Dallas Morning News" of November 22, 1963. Although it was the day he was assassinated, being a morning newspaper it obviously has no mention of the horrible event, but rather is focused on Kennedy's visit to the city. The headline reads: "Storm of Political Controversy Swirls Around Kennedy on Visit". At the bottom of the front page is a map of the: "Presidential Motorcade Route". It also includes the controversial full page notice by the: "The American Fact-Finding Committee" which is very critical of President Kennedy (see photos). This has become a rather well-know--and much desired--report in a period newspaper. Also of curious interest--and only to be found in a Dallas newspaper--are two inconspicuous advertisements to be found on facing pages inside. One is for the 'Texas" movie theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested (trivia: he was watching the movie "War Is Hell": see photo) and the facing page has an advertisement for the "Carousel", the night club owned & operated by Jack Ruby (see). Because this issue had no reason to be saved, it is very rare today despite offering some great content relating to John F. Kennedy.
The "New York Journal American" newspaper of Nov. 22, 1963 did this "Extra" edition reporting Kennedy's assassination. Making this issue a bit of a curiosity is the photo which accompanies the headline, as it shows a smiling Lyndon B. Johnson, a laughing Mrs. Johnson, and a smiling Jackie Kennedy. The photo was almost assuredly planned to accompany another story about their visit to Dallas but that edition was interrupted to quickly produce this "Extra" with the breaking news of the assassination. The photo was not replaced in the haste of getting the edition on the streets, producing this rather bizarre photo/headline combination which gives the appearance of a joyful reaction to the news that JFK had been assassinated.The Liberator" of Lincoln's very famous & heart-felt letter to a woman who lost five sons in the Civil War. A very sobering report which gives one a small sense of the horror of war not just on the battlefield, but at home as well. This letter has been praised by many as among Lincoln's best works of writing, along with the Gettysburg Address and second inaugural address. Pennsylvania Journal & Weekly Advertiser" newspaper of April 30, 1783. Page two contains this very historic report, but of equal fascination is the wording of the document. He congratulates the Army, noting that those who have performed the "...meanest office..." have participated in a great drama "...on the stage of human affairs...For these are the men who ought to be considered as the pride and boast of the American Army; And, who crowned with well earned laurels, may soon withdraw from the field of Glory, to the more tranquil walks of civil life...Nothing now remains but for the actors of this mighty Scene to preserve a perfect, unvarying, consistency of character through the very last act; to close the Drama with applause; and to retire from the Military Theatre with the same approbation of Angels and men which have crowned all their former virtuous actions." There is evidence of Washington's less formal and more pedestrian side as well as he ends the document with: "An extra ration of liquor to be issued to every man tomorrow, to drink Perpetual Peace, Independence and Happiness to the United States of America." See this hyperlink for the full text (or the text of the actual newspaper below). What a thrill to find such a document which has rested on our shelves for many years just waiting to be discovered. What a thrill to be involved in such a fascinating hobby. The first newspaper in Vermont was the "Vermont Gazette, and Green Mountain Post-Boy" done in Westminster, first published on February 12, 1781. Only one of this issue exists and is in the Vermont Historical Society. Its first newspaper began later than all of the other first newspapers of the original 13 states. The weekly newspaper only lasted until 1783, published by Judah Spooner and Timothy Green, the latter of the famous family of printers from New England. It is notable that Vermont's first newspaper was printed on the famous "Daye Press", brought from England by Stephen Daye in 1638 and set up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The press came into the possession of Harvard College in 1656, and in 1714 it became the property of Timothy Greene, who took it to New London, Conn., later set up in Norwich, Conn. by Alden Spooner, and in 1781 it was moved to Westminster, Vermont. The second newspaper in Vermont was founded on August 7, 1783 titled the "Vermont Journal & the Universal Advertiser" printed in Windsor by the partnership of Alden Spooner and George Hough. The newspaper continued publishing into the 20th century. Other 18th century Vermont titles included "Herald of Vermont", Rutland, 1792; "Rutland Herald", 1794; "Fair Haven Gazette", 1795; "Farmer's Library", Fair Haven, 1795; "Burlington Mercury", 1796; and "Federal Galaxy", Brattleboro, 1797. In the world of collectables, early newspapers by no means rank among the most well-known of hobbies. In fact most would be surprised that it even is a hobby. Who knows anyone who collects early newspapers? That was exactly my thought nearly 40 years ago. Having been a coin collector since I was a kid, I knew that hobby well. I knew it well enough to recognize that no bargains could be had for the truly rare coins. Coin