What does one do when abruptly ushered into one, if not the, most powerful positions on earth by the untimely death of the President of the United States? Today, in honor of the Easter Holiday Weekend, we reach back to 1841 to see how newly elevated President John Tyler responded when placed in this situation. The following proclamation, which begins in part, “When a Christian people feel themselves to be overtaken by a great public calamity, it becomes them to humble themselves under the dispensation of Divine Providence, to recognize His righteous government over the children of men, to acknowledge His goodness in time past, as well as their own unworthiness, and to supplicate His merciful protection for the future…”, was printed in The Globe, Washington, D.C., April 15, 1841:
Happy Easter from the Rare & Early Newspapers Team
From time-to-time we (Rare & Early Newspapers) talk about one of the joys of the hobby being the unearthing of unexpected “finds”. A few weeks ago this was played out in spades as
we learned that the same issue we had sold for under $50 sold at a well-known auction house for well over $5,000 – the price driven by content we did not know was present. While we do our best to discover such hidden gems before offering issues, the reality is, it is nearly impossible to find everything of historical interest and/or collectable value. Some wonder if hearing about such events bothers us. Quite the contrary. This is one of characteristics of collecting old newspapers which make the hobby so enjoyable. While not all “finds” bring financial reward, it is rare to read through a rare newspaper from cover to cover without finding something unexpected beyond the original reason for purchasing – an interesting ad, the mention of a noteworthy name, contemporary viewpoints which add depth to the key content, etc. What fun!
While we won’t mention the exact date or title (that would be too easy), we will say the issue was from the 1760’s and was not American.
Some words including names, titles, etc. are so noteworthy or common that we forget they had a beginning – a first use. According to Wikipedia, the first public use (in print) of the term “Ivy League” occurred within the Christian Science Monitor, Boston, February 7, 1935. The usage was in reference to Brown University being accepted into the “League”. A quick search on The New York Times database shows that it did not print the title until nearly a half-year later. Is Wikipedia correct? Until we see confirmation to the contrary we’ll assume their assessment to be accurate. If anyone has information to the contrary, please let us know.
The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the FITCHBURG SENTINEL, Massachusetts, March 8, 1965…
Historical perspective offers so much as we reflect upon some of the headlines of the past, particularly those proven to be so wrong. With the reestablishing of relations with Cuba currently in the headlines, we dug through out archives and found a headline which history has shown could not have been more wrong. The “Detroit Free Press” of October 20, 1960, in announcing the beginning of the embargo against Cuba, ran a banner headline: “CASTRO COLLAPSE FORESEEN” and one of the subheads noting: “Fidel Given Year or Less“. This is now a newspaper much more interesting today than it was almost 55 years ago.
What a fascinating hobby!
Many in our hobby like to pursuit the very first time “they put it in print” and the “it” can be a very wide range of announcements, reports, or images. Certainly first reports of major 18th and 19th century battles have been among the favored issues of collectors, and most certainly the first printing of ht Declaration of Independence in a newspaper commands a considerable premium among those who are able to consummate that pursuit.
Two collectors, Michael Zinman and Steve Lomazow, raised an interesting question: what newspaper was the first to include a print of the U.S. flag within its pages? After discovering several newspapers from 1847 and then 1840 with flag engravings, we found in our database the “True American & Commercial Advertiser” from Philadelphia, 1806 which incorporates a U.S. flag (albeit a small engraving: see photo) within the masthead image (see sample). The newspaper actually began in 1798 but that didn’t mean the masthead engraving was there. Typically mastheads change, often several times, through the life cycle of a newspaper.
But a confirmation from Vincent Golden, newspaper librarian at the American Antiquarian Society, which has holdings of this title going back to issue number 1, confirms the engraving with the flag is, indeed, present with that very first issue.
So this sets the earliest appearance of the U.S. flag in a newspaper at July 1, 1798. But I’m not convinced this is the earliest date. Are any of you collectors aware of an earlier appearance? Check your collections and share with the rest of us!
Todd Andrlik, founder and editor of Journal of the American Revolution, and curator, author and editor of Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News (Sourcebooks, 2012), has assembled and written a great piece of scholarship in regards to Paul Revere – specifically, how he was viewed by his contemporaries, using the lens of original newspapers of his day. An excerpt is as follows:
Because of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” most people think that Revere was critical to the start of the Revolutionary War. In trying to dispel Longfellow’s myth of a lone hero, modern scholars have portrayed Revere as just one rider among dozens on 18-19 April 1775, and argued that his previous rides for the Patriot cause might have been more important. A survey of newspapers from 1774 and 1775 shows that in fact those earlier rides had made Revere prominent enough that he did stand out in reports of the fighting at Lexington and Concord, even as Massachusetts authorities kept the extent of his activities quiet.
Paul Revere was a man who wore many hats. He was well known throughout New England for his engravings, his silver work, his Masonic fellowship and his political activity. Plus, in 1774 and early 1775, Revere worked as an express rider for the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety. He frequently carried letters, newspapers and other important communication between cities, including Boston, Hartford, New York and Philadelphia. Revere’s early dispatches related to some of the biggest American events of the eighteenth century, including the destruction of the tea, the Boston Port Bill and the Suffolk Resolves. In December 1774, at the age of 39, he rode to Portsmouth to alert local Patriot leaders that the Royal Navy was on its way to seize gunpowder and arms from Fort William and Mary. Newspaper printers would eagerly print Revere’s tidings, frequently attributing…
This is a must-read article! View Todd’s scholarship in its entirety at:
In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).
93. “Moniteur de la Louisiane“, New Orleans, February 21, 1810
The Moniteur de la Louisiane, established in 1794 by Louis Duclot, was the first newspaper published in Louisiana. Because so few early issues have survived, its history is difficult to piece together. The earliest known issue — since lost in a fire but preserved in facsimile — was dated August 25, 1794; all other extant issues are from the 1800s. Although founded when Louisiana was under Spanish control, the Moniteur was published primarily in French, the language of Louisiana’s majority population. Over time the newspaper grew in size from octavo to quarto to folio, and it also change publishers. This 1810 issue lists Jean Baptiste Le Seur Fontaine as publisher, A role he had assumed by 1803 and perhaps as early as 1797. Publication apparently ceased in 1814. When Fontaine died that year, he bequeathed to the city of New Orleans his personal file of the Moniteur.
This is one of two issues of the Moniteur sent to AAS by Edward Larocque Tinker as part of his very substantial gift of early Louisiana newspapers and periodicals.
It was such a tragedy to America when Alexander Hamilton, the founding father of the United States, chief of staff to Washington in the Revolutionary War, and America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, was killed in a duel, an event he opposed but honor forced him to participate. His words from shortly before the duel are telling: ““My religion and moral principles are strongly opposed to the practice of dueling…My wife & children are extremely dear to me…I am conscious of no ill will to Col. Burr distinct from political opposition…But it was, as I conceive, impossible for me to avoid it…”. The report is found in the “Middlesex Gazette” newspaper of July 20, 1804 (see below).
His wounds at the hand of Aaron Burr–who curiously was Vice President at the time–would prove fatal. His comments give evidence to the value of honor among the early patriots, even when they lead to a tragic end.
The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 5, 1968: “DR. KING SLAIN BY SNIPER IN MEMPHIS“