Monday, August 29, 2011

Check the Microfilm!

This is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called The Town I Live In.

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Today I made a totally amazing discovery! I discovered that, in the basement of the CSUF library is nearly 100 years worth of microfilm of a newspaper called Fullerton News. I spent a good hour and a half looking at newspapers from Fullerton in 1907. I felt like I was in a fucking John Grisham novel. It was awesome.

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It got a little mind-numbing, looking at the same ads for the Farmers and Merchants Bank and ads promising to cure blood impurities, like this one:

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The Fullerton News used the terms "Chinaman" and "Jap" like it was no big deal. I guess, back then, it wasn't. But I was surprised by the amount of anti-Japanese sentiment. I'd forgotten about the Chinese and Japanese exclusion acts of the early 20th century. I thought Americans hating the Japanese was a strictly World War II thing, but I guess we've been giving the "Japs" a hard time since at least 1907.

My strangest discovery was this article:

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It reads: At a meeting of the Commoners of America held at Masonic Hall last Friday evening, nine candidates were given a chance to ride the goat, after which refreshments of red hots and coffee were served, and a good time was had by all.

WTF?

I still have a good ninety years of microfilm to review, so expect more reports from the CSUF basement.

1 comment:

  1. I've logged some hours down there looking at old Fullerton microfiche. UCI's collection is slightly more comprehensive and considerably less creepy.

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