I’m New Here: Week Thirty-Nine…

November 27, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Sometimes rabbit trails lead to revised destinations – particularly those that meander through the annals of history.  This week is a big deal on the US calendar because of colonists and survival and a heritage of gratitude…and I am a person full of thanks this year, as I have been much of my life.

I obtained permission from Guy to be a bit personal in my post, which he graciously granted, but a communication with a favorite collector in NYC derailed my reflection.  Ms. P told me about Evacuation Day, which commemorated the rousting of the British troops from their occupation of New York City following this nation’s fight for independence from England.  I had never heard of the liberation of NYC, let alone the celebrations that occurred annually until Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation co-opted the seasonal celebrations.  To be honest, I had never considered the duration of conflict following the 1776 declaration.  Anyway, this information came to light in a peripheral way, and the collector who brought it to our attention, attended this year’s anniversary hoopla in the city that was liberated.

It’s a privilege to learn from the staff here, as well as those who are ordering papers.  The collecting community is made up of a broad spectrum of interest and study, and I get to glean from the riches that move through the Rare and Early Newspapers archives.

I am thankful for the people who envisioned the United States of America — this great experiment.  I am thankful for those who kept their convictions through a long, wearying stretch of conflict, and I am thankful for families and communities who continued to manage the stuff of life through the political upheaval.

If you have some time over the upcoming holiday, our catalog is much more fascinating than any Black Friday special.  Whether you find the perfect gift for yourself or another, the time spent perusing the pages is a treat all by itself.

Cheers!

Announcing: Catalog #288 (for November, 2019) is now available…

November 4, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

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Catalog 288 (for November) is now available. This latest offering of authentic newspapers is comprised of more than 300 new items, a selection which includes: a complete printing of The Declaration of Independence, George Washington is elected President, a first report of the Great London Fire, a terrific & displayable Abe Lincoln centerfold, the full text of the Continental Association (in a Virginia newspaper), the Coronation of the King & Queen (in a London newspaper), and more.

 

The following links are designed to help you explore this latest edition of our catalog:

 

Don’t forget about this month’s DISCOUNTED ISSUES.

(The links above will redirect to the latest catalog in approx. 30 days, upon which time it will update to the most recent catalog.)

Snapshot 1692… Now you see it…

October 28, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Now you see it… Now you really see it. As one who cannot identify people’s faces if they are more than a few feet away, I really appreciate a good pair of glasses. It is hard to imagine a time when eye-glasses were a luxury, and even what was available was rather rudimentary. Thankfully, in the late 1600’s, an inventor developed a passion for optics, and made significant progress towards helping those with poor eyesight see well. The King and Queen of England took notice and he soon became their personal optician. Although quite rare, we came across an early advertisement for his services within an issue of The Athenian Mercury:

Announcing: Catalog #287 (for October, 2019) is now available…

October 1, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

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Catalog 287 (for October) is now available. This latest offering of authentic newspapers is comprised of nearly 300 new items, a selection which includes: the famous “Dewey Defeats Truman” newspaper, a rare Civil War camp newspaper, the “Corinth Chanticleer” from Mississippi, a Broadside “Extra” on the capture of Jeff Davis, a great Battle of Gettysburg newspaper, a Confederate broadsheet “Extra” from Georgia, and more.

 

The following links are designed to help you explore this latest edition of our catalog:

 

Don’t forget about this month’s DISCOUNTED ISSUES.

(The links above will redirect to the latest catalog in approx. 30 days, upon which time it will update to the most recent catalog.)

I’m New Here: Week Thirty-Two…

September 27, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

This week as I was pulling some Gentleman’s Magazines to fill online catalog gaps, I hovered over an issue prior to searching within the computer system.  It was dated July 1776, and I took a minute to let that soak in.  I am regularly awestruck at handling all these papers, but particularly anything from such an important, pivotal year and month in American history.  Actually, I suppose it was significant to world history as well.

This is not a museum, however, but a place of business and conscience compelled me to limit my sighing to less than a minute before turning to the keyboard and pulling up the listing for this title and date.  And, as I read the opening lines of the description, I felt again the great privilege I have to be here.

“It is rare to find newspapers or magazines with the magical date of 1776, let alone ‘July, 1776’.  Here is one.”

These paragraphs are such valuable tools for searching as well as learning.  While Timothy Hughes Rare and Early Newspapers can boast 44 years in existence as a business, the depth of knowledge of history and its significance that is applied to filtering through the millions of papers in order to present each one goes far beyond a mere business listing.  And the one that filled my screen only served to deepen my wonder at this treasure trove chronicling the earliest days of this country.

