Old News: How 12/12/12 Was Covered in 1912

By David Noonan

Before you get too excited about today’s date, remember that it happens once a century, like clockwork, or calendar-work, if you prefer. Yup, our fascination with unusual dates (Who will ever forget where they were on 10/10/10?) is old news. And this clip from the 1912 New York Times says pretty much all there is to say about 12/12/12. I especially like the artful reference to the fact that the next time the date comes around everyone reading the article will be dead. Same goes for this item, I’m afraid.

Of course, time has had its way with the brief dispatch from 100 years ago. What were these “letters” the item mentions? Who wrote them? And why? But the most interesting detail is the excited anticipation of April 11, 1944, a date 32 years in the future. Apparently, the meaning of the numbers 4-11-44 was so well-known that the Times didn’t really bother to explain it. So I did a bit of research online and found this fascinating site. Magic numbers? Superstition? Illegal Gambling? I boldly predict that all three will still be with us (them) on December 12, 2112.

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