Sample Minnesota newspaper articles, photos and ads dating back more than 140 years. Fresh items are posted weekly. Go here for tips on how to track down old newspaper articles on your own. Follow the blog on Twitter. Or check out "Minnesota Mysteries," a new book based on the blog.

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Posts about Newspapers

April 6, 1891: Liquored up and stabbed by a switchman

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: April 5, 2011 - 10:09 PM

A Minneapolis Tribune reporter wrote this brief with authority in the days before “police said” and “allegedly” and “according to witnesses” began to gum up crime coverage.


Oscar C. Bjork Gets Badly “Done Up” by Charles York.
The saloons were not closed so tightly yesterday that one Oscar C. Bjork could not get liquor enough to make him crazy drunk and be the means of nearly sending him on a quick trip to the great hereafter. About 8 o’clock last evening Oscar was on Washington avenue, near Ninth avenue south, and being in the above mentioned condition he sought to pick a fight with Charles York, a Milwaukee switchman, and a perfect stranger to him. He came up behind York and without warning struck him with his fist. York instantly wheeled, drawing a large clasp knife as he did so, and dealt Bjork a blow on the chest. The blade of the knife was full four inches long and it was driven in with great force.
Bjork, realizing that he was badly cut, staggered back, calling for help, while his assailant ran across the street and, dropping into a walk, tried to lose himself in the crowd. He was pointed out by a boy who had seen the stabbing, and Capt. Ness, of the Third precinct station, arrested him. The wounded man was taken to the south station, where Police Surgeon Gibson examined and dressed the wound. It is not thought that it will prove fatal, though the though the knife blade entered between the fourth and fifth ribs and penetrated the right lung.
After having the cut dressed Bjork, who had bled profusely and was very weak from loss of blood, was taken to his home, 528 Sixteenth avenue south.

A Minneapolis cop on the beat at First Street North and Hennepin Avenue in 1890. (Photo courtesy

Feb. 3, 1876: Funny typographical errors

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: February 1, 2011 - 7:31 PM
Seen any funny typos in the paper lately? Sure, sloppy spelling and fractured syntax occasionally elude the overworked copy editors of 2011. But the real howlers, the kind that can land a hapless editor in the boss's office, are rare. After poring over thousands of old newspaper pages dating back to the 1860s, I've concluded that amusing typos were more common in the days of handset type and a minimalist approach to proofreading.
From the New York Graphic, via the Minneapolis Tribune:
  I doubt the Albert Lea Enterprise published any amusing typos in the late 1800s under the sober leadership of Clint L. Luce, who also served as the Freeborn County coroner. (Photo courtesy

Funny Typographical Errors.

Some typographical errors are very funny. In a New York paper recently the words “This Port Said is” was rendered “This,” Pat said, “is,” and “Put out the flag” appeared as “Pat cut the hog.”
When B.F. Taylor’s poem on Burns’ Centennial was telegraphed from Chicago a few years ago, the first line, “Heart of leal! Can this be dying?” appeared in the papers coupled with the operator’s warning, “Robert Burns is passing by heart of lead can this be lying?”
Horace Greeley wrote at the head of an editorial, “William H. Seward,” and it came out “Richard the Third!” A New Haven editor wrote, “Is there balm in Gilead?” and was surprised at table next morning to read, “Is there a barn in Guilford?” The sentence, “Americans are generous and forgiving,” was recently transformed into “Americans are Germans and foreigners.”
But the worst, perhaps, is that quotation made by a distinguished literary review, 'Tis true, 'tis pity, pity, 'tis, 'tis true,” which came out in proof, “ 'Tis two, 'tis fifty, 'tis fifty, 'tis fifty-two.”


Feb. 19, 1895: Cop breaks up a poker game

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: June 3, 2010 - 3:15 PM
After reading this detailed account of a police raid on an illegal card game, one wonders if a Minneapolis Tribune reporter was among the men gathered in the "dingy little room" at the back of a cigar store on Washington Avenue.



