While newspaper work was traditionally a male dominated domain, it was by no means reserved strictly for men, and for women who got into the trade, the work was demanding, dangerous and full of adventure. It was also filled with plain everyday chores which define the life of most tradesmen and women.
“Evonne Angello’s experience on the Seward (Neb.) Independent is a classic example. When she was about six years old, her father started grooming her for a life in newspaper journalism. ‘I could hardly get up on the office chair. My first job was to put stamps on number 10 envelopes. When I completed a box of 500, I got a quarter. When I was eight I learned to hand-set type. Later, dad taught me how to do nearly everything: how to take photos, mix chemicals to develop film, make prints in the darkroom, write stories, reconcile bank statements, use an adding machine to balance columns in ledger books, and how to operate a ‘Graphotype’ to renew subscriptions.”
Her story is just one of many recounted by women who spent days working in old newspaper shops. They are remembered in Bob Shaw’s wonderful book about Life in the Back Shop which was first published in 2004.
Until next time . . .