Christmas-themed poems from 1850 – Food for thought…

December 24, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Earlier this year I came across a December 21, 1850 issue of Household Words – a publication “conducted” by Charles Dickens, which actually contained an original work by him titled “A CHRISTMAS TREE.” Although this was his publication, the majority of the contributions within were typically written by others. While perusing the issue I came across a set of Christmas-themed poems which stirred my heart. Hopefully you will also find them moving. Enjoy.

I’m New Here: Week Forty-Two, Wishing You A Blessed Christmas!

December 21, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

As this is the first gift ordering season I have experienced in the Rare Newspaper world, there is much I have learned recently. However, I am on a personal quest to keep the bustle of the season from obscuring the spiritual value of these days. It is the third week of Advent on the Christian calendar and my morning reflections are on Joy. I appreciate the preceding meditations have been on Hope and Peace, because without them Joy might feel a bit contrived, at least to me.
My good intentions, however, usually don’t survive the details of life. Into all the elevated mindset about to be swept away by the Monday morning deluge of business activity, came an anchoring phone call. The gentleman was seeking information about an issue out of Honolulu, dated December 7th. It is one of the most available reprints as there were three versions in addition to the original. This fellow was mostly interested in telling the story of his newlywed mother who followed her spouse out to Hawaii in 1941, where he was stationed on a naval destroyer in Pearl Harbor. He told how his mom took a job in the shipyard so she could stay, and her birthday was unexpectedly marked by sirens and smoke. This woman, who wouldn’t open gifts until her husband returned days later, was blessed to spend more than seventy more years with him.
It’s a beautiful story, and it encompasses much of the mindset of WWII. The newspaper headlines surrounding those days are larger-than-life to me, standing decades later. But the people who responded with extraordinary courage and forbearance and loyalty and perseverance were ordinary men and women who put their concerns aside for something greater than immediate comfort or convenience or even personal safety. And the reports, columns, psa’s and advertisements of the time only serve to bring that point home.

Anyway, Hope comes before Peace which comes before Joy.
And then comes Love.

The following poem by Christina Rossetti, eventually titled “Christmastide” was published in 1885:

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

They Put It In Print (1941)… World Series – Cardinals vs. Yankees…

October 7, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Typically, the day after a MLB team is defeated in the World Series, an acknowledgement along with a few humble, congratulatory remarks are the focus of the losing team’s hometown newspaper. However, after the New York Yankees eliminated the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1941 World Series, the St.Louis Post-Dispatch decided to ignore decorum and instead, predicted that the following year, the Cards would return to defeat the Yankees in the 1942 World Series? How do we know they made such a bold prediction? They put it in print – and, Nostradamus would  have been proud. The following year both teams returned to the World Series, and the Cards defeated the Yankees in only five games.

 

 

They Put It In Print… How to hate – 1941…

September 22, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

As we were searching through our issues from 1941 looking for new WWII content, to our great dismay we discovered a article on page 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle dated November 15th headed:  “Goebbels Tells Germans How To Hate Jews”, which was followed by his ten “reasons” to hate them. There are some who wish to ignore and/or deny the existence of the hatred which ran rampant during this time in world history, but thanks to the S.F. Chronicle, they put it in print:

 

I’m New Here: Week Thirty-One

September 20, 2019 by · 1 Comment 

Newspapers were bound into volumes throughout the years for a variety of reasons.  My favorite is that the owner of a large house would send off the papers that had been delivered, ironed, and read throughout the course of a year.  A book binder would glue and sew them together, and they would be returned to the home’s library, to be arranged with all the other years, and thus mark the history within which great homes and great families were housed.

Breaking a volume of bound issues goes against the grain for someone like me.  Perhaps the remembered library hush of early childhood imprinted an aura of solemnity to the world of books; perhaps the shadowed mystery of pre-reading years conjures the aroma that is akin to sacred things.  The most likely reason, however, is reflected in the lifetime acquisitions boxed in spare spaces, despite overflowing shelves in every room.  I like books.  And my forays into the back are exercises in willpower if I am headed toward All the Year Round, Household Words, Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Weekly or Scribner’s Monthly – which are liberally laden with serialized stories from beloved authors.

This week, in a search for details surrounding a Harlem rabble-rouser, I found an article headed “BRITAIN AMERICANIZED, CHESTERTON CONTENDS”, followed by, “He says Existence of Nation Is Being Altered by American Economic Pressure”.  The opening words confirmed my hope that these were indeed opinions offered by the great writer of The Man Who Would Be Thursday, the Father Brown Mysteries, and seventy other titles.  Many American readers, such as myself, have relished the literary works of this sharp-witted, kind-hearted lay cleric of the early 1900’s.

The affection, it seems, was not mutual.

