Saturday, June 2, 2007

JRH - in the newspapers!

I worked a bit yesterday on Colleen Fitzpatrick's weekly Forensic Genealogy puzzle #111, which I solved using the Proquest Historic Newspapers The New York Times (1851-2003), available at home using my library card for the San Diego Public Library.

Just for fun, I decided to input the string "John Robinson Hall" into the Search box and see if this fellow made the NY Times, since he was such a hot shot aviation enthusiast and promoter in the 1910- to 1920 time frame (that's what he told his wife, anyway!).

Bingo! JRH had at least 7 mentions from 1913 to 1924. In 1913, he was a pupil at the Moisant Aviation School at Hempstead on Long Island. He had an accident in October 1913, but survived. He became the Manager of the New York Times Aerial Derby, which flew around Manhattan Island, in October 1913, In December 1913, he was arrested for forging checks to pay his hotel bill after the meet, and it noted that he went to Philadelphia. In February 1914, he was cleared of the charges. Finally, in 1924, he wrote an article for the Times describing the Aerial Derby in 1911 and comparing aviation then with aviation in 1924.

Needless to say, I was very surprised to find these articles, and my colleague Joan will now have more biographical information about JRH. The file keeps growing!

The ProQuest Historical Newspaper collection is wonderful - I just wish I had access to more than the New York Times with my current crop of library cards!

This is another case of being lucky - and being in the right place when the thought flashes through your brain and you decide to act on the flash.

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