Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tobacco and Beer for Warriors

I was saving this for September, when these articles and ads were published, as part of our ongoing series of looking at the news from one hundred years ago each month, but with the news in today’s Conway Daily Sun, (pages 10-11) I felt I had to share this now. In a remarkable coincidence, today’s paper echoes an effort to support the troops during World War One. 

This Saturday, April 15th, Cigar Shenanigans will honor veterans through a program where one can donate cigars and beer to our military while enjoying a good time yourself and doing good for others.

One hundred years ago, The Reporter was the local newspaper and the paper took it on itself to coordinate a tobacco fund.
The article below is from the front page of the September 13, 1917 Reporter newspaper.  

(Click on images to enlarge them).

This was part of of a larger effort by other groups such as local ladies sewing clubs, the Red Cross, YMCA, and libraries to give soldiers a taste of home.

We actually mentioned the World War One soldier support efforts at the Conway Historical Society’s program on World War One memorials last night. (in case you missed it we have two more programs and an exhibit coming up and the info from last night’s program will be posted online soon). You can learn more about those programs here and here.

The article is continued below (click on images to enlarge them).

On a related personal note, I was born and raised in the Tampa Bay area and one of our favorite places to go was Ybor City, which according to the Federal Government was the cigar capital of the world.

Way back we are related to the brewers of Cottrell Old Yankee Ale.  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

US Declares War on Germany One Hundred Years Ago Today

We will get to that, but let’s start with the front page of the local newspaper, The Reporter, published Thursday, April 5, 1917, the day before the United States declared war on Germany.

There were a number of topics covered on the front page, but nothing about the war raging in Europe. That was covered later inside the paper. Instead there was an article about the County officers taking their oath. It included a photograph of Arthur R. Shirley. We will hear more about him and his family later.

The public was invited to inspect the new North Conway Loan & Banking Co. This is now the Met Coffee House and a display space for the Mount Washington Valley Arts Association.

There was a small notice about a whist party held to raise funds for Belgian relief.  

There was an advertisement proclaiming the benefits of electricity over coal or wood.

There was a report on a masquerade ball held at the Masonic Hall, and a piano recital and other social events, but nothing about the war until page four.

On page four, we find some references to the war. After reporting on the health of A.C. Kennett, there was the news that Miss Marion Weston Cottle, a lawyer with offices in North Conway and Boston, offered to lead a cavalry regiment of women in case of war.

Page five had an article with the provacative headline “Danger from German Invasion” that explored the question of farmers in NH.

The North Conway Loan and Banking Co. was on the cover of the paper again in the next week’s edition on April 12. This time it included a photo

In this first issue since the declaration of war there were a number of notices for patriotic meetings, flag raising events, and a proclamation for a day of fasting.

Still no headline about the declaration itself,

In probably the longest and most detailed report about war preparations to date, (April 12, page 5) there was the news that New Hampshire College Professor W.C.O’Kane had been appointed to the state committee on the conservation of the food supply. He was to use his knowledge of “economic entomolgy” or applied study of insects to help insure adequate food for the war effort.

Who knew there was such a thing as “economic entomology?” This is in fact the same professor O’Kane mentioned in previous blog who embarked on a one hundred mile circuit in the White Mountains with Arthur Walden and his sled dog teams to study gypsy moths and their impact on the forest.

There was an article with the title, “Hurry-ups, Take Notice” warning that you can not marry to get out of your military obligation.

So there it is, all the news that’s fit to print from Conway’s local newspaper.

However, there were also many other dramatic and revolutionary movements going on at the same time not mentioned in The Reporter. 

One hundred years ago this month Marcel Duchamp created one of the most famous sculptures of all time. Hugo Ball presented Dada performances at the
Voltaire in Zurich Switzerland.

 Ironically, Lenin lived in exile close to the Cabaret Voltaire. The current issue of the Smithsonian magazine, details the triumphant return train trip Lenin took back to Russia to take power.  

