As we close the door on 2020…

December 31, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Overall, 1923 was a pretty good year. However, even a decent year has its share of troubles. A few examples from 1923 include:

The Rosewood massacre, the eruption of Mount Etna, the unexpected death of the popular President Warren G. Harding, Gustav Stresemann being named Chancellor of Germany resulting in policies which led to hyperinflation crushing the German economy (paving the way for Hitler’s rise, the Great Kanto earthquake devastates Tokyo and Yokohama killing an estimated 142,807 people, 640 structures a burned to the ground in Berkley (CA), Adolf Hitler is arrested for his leading role in the Beer Hall Putsch greatly increasing his popularity among those who want to see change, the Gleno Dam (in Italy) bursts killing hundreds, multiple competing factions in China align themselves with the Communist Party – greatly strengthening their influence – and eventual dominance, Prohibition reigns, the largest peace-time U.S. Naval disaster (to-date) occurs off the coast near Santa Barbara (the Honda Point disaster), and more. Although somewhat under the radar, a number of world events took place during 1923 which, upon looking in the rear view mirror, helped pave the way for Communism in China, Nazism in Germany, and the severely ramped up conflict in the Middle East.

Yes, even a good year can have its share of warts. AND then, there’s 2020… Was it worse than the years impacted by the Spanish Flu epidemic, WW1, WW2, any of the Great plagues, the death and destruction brought by Atilla the Hun – to name a few? This doesn’t diminish the impact of the pandemic which defined much of 2020; rather, it’s intention was to merely put it in perspective (if possible).

Speaking of perspective…

A few days ago the front page of a Rotogravure Section of a Detroit News for December 30, 1923 caught my eye. It was a great reminder that there are times when it’s simply best to look to the future with child-like faith. Happy New Year!

Snapshot 1977… The Original (?) Star Wars…

December 28, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

As we were searching the Calendar section of a Los Angles Times, July 10, 1977 for a full-page ad for an upcoming ELP concert to be held at the Long Beach Arena, we came across another full-page ad for the newly released movie, “Star Wars”. While such ads are desirable when found in a Los Angeles Times (due to the Hollywood connection), what caught our attention was the text of the ad which, instead of just having “STAR WARS”, had “STAR WARS NOW”. Upon investigation we learned that the original STAR Wars was quickly edited soon after it was decided to convert the stand alone movie into a trilogy. Several fans of Star Wars had posted frustration in their inability to obtain the original-release version of the movie. This made me wonder if the odd title in the ad (“STAR WARS NOW”) is/was related to this change. If anyone has more information in regards to this version of the ad, we’d love to know ( Thanks.

The United States elections – a bumpy walk through time…

December 11, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

(false report – Rutherford B Hayes won)

The first president of the United States, George Washington, was elected by a unanimous decision in 1789 [the election process started in 1788]. Since then few elections, whether for mayor, governor, president, etc., have sailed on such smooth waters – and the preponderance of elections outside the U.S. have not fared any better. While the privilege and responsibility of citizens of democracies to exercise their right to elect those whom they wish to lead them cannot be understated, the process is often fraught with civic and relational tension. However, once the election is in the rear view mirror, in most instances wounds are eventually healed and sunny skies return – even if it takes months.

We at Rare & Early Newspapers have created a link to our available election-related issues and arranged them in chronological order. There may be a few stray issues which do not belong in the list, but hopefully those who have an interest in such things will appreciate the somewhat tumultuous stroll through time.

Elections Through Time

Snapshot 1775… A prayer for the country and its leaders…

December 7, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

We recently sent sent out high-resolution images of a Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg, VA) dated July 20, 1775 which included coverage of the “Causes & Necessity of Taking up Arms”, the last appeal for peace, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Within hours we were receiving an abundance of responses from those who had read the issue, and guess what was commented on most frequently? The coverage of the “Causes & Necessity of Taking up Arms”? No. The last appeal for peace? No again. Perhaps the report regarding the Battle of Bunker Hill? No, no, and again no. What captured the attention of most of those who responded was an anonymous prayer printed on the front page. Without commentary, I include this prayer below.

