Reflecting on 2020 as we approach Thanksgiving…

November 23, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

“Count your blessings, name them one by one…”

2020 has certainly been quite the year. There’s no doubt it came with more than its share of difficulties; however, history is pregnant with years fraught with an abundance of pain, suffering, and death. I admit, there have been occasions when the onslaught of bad news has weighed heavily upon my mind, but thankfully, there have been more than enough moments when I’ve been checked back from allowing negative thoughts to win the day.

Such was the case when I took notice of the November 18, 1918 issue of the Springfield Republican (see below). In the midst of the horrors brought on by the Spanish Flu Epidemic, President Woodrow Wilson continued the presidential tradition of proclaiming a day for thanksgiving and prayer. What particularly caught my attention was seeing the bordered text of the Thanksgiving Proclamation surrounded on three sides by WWI reports from all over the world, a mere 6 inches from an article updating the readers of the current death toll of the pandemic. “A rose among thorns” came to mind, followed by a flashback to my childhood – as I could almost hear my (recently deceased) mother’s words yet again: “No matter how bad you think things are, there are people throughout the world who have it much worse than you do. Never stop counting your blessings.” Of course I wouldn’t always immediately comply, which prompted her follow-up: “Wipe that sour look off your face before it gets stuck that way.”

So, it is with these thoughts in mind I hope, wish, and pray for our “collecting” family to have a Thanksgiving overflowing with… thanksgiving.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Refrain:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

[repeat refrain]

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—money cannot buy,
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

[repeat refrain]

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

[repeat refrain]

Lyrics by Johnson Oatman, Jr.

Snapshot 1870… The 15th Amendment – Not So Fast!

November 19, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

The 15th Amendment states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” (www.History.com)

However…

Despite the amendment, by the late 1870s discriminatory practices were used to prevent blacks from exercising their right to vote, especially in the South. (www.History.com)

We recently unearthed a pair of issues from The New York Times dated in 1870 which shed some early-morning light on the dawn of the 15th Amendment, and the struggle it faced on its path to realizing its intent – a struggle which made significant headway with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

The Constitution of the United States is second-to-none, and the wisdom of the Founders to frame it in such a way as to make it a work in progress was genius. However, making adjustments along the way, although appropriately difficult, was part of the original intent. The greater problem and most difficult hurdle is bringing the hearts of humanity in line with “red & yellow, black and white; they are precious in His sight” – and should be seen and treated as such.

Snapshot 1945… America’s youth are too soft…

November 12, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

WW2 was finally over, but much was to be done. Trials, international agreements, boundaries of country’s which had been conquered by the Nazis… What to do with the millions who had lost their homes due to destruction, fleeing life-threatening circumstances, or having been carted off to concentration camps? What about the abundance of parentless children? How to rebuild? Who would pay for the rebuilding of countless areas of devastation? What about the atom bomb? What does this new power mean?

In the midst of all of these critical and time-sensitive concerns at the forefront of President Truman’s mind, one which caught my eye was found on the front page of a Wilmington Morning Star (NC) from October 24, 1945. What do we do to prepare our nation for future conflicts? While a great question, his focus was thought-provoking:

The youth of America are too soft, and something needs to be done, now!

The image below shows a portion of both Truman’s thoughts and his plan of action – initial steps which would eventually blossom into President Eisenhower’s “President’s Council on Youth Fitness” in 1956. These actions, along with similar measures taken over the 40 years to follow, led me to wonder whether it is time to take a look at this question once again. After all, raising up the next generation to be characterized by the fragile term “snowflakes” does not bode well for the future of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

 

Snapshot 1966… Cancel culture, free speech, and a civil society…

November 9, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

What to cancel vs. what to keep? Revisionism vs. an accurate accounting?

The practice of what we currently refer to as “Cancel Culture” is nothing new. Few details remain of China’s glorious early history due to the practice of each new dynasty expunging any evidence regarding the former so-as to elevate itself to the top of the historical record. Other religions and societies have done the same in order to eliminate the warts which are common to all. While some believe it is important to remember history, no matter how ugly, in the hope that future generations will learn from past mistakes, others are convinced the past is too painful, and must therefore be eradicated from wherever it might rear its ugly head.

