The Daily Blah

My father was addicted to writing from an early age. Furthermore he never threw anything out. I have inherited that foible. So my basement houses a great collection of his juvenilia, including letters, class notes, doggerel, novels and stories, and "prose poems" from grade school through the University of Michigan, where he finally graduated in the late 1940s with an English Masters.

For many years, at his small school he had posted on the bulletin board issues of his hand-produced newspaper, The Daily Blah. After high school he collected the issues and glued them into scrapbooks, which were at last handed down to me at his death in 1990. I had heard of them for decades and only now saw the actual product. Here are a few choice issues. I recommend clicking for full details!

Most of the issues concentrated on sports scores, either of his animal baseball team or, in highschool, the Redford Union teams and their local adversaries.

He also included cartoons under the name "Lew Kneas" (Loonies), cartoon strips (including Bill Libb the Detective), and caricatures of his school mates and faculty.

Occasionally if the news was exciting enough, such as the death of Will Rogers, he'd issue a special edition.

My favorite pieces are the long, amusing stories of local goings-on. The Sept. 10, 1934 issue gives us a great insight into life in the Detroit area during Prohibition.

His prose fairly roils when describing the Reford Union games. At the time (his mid-teens) he envisioned pursuing a career as a sports writer.

Here his family's fabled hunk of junk, the Marmon, is immortalized, as well as the practical jokers he grew up with.

In his adult years he wrote voluminously about his rural childhood, with very funny and colorful descriptions of the bizarre characters (not excluding his family) in the hamlet of Elm -- now incorporated into Livonia, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. This thrilling Feb. 17, 1936 issue foreshadows those writings, featuring his father George as well as a couple of uncles in an episode reminiscent of a W.C. Fields comedy.


  1. What wonderful ephemera! Visually fun to look at and interesting to think of him laboring over them to get them just right.

  2. Oh I love it. I remember putting such newspapers together in my student days - one of which was called "News From Nowhere" and was the origin of the title of my blog. Had blogging been about at the time I am sure your father would have been a determined blogger.

  3. Fantastic treasure, Sean. The account of the burglary had me chuckling.

  4. Oh Sean what a wonderful collection. His handwriting was amazing. I would have loved to have known him. I bet he was a card. Some great reading here.

  5. These are beyond fantastic; I spent quite a bit of time on several; such intricate hand work and printing too. All the more amazing because they span so many years and he kept everything! You really have a treasure there. Glad you share it here on Sepia for all to see.

  6. I loved "police in steel vests, diving suits, armor, pajamas and nightgowns" in the Dillinger piece...and all I needed was the soundtrack to "O Brother Where Art Thou?" to the burglar alarm story to make my experience complete. The poor "thief" got 1-15 years? Life was harsh back then.

  7. What a treasure. How wonderful they survived...went to you who treasures them.

  8. I think these are positively amazing, and especially when you consider that everything was done by hand (or typed). What a lot of thought and care he put into imagining and creating these newspapers. They are treasures!

  9. How wonderful that you still have these. What a treasure!