Dear Lord, As America continues to wrestle with election issues, my prayer is that no matter who You enable to hold positions of leadership/authority, You will direct their steps – whether they acknowledge You or not. I pray You will give them wisdom, humility, and compassion for all whom they serve. I am also grateful for Your sovereign will, and rest in the hope beyond reason which has already revealed the end of the story. Amen!

Note: To our readers, if anyone knows who wrote the above prayer from 1775, please let us know. Thanks.

Reflecting on 2020 as we approach Thanksgiving…

November 23, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

“Count your blessings, name them one by one…”

2020 has certainly been quite the year. There’s no doubt it came with more than its share of difficulties; however, history is pregnant with years fraught with an abundance of pain, suffering, and death. I admit, there have been occasions when the onslaught of bad news has weighed heavily upon my mind, but thankfully, there have been more than enough moments when I’ve been checked back from allowing negative thoughts to win the day.

Such was the case when I took notice of the November 18, 1918 issue of the Springfield Republican (see below). In the midst of the horrors brought on by the Spanish Flu Epidemic, President Woodrow Wilson continued the presidential tradition of proclaiming a day for thanksgiving and prayer. What particularly caught my attention was seeing the bordered text of the Thanksgiving Proclamation surrounded on three sides by WWI reports from all over the world, a mere 6 inches from an article updating the readers of the current death toll of the pandemic. “A rose among thorns” came to mind, followed by a flashback to my childhood – as I could almost hear my (recently deceased) mother’s words yet again: “No matter how bad you think things are, there are people throughout the world who have it much worse than you do. Never stop counting your blessings.” Of course I wouldn’t always immediately comply, which prompted her follow-up: “Wipe that sour look off your face before it gets stuck that way.”

So, it is with these thoughts in mind I hope, wish, and pray for our “collecting” family to have a Thanksgiving overflowing with… thanksgiving.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

[repeat refrain]

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy,
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

[repeat refrain]

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

[repeat refrain]

Lyrics by Johnson Oatman, Jr.

Snapshot 1945… America’s youth are too soft…

November 12, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

WW2 was finally over, but much was to be done. Trials, international agreements, boundaries of country’s which had been conquered by the Nazis… What to do with the millions who had lost their homes due to destruction, fleeing life-threatening circumstances, or having been carted off to concentration camps? What about the abundance of parentless children? How to rebuild? Who would pay for the rebuilding of countless areas of devastation? What about the atom bomb? What does this new power mean?

In the midst of all of these critical and time-sensitive concerns at the forefront of President Truman’s mind, one which caught my eye was found on the front page of a Wilmington Morning Star (NC) from October 24, 1945. What do we do to prepare our nation for future conflicts? While a great question, his focus was thought-provoking:

The youth of America are too soft, and something needs to be done, now!

The image below shows a portion of both Truman’s thoughts and his plan of action – initial steps which would eventually blossom into President Eisenhower’s “President’s Council on Youth Fitness” in 1956. These actions, along with similar measures taken over the 40 years to follow, led me to wonder whether it is time to take a look at this question once again. After all, raising up the next generation to be characterized by the fragile term “snowflakes” does not bode well for the future of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.


They Put It In Print (1918)… “The 19th Amendment fails by 1 vote…”

October 26, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Does one vote matter? Does every vote count?

Since the passage of the 19th Amendment, the impact of women on the political climate, and therefore, on both the course and civil fabric of the United States cannot be understated. Since 1964, more women have voted in presidential elections than men – as measured by both actual quantity and as a percentage of their respective genders. While this “right” was not realized until 1920, few know that the (women’s suffrage) Amendment nearly passed two years earlier, but came up short by a single vote. Sadly, not all Senators were present to vote. How do we know? They put it in print in The Christian Science Monitor (Boston) dated  October 2, 1918.


