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10 Stories: Cat Tales! Chronicling America

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In celebration of the release of the 10 millionth page of Chronicling America, our free, online searchable database of historical U.S. newspapers, the reference librarians in our Serials & Government Publications Division have selected some interesting subjects and articles. We’ll be sharing them in a series of Throwback Thursday #TBT blog posts during the next few weeks.

Today we not only celebrate our 10 millionth page of Chronicling America, but we honor the patron saint of the Internet, the humble feline. You think people are obsessed with cat videos today? Here are 10 high-profile newspaper stories concerning the not-so-common house cat.

Illustration of two cats from Washington Evening Star, 9/5/1907
From “In Praise of Cats,” illustration by Elizabeth F. Bonsall, Washington Evening Star, Sept. 15, 1907.

Science Explains Why the Cat Comes Back
Though not exactly like a homing pigeon, you may – or may not – rely on your cat to return, said the Washington Times on Oct. 1, 1922.

Cat Saves Lives of Nine Sailors
A hero cat leads the way to safety when a boat founders out of Firth of Fourth, Scotland, as reported the Klamath Falls (Ore.) Evening Herald of April 2, 1920.

Shall We Kill Every Cat in U.S.?
Horrors! But two sides got equal time in the Bisbee (Ariz.) Daily Review of Nov. 27, 1921.

Your Cat Will Come Back in Furs
An unpleasant speculation upon the fate of cats made homeless in the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, from the San Francisco Call of July 22, 1906.

Cat Succeeds Monkey in New York Society
A much finer fate awaited the urban felines highlighted in the Odgen City (Utah) Standard of Sept. 18, 1915. But the poor monkey!

Pets of British Sailors on the H.M.S. Lenox
Here the cat and the monkey lived together in harmony. “During the recent naval fight the cat stayed on deck, but the monkey hid in a fish kettle,” said the Washington Evening Star on Dec. 10, 1914.

Ed Is a Highbrow Tabby
Here at the Library we appreciate Ed, who enjoyed a good read, according to the Free Trader Journal and Ottawa (Ill.) Fair Dealer on June 16, 1922.

Pacific Cat Exhibition Brings Out Handsome Felines
The cartoonists got into the act with this comedic review in the San Francisco Call of August 31, 1900.

Cat Traces Ancestry to Middle Ages
An entry from the classic Chicago Day Book, July 4, 1912.

In Praise of Cats
Now we’re talking. Glowing prose from Agnes Repplier, sumptuous illustrations by Elizabeth F. Bonsall, in the Washington Evening Star of Sept. 15, 1907.

Launched by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2007, Chronicling America provides enhanced and permanent access to historically significant newspapers published in the United States between 1836 and 1922. It is part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a joint effort between the two agencies and partners in 40 states and territories. Start exploring the first draft of history today at and help us celebrate on Twitter and Facebook by sharing your findings and using the hashtags #ChronAm #10Million.


  1. Looking forward to reading these great finds!

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