Saturday, December 04, 2010

Why do online newspapers never tell you where they are?

This snippet appeared in The Spokesman-Review. OK, in this example there are enough contextual hints to tell you that the paper is probably published in the US state of Washington, possibly in a town called Kettle Falls, but why doesn't that information appear in the masthead or its electronic equivalent?

Jim Kershner’s This day in history - - Dec. 3, 2010:
From our archives, 100 years ago

Women’s suffrage was less than a month old in the state, but the effects were already far-reaching.

And Kettle Falls was apparently in the forefront.

“Kettle Falls is believed to be the first town in the state of Washington to name women as members of the city council,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

Two women, identified only as Mrs. E.B. Growdon and Mrs. T.L. Savage, had been appointed the day before as members of the council.

I was interested in the article because Growdon is one of the surnames I am interested in, but very often in such articles there aren't enough contextual hints to work out what place it is referring to.

And of course I'd like to know who Mrs E.B. Growdon was (if it was 100 years ago, she must be dead by now). And, knowing American customs, the "E.B." is probably her husband's initials and not her own. They may have given women votes, but their own names didn't come for another 70-80 years or so. So it probably doesn't refer to Mrs Eddy Beachler Growden of Alaska.

So I check my records. Yes, we have an E.B. Growdon. He was Edmund Blair Growden (1826-1850), but he was born and buried in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. But he also had a son, Edmund Blair Growden (Growdon and Growden spellings are interchangeable), born six months after his father's death, so he never saw his father and his father never saw him. He died in September 1926 and was buried at Colville, Stevens County, Washington, USA. So perhaps his wife was a candidate, or one of them.

One wife was Amanda H. McNeal, and the other was Mahallia H. Groom. Either of them could have been the Mrs E.B. Growdon referred to in the article. Or it could have been someone else altogether. Well, Jim Kershner, if you read this, it could answer your question, or at least give a hint. But I'm not registering with a Username and Password for a once-off comment in the Spokesman-Review of maybe some town in Washington USA, which I'll probably never have cause to read again.

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