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Summer Vacation in 1912

by Barbara Rimkunas

This "Historically Speaking" column appeared in the Exeter News-Letter on Friday, June 23, 2017.

As soon as school lets out for the summer, we begin thinking about vacation. Most modern Americans can squeeze a week away from home during the summer months. A century ago, the modern idea of vacation might have meant as much as a month. In Exeter, it’s easy to find out who was traveling because it was listed in the Exeter News-Letter. Beginning in June, the Town Affairs section of the paper would list the annual recital of who was leaving town, for how long and where they were going. To a modern eye, this seems crazy – why not just publicize, “my house is empty – rob it now!” But in a community where it was common to drop by to socialize, it was necessary to let everyone know who wouldn’t be around. Besides, if your neighbors knew you weren’t home, they could keep an eye on things.

If we look at 1912 – a time when travel could be done by carriage, rail or au…

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