Today I journeyed to Boston through the Boston Gazette of December 2, 1813. There I found numerous reports pertaining to the Battle of Chrysler's [Crysler's] farm. Within this one issue is the "American Un-Official Accounts", the "British Official Accounts" and the "American Official Accounts". This battle took place on November 11th between the British under the command of Lieut. Col Morrison and Canadian under the of command Capt. Mulcaster against the Americans under the command of Maj. Gen. Wilkinson, fighting on both land and on waters. The American troops encountered a high number of injuries and deaths "...The dead rest in honor, and the wounded bled for their country and deserve its gratitude...". Also included is a proclamation from *Maj. Gen. Wilkinson. "...Those, therefore, among you who remain quiet at home, should victory incline to the American standard, shall be protected in their persons and property -- But those who are found in arms must necessarily be treated as avowed enemies. To menace is unmanly -- to seduce dishonorably -- Yet it is just and humane to place these alternatives before you...". If one didn't know better, this proclamation sounds as if it may have come from a non-American General (see note below). ~The Traveler *Background (wiki): James Wilkinson (March 24, 1757 – December 28, 1825) was an American soldier and statesman, who was associated with several scandals and controversies. He served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, but was twice compelled to resign. He was twice the Commanding General of the United States Army, appointed first Governor of the Louisiana Territory in 1805, and commanded two unsuccessful campaigns in the St. Lawrence theater during the War of 1812. After his death, he was discovered to have been a paid agent of the Spanish Crown. dated October 9, 1813). As Commodore Perry commenced battle on Lake Erie, he raised a flag with the infamous words "Don't give up the ship" on it. "...They speak of the battle as being one of the hottest ever fought..." (see below). In the report of the Battle on Lake Ontario, Commodore Chauncey references the news of the battle on Lake Erie. "...There is a report here, and generally believed, that Capt. Perry has captured the whole of the enemy's fleet on lake Erie. If this should prove true in all its details (and God grant that it may) he has immortalised himself and not disappointed the high expectations formed of his talents and bravery..." ~The Traveler Over the past 10 years we (RareNewspapers.com) have put together a series of videos designed to help educate novices about the hobby of collecting historic newspapers. While some may be a smidge old (compared to today's high-tech standards), the information within is still pertinent. Pick a topic of interest, turn up the volume, and enjoy our perspective on the collectible. Today my journeys took me to Baltimore, Maryland, by the means of The Weekly Register dated July 17, 1813. The front page features the headline "Republic of Mexico" which was announcing the Declaration of Independence of Texas. "We, the people of the province of Texas,...declare, that the ties which held us under the domination of Spain and Europe, are forever dissolved; that we possess the right to establish a government for ourselves; that in future all legitimate authority shall emanate from the people to whom alone it rightfully belongs and that henceforth all allegiance or subjection to any foreign power whatsoever, is entirely renounced... We feel, with indignation, the unheard of tyranny of being excluded from all communication with other nations, which might tend to improve our situation, physical and moral, We were prohibited the use of books, of speech, and even of thought -- our country was our prison... We conceive it a duty we owe as well to ourselves as to our posterity, to seize the moment which now offers itself, of shaking off the yoke of European domination, and of laboring in the cause of the independence of Mexico; taking the authority into our own hands, forming laws, and of placing the government of our country upon a sure and firm basis, and by the means assume a rank among the nations of the world." Also within the issue is a full page map (which are rarely found in this title): "Map of the Rapids of Miami, Shewing the situation of Fort Meigs, etc", accompanied by supporting text: "Interesting Topography of Ohio". ~The Traveler Of the many notable newspapers published in the history of the United States there are a few stand-outs for different eras. Of the colonial era the "Pennsylvania Gazette" came to prominence under the guidance of publisher Ben Franklin, and in the latter decades of the 1700's the "Gazette of the United States", and the "Columbian Centinel" were two of the more significant titles which informed the American populace for many years. Of the 19th century the "National Intelligencer" and the "New York Times" were certainly among the more prominent, but a title which did as much as any other to bring the news into the households of America was "Niles' Weekly Register". Considered by some a magazine due to its small size, I like to consider it a small newspaper, as its content was more aligned to presenting the politics & other news of the day rather than the literary content more associated with magazines. But of curious note is that it was devoid of advertising, relying entirely upon the strength of its subscription base for its existence. Hezekiah Niles edited and published his newspaper in Baltimore from 1811 until 1836, making it into one of the most widely-circulated periodicals in the United States and himself into