlem Hell Fighters: African-American Troops in World War I

Posted by: Arlene Balkansky

One hundred years ago, on February 17, 1919, the African-American 369th Infantry Regiment, popularly known as the Harlem Hell Fighters, marched up Fifth Avenue into Harlem in a massive victory parade in their honor. “Hell Fighters” was the nickname the German enemy gave the 369th and the name stuck for good reason. They were among the …

A child carrying a bundle of newspapers in one hand, the other arm held high with a copy of the Anchorage Daily Times, the headline reading

Hello Girls Answer Uncle Sam’s Call

Posted by: Amber Paranick

Coined as the Hello Girls as early as the late 19th century, female telephone switchboard operators were widely known as having gentle and polite voices regardless of demanding and impatient callers. During World War I, French-speaking Hello Girls were enlisted to improve wartime communication, transmitting crucial information over a battlefield phone system to troops on …

The Unsolved Mystery of Aaron Burr’s Daughter

Posted by: Heather Thomas

Theodosia Burr Alston, the beloved daughter of disgraced vice president Aaron Burr, left the port of Georgetown, South Carolina on the schooner Patriot in 1812 and was never seen again. Throughout the 19th century, newspapers titillated readers with lurid stories of her alleged fate, including captivity, murder, and deathbed confessions of former pirates. Yet her …

A child carrying a bundle of newspapers in one hand, the other arm held high with a copy of the Anchorage Daily Times, the headline reading

The League of Nations: Conflicting Opinions in Editorial Cartoons

Posted by: Arlene Balkansky

One hundred years ago, on January 25, 1919, the delegates to the Paris Peace Conference approved a proposal to create the League of Nations. Nearly a year later, on January 16, 1920, the League held its first meeting with its stated principal mission of maintaining world peace. American newspapers presented conflicting views of the League …