Tag Archives: 1900-1920

Supply and Demand

Show business has not changed a bit in one hundred years. Take for example this article from the September 24, 1903 edition of the Chatham Record:


Veteran Showman Says There Is Fascination in the Life.

“There is a charm, a fascination about circus life that is hard to explain,” said a veteran showman. “It is surely a tough existence, being buffeted about from place to place, often without a bed to sleep in, and the wages, outside of the salaries paid to a few stars, are amazingly small. Yet when a man once gets a taste of circus life it’s all up with him. He’s never good for anything else, and never wants to be. There must be a germ, bred of the sawdust, that gets into the blood. Take the canvasser, for instance. They get $20 a month and their board, which usually consists of bad grub and an impromptu bed in a wagon. Often they don’t take their clothes off for weeks at a time. There’s one fellow I know who possesses more than the average intelligence. He has a trade, and during the winter he makes, on average, $20 a week. And yet just as soon as the circus season opens he throws up his job and goes out on the road with a show for $20 a month. In almost every town the management is besieged by men and boys who want to go along, and many of them offer their services for their board. It is a queer state of affairs.”


Never Blog Hungry

For whatever reason, everything but the recipe section is bouncing off my forehead.

This particular recipe was popular enough to warrant space on the front page of March 10, 1904’s edition of The Chatham Record.

Honey Cake.

To make honey cake melt a cupful of butter and mix it with two cupfuls of strained honey, a tablespoonful of ginger, a grated nutmeg, a bit of lemon rind and a little flour. Dissolve a heaping teaspoonful of soda in a cupful of water and strain into the mixture. Then add flour till the mixture is stiff enough to pull out. Bake like gingerbread. This cake may be eaten warm or cold.

Judge much?

music-and-the-girl-june-18-1903This editorial(?) from the June 18, 1903 edition of The Chatham Record reveals more about its author than it does the opposite sex. Reminds me of certain people I know (your blogger meekly raises his hand) who judge people by their record collections.

Coincidentally, my Norse Title is now “Connod the Indolent and Lackadaisical”.

 Music and the Girl.

An English reader of character says that a girl’s nature can be told from the music she plays and the composers she shows most partiality for, says the New York Sun.

The girl who affects Beethoven is impractical, bound up in dreams and not apt to make a good helpmeet.

The girl who is devoted to Strauss is frivolous and light-minded. And she who professes affinity for Verdi is sentimental, excitable and shrinkingly sensitive.

The girl who loves Offenbach will be giddy and whimsical.

Liszt implies daring and ambition, Mozart prudishness and overmuch conceit, Gottschalk the affected and superficial, Connod the indolent and lackadaisical.

A liking for Flotow means that the girl is commonplace, apt to travel only well beaten tracks and without sense of humor.

A liking for Wagner denotes an exaggerated, irrational temperament, not easily controlled.

Great partiality for ragtime music marks a girl as hare-brained and little to be depended upon.

The girl who plays the “Battle of Prague, “Anvil Chorus” and “Monastery Bells” will be a good, practical wife, able to keep the larder and nursery in order.

But for all-round, capable qualities, of both an inspiring and practical nature, the girl who dotes on “Home, Sweet Home” can be counted upon. She will be affectionate, non-extravagant and a good companion.


Happy New Year from 1903!

From the front page of the January 1, 1903 edition of The Chatham Record:



YESTERDAY was the last day of the old year and today is the first day of the new year. And thus one year follows another in rapid succession, and as we grow older the years seem to come and go with accelerated velocity, like a ball rolling down a hill.

The death of the old year always brings sad thoughts. At its close our minds recall its joys and sorrows, its pleasures and griefs, and a feeling of peculiar sadness comes o’er us all. With some it has been a year of sorrow and affliction. At many firesides there is a “vacant chair” and in many family circles a loved one is missing. With others it has been a year of happiness and prosperity. To them life has been a roseate dream and success has blessed them.

