For the last several years of his very long life our beloved local historian, Chester P. Bailey (1912-2015), donated his life's collection of photos and historical items to The History Center. As he sorted through his accumulation of file drawers and boxes over time, he would send his treasures a few at a time down to us by his daughter, Barbara. When he found something really special, as in this collection, he would tell Barbara, "Tell Joyce to come see me." Whenever we heard that message we knew he had something wonderful to share and wanted to do it in person. So it was in 2013 when the message to come for a visit reached us. The treasure this time was a collection of Advertiser print jobs from the 1880s.
Chester and his wife Mary had been editors and owners of The Mansfield Advertiser. Founded in 1873, The Mansfield Advertiser kept us up to date on the news for 99 years. From 1879 to 1885, W. A. Roland was publisher. That is when most of these print jobs were done. In 1885 Frank VanKeuren took over the firm, and in 1886, Sheridan Coles joined in the partnership. Sheridan Coles, and later his son Edwin, operated the paper for decades. Chester and Mary partnered with Edwin from the 1940s until they became full owners.
When they cleared out the office after it closed in 1972, they saved a century's worth of stored items. Among these is this collection of print jobs performed in the 1880s. Newspapers did not make their entire revenue just on the weekly publication. They also had to supplement their income as printers for anything else that needed to be done in the town. The editor saved examples of their jobs pasted into an outdated printer's supply equipment catalog.
This collection doubles as a partial directory of Mansfield buinesses in that era. It also gives us a glimpse into life in Mansfield in the 1880s. Every item here tells a story of a person or business or event in our town that long ago. By seeing the goods and services avaialable in 1880, we can more clearly understand the lifestyle.