Monday, August 3, 2015

Historical Souvenir Newspapers

You may know that the State Library has many historical newspapers in its collections, but did you know that a few of these Massachusetts newspapers have issued special “souvenir” editions?  These special issues typically commemorate a particular event or anniversary, such as a town’s bicentennial celebration.

One of the more interesting souvenir newspapers held by the State Library is the Sunday Herald Diamond Jubilee, a special edition of the Boston Herald from August 28, 1921. This souvenir edition of the Herald commemorates the newspaper’s 75th anniversary, and the State Library’s copy is one of only three copies that were bound in hardcover by the Emery Record Preserving Company in Taunton, Massachusetts. Among the many interesting articles in this paper is a full-page feature on “A New Massachusetts Town,” Shawsheen Village in Andover.

Many of the souvenir newspapers have beautifully illustrated covers, such as the 1892 special issue of the Daily Evening Item from Lynn, Massachusetts. Entitled “The City of Shoes and Electricity,” this special issue celebrates Lynn’s industrial development and urban growth.

Other souvenir newspapers with intricately illustrated covers include special issues of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper from June and July of 1875. These issues commemorate the centennial celebration of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Perhaps the most amusing of the State Library’s souvenir newspapers is the 1983 special parody issue of the Boston Globe. One of the more prominent articles in this parody newspaper concerns the question of bringing the Olympics to Westwood, Massachusetts: “The International Olympic Committee dropped a bombshell yesterday when it announced that the town of Westwood is one of the five finalists for the 1992 Winter Olympic Games.” Suggested venues for Olympic events include the Westwood High School field (bobsled and luge), the Westwood skating rink (figure skating), and local shopping center parking lots (cross country skiing).

All joking aside, these and other souvenir newspapers held by the State Library provide an interesting snapshot of historical events and celebrations in Massachusetts cities and towns. Come visit us in the State House to view these and other historical newspapers in our collections.

Laura Schaub
Cataloging Librarian