A glance in the rearview mirror

December 1921—Swamp trees for Christmas. Moonshine for hard colds. Worldwide shortage of marriageable men.

by Mary Jo David

The following news excerpts are from December 1921 editions of the Stockbridge Brief-Sun newspaper. These are mostly reproduced in the original, without edits or corrections. Visit the Stockbridge Library to view electronic copies of old local news publications dating back to 1883.


Pretty Things That Are Made at Home: “Christmas comes but once a year,” … There is no dress or suit so plain or unattractive but that it is amenable to the transforming power of beauteous neckwear. No wonder so many of us throng the neckwear section of our favorite dry goods store on Saturday afternoon. It is the eleventh-hour rush to add the “touch that tells” to our costume for the morrow, for we all realize that exquisite neckwear will ever be recognized as the finesse of good dressing.  –12/1/1921


Plain Food: Prosperity has ruined many a stomach. When money was flush, along in wartime and for a year or two after, people slipped away from plain food and bought lobsters, fancy jellies … Most of us dig our graves with our teeth. Business depression occasionally is a blessing in disguise, for it starves some people into good health. –12/1/1921


New Year’s Then and Now: As long as people can remember, there have been New Year parties. The old Romans gave theirs in honor of Janus, the two-faced god. One face looked back at the old, spent year and one face looked forward to the new, fresh year. … Some of the people who lived long ago waited until the end of March to celebrate the New Year,  since that was the time that the trees and grass began new life. –12/ 29/1921


Breakers Ahead: From all reports there was rather a hilarious time in our usually quiet village last Friday and Saturday night. From some source, a quantity of “moonshine,” “Dynamite,” “White mule,” or whatever it may be called found its way into town and several persons suffering from “hard colds” took occasion to try the old-time remedy. As a result Sheriff Silsby was over from Mason Tuesday. … –12/ 29/1921.


LOCAL/PERSONAL—Dec. 1, 1921 edition:

  • $10.00 REWARD: For information that will lead to the recovery of my gum machine and guilty party or parties. –Albert Terranova.
  • We stated last week that Geo. Hurst and Wilbur Westfall had returned from their hunting trip in the north. The former returned, but “Punk” remained for a few days longer.


LOCAL/PERSONAL—Dec. 29, 1921 edition:

  • The lakes are frozen over and the boys have been enjoying some fine skating the past week. Some nice fish are also being caught through the ice. Lon Boyce taking some nice pike from Nichols Lake since Saturday.
  • The 9 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Maynard Hodge was killed Christmas Day by falling from the loft in the barn.
  • South Iosco: George Harford is riding in a new Ford.



December 1, 1921 edition:

  • Back-to-Home Movement: Someone should start a “back-to-the-home movement” for married women who toil unnecessarily in the business world, according to Mrs. Julia E. Wheelock, commander of the Barbara Frietchie post of the American Legion in New York City … Mrs. Wheelock believes that “working wives make lazy husbands.”
  • Unemployed ex-service men sleeping in Bryant Park in NY were awakened one recent midnight by the sound of a bugle mess call. Seven hundred of the unfortunate men lined up for “chow.” A committee representing the George Dahlbender Post of the American Legion led the men to a restaurant where each was fed at the expense of the Legion post.
  • Both the senate and the house, at Washington, have voted against medicinal beer, and the bill has been laid before the President for his signature.

December 8, 1921 edition:

  • Million Wed in America in 1921: Washington—More than 1,000,000 marriages will be the record of 1921 in the United States, establishing a new high mark, according to indications in reports received by government bureaus. … A world-wide shortage of marriageable men is assigned as the cause of the increase in the marriage rate in England and some other countries. … The larger number of marriageable women than men is the explanation given for the daring modes in dress of the present…
  • Plainfield: Something like 2000 Xmas trees are being taken from the Braley Swamp this year.

December 15, 1921 edition:

  • Gaylord & Ostrander Ads: At this season of the year there is always repairing to do about the barns, an extra HAMMER would not come amiss—No more practical gift could be bought. Look our line over. … Just now is the season to swing the AXE, wood must be cut and it is much easier to do it now before the snow is too deep. … Pyrex—the Transparent Oven Ware. This is the gift that bears out our statement “Gifts that brighten up the home.”

December 29, 1921 edition:

  • Ex-service men of the World War who want to be first, second or third class U.S. postmasters are to be given a five per cent advance on their civil service ratings and credit for time spent in service. President Harding’s executive order putting the provision into effect was recently promulgated at the insistence of the American Legion.
  • Woman Justice to Kiss Bridegrooms: Atlantic City, NJ—Mrs. Cecelia Champion of Somers Point, newly elected a justice of the peace, announces she will go the marrying parsons one better. Where the parsons have made it a point to kiss the bride, Mrs. Champion says she will kiss the bridegroom. Mrs. Champion is considered handsome and is almost thirty years old.

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