Bad News From the Past never gets stale | Bleader

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bad News From the Past never gets stale

Posted By on 02.20.18 at 09:00 AM

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The Reader's archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we'll dig through and bring up some finds.

Old newspapers are really fun. No writer in Reader history understood this better than Cliff Doerksen. Trained as a cultural historian, Doerksen was highly skilled in combing through archives in search of really good stuff. In his ongoing blog series Bad News From the Past, Doerksen would conduct a search for a random term. The results were usually hilarious. For example, the newspaper ad above, which he discovered in an issue of the Trentonian from August 3, 1995.

Doerksen usually added a little bit of commentary about his finds. For this one, he wrote:
The Lindbergh baby is America's answer to the lost Dauphin of France: Over the years there have been any number of nuts and hustlers claiming to be the kidnapped son of aviation hero and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh. But unlike this candidate, most such pretenders have tended to be—like the murdered tyke—blond, blue-eyed and, uh, male. I was planning to attend this press conference but I slept in or something, thus missing the chance to consider this lady's evidence. I guess we'll never know.
Among Doerksen's other finds: accounts of purchased child brides, an oyster train fireman rendered insane by a crash, information about the price of Rocky Mountain squirrels in England (amid a column of completely unrelated trivia), and many bizarre accidents and science experiments. The whole thing is a complete joy. (I was a fan of it even before I worked here.)

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