one of the most influential journalists of his day. Devoted primarily to politics, "Niles' Weekly Register" is considered an important source for the history of the period. It continued beyond his demise until 1849. Given its close proximity to the nation's capital it was in an excellent position to print political reports but also the wealth of other news from all corners of the then-growing country which would eventually find its way to Washington, D.C. Having collected early newspapers for over 37 years I can attest to the quality of reporting--very in depth--in comparison to the physically larger newspapers of the day. Founded just a year before the outbreak of the War of 1812 and lasting through the early period of the California Gold Rush, a great wealth of American history was printed within each of its 16 weekly pages, and a nice spectrum of America in the first half of the 19th century can be gathered by simply focusing on this one title. Early in its publication the battle of Tippecanoe brought the name William Henry Harrison to prominence with his victory over the Indians, the details of which made the pages of "Niles' Weekly Register". Then all the event of the War of 1812, from President Monroe's war proclamation to the war-ending Battle of New Orleans led by Andrew Jackson (actually fought after the treaty ending the war was signed) with the host of naval battles of 1812-1815. There is hardly a topic or event from American history not found in Niles' Weekly Register. Much Judaica content, the creation of the Mormon Church and their journey west, much on the historic Maryland Jew Bill, and even mention of Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee long before they would be names known to the American public were found in this newspaper. The slavery issue was certainly not side-stepped, as reports on Nat Turner's Rebellion and the Denmark Vesey case were two of the more notably events which received much coverage. The Amistad affair--not found in every newspaper of the day--was reported in many issues of Niles' as the events & trial unfolded. Certainly the issue is slavery was ever-present in congressional reports, and was a factor in the Missouri Compromise, also published in this newspaper. As the country continued to expand, the westward march was documented in many reports including the development & opening of the Erie Canal, the exploring of the Yellowstone region, and the creation of the Santa Fe Trail being just a few. Several states joined the union during the years of Niles' and as they did even the alterations to the United States flag were documented by the newspaper. Names such as Daniel Boone, infamous pirate Jean LaFitte, Samuel Morse, Daguerre and Eli Whitney are a few which were featured as their actions and inventions made news. The Texas war for independence made the news in 1835 and 1836 and many of the notable battles were reported. There is even mention of Davy Crockett leaving Congress and heading to Texas to fight for their cause, where he would meet his end at the famous Battle of the Alamo. With politics as a focus it is no surprise that elections and inaugurations were all documents in "Niles' Weekly Register", including the short term of President William Henry Harrison who just one month after being inaugurated would die in office. There is so much more history to be found within the pages of Niles'. Our troubling (and often disgraceful) relationship with the Native American Indians, including the Black Hawk War & Trail of Tears, was covered in much detail. The Mexican War and all its events was the last of the military encounters to appear in this newspaper, the treaty ending that war being signed in 1848, just one year before the demise of the newspaper. The ironic same-day deaths of Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, received much coverage; the Monroe Doctrine and the curious efforts of Mordecai Manuel Noah to create a Jewish settlement on an island in the Niagara River are just two of the fascinating events of American history documented. And it was not just American history that was reported, as world-wide events, as their significance would dictate, would make the pages of Niles' as well, not the least of which was the historic battle of Waterloo which spelled the doom of Napoleon's efforts in Europe. It was a pint-sized newspaper with a powerful impact upon the documentation of American history in the first half of the 19th century. It is a title every collector should not overlook as they consider the best newspapers for reporting some of the major events in history. They all will be found in "Niles' Weekly Register". One of the passions held by many is sports, and each season provides a new opportunity to cheer on one’s favorite teams as they follow their efforts through to a hopeful championship. It is not coincidence that “fan” is a diminutive form of the word “fanatic”. The hobby of collecting early newspaper adds an opportunity to broaden support for a team by including an historical perspective possible only through all this hobby has to offer. Baseball, football, basketball, tennis, golf, horse racing, soccer, and on and on. You name the sport and reports can be found in newspapers going back to the very beginning of the sport, or the beginning of newspapers. We once offered a newspaper from Springfield, Massachusetts—where basketball was founded—reporting the very first public game ever played. It is the holy grail of newspaper reports on basketball, and now resides in the archives of the Library of Congress. Similar gem items can be found for other sports as well. If a report cannot be found on the very