Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Fullerton Tribune: 1893 Edition!

For the past few years, I've been working on a history of Fullerton, which I have called "The Town I Live In: A History of Fullerton."  My latest research has taken me to the microfilm archives at the Local History Room of the Fullerton Public Library, in which I am reading, year by year, the archives of the local newspaper, The Fullerton Tribune.  The first year they have is 1893.  I've spent the past week or so, on my winter break from teaching, reading these papers.  I've decided to hi-light some of the "greatest hits" of 1893 in Fullerton, in which I discuss what was happening in the world, in the nation, and locally.

Coast News

The first item on the front page of every Fullerton Tribune was a section called “Coast News” which gave brief news stories from different counties in California.  Like news stories today, these tended to focus on crime and death: murders, suicides, death by train and farm implements, bank and train robberies, etc.  There were a LOT of suicides back then, as mental health services were limited to “insane asylums.” Here’s one example from May 27th:

 This brief article also hi-lights the large number of suicidal/insane people in 1893:

In 1893, in California, adultery was a crime, as this article from August 5th shows:


Employment discrimination was pretty widespread, as this article from September 2nd shows:


United States News

After “Coast News” on the front page came a section called “United States” which gave stories of national interest.  This section is really valuable in putting local events into a larger historical context. 

Lynching of African Americans was still a thing that happened with some regularity, as this article from May 20th shows:

There were various conflicts with Native American tribes over land, as the following articles show: 

The following article from September 2nd mentions both the taking of Indian lands AND a lynching.

Perhaps the biggest social/political issue of 1893 was the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was passed by congress and upheld by the Supreme Court.  The act required all Chinese people to register with the government, allowed for mass deportations, and severely restricted immigration from China, as the following articles illustrate:

While the Chinese were definitely the most hated immigrant group of 1893, the Italians were not well-liked either, as the following articles show:

--> 1893 was also the year of the Chicago World’s Fair, otherwise called The World's Columbian Exhibition, a massive fair which spanned several acres of Chicago, an area called “White City.”  Many articles dealt with the World’s Fair.  The editor of the Fullerton Tribune, Edgar Johnson, actually visited the World’s Fair.  Here are some articles dealing with that momentous event:  


The question of the annexation of Hawaii was also a hot national topic, as shown in these articles:

World News

After the section on U.S. News there was brief section on World News.  This section is also helpful in putting local events into their historical context.  Seal trading along the Pacific Coast was, at this time, a lucrative business, and so there were constant conflicts over rights of different countries (the U.S., Russia, and Japan) to hunt for seals.  There was a plan in place to create a canal through Nicaragua, and much U.S. involvement.  Ultimately, this plan was scrapped in favor of the Panama Canal: 

Woman’s World

On the front page of every issue of the 1893 Fullerton Tribune was a section called "Woman's World," which  gave tips for decorating the house, cooking, entertaining guests, how to be a “Good Host", what to wear, what not to wear, proper care of children, and home remedies for things like headaches.  At this time, America was definitely a patriarchal society.  Women could not vote, for example, and the "proper" place for women was in the home.

Farm Notes

In 1893, agriculture was the chief industry of Fullerton, and so there was a section on the front page of every issue called "Farm Notes," which gave advice and news related to farming.  Some topics of articles include: horses being replaced be machines, the proper care of cows, etc.  Here's an article from this section, which claims that "fruit growing will always be the leading industry of Southern California."  This did not turn out to be the case, as anyone currently living in Southern California can attest.

Local News

And finally we get to "Local News."  Local topics of interest in 1893 included: the creation of a high school, various conflicts over local water and irrigation companies, the beginning of oil drilling in Fullerton, the question of incorporation, and other miscellaneous topics, of which here are a few examples:

On water/irrigation disputes...

On oil drilling...

On creating a local high school...

Local meetings of the WCTU (Women's Christian Temperance Union)...

On the topic of incorporation, that is, making Fullerton a real city...

Lastly, on the back pages of many issues of the 1893 Fullerton Tribune was a serialized story called "Two Soldiers," about the military and romantic exploits of two cavalry men fighting against various Native American tribes...

Stay tuned for The Fullerton Tribune: 1894 Edition!  Coming soon!

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