Front page - 1890

On June 18, 2019, LNP celebrated its 225th anniversary. The earliest newspaper to which today’s LNP traces its roots was the Lancaster Journal, first published on June 18, 1794, by William Hamilton and Henry Willcocks from a news office located in a tavern building at the King Street site of the current LNP building.

To celebrate 225 years of Lancaster newspapers, we present this series of 52 front pages from the history of the newspapers which would eventually become LNP. 

Cultural progress

As this New Year’s Day front page rang in the decade of the 1890s, its writers and editors had no idea what advancements in the worlds of art, culture and sports were on the horizon – some of which continue to influence our culture into the current day.

Literature – This decade saw works such as Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” finding publication and popularity the world over. All three works have been given sequels, rewrites and feature-film adaptations as recently as the last five years.

Theatre – As the motion picture was still a few decades away from pop-culture dominance, the stage was still where people went for quality entertainment. Oscar Wilde’s final and most beloved stage play, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” made its debut in London in 1895. “Pagliacci,” the operatic tale of jealousy set in the world of traveling performers composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo, premiered in Italy in 1892.

Music – Even though he perished early in 1893 at the age of 53, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky cemented his legacy in the first years of this decade. Both “The Sleeping Beauty” and “The Nutcracker,” two of the composer’s most lasting works, had premieres in the first half of the decade and continue to be seen on stages across the country. Tchaikovsky also had the honor of holding the first ever performance at Carnegie Hall on May 5, 1891.

Food & Drink – In 1892, businessman Asa G. Chandler bought the rights to pharmacist John Pemberton’s medicinal drink that combined coca leaves and kola nuts. By 1895, Coca-Cola was for sale in every state, thanks in part to Chandler’s pioneering use of merchandising and advertising. Former soap salesman William Wrigley Jr. found luck offering free pieces of chewing gum bundled with the purchase of baking powder. Before long, the gum surpassed the baking powder in popularity, and in 1893, Wrigley unveiled Juicy Fruit and Wrigley’s Spearmint gum. Food staples such as Jell-O, cornflakes and condensed soup also made debuts during the 1890s.

Sports – In December of 1891, gym teacher James Naismith nailed a peach basket to a post and instructed his students to try their hand at throwing a soccer ball into it, unintentionally creating the sport of basketball. Another physical fitness instructor, William Morgan, created volleyball by blending aspects of tennis and handball. In the world of the then-most-popular spectator sport, boxing, George Dixon knocked out Nunc Wallace in 18 rounds in 1890 to win the World Bantamweight Championship. With this accomplishment, Dixon became the first African-American world champion in any sport, a full 18 years before Jack Johnson would rise to boxing prominence.

Sources: foodreference.com; britannica.com; blackpast.org; radio.wosu.org; ruthnestvold.com; encyclopedia.com.