My collecting story… B. C. in Trion, Georgia..

October 5, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Below we continue our series in which we post the “stories” graciously submitted by our collecting friends during the pandemic of 2020.

I am the published author of over a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction. A few years ago, my publisher suggested that I write a book about Kathryn Kelly, the wife of “Machine Gun” Kelly and also the “brains” behind the crimes they committed over several years. What little I could find about Kathryn was interesting, but since no other books had ever been written about her, research was difficult. I turned to the FBI Vault of historical documents and personally interviewed people who lived during the Great Depression and the “Gangsta” Era. And then I came across “Timothy Hughes: Rare & Early Newspapers.” It was like finding a gold mine. I was able to access the newspapers from that time period that followed the crimes and eventual arrest of Kathryn Kelly and Machine Gun Kelly. With this information, along with the other research I had gathered, I wrote the book, Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly. It was recently optioned for a major film. The newspaper I have saved for my collection is “The Bethlehem Globe-Times” – Tuesday, September 26, 1933. On the front page is the headline: “Machine Gun” George Kelly Is Captured. The sub-headline reads: Desperado Surrenders Without Resistance – Wife Is Also Taken Into Custody.

As additional “stories” are posted they will be available at: MY COLLECTING STORY. We did this many years ago as well – and their posts are also included.

 

The Woman’s Journal & Literary Notices… I’m Still Learning…

September 11, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

The Woman’s Journal (1872 and more), out of Boston, is the publication I am happiest to pull for any reason.  It is well-organized, with clear headings  and a clean layout.  If I have research to do, I save it for last as I am frequently inclined to ramble through the columns, and lose track of time.  With that said, it’s a splendid thing to be assigned an opportunity to focus on this paper.  Each instance of opening it brings me to a new regular feature, and this one brought me to the Literary Notices where I discovered a special treat.

In the first place, the professional tone and straightforward language convey an instant sense of intelligent discussion.  This is serious scholarship being presented.  The selections that follow only serve to deepen that impression, as listed here:

The Sphinx’s Children and Other People’sReason and Revelation Hand in HandA Study of DanteA Tale of a Lonely ParishTokologyA Book for Every WomanEvolution of To-Day

Each title precedes a 200-word thoughtful review, with summary and critique included.  The style is witty and educated, and I was wondering which of these might still be available –as they were so very interesting– when I spotted a last review occupying five times as much space as any of the others.  To my delight, it was headed as follows:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:  With Extracts from His Journals and Correspondence.  Edited by Samuel Longfellow

It’s a great thing to be able to read someone else’s evaluation of a work with which you are yourself familiar, most particularly if their review was written 134 years ago.  There is much to recognize and much to learn in the details of this piece.  Interestingly, I looked up the author’s name and found it to be the only one of the editorial and contributor staff to be listed by initials, rather than first name.  Further research showed that H.B. Blackwell was really “Henry Brown Blackwell” and the only male member of the staff.  The entire review closes with the “last words he [Wordsworth] ever wrote were these:

O Bells of San Blas, in vain,

Ye call back the past again;

The past is deaf to your prayer;

Out of the shadows of night

The world rolls into the light;

It is daybreak everywhere.

The very last interesting bit in this excursion of mine is an item in the adjacent Gossip and Gleanings column which reads, “Rev. Samuel Longfellow has the gratification knowing that the 4,000 copies of his brother’s life composing the first edition, are all sold.”

Still Learning… Scientific American & Lupines…

September 4, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

We continue the “Still Learning” series by our former office manager, Stephanie, who relocated to another sate:

Lovers of children’s literature know the book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, the sweet tale of a little woman who brought the bloom of lupine to the coast of Maine.  It was an act that flowed from a desire to be content in her circumstances, and even make a masterpiece of her life.  Cooney’s artwork is memorable, as is the lesson she -illustrates,  so the word “lupine” caught my eye as I skimmed through a The Scientific American issue of the late 1800’s.

I have been immediately aware of the inventions featured in this publication, without taking in the additional material in these journals.  Directly following an expected “The Properties of Iron and its Resistance to Projectiles at High Velocities” came the surprising, “Character, Cultivation and Use of the Lupine.”  The full page report begins, “We continue this week our valuable extracts from the agricultural office of the Patent Office Report for 1861 by publishing in full the article on the Lupine, by Louis Schade, of Washington, D.C. –“, exciting my interest with the promise of other content in preceding issues.

This one is so well-written that I, science and math challenged as I am, followed the explanation and proposal.  It seems Mr. Schade studied the extensive use of these plants in European countries, particularly Germany and Prussia, where they served the dual purpose of providing cattle fodder as well as fertilizing the ground.  It seems the lupine creates more energy than usual in its absorption of soil minerals, and it “dissolves the the chemical constituents of minerals by the evaporation of its root, which is impossible for other plants,” which in turn enriches the soil.  Within two years the physical change can even be seen in the changed color of the land.

