Blogs > N-H Media Lab and Archive

Following the happenings of The News-Herald Community Media Lab, as well as the library and archive, where we're digging to find historic people, places, events and things to see how much the times have changed or how much they have stayed the same.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reader shares his discovery

The first thing I noticed when I unfolded the Jan. 13, 1888, edition of The Willoughby Independent is just how huge it seems.
It's about 17.5 inches wide. Today's News-Herald measures 11 inches across.
Lawrence Caine of Willoughby was kind enough to stop by with his find and loan it to us for a few days.
He'd been on Kelleys Island when the word Willoughby jumped out at him while he was milling about at a sale.

Listen to him share his experience:

The edition itself is in remarkably good condition. A few tears where its been folded and unfolded, but still readable.

And read it I did. Though I did need reading glasses. The type used in stories was just 6 points; we use 10.4-point type today.

One thing that struck me - aside from the overwhelming grayness of the pages with no photographs, no big headlines, nothing to break up the text - was how Twitter-like it was.
The journalists of 1888 were certainly committed to getting as much information in their four pages as possible. While there are a few lengthy stories, much of the copy is just snippet upon snippet. Complete stories told in 140 characters or less.
A few of the highlights:

On the 7th Isaac Merrick shot his young daughter at their home in Camden, N.J., and then turned the weapon on himself with fatal effect.

Emma Lewis, aged twenty-five, sister of Rev. W. Lewis, committed suicide early Monday morning by drowning herself in the canal. Sensational developments are expected.

At Belgrade, M.T., on the 7th the spirit thermometer registered fifty-two degrees below zero, which seemed to be the coldest since 1865.

Fascinating stuff.

The Willoughby Independent was a weekly newspaper published from April 18, 1879,until May of 1920, according to The News-Herald family tree. It was established by John Holland Merrill, a wealthy Painesville journalist.

It's price at the time - $1.50 a year.

Quite a bargain considering how much info it packed.

Thanks for sharing, Lawrence.

--Tricia Ambrose @triciaambrose

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Blogger Mary Lou Rosato Caine said...

Really enjoyed this story. Love anything with the history of Willoughby. Good write up Tricia and nice find Larry Caine!!

August 19, 2011 at 4:42 PM 
Anonymous Darrel Uchbar said...

What a cool piece of history. Thanks to Larry it was brought back home after all these years. Good job L.C.!

October 13, 2011 at 8:13 PM 

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