Sometimes reading the front page of the newspaper can give you emotional whiplash. The newspaper from seventy-five years ago today does its best to achieve just such a reaction.
The headline has to do with misappropriation of state highway funds. The next largest headline regards two young men that drowned in a fishing accident. And then to weigh the “downer” side of the front page about as heavily as you can get it, Hitler was bragging about the size of his army.
But at the same time, Queen Elizabeth was preparing for her visit to North America with an all new wardrobe. The paper featured a photograph of a model holding up one of the dresses that the Queen would wear. The other photograph on the page was of Frances Krickbaum holding the “toughest rooster in Larimer County” which would soon be cooked up and served at the Electric Jubilee at Fort Collins High School. (OK, so maybe that wasn’t a cheerful article from the rooster’s point of view. But for the people of the time who were coming out of the Depression, a meal of any sort was something to look forward to.)
In March 1938 (a year before this paper came out), Austria was annexed by Germany. In November of 1938, Kristallnacht took place. (Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, was a pogram against the Jews in which Jews and their stores, synagogues, and homes were attacked in Germany and Austria.) And just over a month before this newspaper came out, Germany had marched into Czechoslovakia. Twice President Roosevelt had written to Hitler and asked for peace. And in the May 1, 1939 newspaper, it was reported that the Fuehrer had replied with brazen defiance.
I got all verklempt reading about Hitler and his machinations. I imagined the unease people must have felt as they saw this madman start to push for more and more control in Europe. But I doubt they had any idea what was yet to befall them. The parallel with Putin pushing into Ukraine was, of course, not lost on me. I can only hope that our circumstance today is nothing at all like the cusp upon which the Americans were perched.
In local news, the Gamma Phi Beta sorority held a faculty tea. The color scheme was pink, blue, and yellow and 200 faculty members and their wives attended.
Miss Amy Avery was to be married to Nathan Turner on May 28th. Several bridal showers had already been held for her, but a breakfast was also planned on May 13.
Joanne Ritter, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Leo J. Ritter, was holding a May day party with large May baskets in pastel colors. (I was particularly interested to see this because the Ritters were the original owners of our house, though they’d moved by this point.)
Remember the toughest rooster that I mentioned above? Well at the same Electric Jubilee that he was going to be served at, there was also going to be a television demonstration. According to the paper, “Laboratory television equipment, demonstrating actual sending and receiving of television pictures, will be one of the features of the Electric Jubilee to be held at the high school gymnasium Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.” There wasn’t going to be any sound. But this would be the first time that many (probably even most,… if not all…) Larimer county residents would see television.
And the city health officer recommended that after a picnic, people should jump up and down on their picnic blanket in order to destroy any wood ticks that might have nestled into the fabric while they were picnicking.
|Every Thursday we flash back to a different (randomly chosen) year to get a sense of the issues and events in Fort Collins at the time. Join us next week when we explore the newspapers of 1908.|
Sources for this article:
The Fort Collins Courier-Express, 1 May 1939. I accessed this newspaper at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Archive.
I used Wikipedia to gather some info about what Hitler had been up to until this point and what he had yet to do in 1939. Here are also links to information on Kristallnacht and the Neutrality Acts.