January through the years via the lens of Rare & Early Newspapers…

January 13, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Walk with us back through time to see what noteworthy, historic and collectible events occurred during the month of January. In so doing, we hope you’ll agree: “History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”

January Through Time

Announcing: Catalog #290 (for January, 2020) is now available…

January 7, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

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Catalog 290 (for January is now available. This latest offering of authentic newspapers is comprised of more than 300 new items, a selection which includes: the trial & execution of Captain Kidd, Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, an American almanac with a rare Revolutionary War battle print, a San Francisco newspaper on the San Francisco earthquake, a rare British “newsbook” from 1642 (first we’ve offered), a great account of the Battle of Bunker Hill, 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 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.)

I’m New Here: Week Thirty-Five…

October 25, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Sometimes I think that the constant hum of political discourse is unique to our time.  Certainly, the tone is billed as uniquely vitriolic – in stark contrast to the bucolic days of yore.  Except, I keep uncovering these eviscerating denouncements of a certain elected leader, or particular view, or specific cause, or controversial vote – with all the surrounding discussion and debate.  The only difference I can see is that a certain level of pride seemed to stamp each public statement – as if a political position was strengthened by dissent.  These days, nearly as much time is spent disassociating from one’s words as in the pontificating.

Adding a second distinguishing feature, this week I discovered the satirical  Puck – begun in Germany and published in America in 1877.  Interestingly, the founder collaborated with the renowned Leslie’s Illustrated prior to making the transition.  Headed with the Shakespearean character’s wry commentary, “What fools these mortals be,” the clever magazine takes the tone of an outside, slightly mocking, observer.

The one I selected for perusal deals with the Justice System on the cover, and New York’s participation in the World Fair of 1839.  A brief glance at the latter conveys a fairy tale worthy, beautifully colored double page centerfold that on closer inspection mocks the greed associated with the exposition and its participants.

It’s an elevated tone, when compared with the shrill modern volume on television and radio.  Somehow, satire is more palatable to me — a velvet glove of watercolor illustration covering the iron fist of debate in a place where freedom of speech was so highly esteemed that it was almost an art form.

I’m New Here: Week Thirty-Four…

October 18, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Today’s post is a bit harried because Guy was away for a few days.  There is nothing like his absence to bring home to me how much I still have left to learn.  Thankfully, he has returned and no one was irrevocably distressed by my continued ineptitude — which was blatantly apparent without his buffering.

That said, I juggled as successfully as I could, and in the process found a sphere of knowledge of which I have somehow remained ignorant.  The covers of Harper’s Weekly publications are often pen and ink constructions that are balanced and aesthetically appealing.  Many collectors purchase these to frame and subsequently decorate walls and offices.  An issue from 1859 passed under my gaze while fulfilling a request that had been paired with a name unfamiliar to me.  The collector was searching for Garibaldi reports.  As I was completely unfamiliar with the name, my shipping room buddy brought the June 18, 1859 Harper’s to my desk before commencing his painstaking shipping process.

Clearly, I have been missing out.  This “famous Italian patriot whose exploits on the slopes of the Alps are at present in every one’s mouth” was featured on the full front page, and continued onto one inside column.  His visage is coldly angular, and his narrowed eyes appeared to find me across the length of my desk.  My reaction must have been noteworthy, because an hour or so later Mike brought me a different date for that same title.  “This artist had a kinder interpretation,” he said as he carefully placed another Garibaldi side by side with the first.  And, the difference was so pronounced I spent a bit of time looking for the minute changes that dramatically influenced the whole.

Then I thought of all the people who search out issues containing Lincoln portraits, or a date among the seemingly unending eight years of Teddy Roosevelt covers.  How funny it is to realize that our collective views of historically foundational people have been based on the interpretation of artists!  Based on the shape of Joseph G.’s eyes, I suspect that some of them had a distinct bias that has unconsciously colored our perspective.

Even with my reasoning braced against my imagination, I find the introductory paragraph to the report does nothing to soften the aggressive life chosen by this commander.  “Joseph Garibaldi is the type of gallant soldier of fortune, to whom the excitement of war is a necessity; but when his country’s opportunity arrives, is never found wanting among her defenders.”

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 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.

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