From California to Quebec : Souvenirs of the QCT ’s 175th anniversary

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Photo: Photo by Jackie Waddill

Jack Waddill of Santa Barbara, California, displays copies of 1939 editions of the QCT's July 4, 1939, edition (left) and special 175th Anniversary 1764-1939 souvenir booklet. He discovered the special editions among his late grandmother's personal effects. Waddill has kindly sent us these historical issues.

In mid-1939, my mother and father had just turned 20 and 22, respectfully, and the Second World War had not yet begun. My parents had been dating for a couple of years and were living with their parents in Virginia.

My Dad's mother and father, Ruth and Roland (Sr.) Waddill, loved to visit Canada and in particular Quebec City. My grandmother, "Mimi" (as we called her), had a sharp eye for historic events and memorabilia. While visiting Quebec City in the summer of '39, Mimi learned that the oldest newspaper in the western hemisphere, the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, was about to celebrate its 175th anniversary by publishing a special souvenir issue on June 21. She immediately purchased a copy (price unknown). Subsequently, she also purchased the July 4, 1939, daily edition of the paper, which proudly declared on its front page, "WE COMMEMORATE OUR 175th ANNIVERSARY TODAY" (price: 3 cents for the 16-page issue!).

And history was captured and stowed away. Over the next 40 years, many different publications from around the country recounting such historic events as the abdication of King Edward VIII of England, the beginning and end of WW II (including ‘The Bomb' being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki), the assassination of JFK, the Iran-Contra conflict, and the death of Winston Churchill, were stowed away by my grandmother.

I am Jack (Jr.), born in 1954 and the third of four children born to Joan and Jack (Sr.) Waddill. In 1964, we moved from Rowayton, Connecticut, to California due to a transfer my father took with Time magazine. Eventually, after the death of her eldest son, Roland (Jr.), in 1976, Mimi moved from Washington Grove, DC, to California so that my father could better monitor her declining health. Unfortunately, my father died of cancer the following year (Dec. 2, 1977) and Mimi followed him only seven months later, in 1978.

My mother passed away March 4, 2000, of Alzheimer's disease. In every brood of children, there's always one who steps up and takes on the responsibilities of family traditions and duties. That was me. Now, 14 years after my mother's passing, I have vetted out the last of family history boxes and have discovered the two publications of the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph. I am more than happy to release these two historical issues back to their original home at last!

From the entire Waddill family to the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, we send our best wishes. We celebrate your 250th anniversary with you, and may the free press thrive for another 250 years!

Editor's note: The Quebec Chronicle and The Daily Telegraph merged and the first edition of the renamed Chronicle-Telegraph came out on July 2, 1925. The newspaper's illustrious history can be traced back to its forerunner, The Quebec Gazette - La Gazette de Québec, first published on June 21, 1764, 250 years ago.