The first article contains 3 pages of text on events in America, including: “Proceedings of the American Colonists since the Passing the Boston Port Bill” with various reports, one stating that: “…the main army of the United Colonies has changed its situation; and that the head-quarters are now at New-York, where Gen. Washington has already taken up his residence…”.  A proclamation issued by Congress concerning a redress of the grievances of the colonies says in part: “Therefore, Resolved, that it be recommended to the respective Assemblies and Conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to…their affairs has been…established, to adopt such a government…”, signed in type: John Hancock. Perhaps the most significant report is one mentioning the convention at Williamsburgh containing an important resolve (see) passed by the delegates which reads in part: “…That the delegates appointed to represent this colony…be instructed to propose to that…body to declare the united colonies free and independent…and that they give the assent of this colony to such declaration …..

I remember in my first days here, wondering if I would be required to wear gloves when handling these issues.  My query was shrugged off, but I have been asked the same by friends and acquaintances when I talk about my job.  We are used to seeing important things enclosed and protected behind glass and velvet ropes.  But these papers were made to be read, and passed around so the news could spread.  The older ones are often in better condition than the ones from the past few decades.  Still, they are individually protected within folders, as much to keep the edges safe and protected as to shield from light and other environmental contaminants.  I like that the storage options  we use are the same as those we offer to our collecting community.  Even though the crew here is much more seasoned than I, there is an unspoken acknowledgement that this is really amazing stuff, and I am not the only one that gets a bit awestruck…

I’m New Here: Weeks Twenty & Twenty-One…

July 4, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s hard to put into words all I learned last week, other than conclude (again) I work in an amazing place. Distinct events blurred together as we completed the regular tasks of a pre-catalog release week, simultaneous with the receipt of eleven pallets of a new title.
As I know the least, I am the least helpful in this bulk intake process. Everyone else has done it before – making space where none seems apparent. So I stayed out of the way, fielding phone, email and web orders to the best of my ability.
This week, however, marks the Fourth of the July, and I took the opportunity to look at some surrounding details of 1776 through the real time lens of reported news.

The Sons of Liberty met under the Liberty Tree. It’s not an American fable; I read the notice calling for attendance and providing an alternate location in case of overflowing turnout. People staked fortune and life to sign the Declaration of Independence, and Philadelphia papers published their names alongside that document. Paul Revere was a working man who bought advertisements in The Massachusetts Centinel to draw more customers into his silver shop. Somehow, the risk of this bid for colonial freedom becomes more meaningful as I consider the sacrificial participation required from everyday people who had plenty to occupy them in their own private lives. Regular folks became significant because they stepped up when there was every reason to keep their heads down.
Today I am thinking about the farmers and shopkeepers, the printers and the writers who looked beyond immediate concerns to take a stand for the implications on centuries to come. Surely these are some for whom the words resounded, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary…”  I won’t pontificate aloud, but there are so many contrasts to the perspective I readily adopt within my plush and easy American life.

Fresh perspective on the human story feeds the impulse: the more I find out, the more I want to know.  But the disconcerting truth is that the more I search, the more versions I find.  The best course of action just might be to head back into the annals and read it for myself…

 

Announcing: Catalog #284 (for July, 2019) is now available…

July 2, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

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Catalog 284 (for July) is now available. This latest offering of authentic newspapers is comprised of nearly 300 new items, a selection which includes: a Pennsylvania Journal with the segmented snake cartoon, a Williamsburg (VA) newspaper on the Gunpowder Plot, Lincoln’s assassination (in a Washington, D.C. newspaper), the famous Honolulu Star Bulletin reporting the Pearl Harbor attack, the capture of Ethan Allen, an issue with the “Beardless” Lincoln print on the front page, and more.

 

The following links are designed to help you explore this latest edition of our catalog:

 

Don’t forget about this month’s DISCOUNTED ISSUES.

(The links above will redirect to the latest catalog in approx. 30 days, upon which time it will update to the most recent catalog.)

