The Craigslist Of Its Day – 1906

New York Times Lost And Found Simultaneous Classified Ads, Results In Diamond Brooch BeingĀ  Returned To Its Owner

diamond broochIf you look at old editions of newspapers from around the turn of the century you’ll notice the classified advertisements made up sometimes up to one quarter of the paper.

A typical weekday edition of the New York Times back then was only around twelve pages.

As such, people read newspapers from cover to cover and the classified’s acted as the craigslist of their day with all sorts of wanted ads: jobs and situations wanted, real estate and merchandise offerings and lost and found’s.

This story appeared in the January 26, 1906 New York Times:


The Finder Took Mrs. Morgan’s Reward and Both Are Satisfied

Mrs. D.P. Morgan of 70 Park Avenue lost a jewel in a car on Sunday. She inserted the following advertisement in THE TIMES of Friday:

LOST- Sunday, Jan. 21, on 4th Av. car entered at 38th St, or in 47th St., between 4th and 6th Avs., circular brooch, size of a nickel, of 13 diamonds. If returned to 70 Park Av. $40 reward.

The same day this advertisement was brought to THE TIMES:

FOUND – In Madison Av. car, Sunday, one 13-stone diamond brooch, which will be, upon proper identification, returned to its owner for the reward of $100: make arrangements to receive same C.O.D. by express. T.X. Box 305 Times Square.

As the result of the publication of both advertisements “T.X.” has returned the jewel. He received the $40 reward and in addition the cost of his own advertisement in THE TIMES, and he is content. Mrs. Morgan is equally pleased.

“It is the first time that this brooch has been so speedily found,” said Mrs. Morgan yesterday. “It has been lost twice already . Perhaps because it had thirteen stones. I think I will either leave it at home in future or have a stone added or removed.”

Probably the most amazing thing about this article is that Mrs. Morgan lost the brooch twice previously and it was returned each time. She sounds rather cavalier about it, as if it is expected that if you lose something valuable in New York City, of course it will be returned to the rightful owner. Maybe the city was once like that, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen today.

The second part of Mrs. Morgan’s solution to not losing the brooch in the future is also quite bizarre or extremely superstitious. How altering the brooch from thirteen diamonds to an even number of diamonds will prevent its future loss is baffling, as it is illogical.

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