Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Ferrets, flatulence, and the Klan

Happy Thanksgiving.

There is talk of another pie contest at our family gathering this week, but I’m thinking I may try an appetizer. How does fried ferret sound?

It didn’t turn out so well for a Manchester woman who allegedly roasted one in an oven the other day. She was arrested. It wasn’t her oven and it wasn’t her ferret.

The story made our front page. I congratulated the editors for an imaginative edition that also featured a back-page crime story in which the arresting officer had to briefly stop interviewing the suspect because of said suspect’s flatulence. Gee, Horace Greeley and Joseph Pulitzer would be proud.

They may have been prouder looking at my copy of a 1927 Manchester High School student newspaper, “The Profile.”

This paper pre-dates the “Little Green” student newspaper at Manchester Central by a few decades. It was printed at the school’s very own print shop and it was newsy.

One item reported that a teacher in the French department was recovering from a “nervous breakdown” and should be back to work soon. And they named the woman. Talk about your HIPAA violations.

Another story invited Central students to attend a minstrel show that High School West counterparts were staging. I’m pretty sure that show wouldn’t make it today.

I also have a copy of a “Sunday Union Leader” newsgravure section from 1922. This is a rare item. The folks then running the Manchester Union and Leader bombed bigtime trying to compete with the big Boston newspapers. It ran for just a year or two. It wasn’t until the Sunday News came along in 1946 that New Hampshire got a successful Sunday.

Which reminds me to remind you that Sunday News as well as Union Leader subscribers should be on the lookout for a large package at your door or in your newspaper tube on Thanksgiving. Bend from the knees when you pick it up. The annual “Home for the Holidays” edition is well-stuffed.

That 1922 “newsgravure” included a photo of a large group of people wearing white sheets and holding a burning cross. Yep, that would be the Ku Klux Klan. The caption said “nearly 3,000 neophytes were initiated into the secret council of the Klan” at a “weird and ghostly” midnight ceremony near Springfield, Illinois.

Bet those boys would enjoy some ferret. Properly cooked (fried, never roasted), I’m told it tastes like chicken.

Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter at @deucecrew.