Blue-Coats Raid an Apartment in Rear of a Cigar Store at 211 Washington Avenue South, and Catch 11 Men Intently Watching the Fate of a Jack-Pot – A Player Who Held an Ace Full at the Time Is Sorely Disappointed at His Ill-Luck – Names Given by the Prisoners.
“This is unfair, officer. Here I have an ace full on fives, and there is nearly $50 at stake in this pot. I have lost heavily and you have ruined my hopes of getting back what money I dropped in this game.”
The speaker was one of a party of 11 men engaged in a stud poker game, which, at the time of the interruption yesterday, was in progress in a dingy little room in the rear of R.L. Henshell’s cigar store, 211 Washington avenue south. The play had been going on all afternoon, and the casher’s box showed that nearly $100 worth of chips were in circulation. The game had been played with a small limit during its early stage, but several good hands were dealt out shortly before 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and the pot swelled gradually as the interest of each player increased. It was a jack pot, and the man next to the dealer opened it for a dollar. Several stayed, but when it was learned that the little light haired man at the end of the table did not draw cards, all but a trio dropped out. One of these held three of a kind when the draw was completed, another two pair, and the third a straight. The latter did most of the betting, and the rest could not get their money in the pot fast enough. The man with the two pairs became frightened when the second raise was made, and said he guessed he’d call. His friend with three of a kind followed suit, but when it came to the little man at the end of the table, he put in the necessary amount to see the raise, and said he’d go them $10 better, but the words had hardly fallen from his lips ere the man with a fur overcoat carelessly leaned over the table and secured possession of the little box the cashier had been watching so closely.
The fur-coated man’s presence had a magic effect upon the men seated around the table. For a minute they sat and stared at him with awe, as if at a loss to account for his sudden appearance. It was simple enough, though. He had been on that beat more than a day, and had got wind of the fact that a quiet poker game was being conducted in the rear of the store daily. Attention was all centered on the big pot in the middle of the table, and none of the players had heard him open the front door and noiselessly make his way to the rear apartment. Even when he entered the room he was not noticed, so interested were the men with their cards. Officer Dugan, for he was the intruder, stood watching the game fully three minutes before his presence was discovered. Little resistance was offered. The gamblers accepted the situation in a philosophical manner, with the exception of the little light haired man, who had counted on raking in the pot by the disclosure of his full hand. He was of the opinion that he had good grounds to kick on, but the blue coat claimed a hand in the pot, and it was a winner, too.
The party was politely informed that the patrol wagon was in waiting for them in front, and they marched in single file through the cigar store and out onto the sidewalk, where a crowd of several hundred people had gathered to see what was up. The outfit was hustled off to the Central police station, and the wagon returned for the table and chips. Sergt. Leonard, who had conducted the raid, appeared at the police station and entered a charge of gambling against each of the men. R. Henshell, the proprietor of the place, was not arrested, but the sergeant stated that he would be brought into the police court today. The men arrested gave the names of Andrew Iverson, G. Anderson, C.M. Phillips, Charles Hanson, James Thompson, P. Mulley, James Miller, Charles Albert’s, William Kline, Albert Manning, George Meghen.
This photo from about 1895 depicts a card game of some sort. But the scene is obviously posed: The gentlemen are dressed to the nines, their hair neatly combed, the cards arranged just so -- and no refreshments are in sight. (Photo courtesy

Feb. 8, 1914: ‘Modern Diana’ to live alone in forest

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: May 3, 2010 - 8:35 PM
A Minneapolis Tribune brief about Bana Douglass’ plan to live in the wilds of Maine led me to this longer version on the front page of – surprise! – the Pittsburgh Press. Once you get past the somehow appropriately tangled first paragraph, it’s a pretty good read. The Tribune’s brief, published a few months later, does offer a few details not found in the Press account: Miss Douglass abandoned the idea of entering the woods entirely naked. Upon reflection, she decided gymnasium “pants” might be more comfortable at the start.

If you know how this marvelous adventure turned out, please post a comment. I haven’t been able to track down a followup of any kind.


