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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Boosterism Generates Some Interesting Reading

When newspapers get involved in the city booster business their words and activities generate some very interesting headlines.  Such was the case when a correspondent for the Saint Cloud Journal Press began observing the negative condition in Clear Lake.  

In January of 1902, the correspondent wrote:
“… the street lamps have not been lighted for several months and in their present condition are of no use whatever.  The roads in the village are in a pitiful state of repair and the streets are filled with old machinery and other unsightly junk.”

Quick to reply, the editors of the Sherburne County Times defended the town:
“…the street lamps are also all right and apparently satisfactory to every one except this correspondent.  As to the obstructions in the streets, this is purely fiction.”

A week later, the Times editors continued their defense in writing:
“We don’t know who this correspondent is, but one would infer, from the fault he finds with the street lamps, sidewalks, machinery, etc., that he must have wandered around, some dark night, in a fit of temporary aberration, got onto a vacant lot and got tangled up in one of the aforesaid harvesters.”

Boosterism is truly an interesting form of newspaper reporting that provides great entertainment even 100 years after the fact.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Census Enumerators

While surfing through microfilm pages of the Sherburne County Times newspapers, I encountered two interesting articles, published in two consecutive weeks.

The first reported:

“Miss Emily J. Mosford has been appointed census enumerator for this district which comprises the towns of Clear Lake and Haven, also the village of Clear Lake.
            The work of taking the census of the country will begin on the 15th of April.  It is a government census and the aim of the department is to make it as thorough and complete as possible.  Don’t hesitate to answer the questions the enumerator ask you; they are for statistical use only, and, more over the federal government require that you answer them, severe penalties being imposed upon all who refuse to do so.  So, make it pleasant as you can for the enumerator and thereby give your locality a good showing.”

This article appeared on 31 March 1910.  In the next issue, 7 April 1910, the full list of enumerators for the county appeared:

            “Following are the enumerators for this county:
                        Baldwin and Blue Hill, H B Pratt
                        Becker town and village, Edwin Winterborne
                        Big Lake town and village, John Nordin
                        Clear Lake town and village and Haven exclusive
of E. St. Cloud, Emily J Mosford
                        Elk River town, Elk River village, Burns F. Plummer
                        Livonia and Orrock, Melvin C. Enger
                        Palmer and Santiago, S T Packard”

This is all interesting, I don’t know that I have ever seen a local newspaper publish the names of the enumerators as part of the campaign to promote participation in the census.