Ralph S. Bauer: Reform Mayor of Lynn

Lynn, Massachusetts postcard image from Jovike’s photostream on flickr

LYNN
— St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Mayor Bauer of Lynn has spoken. No more shall the woman smoker be seen in that town on stage or screen. The billboards have also been purged of the contaminating influence exercised by the pictorial cigaret and girl. And the ukase will, we are sure, be heartening to everybody who worries about the frailties and peccadilloes of other folks and thinks something ought to be done about it.

Obviously, the Mayor of Lynn is every inch a wowser; Lynn itself, once gay and grimy, has come upon the semi-retirement of “the city that was.” Now its elegy may be written, in true wowserian strophe:

Here lies Lynn,
Sans gin, sans sin,
Sans Nicotin.

Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois) Oct 24, 1929

MAYOR BAUER’S REFORM.

Mayor Bauer of Lynn gets his name on the front pages of the newspapers again by issuing an ultimatum against bare-legged girls, but he would accomplish more as a reformer if he used a little quiet persuasion with school teachers and pupils.

We have failed to detect a grave menace in the fashion of bare sun-tanned legs. With all due regard to the sensitive nature of the fair sex, it must be said that most feminine legs are too imperfect in form and natural covering to permit of public display without artificial covering of some kind.

The bare-legged fashion will not get very far because most women have too much common sense to display the imperfections which are more conveniently concealed or minimized beneath sheer silk.

Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Oct 1, 1929

“The notions that were bred into being years and years ago are now being assaulted and turned topsy-turvy. Our social conduct is changing. We must admit that. Thirty or 40 years ago, if a flapper appeared on the street in the same costume she wears today, she would have been rushed to jail as fast as the smoke left her heels. Now no one cares about the flapper’s dress except Mayor Bauer of Lynn.

Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Nov 23, 1929

Not yet can they put you in jail for wondering so we wonder what Mayor Bauer of Lynn is going to attempt after he has pulled off that recently announced determination to make the school teachers of his city, men and women alike, cut out tobacco. It might be as well to wait until he has made good on that ruling before thinking up the next play for front page position in the newspapers.

If the Lynn teachers are human beings, the mayor is likely enough going to find it harder to make them quit the smoking habit than it was to give his city a reduced tax rate. It will be more or less like enforcing the Volstead act.

Theoretically, it can be done, and the dry leaders can prove it. Actually, it has not yet been done, and the wet leaders say you can’t prove it can be. Looking at it from a distance, it doesn’t strike us as being any of the Lynn mayor’s business if the school teachers wish to smoke, providing they do it in reason. We shouldn’t say that the women teachers should smoke at any time, and not at all in public. But as for exercising that privilege in their own homes it is hard to see where the mayor has any particular call to get stuffy about it.

As to making the men teachers take the anti-nicotine pledge, he has accepted a real job if the male breed down that way is anything like normal. The joker in the cold deck which Mayor Bauer has picked up appears in the situation as it affects the pupils in the schools.

Mayor Bauer may conceivably make the school teachers as smokeless as he decrees, but we have a natural curiosity to know how he is going to make the boys and girls who go to school quit it. Not that we know whether the Lynn school girls smoke, but many of the boys do, unless down in Lynn boys are no longs boys. For which reason the pupils are going to snicker as they look at their poor hen-pecked teachers who dare not smoke for fear of losing their jobs. And you don’t have to be a slave to nicotine to see the humor of the situation which Lynn’s great reform mayor seeks to bring about.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Sep 8, 1926

Bone Dry or No Football Game

Lynn, Mass., Nov. 26. (AP) — Mayor Ralph S. Bauer saw so much drinking at the Harvard-Yale football game at Cambridge Saturday, he said, that he has ordered the Thanksgiving Day high school contest here to be bone dry or stopped.

Twelve thousand persons at the stadium for the Yale-Harvard contests, he estimated yesterday, were more interested in quart bottles and hip flasks than anything else. Many women “took a pull out of the bottles the same as the men,” the Mayor said, and neither the police nor the faculty interfered.

The Rev. Garfield Morgan, pastor of the Center Congregational Church, according to the Mayor, was approached by some one in a big fur coat who said to him, “you look like an old timer, have a drink.”

“Can this be the same Harvard of which the late President Eliot used to boast?” Mayor Bauer asked. “The factor that made her the dominant educational institution of our land was that she had been building men for nearly 300 years?”

