This Week in 1908 (April 7–April 13)
How long ago was 1908?
Newspaper readers in Chicago have no fewer than twelve daily newspapers to choose from. Newspaper boys sell them at every corner.
Chicagoans can choose from The Chicago American (an afternoon paper owned by William Randolph Hearst), The Chicago Defender (the newspaper for the black community), The Chicago Daily News (an afternoon newspaper which will publish until 1978), The Chicago Daily Socialist, The Chicago Inter Ocean, The Englewood Economist (which will become the Daily Southtown), The News Sun, The Chicago Chronicle, The Chicago Daily Times (which will later merge with the Chicago Sun to form The Chicago Sun Times), The Chicago Examiner (which is pushed by street-thug gangsters and later merges with the Chicago American), The Chicago Record Herald, and the Chicago Tribune (which is also sold on the streets by future gangsters like Dion O’Bannion, Bugs Moran, and Hymie Weiss).
Of course, many of Chicago’s newest citizens (European immigrants) have their own newspapers printed in their native tongue. Newspapers are published in more than twenty different languages in 1908. Not bad considering the illiteracy rate in some parts of the city hovers around 20%.
Elsewhere this week…
~Moscow is devastated by a horrible flood.
~A new “Tidy Ball” rule is instituted in baseball. A typical game uses 6-10 balls, but now at least three of them must be clean (at first) so the hitter can see them better. After those three are gone, the home team is allowed to provide baseballs, in any condition.
~Joseph Pulitzer (photo) turns 61 (April 10) in New York. One of the originators of Yellow Journalism (along with William Randolph Hearst), he will live three more years. Next year he will be indicted for libeling Theodore Roosevelt and J.P Morgan. Ironically, he leaves enough money in his will to found the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (which is still considered one of the best in the world), and the Pulitzer Prize (for excellence in journalism).
~Three babies are born this week, each of which will make their mark on the world before the century is over: future music conductor Percy Faith is born in Canada, Ruth Davis is born in Massachusetts (her parents are already calling her Betty, which she will change to Bette when she becomes an actress), and Christian Rudolph Ebsen is born in downstate Illinois (he will be called “Buddy” by his friends, and will have the most incredible luck with some bubblin’ crude–you know, Black Gold, Texas Tea).
~Walter Winchell turns 11 (April 7) in New York City. Within a few years he will create the “gossip column,” which will break the taboo of reporting on the personal lives of public figures.
~Future playwright Samuel Beckett turns 2 (April 13). He lives in the Dublin suburb of Foxrock.
Price Check: “The New 1908 Model T. Barker Shotgun (Reduced to $12.45), is a better gun than any of the Belgian guns offered in competition.” It can also be ordered through the mail from Sears, Roebuck and Company.
If you travel back in time, and your stomach gets a bit upset, you can ask for antacid, but don’t ask for Alka-Seltzer. It won’t exist until 1931.
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