On this Christmas Day 2015, we thought it would be fun to take a stroll across the decades and see how American newspapers displayed the Christmas message or the news of the day. Below are images of front pages, from California to Pennsylvania, Texas to Wisconsin.
In the Reading Times on Christmas Day 1900, a story warned about a possible epidemic of kidnappings of children of the rich, based on recent payment of $25,000 by meatpacker Edward Cudahy Sr. to rescue his son. “Kidnappers are worse than murderers and should be hanged,” said Louisville Police Chief Jacob Haager. “The Cudahy case will bring all the rogues to large cities in a hurry. Parents must keep a close watch on their children.” That days Times included a beautiful painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary sitting near the manger in Bethlehem.
In 1910, the Cedar Rapids Sunday Republican carried the story of a 34-year-old woman abandoned by her husband in a desolate shack just days away from giving birth. The woman, her newborn and a 4-year-old child were found in the roofless shack near Pelican Lake, Minnesota. They had been without food or heat for six days. They were rushed to a nearby farmhouse.
The 1950 Christmas edition of the Lubbock Morning Avalanche told of 4,000 gift packages distributed to needy area children by the Goodfellows. More than 100 people helped package toys, candy, nuts and fruit. It was the 17th year the Goodfellows conducted a Christmas campaign for the area poor.
The 1960 Christmas issue of the Wisconsin State Journal included the Nativity narrative from the Gospel of St. Luke. “And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The paper has published the Gospel story for decades on Christmas day.
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