And what will the new year bring them? To whom will it bring joy and happiness? To whom will it bring sorrow and grief? On whom will shine the bright sun of success? On whom will lower the dark clouds of sorrow and adversity? Who will fall by the wayside in their journey of life and die before the new year ends? How fortunate that no one can answer these questions or pierce with human vision the veil of the future!

Regrets for the past are now in vain. What has happened cannot now be changed. While this is true our past experience and past events can and should enable us all to profit by them, so that in the coming year we may be benefited and blessed thereby. In the coming year let us all strive to avoid the errors and mistakes, which now we so clearly see were committed during the past year. Let us carry with us in our daily life during the coming year some of the kindly feelings that the joyous Christmastide aroused within us. Let us strive to be more tolerant of the opinions of those who differ from us. Let us all have more of the milk of human kindness, and do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

May the coming year bring happiness to all our readers, and may it be to each and all a Happy New Year!

Remember Fans?

six-inch-fanNot the oscillating kind that sits on a table, or the big boys that hang from your ceiling – I’m talking about the kind of fan you used to grab from a box and wave at your own face to keep cool.

In the early twentieth century, one’s fan was considered a fashion accessory. This item from the February 25, 1904 edition of the Chatham Record notes a not-so-subtle development in fan fashion.

The Six-Inch Fan.

The small fans have been used for several seasons now, under the name of theatre fans. They were found the most useful thing for use at the play, where a large fan is almost as much of a nuisance to one’s neighbors as a large hat. And, having proved their convenience in this respect, they have been accepted for other uses as well. They are not nearly so picturesque and graceful as the large fans, especially those soft big ones, ones of ostrich feather which were in favor for some years. But one must bow to the fashion, and its decree is that the six-inch fan is the smart one this year. – Harpers’s Bazar (sic).


Just smile. It makes people crazy.


Here’s an exchange from the front page of the September 12, 1901 edition of The Chatham Record.

I think the Detroit Free Press are on to something here.

…but would Judas Iscariot say “Zut Alors”?


From the October 8, 1903 edition of The Chatham Record:

Humbug on a Large Scale.

In 1862 a man named Vrain-Lucas, living in the rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, Paris, managed to dispose of no fewer than 27,000 bogus manuscripts, gems, enamels and ivories.

He said he found them in an iron-bound chest in a ruined city in Central America: but it came out afterward that he had, with infinite pains and cunning made them all himself.

The pride of the collection was what purported to be an ancient silver casket of Syrian workmanship, and which contained, among other things, a love letter from Judas Iscariot to Mary Magdalen, twenty-five letters to St. Peter from Lazarus and two brief epistles from Gremius Julius to our Lord.

A quick google search returns many articles that contain both the name Vrain-Lucas and the word “forger”. One source says that Vrain-Lucas sometimes used contemporary French in his supposedly ancient epistles. Wow.

The man must have been very convincing.



I’m sure they mean it has no flavor

Instead of riffing on the product’s name, let’s take a moment to marvel that it used to be considered a bonus rather than a requirement that manufacturers list their product’s ingredients on the label.

This ad from the September 27, 1900 edition of The Chatham Record touts just such a “feature” for Grove’s Tasteless (nope, not going there) Chill Tonic.

Tasteless chill tonic

Syrup of Figs. For Every Occasion.

oct 30 1902 figs

This ad from the October 30, 1902 Chatham Record lectures us on the medicinal properties of figs and warns that only California Fig Syrup Co. is the genuine article.

The illustration makes me wish the product were still available. If California Fig Syrup made our heroine any healthier she’d need smelling salts.








I thought all combs were magnetic.

March 6 1902 Magnetic Comb

This advertisement, buried at the bottom right of the last page of the March 6, 1902 Chatham Record, reminds me of a magic trick we used to do in elementary school (usually on picture day, when everybody had a comb).

And no, I’m not that old.

Here’s how the trick goes: All you have to do is tear up some paper into little bits, run your comb through your hair, and the static electricity will make the comb lift the paper off the table. Magic!

I couldn’t find any reference to Dr. Oxley’s Magnetic Comb on the web, so I don’t know whether it’s an unwieldy contraption or just a standard comb with “instructions”.