They Put It In Print (1848)… “Lincoln that is, political gold, Illinois tea…”

September 25, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

A tremendous wag, hilarious, upright, a real gem… We recently uncovered the earliest “feature” article we’ve ever found regarding Abraham Lincoln – buried on the back page of the The Greensborough Patriot (NC) dated September 16, 1848. On the heels of gold having just been discovered in California, another golden-nugget was slowly becoming unearthed on the opposite side of the country – before the very eyes (and ears) of the nation. Although Lincoln was a relatively unknown senator from Illinois, a reporter heard him speak before The House and was impressed enough to take the time to record his observations. It appears this reporter, along with a host of others, would be drawn to the qualities which would set him apart from the pack, and would eventually propel him into the history books. How do we know? Back in 1848, they put it in print:

I can imagine, as articles such as this began to circulate, that the folks back in home in Illinois began to talk in Lincoln’s ear, and…

The first thing you know ol Abe’s politically extraordinaire,
Kinfolk said “Abe move away from there”.
Said “The Capitol” is the place you ought to be”
So they loaded him on a train and he moved to D.C.

The UNITED States would never be the same.



They Put It In Print (1862)… Slavery At The Capital…

July 10, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

We all have a tendency to view things through a lens of our own creation – and the internet and social media – both which customize our “news” to our liking, only help refine our “news” into that which reinforces our worldview. In the end, honest, open dialogue – once the fabric of our public discourse, is reduced to mere noise falling upon deadened ears. Truth is, all Republicans… all Democrats… all Libertarians… all those who disagree with our point of view are not uneducated, haters, bigots and/or evil. Republicans do not “own” patriotism, and Democrats do not possess the mantle of black-American advocacy. How do we know? Back in 1862, The New York Tribune dated March 14, 1862 put it in print:



A few personal thoughts on the current pandemic – with a link to the past…

March 19, 2020 by · 3 Comments 

It is rare I use this space to share personal thoughts which stroll into areas not directly related to Rare & Early Newspapers. If you are uncomfortable with views which may not match your own, please do not continue reading. I will certainly not be offended. If you decide to continue, please enjoy.


Large-scale tragedy comes in many forms and often comes quickly. Whether by severe weather (flood, hurricane, drought, etc.), earthquake, war, severe economic crisis, or disease, the death, destruction, and broken lives (of those who survive) have been scattered throughout time. As we now face a nightmarish pandemic, it is easy to think myopically, and in so doing, fear, anxiety, and panic often win the day. Yet, what is a reasoned response? Where do we turn for strength? Politicians and other world leaders can help, but they are often mere fingers in a dyke – trying hopelessly to restrain the flood of pending devastation. Religious leaders can help point us to the future, and historians can direct us to the past (see examples through time), and family and friends can provide us with a degree of comfort. Still, in the end, most succumb either physically or emotionally to its crushing, callous, and often capricious impact on the world as they… and now as we know it.

This reality, in conjunction with the current pandemic, has caused many to reflect on life, death, and what is and is not important – and I’m certainly no exception. Each morning I try to read a passage from the Bible and jot down my thoughts as a written prayer-response to what I’ve read. What follows is my last two entries. If they are an encouragement to even a few, great. However, please know yourself. If one man’s meanderings from a Christian perspective would be offensive to you, please do not continue – but know you are in my thoughts and prayers as we walk through the shadow of death. You may still wish to explore the link above which shows examples of similar circumstances through time. We are not alone. 🙂


A simple prayer (3/14/2020)… Psalm 61:1-4 “O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to You for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering Rock of safety, for YOU ARE my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!”

