Christmas Shopping in 1974

Christmas Shopping in 1974

In 1974, the toy industry experienced a robust holiday season, featuring a mix of traditional favorites and newly introduced items that captured the imaginations of children across the United States.

Here are some of the most popular toys that were sold for Christmas in 1974:

Stretch Armstrong – Produced by Kenner, this flexible action figure could stretch up to four feet long. Its unique, gel-filled design made it a must-have for children who were fascinated by its seemingly magical properties.

Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle – This toy allowed kids to recreate the death-defying stunts of daredevil Evel Knievel. Complete with a ramp and a motorcycle, this set was a hit among adventure-seeking youngsters.

Barbie Dolls – Mattel’s Barbie continued her reign as a perennial favorite among young girls. New outfits, accessories, and playsets kept the brand fresh and desirable.

Tonka Trucks – These sturdy, metal construction vehicles continued to be popular with young boys. Their durability and realistic design made them a parent-approved choice for the holiday season.

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots – Originally released in the 1960s, this two-player action game regained popularity in the ’70s. Players controlled plastic robots in a boxing ring, aiming to knock each other’s heads off with manual levers.

Spirograph – This drawing toy, which used mathematical formulas to create intricate patterns, appealed to children and adults alike. Its intellectual edge made it especially popular among parents seeking educational toys.

LEGO Sets – The classic construction toy was a hit across age groups. With various sets offering everything from simple building blocks to complex mechanical devices, LEGO remained a versatile favorite.

Big Wheel – This low-riding tricycle became a staple in households with young children. Its plastic construction made it affordable, and its unique design made it fun to ride.

Weebles – These egg-shaped figurines “wobble but they don’t fall down,” according to the popular slogan. The Weebles Haunted House set was especially popular during this holiday season.

Shrinky Dinks – This craft-based toy allowed children to color on a sheet of plastic that would shrink and harden when baked in an oven, creating miniature, hardened plastic items.

These toys reflected the trends and pop culture influences of the era, and many of them remain beloved collectibles to this day.

“Whether There Is a God or Not” (1913)

“Whether There Is a God or Not” (1913)


DR. FRANK CRANE, c/o Globe, N. Y.

Dear Sir:

Will you please write in the Globe and say whether there is a God or not? A man told me that there isn’t any. I asked the teacher and she said she didn’t know, as some said there was and some said there wasn’t. Mamma says there is, but papa says he doesn’t know anything about such things. We boys had a debate about it and we thought we would ask you.



YES, my boy, there is a God. You cannot see or hear Him, but I will tell you how you can feel Him.

Did you ever lie, or cheat, or steal, or treat a smaller boy cruelly, or be a coward when you should have been brave? If so, you have felt a hurt inside your mind, a miserable feeling in your heart, as if you were sick at your stomach, or as if you had struck your finger with a hammer. It is God that so makes you hurt.

This ran in the December 1913 issue of Boy’s Life magazine as a reprint from the New York Globe.

Have you ever wanted to do something mean, or nasty, and resisted the desire, put it away from you, and acted honestly and fair; and have you not noticed then a good feeling, a sense of inner pride and satisfaction and manhood? It is God that gives you this good feeling when you play the man.

Have you ever looked up at the sky at night and, remember ing what you have been told about the vast distances of the stars and that they are worlds like ours moving through space as fast as cannonballs, have you never had a feeling of wonder, of how great and majestic the universe is, and you but a tiny mite in it all? That feeling of wonder and awe comes from God. A very wise man, Carlyle, said that worship is to wonder; so that when you see anything that makes you wonder because of its greatness or beauty or mystery, you are really worshipping God, whether the object be the ocean, the mountain or a good man or woman.

It is not the police that protect our lives, my boy. Only a few wicked men come into conflict with the policemen. But there is something that holds every man back from cruelty and uncleanness, that stays the murderer’s arm and causes many a woman to drown herself rather than be vile. That something is God. He watches over us all and neither slumbers nor sleeps.

None of us understand why He allows so many people to do wrong, but we feel that there is something in every human breast that makes wrongdoing bring misery every time.

The most important thing for you to believe about God is that He is not your enemy, and He is not watching you like a detective to punish you, but that He is your friend, that He is loving and serving you every minute of your life.

Listen to your heart beating, as you lie awake in bed. All night while you are unconscious something is making your heart beat thus, and your lungs breathe, and attending to all the functions of’ your body. That is God. Nobody has ever yet found a better name.

