Happy New Year 1918: Same same but different

Happy New Year 1918!

Considering that LancasterHistory.org (LHO) has a large collection of old newspapers available to our patrons, I thought that I would take a peak back 100 years to see what news stories were being read by Lancastrians on the eve of New Years in 1918. It will not surprise you that I found three topics which will sound familiar to our contemporary ears:

  • Women in the workplace
  • Cold winter temperatures
  • Taxes

Women in the workplace

The article below, from the December 29, 1918 edition of Lancaster’s The Inquirer, reports on the employment of women at the New York Central railroad. Female workers were needed to replace the men who had become soldiers for WWI. What struck my eye in this article is the section entitled “Receive Same Pay”. A. T. Hardin, the senior vice president in charge of operations for the New York Central, is quoted as saying, “The woman who does the same work as a man will get the same pay as a man.”


Cold winter temperatures

The following article, from the same issue of The Inquirer, reports on a cold spell that sounds much worse than the one we are suffering from right now. At 6 degrees below zero, the cold is described as “the sort of cold that make wagon wheels screech as they move over the snow”.



The January 5, 1918 edition of The Inquirer reports on the new tax schedule. Single men making an annual income of more than $1000 are to be taxed in the new year at 2%. Incomes between $3000 and $5000 for single men would be taxed at a higher rate of 4%.


Donovan’s will pay your car fare

When I’m going through old newspapers, I always find myself admiring the graphic design of the advertisements. Below is an advertisement for Donovan’s department store that I found charming. Donovan’s, which was located at 32-38 East King St., paid the trolley car fare for customers spending more than $10 (unless the purchases were for Victor or Columbia products!!).

Materials at LHO that were used for this blog post

The Inquirer is available in our microfilm collection. Our microfilm readers can produce hard copy or digital images.

The address for Donovan’s department store was found in our 1917-18 copy of the Lancaster City Directory.

-Nathan Pease, Director of Library Services at LancasterHistory.org

From Notes From The Library