A tribute to Bob Moores…

April 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

We recently became aware of the passing of Bob Moores, former owner of Gateway Books and a dealer in historic newspapers. Past is Present, the American Antiquarian Society’s blog, has a wonderful related post worth reading:

Tribute to a Great Friend and Book Dealer

Newspaper Museums abound… Looking for input…

January 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

boy.with.backgroundNewspapers have been one of the main means of community communication for several centuries. While many newspaper publishers have closed their doors as on-line access has increased, one would still be hard-pressed to find a city without its own printed newspaper. However, as the number of newspaper publishers gradually decrease, the number of newspaper museums appear to be on the rise. Current news may be best viewed within a moment of its occurrence via the internet, news of the past (history) seems to be best viewed first-hand – either by reading a historic newspaper first-hand, or by visiting one of the hundreds of newspaper and print-shop museums. Collecting rare newspapers satisfies the first, but what about the second? The Newseum and the American Antiquarian Society (think Isaiah Thomas) are great place to start, but what about museums with a more local or historical bent? A favorite for some is the relatively new Edes & Gill Print Shop attached to The Old North Church in Boston, but what about others? If you have visited a newspaper museum and/or historic print shop which you found interesting, please share by commenting with the name, location, and a brief mention of what you enjoyed.

Lincoln Assassination Newspapers Atlas…

January 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Rick Brown been collecting Lincoln assassination newspapers for over 50 years. He has also been a historic newspaper dealer and bought, sold, or brokered in excess of one million historic newspapers. Currently he has in about 200 original Lincoln assassination newspapers – Both Union and confederate. In that same time he been setting aside reprints of the April 15, 1865 New York Herald as he came across Blog-2-18-2016-NY-Herald-Reprintsthem. In 1992 he self-published “An Atlas of Known April 15, 1865 New York Herald Reprints.” In that work, all pages of 17 different reprint versions were shown. With concentrated efforts in 2015 he contacted a few major institutions and has now discovered 48 different/variants of this edition. His online version of the current atlas that shows all pages of 45  different variants. Also included in this online atlas is background information about the reprints – who published, when, how many pages, etc. The URL for his online Atlas is: http://www.historyreference.org/newspapers/assassination/

An average of three April 15, 1865 New York Herald’s are listed on eBay EVERY WEEK – that’s over 150 per year. Almost all of these listings claim there’s is an “authentic,” “original,” or “genuine” edition.  In the past 15 years he has been conducting weekly searches for “April 15, 1865 New York Herald” on eBay. There have been approximately 2,250 listings for this edition on eBay and ONLY TWICE the listings were actually original editions! Also, since he has been going to estate sales and auctions for over 20 years, he has seen a few hundred of these editions offered – NOT ONE OF THEM were an original!! Over 95% of these reprints were produced over 100 years ago so they LOOK OLD, Looking old does not necessarily mean it is an original. Buyer beware – Collector value for these reprint editions is $10-$20 depending on condition.

If you have a Lincoln-related Web site or know someone that does, please have them add a link to my online atlas.

Rick Brown
http://www.historyreference.org
A Nonprofit Organization

Archaeologists uncover secrets of historic Revolutionary War battle site…

November 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-11-19-2015-Lexington-and-ConcordWhile reports of the events surrounding the skirmish at Lexington & Concord (1775) are few and far between, due to their undisputed importance, authentic newspapers with first-hand accounts are highly prized. A current archaeological effort in and around the area are sure to only increase public interest. The following article brings to light some of the recent finds:

Archaeologists uncover secrets of historic Revolutionary War battle site

Why Hawaii Became the 50th State…

November 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Why_Did_Hawaii_Become_the_50th_State

Photo Credit: Noé Alfaro

Authentic newspapers reporting Hawaii Statehood, especially those from Hawaii, have been sought by collectors for decades. The fascination for “all things Hawaii” appears to have no end in sight. It is with this in mind we bring to you the following guest-post from Francisco Meza:

Why Hawaii Became the 50th State

Hawaii, one of the tiniest states and the only one made up entirely of islands, formally became the 50th state in 1959 (August 21, 1959). But Hawaii’s story starts long before 1959. Polynesians, the earliest inhabitants of these islands, settled here over 1,000 years ago. British explorer Captain James Cook, in 1778, named them the Sandwich Islands. Fortunately, this name didn’t stick. Shortly thereafter, American traders made a beeline for Hawaii’s sandalwood. From July 7, 1898, Hawaiian Islands were an organized incorporated territory of the US.

Why did it Take So Long?

The genuinely interesting question about the Hawaiian Islands becoming a state is the reason it took so long. Over sixty years elapsed from the time Hawaii had become a US possession before it became the 50th state. There were several Hawaiian petitions for statehood in the early part of the 20th century. These petitions were either denied or ignored altogether. Some in the US had felt that the Hawaiian Islands had no natural connection with the remainder of the mainland US. Most obviously, Hawaii wasn’t a contiguous territory. It lay 2,000 miles from the US coast.

