The Mahanoy Area Historical Society has been making an effort to digitize all the Record American newspapers that have been made available to us. These newspapers are in binders. Each binder contains two months of newspapers. The Record American was printed Monday through Saturday until it closed in 1969. So far, the years 1919 through 1930 have been completed - that's a little more than 20% of the binders we have. This is a costly project. The binders are sent away to be digitized. They are returned to us along with an external hard drive that contains the digitized versions (pdf files ) of the paper. Currently the digitized copies are available on a computer in the historical room on West Center Street.
We have some funds in the newspaper project account to continue the project, but not nearly enough to complete it. Please consider supporting the Newspaper Project by becoming a member of the society if you aren't already. If you are a member please consider making a donation. More information about membership and donations can be found on the About Page on this site.
Added: January 28: A digitized copy of the January 24, 1925 edition of the Record American.The pdf files are so large that each page must be loaded individually. The links to these pages can be found below on the right hand side.
If you spend time going through the old copies of the Record American, you become aware of how different life must have been for our parents ( my parents were both born in 1915 ), grandparents and great grandparents. The edition you will see today was released during "Peter Pan " week in Mahanoy City. Residents young and old were anxiously awaiting the opening of the movie Peter Pan at the Family Theater on Monday, January 26.
In an age when televisions and computers didn't exist and radios were expensive (check the picture below), Americans who lived in the Roaring 20's were obsessed with films. Check the size of the movie ads in 1925 paper and compare them to the ad for the Schuylkill Mall Theater in Friday's Pottsville Republican. After the Kaier Opera House burned down and was replaced by the Victoria Theater, Mahanoy City had three movie houses in operation. Go to the Date Night 1936 Page to see ads for the theaters that were in operation in the 1930's.
Please look over the charts below to get a sense of the different world our grandparents lived in. For most people in our town and its surroundings in 1925 Mahanoy City was the center of the universe. Few people had the money or the free time to travel very far beyond Mahanoy City. Average family size was almost double what it is today. A trip to Philadelphia on the Reading Railroad was a rare treat. So it was movies that brought the world to Mahanoy City.
In January of 1925 the United States was seven years removed from World War I, five years into Prohibition and almost four years away from the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed.You won't see any ads in this paper for inexpensive meals at the local tap room like on the Date Night 1936 page. This was the age of the "speak easy".
106,521,537 people in the United States
2,132,000 unemployed, Unemployment 5.2%
Life expectancy: Male 53.6, Female 54.6
343.000 in military (down from 1,172,601 in 1919)
Average annual earnings $1236; Teacher's salary $970
Illiteracy rate reached a new low of 6% of the population.
It took 13 days to reach California from New York.
There were 387,000 miles of paved road.
Powel Crosley Jr. got into the radio business because his son wanted a crystal set. The prices were too expensive, in Crosley's opinion, so he bought a twenty-five cent booklet instead and built his first radio. Realizing how easy it would be to build and sell simple receivers, Crosley bought Precision Electric (in 1922) to begin his radio business and the following year formed Crosley Radio Corporation from Precision Electric. Crosley radios are noted for good performance with inexpensive parts and cabinets. By keeping manufacturing costs low, Crosley was able to offer his radios at very low prices resulting in high sales. His methods of manufacture eventually led to his becoming known as the "Henry Ford of Radio." Crosley went on to owning BC station WLW, owning the Cincinnati Red Legs baseball team, building small cars and many other endeavors. Shown is a 1924 Crosley XJ, a four tube TRF receiver.
This Crosley Radio cost about $35 in 1925. Average weekly salary was about $22. Before the Crosley, the cheapest radios were double and triple the Crosley price.
KDKA Pittsburgh was one of the first commercial radio stations in the world. It first aired on November 2, 1920.
The first radio station inSchuylkill County was WPPA in Pottsville. It was founded by Argie V. Tidmore and went on the air on May 9, 1946.
If you have an old Crosley collecting dust in your attic or basement consider donating it to the historical society.
312,906,287 people in the United States
13,100,000 unemployed, Unemployment 8.5%
Life expectancy: Male 75.6, Female 80.8
1,468,364 in military
Average annual earnings $25,000 ( 2005 ); Teacher's $42,000
Illiteracy rate : 1% of the population.
It takes 3 hrs and 22 min to reach California from New York.
There were 26,615,870 miles of paved road.
Note the number and size of the "Peter Pan" ads placed by the various Mahanoy City merchants in anticipation of Peter Pan Week.
Compare this 1.5 X 3.5 inch ad from Friday's Republican with the 11 x 17 inch movie ad on page six.