Since we are in the midst of the 150 anniversary of the Civil War, we thought some might enjoy exploring the mention of thanksgiving (holiday and otherwise) within CW era issues arranged in chronological order. The issues may be viewed at: since 5 different manuscripts exist, there is some disagreement amongst historians concerning what he actually said. Might original newspapers of the day with eye witness accounts provide the answer? If the speech had been long we probably wouldn't have a high degree of confidence in the newspaper reporters' accounts, but the brevity of the speech certainly increases the probability of an accurate transcription. Original reports may not have the definitive answer to this question, but they certainly provide reasonable evidence regarding what was actually spoken. Once again, "History is never more fascinating than when it is read from the day it was first reported." Fifty years ago this week my older sister and I came in from carving Matchbox-car-sized roads through the previously well-manicured turf of our backyard to find our mother staring at the semi-snowy, partially visible screen of our black and white television with tears streaming down her face. Not being prone to such outward displays of emotion, her anguish screamed to us that something tragic had happened. This moment was emblazoned in our minds for life... and was reinforced days later when she took us by the hand to lead us on the long trek to the railroad overpass a few miles from our home to peer over the edge to watch a train draped with a flag pass under our feet. President John F. Kennedy was dead! While at the time my sister and I had no idea whether or not he was a good president (for to a child, all presidents are good), one thing we knew for sure, something vanished from people's eyes which has yet to return - American innocence. As we reflect on this snap-shot of innocence lost, we wonder where it all began - that is, the overwhelming common-man devotion which inspired many to "Ask not what your country can do for you...". When did the admiration of the crowd begin? Was it when he was proclaimed a WWII hero as the Captain of PT-109, or did it spring-forth from his impact as a Massachusetts Representative with his first political election victory? While it may be hard to sort out how he had become so beloved, one thing is certain: a split-second in time along a Dallas street changed everything. Feel free to share your "memory" of November 22, 1963. To commemorate this historic moment (November 22, 1963), we've assembled a host of "assassination-report" newspapers from all over the country. They are viewable at: JFK Assassination. 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. Kansas City Daily Journal for February 12, 1889: Over the past 10 years we (RareNewspapers.com) have put together a series of videos designed to help educate novices about the hobby of collecting historic newspapers. While some may be a smidge old (compared to today's high-tech standards), the information within is still pertinent. Pick a topic of interest, turn up the volume, and enjoy our perspective on the collectible. 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. September 5, 1863 issue of the "Army & Navy Journal" which contains a famous letter to General U.S. Grant (see below). In this remarkable letter, President Abraham Lincoln congratulates General Grant for an important victory -- the capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, 1863. Lincoln differed with Grant about how to handle the campaign, but when Grant pursued his own strategy successfully, Lincoln frankly admitted that Grant was right.