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The origin of the Gazette’s ‘Glimpses into the Past’ feature

“Glimpses into the Past” is one of the longest-running and most popular features in the Gazette-Journal. Recently we found its origin.

The paper had off and on, for years, filled its columns with news items taken from old issues. Hilda Robbins, a 1949 graduate of Botetourt High School, organized the concept and brought it to life in the Gazette-Journal of Jan. 5, 1950.

The column started with a different name: “Peeps Into the Past” and it did not have the present-day format of news taken from old papers at regular intervals. Instead, Hilda made it conversational.

Her very first column said, “Lest We Forget! What we had for sale last year, who got married 10 years ago and now belongs to the P.T.A., who spent Saturday in Richmond in 1939, or how many grapefruit the merchants advertised for a quarter … Since we won’t hear about Christmas anymore until next year, how about looking back to Christmas in 1940? All right then, the following flashes are from the December 23rd, 1940 ed...

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