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  • Writer's pictureRicki King

No more politics: Let's talk 1920 headlines

Nothing to do and tired of binge-watching. Why not randomly search newspapers from 100 years ago or more. Ok, that is what I do. I set search criteria using yesterday's date, September 22, 1920, only Iowa newspapers and only looking at the front page. There was no search term or word used. Using, there were 23 newspapers with only Davenport and Des Moines having two papers listed. Since we are all tired of politics, any headlines dealing with that subject were not considered along with local death obituaries.

I pulled articles only by the headline without reading the story until after all the newspapers were checked. There were two stories picked with different headlines that turned out to be the same. The G.A.R. articles might have been selected because of my genealogy bias. After reviewing the headlines, I went back and picked two more stories to see if they were also on the front page of any of those 23 newspapers, and I may have missed them. Of course, I had because the headlines were not as catching.

The most exciting story is about baseball, not about who won that night's game. No, it was about a game played a year before. Looking back, I can't believe this story was only on the front page of two Iowa newspapers on A 101 years later, we still talk about it, and movies are made about the 1919 World Series and the White Sox cheating scandal.

The headline that caught my attention from Marshalltown's Evening Times-Republican was small and below the fold. If you are looking at old newspapers printed on paper, the story is on the bottom half of the page.

Baseball Probe Begun

Yes, I had heard of the baseball scandal and thought this story might have related to it, so it was an easy headline pick. When I picked the story, I did not consider the scandal was only a year before in 1919. Looking back, I would have expected a more prominent headline in caps, bold and with text at the top of the page.

Start Probe of A "Fixed" Game and Gambling in National League

After completing my headline search, I went back and searched using the same criteria but adding the search term "probe" to see if there were any other front-page stories. There was one other front-page story in the Cedar Rapid's The Evening Gazette. This time it was at the top of the page.

The stories are similar, but not the same. In the first two paragraphs, Jacob Benton's nickname of Rube is the only thing missing from the shorter article. As you can see, the other story continues to four more paragraphs.

Quoted text from the article followed by headlines from respective newspapers.

Chicago, Sept. 22-Grand jury investigation of alleged gambling by baseball players in last year's world series between the Chicago American and Cincinnati National League clubs and the charges that the Philadelphia-Chicago National League game of Aug. 31 was "fixed for Philadelphia to win," began here today. A dozen baseball officials, players and writers had been subpoenaed and it was announced that others probably would be called later.
Indications were that the hearing might last several weeks. The only players known to have been subpoenaed so far is Jacob "Rube" Benton, pitcher for the New York National League club. Prosecutor Replogie today declared he had been informed that Benton had been approached with an offer of $750 to "throw" a game, and that the jury would ask Benton "what a certain player had said to him about throwing games."
President B. B. Johnson of the American league, president Comiskey of the Chicago American league club, president William Veeck of the Chicago National league club Benton, Bert Collyer, the latter a well known sports "dopester," and several baseball reporters, were ordered to appear today.
Ben Johnson was the first witness, called today. He was followed by Charles A. Comiskey and William Veeck, presidents of the Chicago American and Chicago National League clubs respective.
Jacob Benton, pitcher for the New York Giants, telegraphed Assistant State Attorney Hartley Replogie that he will be here tomorrow afternoon ready to testify.
Chief Justice Charles A. McDonald announced that baseball pools and lotteries will be investigated after the jury completes its inquiry into completes its inquiry into charges of fixed games.
Evening Times-Republican headlines 1920
The Evening Gazette headlines 1920

The "Oriental" term is politically incorrect today. I'm thinking it was following out of favor when I was young. Interestingly, the Waterloo Evening Courier and Waterloo Daily Reporter use Oriental because the woman could be Japanese or Chinese. However, The Davenport Democrat and Leader has decided the woman is Japanese, although both stories are the same. The only difference is the headline unless you believe "late late night" was a not typo for "late last night."

Kansas City, Mo., Sept. 22.-Investigation was being made here today of the death of a young woman, either a Japanese or Chinese, whose body was found late last night beneath a viaduct. The police said they had been unable to throw any ling upon the mystery.

Over fifty years after the war, more than 10,000 civil war veterans met in Indianapolis and planned to walk in a parade. The interesting thing the parade route was less than a mile, and cars were provided. I have never seen a military parade for our veterans.

These headlines are on the same topic and the last two are the same story don't let the length fool you. The first story adds a little more detail and I must say more interesting. I didn't originally pick it because I already had a G.A.R. story. I found it again pulling the full story about the boozing cow you will see later.

I will leave off with the remaining headlines, which gave me a chuckle.

Henry Acres Run Over by stage

Henry stepped out of a car and was run over by horses. Were they mad the stagecoach era was ending?

Admen Discuss How to Make Advertising Pay Dividends Here

I think they figured it out and then some.

Drunken Cow Reveals Booze

Would there be alcohol in the milk? How do you know a cow is drunk?

Denver, Colo., Sept 22.-A drunken cow reeling unsteadily along the road near here stopped and looked with a glazed eye at Sheriff A. E. Gormly. The sheriff recognized the symptoms, got out of his car and grasped the cows halter.
The led the way across John Connor's farm to a hay-stack and the sheriff found a large portion of hay saturated with whiskey, from a broken two-gallon jug.
Further investington showed a complete distilling outfit and ten gallons of liquor. Connonr is under arrest today. The cow was released.
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