From 'alcoholic insanity' to pickling tips: Old papers offer amusing history lesson
Published Thursday, January 12, 2017 5:10PM EST
A Toronto woman got a surprise history lesson when a contractor working on her newly-purchased house uncovered 100-year-old newspapers during renovations.
Breann Kirincich’s contractor Dave Sutherland found the yellow-stained editions of the Toronto Evening Telegram and Toronto Daily Star after ripping up some floorboards in the living room of her Greektown home. She suspects the papers, dated from 1915 to 1919, were used as insulation.
Kirincich, a securities lawyer, found the Woman of To-Day section particularly entertaining. It had articles on pickling and tips for getting watermelon stains out of clothing. Kirincich says she’s not too concerned about pickling or watermelon stains.
She was also intrigued by advertisements for mining stocks, considering that her job is to draft offering documents and review marketing materials. One promises those who buy 20 cent shares in a gold mine “the possibility for endless returns.” That wouldn’t fly with regulators today, she says.
Sutherland seemed particularly amused by an article quoting a doctor who proclaimed that the Ontario Temperance Act of 1916 – also known as prohibition – had caused the condition of “alcoholic insanity” to all but disappear, according to Kirincich.
Kirincich says she wanted to frame some of the papers to put on her walls, but they basically disintegrated when handled. She’s considering framing some of the photos Sutherland took.
Kirincich says she can’t wait for the contractor to start ripping up the floorboards upstairs next week, adding “Who knows what gems he might find?”