As we mentioned in a previous blog about the news from March 1917, Russian Czar Nicholas II abdicated his throne on March 15. The Reporter published the following editorial on March 22, “The world has made history fast the past week. The revolution in Russia, changing a dynasty of over 300 years existence to practically a republic was done in the twinkling of an eye, so to speak, and that without any bloodshed practically. It is a dream long held by the mass of the Russian poulace come true. And it is a conceded fact that if the people had had the reigns of government the past ten years or more in some of those central European countries there would have been no such barbarous war as the one now being waged. Germany is trembling in the balance lest the Russian revolution spread to the Kaiser’s domain. Let is come - the sooner the better. And when it does come the end of the war will come quick.”

Well it did come, and soon, but was it for the best? and did it help end the war quick?
Stay tuned as we look at the news from one hundred years ago again next month. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

One Hundred Years Ago March 1917

This ad for the “Smithsonian Truss” appeared throughout the month of March one hundred years ago. Used in the treatment of hernias, it was available for sale at Stone the Druggist, located across from Kennett High School. While the Food and Drug Act had been instituted eleven years before, the Reporter newspaper published a wide number of ads for kidney pills, worm pills, and various other remedies that were basically “snake oil” medicines. 

Some of the local news that later had an important international impact included an interesting article about a tour of the White Mountains with dog teams. The Great Chinook, lead dog for Byrd’s expedition to the South Pole twelve years later, was born January 17, 1917 and would not have been ready to pull in March. Chinooks are now New Hampshire’s State dog.

One interesting notice brings to mind, an important, now obsolete job, when all the movies were silent “Miss Hazel Justason has been engaged by the motion picture house at Brownfield, and furnishes the music every Saturday evening.”

Other local news included, “Dr. Wiggin returned Saturday from Boston. We understand that Chester has a new auto” and “Conway Electric Light and Power Company have about completed the change in the street wires made necessary by the extension of the system to Chocorua.”
There was still very little reporting about the war raging in Europe. There were no reports on key battles in Baghdad, Samarrah, and Gaza that occurred this month one hundred years ago. 

There was however, a strongly worded editorial about the famous “Zimmerman telegraph” that had been sent on January 16.  

The following is from the National Archives website:

Between 1914 and the spring of 1917, the European nations engaged in a conflict that became known as World War I. While armies moved across the face of Europe, the United States remained neutral. In 1916 Woodrow Wilson was elected President for a second term, largely because of the slogan "He kept us out of war." Events in early 1917 would change that hope. In frustration over the effective British naval blockade, in February Germany broke its pledge to limit submarine warfare. In response to the breaking of the Sussex pledge, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Germany.

In January of 1917, British cryptographers deciphered a telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German Minister to Mexico, von Eckhardt, offering United States territory to Mexico in return for joining the German cause. This message helped draw the United States into the war and thus changed the course of history. The telegram had such an impact on American opinion that, according to David Kahn, author of The Codebreakers, "No other single cryptanalysis has had such enormous consequences." It is his opinion that "never before or since has so much turned upon the solution of a secret message." In an effort to protect their intelligence from detection and to capitalize on growing anti-German sentiment in the United States, the British waited until February 24 to present the telegram to Woodrow Wilson. The American press published news of the telegram on March 1. On April 6, 1917, the United States Congress formally declared war on Germany and its allies.

On March 15 In Russian Czar Nicholas II abdicated his throne. On March 22 the following was included in the editorial column”  

The world has made history fast the past week. The revolution in Russia, changing a dynasty of over 300 years existence to practically a republic was done in the twinkling of an eye, so to speak, and that without any bloodshed practically. It is a dream long held by the mass of the Russian poulace come true.

And it is a conceded fact that if the people had had the reigns of government the past ten years or more in some of those central European countries there would have been no such barbarous war as the one now being waged. Germany is trembling in the balance lest the Russian revolution spread to the Kaiser’s domain. Let is come - the sooner the better. And when it does come the end of the war will come quick. 

This kind of attitude lead to the passing of the so called "military bill."

Again, the National Archives website helps explain the developing process.

On May 18, 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed authorizing the President to increase temporarily the military establishment of the United States. The Selective Service System, under the office of the Provost Marshal General, was responsible for the process of selecting men for induction into the military service, from the initial registration to the actual delivery of men to military training camps.

During World War I there were three registrations. The first, on June 5, 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31. The second, on June 5, 1918, registered those who attained age 21 after June 5, 1917. (A supplemental registration was held on August 24, 1918, for those becoming 21 years old after June 5, 1918. This was included in the second registration). The third registration was held on September 12, 1918, for men age 18 through 45.

