Why Hawaii Became the 50th State…

November 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Why_Did_Hawaii_Become_the_50th_State

Photo Credit: Noé Alfaro

Authentic newspapers reporting Hawaii Statehood, especially those from Hawaii, have been sought by collectors for decades. The fascination for “all things Hawaii” appears to have no end in sight. It is with this in mind we bring to you the following guest-post from Francisco Meza:

Why Hawaii Became the 50th State

Hawaii, one of the tiniest states and the only one made up entirely of islands, formally became the 50th state in 1959 (August 21, 1959). But Hawaii’s story starts long before 1959. Polynesians, the earliest inhabitants of these islands, settled here over 1,000 years ago. British explorer Captain James Cook, in 1778, named them the Sandwich Islands. Fortunately, this name didn’t stick. Shortly thereafter, American traders made a beeline for Hawaii’s sandalwood. From July 7, 1898, Hawaiian Islands were an organized incorporated territory of the US.

Why did it Take So Long?

The genuinely interesting question about the Hawaiian Islands becoming a state is the reason it took so long. Over sixty years elapsed from the time Hawaii had become a US possession before it became the 50th state. There were several Hawaiian petitions for statehood in the early part of the 20th century. These petitions were either denied or ignored altogether. Some in the US had felt that the Hawaiian Islands had no natural connection with the remainder of the mainland US. Most obviously, Hawaii wasn’t a contiguous territory. It lay 2,000 miles from the US coast.

American Plantation Owners Resented Paying Import Taxes

The clout of the American plantation owners in Hawaii resulted in its annexation in 1898. The protection of the plantations owners’ financial interests played a huge part too. They were keen on gaining exemption from paying import taxes for the sugar that they shipped to the mainland US. The plantation owners also wanted to safeguard their large land holdings from possible confiscation or annexation under a renewed Hawaiian monarchy.

The US Administration and Citizens Didn’t Favor Annexation of Hawaii

The sentiment in the US about the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands was always strong. The people felt it’d be an imperialistic, unjust, and hence, a most un-American move. Hawaii wasn’t only about sugar. It was an important coaling station for naval vessels, as well as, a potential major harbor. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain, Russia, and Japan had pressured Hawaii for trade concessions.

The Reasons for the Delay

At the time of annexation (1898), the monarchy had been in existence for just about a century. Originally, the monarchy had leveraged the firepower of the European sailors to consolidate power. An element of brutality was involved too. A high percentage of Hawaii’s Caucasian residents had been there for so long that they considered themselves native. Additionally, numerous Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese immigrants had come to Hawaii as agricultural laborers and settled down permanently.

Polynesian Hawaiians Wanted to Maintain the Status Quo Because They Considered the Sizable Japanese Populace in Hawaii a Threat to Polynesian Prosperity

The six-decade reluctance to alter Hawaii’s status from a US territory to state lay both within the Hawaiian Islands and the US mainland. In the mainland, it concerned the uncertainty and fear about permitting electoral authority to any one ethnic group. It wasn’t merely ethnically Polynesian versus Caucasian.

In the Hawaiian Islands, some ethnically Polynesian Hawaiians didn’t favor the change to a US state from the existing US territory. This is mainly because, although they were comfortable feeling almost “American” as long as Hawaii was a US territory, they were apprehensive that’d change in case Hawaii became a state. After WWII had ended, the occupation of Japan by the Allies fuelled their fears even more. The Polynesian Hawaiians’ fears originated from a belief that the Japanese populace on the Hawaiian Islands (almost as high as 30 percent) would, in the event of universal franchise that statehood authorized, organize and vote itself into leadership. And Polynesian Hawaiians considered that the Japanese ascent to Hawaii leadership would result in an overall Polynesian descent in Hawaii.

Factors that Favored Hawaii Becoming the 50th State

At the instant of the vote to statehood, almost 90 percent of Hawaii’s populace comprised US citizens. The importance of Hawaii in WWII had secured its identity as 100 percent American both in the minds of the mainlanders as well as the Hawaiians. Additionally, persistent and successful lobbying of Congressional representatives in the initial phase of the contemporary Civil Rights Movement swayed enough members of Congress into accepting the Hawaiian statehood. They were prepared to overlook the islands’ racial makeup.

Why Didn’t Guam or America Samoa Become a State Too?

