Clark County and the Great War: Temperance Advertisements in the Springfield Daily News

By Sherri Goudy

As we near closer to midterm elections in the United States, our news and social media feeds are bombarded with political ads about candidates and issues. 100 years ago, Americans relied most heavily on newspapers to provide the latest in community and world events, especially when it came to elections.  Today, local newspapers offer a way to understand how political advertising in the past was viewed from local, national, and international perspectives.  They can also provide insights into how communities were using the war to politicize their own social issues.

November 5th, 1918 was election day, and though the war was not yet over, its influence weighed heavy on the upcoming vote.  One of the major issues on the ballot was the issue of temperance and prohibiting the manufacturing and sale of alcohol.  The Springfield Daily News published several ads in the days before the election, and many of them were about this issue.

Many supporters of prohibition argued that the production of alcohol used valuable resources such as coal and food, which were extremely scare during the war. This advertisement from November 1, 1918 declares “The liquor traffic helps the Kaiser by hindering America.”

Photo 1 SDN November 1, 1918 pg 21

Another ad was published by the Ohio Dry Federation on November 3, 1918.  In it were several little anecdotes about why the voter should “vote dry.”

Photo 2 SDN November 3, 1918 fashion pg 4

This ad from the day before the election pulls at the patriot’s heartstrings as the soldier pointing out from the page asks, “Will you back me – or back booze?”

Photo 3 SDN November 4, 1918 pg 7

While many ads wanted to argue the dangers of alcohol and squandering of valuable resources needed to fight the war, other ads contained information about how these arguments were not true. This ad from October 20, 1918 states “Prohibition will not win the war.”

Photo 4 SDN October 20, 1918 pg 4

This ad, which stated voters should vote “no” on prohibition, used soldiers not being able to vote because they were away at war as its plea.  One line of the ad reads “he left Ohio a state which had three times voted against Prohibition.”

Photo 5 SDN November 3, 1918 sports pg 8

The day after the election the newspaper served another purpose.  On November 6th, 1918, the Springfield Daily News published the voting results per city ward and precinct.  Though difficult to read, the latter photo shows a zoomed image of the result: 7,547 yes; 6,142 no.  Prohibition in Clark County had passed.

Photo 6 SDN November 6, 1918 results

Photo 7 SDN November 6, 1918 results close up

We hope you have enjoyed our posts over the past 2 years.  I personally have enjoyed writing them. Please join us on November 11th, Armistice Day, as we celebrate the official end of the war with our final blog post.

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The Influenza Pandemic and Clark County: Deadlier than Battle

By Sherri Goudy

The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 killed more people than died in WWI.  It’s almost unfathomable to consider, but the fact is an estimated 16 million people were killed in WWI, but Influenza (also called the “Spanish Flu” or “La Grippe”) killed about 50 million people worldwide between 1918-1919.

By the fall of 1918, the Great War was coming to an end.  Victory for the Allies grew ever closer, and letters home reflected optimism that soon the war would be over.  But just as hopes were rising, a new threat literally plagued the world.  The “three-day fever” came on suddenly, and some patients died within hours or days of first having symptoms. The most vulnerable were people ages 20-40 years old, a rare trend for flu outbreaks, as usually the very young are old are most susceptible.  Though the flu spread rapidly among soldiers living in close quarters, even the most remote areas of the world reported cases of the deadly influenza. This flu had consequences that impacted even the national life expectancy rate, which dropped by 12 years.

100 years ago, the Springfield Daily News published several headlines daily about the impact Influenza was having on its community.  On October 9, 1918, the number of cases in Ohio was reported to be 28,700.

Photo 1 SDN October 9, 1918 front

Also reported that day, Private Henry Canter, who had lived in Springfield with his brother died while at Camp Sherman of the flu.

Photo 2 SDN October 9, 1918 pg 5

Another article, reports that 650 deaths had been reported at Camp Sherman related to the flu.

Photo 3 SDN October 9, 1918 pg 13

The Clark County Chapter of the American Red Cross shared this on October 16, 1918, giving readers helpful tips on avoiding and caring for those with this deadly flu.

Photo 4 SDN October 16, 1918 pg 9

The influenza that plagued the world during WWI is recorded as the most devastating epidemic in world history.  It killed more people in one year than the entirety of the Bubonic Plague. Though illnesses during wartime were not uncommon, this flu that could not be prevented with vaccines caused tremendous loss that remains the worst in history to this day.