John Hancock appointed… The Traveler…

June 4, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

I traveled today to Boston, Massachusetts, by the way of the The Boston Chronicle dated June 6, 1768 where I found an announcement had been made “His Excellency the Governor have appointed John Hancock, Esq; to be first Major of the independent company of Cadets, and William Coffin, jun. Esq; to be second Major of the said company.”

~The Traveler

The magic of old newspapers, in 1844…

May 24, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

An 1844 issue of the “Adams Sentinel” (Oct. 14th) from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, has an interesting front page item concerning the fascination of reading old newspapers, noting in part: “…few preserve them…brings up the very age, with all its bustle…marks its genius & its spirit more than the most labored description of the historical…” with more (see). An interesting perspective on the value of collecting old newspapers, written 174 years ago.

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This being said, there are times when, as we go through the process of searching for historical content, what surprises us most is what we are unable to find – or the minimal coverage which is present.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.

 

 

19th century Harper’s Weekly reviewed…

December 11, 2017 by · 2 Comments 

Over the years we have made several mentions of Harper’s Weekly, one of the most beloved illustrated newspapers of the 19th century. This title is also one of the most sought-after collectibles through our website,

RareNewspapers.com. Although I’m sure many others exist, I was pleasantly surprised to find a contemporary review of this publication on the front page of the Springfield Republican dated February 13, 1867. Even more pleasing was my discovery that, unlike It’s a Wonderful Life, the works of Vincent Van Gogh, and Thoreau’s Walden, along with a host of other now-popular people, songs, products, books, etc., which initially  found it difficult to gain traction, at least in one journalist’s opinion was seen as an unrivaled, gem of a publication. Their review stated, in part:

 

“The Harpers offer their Weekly in bound volumes for the year 1866 for $7. As a record and illustration of the times, it has no rival; its pages are history, literature and politics, all of the safest and soundest sort. Good as are the Harper’s pictures for America, valuable as its record of passing events, and interesting as are generally its sketches and stories…” (view entire article).

The link RareNewspapers.com will take you to our website where nearly every Harper’s Weekly has been photographed and described for your reading and viewing pleasure. Please enjoy.

Headlines of History… The St. Louis Mercantile Library…

November 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are in the St. Louis area in the near future, you may want to stop by the St. Louis Mercantile Library to view their new exhibit: “Headlines of History: Historic Newspapers of St. Louis and the World Through the Centuries at the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association.” A few related links are as follows:

Library An exhibit on the history of newspapers is now on display at the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Coverage via Facebook

Posted Interview Regarding the Exhibit

Political bias no stranger to today’s newspapers…

October 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

It seems the polarizing of day’s media is greater than ever, but it is certainly nothing new under the sun. Practically since the creation of the first newspaper political opinion was a focus the publisher, supporting or opposing the efforts of those in power. And as popular as we view Abraham Lincoln today (he consistently ranks among the top three in scholarly polls) he was not liked by all during his time in office.

The World” newspaper from New York City was the leading democratic organ at the time, while Lincoln was a Republican. In their issue of March 6, 1865 which reported his inauguration & inaugural address the editorial page contained at least two biting commentaries.  One includes in part: “It is with a blush of shame and wounded price, as American citizens, that we lay before our readers to-day the inaugural address of President Lincoln…But we cannot hide the dishonor done to the country we love by withholding these documents from publication…The pity of it…that the life of this Chief Magistrate should be made precious to us by the thought that he at least excludes from the most august station in the land the person who defiled our chief council chamber on Saturday with the spewings of a drunken boor…”.

The other can be seen in the photos.

“Texas Made A Nation” was the result of Operation Longhorn…

August 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Occasionally an “odd-ball” newspaper comes into our inventory, and our “Lampasas Dispatch” is certainly one. With a dateline of “Juvember 33, 1969” (not a typo on our part) and a banner headline announcing: “TEXAS MADE A NATION” we knew this wasn’t a legitimate newspaper. The masthead also includes: “For Maneuver Purposes Only—This Publication Created for Operation Long Horn–Not Intended For General Distribution.” So with a bit of searching on the web we soon learned of the story behind this newspaper.

See this website for much more on “Operation Longhorn“. The site begins: “In the spring of 1952, as Cold War tensions heightened, Lampasas Countians’ worst fears seemingly materialized, as “enemy troops” stormed the area, “captured” Lampasas and declared martial law. The U.S. military simulation, dubbed “Operation Longhorn,” was just a test…One of the largest peacetime military exercises ever implemented in the United States, Operation Longhorn took place in March and April 1952, and cost an estimated $3.3 million“.

This is just a single sheet with the reverse being page 8 of the “Lampasas Dispatch” April 3, 1952, coinciding with the date of Operation Longhorn. A fascinating fictitious newspaper from a long-forgotten event in American history.

They put it in print… aerial garage?

August 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Articles of the past century can bring up interesting changes in what words were used for various items, places, or events. An article on the Wright brothers from 1908 (The Omaha Daily Bee, Sept. 9, 1908) mentioned a curious term for what we commonly call a “hangar”, where airplanes are stored. The article reads in part: “…and on another trip flew over the ‘aerial garage’ where the aeroplane is housed…”. The quotation marks for “aerial garage” were the writer’s addition, as if the person did not know what else to call it, or perhaps the term “hangar” had yet to be commonly used. But “aerial garage would seem to be a more logical term! Wonder why it never caught on?

The photo below shows the full text of the article.

Fake Lincoln Proclamation… An attempt to profit in the gold market…

July 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The Boston Daily Courier” of May 19, 1864, contains a fascinating sidebar in American history, the printing of a “fake” Lincoln Proclamation which appeared in two New York newspapers but was ultimately determined to be bogus. The “proclamation” is prefaced with a cautioning statement: “The document which made its appearance yesterday, purporting to be a proclamation of President Lincoln, is copied for the information of our readers:”, then the full text (see below).
This was a scheme by Joseph Howard, a newspaper journalist and a bit of a prankster throughout his career. Howard and an acquaintance had hoped to make a profit on declining gold prices if news from the front was bad. They acquired the stationery and other items necessary to make it look as if a story had come in on the wires to the headquarters of the Associated Press of New York, the clearing house for official wire stories coming from Washington. They forged the Proclamation from the president, which called for the drafting of an additional 400,000 soldiers, obvious evidence the war wasn’t going well. It was delivered to the offices of various New Your newspapers. Only two actually published the story but it caused such that Howard was arrested two days after the story appeared and placed in Prison. He was released on Lincoln’s personal order on August 24, 1864.

Are Presidential proclamations for thanksgiving and prayer unconstitutional?

June 26, 2017 by · 2 Comments 

Over the years we have written multiple posts featuring noteworthy Presidential proclamations for days of thanksgiving, humiliation, and prayer, and have listed quite a few on the Rare & Early Newspapers website. Not too long ago we came across an issue of The Boston Investigator for November 10, 1880 which contained an article focused on a view that such proclamations are/were unconstitutional. So, although we passionately disagree with this opinion, in an effort to be fair and balanced, we present the article below. Feel free to respond with your thoughts.

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