Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sammie the Office Boy

One bad thing about following the news from 100 years ago closely is knowing that virtually every person that you are reading/writing about has probably been dead for some time. I knew years in advance that Thomas Swope would die in 1909, but was not prepared for the sadness I felt when I reported the news 100 years later. After that, I vowed not to become emotionally attached to the people and events of the olden days, and managed to keep that vow for about a month. But the first time I saw this

Sam Lieberman is Dead

I cried, "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" and have been sad about it ever since.

In Vintage Kansas City Sam Lieberman was a favorite of mine, ever since I read the story of his adventures running away. I've spent many hours using excellent - geneology - resources to find out whatever became of him and was unable, and now I know why.

The obituary states that he used to write for The Journal, under the name of "Sammie the Office Boy" but in all the years I've been following The Journal, I almost never see reporters' bylines, the exception being Ed Cochrane, the sports writer.

Sport Dope by Edward W. Cochrane

I need to go back and look more closely. I've always wished I knew who was writing the funny and historic things I type every night, and dozens of times I've read something cute or funny and thought, "That sounds like something Sam the office boy would write." Now I know there's a pretty good chance it was true. As sad as I feel for the Lieberman family and the Kansas City Journal staff today, I'm even sadder thinking that a lot of the cute, human interest pieces the professor and I enjoy so much will probably be missing from the 100 year old news from now on. But I hope not.

The reason I built the Vintage Kansas City website was because I wanted to make "Gone but Not Forgotten" a phrase that really meant something in our town, and never was this more true than in the life and early death of Sammie "the Office Boy" Lieberman. Thank you for taking a few moments to remember him today.

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