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To Our Oppressed Countrymen (December 1847)

This message, directly from Frederick Douglass, defined his mission in producing The North Star newspaper. It appeared in the first issue that was published on December 3, 1847:

To Our Oppressed Countrymen: We solemnly dedicate the “NORTH STAR” to the cause of our long oppressed and plundered fellow countrymen. May God bless the offering to your good! It shall fearlessly assert your rights, faithfully proclaim your wrongs, and earnestly demand for you instant and even-handed justice. Giving no quarter to slavery at the South, it will hold no truce with oppressors at the North. While it shall boldly advocate emancipation for our enslaved brethren, it will omit no opportunity to gain for the nominally free, complete enfranchisement. Every effort to injure or degrade you or your cause – originating wheresoever, or with whomsoever – shall find in it a constant, unswerving and inflexible foe.

We shall energetically assail the ramparts of Slavery and Prejudice, be they composed of church or state, and seek the destruction of every refuge of lies, under which tyranny may aim to conceal and protect itself.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.
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Questions of General Interest (January 11, 1919)

One of the recurring sections in Frank Leslie’s Weekly was Questions of General Interest, a column in which the newspaper staff would answer questions submitted by readers. These are a few of the questions from 100 years ago this week – the all have a motor or mechanical theme:

Removal of Truck Restrictions

D. F. D.: “I understand that the restrictions on passenger-car output has been lifted considerably so that 75% of production during the same period as a year ago is now permitted. What regulations cover the truck output?”

Truck makers, through a recent order of the War Industries Board, may return to a production of 100% of their output of a year ago. Of course, the truck industry was not so seriously curtailed as was the passenger-car business, and therefore about the same proportion of return to normal can be expected in each case.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.
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Christmas-Decoration

About Christmas Day in Boston (1867)

This letter from the National Anti-Slavery Standard’s Boston correspondent ran on January 4, 1868:

CHRISTMAS-DAY in this city seemed to be both a merry day and a happy one. The population generally appeared to be following the desires of their own hearts, and to take general comfort therein. Many, disregarding the admonition of St. Paul (Galatians 4:9-11), as they have a perfect right to do, no doubt, in these days of “Free Religion,” made a holy day of it, and assembled in their churches and meeting-houses, joining in a ceremonial more elaborate than even their customary weekly one.

Probably they had a good time, special arrangement having been made for the gratification of both eye and ear. Their sanctuaries, following the Jewish tradition, were adorned with “the fir-tree, the pine, and the box-tree together,” and skilful musicians performed for them the choicest music of the Roman Catholic Church, the best, no doubt, that has ever been performed or composed.

The Puritans, our Pilgrim Fathers, would certainly have made wry faces at all this, could it have been credibly foretold them. They stuck to St. Paul in regard to Christmas, however widely they departed from him in their observance of another day. One who has searched the old records of the infancy of New England tells us that it is set down with a grim satisfaction against the date of the 25th of December following the landing at Plymouth, “so no man rested all that day.” Mince-pie, church festivals and athletic sports were alike an abomination to them; and such “muscular Christianity” as was extant among them was the product of hard work, not at all of play.

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.
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Hawaii

Santa Claus Comes to Honolulu (1922)

We have recently expanded our American County Histories collection into the West. This item appeared in Hawaiian Annual for 1922 in our Hawaii County Histories segment.

“SANTA CLAUS’” ADVENT IN HONOLULU

It may interest others beside the inquirer of the Annual awhile ago, to learn when “Santa Claus” first came to town, and note the changes his benign influence has wrought in the community by the recognition of the Christmas season and their observance of the day.

Mention was made in one of our early reminiscent papers that the recognition of New Year’s was much more general formerly than was the observance of Christmas, not only as a holiday, but as the season for the exchange of gifts and for social calls. This was the custom in vogue which is traceable back to the early ’40’s, and probably earlier. Christmas had but occasional mention as a holiday till well into the ’50’s, the only event of a festive social gathering noted, being in 1844. That year’s Christmas was reported as observed by the closing of places of business, and “the people engaging in customary amusements of the day,” whatever that may have been. In the evening Mrs. Dudoit, the lady of the French consul, gave a large and very agreeable entertainment, but no mention is made of “Santa Clans.”

The full-text search capability of the American County Histories database permits the student/researcher to explore all the publications of a particular county by using a single query. In addition, those wishing to read or browse the text on a page by page basis may do so in the original format merely by scrolling down the screen and then continuing to the next chapter.
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CampKnoc-1919-12-13

World War I: “Xmas To Be Day Big In U. S. Hospitals”

(The Camp Knox News, December 13, 1919) The War Department authorizes publication of the following from the Office of the Surgeon General:

Christmas in army hospitals will be a happy day for sick and wounded patients. A special Christmas dinner will be served and there will be other evidence of good in the form of decorations of winter greens, and in a number of cases there will be Christmas trees and special programs. Relatives and friends of the patients will not forget them in the matter of gifts. Every opportunity will be grasped in order to make the Christmas season this year as joyous and cheerful to the brave wounded men as it is possible to do.

Our collection, America and World War I: American Military Camp Newspapers, addresses a topic and period that continues to be of the widest interest and importance to scholars, students, and the general public – America in the World War I Era. Camp newspapers make important original source material—much of it written by soldiers for soldiers—readily available for research.

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