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.

I’m New Here: Week Thirty-Nine…

November 27, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Sometimes rabbit trails lead to revised destinations – particularly those that meander through the annals of history.  This week is a big deal on the US calendar because of colonists and survival and a heritage of gratitude…and I am a person full of thanks this year, as I have been much of my life.

I obtained permission from Guy to be a bit personal in my post, which he graciously granted, but a communication with a favorite collector in NYC derailed my reflection.  Ms. P told me about Evacuation Day, which commemorated the rousting of the British troops from their occupation of New York City following this nation’s fight for independence from England.  I had never heard of the liberation of NYC, let alone the celebrations that occurred annually until Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation co-opted the seasonal celebrations.  To be honest, I had never considered the duration of conflict following the 1776 declaration.  Anyway, this information came to light in a peripheral way, and the collector who brought it to our attention, attended this year’s anniversary hoopla in the city that was liberated.

It’s a privilege to learn from the staff here, as well as those who are ordering papers.  The collecting community is made up of a broad spectrum of interest and study, and I get to glean from the riches that move through the Rare and Early Newspapers archives.

I am thankful for the people who envisioned the United States of America — this great experiment.  I am thankful for those who kept their convictions through a long, wearying stretch of conflict, and I am thankful for families and communities who continued to manage the stuff of life through the political upheaval.

If you have some time over the upcoming holiday, our catalog is much more fascinating than any Black Friday special.  Whether you find the perfect gift for yourself or another, the time spent perusing the pages is a treat all by itself.

Cheers!

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-Six…

November 1, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

This week I discovered another section of the archives previously unexplored — actually, I didn’t even realize it was there.

The walls in these connected buildings are shelved from floor to ceiling, as are the aisles and corridors.  Inside those rigid 15′ dividers are movable racks that provide another layer of coordinates for filing archival folders of old and rare newspapers.  It was here, highlighted by the angle of the tag, that I saw the title and date of voices for abolition.  The Liberator  issues that are housed here go as late as 1865, but I was interested in the ones that preceded the Emancipation Proclamation. What was being written and discussed by this publication from the “Anti-Slavery Office” in Boston in 1859?  What was the tone prior to that April bombardment that marked the start of the Civil War?

The rag paper is full-sized (“folio”, in fact) and consists of four pages, mostly devoted to telling the stories of injustice and accounts that should provoke outrage.  Headed by an illustration intricately representing people divided into groups based on the color of their skin, a banner curves along the bottom proclaiming, “THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF” while a sign above a wooden structure crowded with human beings advertises, “Slaves, Horses & Other Cattle In Lots To Suit Purchase.”  I feel the effectiveness of the graphics, of the pleading tone in the “Letter to Southern Ladies” and the headline which queries, “Shall Massachusetts Be Slave-Hunting Soil?”  But what surprises me the most in this new acquaintance was the attitude toward the forerunner of Abraham Lincoln.  A full front-page column is headed “PRESIDENTIAL FALSIFICATIONS”, and pulls no punches in its criticism of James Buchanan’s avoidance of the situation with the Free State Men of Kansas and the powerful politicians whose support of Slavery  led to an effort summarized with, “The Missourians openly exulted in the sure prospect they had of making Kansas a slave state, in spite of the Free State men.”

I am looking forward to delving into the dates that discuss the events that followed — in all the permutations and compromises and regrets and triumphs.  And I can’t help but wonder how much of a change anyone could have honestly expected after such a long period of such passionate division.

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.”

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.)

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.)

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.

Snapshot 1862… Civil War inner-family strife takes its aim at Lincoln…

June 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from The Crisis, Columbus, Ohio, dated May 7, 1862, which printed the death report of Abraham Lincoln’s brother-in-law, and includes considerable Lincoln-directed angst.

 

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.)

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