beginning days of a sport, finding reports as old as possible is a quest which never ends. Baseball traces its history back to 1839 (although exactly when & how it was founded is up for some discussion) so finding a newspaper with a bonafide baseball report as close to this year is a worthy goal. We have some issues back to 1855 on our website, and game reports become more frequent during and just after the Civil War. But with baseball it’s often the golden era that attracts the most attention, from when Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and other standouts from the 1920’s and 1930’s were making headlines. Just following Ruth’s standout career can create a formidable collection, from early mention of him in the majors (how about 1914?), his first Major League game appearance, his first home run, a report of him being sold to the Yankees, and then his stellar career as a home run record-setter. All were reported in newspapers. And there was a host of notable ball players from a generation before, including Nap Lajoie, Branch Rickey, Henry Chadwick, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson, & Christy Mathewson to name a few. In fact baseball had its own daily newspaper from the 1880’s titled the “Official Record” which chronicled nothing but baseball reports of the day. Illustrations of baseball players are a special treat and add a graphic & displayable dimension to any collection. The popular illustrated newspaper “Harper’s Weekly” (and other well-know illustrated issues of the day) had many issues which featured half page or full page baseball prints, as well as a few doublepage centerfolds and front page prints which are particularly desirable. There are some ancillary items which are intriguing, several found in the scientific-themed periodical “Scientific American”, which featured a new electric scoreboard dating back to the 1800’s, and a novel invention of a “mechanical baseball pitcher”. There are baseball reports of Jim Thorpe, who, although was more famous for his Olympic and football prowess, was a notable baseball player as well. Newspapers with reports involving Jesse Owens are equally noteworthy. And just a focus on World Series games would result in a sizable collection, with the goal of owning the championship report for every World Series from 1903 to the present. The “Black Sox” scandal of 1919, which involved members of the Chicago White Sox team being accused of throwing the Series, made headline reports for the next two years as the case was investigated and brought to a painful conclusion. Although the most collectible of sports, baseball is by no means the only. Football reports became common in the 1890’s and into the early 20th century. Again, “Harper’s Weekly” did much to provide a graphic account of the sport, with both illustrations and photos of players and action, showcasing the minimal amount of protection that was worn in comparison to what’s found in the game today. Collecting by team makes for even more focused collection. Among the more popular would have to be the Yankees in baseball, and Notre Dame in collegiate football. But any team name for any sport can be searched out of our website, whether it be collegiate football, the NFL, or nearly any other sport you can think of. Even something as obscure as pre-1800 boxing reports and ballooning can be found within collectible newspapers. Give it a try. With golf it was Bobby Jones who gave the sport some prominence with his accomplishments which culminated in the “triple crown” victory, after which he left the sport to pursue a movie career. But again “Harper’s Weekly” put many golf themed prints in its pages, several done by noted artist A.B. Frost, which make for displayable items for any golf enthusiast. Tennis was another sport which made the pages of “Harper’s Weekly” and those that are framed make great display items for any den. Track and field, bowling, bicycling, curling, fishing (with prints by A.B. Frost and Frederic Remington), hunting, sailing (including the America’s Cup), skiing, automobile racing, archery, and even surfing are a portion of a lengthy list of sporting events found in newspapers of the day. Whatever sport you follow and whatever the era, the world of rare & early newspapers has much to offer. Add an historical dimension to your hobby. There is much from which to choose. American Mercury dated June 1, 1813. There I found an extract of letter from an officer to his father. He writes from Sacket's Harbor pertaining to the Battle of York, "We arrived at this place last evening from Niagara. The body of General Pike was with us. He was killed by the explosion of a magazine, on which a vast collection of stones, shots, and other missiles were collected. I was wounded; but, thank God, not dangerously....". Also reported in this issue is the Siege of Fort Miegs and the death of Major Stoddard. "...I am sorry to inform you that Major Stoddard died the night before I left the Rapids, of a lock-jaw, produced by a slight wound from a fragment of a shell which struck him on the thigh...". The back page of the issue carries a "New Corps Enlisted For One Year!!!" advertisement. This contained a quote from an European political writer "...The Americans are active in their person: they are enterprising; they are brave; and, which is of vast consequence, they are, from education and almost from constitution, SOBER, a virtue not at all less valuable in the Army than it is in domestic life...". ~The Traveler Revolutionary War, the Civil War, or World War II. Brief date periods –as war events tend to be—can allow for a more concise collection without becoming unduly