From the Vault – Misguided historical headlines

Screen Shot 2013 06 28 at 1.50.17 PM

By Andrew Holzman

Today’s headlines may seem a little silly tomorrow. Since 1884, Herald staff have been trying to think of heads that strike a balance between wit and accuracy. Some have landed better than others. A look through the online archives for information on a contemporary story revealed that, in addition to being a bit shorter, people back then had strange taste in headlines.

One characteristic of the old headers is their tendency toward an eminently noticeable verbosity and superfluousness of language. This comes from a feature on household tips from April 19, 1884:

This headline, from October 31, 1885, also probably wouldn’t fit on the front page today. Although it’s a headline for a story and not the whole paper, 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 about the conditions of roads, printed February 19, 1926.

The roaring twenties, like every other decade, had a special vernacular which seems a bit off today, as demonstrated in the Herald May 22, 1925.

Finally, a headline which isn’t too odd itself, but which comes from what is undoubtably one of the strangest articles the Herald has ever printed.

This story from the February 9, 1884, issue about first aid gives advice for a number of situations, including one odd possibility. “It may be,” the article warns, “your lot to be on hand when a woman’s dress is on fire.” Beware, goes the Herald’s sage advice, for the woman will probably try to run away when you attempt to assist her, fanning the her flaming petticoats and putting you at great risk.

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