Dear Lord, Eternal vs. Temporal? Perspective vs. Panic? Hope vs. Despair? Not to be fatalistic, but other than a few who will meet Your Son in the air (upon His return), we are all going to die. Death is not a respecter of race, gender, socioeconomic status, quality of character, the size of one’s portfolio, political affiliation, personal accomplishments, etc.. The best eating plans, exercise programs, personal habits, and efforts to live a “clean” life still produce the same outcome as those who ignore all of these things – albeit perhaps a bit delayed. Whether it comes through war, famine, “natural causes”, prolonged illness, a tragic accident, or a devastating pandemic, it’s going to happen. AND, sadly, the truth is, we’re to blame. Death is a reality which was birthed by humanity in The Garden, was the final act of all those who perished prior to, during, and after the Great Flood, and has been procured by each of us ever since. Does this mean we shouldn’t try to stave off the inevitable for as long as possible or be sad when it comes upon our loved ones? Of course not. After all, Your Son cried upon hearing about the death of a close friend, and when considering His own pending death, begged You to explore if there could be any other way to save His “bride to be.” Death is lousy – period. However, death is our just reward. YET…
“At just the right time, while we were still powerless [to avoid death], Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)
[As crazy from a human perspective as it sounds; and although…] “It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man (though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die), You proved Your love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us [according to Your plan]. Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath [death and separation from You] through Him! For if, when we were Your enemies, we were reconciled to You through the death of Your Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through Your Son’s life!” (Romans 5:7-10)
The bottom line is: “Your Son was delivered over to death for our trespasses and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)
Why? “For You so loved the world that You gave Your one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
I do believe, therefore: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Your Son, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
So, whether physical death can be viewed far in the distance, or is only a cough and a sneeze away, I can join with David in saying:
“O God, You listened to my cry! You heard my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cried out to you for help when my heart was overwhelmed – when I was without hope, and You led me to the towering Rock of safety. And now, YOU ARE my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies (whether they be people, tragedy, sickness, or even the grim-reaper) cannot reach me. Thanks to You, I will live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!”
Eternal vs. Temporal? Perspective vs. Panic? Hope vs. Despair?
Lord, With You as the Author and Perfecter of my faith, I choose to seize an eternal perspective of hope. Amen
PS AND as far as desiring… wishing… hoping to still be alive at the time Your Son returns is concerned: “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17a)
Lord, if it be Your will for me to perish (physically) prior to Your Son’s return, while I’m sure it’ll likely be distressing in the moment, I doubt I’ll mind so much when I’m looking over my shoulder waiting for those who were still alive to catch up on our way to joining Him in the clouds. Yet another win-win from Your hand of grace! Amen again.

A simple prayer (3/16/2020)… Romans 9:30-33 “What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping The Law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping The Law instead of by trusting in Him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when He said, “I am placing a Stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a Rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.”

Dear Lord, Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You for the above passage which drives home the nature and beauty of Your grace. While we often (rightfully) criticize the Pharisees for being whitewashed sepulchers – white and clean on the outside but on the inside filled with dead men’s bones, many of the Israelites did pursue The Law without ill motives – simply as a means for obtaining righteousness. Yet, Your Word overflows with examples which hammer home the truth that good intentions are simply not good enough. This point was made clear from as early on as the Garden. Adam and Eve sought and made coverings of fig leaves to cover their nakedness. Well intended? Perhaps. Good enough? No. Cain followed with providing a sacrifice from the fruit of his labor. Well intended? Perhaps. Good enough? Again, no. This same pattern was played out over and over again throughout Your Word, and culminated in the New Testament when we were told about a rich young ruler who had made every intention of keeping The Law from youth, yet in a matter of seconds, was revealed by Your Son to be lacking. It’s not as if this should catch us off guard, for Your Word in Isaiah 64:6 says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.” Yet, still today many seek to gain good standing with You by making sure their good deeds outweigh their bad. Once again… Well intended? Perhaps. Good enough? Sadly, and often tragically, no.

The bottom line: You are the Creator, we are the created… You are the Potter, we are the clay… You are Sovereign, we are not. Regardless of what we think or do, You are The One who decides the method for our salvation. Thankfully, in Your great mercy, You did supply both the method and the means: through faith in what was accomplished by Your Son when He gave Himself up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Why is this the only Way? Because You said so. Why is this Good News? Because even our best efforts, no matter how well intended, could never change our very nature – a systemic problem which was passed down to us from Adam and validated endlessly by our own actions – the mother of all pandemics which had and continues to have a 100% kill-rate apart from You. Without the righteousness provided for us through Your Son, we are merely dead men walking. We don’t need a fix, we need a complete redo. We need to be born again. Thankfully, You provided for us that which we could not provide for ourselves: the ultimate Cure – spiritual rebirth… a new heart… the You-Sourced breath of life itself.

Lord, thank You for Your great plan of salvation. Thank you for your mercy. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for the method and the means. Thank You for forgiveness. Thank You for a hope which reached beyond the grave. Thank You for faith. Although I don’t get it, thank You for wanting a relationship with me. Thank You as well for birthing in me a desire to have a relationship with You. Now that I think of it, thanks for everything. Amen


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