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“The Hancock News” And Trump

May 27, 2019

This weekend I became custodian–that is genuinely what I consider it to be–of a treasure trove of old newspapers from my hometown, Hancock, Wisconsin.   At 1 A.M. Sunday morning there were small piles of The Hancock News ranging in time from 1917 through 1930 around the kitchen and piano room waiting to be then placed into chronological order by month.  Before my head hit the pillow all was completed.

While I had originally thought of putting the project off to a later day I found my curiosity and wonder late Saturday night not to be contained.  So the lights came on and the placement of the papers started.  (Not to be outdone James then decided, with the back lights on, that he would put the first coat of New England Blue paint on the back porch.  Later Sunday morning, with the sun shining, the second coat was applied and it now looks like we have wanted since 2007.)

As a lover of newspapers and history, and from what I was only able to glance at in short order—so to get the larger task completed–left me in awe. (But it seems I had enough time to snap some photos…) Much of World War I, from a Hancock perspective, is contained in the pile of newspapers.  My eyes caught letters from local men stationed in Europe writing to family, who then shared the letters for the paper.  There were long columns about the international efforts, along with messages printed in full from President Wilson.  I can not wait to delve into each edition from that time period.

The Hancock News was a paper that worked to publish as much news in small font, and on what we would now call ‘over-sized’ pages, as it possibly could.  From happenings in Eastern Europe, to the Wisconsin State Capitol, to reporting locally that Charles Humphrey—my second cousin twice removed–was recovering from the mumps.  The following item made me grin at the folksy nature of the rapport the paper had with their readers.

The newspaper office was located above what was to become the laundromat.  When considering how each page had to be laid out with type before being sent to the press operators allows insight into the huge task which never ended for the publisher and reporters who had deadlines to meet–and then a new edition to start contemplating.  My respect for this profession is something I often write about on my blog.  As I held the various weekly editions from a hundred years ago there was surely a true look of appreciation on my face for what they had accomplished.

The papers came from a relative, and while I knew at once there would be much to read and enjoy, it was not until I saw the number of papers from WWI that I became aware of a deeper responsibility to care for them.  Part of that feeling is due to my love of history, the world of newspapers, and being a bit OCD.  So much effort was put into making sure each copy of the paper ‘hit the street’ it seems the least I can do is treasure them, and in time find a historical association who could use them.

Now to the reason for the headline of this post on my blog.  As I sorted out the papers the following struck me as WHAT?  From August 2, 1929.

The work of the folks in the newspaper offices at The Hancock News had much to do to accomplish their weekly deadlines.  I wonder if they ever pondered their work would be viewed more than a hundred years later?  Surely they never could have pondered that it would be viewed in a format as you now see it.  From time to time this blog will post articles from those papers, and perhaps a comment or two of my own about the news of the world as seen from a small newspaper in of all places, Hancock, Wisconsin.

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