There are multiple bits of local lore and history that residents of Berkeley CA might find interesting, but that doesn't mean that stumbling onto one of these obscure facts from the past will provide a columnist with a topic to use online because folks in other parts of the world might not be concerned with the hundred year old social life of a UC Berkeley graduate who went on to a teaching career in Oakland.
Would there be a world wide audience interested in her if further investigation revealed that after Manfred von Richthofen (AKA the Red Barron) was shot down, on April 21, 1918, during World War I, a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle sought out Miss Margaret P. Hayne and asked her if she had been engaged to him?
After noting that she denied that, a story in the Chronicle went on to report that "her friends believed that there was an understanding between the brilliant German aviator and the
She was quoted as saying "I knew him very well, that is all." She went on to explain that she knew his mother, brothers and sisters and that " . . . a close friendship existed between myself and the family."
The story informed readers that Ms. Hayne had graduated from UC Berkeley in 1903, passed the bar exam, and that she had had a law office in
On Saturday, January 14, 2012, the World's Laziest Journalist went on a topic safari to
That nigh, when we opened up the 1969 book from Harcourt, Brace, and World Inc., while looking for the end-paper map, we noticed that a standard 8 - by 11 sheet of paper had been folded in half and tucked behind the back flap of the dust jacket.
We expected to find a review of the book at hand, but when we unfolded the paper it appeared to be a 100% size Xerox copy of the front page of a much older newspaper.
A story about Miss Margaret Hayne was circled in red.
Since a portion of the image identifies the San Francisco Chronicle as the source and sine it makes reference to the fact that Captain Baron von Richthofen had been shot down the week before, it would be relatively simple to track down the exact date of publication.
If we went to the San Francisco Public Library it would probably require just another hour or two of library research to ascertain that information and perhaps provide the basis for sending a feature story query letter to a magazine that appeals to an audience of aviation enthusiasts.
A quick online search revealed that the Red Baron was killed on the 21 st of April in 1918, which was just a few days after the
The alternative would be to put the information into the less scholarly form of a loopy column and skip over the need for extensive academic research.
Information that had been previously published several decades ago won't qualify the column as a "scoop," but a few Google searches indicated that a column about Ms. Hayne and the Red Baron would provide some information online that hasn't previously been easily accessible for the curious readers on the Internets.
At the same time and place that we bought the Red Baron book, we had also purchased a mint condition copy of a 2003 Barnes and Noble paperback edition of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," with introduction and notes by Maura Spiegel. It was obvious from the blurbs on the back cover that if the columnist reads that book another column about how the exploitation of workers by the wealthy Chicago meatpacking company owners would write itself. Sinclair called the area Packingtown.