The point of this piece is a plea that farmers adopt this crop as an economic solution to the very real challenge of favorable soil.  Species of lupine are compared and rated/recommended, and sowing methods and seasons are meticulously described.  I appreciate a bit more how vital this publication was to the successful establishment of the strong agricultural system we have today.  And I am looking forward to a little more digging through the botanical titles, particularly those that stretch my gardening interests into the realm of the science of growing food.

Being firmly convinced that the lupine, if introduced by our farmers into this country, will be a Godsend to all those who have either light, sandy or exhausted soil, I consider it a matter of the highest importance that some trials with the same should be made, particularly on the sand lands of New Jersey, and the worn-out lands in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky and other States.

 

 

Still Learning…Womankind & Celibacy v. Matrimony

August 24, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

As Womankind is less serious, less political, than its contemporary publications it seems the perfect thing to pick up on a sunny morning when the deepest thoughts I want to have concern the temperature of my morning cup of coffee.  In this frame of mind I turned pages until the following words caught my eye:

Nature has planted deep in the constitution of either sex an impulse toward one another.  Around this impulse, which nature simply bestows as part of her economy of self preservation, we have thrown a great deal of romantic drapery and pretty sentiment; have buried it in thickness of roses and lilies; have drowned its voice in songs and nightingales and tinkle of lutes and mandolins; have called upon the stars to witness to its loftiness…in fact, we have deified ourselves and our natural desires into some sort of impossible creation quite unfit for this mundane sphere.

Well, this unexpected phrasing led me to further examine the article, which spills into most of a fourth column on page 6 of the January 1893 issue.  The heading was even more startling, “Mrs. Frank Leslie Says Sensible Marriages Lead to Atrophy, Romantic Marriages to Murder and Suicide, Single Blessedness to Melancholy Madness.”

Collectors of newspapers will know the name “Frank Leslie“, many better than I do. As it turns out, this was indeed authored by the second wife of Frank Leslie, subsequent heir to his publishing enterprises.  She was a noted feminist and suffragist, editor and author.  According to Wikipedia, Miriam Squier received a business with $300,000 debt upon Leslie’s death, and turned it into a profitable enterprise.

Based on further commentary within the article that led me to this little discovery, I cannot imagine that Frank and Miriam knew great joy with one another.  But whatever the level of bliss, the impact that they made on the world of publishing cannot be denied.  In case you never have the opportunity to peruse this diatribe yourself, the following conclusion summarizes the whole:

Which then is better–or to put it a little more cynically, which is the lesser evil–the Scylla of matrimony or the Charybdis of single loneliness?  And if one decides for matrimony, which is the blacker gulf–that of a marriage de convenance, which we have styled a sensible marriage, or that of a marriage of romance and delusion, sure to end in bitter disillusion? I do not pretend to answer.  Like the sphinx, I only ask and wait for a reply.

 

The Village Voice & the Culture…

August 21, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

An informed, intentional approach to diet is good for me.  Left to pursue my preferences mindlessly, I might subsist on kettle cooked potato chips, with an occasional pickle or a chocolate chip cookie.  Each of those has its worthy place within a more comprehensive whole, as does the literature one reads. But variety is helpful — even to more thoughtfully discern likes and dislikes.

I turned from the early 1800’s to one of the most modern titles in our annals, The Village Voice.  While the writing style is decidedly different, I was surprised to find enough similarities that I could discern the fingerprints of its antecedents in a random sampling of this publication from the 1980’s.  Comparably, advertisements seem to take up close to one-fourth of the print space, although the subject matter differs widely.  This Greenwich Village title has the expected  focus on performing arts.  Some of the movie names were familiar to me, as were a few of the bands who advertised upcoming events.  It seems the Twilight Zone movie was not considered by Voice reviewers to be a cinematic success, despite the critical acclamation of its television forerunner.  Cinema listings included Superman III, Return of the Jedi and The Survivors.

Distinctly anti-establishment in tone, the editorials tackle a range of hot topics, including the Catholic Church, West Bank occupation and the negative reaction to the musical movement of “serialism”.  The writing is organized and thoughtful, exhibiting skill and professionalism.  Most surprising to me is the piece by an investigative journalist whose three page report questions the qualifications of Reagan appointee William Clark.

Somehow, I hadn’t anticipated an intellectual discussion from The Village Voice, but having spent the time digging through, I am pleased to be proven wrong.

