I’m New Here: Week Thirty-Three…

October 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

This week, while pulling issues that contain Emily Dickinson death notices, I read about the first public appearance of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and also the institution of the Income Tax.  As this was in 1886, I was surprised at the latter.  Actually, I was surprised to see so many famous names and events in just a ten day span within that May.  Oscar Wilde was hosting parties, Chicago was caught up in the Haymarket affair, and Coca-Cola was invented by a pharmacist.  The rabbit trail I chose to follow (after investigating this whole Federal Income Tax thing that has historically been attributed to Woodrow Wilson’s presidency almost thirty years later) began with the following words to the Editor of the New York Times:  “Mr. Putnam’s remarks on the impropriety of republishing [Washington] Irving’s works in their unrevised form, have but one fault; they are not strong enough.”

It is Autumn with a capital “A” in the northeast United States where, flanked by hilly vistas of multi-hued splendor, every street corner proclaims this the month of Hallowe’en.  Washington Irving, author of the famous ghost story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, could easily have been one of the serialized authors featured in the 1869 “Saturday Night” issues I have been pulling for a Philadelphia area collector.  And October is definitely the time of year in which strange, extraordinary and macabre stories would have provided thrilling weekend entertainment to a 19th century culture blessedly devoid of electronic clamor.

I didn’t know about Irving’s first published work, or the misinformation campaign to hype interest prior to the release of A History of New York.  I read about his “Knickerbocker” alter ego whose fictitious disappearance sparked a national following.  This moniker influenced sports teams, architectural structures, social groups, and even a toy company.  To this day, a resident of Manhattan is a Knickerbocker — nicknamed after a man who never was.

So, I am thankful for the censure that drew my attention away from the tax tables and the following words of “THE NEW INTERNAL REVENUE LAW. Topics of Interest to Everybody”:

Among these the Tax and Tariff laws are prominent, possessing an interest for every one, inasmuch as they most sensibly affect the cost of living, enhancing the prices of everything we eat, drink, or wear, adding to the value of articles of both necessity and luxury.  The Tax law especially appeals directly to our pockets; and we find that a share of our profits from manufacturing any article, as well as a proportion of the income which we annually receive, is due to the Government.

I would much rather consider impropriety of a literary kind.

 

 

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 (gasp!)

September 13, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Even eight months into my first year here, I still have important job skills to acquire. This week Guy introduced me to The Weekly Register, also known as the Niles’ Weekly Register. He actually didn’t provide much of an introduction as there was new inventory to pick up, but he mentioned the title and left me to find my way to the back wall of the annex.

Before I started the metaphorical digging in, I tried to get my bearings first by looking into the background of this publication that stretched from 1811 until 1848. Our own item description mentions “significant coverage of the War of 1812”, so I extracted an issue from the title year, settling on December 5, 1812. Just below the town and date, a centered, italicized quote from Virgil’s “The Aeneid” assured me I would appreciate this new acquaintance.
Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit, “Maybe someday you will rejoice to recall even this.” I wonder if it was intended to bolster the staff or the new country. At any rate, the printing address on the following line is a cheery thing. “Printed and published by H. Niles, South-st. next door to the Merchants’ Coffee House”.
The issue I borrowed from the racks covers the legislatures of New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina, where (if the reports are accurate) the members were busily balancing affairs of their individual states with decisions concerning the authority of the president to call out a state’s militia. I was struck by the measured, pragmatic way one William Plumer attempted to persuade the governing body of New Hampshire.  My pile of recommended reading for current politicians is growing taller every day.
A list of the “excellent toasts drank at New York, in commemoration of the evacuation of that city by the British” lauds the particular prowess of American sloops of war and the late Captain Jones, resting “on the bosom of the Atlantic.”
There is a four page section devoted to “Events of the War” packed with locations of ships, letters from various regiments, descriptions of force strength, and even a transcription of a Brigadier-General’s stirring call to arms.

“Rewards and honors await the brave. Infamy and contempt are reserved for cowards.

Companions in arms! — You came to vanquish a valiant foe. I know the choice you will make. Come on, my heroes!”

I can’t help but think that if we continued to work at bringing forth great words we might encourage heroic ideals in a culture so untethered to traditions of excellence in speech and conduct. Then again, I am only seeing the parts of 1812 that made it into print.

Anyway, if you don’t know The Weekly Register, I hope you too have opportunity to become acquainted.  It has certainly been my pleasure.

