The Crier, the monthly newspaper for the Country Club District from 1930 to 1941, provides a great record of the early years of Edina's historic neighborhood. The first July 4th parade. The neighborhood's plans to secede from Edina. The first police officer hired.
But in addition to "hard news," The Crier covered things like weddings, births, vacations abroad and parties at home. Whether residents went downtown to see a play or next door to visit with the neighbors, the news was reported in the paper's Society section.
See just one page (of almost three pages) of Society news in the 16-page publication below.
Researchers chuckle at some of the mundane things reported. Some characterize the Society news as a snooty upper class practice, but in fact, many small town newspapers had popular Society columns. Granted, a farm town newspaper might report on quilting bees instead of "canapes and cocktails" but newspapers across the country carried society news.
Big city newspapers might assign a reporter to write about lavish parties or weddings of the area's movers and shakers, but small town newspapers relied on the public to send in their own news. If you wanted people to know about your social life, you sent in a few sentences to the local paper.
In other words, the Society column was a lot like Facebook, with a little more restraint. (No photos of drunk people at college parties, for example.)
Society news provides a more complete view of family members for genealogists, who discover their parents' or grandparents' interests and accomplishments. Whether they were on the honor roll at college or belonged to the women's club, their news was reported in The Crier.
Because the Country Club resident had some famous residents, the Society news makes for some interesting reading for even non-relatives. Read about the Odells, makers of Burma Shave, or about the Lilleheis, reknown surgeons, or the Bridgemans, who owned the ice cream shop chain.
Thanks to a meticulous Edina Historical Society archivist (not me), the names are easy to find. We have a card catalog (remember those?) of names and the issue date and page where they appeared.
You're welcome to come in during regular museum hours and browse The Criers, or look up your relatives. If you or your family lived in the Country Club during the 1930s, you're almost guaranteed find something, even if it's only a few lines about a vacation or party.
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Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
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