Almost 18 years after the Pearl Harbor attack, Hawaii, considered a distant frontier of American settlement, was declared a US state in 1959. Since the 1820s, European Americans had settled down in Hawaii and established English as a language. Additionally, an American-style legal system had been introduced early on, and the US dollar was the main currency.

In the case of American Samoa, indigenous Samoans make up almost 90 percent of the population. Hence, it’s unlikely that American Samoa will ever become a US state. In the case of Guam, the indigenous Chamorros make up almost 37 percent of the population. The remainder includes Filipinos, Chinese, Whites, Japanese, Micronesians, Vietnamese, Koreans, and Indians. It’s highly unlikely that Guam will become a US state in the near future.

Summary

After WWII had ended, Hawaiians themselves desired US statehood. Even during the 14-year intervening period before Hawaii was formally conferred statehood, the “49th State” Record Label was immensely popular in the Hawaiian Islands. Eventually, Alaska became the 49th state at the beginning of 1959. Several months later, Hawaii became the 50th.

If you are ever in Hawaii and want to learn about Hawaiian culture, take a few Hawaii Tours that encompass Oahu and the other islands. You’ll learn see where the Hawaiian battles happened, see the beautiful nature, and stop by Pearl Harbor.

© Francisco Meza

They put it in print… in two different editions…

November 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

“Newsbooks” from Europe, those small pamphlet-looking periodicals which were the predecessors of today’s newspapers, have always been difficult to find. But rarely have we had a more intriguing issue than one recently added to our inventory, and its the back story which makes it interesting.

Rather than one, we have secured  two issues of the “Mecurius Aulicus“newsbook, both of the same date, “The five and thirtieth Weeke” of 1643, one the “regular” Oxford edition, the other the secretly-printed and exceedingly rare London edition.

Blog-11-23-2015-MERCURIUS-AULICUSThis newsbook was created because of the English Civil War during the early 1640’s, as a means for the Royalist faction supporting King Charles I to promote their views in Parliament-held London.  It was published in Oxford, the stronghold of Charles I at the time. Any person or any publication promoting the cause of Charles I would not have been welcomed in London.  It was a short-lived publication which began to lose support from 1644 onward as the Royalist losses on the battlefield continued. This Oxford newsbook found it more & more difficult to obtain current news and issues became badly delayed. It finally ceased publication in 1645.

But an intriguing article in Wikipedia adds an interesting tidbit to the history of this publication: “…The Mercurius Aulicus was printed in Oxford, which was at this time the Royalist capital…then smuggled into London where it was sold by local women, often at heavily inflated prices. It was also reprinted on occasion–albeit not necessarily accurately–by local sympathizers in London…”.

So as we see, there was also a  secretly-printed edition done in London, with print runs which had to be  exceedingly low. On the rare occasion we have had the opportunity to offer an issue of the Mercurius Aulicus it has always been the Oxford edition. Never have we seen a London edition. Until now.

The photos show the complete text of not only the “regular” Oxford edition but the very rare London edition as well. Comparing the two gives evidence to some subtle differences between them (embellishment at top of front page is different; heading type sizes are different; embellished first letter of ftpg. is different; dated headings on inside pages are different, etc.) Although I am struck but the considerable similarity between the two issues given they were printed on different presses in different cities, put side-by-side several differences are very evident.

Not only is this London edition very rare, but we were fortunate enough to secure the Oxford edition of the same date as well. If ever a pair of same-date newsbooks deserve to be kept together, here it is. A fascinating pair from an intriguing period in British history—and in newspaper history as well.

 

The Last Surviving Veterans Who Served at Pearl Harbor…

October 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Collecting World War II era newspapers covering significant events continues to be popular among collectors, even though the number of WWII veterans continues to decline. Authentic issues of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporting the Pearl Harbor tragedy certainly stand above them all. It is with this in mind we are pleased to post the following article compliments of Francisco Mesa.

The Last Surviving Veterans Who Served at Pearl Harbor

As the years roll by, the list of surviving US veterans of WWII who served at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese Navy attacked the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet inevitably becomes shorter. And with the Pearl Harbor survivors well past their late 80s and some passing even the ripe-old century mark, their numbers are dwindling rapidly all over the US. Last year, just about 2,000 survivors were thought to be around, still.

