One of the guaranteed delights of “doing history” is the opportunity it gives to read old newspapers, searching both for stories relevant to some subject at hand, but even more for just browsing, a fishing expedition of hope that is fulfilled so easily it is like trolling for trout in the bay of a lake with a spouting fisheries tanker on shore.  (That is an experienced analogy.  When I was eight or nine my dad and I caught our limit just so, with the help of a tanker releasing trout in the bay where we waited in a rented row boat.   We took about 100 trout in less than hour from Newman Lake a few miles east of Spokane.) In the interest of this browsing we introduced now a new feature of this blog, which  we will call “Edge Clippings.”  The name is chosen in reference to our friend Ron Edge, whose growing collection of scanned old newspapers will be our primary, but not only, horde for finding and extracting stories like the one used here from Ron Edge’s collection.  Although somewhat obscured by a bleeding pentimento – the stains and graphics showing through from the other side of the original lightweight newsprint – it can still be read.  And the reader must really read to the end of this “sad” story to wonder at the non sequitur of its twisted moral.   The clip is “grabbed” from the Courier, an Olympia paper, for Jan 2, 1874.  The Courier got it from a Chicago source.  Note the editor’s name upper-left.  Clarence Bagley would later return to Seattle and become the community’s most prolific pioneer historian.  Historylink.org will have a good bio of him.

I thought it prudent or sympathetic to contact Ron about this feature that uses, in part, his collections and scans from them as well as a pun on his last name.  His reply: “Feel free to use anything I send you, including my name.  One of the main reasons I am digitizing my stuff is to share with anyone who is interested.”   Ron closed his reply with a clip of his own choice.  He remarks, “I did notice the tuitions were a bit lower back then at the U.”  The then he refers to was 1873.


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