Before the internet, people had to try and contact others in other ways – including the personals in newspapers. This meant a large array of mysterious private information could be found in every local rag – leading to those outside the circle wondering just what had gone on.
For example in the Daily Mail on 4 May 1896 Bessie’s family were begging for her to contact them, promising no further reproaches. I think a nagging mother worried about her daughter’s boyfriend choices has led to a family divide here. Or am I just reading my own life experiences into it? Well you do, don’t you?
“Multiple Classified Advertising Items.” Daily Mail [London, England] 4 May 1896: . Daily Mail Historical Archive. Web. 20 July 2015.
Then there is Ivy who is drowning in marriage proposals but still thinking of “Oak” who made so many promises at the circus. I would like to say that “Oak” should have been in contact by now or he is just not that into you – a modern solution for a problem now over a hundred years old. This makes me a wee bit sad. I mean I want to know that Ivy and Bessie came out of all this ok?
Then there is Uncle Jim who sounds best left alone despite his niece’s pleas – but then again just what did he pawn? Diplomacy is also evident in the personals with a ‘’gentleman who took away by mistake” being kindly asked to return the trap and pony that had been left outside the Star and Garter. I mean it could have been taken by mistake? A pony and trap does not have its own pair of individual keys to make it go.
Reading these handful of personals from the Daily Mail Historical Archive 1896-2004 reminds me that problems never really change – money, love and family. Mums still make daughters crazy, men still make romantic promises they fail to keep, and people still lose things outside the pub today – just like they did 100 years ago.
By my age you should know a few things about yourself. I know for example that I am a history buff and that I am lazy. My favourite place in the whole world is my couch with a good history book in one hand, a cup of tea in the other and a fat cat on my lap. Bliss.
A recent discovery of mine that appeals is a little goldmine called Gale Newsvault. While sitting in your long johns at home you can enter a few keywords and search across four hundred years of history in one go. Where else can you see the original reports on Jack the Ripper (Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003) or articles making fun of George Michael’s tan (Daily Mail Historical Archive 1896-2004)?
In the 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection I can read eye-witness accounts of the voyages to New Zealand and the Boyd massacre or find out what personal attributes one needs to be a lady’s maid in 19th Century British Library Newspapers. Do I have a good character they all want to know? I am pretty sure I do, so I would never have attended the cock-fighting advertised in the Stanford Mercury in the Kings Arm’s on November 8th 1793.
You could easily lose hours cross searching 13 historical newspaper and magazine archives on Gale Newsvault. Which I have every intention of doing this weekend…
Described by the New Yorker as “the newspaper that rules Britain”, the Daily Mail has been at the heart of British journalism since 1896. Nowhere is this more obvious than during the First World War. Before the start of the war the editor, Lord Northcliffe campaigned for German power to be curtailed and predicted war. His influence on public opinion was so strong that it was believed that a German war ship was sent to shell his country home in Kent in an attempt to assassinate him – shells did fall near his house.
Once the First World War had commenced, Northcliffe wrote an article criticising the national hero Lord Kitchener for ordering the wrong sort of shells for trench warfare. Northcliffe’s wartime criticism would see copies of the Daily Mail burnt on the floor of the London Stock exchange. In time though his criticism proved correct and pressure from the revelations would see the resignation of the then Prime Minister H. H. Asquith (The actress Helena Bonham Carter’s Great-Grandfather) and the appointment of a new PM, David Lloyd George. The Germans acknowledged Northcliffe’s part in their downfall by striking a bronze ‘hate medal’ of him.
You can read the thoughts, motivations and feelings of all those involved in this heartbreaking time period using The Daily Mail Historical Archive 1896-2004. All you need is your library card number and password/PIN
This may be one of our lesser known eResources, but for an understanding on the build-up and reaction to the First World War at ground level, then it remains a gem.
There is only one newspaper in the world that can claim to have helped bring down a British government and also been sued by Elton John. Love it or hate it the British newspaper the Daily Mail is loved and loathed in equal proportions. Catering to readers who want entertainment from their newspaper as well as coverage of important news events, the Daily Mail has criticized everyone from Lord Kitchener in 1916 for not properly supplying British troops to Kim Kardashian and her baby weight.
Its founder Lord Northcliffe identified a gap in the market for a paper that delivered the three things that are always news – health, sex and money. By offering short engaging stories with pictures, the news for the first time reached into the homes of millions, many of whom had never bought a newspaper before.
We now have access to the Daily Mail Historical Archive 1896-2004 with more than 100 years of this major UK national newspaper in fully searchable digital format, with all the advertisements (including family notices), news stories and images that capture 20th century culture, society and tastes. Love it or hate it, it is a wonderful snapshot of ourselves at our best and worst. You can cross search this newspaper with several other major historical newspapers at NewsVault or search it individually from home or in a local library at the Source or in the catalogue. Have a gander today!