I often hear people lament that things were better in the olden days. Or, that somehow people have changed. We’re meaner and less civil, right? We commit way more crimes and we’ll pull out a gun over anything. Right?
As I’ve been doing alot of newspaper research over the last year or two, I’ve learned something. The times really aren’t that different. We’ve changed in many ways, yet it wasn’t as rosey as we think, unless perhaps, you are speaking of a small town. Wherever their are people crammed together, their are people who get on each others nerves.
I thought it would be interesting to take a random news page out of the San Francisco Chronicle and list the headings. This is page 44 of the 7 January 1912 issue. Though there is no heading, these were all local news items. Some are benign mentions of local meetings and such, others are reminiscent of sad affairs we see today. All in a day’s news!
These were the big headlines:
- School Board in Weekly Session: City Attorney Long is Called on for Opinion Relative to Book Espense.
- Conference Held to Determine Cost of Equipment at Polytechnic High.
- Dull Care Thrown to Winds at Rolph Banquet: Friends Worth While God Speed Mayor-Elect.
- Queer Doings on Municipal Job: Chamber of Commerce Expert Tells What He Saw on Pipe Line Work
- Sheriff Eggers Names His Aids
- Aged Couple Are In City Prison: Paul B. Berg and Wife Held in Custody on Suspicion of Shoplifting
- Chinese Hold Big Parade Today: Celebration of President Sun Yat Sen Will Be Held In Oriental Quarter
The rest of the page was filled with smaller stories:
- Maniac Threatens Lives of Steamer’s Passengers
- Young Women’s Christian Association Election
- First Wells Fargo Fast Express Reaches City
- Women Refuse to Condemn Ragging (Ragging was an extreme form of dancing, evidently)
- Employee Badly Burned in Gasoline Explosion
- Runaway Lad Found
- Miner Crushed to Death Under Mass of Rock
- Golden Gate Park Programme
- Australians to Visit
- Robs Dead Body [A thief robbed the dead body of a woman on the Steam President on it’s way from Los Angeles]
- Polo Match Today on El Verito Field
- May Buy Water Plant [Vote recommended in San Mateo]
- To Erect Country Home [in Hillsboro]
All of that was fit on one page! They were certainly determined to get their money’s worth out of the paper and ink.
In case you were interested, the big affair for the newly elected Mayor of San Francisco, James Rolph Jr., included 375 of his “friends”. Here’s the menu card for that affair: (Notice the interesting comments after each item)