STUMP » Articles » Memory Monday: August 1918 -- Gearing Up For an Election and the End of the War » 3 September 2018, 17:08

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Memory Monday: August 1918 -- Gearing Up For an Election and the End of the War  


3 September 2018, 17:08

So looking back to August 1918, and getting the whole month over in a blow. And I’m going to start adding in other newspapers other than the Brewster Standard, but my preference is the Standard, as it covers the place I currently live, and it has loads of names I mentioned. Also, the other papers in the area I have access to through the New York Historic Newspapers don’t cover 1918. Many of these have the exact same content (except for a few ads) as do the Brewster Standard.

One thing, though – some issues of the Brewster Standard are in such poor condition in the scans, I can’t use the clips at all, as the paper had been greatly torn — and this wasn’t a private person’s collection, these were scanned from the actual newspaper galleys, which were on questionable paper even to begin with. So I look at multiple papers, though I most fully read the Brewster Standard.

There were two main things going on in August 1918.

First, the Hundred Days Offensive began on August 8, which was the final push that forced Germany into unconditional surrender in November 1918. It required American troops to be at full strength to pull off — the U.S. officially entered the war in April 1917, but it wasn’t until over a year later that its troops in the fields of Europe were at a high enough strength to greatly contribute.

Second, as now, a midterm election was going on and the out-of-Presidential-office party, the Republicans, were pulling together after there had been two rounds of really nasty elections of intra-party strice in the Republicans. Teddy Roosevelt had created the Progressive Party (aka the Bull Moose Party) for the election of 1912, and while he was out of it for the 1916 election, he became reconciled to the Republican Party in 1918 and was helping their push.

So let’s check in on these themes:


Yeah, you can tell this is an old newspaper.

But, for what it’s worth, in New York this was no small feat. I hadn’t really been covering all the political brou-ha-has, and one because I didn’t even know it had happened. I only learned about it due to Edmund Morris’s bio of Teddy Roosevelt’s post-presidential years.


In 1915, Teddy Roosevelt was on trial for libel against the Republican political boss William Barnes:

On May 22, 1915, after a five-week trial, the William Barnes vs. Theodore Roosevelt libel suit ended. Barnes, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, had sued Roosevelt for $50,000 for an alleged libelous statement in which Roosevelt had referred to Barnes as a corrupt political boss. More specifically, he publicly called Barnes “a political boss of the most obnoxious type.” Roosevelt’s defense was to prove that his statement was indeed true. The trial was moved from Albany, the State capital, to the courthouse in Syracuse as it was a more neutral location.

The trial did not begin well for the former President. While he admitted to his son, Kermit, that the judge was fair—if a bit legalistic—he was frustrated by the proceedings as a whole. While on the witness stand, the uncontainable former president said whatever he wanted. Not even the lawyers’ objections or judge’s gaveling could stop him. After two days of deliberations, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Roosevelt.

Interestingly, TR’s cousin FDR testified for him, and also interestingly, FDR was semi-disinterested, being a Democrat himself (how the Roosevelts split into Repubs and Dems… I found out when I visited Hyde Park last week.. something about that another time.

While many of Teddy’s friends shied away from serving as witnesses, Franklin stepped forward. Here was a chance to aid the man he idolized. When asked by Teddy’s attorney to explain their relationship, Franklin replied: “Fifth cousin by blood and nephew by law!” A big grin consumed his face. Franklin testified that he had witnessed first-hand collusion by Barnes and his Democratic counterpart while serving in the New York legislature. “I shall never forget the capital way in which you gave your testimony,” Teddy wrote Franklin after the trial.

Part of the explanation was that the political machinery was such that the Republican and Democratic political bosses exchanged favors.

One might even have said they colluded.

Here’s a picture of TR at the 1915 trial:

Anyway, by 1918, things had gotten patched up, and there was even talk of TR running again for President in 1920. [He didn’t… because, SPOILER ALERT, he died in 1919]


A few more rah-rah-Republicans items:

Reminder: The Brewster Standard was a Republican newspaper at this time, and that sort of blatant, and unapologetic partisanship, was normal.


Again, this is coming from the Brewster Standard. So take that for what you will.


Here is where I’m reaching beyond the Brewster Standard. Most of the Westchester newspapers available from 1918 are also in poor condition, but there was a Tarrytown daily paper, which ran wire reports on its front page. You should be able to distinguish these by sight.


And they won’t come back til it’s over over there!

Don’t be gloomy gusses when writing to the boys over there:


Look, there had been German agents working in the U.S., before the U.S. entered the war. And after, too, of course.

So, some mysterious lights:

Yup, they really mean to shoot:

Maybe we’ll find out if somebody gets shot, later.


Interestingly, as many saw the end of war on the way… food restrictions were lessened. Yay!

But, also, as the Germans were losing… they needed food in the recaptured or conquered lands.


Playing at the movies:

The feminists are up in arms (what’s new):

Bulletin: August is hot!

And newspapers had been shutting down across the country: