What Was In A New York Newspaper 100 Years Ago – June 16, 1918

A Look Back At What Was In The New York Tribune Newspaper 100 Years Ago, June 16, 1918

Immigrant Aliens, Child Labor and Of Course Entertainment

What was occurring 100 Years Ago? The Fairbanks Twins and Lillian Lorraine were about to appear in The Ziegfeld Follies of 1918 at The New Amsterdam Theatre.

It’s interesting to see what newspapers of the past contained. 100 years ago, June 16, 1918 the Great War (World War I) was still raging and battle news dominated the news. What else would you see in the newspaper as far as local matters?

Here are seven of the things I thought were worth highlighting from The New York Tribune. Click on any image to read the entire story.

The hostility towards immigrants who are not citizens has always existed. During World War I anti-German sentiment ran high. The government required that all alien (non-citizen) German women 14 and older register at their local police stations, take a loyalty oath and provide five photographs of themselves! Women who failed to register would be arrested and severely punished.

German women register with police

It seems like paranoia, but German espionage and sabotage were a real threat during the war. But usually the reason an entire group gets demonized is because they are an easy target when the populace gets inflamed. One man took matters into his own hands printing 3,000 signs to be distributed at shops along Fifth Avenue declaring, “Speaking of German Prohibited On These Premises.” The unnamed man ran out of signs within walking three blocks. Volunteers grabbed as many as they could to help pass them out. The thinking was this will “Americanize” those Germans.

There would be a big uproar if someone tried to do something similar today pointing the finger at any ethnic group, even when we are at war, which by the way, we still are. The never-ending “war on terrorism.” The language those barbarians who commit terrorist acts doesn’t matter, does it?

German language prohibited

You could say lawyer Albert W. Gray was henpecked, but the things Mrs. Gray did are a little more extreme than henpecking. Mrs. Gray made poor Albert account for every penny he spent and explain every moment and movement he made. Mr Gray had 11 years of being told when to wake, eat and sleep, before deserting his overbearing spouse. Mrs. Gray in her separation decree said if she only knew her husband was unhappy she would have changed her system of housekeeping!

Wife controlled every aspect of husband’s existence

The Tribune reprinted a whole page from the San Antonio, TX based Kelly Field military newspaper. The U.S. army air training took place there. Patriotic articles, cartoons, poems and editorials filled its pages. This one editorial asks – do you take responsibility or do you pass the buck?  The writer claims, “Passing the buck has become one of our great national pastimes.” Today’s politicians should read this short piece.

Passing the buck

A long feature article by Owen R. Lovejoy described the horrendous conditions of child labor that still existed in the United States. Maybe you never realized that in 1918 the Federal Child Labor Law had been declared unconstitutional! The Supreme Court decided that the law violated the Commerce Law and only the states could regulate their own labor laws.

One investigation before the 1916 enactment of the Federal Child Labor Law in the vegetable and fruit canneries of New York State, found 1,365 children under the age of sixteen working. Of these, 141 were under the age of ten and thirty were just six-years-old.

Child labor at its worst

Once the Great White Way put on shows primarily geared for New Yorkers, not tourists. If you wanted to see the most dazzling show on the Broadway, The Ziegfeld Follies for 1918 would be opening in a couple of days on June 20. Where else could you see the biggest stars of the day plus dozens of beautiful, barely clad “Ziegfeld Girls”? Only at The New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street this ad announced.

Will Rogers, W.C. Fields ,Eddie Cantor, Marilynn Miller, Ann Pennington, Lillian Lorraine and the Fairbanks Twins shared the stage along with a slew of other great acts and celebrities that are completely forgotten today. You will note Florenz Ziegfeld was not too fond of ticket brokers and scalpers.

Ziegfeld Follies ad 1918

What a corset could do for your figure

The final item is this advertisement. Corsets as you may know could be very confining and uncomfortable for women. At least from the illustration this doesn’t look like as bad as it sounds. When you were expecting you weren’t supposed to “show.” But were women so addicted to wearing their corsets, that they would need one even when they were pregnant!??

Maternity corset




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