Note: This is an encore post from 2005 that originally appeared on the 1947project.
You can’t help but notice in going through old newspapers that suicides and divorces (especially in the days before no-fault divorces) were treated as daily “brites,” brief stories to break up other news. Papers finally stopped covering suicides in the belief that they merely encouraged people to kill themselves and suicide stories are quite rare today unless a well-known individual is involved (like the recent death of pianist Linda Martinez). They certainly wove a grim thread into the fabric of the daily paper.
This is unbelievably sad, and a good corrective to people who insist everything was better and kids didn’t do things like this in “the good old days.”
It really is.