June 8, 1951 – Washington, R.I. — Miss Ardis Barbour, clerk of the Washington fire and lighting district, objected strongly when the district raised her salary from $75 to $125 a year. “That’s altogether too much,” said Miss Barbour. “Remember, I took this job for no pay at all as a public spirited citizen.”
Seems like we need more public spirited citizens like Miss Barbour, but alas, I fear her kind are fewer and farther between than ever.
It’s likely the journalism geek in me, but I get stupid excited when I discover old newspapers in strange places. While digging into the walls of the living room this weekend, we found some newspapers stuffed into the lath and plaster to fill holes. The above clipping is from a Kansas City Star. We also found copies of the Kansas City Kansan and the Kansas City Times.
I find myself drawn to old newspapers for a wide range of reasons, not the least of which is a chance to look back at a day in history and try to imagine what it was like to read this news when it was hot off the presses. The Korean War was in full swing (“Reds” and “Commies” being standard terms in the news even). People were worried about the cost of military aid to Yugoslavia. What was in your medicine cabinet could kill you. Local traffic laws were being argued about. A prince assaulted some photographers for snapping pictures of him at a party. All in all, it didn’t seem strikingly different from what I might find in the Star today, just some of the names have changed.
I find that both comforting, and deeply disturbing.
We also found some 1937 newspapers used as a backing for wallpaper, but alas, little was savable.
When I’ve got more time, I’ll go back through these and see if there are anymore interesting stories. The couple of closeups above were just found during a quick perusal.