American Plantation Owners Resented Paying Import Taxes

The clout of the American plantation owners in Hawaii resulted in its annexation in 1898. The protection of the plantations owners’ financial interests played a huge part too. They were keen on gaining exemption from paying import taxes for the sugar that they shipped to the mainland US. The plantation owners also wanted to safeguard their large land holdings from possible confiscation or annexation under a renewed Hawaiian monarchy.

The US Administration and Citizens Didn’t Favor Annexation of Hawaii

The sentiment in the US about the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands was always strong. The people felt it’d be an imperialistic, unjust, and hence, a most un-American move. Hawaii wasn’t only about sugar. It was an important coaling station for naval vessels, as well as, a potential major harbor. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain, Russia, and Japan had pressured Hawaii for trade concessions.

The Reasons for the Delay

At the time of annexation (1898), the monarchy had been in existence for just about a century. Originally, the monarchy had leveraged the firepower of the European sailors to consolidate power. An element of brutality was involved too. A high percentage of Hawaii’s Caucasian residents had been there for so long that they considered themselves native. Additionally, numerous Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese immigrants had come to Hawaii as agricultural laborers and settled down permanently.

Polynesian Hawaiians Wanted to Maintain the Status Quo Because They Considered the Sizable Japanese Populace in Hawaii a Threat to Polynesian Prosperity

The six-decade reluctance to alter Hawaii’s status from a US territory to state lay both within the Hawaiian Islands and the US mainland. In the mainland, it concerned the uncertainty and fear about permitting electoral authority to any one ethnic group. It wasn’t merely ethnically Polynesian versus Caucasian.

In the Hawaiian Islands, some ethnically Polynesian Hawaiians didn’t favor the change to a US state from the existing US territory. This is mainly because, although they were comfortable feeling almost “American” as long as Hawaii was a US territory, they were apprehensive that’d change in case Hawaii became a state. After WWII had ended, the occupation of Japan by the Allies fuelled their fears even more. The Polynesian Hawaiians’ fears originated from a belief that the Japanese populace on the Hawaiian Islands (almost as high as 30 percent) would, in the event of universal franchise that statehood authorized, organize and vote itself into leadership. And Polynesian Hawaiians considered that the Japanese ascent to Hawaii leadership would result in an overall Polynesian descent in Hawaii.

Factors that Favored Hawaii Becoming the 50th State

At the instant of the vote to statehood, almost 90 percent of Hawaii’s populace comprised US citizens. The importance of Hawaii in WWII had secured its identity as 100 percent American both in the minds of the mainlanders as well as the Hawaiians. Additionally, persistent and successful lobbying of Congressional representatives in the initial phase of the contemporary Civil Rights Movement swayed enough members of Congress into accepting the Hawaiian statehood. They were prepared to overlook the islands’ racial makeup.

Why Didn’t Guam or America Samoa Become a State Too?

Almost 18 years after the Pearl Harbor attack, Hawaii, considered a distant frontier of American settlement, was declared a US state in 1959. Since the 1820s, European Americans had settled down in Hawaii and established English as a language. Additionally, an American-style legal system had been introduced early on, and the US dollar was the main currency.

In the case of American Samoa, indigenous Samoans make up almost 90 percent of the population. Hence, it’s unlikely that American Samoa will ever become a US state. In the case of Guam, the indigenous Chamorros make up almost 37 percent of the population. The remainder includes Filipinos, Chinese, Whites, Japanese, Micronesians, Vietnamese, Koreans, and Indians. It’s highly unlikely that Guam will become a US state in the near future.

Summary

After WWII had ended, Hawaiians themselves desired US statehood. Even during the 14-year intervening period before Hawaii was formally conferred statehood, the “49th State” Record Label was immensely popular in the Hawaiian Islands. Eventually, Alaska became the 49th state at the beginning of 1959. Several months later, Hawaii became the 50th.

If you are ever in Hawaii and want to learn about Hawaiian culture, take a few Hawaii Tours that encompass Oahu and the other islands. You’ll learn see where the Hawaiian battles happened, see the beautiful nature, and stop by Pearl Harbor.

© Francisco Meza

“Brownsville Gazette” – a gem from the American Antiquarian Society…

August 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers’ focus: The American Antiquarian Society

In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

161. Brownsville Gazette“, Brownsville, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1808

Clarence S. Brigham’s two -volume History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820, published by AAS in 1947, was a landmark in newspaper bibliography. The fruits of thirty-six years of painstaking research are amply displayed in the detailed publishing histories and comprehensive censuses of institutional holdings. For fully 194 (nine percent) of the 2,120 titles included, Brigham was unable to locate any extant issues, though he could document the newspapers’ existence from other sources.

