Memorial Day… The Blue and the Gray…

May 27, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

We recently discovered an original issue of The Atlantic Monthly for September, 1867, which contained the earliest nationally distributed printing (and maybe the first ever) of ‘The Blue and the Gray,” by Francis Miles Finch. Although Memorial Day had not been officially proclaimed (via General Order #11, May 5, 1868), the practice of placing flowers and wreaths on the tombstones if the fallen was somewhat common. What was uncommon was the act of a group of women in Columbus, Mississippi, which is best described in the preface to Finch’s poem (quoted from the New York Tribune):

“The women of Columbus, Mississippi, animated by nobler sentiments than are many of their sisters, have shown themselves impartial in their offerings made to the memory of the dead. They strewed flowers alike on the graves of the Confederate and of the National soldiers.”

In recognition of Memorial Day, please enjoy the full text of this grand expression of appreciation for those who have fallen in battle – be they blue or gray:

 

Snapshot 1969… Teddy Kennedy in hot water…

April 7, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the July 26, 1969 issue of the Springfield Republican, Springfield, Massachusetts…

Snapshot 1969… Teddy Kennedy (was) in cold water…

April 4, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the July 20, 1969 issue of the Springfield Republican, Springfield, Massachusetts…

They put it in print… The DNC must make decision on the KKK…

March 28, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

It is easy to look at the deficiencies of our current political climate and forget from whence we came. It is one of the reasons why many of those from “The Greatest Generation,” who saw friends give up their lives for the cause of freedom, quickly become frustrated with those who take those freedoms lightly, and neglect to see the progress this “experiment is self-government” has made in less than 250 years.  I was reminded of this truth when I came across a June 28, 1924 issue of the Leominster Daily Enterprise which had the heading: “COMMITTEE [DNC] GRAPPLES ALL NIGHT WITH KU KLUX KLAN ISSUE.” Let’s put down our partisan-tipped weapons, reopen the lines of communication, and with a degree of civility and mutual respect, move forward in our quest to make this country a place where each and every citizen can prosper on a foundation of equality, hard-work, and freedom.

They put it in print… Slavery is not a respecter of race, color, or creed…

March 24, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Slavery, along with its multitude of abuses, has been part and parcel of society for millennia. This point was brought to the forefront as we were reading a July 10, 1671 London Gazette. It reports of letters from the Island of Corfu which talk about Turks transporting Christian slaves – with a mention that they were good workers. While a bit troubling, it also makes a request for everyone to stay clear of the vessels in order to keep the peace. Interesting.

An Alternative to Capital Punishment Explored in the 1700’s…

January 11, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Among several reports from America posted in The London Chronicle for January 19, 1768 is a report from Denmark which brings to light their experimentation with an alternative approach to the death sentence for the most heinous of crimes. Rather than editorializing, I’ll let the the text do the talking…

Sometimes it’s what’s missing that catches the eye… Alaska…

December 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the greatest hobby-related pleasures experienced by those who collect rare and early newspapers is finding previously unidentified content within an issue. While not on the same scale as finding gold, “mining” a newspaper for reports that were missed by the seller is certainly rewarding. Time and time again collectors tell us they purchased a newspaper for under $30 for a relatively minor report only to find a hidden gem buried deeper within the issue. Such discoveries, at times, can be financially rewarding, but in a world where the unexpected is often tethered to bad news, such relatively common incidents in the newspaper collecting hobby are a sweet salve to the weary soul (okay – perhaps a little overstated). Still, it certainly is to a seller’s advantage to keep such incidents to a minimum. Prior to offering a newspaper for sale, we compare it to various historical databases and our 40+ year chronological record of findings to help us estimate when a report of historical significance might be found. Since news traveled a bit more slowly in previous centuries, even our best intentions are left wanting.

This being said, there are times when, as we go through the process of searching for historical content, what surprises us most is what we are unable to find – or the minimal coverage which is present. Its not that we miss the coverage, rather, its that what we now see as noteworthy events – often buoyed up by movies, history books, etc., were mere blips on the screen at the time they occurred, and the contemporary coverage only serves to confirm its position in the coverage food-chain of the day.

The purchase of Alaska from Russia, finalized on March 30, 1867, is such an event. After spending over an hour searching for a mention in a set of Springfield (MA) Republicans from 1867, coverage finally showed up on page five of the April 10th issue (see image). Perhaps this is why the purchase, promoted heavily by and signed by the U.S. Secretary of State at the time, William H. Seward, became known as “Seward’s Folly.” Of course just because many of his contemporaries thought paying 2 cents an acre was foolish doesn’t mean he was wrong. Sometimes the masses simply don’t get it right – as time would reveal.

 

 

The University of Pennsylvania makes an interesting discovery…

October 12, 2017 by · 2 Comments 

As we search old newspapers for specific historic content, we often find unrelated items which catch our interest. In this particular case, as we were scanning an August 4, 1913 issue of the  Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee) looking for coverage of the Leo Frank trial/investigation (which we found), we also discovered an article out of the University of Pennsylvania which announced the finding of hieroglyphics in Nippur which they believe confirmed many of the details of the Biblical account of a Great Flood (see below).

Most historic Civil War event (revisited)…

September 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Continuing with our discussion on the “most historic” reports to be found in newspapers, we have been discussing the events of American history by era, the last being the post-Civil War 19th century. This post will discuss the Civil War era of 1861 – 1865.

Of the many events of the 19th century which changed the course of American history few would argue that the Civil War was the most significant. But what single event during the Civil War would rank as the most significant? If you could only have one newspaper from the Civil War in your collection, what one event would you most desire?

There are a number of events to consider:

1) The election of Abraham Lincoln. Although it happened in late 1860 and not technically from the war, this event would would set the tone of American politics which would lead to the war. What would have happened had he not been elected?

2) The beginning of the Civil War in April, 1861, for obvious reasons.

3) The Emancipation Proclamation of September, 1862, providing freedom to all slaves in all states, although more in theory than practicality.

4) The battle of Gettysburg, as the turning point of the Civil War.

5) The assassination of Lincoln: how would the country been different had he not been assassinated and served out his 2nd four year term?

Perhaps other events should be considered as the most historically significant. What are your thoughts?

My vote would be for the battle of Gettysburg. If it was a given that a war was inevitable to settle the political, cultural & economic divide between the North & South, it’s arguable that the war’s end was decided at Gettysburg. The tide had turned in favor of the North and  at that point it was just a matter of when it would end and not who would win.

What’s your thought?

The best of the best from the mouth and/or hand of Abraham Lincoln…

September 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

What is Abraham Lincoln’s most noteworthy speech, proclamation, letter, etc.? The Emancipation Proclamation? His Thanksgiving Proclamation or proclamation for a National Fast Day? Perhaps it was his 1862 Annual Message to Congress, his 2nd Inaugural Address, or his last public address in 1865? Of course the “go to” answer is often what we now refer to as The Gettysburg Address. The choices are almost endless. However, below is a candidate which appeared in an issue of The Crisis (Columbus, Ohio, May 4, 1864) I’d like to throw into the mix. Why it flies under the radar of notoriety and has never received more recognition is rather perplexing. What are your thoughts? Note: I’d like to thank a friend of Rare & Early Newspapers for suggesting I take a 2nd look.

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