Are Presidential proclamations for thanksgiving and prayer unconstitutional?

June 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

It’s amazing what one often finds buried in old newspapers…

June 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Flowers, leaves, photos, clumps of hair, historic trinkets… The list of what might be found buried within and among the inside pages of historic newspapers continues to foster our love for the collectible. The latest discovery? As we were scanning a September 22, 1880 issue of The Boston Investigator hoping to find a mention of Thomas Edison (which turned out to be successful), we noticed an article titled: “Strange Tribe Of Jews Discovered In The Caucasus”, which turned out to be quite interesting:

Death of Button Gwinnett: rare find in an American newspaper…

June 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The name “Button Gwinnett” is one most have never heard, yet his signature remains perhaps the most rare and valuable of all Declaration of Independence signers.

Why? He was a relatively obscure figure prior to the war, and he died less than a year after signing the Declaration. Those who like to assemble a complete set of signatures of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence need his signature, and only ten are known to exist in private hands.

The reason for his early death after the 4th of July is a duel. He had disagreements with a rival military commander, Lachlan McIntosh, concerning a military defeat in Florida. Gwinnett & McIntosh blamed each other for the defeat and McIntosh publicly called Gwinnett “a scoundred and lying rascal.” Gwinnett challenged McIntosh to a duel which was fought on May 16, 1777. They exchanged pistol shots at 12 paces, both wounded, with Gwinnett dying of his wounds  3 days later.

The July 24, 1777 issue of the “Continental Journal” newspaper from Boston provides a very rare report of Gwinnett’s death by duel. This is the first we have encountered in an American newspaper.

Great to find an obscure report about an equally obscure but notable name from the Revolutionary War era.

Glorious or sad/bad timing? The death of William Wilberforce… Slavery abolished…

May 25, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The Gentleman’s Magazine of September, 1773 has a 3+ page obituary of the famed British abolitionist, William Wilberforce. If you are not familiar with this early 18th century member of the British Parliament, you may want to settle in with family and friends and watch the acclaimed movie, Amazing Grace. However, as a primer, feel free to read the complete obituary at: William Wilberforce Death Report. Ironically, you’ll need to scroll past much on the India slave trade in order to view the obituary.

Speaking of irony… The date of his death is sandwiched between the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833’s passage in the House of Commons on July 26, 1833 and its Royal Assent a month later (on August 28th). Whereas the entire obituary can be read through the link above, as of the date of this post, it is also available as an eBay auction at: Wilberforce’s Obit (on eBay).

A political cartoon from 1776 themed on the Revolutionary War…

February 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Political cartoons are ever-present in our world today. It would be difficult to find a daily or weekly publication today without at least one. And they have been around for a long time–perhaps longer than you might think.

There was the occasional political cartoon in 18th century magazines, only a few of which are American-themed, and fewer still can be found as most have been removed years ago. Although we have had a few in years past, we recently purchased not only a very nice one, but one from a title difficult to find in today’s world of collecting.

The November, 1776 issue of “The London Magazine: Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer”, not to be confused with the more common “Gentleman’s Magazine”. A full page plate in the issue has a very political cartoon themed on the Revolutionary War, captioned: “News From America, or the Patriots in the Dumps.” and shows Lord North standing on a platform holding a letter announcing successful campaigns by the British troops in America. A distraught woman, ‘America’, holding a liberty cap, sits at the base of the platform. Others present react to the news. There are several websites concerning this political cartoon, one of which can be seen here.

An internet idea, far ahead of its time?

February 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A fascinating article in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat” of September 15, 1878 seems to include a man’s idea which is far ahead of his time. Only problem is he didn’t have access to the technological developments the next 125 years would provide.

The column heads announce: “The Newsograph” “A Most Remarkable Application of Edison’s Last Patent” “The Device of a Park Philosopher for Bringing the Word’s News To Every Man’s Home”. The article details an idea of bringing “verbal” news into every person’s home by using Edison’s phonograph patent, thereby eliminating the need for a physical newspaper (see below). A curious concept in light of today’s internet technology. Go to the link above for the full article.