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

On December 7, 2014, the US President Barrack Obama designated December 7 as the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Four veterans of the remaining 9 USS Arizona survivors gathered at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center on December 7, 2014, for a meeting of USS Arizona survivors. The veterans were greeted by music and military salutes from the US Navy Band. Later, they viewed a live feed of an underwater dive beside USS Arizona’s sunken hull that still holds over 900 bodies. For the veterans, each return to Pearl Harbor brings back intense and, sometimes, painful memories.

USS Arizona Reunion Association’s Last Gathering at Hawaii

Although it was the last formal survivor gathering of the erstwhile USS Arizona Reunion Association at Hawaii, the veterans said they still intend to get together—if not in Hawaii, somewhere in the US. Louis Conter, 93, felt he still had some time, and he’d come back to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center regardless of who else makes it.

Donald Stratton, USS Arizona Survivor

Donald Stratton, 92, of Colorado is another USS Arizona survivor. Don Stratton had been manning the Anti-Aircraft gun batteries. He remained at his battle station on the ship’s port side until the last possible moment. He endured 65 percent burns and a one-year hospitalization. Stratton was medically discharged from the US Navy but re-enlisted a year later. He said that the good Lord saved a precious few from the USS Arizona.

John Anderson, USS Arizona Survivor

John Anderson, 97, was ordered off the USS Arizona, but he wasn’t willing to leave behind his twin brother, Delbert. Although Anderson was forced into a boat and packed off to the safer Ford Island, he returned in an empty boat and rescued three shipmates. Sadly, he didn’t find his brother. Anderson recalled that he had just attended church services that day and had been heading to breakfast when someone warned that the Japanese planes were coming.

Anderson Recalls the Harrowing Experience

Anderson remembers lying in a bomb-blast crater on Ford Island after the surprise attack. He had picked up a rifle and two bandoliers of ammunition and started firing at Japanese aircraft. Anderson had hunkered there through that night with another sailor. In the morning, a passing Marine patrol informed him that survivors of the USS Arizona had to gather at the dock nearby to facilitate a head count. Anderson remembers everyone he saw having rags around their heads. He clearly recalls bandages covered their arms and their skin had been scorched, and their hair had been burned off.

Lauren Bruner, USS Arizona Survivor

Lauren Bruner, 94, had been alongside Don Stratton manning his battle station. There were four others as well. Bruner had escaped from the fiery, sinking battleship by shimmying across a rope that dangled 60 feet above Pearl Harbor’s waters. Bruner had been standing just 70 feet from the spot the torpedo bomb had exploded at the USS Arizona’s forward magazine. He suffered almost 75 percent burns. But that didn’t deter him. Bruner and his comrades were intent on fighting back. There was only one thing that hampered them … they just had to survive the next few moments. So, after catching the attention of one sailor aboard the warship moored alongside their own, a rope stretching almost 100 feet was thrown across.

The Sailors’ Great Escape from the Burning USS Arizona

All the 6 men made the painful—all of them had suffered serious burns—hand-over-hand escape. They had dangled 60 feet in the air as huge flames rising from the oily harbor had burned their skin even more. Bruner had been the second last to leave USS Arizona. Alvin Dvorak, the last one to escape over the rope, had been the one that caught the attention of the sailor on the USS Vestal. Unfortunately, Dvorak succumbed after spending 17 days in the hospital. He had suffered 84 percent burns. Lauren Bruner considers Alvin Dvorak to be the true hero of their great escape. Bruner spent the next seven months in the hospital and returned to the Pacific theater.

Conclusion

Although the survivors of Pearl Harbor are in their early or mid 90s, they can recall the Japanese sneak attack vividly. Many of the survivors fondly hope to live long enough to attend the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor strike in Hawaii on December 7, 2016.

If you are ever visit Hawaii, there are several Pearl Harbor tours that range from just a couple hours to a full day. There are still droplets of oil coming out of the sunken battleship USS Arizona. Also, there are hundreds of people still entombed within the sunken battleship. It is said that the droplets of oil represent the crying of the fallen men and women. And when the droplets of oil stop, the crying will stop.

