About the only way to control smallpox before immunization was quarantine. So, if you’re on your way to your own wedding in 1902 and end up in the pest house, what do you do?
” WEDS BY PHONOGRAPH.
Young Ohio Couple Overcomes the Dilemma Into Which Smallpox Had Plunged Them.
Miss Nellie Stone, of Ottawa, and J. F. Duncan, of Oswego, N. Y., were married at Toledo, O., the other day under the most trying circumstances. They had been engaged for some time and the bride-to-be went to Oswego to have the ceremony performed. She stopped with a family, one of whose members was suddenly stricken with smallpox.
The quarantine of the house put the young couple in a quandary. Finally a phonograph was taken to the young woman. She spoke the marriage vows into the machine and it was taken to the office of the health department, where it was disinfected.
Armed with the phonograph Duncan sought a minister and made the responses in the marriage service, while the brass transmitter ejected the vows of the Ohio girl and they were pronounced man and wife. The bride is a contributor to eastern papers and the groom is a newspaper man.”
Happily, it does not appear that the bride ever came down with smallpox.
Last weekend we went to the Fargo Record Fair, an annual event where you can find all sorts of records. We, per our budget, bought a bunch of dollar albums. I was pleasantly surprised: all the vinyl I saw was in really good shape, compared to what I run into at thrift shops and rummage sales. Very few scratches, even on the bargain bin albums, and a lot of contemporary music. I’m tired of flipping through a zillion Ferrante and Teicher and Sing-Along with Mitch before getting to the good stuff.
From today’s Main Street on Prairie Public, you can hear (fast-forward to 14:50) Ashley Thornberg interview several of the vendors, particularly Antiques on Broadway’s Uncle Roy, who had a whole room of albums downtown.
In my post at Collectors Quest today, I share my disc-overy of WWII voice mail: audio letters sent during the war.
While I encourage you to read that history, I have two other items to share regarding that story.
First, in the January, 1946 issue of Audio Record (published by Audio Devices Inc., a manufacturer of blank discs used by the USO for the voice recordings), there was this cute story:
From a USO club in the South came the story of a man who made a special record for his family. His mother wrote back that when his pet dog heard the boy’s voice he sent up great bays of delight. So the soldier went back to the USO club ad made a whole recording just for his dog, Fido.
Since this is an industry publication, this heartwarming wartime story may be made up, simply propaganda — but it still works!
And that brings me to the very true fact stated by Letters on a Record Home, a documentary directed by John Kurash which focused on these Word War II recordings from the USO, Gem Blades, Pepsi and local radio stations:
At one point, over 25,000 letters on a record were sent home each month. Very few remain but what we have offers us insight into the lives of the soldiers and their families during the second world war. Most soldiers came back home to become part of the Greatest Generation. But not everyone comes home from war, not every soldier was able to keep their promise.
This short film is part of the GI Film Festival, and will be screened on Sunday, May 20, 2012.