by Robert Hanaford Smith, Sr.
Weirs Times Contributing Writer
Larger sheets of paper and smaller print makes more space for news and advertisements. That is what I’ve observed by looking at the newspapers and magazines of seventy-five or more years ago. Another observation is that those publishers of old used a lot of short items of various types along with their longer, more detailed stories. It has been suggested that the use of these short items – these tidbits in print- contributed to the success of certain publications.
In 1925 the Laconia Democrat’s front page was seven columns wide, enough for a lot of local news. There was the Lochmere news in a portion of the first column in a March issue. It let the Lochmere folk know that Roy Bagley of Laconia, an agent for Fuller Brush, was canvassing their vicinity. They also learned that Mrs. Chapman from the Laconia hospital visited her son in Lochmere on March 15, and that Mr. Chapman and family from Sanbornton Square visited his brother in Lochmere last Sunday. “ Carroll Moulton called on his wife at the Laconia hospital last week.” And “ W.H. Philbrook recently purchased a flock of leghorn hens from Mr. Weiring of Belmont.”
And from column two Glendale residents were informed that “The last fish house on our section of the lake has been pulled to shore. Thus we lose ‘Ward seven’ until another year”. And maybe just as exciting: “ A car bearing a Pennsylvania number plate passed through Gendale Monday morning coming via the Weirs.”
From the Gilmanton news on the third page of The Democrat the readers learned that Peaked Hill Grange would conduct a dime social in the Grange Hall on Friday evening, that Bertrude McClary caught a 28 pound wild cat in a trap on Sunset hill, and “ A lively runaway, resulting in a demolished wagon, took place in this village Monday morning”. They were also told that interest in Sunday services was increasing with an attendance of 39 last Sunday.
Classified advertising began long ago and the Laconia newspaper enjoyed its share in 1925 charging 10 cents per line with six words per line, but with a minimum charge of 25 cents. Thus we have another form of tidbit print. By the way, repeat insertions were offered at half price. Ads included someone in Tilton selling three new milch cows, “ Guernsey, Jersey, Ayrshire ” . The sellers telephone number was 37-4. The E.G. Baker Company was selling a one horse motor with alternating current in first class condition. George Sanborn from Lakeport advertised a good one-horse dump cart and harness, and John Foster of Girard Street had a two seated sleigh that he priced low for quick sale. Several cars were advertised for sale including a Dodge Roadster for $400 and a 1920 rebuilt Franklin Broughan.
For more tidbits in print let’s go back a little further and take a look at the June 18, 1915 issue of the Laconia Democrat and read comments by the editorial staff. “Folks who have been hesitating over their financial ability to indulge in a motor car may be interested to know that the Standard Oil company has cut the price of gasolene one cent a gallon.”“ A New Hampshire liquor dealer was haled before the state license commissioners a few days ago, charged with the serious offense of giving too much beer for a nickle. Come to New Hampshire.”“ Prospective summer visitors may be interested to know that owing to the cold weather and drouth which has prevailed so largely in New Hampshire this season, the mosquito crop is almost a total failure.” And citizens were informed that 11,000 motor cars were registered in the state, representing about one car for every eight families.
The Laconia Democrat which added the tag Independent at the top of its first page had some tidbits about William Jennings Bryan, suggesting that no nation would ever name any battleship after him. Reporting that a circus organization had offered Bryan $15,000 for a daily ten minute speech for a period of twelve weeks, the paper suggested that it was a “,,,modest outlay for the opportunity to advertise the greatest clown on earth.” A short note in the center section of the first page informed the readers that President Wilson would be spending the Fourth of July at the summer White House in Cornish, New Hampshire. In another spot a quote from the Boston Globe said that the President was thinking he would be assured of rest and quiet, “….but if his two grandchildren decide to visit him he may be in for a squally time.”
Scattered throughout the June 18th newspaper amongst the news from the various locations were accounts of church events. From the Lakeport column : “ Rev. William Franklin, N.E. Dist. Supt. Of the Christian and Missionary Alliance will preach in Bethel hall Sunday, June 20th at 2:30 and 7.” And from Meredith , “Mr. James M. Woertendyke of Los Angeles gave a very fine lecture at the North church Tuesday evening. He spoke on the ‘Get-together ’ movement and national prohibition.”
And you will want to know that the steamer Mount Washington arrived in port at the Weirs on the past Wednesday (in June, 1925) in preparation for the summer season.
The above represents just a few of the many tidbits reported not so long ago and it’s all true and accurate. How do I know? It has to be , ‘cause I read it in in the newspaper! If you think you found spelling or grammatical errors they probably were not considered errors way back then!