On the Mayor’s order, the police chief will station fifty patrolmen and sergeants on duty Thursday at the Lynn-English classical high game with orders to arrest all persons who drink and to stop the game if drinking becomes serious.

Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, New York) Nov 26, 1929

Mayor Bauer, of Lynn, addressing a meeting of the Women’s Republican club at  Cambridge, Mass., this week, said there were about 4,000 too many municipal employes in Boston and that he could discharge all of them without one being missed. “All city governments are ‘good fellow’ governments,” the mayor told his audience. “Public officials feel they have got to get jobs for their constituents and they don’t care whether there exists a job or not.”

The Bridgeport Telegram (Bridgeport, Connecticut) Jun 30, 1927

“THE NAKED TRUTH.”

“The Naked Truth” which is now showing at the Park theatre has caused considerable comment and discussion recently in Boston and Lynn, Mass. The Mayor of Boston, refused permission to present the film to Bostonians, and immediately upon taking this stand, Mayor Bauer of Lynn viewed the film and passed on it as a good and proper picture, bearing a message of beneficial value to the community and permitted the Lynn Auditorium to show the film for four weeks to record-breaking crowds. The film is featured by an all-star cast supported by Jack Mulhall and Helene Chadwick. This is the first showing of the film in this vicinity. “The Naked Truth” is to the point and calls a spade a spade.

The Bridgeport Telegram (Bridgeport, Connecticut) Nov 2, 1926

Image from Shorpy

DOGS MAY ROAM

LYNN, Mass., — Dec. 14. — (By The Associated Press.) — By proclamation of Mayor Bauer, dogs are assured the freedom of the streets if they do not make nuisances of themselves nor obstruct traffic like some political aspirants do. The more he sees of men, the more respect the mayor has for dogs. The proclamation was issued after state authorities urged that stray dogs be rounded up and killed because of the spread of rabies.

Ogden Standard Examiner (Ogden, Utah) Dec 14, 1927

Images of John P. McGloin from the Lynn Museum and Historical Society

Independent baseball will be played on the playgrounds at Lynn this summer with Mayor Fred Manning tossing out the first ball. Former Mayor Bauer stopped the games on the playgrounds when he was in office.

Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Jul 12, 1930

Mayor of Lynn

Ralph Sherman Bauer

Image from NOBLE Digital Heritage

The following biographical information (from Descendants of HANS MICHAEL BAUER, (BOWER)) tells of Mayor Bauer “pulling himself up by the bootstraps” and making a life for himself:

Notes for RALPH SHERMAN BOWER:

His father died when he was only seven years old. Even at that extremely early age he became the main support of a family consisting of his mother and three sisters, the youngest a nursing baby. The family then living in Philadelphia and it was there that Ralph S. Bauer began his career in the newspaper business. The result of his first day’s sales as a “newsie” was cents. From that time on, every dollar he has ever had has been made by his own business ability. During the first 15 years of his life, there was no kind of human poverty this family did not face, and through it all, held together as a family and received such education as could be obtained under such circumstances.

When Ralph Bauer, yet in his teens, determined to exchange the environment of Philadelphia for cultured Boston, his [wealth] when he landed amounted to 27 cents. Many were the hours of loneliness that were his, with neither kith nor kin nearer than the PA metropolis. Many were the night he slept on a Boston Common bench with the star-studded blue dome of the heavens above, his only coverlet. Oft were dreams rudely disturbed by the smart blow of a patrolman’s night-stick on the thin soles of his tattered shoes. Always with warm appreciation will remained his memory of one of Boston’s guardians of the peace, who drew from him the tale of his struggles for existence. Never will he forget the warmth of the coat the officer tucked about his lusty body while he promised to rouse him from his slumbers in time to get his share of the profits from the early morning edition of the Herald. True to his word the officer awakened the sleeping lad and provided him with a good hot breakfast. If that man is still alive today Ralph Bauer would like to know his whereabouts, for he has never forgotten his kindness to a little lonely lad in a great city, far from his lived ones. He was graduated from the Boston Latin school and immediately thereafter obtained a position in the mailing department of the Boston Herald.

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One Response to “Ralph S. Bauer: Reform Mayor of Lynn”

  1. Robert L. Dye Says:

    Have been trying to find movie news covering Flight of the Dawn. Brice Goldsborough the navigator, was my great uncle. I wrote a book about him a few years ago: A Pioneer in Aviation by Robert L. Dye.

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