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50 years later, a sad anniversary emerges from Effie Hopkins’ bequest

One of the two boxes

Effie Hopkins was a farmer’s wife who lived in North Ogden with her husband, Nephi, in the 1930s on up.

 

Farm life was busy, but not all the time. There was no TV in the 30s, and she filled her spare time by clipping stuff out of the newspaper.

 

She clipped lots of stuff: Recipes, movie stars pictures, sewing tips, cartoons, stories about British royalty, movie ads, big news of the day and wedding, engagement and obituary notices without number.

 

She even — this puzzles me — clipped out the names of movie stars. Just their names. There are handfuls of this confetti.

 

She save every bit of it in two big steel boxes.

 

Nephi died in 1963, Effie died two years later, and their son and daughter, Donald and Virgie, died in 1986 and 1999 respectively.

 

Nephi’s and Effie’s obituaries don’t mention any close family except their children. Neither Donald nor Virgie left any survivors. So when friends, or their church, or whoever, cleaned out Virgie’s home (I am guessing) they found Effie’s news clips collection in its two very large steel boxes, stuffed to the brim.

 

Apparently the people doing the cleaning didn’t have the heart to toss all that stuff and didn’t have the energy to sift through it either. What to do?

 

1039 Ogden Policeman murdered

Give it to the archive at Union Station! It is entirely possible they read one or more of the many columns I wrote over the years urging people to do just that.

 

Talk about hoist on your own petard.

 

When I started volunteering at Union Station’s library earlier this year I found these two very large boxes, stuck in a store room. Nobody had time to sort them, there isn’t even a good record of who gave them or when. But there they were.

 

I peeked inside one and found whole editions of very interesting newspapers — the 1945 train collision on the viaduct was sitting on top — was enchanted, and took the job on.

 

For the last two months I’ve been sorting. There’s a huge amount of dreck — who needs movie star stories? — but just enough gems to make every day a successful treasure hunt. There’s lot of interesting local news stories and articles of local history that both the Salt Lake Tribune and Standard-Examiner wrote. There are many many stories about Pioneer Days in the 1930s and 1940s.

 

Pioneer Days 1934

I even found the front page from the July 24, 1934, Pioneer Days celebration. That was the first one under Mayor Harm Peery, a landmark day in Ogden history.

 

I found the Tribune announcing the death, in Alaska, of Will Rogers. There’s World War II news of local boys killed.

 

I’m almost done. Today I discovered that Effie saved the best for last.

 

Near the bottom of the second box, I found the complete 8-day set of Standard-Examiners of the Kennedy Assassination.

 

Wow. And talk about timely. We’re just 7 days away from the anniversary.

 

They were on the bottom, folded over once, stacked up. The papers on top of them included a lot of coverage of the Kennedys doing society stuff, Kennedy getting sworn in, Kennedy standing up to the Russians over Cuban missiles, and so on.  Those guys were the first celebrity political leaders.

 

I pulled out one paper from 1935 broadcasting the murder of an Ogden Police officer,  Joseph H. Quigley, and the next a paper from Nov. 28, 1963, talking about the aftermath of the Kennedy Assassination.

 

The Nov. 27, and 26, and on.  All the way to the 22nd?

 

Yup. Complete.

Newspapers from eight days that shook all our lives

 

I’m pretty sure there’s nothing rare about these — saving newspapers of historic events is common. I have a Nov. 22, 1963 edition already that I bought for $10.

 

But it is still fun to find them. Here we are, coming up on the anniversary of that horrible day, and these newspapers, hidden away so very long, find their way to the light again.

 

Effie saved those papers because I’m sure that, like everyone else, she was  horrified and saddened by these events. The unifying power of horrible sorrow swept the nation. People felt a need to preserve that feeling so their children and grandchildren would know, would experience, what their ancestors had been through.

 

I wish we knew more about Effie. I’d love to find someone, anyone, who knew her.

 

But at least, through this pile of papers and clips, her name won’t go away forever.

 

She’s part of Union Station’s permanent collection now, her name tied forever with dozens of news events, historic people, sewing tips, and a lot of very interesting and yummy recipes.

 

And President John F. Kennedy.

 

Pretty good company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://theunionstation.org/50-years-later-a-sad-anniversary-emerges-from-effie-hopkins-bequest/

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