Snapshot 1839… Is an atheist’s sworn statement in court valid?

September 22, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Let’s be honest, if a journalist posed this question in a mainstream newspaper today, the pushback for even asking the question would likely go viral within minutes, if not seconds. However, in 1831 the Boston Police Court was wrestling with this very question. In fact, the language used to describe such a situation was not one of validity, but competency. The article is too long to show in full, but for those who may be curious I’ve included 2 photos below – one each of both of the introduction and the conclusion.

Note: Some might also find the slavery-themed content within this same issue rather interesting as well: Daily National Intelligencer, July 2, 1839.


Horace Greeley inadvertently meets a slave trader (1859)…

September 11, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

As Kansas began to bleed were slaveholders in Missouri and Kansas selling their slaves to other slaveholders in the South? Did the efforts of the well-intended inadvertently lead to opportunists who “helped” to rid the region of slaves by becoming slaver traders? The article shown below from The Norwalk Experiment (OH) dated June 14, 1859 appears to indicate as much. While the likelihood of the worst of humanity rearing its ugly head under such circumstances is certainly not hard to fathom, our efforts to find documentation of this happening at this particular time has come up dry. If anyone can shed light on whether or not this had become common practice, please respond. If relevant, we will post your comment. Thanks in advance. In the meantime, the complete article is shown below.

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin” – impacting The Senate and The South (1853)…

September 4, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Few can argue against the claim of Harriet Beecher’s Stowe’s Uncle Tom’ Cabin being one of the most influential books upon the 19th century… and beyond. However, many incorrectly believe the impact to have been largely upon America alone, but the reality is many European countries felt its sting long before its role in codifying anti-slavery sentiment within the United States. Scanning through newspaper reports from the early 1850’s dramatically reveal the initial polar-opposite reactions regarding its influence.

One such newspaper was the Mach 17, 1863 issue of the New-York Daily Times. The front page provides the text (except shown to the right) of the previous day’s debate on the floor of the Senate in which one senator refers its impact on England as a positive validation for his point, while another senator takes the reference to be an unjustified, gross, “miserable” insult. For those who were beginning to sense the foundation of slavery beginning to crumble, this novel would prove to be a thorn in their side for years to come.

Ironically, in case one wonders if the culture of the 1850’s was ripe for the demise of slavery, page two has a lengthy discussion on the impact of both slave and free labor on Southern Agriculture Prosperity – an excerpt which is shown below. One of the fun things about the relationship between this incredible novel and historic newspapers is that it was 1st printed in serialized form in The National Era, a newspaper out of Washington, D.C..

The Legacy of Cassius Clay… Could it be in the Name?

June 19, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

While looking through an October 25, 1862 issue of Harper’s Weekly, a tiny paragraph on the 2nd page caught my eye.  Titled “NO HANGING MATTER”, this article began:Mr. Cassius M. Clay was born in a slave State, and early convinced that slavery was wrong, he has manfully advocated emancipation in Kentucky; and has been universally known as one of the most valiant of the anti02-slavery orators.” Wondering if the mother of Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali) knew the legacy with whom she was identifying when she named her baby boy, a quick bit of research online answered my question. Not only was she aware of the connection, but she purposefully chose the name because of this 1800’s abolitionist hero. Crossing both racial barriers and nearly 200 years, these 2 men both established lasting legacies.

Sometimes, the most delightful finds in our newspapers are the small, unexpected, little gems that give new insight into people of the past and the present – and in this particular instance, this “text” was discovered hiding in a title known for its illustrations.

Snapshot 1960… From Small Beginnings…

May 25, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

What happened? On July 16, 1960, a group of eight African American students – seven in high school and one in college, entered the “whites only” wing of the public library in Greenville, South Carolina to protest the library’s policy of segregation (the library had separate wings for blacks and whites).

Peaceful or violent? They entered the “whites only” wing quietly, selected books from the shelves, and sat down to read in silent protest.

Effective? While only lasting 40 minutes (at which point they were arrested), their actions led to the eventual desegregation of the library a mere 2 months later.

Public response? According to Wikipedia, although the library put up a fuss, and even initially closed stating, “the efforts made by a few Negroes to use the White library will now deprive White and Negro citizens of the benefit of a library”, they eventually reopened due to pressure from the black and white residents of the community.

“Red and yellow, black and white; they are precious…”

Legacy? While it is hard to measure the spidering impact of such “small” efforts, one of the “Greenville 8” is now a household name: Reverend Jesse Jackson.

The small report found on page 19 of The New York Times dated July 17, 1960 is symbolically shown in large format below.

