i am still organizing what i have read about the ithaca mintzes.
it's not that i have a particular obsession with this one family, but the study of one group of people tells you a lot about their time and place, which i find maddeningly fascinating.
to be sure, the mintzes are in the papers a lot more than, say my family but just reading the papers of the time with some kind of focus gives you a view of the time.
i suppose i could do a study of all the mentions of benwick beach or fires in the city or the funding of the poorhouse, but i accidentally fell into the story of the mintzes.
i am developing some ideas about the function of newspapers in the 19th century as opposed to contemporary newspapers. maybe it says something about the plight of modern print papers, and maybe it doesn't.
to be sure, if there was a story that was shocking or lurid, it got covered and although there are many things no longer considered shocking and lurid, some things just don't change.
the papers of that day included a lot of information about people visiting other towns or providing entertainment to local organizations and giving to charitable funds. i think this serves partly as both social glue and pressure to conform to social norms.
"we see you are here, visitor.", they say. "here's who is doing their part in our community." "our local people are well-connected". "we know who stole that sign".
shocking to my sensibilities, it was at one time thought that the guest registers of hotels were news items.
i have no doubt that one of the reasons everybody bought newspapers is that they were in them. you hosted a card party? you can read about that in the paper. you went on the train and people were singing? it's in the paper. broke your arm? in the paper.
no, it is not facebook. there is a very big difference between "i had lunch in auburn" and "we noticed you had lunch in auburn and thought the whole city might like to know". there is a difference between "notice me!" and "we noticed you."
i know i keep telling you that i am providing links to the digitized versions of the pages in which i am finding the mintzes, but i really hope you are reading some of them.
anyway, here's my timeline of the various comings and goings of the mintz family as represented by newspaper clippings across a century and a half. the items on the timeline are all sourced to the newspaper pages on which they appear, so have fun with that.