It is God who rolls the stars in the heavens, who lifts the sun up in the morning, and guides the moon at night; who cause the wheat and corn, the trees and flowers to grow; who brings the birds back from the south in the spring; who makes the little lambs frolic and the kittens play; who makes children happy and grown people kind and patient.

Wherever you find LIFE and GOODNESS and GREATNESS you may know God is there.

So, my boy, whether your folks are Hebrew or Christian, Buddhist or Mahometan, even if they are “nothing at all,” you may rest assured that they will not object to your believing what I have here told you; and you may be sure also that to believe in God and to try and feel and follow Him will do more than anything else in the world to make you an honest, happy and brave man, to make those who love you glad because of you, and to make all the world respect and trust you.

-Frank Crane

Protecting the Newsboy in 1911

Protecting the Newsboy in 1911

This report by George A. Hall, Secretary of the New York Child Labor Committee, was published in Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science in the July 1911 issue.

In 1902, in New York, Florence Kelley, the head of the National Consumers League and a former resident of Hull House, joined with Lillian Wald, the founder of Henry Street Settlement, to influence the Association of Neighborhood Workers to appoint a child labor committee to investigate the problem of child labor in New York. Others on this committee were Robert Hunter and Mary Simkhovitch. In November 1902, this committee was organized as the New York Child Labor Committee.

The Newsboy

In the program of restrictive legislation with respect to the employment of young children, attention seems to have been first directed toward the condition of children working in factories. As the public conscience became aroused and more intelligent, it was learned that the children working in mercantile establishments were also seriously in need of the law’s protection. As a result, remedial legislation has followed in many of our states. Although more than thirty years have passed since the enactment of the first child labor law, the attempt to regulate street trading by children, is comparatively recent, as the passage of the first law specifically relating to newspaper selling, by the New York legislature, in 1903, indicates.

In view of the conditions surrounding newsboy life in our larger cities, uncovered during recent years, it is surprising that social workers, particularly, have been so tardy in recognizing the need of seeking protection for the street trader. Among those with firsthand knowledge of conditions, many claim that the evil effect upon young boys of street trading, is more serious by far than the effect of factory or mercantile occupations. In spite of this situation, only three states in the country — New York, Massachusetts and Wisconsin — and but a few scattering cities, including Washington, D. C, Cincinnati and Newark, have provided regulation.

The Co-Ed Goes to War by Katherine Hill (1942)

The Co-Ed Goes to War by Katherine Hill (1942)

From the December 1942 issue of Carolina Magazine:

Carolina MagazineTHE Carolina coed is going to war. Shoved into relative obscurity by the more immediate problem of expanding the Pre-Flight school, temporarily subordinated to the outcome of the 18-19-year-old draft legislation, the question of the coed’s status in Carolina’s war college, her ultimate fate in the university’s new educational system is at last coming into the limelight.

The accelerating tempo of the war has brought an unprecedented challenge to every woman in every college and university in the country, and women students here, as their sister students elsewhere, are demanding answers to their questions, “What is going to happen to us? Will we be allowed to remain at Carolina? Where will we go next year — or next quarter even?”

The actual truth of the matter is — nobody knows.

Rumors as to what the future holds for the coed have flown from Graham Memorial to Woollen gym, back across by the naval area and up through the quadrangle. The most famous of these came from a small campus group which divulged the confidential information that all coeds were to be packed in the proverbial lock, stock and barrel manner and sped to the fair city of Greensboro where they would be allowed to pursue their various studies beneath the quiet and pensive oaks on ye olde Woman’s College campus. Upon receipt of this choice bit of news the irate populace of Alderman, McKeever and Archer House promptly made frantic plans for revolution should execution of such a threat be attempted.

Next rumor on the hit parade, eventually squelched by the inhabitants of Kenan, Spencer and the sorority houses, had it that coeds would be kicked off the campus, bounced out of town, chased beyond the county limits, and there left to shift for themselves, preferably in the direction of an East Carolina tobacco patch or a New England airplane factory.

From the office of the dean of the War College comes the only official word on the subject of coeds and their place in the future of the university. The statement issued by Dean Bradshaw is brief almost to the point of disappearance. “We know nothing definite. Your officials are in constant touch with the proper authorities and as soon as we learn anything at all conclusive we will immediately pass it on to the student body. The main problem facing us at this time is where we can house eight bundled women when the Pre-Flight school takes over their dormitories.” He did not say if the Pre-Flight school takes over the dormitories.