Reflection: George Washington’s Birthday…

February 20, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

My five siblings and I grew up on the “wrong side of the tracks”. There really were tracks… and refineries which lit up the night sky… and rodents running around the neighborhood… and other creepy-crawly things which kept us awake at night. We had little money, but our lives were full, and our parent’s efforts to indulge us on a shoestring (when they could afford them) budget were always met with enthusiasm and thankful hearts. Holidays were the best – always soliciting a high degree of anticipation, for our dad would never fail to bring home a special treat to celebrate the occasion. My personal favorite was Washington’s Birthday – the holiday where I discovered the joys of dark chocolate and sweet cherries – the former birthed by “silver coins” to celebrate his amazing talent of throwing silver dollars across the Potomac River, and the latter through delightful chocolate covered cherries which reminded us to never lie – especially about chopping down trees. I didn’t know much about Washington other than him being our first President, but one thing I knew for certain, he must have been pretty awesome – a truth confirmed with jubilance by my tastebuds.

While I embrace the profound value we all have as a result of being made in God’s image, and appreciate the contribution each president has made to this great nation, I was sad to see Washington’s Birthday downgraded to an “all inclusive/generic” holiday. As one of my favorite authors (David McCullough) once said: “If everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless.”

As time went on and I became a bit more educated, I accepted the reality that Washington didn’t actually chop down a cherry tree (let alone own up to doing so); and, while I’m still a bit uncertain, the realization that he likely found better use for silver dollars settled in.

Still, these annual mini-celebrations, flawed as they were, helped awaken my appreciation for our “Founding Parents” in general, and for George Washington in particular. Is everything I learned about him accurate? Of course not. However, one thing I know for sure, the populace cried deep tears of sorrow when their beloved leader, to the amazement of the world, voluntarily steps aside so “We The People” could select their choice for the next to hold the reigns. Is his birthday still worth celebrating? Maybe so, or maybe not, but as for me, I’m picking up some chocolate covered cherries on the way home today.

In honor of this great leader, the pre-resignation announcement as it appeared in The Supplement To The Federal Gazette dated September 20, 1796, is shown below. A truly historic moment!

Snapshot 1941 – Crushing Debt’s Impact on Democracy…

February 10, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

With the U.S. national debt spiraling out of control, many economists are predicting the demise of this once (still?) great nation. Is this merely politics… fearmongering… crying wolf? Such concerns have been voiced as far back as when Alexander Hamilton was the Secretary of the Treasury and continue to this day. One such instance surfaced in 1941 and was chronicled in the Liberty Magazine dated February 15, 1941. These cries in the wilderness seeming fall on deaf ears without the doomsday predictions coming to fruition. However, the problem with apocalyptic events is thy have a tendency to be kept at bey… until one day there being viewed in the rear-view mirror with eyes welled up with regret. Let’s hope our generation is not the one shedding tears on behalf of our children and our children’s children.

From Dreams to Reality… Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Paves the Way…

January 16, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

The start of a new year lends itself to daydreaming – of the future… of goals… of a better world.  Much of the time these dreams fall by the wayside only to be replaced by a new focus or to be renewed at a later time. But sometimes dreams are so monumental and expansive they extend past the dreamer and are swept along by the tidal wave generated by the aspiration. Such is the case, I would argue, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream as stated on August 28, 1963. The work he began and the vision he cast extended well past his assassination as reported in the CHICAGO DAILY DEFENDER, April 6-12, 1968 (pictured to the right), and continued to move an entire country to a more congenial and “equal” state – one better reflecting the Founders’ dream: “We The People…!”. May we all strive for his dream for mankind with all the graciousness, boldness and humility he demonstrated, and may we work to construct such noble dreams as well.

Snapshot 1982… A “Feel Good” Story to Kick-Off the New Year…

January 6, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

As we all know, bad news sells. The medium (social media, television, newspapers, etc.) doesn’t matter, if something tragic happens, everyone grabs their camera (phone) and lawn chair and heads to the scene. However, an ongoing diet of bad news (and negativity in general) is not good for the soul. With this reality in mind, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to spend more time focusing on the good – and thankfully, while perusing newspapers within our archives, I came across a “feel good” story which I thought was worth sharing. I’ll let the article I unearthed in a South Bend Tribune (August 8, 1982) do the talking (see below).

For the record, upon visiting the young boy in the hospital, future Hall of Famer Jim Rice recognized the family was of modest means, so on his way out of the hospital he stopped by the Business Office and requested the bills be sent to him. What a true hero!

You can also read additional details here: Jim Rice Saves Young Boy’s Life

The Peace of Christmas… An image reminiscent of my own experience…

December 23, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

We each have those special moments in life which cause us to pause and breathe out the inner-tension we have allowed to build up over time.  While rare, they are precious instances when all seems right with “the world” and a deep peace settles into our core – if only for a split second. This past week, I went looking for Christmas-themed prints at the behest of one our collectors, and as I paged through the LIBERTY magazine issues for the month of December, 1929, I came upon a cover which perfectly captured this sentiment. Viewing the warmth of the crackling fire, a couple snuggled together on a comfy couch while gazing at the perfect picture of peace, I felt warmth flow from my inner-most being as I reminisced about the similar setting my husband and I have been blessed to enjoy together on Christmas Eve over the past nearly 35 years (once the children were nestled and snug in their beds).

My hope and prayer is for you to experience similar core-deep breaths of peace in the midst of an often-hectic Christmas season.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Rare and Early Newspapers Family.

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