The information included on each registration differs somewhat but the general information shown includes order and serial numbers (assigned by the Selective Service System), full name, date and place of birth, race, citizenship, occupation, personal description, and signature.
The registration cards consist of approximately 24,000,000 cards of men who registered for the draft, (about 23% of the population in 1918). It is important to note that not all of the men who registered for the draft actually served in the military and not all men who served in the military registered for the draft. Moreover these are not military service records. They end when an individual reports to the army training camp. They contain no information about an individual's military service.
After the signing of the armistice of November 11, 1918, the activities of the Selective Service System were rapidly curtailed. On March 31, 1919, all local, district, and medical advisory boards were closed, and on May 21, 1919, the last state headquarters closed operations. The Provost Marshal General was relieved from duty on July 15, 1919, thereby finally terminating the activities of the Selective Service System of World War I.
The records are arranged alphabetically by state, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia; there under, alphabetically by county or city (except for Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island which are arranged by divisions and counties); there under alphabetically by the name of the registrant.
In rural areas one should be able to find a registrant's card knowing his name and the county in which he registered. In large cities and in some larger counties the search could be more difficult. In New York City, for instance, there were 189 local boards.
Related records include Classification Lists of Docket Books maintained by local boards to show the process of classification, physical examination, claim for exemption or discharge from the draft, and the appeals process for each registrant. Each local board also maintained lists of men ordered to report to the board for induction. These show (for each individual ordered to report) name, the mobilization camp to which he was to report and the date he was to report, and the certification of officials of the mobilization camp that the man had (or had not) reported as ordered. These records are in the Field Archives branches in the appropriate regions.
There are also records of the appeals process, and records relating to American registrants living abroad and aliens living in the United States. 

Many of these records can now be accessed through the Conway Public Library's subscription to Ancestry Plus and we are happy to help guide you through the research process for you to discover your own World War One ancestors. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Scene, Setting and Structure: A Rockstar’s View of the White Mountain Notch

In the collection of the Conway Public Library’s Henney History Room is a slim, somewhat nondescript, volume shelved in our section on earth sciences and geology of North America, (Dewey Decimal 557.42 Jac HR).

As an artifact, the book itself is interesting. It has a scuffed marbled paper cover with a torn and broken leather spine and frayed corners.  

The names of two different owners are written on the foxed wove paper inside the cover and includes a notation of $2.00, perhaps the purchase price of the book at one time. (click on images to enlarge them).

The book is entitled, “Final Report on the Geology and Mineralogy of the State of New Hampshire; with Contributions Towards the Improvements of Agriculture and Metallurgy” by Charles T. Jackson, M.D. who served as the State's first official geologist.

Published in 1844, it is housed within the larger Dewey Decimal number 500 series for science. 

Wikipedia tells us that the Dewey Decimal system is intended to structure the entire world of knowledge into ten hierarchical divisions, each having ten sections of increasing specificity.

The entire book can be read online at this site.

Subjects covered include everything from blast furnaces to seed and soil analysis, to theories about thrust faulting, erosion and glaciation.

Within this framework of science and technology, it is unlikely that an art connoisseur or art history student would think to look in these bound pages for anything of interest to their field. They would be wrong.

There are in fact two views, that when studied together, serve as a key to unlocking an accidental case of mistaken identity unintentionally perpetuated by the art history establishment for almost fifty years.

Facing the title page is a lithographic view seen above entitled “White Mountain Notch.” A better scanned version can be seen below. (click on any image to enlarge them). 

Facing page 78 is another lithographic view seen below entitled “Slide at the Willey House - White Mts.”

While the topographic profiles of the central mountain peak and the flanking slopes on either side of a central notch are very similar in both prints, the architecture is strikingly different. The Notch House on the left was two stories while the Willey House on the right was one story. 

In future blogs, we will explore the significance of this simple difference in these two structures as well as the structure of the scenic setting, but for now, turn your attention to another detail in the Notch print and notice the two figures walking towards the opening known as the “gate” of the notch.

The old saying “Two’s Company” seems appropriate as we use this common artistic convention to represent wonder as we wander into the notch.