Interesting article is critical of those who take issue with the killing of Jesse James…

January 30, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

It is not surprising that a Missouri newspaper (April 13, 1882) would care more about the death of Jesse James than newspapers from other states. He was killed in St. Joseph. And this being his home state, there were grumblings by many who were critical of how he was killed.

This editor pulls no punches in acknowledging the state should be glad to get rid of Jesse James, and the ‘bleeding hearts’ who bemoan his death are not accepting the reality of his terror-ridden career.

Two articles have very interesting content, one including: “…True, a pistol was not placed in his hands and he told to ‘defend himself’…” and: “…Missourians who think more of Missouri and its prosperity than they do of outlaws, thieves, murderers, need not be disturbed by the silly twaddle of certain sentimental fools in other states over the killing of Jesse James…” with more (see below).
The other article has a similar theme, including: “…The bank official of Missouri, who have been the favored prey of the dead bandit for 15 years and whose cashiers have been gagged & shot down like dogs, will not easily forget that portion of our state press which has been so ready to throw a glamour of heroism over a murderous & thieving outlaw and so quick to censure our executive for the means used in his extermination…” (see below).

This is why collectors love broadsides…

January 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

When notable news breaks in today’s world, regular television and radio schedules are canceled in favor of newscasters bringing the world the latest on the event as it happens. During the Civil War, a newspaper would put out a “broadside” edition, a quickly-produced piece on a single sheet and printed on the front side only, with text limited to the event being covered. Waiting for the next day’s edition was not an option for the most competitive of newspapers.

A recent addition to our inventory is one of the best Civil War broadsides we have seen. Using type dramatically larger than found in any regular edition the broadside screams: “LATEST! The Final Blow. RICHMOND TAKEN.” The brief text provides a same-day report of the capture of the Confederate capital, with a date stamp of 11:20 noting: “…General Grant states Petersburgh has been evacuated and believe Richmond also.” And then another date stamp just ten minutes later reports: “A dispatch from E. M. Stanton announces the capture of RICHMOND by our troops under Gen. Weitzel, they having taken it about 8:15 this morning.”

The immediacy of the report along with the dramatic, graphic presentation are what excite collectors. Add to this the significance of the fall of the rebel capital and you have a terrific newspaper just perfect for display.

Discretion was the better part of valor…

January 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Wounds from the Civil War were still very fresh in the hearts & minds of the Southerners in the months after the Civil War, and perhaps sensitivities were no more acute than among the residents of Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy up to the closing days of the war.

blog-11-14-2016-richmond-timesWith this in mind, a new newspaper was begun in the city of Richmond during the closing day of April, 1865, the same month the capital fell to the Yankees. The newspaper was announced in the April 20 issue of the “Richmond Whig”, the announcement headed: “A New Morning Paper – The Richmond Times” and the text including: “…The paper will be under the exclusive editorial charge & control of Mr. H. Rives Pollard, late of the Richmond Examiner, and the first number will appear on Friday…will be devoted to the honor and interest of Virginia…For the present at least–until Virginia shall have emerged from the existing chaos and confusion–the Times will studiously refrain from all editorial comment & will be devoted exclusively to the news of the day. It must be obvious to every reflecting mind that the present is no time for editorial comment or stricture, and that it would only serve to fan the flame of excitement…”.

It is nice to read that there was compassion among the victorious Yankees as the occupied Richmond. There were certainly options that could only have hurt the cause of reunion, but the publisher wisely opted to consider discretion as the better part of valor.

Must have been a slow news day…

January 12, 2017 by · 2 Comments 

Perhaps a precursor to what would now be a typical Facebook post…

The June 19, 1804 issue of “The Balance & Columbian Repository newspaper from Hudson, New York, has a brief and seemingly purposeless news report reading in its entirety: “Monticello–Yesterday morning the President arose precisely fifty-nine minutes past four, and put on a clean shirt and breeches.” Had this appeared on the President’s Facebook page today, what might be some of the comments from his followers?

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