The ocean liner Titanic was sunk before I was born, so there is no way I could remember the newspaper headlines announcing that disaster. When the Civil War ended, the news didn't reach some of the soldiers until a good while later, because they didn't have access to newspapers.
I am old enough to remember when the only way the general public learned about newsworthy events was by means of a newspaper. When I was a grade school student there were three daily newspapers in Cleveland (Press, News and Plain Dealer) plus two Bohemian language papers and several other foreign language papers.
I remember when radio stations began broadcasting the news. Today we can get up to the minute news from television and from the Internet.
There used to be an old joke that asked, "What are the three fastest means of communication?" Answer: "Telephone, telegraph and tell-a-woman."
Actually, that isn't really just a joke. Local news was spread from person-to-person and the telephone was part of that. Most men worked outside the home, while their wives had their hands full maintaining a household. The women would spread any news while doing their daily shopping or when hanging clothes outdoors or when exchanging the latest news over the backyard fence.
I remember many news events that dominated the newspaper headlines for days and weeks at a time. The Dr. Sheppard case is one of them. When his wife was found murdered in their bedroom, Doctor Sam was in big trouble, and his arrest and trial was in the newspaper headlines for a long time. He said the murderer was a "bushy haired stranger," and the case left many unanswered questions.
When Charles A. Lindberg crossed the Atlantic Ocean, solo, nonstop in a single engine aircraft named The Spirit of Saint Louis, he became an international hero. He made the headlines day after day. The newspapers followed his every move. It took him 33 hours to make the crossing.
Those hours were filled with suspense. Where was he? Has anyone seen him or his plane? His landing in Paris led to world wide rejoicing and celebrating. A ticker tape parade in New York city was only the beginning of many years of his being followed by the newspaper reporters. His plane is in a museum. He is buried on the island of Maui, and I saw the place from a helicopter on a Hawaiian Islands cruise.
I've had a long-time liking for boats and when the submarine Squalus sank, that was headline news for days and weeks. It was in shallow water, and a new diving bell was used to rescue some of the crew members. The sub was brand new, and it sank on a training dive. It was later raised, restored and put into service, all recorded and served up to the public with newspaper headlines.
Jack Dempsey was a national hero. He was a prizefighter, or as some would say, a heavyweight boxer in the days when boxing was a popular form of entertainment. When he fought for the heavyweight boxing championship, his opponent was Gene Tunney.
Dempsey knocked Tunney down, and the referee started the count, but Dempsey had not gone to a neutral corner where he was supposed to go, so the ref stopped the count and restarted it when Jack was in that corner. Tunney got up and won the championship in what became known as the "long count." That controversial count made headlines for a man who already was very well known to all newspaper reporters and the general public.
I remember when the name Floyd Collins was in the news for days and days. Floyd was exploring a cave when a dislodged rock pinned him in place deep underground. Day after day the headlines and newspaper front pages kept the public informed of all the efforts being made to free him. There were drawings and diagrams and all kinds of ideas for getting him out alive. He died in spite of everything being done to save him.
Babe Ruth made headlines just about every time he came to bat in a baseball game. He was known as the Sultan of Swat as he set records for hitting home runs. Fans jammed the stands when he played for the Yankees. It was said that his bat built Yankee Stadium. He was a character off the field, too, with an appetite for hot dogs. One day he pointed his bat to a spot in the stands and then hit the ball there for another home run. That act of confidence was disputed. Some say it happened, and others say it didn't.
For a while, big dirigibles crossing the ocean provided a new way to travel. There was the Graf Zepppelin, the Akron, the Macon, the Los Angeles and others. Some were made in Akron, and I remember seeing them fly over Cleveland on test flights. After flying from Germany to New Jersey, the Hindenburg was preparing to land when it caught fire and crashed. A photographer captured the moment on film and that photo and the tragic story made front page headlines that every old-timer like me remembers vividly.
When Sally Rand introduced her fan dance at a Chicago World's Fair, she made headlines too. The question everyone asked was, "What, if anything, was she wearing." Some said greasepaint or a body stocking. Others said "Nothing." Many said they couldn't tell one way or another.
I have lived to see headlines about John Dillinger and Jack Kennedy, and I wonder what headlines the youngsters of today will see in their lifetimes?