2012 is rapidly drawing to a close and 2013 is nearly upon us. It’s been a year of historic events in Ohio, across the nation, and around the world. And while we can’t predict what the coming year will hold, we can take a look back at New Year’s celebrations gone by! The above invitation, for instance, was for a “Dancing Party” at Heslet Dancing Academy in Clyde, Ohio. Although the reason for the party was to “watch the Old Year out and the New Year in,” the party was only scheduled for 8:00 to 11:45 PM!
The cartoon at left, from the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Audiovisual Archives at YHCIL, shows Father Time (1929) and Baby New Year (1930) near a snow-capped Youngstown sign. Father Time (with his trademark scythe and hourglass) is making a critical statement on the city’s pollution problem as a result of the booming steel industry in the region. The pollution problem was a major and ongoing issue for the area, and this was only one of many editorial cartoons drawn to bring attention to the problem.
The anthropomorphized characters, wearing sashes with their respective years as labels, are popular around the end of each year as a way of making a statement about the current state of affairs. For decades, the Saturday Evening Post annually featured Baby New Year on their cover in an illustration related to current events in America. The covers were drawn by illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, who is credited with popularizing this image of the character as well as that of the jolly, fat Santa Clause.
Take a look around Ohio Memory to see other New Year’s holiday material, including a New Year poem written in the midst of the Civil War, and a “New Year Sentiment” card sent out ca. 1865 in support of the Temperance movement. We hope you’ve enjoyed spending this year with us here at Ohio Memory, and look forward to the next year of highlighting unique materials in our digital collections!
Thanks to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!