Societies and organizations can provide a clue to city life for both sociological and biographical researchers. Membership in the Elks, Masons, International Order of Odd Fellows, Woodmen of the World and similar societies can help genealogists make sense of their ancestors’ after-hours activities.
In this case, the Arizona Weekly Journal-Minerpublished a report of a Chautauqua group meeting in Prescott. Chautauqua meetings were part of a national system of adult education featuring lectures, musical performers, and religious preachers. It had both local chapters and a tent-show circuit. Prescott’s appears to be a local, or “daughter,” chapter.
Gunfighter Johnny Ringo died 136 years ago today, and legends still circulate on whether anyone was his “huckleberry,” as the fictional Doc Holiday states in 1993’s Tombstone. According to the Weekly Tombstone Epitaph, John Yost found Ringo’s body near the mouth of Morse Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains.
“Many friends will mourn him, and many others will take secret delight in learning of his death,” the story closes. Historians and writers have speculated on whoever would take secret delight ever since, but the Cochise County Coroner ruled it suicide. Ringo is buried not far from where his body was discovered, currently on private property.
A particular focus of this grant stated that newspapers would be selected to include communities under-represented in previous grant cycles, such as Spanish language and Mexican American newspapers, Native American community newspapers, African American community newspapers, and more.
One notable newspaper is The Apache Sentinel which began publication at Fort Huachuca in July of 1943. At one point during the war effort approximately 25,000 people were living at the fort, making it the third largest city in Arizona at the time. A primary demographic was African American soldiers. According to the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, 14,000 black soldiers and WACs lived at Fort Huachuca, and the Apache Sentinel was the newspaper that chronicled the social activities and training of those who lived at the fort.
The Apache Sentinel is an important historical record for researchers and genealogists alike, with compelling photojournalism and biographical information.
Here you can see an issue of The Apache Sentinel from August 6, 1943 featuring articles by Thelma Thurston Gorham and photographs of WAACS dressed up for events, African American nurses, The Service Command’s Band, Hollywood celebrities visiting, soldier training in an office with WAACS and artist Anna Russel who contributes cartoons to the issue.
The State of Arizona Research Library is excited to digitize (and preserve) this important piece of Arizona cultural heritage. As part of these efforts, we are producing a short documentary about the history of the Apache Sentinel newspaper and its role at Fort Huachuca.
Fort Huachuca housed the 92nd Division of the Army – an all-black division of men. It also housed two companies of WAACs, the 32nd and 33rd, becoming the first WAAC companies assigned to an army training post. (The acronym WAACs was used until September of 1943 when the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps became the Women’s Army Corps.)
African American soldiers and WACs at Fort Huachuca lived under segregated conditions. In fact, at Fort Huachuca two officers clubs were built – Lakeside for white officers and Mountain View for black officers. When the Army built the Mountain View Officers Club it was supposed to be temporary, but more than 70 years later the building still stands, albeit in need of preservation.
In March of 2018, came the announcement that state officials, historic preservationists, and community members had received a $500,000 grant to continue their efforts to restore the Mountain View Officers Club building, saving it from demolition.
Army garrison spokeswoman Tonja Linton said only two black officers clubs from World War II remain standing in the U.S. – Mountain View and one in Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
This announcement adds further excitement and interest to the story of Fort Huachuca, which swelled to a population of over 25,000 at war time, and thereby introduced thousands of soldiers to the Arizona desert. It is a great example of how a single historic newspaper contributed to the cultural identity of Arizona.
This the 4th NDNP grant received by the State of Arizona Library, Archives and Public Records.
For more information, contact:
Alison Sweet, NDNP Project Coordinator
State of Arizona Research Library
Sativa Peterson, News Content Program Manager
State of Arizona Research Library
The Apache Sentinel, Vol. 1 No. 4, August 6, 1943.
Mulford Winsor, State Librarian from 1932-1956, affixed this warning to newspaper folio volumes kept at the State Library, noting they are “compiled and bound at considerable expense of time, labor, and money.” Winsor was active in newspaper work as well as politics. As State Librarian, he developed the newspaper collection for “all investigators, research workers and historians who may have need of it.”
Ironically, the changing nature of preservation and access would make such measures unnecessary. The warning correctly notes “The pages become brittle with age, and are easily broken.” But, to preserve the newspapers for the future generations, State Library staff have had to disobey many, many of these printed warnings.
Unbinding and cutting apart the volumes is the first step in microfilming and digitizing newspapers. Researchers who have seen microfilm of bound pages, with important details swallowed up in the bound crease of the page, know why. Collators over the years have encountered stitched bindings, and newspapers held together with staples as thick as carpenters’ nails. At first the papers were merely microfilmed for preservation and access, but beginning in 2004, the National Digital Newspaper Program began funding digitization of the microfilm, which the State Research Library has participated in since 2007, leading to the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program, where researchers can enjoy what those massive newspaper folios protected—without the threat of a curse!
On July 12 1917, Sheriff Harry Wheeler and 2,000 deputies arrested over a thousand Bisbee men. Members of the International Workers of the World, these striking miners were forced at gunpoint onto a train and then left in the desert outside Columbus, New Mexico. The event soon became known as the Bisbee Deportation. To see what The Bisbee Daily Review or other Arizona newspapers have to say about this event visit the Digital Arizona Library and explore the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program webpage.