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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago today in Spokane: French musical comedy star offers spirited prediction for American soldiers

From the Dec. 27, 1917 Spokane Daily Chronicle. (S-R Archives)
From the Dec. 27, 1917 Spokane Daily Chronicle. (S-R Archives)
Jim Kershner

Anna Held, “famous French star of musical comedy,” predicted that the Great War would result in the “the breeding of a new race in Europe.”

Held, who was appearing in Spokane, said that that Europe was “filled with dying races … from which vigor has departed because of centuries of intermarrying among families.”

But the American soldiers — “young, sturdy, full of ambition, enthusiastic” — were about to solve that problem, she said.

“Hereafter, the intermarriage of Americans and Europeans, especially with the English and the French, will not be confined to the union of millionaires’ daughters with noblemen,” she said. “Your troops, splendid, vigorous young men of the common people, will mate with French and British girls and in natural sequence, the women of their families will be attracted to the men of our European countries, and from the battlefields of this terrible war will arise a new race. It is inevitable.”

Held was starring in “Follow Me” at the Auditorium Theater, described in an ad as “the gorgeously bewildering musical comedy sensation direct from New York.”

From the shopping beat: Spokane merchants noted several striking differences in Christmas shopping habits in wartime 1917.

German-made toys, once a staple in U.S. stores, were non-existent. “But the Americans have filled this gap in a surprising manner, and are making better toys than the Germans ever did,” said one local merchant.

Also, people bought more staple articles, such as clothing, instead of more frivolous Christmas presents.

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