Gentleman’s Magazine & Insanity…

August 10, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Living in a time of health concerns brought on by a previously unknown viral threat brings me a heightened awareness of the historical mysteries recorded in these ledgers from the past.  Advertisements give a clue to the extensive maladies that troubled mankind hundreds of years ago, many of which remain challenges even today.  Liver ailments, gout, yellowed eyes, rashes, sleeplessness, and obesity are just a few things for which patented tonics and trusted treatments abound.  Based on a sampling of papers such as Leslie’s Illustrated, Harper’s Weekly and any of the Wild West titles in the vast Rare & Early Newspapers collection, there is no doubt left that disease is a plague of the human condition.

Nothing, however, seems to baffle and burden society as a whole, and physicians in particular, as diseases of the mind.  And The Gentleman’s Magazine that I pulled out from October of 1808 describes the tension brought about by the ignorance in a field so relevant to our existence.

In particular, the writer addresses Mr. Urban on the unfairness of the societal and ecclesiastical condemnation of suicide, without considering the mitigating circumstances of mental illness.

In consequence of an unusual conflux of suicidal cases occurring nearly together a few months ago, the feelings of Humanity appeared to be much outraged; many calumnious and violent opinions, mingled with false censure, were inserted in our daily prints; the conduct of Juries was the subject of much unqualified condemnation; and al almost entire ignorance of the true state of the awful cases brought under their cognizance, laid the foundation of much unmerited reproach.

His pointed statement halfway through the piece provides an explanation for suicide with the following question and answer: “Why does it appear that Suicide is more general than formerly?  The answer is at hand: Insanity is an increasing disease.  A few of the bulky catalogue of human ailments have evidently decreased; unfortunately, this is not of the number.”

There’s so much more in this article that speaks to the same subject today.  While I don’t know concerning the correlation between the two, I do applaud the perspective towards those who suffer in this way.  It was a lofty goal then and is, in my humble opinion, still.

It is an absolutely demonstrable fact, that in nine cases out of twelve of self-destruction which our daily papers record, the previous situation of the subject is known, and the fatal crisis might be prevented were this knowledge acted upon with firmness, promptitude, and that just method which honour, humanity, and justice demand.

My Collecting Story… G. F. from Lexington, VA…

July 31, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

The following is the next installment of our series in which we post the “stories” graciously submitted by our collecting friends during the pandemic of 2020.

Received your email today and thought what a great idea. . . so here goes an answer to “Which issue within your collection do you value the most and why?” I love US history and as soon as I earned a permanent salary, I started visiting historical sites and eventually turned to collecting items of interest, particularly US Civil War. I collected many of my Harper’s from numerous civil war shows; my favorite is a Richmond Examiner, 23 June 1864 (long before I knew about your website); it talked of Sherman’s campaign and how it would end like Napoleon’s in Russia! Great reading. Years went by and I am a docent at the Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington, VA (come by when this contagion is past and we’re open again). I prepared a presentation on Jackson in the Mexican War; I came across your site and ordered a “National Intelligencer,” 16 Nov 1847 and “The Union,” also dated 1847. Future Civil War luminaries their exploits abound. Finally, and not about the Civil War, my wife loves to explore Scottish roots and your site had several papers regarding the Scottish rebellion of 1746, referencing the Battle of Culloden – yep, I bought it as a Christmas gift for her. Your site piques my curiosity and I’ll remain a customer!

As additional “stories” are posted they will be available at: MY COLLECTING STORY. We did this many years ago as well – and their posts are also included.

The Woman’s Tribune & Frederick Douglass…

July 27, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Many people who have faced difficult challenges in their personal lives become, in turn, sensitive to the struggles of others.  It might be a similar difficulty, but it isn’t always.  In the history of discrimination, a less-than-equal status has been designated to individuals or groups for reasons of socioeconomic status, color of skin, or gender.  Specific publications sprang up to give a voice to the unrepresented, and, at the very least, the power of the pen documented the demand to be heard.  Within the newspapers of early America are the abolitionist papers and the working men’s papers and the women’s papers.  The writers and editors called for equal status under the law, the right to own property (starting with the freedom of an individual over his or her own life) and the right to vote.

It’s this last one that has me looking intently at the front page of The Woman’s Tribune from March 2, 1895.  In the first place, I noticed that the paper is much better quality than, say, the New York Times from this era.  It seems the publishing board of this newspaper did not make the downgrade from rag paper.  But mostly I noticed that the masthead “EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW” is followed by the column heading “Frederick Douglass“.  There is a poem written by Mary Lowe Dicks in honor of the great abolitionist, followed by a tribute/obituary that fills two columns delineating his impact for the cause of freedom.  The ending portion is particularly poignant:

In him the hopes of his race were realized; in him humanity was dignified.  The world is poorer because he is gone; humanity is richer because he came.  The legacy of his life and service attests the truth that God keepeth watch above His own, that He shall turn and overturn until injustice dies and the right eternally triumphs.

I like this honoring of another who had a different set of obstacles to overcome, but was admired for the battle he fought and the way he waged it.  I picture the huddled masses of abolitionists, suffragists, laborers — not pitted against one another, but rooting for the common goal of “liberty and justice for all.”

