A Day in the Life of Norwalk, Ohio – January 9, 1907

The middle of the first full week of 1907 fell on a Wednesday. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at what the Norwalk High School Class of 1907 was reading in the local newspapers. High School students in those days appear to have been informed about current events, based on the subjects of essays they wrote (more on that later).

The weather was fair in Norwalk on Wednesday, January 9, 1907, with temperatures in the thirties. A cold wave was on the way, however, with the mercury forecast to drop to eight degrees above freezing by Thursday morning.

The Daily Reflector led its Wednesday edition with an article reporting that Filipinos had received the right to vote for candidates for municipal and provincial offices. It had been only nine years since Admiral Dewey steamed into Manila Bay and defeated a defending Spanish squadron, leading to the U.S. annexation of the archipelago. And the Filipino-American War, a bitter and brutal conflict,  had concluded less than five years before–officially. However, remote bands of rebels continued to hold out against American forces until 1913.

In domestic news, The Daily Reflector had an article about a farmer in Pittsburgh who was tied to a railroad track by robbers. In dramatic fashion typical for fiction of the time, the man escaped from his bonds just before an approaching train arrived and cut him in two.

bigamyCloser to home, the same paper published a letter circulated by the Norwalk Chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U) that protested a petition by “seventy citizens: bankers, lawyers, merchants, county and city officials” urging the commutation of the sentence of a certain Harry J. Reynolds, bigamist. The good ladies of the W.C.T.U. saw this as a sign that Norwalk was becoming “an inviting field for the missionary efforts of polygamist mormons.”

Neither of the Norwalk newspapers had separate opinion pages. Both papers usually published four pages daily. The front page reported on international and domestic news, while the back pages carried local news, advertisements, personal notices and obituaries.

The Gilger Theater advertised that Kathryn Osterman‘s latest comedic play, The Girl Who Looks Like Me, would be playing on Friday, January 11.

a-girl-who-looks-like-me

Another ad that might have caught the attention of member of the Class of 1907 was an advertisement by Starbird and Marsh for a full line of 1907 Diaries. Young people of that day, my grandmother, for instance, were devoted diarists.

There was a comics section in The Daily Reflector, but it seemed more aimed to teach a moral lesson than to entertain.

comic

Both papers did not separate “hard news” from opinion. There was no separate section for editorials, opinion columnists, and letters from readers. There was no overt opinion at all, it seemed. Although 1907 was in the middle of the “mudraker” era of American journalism, the Norwalk papers avoided overt political commentary; reserving sensationalism to stories of men being tied to railroad tracks and polygamist missionaries.

Neither Norwalk paper mentioned what members of the Class of 1907 were up to that day. That would change within a few days. Tomorrow we’ll see what else was news for the citizens of Norwalk, Ohio in January 1907.

 

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