1900’s Family History

My Maternal great-grandfather and great-grandmother were mentioned in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for an engagement and wedding announcement between the years 1911 and 1912.

I believe it was common in that era to run ads for special announcements like this. Particularly if you had a higher standing in society. Newspapers in the past often posted the address of the people mentioned in their articles. Today that’d be an extremely dangerous thing to do.

If your family has roots in Brooklyn going back between the publication years of 1841 – 1955, use the search engine on the The Brooklyn Newsstand Archive  to type in names and events. You may find your ancestors mentioned. It’s a fun and educational resource provided by the Brooklyn Public Library for history buffs, writers, bloggers, and anyone who wants to know the newsworthy events, lifestyles, and interests of Brooklynites during the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century.




A Peril to young girls…

After reading this ‘letter to the editor’ from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle circa 1902, I stopped to realize how society just doesn’t seem much different today. The focus is on solicitation ads for unscrupulous advertisers out to seduce and harm young women. Is it any different from the salacious adverts you’d find in NYC news rags or now online in places like Craigslist? And then there’s the fact that people can and do get killed after answering the ads. It happens now in horrific ways and it happened then. The reader has M.D. after their name, they were obviously well aware of the dangerous situations after seeing the battered, injured women who had fallen prey to these scoundrels!

The reader pines for the good old days of America where women were safe anywhere in the land. A bit of an exaggeration. Our good old days are always viewed with rose-colored glasses, but things progressively worsened by the turn of the century. And like today, Washington and Government officials get the blame heaped on them by this particular irate reader.

They cry for a population decrease, otherwise we’d become like ‘Western China’ with its “vast population, its misery, and indifference to life.” Ouch. They also rant about labor unions as the tools of foreign anarchists. The reader jumps from one subject to the next, starting off with a simple concern for young innocent women (Are you picturing a top-hat villain twirling a curly, dark mustache?) and then gets increasingly angry at the state of everything else.

Some things never change!


Witty Ads #2: Healing Londonderry water

Being a child of the 80’s, I foolishly assumed that bottled water was ‘invented’ and sold beginning in that particular decade. Silly me. Just look at a bottle of Poland Springs and you will see it was established in 1845!

Before the 80’s and 90’s,  you never saw so many people chugging down bottle after bottle of water. The old companies must have made their money off the giant jugs for office water cooler consumption. But In the last 30 years spring water in a personal sized bottle has boomed into a mega billion dollar industry. When we can just as easily drink tap, filtered or unfiltered for free, many of us may spend upward to $4.00 a bottle for ‘pure’ water.

During one of my Brooklyn Daily Eagle searches I came across some advertisements for ‘Londonderry Lithia Spring Water’ from as early as 1901 and I posted them below.

I discovered the charming Londonderry Lithia Springs Website. The natural springs were discovered in New Hampshire in 1882 and the company profited from their special water into the early 20th Century across North America. The website keeps a historical tone and they even sell matted prints of the original advertisements. These ads claimed that Lithia water successfully reduced symptoms from maladies common in the 19th century-Rheumatism, gout, Dispepsia, Gavel, Bright’s disease, et al.

These days scientists and doctors know better than to make such claims for simple water. While water has indeed been proven beneficial to the body in many ways, it is not a miracle cure. The 19th century was full of people hoping and searching for a cure-all and many would believe any charlatan or advertiser that made such claims.