“Speaking last night at the Delphian Coterie dinner, G.K. Chesterton declared that English habit and life, the look of the English town and the whole tone of English existence are being altered by the economic and commercial pressure of America.  He said that if the Kaiser had occupied London with the Prussian Army he could not more completely have denationalized the English nation and city.  ’While I object most violently to the Americanization of England,’ he said, “I have no objection to the Americanization of America.  Most Americans I have known I have liked, but I have like them most when I have known them in America.  Let us approach all international criticism with a good deal of what our fathers called Christian humility.  What Americans call it I do not know because I do not think they ever met it.’”

And, with that, I have nothing more to say.

Labor Day – back to school, end of summer, and hurricanes – Oh My!

September 2, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Labor Day weekend is often received with quite divergent emotions. Most children view its encroachment with sadness as marks the end of their summer and a return to school, whereas at least a portion of parents view it in a positive light as a return to a bit of normalcy, and to sports enthusiasts, the onset of football season. However, regardless of which point of view one embraces, for coastal residents in the east and south, their emotions are typically coupled with a bit of trepidation as it also signals the onset of prime hurricane season. In this regard, the Albany Evening News for September 4, 1935 tells of what has become known as The Great Labor Day Hurricane. The image below tells of at least the initial detail of this historic weather-generated disaster. So, as we ask the Lord’s blessing before enjoying our outdoor BBQ’s today, let’s be thankful these tragic events are few and far between.

Two hours before disaster… Food for thought!

July 1, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

What were you doing when President John F. Kennedy was shot, when the space shuttle Columbia exploded, or when the World Trade Center’s twin towers were struck by planes? Remembering what one was doing at the exact moment such disasters strike is common. But what about two hours earlier? Disasters rarely come with warnings, and in most cases, those within their physical or emotional path are simply going about yet another day – washing dishes, changing diapers, walking dogs, daydreaming at school, arguing with a friend – going through the motions of life. AND THEN…

Such was the case on May 6, 1937 as depicted in an issue of the New York World Telegram. We’ll let the image shown below do the talking. Every moment of every day is precious. What were you doing two hours before you lost a child… a friend… a spouse… a parent? “Two Hours Earlier!” Just something to think about.

They Put It In Print (1938)… Martin Niemöller…

May 28, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” (Martin Niemöller)

The Christian Science Monitor for March 4, 1938 reports Reverend Martin Niemöller has been sent off to a Nazi concentration camp.

 

 

“Life’s Poetry”… Food for thought…

May 16, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

As I was searching through our inventory of mid-1850’s Correctors (Sag Harbor) for an historic ad for “Douglass & Van Scoy – PHOTOGRAPHS and DAGUERREOTYPES” – pioneer American photographers, I came across the poem shown below which caused me to pause and smell the roses. Enjoy.

I’m New Here…Weeks Nine & Ten

April 19, 2019 by · 1 Comment 

Since my entries are personal perspective, and this is a significant week in the Christian calendar, my post carries a tinge of my own religious convictions.  Please skip reading if such things offend you.  After today I’ll endeavor to quash my worldview until a similar time next year…

There are newspapers inventoried in this facility that are so old they preceded the term, and are referred to by those in the know as a newsbook or a “coronto”.  At least, that is my sketchy understanding.  This week I am thinking about things that have survived generations, inventions, wars and cosmic changes.  The listing that caught my eye was a title from 1629, banned in 1632 –but then given special license to continue six years later.  Wikipedia says, “In 1638 they were granted a patent from King Charles I for the publication of news and history, in return for a £10 annual donation toward the upkeep of St. Paul’s Cathedral…”  And, of course, I wanted to see this for myself.  The small volume sold in 2015, just days after it was made available, but I was able to find a German newsbook from 1607 that I could look at. It wasn’t in a vault, but neatly cataloged and filed with all the other items in the seventeenth century inventory.  There are so many treasures, I suppose a vault would have to be the size of a warehouse — which indeed it is.  AUSSFUHRLICHER BERICHT was accessible, and I was able to pull the folder, open it on a surface, and even lift the clear archival cover in order to take a photograph without the obstruction of a reflected glare.  Not many people have the privilege of holding a publication that is over four hundred years old, and I know myself to be ridiculously undeserving.

But this week Paris has superimposed itself on my mental wanderings.  As for much of the western world, images of flames engulfing an icon that has stood for eight hundred years are incomprehensible.  At a certain point old things seem to become everlasting.  Particularly, stone cathedrals are expected to survive history itself.  Invasion, famine, revolution and disease have moved around that block work for nearly a millennium.  But we have records here at History’s Newsstand of many seemingly immovable things that have eventually yielded, and those accounts are interspersed with all the common themes of humanity that seem unhampered by the passage of time.

This is the week that Notre Dame burned.  It is also the week before Easter — the darkness and mourning of “Good Friday” so closely  followed by the joyful resurrection of Easter Sunday.

There is destruction and devastation, but there is also redemption.  It’s the common cycle of the accounts told within these pages of history that are so neatly sorted, labeled, and shelved for retrieval.   Obituaries and birth announcements.  Demolitions and groundbreakings.  Political structures that rise and fall, and new ones that rise again.

“A time to every purpose under heaven.”

Brokenness and healing.

 

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