To Gain Food and Clothes in
Wilds – Will Have Women

  Bana Douglass
Boston, Feb. 7. – That woman is able to battle her way alone under the most primitive conditions, and, equipped only with her wits, her strength and her endurance, she is fitted to cope with nature, is the belief of a modern Eve who proposes this year to risk her life and her health alone in the great amphitheater of nature.
Bana Douglass, the most famous huntress in the Maine forests, will cast off the clothing of the modern woman and enter the unbroken wilderness alone and unaided. There she plans to remain the full month of August. She will rely on bark for her clothing, on roots, berries, herbs, squirrels, rabbits, partridges and brook trout for her food; on snares and a bow and arrow to capture her quarry.
She will make her fire by friction, using a spindle whirled by a bow, like the South Sea Islanders. For shelter, she will build a crude leant-to from the fallen sticks, the moss and the leaves from the forest floor.
On entering the forest she will carry absolutely nothing from modern life. She will entirely cast off modern methods of living, relying on nature’s lore to maintain life and procure whatever crude comforts the forest affords.
She will be accompanied on her departure by a group of women, who will bid her goodby and take possession of her discarded clothing. Women look-outs will be posted in camps nearest to the haunts of the modern Eve to protect her from annoyance.
When her lonesome sojourn is completed, Miss Douglass will come forth, she says, clad in skins and woven bark of the cedar. She plans to have moccasins and leggings made of squirrel skins, a skirt of soft lining bark interwoven like basket work, a tunic of woven water grass and a sombrero of woven bark.
Miss Douglass is well qualified to enter the battle of woman versus nature. She is strong and supple, is inured to exposure and hardship, and is equipped with a lore of nature that is unusual among modern women. She loves the woods and the streams, and prefers the solitudes of the forest to the hum of city life or the cares of the home.
In her girlhood she preferred to hunt with her father, to tramp the trapping lines though the dense wilderness, rather than wash the dishes or read books. In the snowshoe [tracks] of Gus Douglass, the famous hunter and trapper of Maine and Canada, the snowshoes of little Bana Douglass, at the age of 10, tramped though the forests. She was at that tender age the mascot of hunting camps. She could shoot straight and true, and as she grew up she earned the title of “the best shot in the Dead River region.”
Privation and hardship had no terrors for the young huntress, and no weather was too severe for her.
The love of the forest, the love of the chase, still animates Bana Douglass, and she has announced that she will essay to demonstrate that modern woman, though handicapped by the centuries of comforts and luxuries of civilized life, retains that inherent ability to maintain herself alone in the heart of nature.
Miss Douglass has ranched and hunted in the west as well as the east and has brought down the big game of the forests. In Montana, she hunted the elk and shot several fine specimens; in Wyoming she hunted mountain lions; in New Brunswick she has shot moose, and in Maine the deer, caribou and black bear.
She shoots from any position. Running game, when brought under cover of her rifle, seldom escapes without the trade mark of this girl with the quick eye and steady nerve.
The Douglasses are famous in Maine hunting camps. Bana’s grandfather, Andrew, is the quaintest character among the trappers, and at the age of 80 is still hunting and guiding. Gus Douglass, Bana’s father, is the owner of Deer Lake Camps, and for years held the national championship in fly casting. He is at present on a hunting trip to Quebec.
“I believe in the theory that nature supplies the necessaries of life,” declares Miss Douglass. “The modern frills and gewgaws are not necessary to life or to happiness. Modern women don’t know nature; they don’t know the real happiness of life. They are losing those sterling traits that brought mankind safely through primitive days to civilization.
“I shall be as secure out there alone as I would be in the city. I shall have less to fear. I do not fear the animals; I know them well and they are safe. It is only in story books that bears and wildcats are dangerous.
“I shall find food in plenty. Of course, there may be unpleasant conditions arise, but there is no need to worry about that now. It won’t be all honey and cream. I shall probably long for a few grains of salt more than I will for a cup of tea or a piece of toast.”

March 18, 1910: An ad disguised as news

Posted by: Ben Welter Updated: March 17, 2010 - 7:09 PM
Advertising disguised as news was common in some American papers until about 1915. Here's an example from the Minneapolis Morning Tribune. The typefaces used in the headline and text were identical to those of the adjacent news stories:


Bottles containing messages thrown overboard from vessels have been picked up after drifting about for long periods, but in all probability the bottle picked up last summer at a point in the Atlantic Ocean three miles south of Monomy Point, Mass., holds all records. The paper within the bottle stated that it had been thrown overboard from the ship “Hattie E. Topley,” April 13, 1874, a little eastward of the Cape of Good Hope. It will probably be interesting to know that you can find enjoyment in a bottle of golden grain belt beer. Order a case and see for yourself.



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