I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to fascinating stories from history, but this week it was a current event that inspired this post- the unearthing of a time capsule at the Boston state house. It was placed by iconic historical figures like Samuel Adams and Paul Revere for future generations. Things they felt important to capture their time, coins and a newspaper. Having lived through the American Revolution and the rough days of statehood and forming a new nation. The things they included will be of great important to how history is understood. We think of history as a fixed subject, but it is finds like this that change history books. It’s the diaries of girls like Anne Frank, undeveloped film plates from the Civil War, letters stowed in dilapidated attics long ago abandoned. You never know where we are going to find the next thing that is going to change what we thought we knew about history.
This is why I write historical fiction. It got me thinking what would the citizens of my little fictional town of Fairfield, Montana, put in a time capsule? Predominantly Catholic, I would assume something like a medal of St. Catherine or St. Benedict for which the orphanage and church are named and dedicated. Being a washed out silver mining area, maybe a small nugget of unrefined silver ore or the advertising for the major mining company that operated there. It’s a tragedy that Mrs. Randall’s baked good couldn’t stay good forever, but I bet a beloved recipe card might. Pictures of the town before automobiles (which is practically still true even in the 1920’s) when the livery and warehouse were the major hubs of business. Advertisements about all the new “products” you could buy in the 1920’s thanks to the railroad and improvements in shelf life. Also the fresh foods like grapes and citrus that found their way over the mountains from California. Maybe headlines from the newspaper about the Great War (WWI) and the influenza pandemic that swept the country. Not to mention the suffragists movement and the victory for women’s right to vote in Montana which led to the state Prohibition laws that went into affect in November 1916, and of course the national laws in January 1920 would have been very big news.
If you’ve read my book, what do you think would have been included? If not, what year of history would you like to find a time capsule from?