I’m New Here: Week Twenty-Seven…

August 23, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Vacation is a good thing – as is coming back after a small change of scenery. I was up in Maine on a pond that is larger than any lake in my home state. And, while there, I was introduced to some important, prestigious folks who are third generation cabin (“camp” in the local vernacular) owners . We met at a covered dish supper out on one of the islands, bringing our contributions of bread and pie by way of a handmade wooden boat with a small outboard motor. And the inevitable question, “what do you do?” gave me a temporary fascinating status within the small group that included a renowned city planning consultant, a state representative, a former missionary to one of the Pacific islands and a couple of people who loosely classify themselves as “working in finance”.   And, once again, I can reflect on the wealth that comes to anyone with access to information and knowledge.
Last week I had intended to tell about The National Tribune – a paper packed full of everyday life. My bit of time away in a very small town where people still own the original house that their great grandfather built, or moved, or rebuilt after fire swept through that portion of the town, made me even more eager to share it.
We have here, in the annex, the years of 1885 through 1887. Within these weekly offerings is that strange blend of folksy and elite – the movers and shakers of a national capital as they move around town and shop and advertise and gossip and greet. Unlike that other Washington title The National Intelligencer, the first of the eight pages contains very little news, while the third page is devoted to veteran accounts of the American Civil War, with columns headed by campaign and battle names. Sandwiched between the words of the wife of the Speaker of the House concerning her eight children and the scientific reporting on the application of incandescent mantles to carriage lights are details of Senate hearings and policy matters that still impact us today.
If you have the opportunity, consider purchasing a random date from this collection. It’s less than two movie tickets and popcorn, and will likely enrich your life as much as it entertains. The newsy, small town tone reminds me of my recent time in New England, with the strange familiarity induced by elements we all have in common, whatever our circumstances or position.
Anyway, I plan to wander the New England titles from the 1800’s in my next bit of adventuring time. Life, as described by a community newspaper, is filled with unexpected moments of beauty, kindness and every day heroism.

Note: If you would like to purchase an issue of this title from the 1800’s, feel free to do so at: National Tribune, 1885-1887

Snapshot 1858… A French flying machine…

August 13, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from The National Intelligencer, dated August 7, 1858. It’s a shame those in the article below this snapshot didn’t have access to such an invention.

Snapshot 1852… Uncle Tom’s Cabin…

July 29, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the National Intelligencer dated December 28, 1852. Most are aware of the impact Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin had on the fabric of The United States, but not everyone saw eye-to-eye.  The image below shows a blurb of a politically incorrect view from the northern region of the country.

 

The Traveler… new wheels to get around…

July 9, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Nearly a year ago I journeyed to New York City by the means of the Scientific American, dated August 19, 1868, where I found the “Hanlon’s Patent Improved Velocipede”. “Within a few months the vehicle known as the velocipede has received an unusual degree of attention, especially in Paris, it having become in that city a very fashionable and favorite means of locomotion. To be sure the rider ‘works his passage,’ but the labor is less than that of walking, the time required to traverse a certain distance is not so much, while the exercise of the muscles is an healthful and invigorating. A few years ago, these vehicles were used merely as playthings for children, and it is only lately that their capabilities have been understood and acknowledged. Practice with these machines have been carried so far that offers of competitive trials of speed between them and horses on the race course have been made…”

I’m glad that they don’t make them that way any longer!

~The Traveler

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.)

Snapshot 1885… Early flight (?)

June 28, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from The Scientific American, New York, dated May 9, 1885. Thankfully, the wise saw, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” eventually proved to be true.

 

I’m New Here: Week Eighteen…

June 14, 2019 by · 2 Comments 

This week I learned to back up my data files with more diligence. I also learned that I shouldn’t boast of finishing a task early, as I am liable to then fall far behind (particularly if I don’t save my work).
Most importantly, I learned that we don’t know what we don’t know, and we can’t learn it until we know something.
As I was immersed in the newspaper coverage of significant dates in American History, I found that my vague idea of the Civil War as being somewhere around 1862 kept me from understanding the significance of Lincoln’s assassination within the timetable of the war of brother-against-brother. The great conflict was in the mopping-up stage; Grant had definitively beaten the Confederate troops. And President Abraham Lincoln, the man who took up the burden of holding together the Union, was shot in a theater where he was out for what was termed by one report as “an evening of respite”.  It’s suddenly more tragic, and those long lines formed by a mourning populace seem so reasonable a response by a shocked nation.

Over the weekend, the relative of a Timothy Hughes Rare and Early Newspapers employee was touring the facility and paused over text running down the right margin of the cover of a small periodical from the 1920’s. “You know who that is,” she asserted. We didn’t. We thought it was an issue about the game of hockey, positing the question whether it would or would not last in the United States.
It turns out the featured author of the issue was one Rose Wilder Lane, the woman who penned the tales told by her mother of pioneering days in what eventually came to be called The Little House on the Prairie series. An accomplished writer and reporter, many of her short stories were published in Harper’s Bazaar and Saturday Evening Post.  When Rose was in her seventies, she traveled to Vietnam in order to provide a female perspective on the war for the readership of Woman’s Day Magazine. And I learned all of this because someone who knew a bit, put together pieces and asked a question.
Juxtaposed with this whole journey following strands of the known into discovery of the unknown, was an overheard discussion about the lack of liberal arts education received by the up-and-coming generation. In an era of information available by voice command, almost everything that can be known is, theoretically, accessible. But how will any of us know the questions to ask if we don’t have a base of knowledge from which to begin?    A narrow foundation must by its very nature constrict the breadth of potential growth.

Anyway, this is a great place for contemplation of deep things.  And, since I lost my first draft, I have the opportunity to contemplate the same subject for the second time.  🙂

By the way, the Liberty Magazines are nifty compilations somewhat in the vein of the later Reader’s Digest, packed with advertisements and helpful hints right beside news of the day.

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