The advertisements in provide one possible answer to this question. They peddled high-end goods—often, imported items ranging from tennis balls to automobiles. They did not aim to reach many readers, but focused on a small number of wealthy ones. This would include Mexico City’s community of English-speaking resident foreigners, but also included the larger number of relatively conservative, wealthy Mexicans who would see the inclusion of an English-language section as a sign of the newspaper’s politics. In the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution (during which the United States invaded Mexico and Pancho Villa’s army invaded the United States), this gesture of affiliation with the United States and its representatives in Mexico suggested that did not entirely agree with the new, post-Revolutionary government’s nationalist policies. This, in turn, would have hinted at a broader conservatism that wealthier Mexicans, presumably, would have appreciated. Advertisers in , therefore, found the presence of the English-language section a reassuring sign that they could reach a group of rich, powerful consumers.
The foreign business and diplomatic community in Mexico City in the 1920s was not large enough to support a newspaper of its own. Even if every English-speaking household in the city had subscribed to , they would not have raised its circulation figures appreciably. Furthermore, most people living in Mexico City at the time did not read English. Including the English-language section could not have brought new readers to the paper, then.
This story appeared in the two-page daily English-language supplement to , Mexico City’s most authoritative newspaper at the time. The English-language supplement usually printed news that ’s editors believed would interest English-speaking readers who lived in the city more or less permanently, rather than tourists. Therefore the English-language pages generally contained business news of interest to local representatives of foreign firms, a smattering of political news from Britain and the United States (usually translated from the main part of the paper), social notes detailing the comings and goings of businessmen, diplomats, and their families, and extensive coverage of tournaments and dances at Mexico City’s elite country clubs. The supplement almost never printed stories about crime, tourism, or the day-to-day workings of government (neither in Mexico nor abroad.)
No other Mexico City newspaper covered this story; nor did it appear in the Spanish-language part of . This suggests that newspaper editors thought the story unimportant, that it appeared in the English-language supplement of only as entertaining “filler.” Just because this was a very minor piece of news in 1924, however, does not mean that the article lacks value as a historical source in the present day. Sometimes, placed in their proper context, short newspaper articles can serve as windows opening onto much larger historical vistas. The challenge is in deciding what the proper historical context might be.