Since Brigham’s day it has been as AAS priority to locate and acquire issues of these “lost” newspapers. Many have been found, and much new information has been gathered towards a supplement to Brigham’s bibliography. Here is one such “discovery issue,” for the Brownsville Gazette, which turned up on eBay in 2004. The accompanying page from the manuscript to Brigham’s bibliography shows his draft entry for this title, clipped from the April 1920 number of the AAS Proceedings, where it was originally printed: from Isaiah Thomas’s 1810 The History of Printing in America (Cat. 9), Brigham knew that the Brownsville Gazette was being published early in 1810; and an 1882 county history citation indicated that it began publication no later than January 14, 1809. But no new information had come Brigham’s way between 1920 and 1947. Based on the discovery issue’s date and numbering, however, it is now known that William Campbell launched the Brownsville Gazette sometime in 1807.

“Le Bijou” – a gem from the American Antiquarian Society…

August 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers’ focus: The American Antiquarian Society

In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

180. Le Bijou“, Cincinnati, Ohio, September, 1879

A hobby practiced especially by teenagers, amateur journalism exploded in popularity in the United States following the invention of an inexpensive table-top printing press in 1867. During the 1870s and 1880s, thousands of amateur newspapers were published and liberally exchanged with other amateur journalists around the country. Because of the circumstances under which they were produced, amateur newspapers are becoming of increasing interest to historians, and AAS actively adds to its large collection.

One of the most interesting amateur newspapers at AAS is Le Bijou, edited and published by Herbert A. Clark (ca. 1860-ca. 1924). A great-grandson of Lewis and Clark Expedition leader William Clark, Herbert was born into one of Cincinnati’s leading African-American families. His father Peter, an associate of Frederick Douglass, was politically active and instrumental in establishing free public schools for Ohio African-Americans. Le Bijou is notable for its prominent and forthright and advocacy of civil rights, a fight carried over to the Amateur Press Association, which in 1879 elected Clark it’s third vice-president over the heated objections of its Southern members. Many withdrew, forming in its stead the secret Amateur Anti-Negro Admission Association. Clark delightedly reported on the controversy in the pages of Le Bijou, which he published from 1878 to 1880. He then moved on to a career as a journalist and publisher of African-American newspapers.

Ludicrous advertising in the late 1800’s…

March 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Hofstra University maintains a Facebook page where staff from their special collections department can post interesting finds. We recently discovered the following which illustrates one of the collecting strands of the hobby: sensational (or absurd) advertising:

How Paul Revere’s Ride Was Published And Censored IN 1775…

February 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Todd-AndrlikTodd Andrlik, founder and editor of Journal of the American Revolution, and curator, author and editor of Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News (Sourcebooks, 2012), has assembled and written a great piece of scholarship in regards to Paul Revere – specifically, how he was viewed by his contemporaries, using the lens of original newspapers of his day. An excerpt is as follows:

Because of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” most people think that Revere was critical to the start of the Revolutionary War. In trying to dispel Longfellow’s myth of a lone hero, modern scholars have portrayed Revere as just one rider among dozens on 18-19 April 1775, and argued that his previous rides for the Patriot cause might have been more important. A survey of newspapers from 1774 and 1775 shows that in fact those earlier rides had made Revere prominent enough that he did stand out in reports of the fighting at Lexington and Concord, even as Massachusetts authorities kept the extent of his activities quiet.

Paul Revere was a man who wore many hats. He was well known throughout New England for his engravings, his silver work, his Masonic fellowship and his political activity. Plus, in 1774 and early 1775, Revere worked as an express rider for the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety. He frequently carried letters, newspapers and other important communication between cities, including Boston, Hartford, New York and Philadelphia. Revere’s early dispatches related to some of the biggest American events of the eighteenth century, including the destruction of the tea, the Boston Port Bill and the Suffolk Resolves. In December 1774, at the age of 39, he rode to Portsmouth to alert local Patriot leaders that the Royal Navy was on its way to seize gunpowder and arms from Fort William and Mary. Newspaper printers would eagerly print Revere’s tidings, frequently attributing…

This is a must-read article! View Todd’s scholarship in its entirety at:

How Paul Revere’s Ride Was Published And Censored In 1775

 

A gem from the American Antiquarian Society…

January 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-1-30-2015In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

93. “Moniteur de la Louisiane“, New Orleans, February 21, 1810

The Moniteur de la Louisiane, established in 1794 by Louis Duclot, was the first newspaper published in Louisiana. Because so few early issues have survived, its history is difficult to piece together. The earliest known issue — since lost in a fire but preserved in facsimile — was dated August 25, 1794; all other extant issues are from the 1800s. Although founded when Louisiana was under Spanish control, the Moniteur was published primarily in French, the language of Louisiana’s majority population. Over time the newspaper grew in size from octavo to quarto to folio, and it also change publishers. This 1810 issue lists Jean Baptiste Le Seur Fontaine as publisher, A role he had assumed by 1803 and perhaps as early as 1797. Publication apparently ceased in 1814. When Fontaine died that year, he bequeathed to the city of New Orleans his personal file of the Moniteur.

This is one of two issues of the Moniteur sent to AAS by Edward Larocque Tinker as part of his very substantial gift of early Louisiana newspapers and periodicals.

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