As many of you may or may not remember, one of my very first jobs while working for the state (and the one that has caused me an untold amount of grief some 17 years later as it applies for retirement purposes) was at the CT State Library. The short version is that I worked in a sub-dept called the CT Newspaper Project, which catalogued and preserved old CT based newspapers. The long version can be explored at the tag Library.
Anyways, one of the things that I did for the 5+ years that I was in that department, was to photocopy stories and adverts. Some were funny, some were poignant, some were somewhere in between, but all were fantastic snapshots in American and World history during the time period of the 18th thru the 20th century.
By the time I had left the library. I had four huge folders (I mean these bad boys were the kind of folders that you have to special order from a library/archive catalogue) of all kinds minutia and ephemera from all kinds of newspapers, as well as a few more old timey e-mails. I also had a few copies of old newspapers as well. But during the proceeding five years after I had left the library, one of the folders disappeared.
Vanished. Rode off into the sunset. Followed Ambrose Bierce into the badlands of Mexico.
This was no ordinary folder. This one contained all kinds of photocopies that actually created long running conversations (like up to 6 years worth) with my co-workers. This contained fantastic examples of how advertising had evolved from the 19th century to the 20th century, how newspaper reporting evolved (example: nowadays, almost all news organizations will not name the victim of rape unless the victim themselves had decided to identify themselves to the public. Back then, they were named) and what was shown on the front pages then as opposed to now (exception is NY Post and Daily News).
I was crushed to say the least. I figured it was gone to the compost heap, courtesy of mother dearest who has a tendency to pitch things out while not asking while cleaning.
But, this past weekend, a pleasant surprise in the middle of household aggravation was to be had.
While I was checking out a suspicious puddle of water on the basement floor (turned out it came from the cellar hatchway) I discovered a box full of personal schtuff. On the top inside this box of personal schtuff, was my missing folder.
Ecstatic over this find, I spent about an hour going through every single document and photograph that was in the folder. Ultimately, I decided that I was going to share a batch of at least a baker's dozen of newspaper stories and adverts with you the reader.
Because, believe or not, not only is there a treasure trove of information contained in those clippings, but there is a wealth of non-factoid (real concrete facts that can be easily verified) information in my head that desperately needs to be tapped with a spigot, so that I can readily share another amazing facet of my life:
My absolute love of American history and pop culture.
So my friends, in the coming weeks and months, not only will I be sharing my vast knowledge of arcane minutia that is the American newspaper but I'll be sharing a few nuggets of pop culture and personal minutia along the way as well.
To tweak an old cliche: I have a brain, and I ain't afraid to use it.