© Francisco Meza

Noteworthy newspapers – one person’s view (part I)…

October 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

At Rare Newspapers, the most difficult to answer yet common question our staff is frequently challenged to answer is, “Do you having anything new to offer that’s interesting?” While some newspapers would certainly rise to the top of the heap and make the answer a no-brainer (Lincoln assassination, Declaration of Independence, an Oxford Gazette, a great Stock Market crash report, etc.), these issues are few and far between – and do not come along very often. What about the periods when no “best of the best” has come our way? Selecting great issues is often quite subjective – and ends up being heavily Blog-10-22-2015-Joe-Paternoinfluenced by one’s own interests and knowledge base. This truth makes answering this question nearly impossible. However, just for fun, from time to time we’ll ask the Rare & Early Newspapers’ staff to take turns looking at the issues listed month-to-date to select their choice for the most interesting new item.

I’ll get things started by taking a look at September (to-date), 2015. In my opinion, there are several good issues to choose from: The New York Yankees acquire Joe DiMaggio, the very 1st King Kong advertisement,  the announcing of the creation of a Jewish homeland, the execution of the Rosenbergs, and the death of William Randolph Hurst – to name a few. However, as a graduate of Penn State University, my selection of the month is an issue announcing Joe Paterno becoming a starter at Brown University. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I’m confident my selection may not be the same as yours.  You can weigh in on your own thoughts by looking at the first page of our Recent Listings. Enjoy.

Next stop: October, 2015.

Great Headlines Speak For Themselves… death of Gandhi…

October 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the TAUNTON DAILY GAZETTE, Massachusetts, January 30, 1948: “GANDHI SHOT TO DEATH”…Blog-10-8-2015-Gandhi

Great Headlines Speak For Themselves… Sinking of the Titanic…

September 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with THE TRIBUNE, Los Angeles, April 16, 1912:  “TITANIC SINKS; 675 ARE SAVED” “1800 GO DOWN IN SHIP, REPORT” (see below). We also have a nice Pinterest board with Titanic headlines: TitanicBlog-9-24-2015-Titanic

Great Headlines Speak For Themselves… Jean Harlow dies…

September 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the HERALD EXPRESS–EXTRA, Los Angeles, June 7, 1937: “FILM STAR JEAN HARLOW  DIES; WM. POWELL, FAMILY AT SIDE“…

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They put it in print… the Stamp Act…

August 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-7-17-2015-Stamp-ActSome of the most noteworthy events in history have humble beginnings. Such is the case with the announcing of the passage of The Stamp Act in The Gentleman’s Magazine, March, 1765. Under the Historical Chronicle section is the rather inconspicuous note, “Lord Mansfield, as speaker, and the Earls Gower and Marchmont, by virtue of a commission from his majesty, gave the royal assent to the following bills: …for laying a stamp duty in the British colonies in America.”  While this official notification of the Stamp Act most likely flew under the radar of most readers of the day, there is no doubt regarding its significance. I wonder which one-liners which go unnoticed today will prove similar ten years from now?

“Brownsville Gazette” – a gem from the American Antiquarian Society…

August 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers’ focus: The American Antiquarian Society

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.).

161. Brownsville Gazette“, Brownsville, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1808

Clarence S. Brigham’s two -volume History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820, published by AAS in 1947, was a landmark in newspaper bibliography. The fruits of thirty-six years of painstaking research are amply displayed in the detailed publishing histories and comprehensive censuses of institutional holdings. For fully 194 (nine percent) of the 2,120 titles included, Brigham was unable to locate any extant issues, though he could document the newspapers’ existence from other sources.

Since Brigham’s day it has been as AAS priority to locate and acquire issues of these “lost” newspapers. Many have been found, and much new information has been gathered towards a supplement to Brigham’s bibliography. Here is one such “discovery issue,” for the Brownsville Gazette, which turned up on eBay in 2004. The accompanying page from the manuscript to Brigham’s bibliography shows his draft entry for this title, clipped from the April 1920 number of the AAS Proceedings, where it was originally printed: from Isaiah Thomas’s 1810 The History of Printing in America (Cat. 9), Brigham knew that the Brownsville Gazette was being published early in 1810; and an 1882 county history citation indicated that it began publication no later than January 14, 1809. But no new information had come Brigham’s way between 1920 and 1947. Based on the discovery issue’s date and numbering, however, it is now known that William Campbell launched the Brownsville Gazette sometime in 1807.

Great Headlines Speak For Themselves… Watts riots in Los Angeles…

August 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the LOS ANGELES TIMES–EXTRA, August 14, 1965: “EIGHT MEN SLAIN; GUARD MOVES IN“…Blog-7-9-2015-Watts-Riots

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