Friday, January 11, 2008

News of Yesterday and Today

This week I have been spending time at the Maryland Law Library searching through past issues of the Port Tobacco Times and of the Maryland Gazette. I have been looking for mentions of Port Tobacco itself and also of the Port Tobacco River. I found myself looking at the papers themselves however. It was interesting to see what people were reading about and what the newspapers thought they wanted to read about and it got me thinking about what we read in today's papers. So I started going through some of today's newspapers. A couple things caught my eye while doing this. Besides the wording and layout some things haven't changed much since the 18th and 19th centuries in the newspaper.

Some of the things that were written about 200 years ago are still written in our papers today. Election results, obituaries, land sales, and political conventions are a few of the same things we see today. I even found an advertisement in the Port Tobacco Times from April 30, 1869 in which you could send in 35 cents and get a description and picture of your future husband or wife along with the date of your marriage!

There were some interesting things in the papers that we don't see today as well. A couple that I thought were quite interesting were a list of letters left at the Port Tobacco Post Office waiting to be picked up, the names of delinquent taxpayers and warnings to tresspassers from individual land owners.

Information taken from archives such as the newspapers and will probates and land sales are just as important to an archaeological investigation as the excavation itself in the field. I've only scanned throught the Maryland Gazette starting in 1745 and there is another 150 years or so of issues to go through so stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.


No comments: