Social Media – Then and Now
Posted by Lucy H. Anglin
My hitherto unknown relative pulled open an old book of Tennyson poems from the bookshelf and out fluttered a newspaper clipping that had been there almost 100 years.
The clipping was a photo of two small boys posed in their Sunday best from a Philadelphia newspaper published in 1921. The names of my father, Thomas Anglin, and his brother Bill were printed at the bottom.
Jenn Garro, who found the clipping, Googled the names and my recent story about Uncle Bill Dear Uncle Bill on the Genealogy Ensemble website was the first hit. She located me on Facebook and sent me a message:
Was I the daughter or niece of one of these boys? My answer – Yes!
The boys’ mother, my grandmother, Josephine Eveline Sherron, married William Wendling Anglin The Stock Broker, of Kingston, Ontario in 1915 in Philadelphia.
Not only do I have a copy of this newspaper clipping, I also have the original photo. My grandmother relished the world of the newspaper social pages and this early photo of her boys was their introduction into that world.
Another photo, taken six years later, captured the boys lovingly looking over their mother’s shoulder while she read to them. It was first published in the Philadelphia Inquirer in December, 1927, and then again in the June 1930 issue of Mayfair Magazine.
Josephine began modeling from an early age. She modeled hairdos, hats and fashions of the day, and the photos were widely distributed. One such photo, published in the December 11, 1915 issue of the Philadelphia Evening Ledger, featured her wearing a black lamb’s wool hat and muff with matching coat. The caption announced that her marriage had taken place that day.
Like many other people at that time, her mother and sister contributed regularly to the newspaper’s social pages, with announcements of teas, luncheons and bridge parties. Special events, such as the 1924 June Ball at the Royal Military College near Kingston, provided eager readers with short descriptions of the ball gowns that the “distinguished guests at the social event of the season” were wearing: “Mrs. Wendling Anglin, rose georgette beaded.”
Most surprising, however, were detailed announcements of the comings and goings of the family.
“Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Anglin, Westmount, Montreal, Canada, will be the guests over this week-end of Mrs. Anglin’s mother, Mrs. William Thomson Sherron, in Germantown. Mr. and Mrs. Anglin will leave by motor on Sunday for a several weeks’ trip to Florida.”
Then, a short while later:
“Mrs. Sherron has as her guests over the week-end her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Anglin, of Montreal, Canada, who arrived in this city Friday from Florida, after spending several weeks in the South.”
One visit from her sister was followed so thoroughly that it was announced on four separate occasions!
To begin with, it was announced twice in her local Germantown paper:
” …will leave next Wednesday for a visit of several weeks with her brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Anglin, of Westmount, Montreal, Canada.”
“…has left for Montreal, Canada, where she will remain for several weeks as the guest of her sister…”
Again, on the receiving end of the visit, in the Montreal Daily Star:
“Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Anglin have as their guest, Mrs. Anglin’s sister …of Philadelphia, Penn.”
And finally, home again:
“…who has been spending a month with her brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Anglin, in Montreal, Canada, taking part in the winter sports, recently returned to this city.”
Any decent burglar could have seized these well publicized opportunities to plan the perfect theft!
These newspaper articles from 80 years ago are very similar to posts that enthusiastic friends might share on today’s social media networks. Nowadays, anyone can share family activities and photos with the whole world in a similar fashion. Nevertheless, I wonder whether any family photos will flutter into a distant relative’s inbox 100 years from now.
Meanwhile, my newly discovered relative Jenn lives in Bolivia, and we are keeping in touch by messaging on social media.
On the inside cover of Tennyson’s Poems is written the name “Lizzie Gould”. Lizzie (Elizabeth) Gould was the sister of Harriet Gould (Josephine’s mother-in-law and my great grandmother, Mrs. W.G. Anglin Surgeon and Mentalist). Their brother Harry (Henry) Gould was the father of Pearl, who was Jenn Garro’s great-grandmother. It appears Lizzie kept the clipping of her sister Harriet’s grandchildren in the book of poems. Jenn inherited the book and the clipping.
 Public Ledger – Philadelphia, Sunday Morning, July 3, 1921
 The Philadelphia Inquirer – December 19, 1927
 The Mayfair Magazine – June 1930
 Evening Ledger- Philadelphia, Saturday, December 11, 1915
 Local newspaper, January 28, 1938
 Germantown local newspaper, January 4, 1935
 Germantown local newspaper, about February 4, 1935