From the Vault – Misguided historical headlines

By Andrew Holzman

Today’s headlines may seem a little silly tomorrow.

Since its founding in 1884, Herald writers have been trying to think up heads that strike a balance between wit and accuracy. Some have landed better than others. A look through the online archives reveal that contemporary headlines are a bit shorter — and less strange — than their predecessors.

One characteristic of the old headers is their tendency toward verbose and superfluous language. This one comes from an April 19, 1884 selection of household tips:

This Oct. 21, 1885 headline also wouldn’t likely make the front page today. It could probably describe anything written in the Herald, then or now:

Speaking of ambiguity, what does this one even mean? It turns out to be from a story  on the conditions of roads, printed February 19, 1926.

The roaring twenties, like every other past decade, has its own special vernacular that seems a bit off today, as demonstrated by this May 22, 1925 header:

And finally, here’s a headline from the Feb. 9, 1884 issue, for undoubtably one of the strangest articles to ever grace the Herald:

The piece gives readers advice on how to address a number of first aid situations, including one very odd possibility.

“It may be your lot to be on hand when a woman’s dress on fire,” the article warns. Beware, goes the Herald’s sage advice, for the woman will probably try to run away when you attempt to assist her, fanning her flaming petticoats and placing you at great risk.

Who knows, though, perhaps the Herald staff of 2200 will come up with a similar blog post.