Although statues, flags, and other symbols have been the most recent targets of this tension, the written word was the most common target of past generations, and was realized through both the banning and burning of books which were deemed too immoral, too painful, or too revealing of “whatever we currently don’t want to be known” to be read. Examples include Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World, and the feature of this post, To Kill A Mocking Bird. Published in 1966 to overwhelming critical approval, it wasn’t too long before it began to receive considerable resistance for a plethora of objections, and although included on many high school and junior high school reading lists, attempts to remove it from school libraries were quite common. The article below highlights one such a case, with the New York Times of January 16, 1966 printing Harper Lee’s own response to a local schoolboard near Richmond, Virginia.

The purpose of this post is not to resolve the issues created by both free speech and revisionism; rather, to merely ponder these issues in light of the past. My only editorial contribution is that I’m glad I can still look back at such accounts as printed in old newspapers and hopefully glean perspective on how and where I’d like to tread in the present.

Announcing: Catalog #300 (for November, 2020) is now available…

October 30, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

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Catalog 300 (for November) is now available. This latest offering of authentic newspapers is comprised of more than 300 new items, a selection which includes: perhaps the most desired masthead engraving of the 18th century, Washington’s Farewell Address, a graphic issue on Lincoln’s assassination, the first newspaper published for the sport of baseball, “The Polynesian” from Honolulu (1844), The Battle of Gettysburg (with a map), 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.

They Put It In Print (1918)… “The 19th Amendment fails by 1 vote…”

October 26, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Does one vote matter? Does every vote count?

Since the passage of the 19th Amendment, the impact of women on the political climate, and therefore, on both the course and civil fabric of the United States cannot be understated. Since 1964, more women have voted in presidential elections than men – as measured by both actual quantity and as a percentage of their respective genders. While this “right” was not realized until 1920, few know that the (women’s suffrage) Amendment nearly passed two years earlier, but came up short by a single vote. Sadly, not all Senators were present to vote. How do we know? They put it in print in The Christian Science Monitor (Boston) dated  October 2, 1918.

 

Announcing: Catalog #299 (for October, 2020) is now available…

October 2, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

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Catalog 299 (for October) is now available. This latest offering of authentic newspapers is comprised of more than 300 new items, a selection which includes: the definitive newspaper with the rules of cricket, Sabbatai (the Jewish prophet), ‘The American Journal’ from Providence (1779), the Battle of Lexington & Concord (with a map of Boston), an incredible issue on the end of World War II, Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, 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 1929… Just prior to the “crash” – Thomas Edison’s electric lamp…

September 14, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

When one thinks of late October, 1929, it’s hard not to focus on The Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. However, even just a few days prior to the world-altering event, people were going about their lives enjoying news of a huge new airport in Chicago which at the time featured the largest hanger in the world and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s electric light bulb. In regards to the pre-crash celebration of Edison, the October 21, 1929 issue of the Chicago Daily Tribune printed a set of related cartoons on the front page, one of which is related to this joyous event. I also (accidentally?) included the 3rd due to its timeliness. Enjoy.

Snapshot 1879… Thomas Edison – in defense of his electric light bulb…

September 7, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

The benefits of the light bulb are so interwoven throughout our lives, few would argue we take them for granted – until we notice their infamous ultra-luminescence just moments prior to our world becoming dark. However, back in 1879, Edison had received enough grief concerning his invention he would often feel compelled to provide a defense – some of which appeared in newspapers throughout the country. Such was the case with the December 27, 1879 issue of The Sun (New York). I appreciate the irony of a discussion regarding artificial light appearing in an issue of The Sun. Enjoy.

Announcing: Catalog #298 (for September, 2020) is now available…

September 1, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

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Catalog 298 (for September) is now available. This latest offering of authentic newspapers is comprised of more than 300 new items, a selection which includes: a “Frederick Douglass’ Paper”, a contemporary report of the Salem witch trial, the printing of the Gettysburg Address on the front page, the Gunfight at the OK Corral, the Boston Red Sox purchase Babe Ruth, Lincoln’s first inauguration, 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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