Dead outlaw, will travel. In life, Elmer McCurdy was a hard-drinking drifter. In death, he crisscrossed the country touring the carnival circuit, hit the Hollywood scene, and even made it to TV! The bizarre tale of Elmer’s journey from varmint to traveling corpse started in Oklahoma when he and his gang of bandits robbed the […]
How could my thoughts not turn to baseball on the day of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game? Plus it’s being played right here in Washington, DC. Plus it’s only a couple weeks after the opening of Baseball Americana, the major exhibit at the Library of Congress. My thoughts often turn to comics and newspapers […]
Elsie de Wolfe was an interior decorator before there was such a thing. And if she wasn’t making headlines for covering 18th century footstools in leopard print, she was in the newspapers for her eccentric blue hair, her affinity for small dogs (see here, here, and here), and unique preferences for physical fitness. Born in New […]
Lost limbs and fingers, burns, blinding explosions, lockjaw and death. In the early 1900s, fireworks had not yet been perfected. Dangerous concoctions of explosives were used as an exciting way to celebrate our country’s independence, but the price was steep. Giant firecrackers, cannon fire, firearms, and rockets were just some of the loud and bright, […]
It takes a thief to catch a thief. That was how imprisoned mob boss Al Capone proposed to bring the kidnapped Lindbergh baby home safely. On March 2, 1932, from his cell in Cook County Jail in Chicago, one day after the son of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh had been kidnapped, “Scarface” Al Capone offered […]
“The significance of this cannot be overstated. It is a new thing in our history” proclaimed President Wilson about the Selective Service Act passed May 18, 1917.
What are you afraid of? “Subways!” Mabel Stark, renowned Bengal tiger trainer, told the New-York Tribune in 1922. “Trains roaring through the tunnel terrify me more than any beast I’ve ever met,” she said. Following a nervous breakdown, the former nurse sought a “simpler & easier” profession: training wild jungle cats for the big top. […]
Before comic books, people read comics in their local newspapers such as Little Nemo, Mutt and Jeff, and the Yellow Kid. Read more about these early comics in the collections of the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room.
Why do we commoners get a kick out of royal weddings? Maybe it’s the garb: brides in white silk with laced veils, grooms decked out in full military dress. Or the pomp and circumstance: ancient rituals, gilded carriages, thousands of cheering spectators. Or it could be the simple desire to watch a fairy tale turn […]
Before she became our First Lady, Jacqueline Bouvier wrote for the Washington Times Herald newspaper as the “Inquiring Camera Girl,” asking questions of the public and publishing their photographs and opinions.