The World Almanac and Book of Facts for 1931 was published 80 years ago, before most of us were born. Prior to listing thousands of statistics, there were many advertisements which, today, can elicit a chuckle, at least.

The World Almanac and Book of Facts for 1931 was published 80 years ago, before most of us were born. Prior to listing thousands of statistics, there were many advertisements which, today, can elicit a chuckle, at least.

“New Form of Insurance Sweeps County! Both Sickness and Accident Covered – Costs Only $10 a Year.”

The Motor Institute of America advertised that men could earn up to $100 a week. One could become an “auto expert,” trained at home, and receive three working outfits free if they acted quickly.

A Civil Service expert promoted his free book focusing on getting “a good, steady job with the best boss in the world — Uncle Sam.”

The almanac, of course, contains reports mostly from the previous year. The review of 1930 begins with a statement about our country's unemployment and “industrial depression.” On a world level, there were steps being taken in London and Geneva to effect arms limitation and international peace.

A big problem that year was enforcing the National Prohibition Act. The pages of the almanac reveal “a growing revolt against dry legislation” and the expectation that repeal will happen with “shifting legislative representation and power from rural to urban populations in the Congress to be elected in 1932.”

The breadth of information in this book is utterly amazing. You can read about “illiteracy in foreign countries,” “poisons and their antidotes,” and the results of sporting events from horse racing, to golf, to swimming and more.

An entry from Feb. 28 reports on the death of Dr. James Howard Snook, an Ohio State University professor, who murdered a co-ed companion, Theora Hix. He was put to death in the electric chair at the Ohio State Penitentiary. Snook was an Olympic champion in pistol shooting, but Hix died by being beaten and slashed.

The prison made headlines a few months later when there was a serious fire in the institution which housed 4,300 in space designed for 1,500. Within an hour, 318 men were killed.

In November, a gas explosion and fire at a coal mine in Millfield, Ohio, took 79 lives, among them the president and other officials of the Sunday Creek Coal Co. Mine in Athens County.

William Howard Taft, the 27th president who was born in Cincinnati and also served as chief justice of the Supreme Court, died that year.

Election returns by state are included in this 900-plus page book. The presidential election of 1928 shows 3,720 votes for Democrat Al Smith and 8,049 for Republican Herbert Hoover in Delaware County. Overall, our state registered 864,210 votes for Smith and 1,627,546 votes for Hoover.

A ninth planet, Pluto, was discovered at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., in 1930. Today, Pluto has been demoted and is considered a “dwarf planet.”

The almanac contains a lot of interesting reading. The cover has W.H. Rible's name imprinted on it. If anyone knows who Rible was (or is), please let us know.

Carole Wilhelm is a member of the Powell-Liberty Historical Society.