large if one concentrates on just the major events. Consequently, less notable eras often get over-looked without realizing there is a treasure trove of events which are both fascinating and historically significant found in period newspapers, and well within the range of the average collector. One such era would be the 1800-1860 period which we designate on our website as the “Pre-Civil War Era”. This was a transitional time in American history as the events of the Revolutionary War and the struggles with creating the federal government gave way to a more secure nation and a more independent America as the nation grew in both size and complexity. This sixty year era offers a great wealth of events which were formative for the American landscape. The century began with continual coverage of the funeral of George Washington who died less than 3 weeks before the new century began. Thomas Jefferson was the first President to be elected in the 19th century and he did not escape the headaches of war, as the “Barbary Wars” fell within his tenure. He also lead the charge for the Louisiana Purchase which more than doubled the size of the nation and would be home, in full or in part, for 15 new states that would eventually join the Union. Newspaper reports on the Lewis & Clark Expedition were few and far between, but finding even brief mentions in a period newspaper can be quite a thrill. As the country grew a wealth of notable events transpired & were noted in newspapers of the day. Presidential elections and inauguration are always popular, and there were many in this era: Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, and of course Lincoln, who was elected in this era, but would be inaugurated in the “Civil War Era”, a fascinating chapter of American history onto itself. For those who like to have :complete” collections, finding every election and inauguration is a doable quest. The War of 1812 falls within this era and provides an opportunity for a sizable and notable collection on its own, from the declaration of War to the many naval battles, the attacks on Baltimore & Washington, the significant battle of New Orleans, and the treaty which ended the war. Collectors like that war events typically allow for collection “bookends” (war declaration and treaty of peace), between which they can become as focused as their budget will allow in collecting the major events. The slavery issue would remain a stain on the American fabric during this era, with events such as the Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner insurrections, and the more notable John Brown raid at Harper’s Ferry, as lead-ins to the Civil War. Abolitionist newspapers would be created, including the Liberator & the Emancipator among others, and names such as Frederick Douglass, Dred Scot, and William Lloyd Garrison would make their marks in American history forever. And it was very much a political issue as well with the Missouri Compromise being just one of several federal decisions which had slavery as a basis. Relations with the Native Americans were troubling also, with the Seminole War, the “Trail of Tears”, and the many broken treaties commonly reported in newspapers of the day. The Texas Revolution of 1835-1836 has a spice of historical romance similar to the events of the Old West, as both were dramatized in movies. The memorable Battle of the Alamo (starring John Wayne on the big screen) and its fiercely heroic soldiers & citizens, who knowingly faced death to establish the independence of Texas, remains a proud moment in not just Texas but American history. The battles which lead up to that event, and those which followed can be found in newspapers of the day, and mention names we remember from history books including Sam Houston and Davy Crockett. The Mexican War was another event which resulted in the expansion of the nation with all the major battles reported in newspapers of 1846 to 1848. Just a few years latter attention focused once more on the West with the California Gold Rush and all the romance of a nation heading west to find their fortune. The newspapers reported those thrills, but also reported the struggles & hardships which would befall the many on the trek to the West. Newspapers of the day were more frank than were history books 100 years later. Westward expansion wasn’t limited to the battle fronts or the quest for gold, as the Missouri River Expedition, The Yellowstone Expedition, the Rocky Mountain exploration, and reports on the Santa Fe Trail were all reported as the adventurous were discovering and creating history—and reported first in newspapers of the day. Such expansion was responsible for states to be created, and reports of statehood for Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois among others were detailed in newspapers, as were reports of changes needed in the United States flag to honor such additions. The Erie Canal, creation of the cotton gin and the Pony Express were notable events during this period. Famous names were commonly found as their reports were making history & reported in newspapers as such, including the likes of Daniel Boone, John Jacob Astor, Bolivar, John Jay, Henry Clay, Horace Greeley, and Kit Carson to name but a few. Of special intrigue is finding reports of famous names before they became famous, such as inconspicuous mentions of Abraham Lincoln from 1848 when he was a member of Congress, or Jefferson Davis from 1833, nearly 30 years before becoming President of the Confederacy. Judaica interest, reports of pirates, the Black Hawk Indian War, runaway slaves, William Henry Harrison’s one month Presidency, and the earliest reports of the