When I began looking for interesting items and facts concerning 1884, I decided to pick out a random issue of "The London Times" newspaper, specifically Saturday, March 1st, 1884. In the newspaper, I noticed a few interesting things.
First, I noticed the layout. Today, the front page consists of a headline story, which is a current news item. However, the front page of "The London Times" contained only announcements of births, deaths, and marriages, as well as social advertisements. In fact, the news stories did not begin until page seven. In between, the pages consisted of train schedules, legal notices, and some want ads. This seems to infer the importance of the social aspects of life in this time period.
One of the articles that caught my eye was one about the University of Oxford. The article discussed the new statute at the university that allowed women admission on the basis of the same examinations that men took to be admitted to the university as well as rights to attain the same Honors that men could hold there. In the article, the writer questioned this statute. First, he suggested that women would not have the strength to achieve in college. However, he countered this statement by stating that some men do not have the strength either. Further discussing the issue, the unnamed author stated that women did not have "calm impartiality which the historian must at least assume." Yet, he again countered his statement by saying that women have the power for mastery of details. The author furthermore went on to say that the majority of women students in two to three years go back to household duties, and that women also tended to "lose their intellect." The author concluded his article by saying, "we cannot apprehend for them(women) any extensive weakening of intellectual power by sharing academic studies and examinations." Overall, this article seemed to emulate the conflict of women's rights during this time period.
A few other items that I noted.
*Pure news articles were generally short. Some were only one sentence long.
*Also, letters to the editor were signed "I am, Sir, your obedient servant," Was this just typical politeness in this time period?
*All the job want ads were for household type positions such as footmen, butlers, cooks, maids, gardeners, and coachmen.