Sept. 8, 1909: Step right up and see the State Fair preemies!
August 25, 2016 — 11:40am
The Minnesota State Fair has featured many unusual attractions since the first fair was held in Minneapolis in 1859: death-defying aerial acts, colliding locomotives, freak shows, live animal births, the Minnesota Iceman and premature babies in incubators. Wait … what? The Minneapolis Morning Tribune explained:
Tiny Baby Is Fair Marvel
Midget 11 Inches in Length, One of Five Infants in Incubator
Five premature babies, “all of good birth,” as the lecturer assures his audiences, are already in the infant incubators of the state fair, and as a feature of universal human interest the incubator holds its own, for from the moment the doors of the cottage where the babies are housed opened to the public a goodly crowd of spectators has been maintained.
Eleven inches in length and weighing one and a half pounds sizes up the smallest infant, which is kept in the end incubator and gives the impression of a much larger creature, by reason of its wrappings. A large pink satin bow is tied conspicuously below its armpits, and matches with remarkable accuracy its tiny face and hands.
The children are fed by wet nurses by means of a tube. Special scales, special self-rocking baskets are among the newest scientific devices for saving the tots, and padded dressing tables make easy, for the nurses, the task of handling and clothing the under-sized babies. They are kept in high temperature and their baths, which are daily, are 96 degrees Fahrenheit. Gradually the temperature and feeding is brought to the normal.
Flash mob: These resourceful lads found a way to get into a sideshow at the fair in about 1910. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)
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Art Instruction Inc., once located just around the corner from the old Star and Tribune building on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, offered drawing courses by mail for more than a century. Here the Minneapolis Tribune profiles the commercial art school that trained the likes of Charles M. Schulz ("Peanuts") and Carlos de la Vega (who?).
Most of our readers in whose memory is still fresh the fact of the destruction by fire of the Merchants' Hotel, on the corner of State and Washington streets, on the morning of the 4th of the present month, will readily recall the particulars concerning the sad fate of the late Mr. R.A. Cook, of Joliet, who perished in the flames during that memorable conflagration.
Twenty irate office women appeared before the St. Paul city council today and demanded action. They said their nylons have been damaged by soot in the city's loop. William Parranto, commissioner of public safety, explained that such soot falls from the chimney at Saint Paul hotel. The hotel, he said, burns a Wyoming oil which contains a liberal percentage of sulphur.
It's no wonder that metro newspapers of the 1950s were extremely profitable: They had a virtual monopoly on classified ads, employed kids to deliver their product and had few if any skilled graphic artists on the payroll. Just try to make sense of this 1955 picture-graph from the Minneapolis Tribune. Appearing with a story headlined "Simple Guide to State School Finances," it's most likely a legislative handout hauled back to the newsroom by the beat writer and slapped directly into print.