I’m New Here: Week Forty…

December 6, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

At the start of this week, I was a bit hard-pressed to think of something new I learned.  Winter dramatically closed the Thanksgiving celebrations in our part of the world, and I spent two days trying to determine the best window for travel within two storm systems.  Consequently, I arrived halfway through the day Monday and have been scrambling to catch up with the December crush of orders ever since.  Yesterday I decided that this was a good time to reflect on all the things that have become old hat to me, and how much I enjoy the rhythm of this world of old newspapers and the folks that value and collect them.  However, the end of the day brought home a new lesson.

A quick search of the internet archive yields a total of 1,355 works that are about Harriet Tubman.  Many titles are children’s books, by which young people have learned of Tubman’s many missions to liberate somewhere between 70 and 300 slaves, with heroic disregard for her own precarious freedom.  Her name is closely associated with the Underground Railroad, and she is credited with the altered route into Canada in response to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.

And yet.

This week we discovered a report of her death in “The Omaha Bee” for March 11, 1913, out of Nebraska.  It is outrageously brief, and bewilderingly sparse in its acknowledgement of the North American 1800’s “Moses”.

The following is what Tim wrote for an upcoming catalog listing:

Page 3 has a somewhat inconspicuous report on the near death of the famed Harriet Tubman.
The report is headed: “Aged Negress Friend Of Abraham Lincoln Dying” and reads: “Harriett Tubman, a colored woman 95 years old, who is said to be a friend of Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward, and who was associated with John Brown in anti-slavery work, is dying here of pneumonia.
A curiously brief report giving her extraordinary life. A notable that of the many volumes of newspapers in our inventory this is the only report of her death (or nearly so) that we could find.

The new thing I learned this week is that a newspaper can only report on things to which the editorial staff is paying attention, or finding noteworthy.  This seems more than a bit disconcerting, but then again I may have had too many Thanksgiving treats.

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.)

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.

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.

 

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.)

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: Weeks Fourteen & Fifteen…

May 24, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week I didn’t post because I was involved in a local amateur production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  Consequently, I returned to work with many dramatic musical numbers dictating the soundtrack of my mind.  Perhaps that influenced my interest in an assigned hunt for a title that reported on the death of the “Leather Man” in 1839.

I found it, and duly replied back to the collector.  But I also took a little bit of a break to search out the meager story of this individual who was a vagabond for 32 years of his life.  The inscription on his tombstone describes a man, “who regularly walked a 365-mile route through Westchester and Connecticut from the Connecticut River to the Hudson living in caves in the years 1858–1889.”  Like clockwork, apparently, he completed his circuit every year and was greeted and given hospitality by many along the way who would normally reject any other vagrant.  The internet provides an intriguing image of this leather patchworked fellow in his exile from the rhythms of normal life.

And, with the tortured song of the male lead sounding in my head, I wondered at the days preceding his arrival; what made him the man who came to be known this way?

Was he tormented and driven to trudge through the days, or was this a happy occupation for a human being – leaving behind the established cares of civilized life, content to cover so much ground in so many hours for the prescribed revolutions of the sun?  Either way, or something in-between, he made it to the second page of The New York Times.  For all the documentation housed here, how many millions of unread or even untold stories must there be?

Anyway, I am back at work, tracking down first, second and third day accounts of the original murder that inspired Capote’s “In Cold Blood”  and pulling the obituary for a man who had no known name or history of origin.  Next week I am determined to look at these territory papers that are so desirable, and maybe delve into the popular Gentleman’s Magazines with their coveted battle maps.

All of which remind me of one theory concerning the Leather Man: that he was an ex-French soldier.  Perhaps that’s true, and all the years of marching over fields and sleeping rough became a way of life he ultimately could not break.  Whatever compelled him, day after day, I’m fairly certain a tragic musical score is appropriate.

“Life’s Poetry”… Food for thought…

May 16, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

As I was searching through our inventory of mid-1850’s Correctors (Sag Harbor) for an historic ad for “Douglass & Van Scoy – PHOTOGRAPHS and DAGUERREOTYPES” – pioneer American photographers, I came across the poem shown below which caused me to pause and smell the roses. Enjoy.

They Put It In Print… The Communist’s Oath from 1848…

May 14, 2019 by · 1 Comment 

As we were searching through our issues from 1848 looking for early Gold Rush content, we discovered an interesting item in a August 8, 1848 Boston Evening Transcript with content related to Communism. With contemporary material related to early Communism hard to come by, it is nice the B.E.T. decided to put this in print:

 

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