My collecting story… L.H. in Williamsport, PA…

July 23, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Below we continue our series in which we post the “stories” graciously submitted by our collecting friends during the pandemic of 2020.

My name is Laura, and I probably have come to this collectable with a rather unique perspective.  In 2002, my husband and I moved our 6 children to the Williamsport area.  Leaving extended family and friends behind, we uprooted and headed north for Guy to begin a new career as president of Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers.  As you can imagine, it took some time to settle a family of eight into a new life and homeschooling, but after a bit I began to frequent the archives to see what all his excitement was about.  Having a natural love of history, was soon smitten with all I saw … amazed to hold a paper from Ben Franklin in my hands or see a first report from a Civil War battle.  I loved hearing nightly stories of the new discoveries from that day and new searches planned for the next.  What I once saw as a mere intriguing career move for Guy and an unsettling family move (to unfamiliar surroundings) for me soon became so much more! Over the years each of our children have worked at the “History’s Newsstand” and have developed a deep appreciation of history and all it’s lessons.

 

Jump ahead eighteen years…

 

All our children have now graduated high school and so my homeschool days are done.  I began to look for new things to fill my time and fortunately there was an opening at Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers. Perfect timing !!!!!  I have now been working here for just over a year and although my enthusiasm for the more dramatic papers has not waned, I have developed a deep appreciation for the subtle beauty many of our other papers display.  This last week I prepared to ship the papers in the picture and was astonished at the attention to detail found in these covers.  The charming fonts that were drawn to reflect the color and style of each image was beyond creative and hearkened back to what would seem to be a gentler time.  Today at least, I truly appreciate both the lessons from history I find daily in our papers and the beauty and emotions elicited by pictures in some that say more than a thousand words.  Hopefully, you too will find something lovely in each paper you own to balance the more serious lessons of history.

As additional “stories” are posted they will be available at: MY COLLECTING STORY. We did this many years ago as well – and their posts are also included.

My collecting story… J. W. in Stow, MA…

July 20, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Below we continue our series in which we post the “stories” graciously submitted by our collecting friends during the pandemic of 2020.

Why do I collect rare/historic newspapers? How did I get started?

In 2004, shortly after the Boston Red Sox won World Series, I received a January 7, 1920 copy of the New York Times as a gift from my wife. After not seeing any significant headlines in the paper, my wife said, “Check out the sports page”. There on page 22 was the trade of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, the legendary “Curse of the Bambino”. This inspired my interest to assemble a collection that epitomizes what it meant to be a true Red Sox fan including the 1918 World Series victory (Christian Science Monitor dated September 12, 1918), the aforementioned sale the legendary slugger to the Yankees, the subsequent 86 years of agony including the ’46, ’67, ’75, and ’86 World Series defeats, and finally the breaking of “the curse” by beating the Yankees and Cardinals to win the World Series that I had just secured in my October 2004 copies of the Boston Globe.

During my efforts to find these papers at Rarenewspapers.com and on eBay, I found a 1791 copy of the Middlesex Gazette, Middletown, CT announcing that Vermont has become the 14th state of the union and the FIRST to enter under the terms of the new federal Constitution. My wife and I were married in Vermont (where her parents lived for 35 years and where her ancestry has been traced to one of Ethan Allen’s brothers and the “Green Mountain Boys”) so it was of some personal interest as well. For only $30, I thought this paper was amazing and my wife suggested that I try to collect papers announcing statehood for each of our 50 states. With the prospect of searching for another 49 papers seeming a bit overzealous, I decided instead to focus on finding papers announcing statehood of the original 13 colonies.

It took a couple of years to secure all these statehood ratification newspapers and in the process, I found a paper with Maine becoming a state in 1820. Although this was beyond the scope of my original search, I remembered that Maine’s statehood was a part of the Missouri Compromise. So certainly, I had to search for a Missouri statehood paper! This was what is equivalent to today’s Google searches are on so many levels … one piece of history leads to another to another to another! And with this, my affinity for newspaper collecting had begun.

At the same time, by reading books such as David McCullough’s “1776 “and “John Adams”, “The Founding Brothers” by Joseph Ellis, and James Madison’s notes on the Constitutional Convention, my interest in U.S. history was further awakened and my interest began to shift to 18th and 19th century papers. These papers provide primary source documentation described in rich and colorful language that is not experienced in academic settings. As my appreciation of the hobby grew, I began to assemble groups of papers that are linked together by a particular event or series of events that “tell the story” in real time by those who were living at the time. It is with this mindset and approach that I have continued to be an avid collector to this day.

As additional “stories” are posted they will be available at: MY COLLECTING STORY. We did this many years ago as well – and their posts are also included.

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