Saturday, February 13, 2010

Walls Can Talk ... the Newspaper in the Bathroom Wall

Here's a little slice of life in Fredericksburg, Virginia, as seen in the newspaper we found in the basement bathroom wall.  (You can click on any of these images to enlarge them, if you want to.)

The date is December 9, 1943.

The country was at war, and this was evident throughout every section of the paper.  There were stories of Allied advances, German attrocities, the bravery of the British and the French citizens, and the hardships facing our soldiers.  Everyone at 'home' was being asked to do their part, by conserving resources or buying War Bonds.

It was Christmas shopping season, and local merchants showcased the best and most fashionable merchandise.

There were clothing ads:

Check out these furniture ads.  How many of these items have we seen in antique stores?

(I have a table almost exactly like the medium-sized one in this ad.)

The grocery ads were fascinating.  Because of war-time rationing, citizens were encouraged to make creative use of available items.

Look at some of the employment ads.

All of this paper was wadded into balls before it was stuffed into the wall.  To flatten it without tearing it, I wet the paper in the kitchen sink, and carefully smoothed it onto the kitchen counter.

Some of the businesses mentioned throughout the newspaper are still in existence. Others were here when we moved to Fredericksburg in the early 1980's, but are gone now. The buildings are here, though.  When the weather improves enough for me to spend time walking downtown, and not freeze to death in the process, I think it would be cool to take my camera and photograph the buildings at the various addresses.  Stay tuned.

(written by Hartwood Roses.  Hartwood Roses blog)


  1. We too found newspapers under the linoleum on our old back porch. Ours were from Jan.1941. I have them in a box and plan to get them laminated- ever the history teacher-at school on the laminating machine. I have more "stuff" we found under the wood floor in the attic room when we pulled it up pictures and to put on our addition. I have all that "stuff" as well. That included pictures and post cards. You have inspired some blog posts for me :-)

  2. What a treasure. I particularly like the ad where the lady says she "expresses a desire of every woman". Also telling was the want ad looking for white or "colored" men, but only white women. One of my fun finds were several street car tokens unearthed while putting the the koi pond in.

  3. That is so interesting. And look at those prices!!

  4. Hi! It was great looking at the newspapers. Can't believe how things were. The sharing was informative to me. Thanks!

  5. An amazing "time capsule" in your walls!

    I was enjoying all the prices on the products (love those slips, don't you?) until I saw the wages! $15 a week for a waitress. Wait. We make less blogging! Ha!


  6. What a wonderful find and so smart to smooth it out and take a peek at a slice of times past. I would have done the same thing. Then I'd save all the cool illustrations for reference for my own art. ;-)


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