Mormons and the journey across the country provide fascinating reading in newspapers of the pre-Civil War era. The Monroe Doctrine is just one of an endless list of historical documents and landmark Supreme Court decisions which were reported in newspapers of the day. Early newspapers from Hawaii, Florida, and Kentucky among others, more commonly found after the 1870’s are a special treat when found before the Civil War. And more than American history found their way into American newspapers. The Battle of Waterloo and the other Napoleonic Wars with mention of Buonaparte, Wellington and other key European figures put world history into perspective when such reports are found alongside notable events in American history. If capturing history in the pages of the nation’s newspapers is your hobby, certainly there is much from the 1800 – 1860 period to excite any historical hobbyist. Do not overlook this fascinating era in the growth & development of the United States of America. Rare & original newspapers have always been an excellent resource for capturing the context, contemporary response, and details of historic events. This truth was brought home recently via Todd Andrlik's, "Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News". Moving slightly into the future, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (retired) George W. Emery does the same in his work, "In Their Own Words - The Navy Fights The War Of 1812". Yet again we are reminded that "History is never more fascinating than when it's read from the day it was first reported." Additional details worth exploring may be found at: The Observator", 1683, because he claimed "it looked to new to possibly be over 300 years old". I could not convince him otherwise. Newsprint of 300 years ago simply does not yellow. We occasionally receive similar feedback from similar titles: The Spectator, The Post-Boy, and more. Even a select number of 20th century papers were printed on rag linen as well, typically for use in institutions. Such handmade paper, particularly that used in the 17th and 18th centuries, can be distinguished from paper made later by holding it up to a light and looking for “chain-lines” which are left from the wires in the paper mold. With this method, fewer fibers accumulate directly on the wire, so the paper is slightly thinner and more transparent to light. This pattern is usually very apparent and appears as lines that run about an inch apart, with several horizontal short lines connecting the long wire lines. Some modern paper has artificially-applied chain lines, and is usually referred to as “laid” paper, which is the name given to handmade chain-line paper. The handmade chain-line paper made of cotton and linen rags which were soaked in liquid until the fibers broke down into very small bits. Paper was formed by hand by dipping a paper mold into the fiber suspension, and then lifting and shaking off the excess water. The paper sheet was then partially dried before being removed from the mold. Modern handmade paper (used in fine printing of small editions by private presses, as well as in artists books) is basically made by the same process. The high quality of newsprint was an expensive process & caused newspaper subscriptions to be beyond the means of the average citizen. Consequently holdings of newspapers are relatively small. They were never printed in huge quantities because they cost too much to be widely purchased by the populace. And keep in mind that the percentage of literate people in the 18th and early 19th centuries was not what it is today. The use of "rag paper" for the publishing of early newspapers is one of the great joys of this hobby. Early newspapers--including issues dating back to the Revolutionary War and beyond--need very little care to maintain their state of preservation. We keep such issues on open shelves where they have been for years to no harm. They can be handled & read from beginning to end without risk of damage or harm. Truly, a collector can hold history in his hands, enhancing the tactile experience this hobby enjoys beyond others where "do not touch" is more the norm. Another benefit of rag paper is that it allows for easy detection of reprint or facsimile newspapers. A common question crossing our desk is "are you sure it is a genuine newspaper?" or "is my newspaper genuine or not?" When I authenticate newspapers one of the easiest determinants is the quality of paper. If the newsprint is browned or yellowed and fragile to the touch, chances are exceedingly good it is not a pre-1870 newspaper (although there are exceptions). Newspapers from the Revolutionary War should not crack when folded or creased. The vast majority of reprint or facsimile newspapers on the market were never meant to deceive the collector but rather were anniversary issues, done 50, 100 or 200 years after a significant event, or in celebration of the very first edition of that title. They were often give-aways to subscribers. The "New York Herald" of April 15, 1865 is perhaps the most commonly found reprint newspaper, and most fail the rag paper test; they are much to browned or fragile to have been printed in 1865. It was the industrial revolution of the latter half of the 19th century which resulted in the technology to create newsprint from wood pulp and chemicals. It was a welcomed innovation for publishers as newsprint become much less expensive to make, but it began the downfall for long-term preservation. But then, newspapers were never intended to last more than a day. Another issue would be on the streets for the consumer the next morning, to the delight of publishers across the country.