In the meantime, the war goes on. What are the coeds, as an integral part of the student body, going to do?

In the first place, at the end of this quarter there must, of necessity, be a complete reconsideration of the academic program for women. In order to remain as students at Carolina, women will have to adapt their scholastic schedules to meet the demands of the speeded up war program. In place of excessive liberal art courses must come classes in mathematics, sciences, foreign languages, and social services. Training in fields branded as temporarily unnecessary will be slashed to a minimum; concentration will be on the nation’s needs in health fields, in diplomatic services and special investigations, in scientific research, in business and industry and in trained personnel for schools and colleges.

The increasing- urgency for preparing women now for what lies immediately ahead cannot be stressed too emphatically. Dr. Edward C. Elliott, Chief of the Division of Technical and Professional Personnel of the War Manpower Commission, recently stated, “All women college students are under obligation to participate directly either in very necessary community service, in war production or in service with the armed forces.”

By no means does this indicate that sight is being lost of the values of education, especially of the college education; it is held at a premium. There is no retraction of nor lessening of emphasis on the statement that the reservoir of educated leadership must be maintained. For those upon whose shoulders will fall the tremendous responsibility of solving the peace there must be a thorough understanding of the social, economic, political and intellectual forces which characterize this war period.

But before peace comes the war. (more…)

Assault with Attempt to Kill (Civil War Reunion Poem from 1915)

Assault with Attempt to Kill (Civil War Reunion Poem from 1915)

This poem was recited to great applause to crowds in Philadelphia in 1915 at the Forty-Second Annual Reunion of the Army of the Potomac and included in the published Report of Proceedings.

The poem was created on the scene of the reunion by Captain Jack Crawford and was based on the arrest of an old soldier a “day or two” before the meeting. The soldier who was arrested was quoted as saying “I did it, yes I did it, and I’d do it again.”

Assault with Attempt to Kill

Benjamin White,” the Court clerk cried, and “Benjamin White” again,
When a man of apparently sixty came out of the prisoners’ pen.
He leaned on a cane of hickory wood, and walked with a limping gait,
And stood at the bar with determined face, and there awaited his fate.
“Benjamin White,” his Honor cried, as the crowd in the court grew still,
“The charge which 1 see against your name, is assault with intent to kill.
How do you plead? ’Tis a serious charge, with a heavy penalty;
The Court would advise that you ponder well before you enter a plea.”

Why Must a Woman’s Name Change with Her Marriage? (1924)

Why Must a Woman’s Name Change with Her Marriage? (1924)

“It Shouldn’t!” Exclaims One Boston Woman, Who Uses Her Husband’s Name Only When She Pleases—But Another Says There Are Good and Sufficient Reasons

“The matter is closed and will not be reopened,” officially replied the Assistant Secretary of the Interior last week when some Washington women protested to him that although they are married they want to keep their unmarried names. Officially it may be settled; women department workers may be obliged to sign their married names in order to get their pay checks; but the larger question of whether a woman should take a new name when she takes a husband will not be settled as long as the little band of Lucy Stoners keep up the agitation for married women with maiden names. They are an advance guard, as determined pioneers as the first suffrage workers.

In today’s Globe, Katharine Morey of Brookline, who is sometimes known as Mrs. Herbert Pinkham, tells why she thinks it absurd to expect a woman to give up the name she has been known by all her single life.

Katharine Morey

Katharine A. Morey

This appeared in The Boston Globe on September 21, 1924.  The portion supporting women keeping their names after marriage was written by Katherine A. Morey (also known, sometimes, at Mrs. Herbert Pinkham). 

Morey: No woman who has seriously decided to keep her own name will be more than mildly interested In the semiofficial news that married women employees of a certain Government department a t Washington must sign their “married names” to the payroll. There is no law In the land compelling a woman to take her husband’s name. and-as far as I have been able to discover there are no legal obstacle’ to retaining the so called maiden name in all circumstances.

That any department at Washington, or any number of departments, actually hoped to impede the movement toward name independence would be strange news. Such tactics would be several years behind the times. The idea is already firmly established and the practice of it is growing every day. I doubt very much if all the conservative talent in Washington could withhold the pay envelope of a woman who, accustomed to use her own name. refused to sign her husband’s name on a payroll. (more…)