collecting was, and is, a well exploited hobby. The number of serious collectors must run in the hundreds of thousands with a proportionate number of dealers who make a living selling coins. So as a youngster with only grass-cutting money in my pocket, it didn’t take long to become frustrated when trying to find the last few desirable coins to fill out a set. I simply could not afford them. Everyone knew they were rare, and with more people wanting them than inventory allowed, prices were beyond my reach. I liked collecting and I wanted a hobby that dealt with history. Holding a coin minted during the time when Lincoln was President, or when Indian battles were still raging on the Plains, intrigued me. I felt like I was touching history. But I needed a collectable that was yet to be exploited. One which few people were involved in. More importantly, one where I could hope to amass a reasonably nice collection without breaking the bank. So it was by accident that while browsing through a local flea market that I came across a Philadelphia newspaper from 1846. I was intrigued, not only by the price--$3—but by what I would get. Quickly my mind ran through the host of various coins from 1846 which would require more than ten times the price tag, and what do you get but a hunk of medal with a date & an image of a dead President? A coin could be fully examined in seconds. But this 1846 newspaper would take half an hour to absorb. So $3 exchanged hands and the newspaper was mine. Handling this newspaper was better than touching history. Yes, someone in 1846 held this newspaper in their hands, just like coins of the era, but this collectable actually CONTAINED history. News of the day, including events of the Mexican-American War, were within its four pages. Political reports from the term of James K. Polk were scattered throughout. Even the advertisements were fascinating. I was hooked. The coin collection went on a shelf and I pursued whatever old newspaper I could find. It didn’t take long to discover a whole new world of collectables. Better yet, because so few people were collecting old newspapers prices seemed such a bargain compared to what coins or stamps or any other collectable with similar rarity would cost. I was convinced I got in on the ground floor. As the years passed my hobby turned into a business catering to a niche market. At best I would suspect there are less than 2000 serious collectors of rare newspapers. Compare that number to the world of stamps, coins, books, or autographs, which hundreds of thousands consider their hobby. A hobby still yet to be discovered by the collecting world, prices remain attractive for the most modest of budgets. Consider that a genuine New York Times in very nice condition from 1863 with front page Civil War reports sells for less than $30. Or consider that a genuine London Gazette from 1680—a 330+ year old newspaper—is available for under $50. Of course content certainly drives interest and price so a newspaper reporting the Battle of Gettysburg can exceed $500, while the same in a Confederate title (much more rare) could be triple the price. But still, genuine issues covering the War of 1812 sell for $25; newspapers with Indian battles are under $35; issues with baseball reports from the 1880‘s can be had for $25; newspapers from during the administration of George Washington for $45. Is there a hobby where genuine items of comparable vintage are at comparable prices? Certainly not. Rare newspaper collecting is a fascinating world which awaits any historical hobbyist. Whatever event or era in history intrigues, newspapers covered those events. From the Great Plague of London in 1666, to reports of pirates Blackbeard and Capt. Kidd, to the French & Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the Lewis & Clark Expedition, the Texas War for Independence, every presidential election & inauguration (and death), the outlaws of the West—you name it. Newspapers exist which document those occurrences and every other transforming event in American & world history. Don’t just touch history with your hobby. Read history from the very day it was reported. You, too, will be hooked on a hobby you never knew existed. Bethlehem Globe-Times", Pennsylvania, newspaper of August 4, 1937 has a curious some article about a baseball game in 1893, as told by an elderly gentlemen who was involved in the game some 44 years previous. It provides some interesting reading, although I'm not convinced it actually happened. What do you think? Columbian Centinel" newspaper from Boston, dated October 19, 1799, struck me as being in error: "The President of the United States arrived at the seat of government, (Trenton) in good health." Or so I thought. While history tells us that the seat of government had moved from New York to Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. during this period, it appears in fact that the federal government did remove itself from Philadelphia (to Trenton) for a brief time in 1799 to escape the Yellow Fever epidemic in that city. But to my surprise there is very little on the internet about it. There are several sites which provide some detail about Trenton being the nation's capital for 54 days in 1784, but just two sites have a passing reference to the 1799 event. There is no mention as to exactly when or for how long. Can anyone provide more detail? Surprisingly even the sites of the city of Trenton offer no help.