An early attempt at preserving newspapers…

July 6, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

rag_vs_pulp_editionsYou may have noted many of our descriptions of the New York Times from the 1927-1953 period are described as the “rag edition”.

Fellow collector Paul Sarna passed along the following information taken from “News-Week” magazine of  Oct. 28, 1933. It’s an interesting report from 76 years ago of the creation of the “rag edition” as a means of preserving newspapers for posterity, which remain a concern for present-day institutions as well.

A brief piece from this 1933 magazine tells of  its beginning:

“To preserve valuable newspapers, libraries from time to time have resorted to sprays, rejuvenators, and glassine covers. But none has been to successful. With an eye on this problem the New York times, in 1927, began printing an edition on enduring rag paper. the idea had two disadvantages: the subscription price of the rag edition was $170 annually, and it filled about 870 ft. of new shelf space each year.”

The rag edition was produced on a very high quality newsprint, with a high percentage of cotton & linen content allowing the issues to remain very white & sturdy many years into the future. Given the subscription cost it is not surprising that libraries rather than individuals were the primarily subscribers. We have never seen a never-bound rag edition of the Times although they might exist.

The Times discontinued the rag edition in 1953. A few other newspapers also produced a rag edition during the early part of the 20th century as we’ve encountered a run of Detroit News in rag edition. Is anyone aware of other titles?

Definition of “half drunk” and “whole drunk”…

July 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

drunk_half_or_wholeThe Massachusetts Spy newspaper of Worcester, dated July 21, 1830, includes in interesting tidbit on the intoxication levels of four young surgeons in London.

Encouraging newspaper collecting in 1862…

July 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

An article in the “Charleston Mercury” of June 13, 1862 has a curious item concerning the collecting of early newspapers, and even includes a statement about the value in keeping current (meaning 1862) issues for future posterity:

“NEWSPAPERS—Many people like newspapers but few preserve them; yet the most interesting reading imaginable is a file of old newspapers. It brings up the past age with all its bustle and every day affairs, and marks its genius and its spirit more than the most labored description of the historian. Who can take up a paper half a century old without the thought that almost every name there printed is now upon a tombstone at the head of an epitaph? The newspaper of the present day will be especially interesting years hence, as containing the current record of events fraught with tremendous import to the cause of freedom in all the civilized world. We therefore would urge upon all the propriety of preserving their papers. they will be a source of pleasure and interest to them hereafter.”

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