I’m New Here: Week Seventeen…

June 7, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite the obvious gender bias inherent in the title, I like “The Gentleman’s Magazine“, as I suspect many non-gentlemen of the time did as well. This week I pulled an issue from April of 1775 – mainly because I enjoy the tone of superiority that saturates those months before what we now know of as the Revolutionary War (or whichever various title you prefer). “Colonial upstarts” were causing commotion and consternation to the rest of the world, but mainly to the ruling class in London. The heading of the very front page of the one perched on my desk amidst the new catalog excitement is entitled, “Continuation in the House of Lords on the Address to his Majesty respecting the Situation of Affairs in America”. What follows is a labyrinthine balance between appeasing the vanity of the monarch, and an attempt to elucidate the different aspects of potential vulnerability to defeat. In particular, the French and Spanish ships continuing to trade with the colonists brought great consternation. “Does the noble Earl pretend to interpret this explanation [England would be “…at liberty to seize any of their ships trading with American subjects”] generally, so as to authorize our taking their vessels at sea? If he does not, what can such a vague deluding promise avail? If he does, then I will venture to assure his Lordship, that he is miserably deceived; and that the first attempt to prevent French or Spanish ships from navigating the American seas will furnish them with an opportunity of asserting their maritime freedom, of making reprisals, and of justifying their conduct to the other great states of Europe, who are known to be long jealous of what they are pleased to call our despotic claim to the sovereignty of the ocean.”
When I read this, I start to understand a little bit this American spirit, this classification under which our country has been perceived by the world, from the very earliest days. This mindset changed the world. And that is an immense, and not embarrassing, thought.
But, lest you think the GM’s are all politics, I would like to recommend any meteorology enthusiasts plug in the data compiled monthly and displayed on the inside cover page. The average prices of corn, wheat, rye, barley, oats and beans are delineated by county. Genealogists will enjoy the Births, Marriages, and Deaths alongside the list of Promotions and Bankrupts. There are book reviews and parish reports and a comprehensive section entitled “Historical Chronicle“, which gives an overview of multiple aspects of the state of the world.
Anyway, to delve into these accounts of the earliest days of this country is to see the tenacity that fueled an eventual nation – and perhaps nurture an admiration for what was once made, an inspiration for all that could be made again.

You can read more about Gentleman’s Magazines via previous posts at: Gentleman’s Magazines

Announcing: Catalog #283 (for June, 2019) is now available…

June 4, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

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Catalog 283 (for June) is now available. This latest offering of authentic newspapers is comprised of over 300 new items, a selection which includes: the New England Restraining Act (in the ‘Virginia Gazette’), the famous ‘Vicksburg Daily Citizen’ (of July 2/4, 1863), a rare broadside reporting Lincoln’s assassination, one of the best stock market crash issues (in the ‘New York Times’), a fascinating and famous UFO abduction incident in a ‘hometown’ paper, a very rare Salem witch trial newspaper, and more.

 

The following links are designed to help you explore this latest edition of our catalog:

 

Don’t forget about this month’s DISCOUNTED ISSUES.

(The links above will redirect to the latest catalog in approx. 30 days, upon which time it will update to the most recent catalog.)

I’m New Here: Week Sixteen…

May 31, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Here in “our neck of the woods” Spring frequently brings tornado warnings. Yesterday, radios, smartphones, and computer displays all sounded the alarm. One of the part-time people working on the labels for Catalog 283 asked what I would choose for my last meal before the tornado hit. I parried with “what would you take into your safe space from the annals?” And my contribution, quickly and easily, was “The American Museum” issues — as many as I could grab from the shelf.
I have one collector who looks for these and he contacts me by email with a list of five or six dates. Every time I search, thinking “there is no way we have any from that month.” Each time I locate one or two, and he happily buys them. During that brief interaction studying dates and verifying the appropriate appendices I have come to find this publication ridiculously beautiful. If I were trapped in a tornado shelter, 18th Century American Magazines would suffice for amusement and instruction. In a single issue there are lexicons for four different Native American languages, methods for preparing dye, a treatise on the Biblical perspective of capital punishment, and political news from around the world. Stock prices are listed alongside poetry. In fact, the complete title enthralls me: “The American Museum: or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, &c. Prose and Poetical”.
Subscriber names, by state, are listed alphabetically over the first ten pages. The issue I randomly pulled has a touching inscription: “Henry Wayman Woods presented by his dear mother August 6, 1832. Wisdom is the principle thing, Henry.” The content feature is Lexington and Concord, but buried within one of the random sections is an article about the first reported African-American doctor and details of the “Virginia Calculator”, a slave from New Orleans who was described as a savant by Dr. Benjamin Rush (one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence).
There is so much to learn, packed within these octavo-sized (8” x 5”) papers.  Knowledge was culled from every imaginable subject, in order to educate and enlighten.  A well-informed public, it seems, was deemed critical for the development of the young country.  In my opinion, that’s a lofty goal that would translate well to any civilization at any point in history.

Wisdom is, quite possibly, the principle thing.

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