The Civil War… 150 years ago today… July 6, 1861

July 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:

The July 6, 1861 issue has on page 4 a very nice view of: “Jefferson City, Missouri” along the river. I always look forward to finding city views in Harper’s as they offer a perspective of the cities mentioned in battle reports which, without illustrations, are difficult to comprehend in terms of size, geography & location to rivers, etc. And in the Missouri River which runs along Jefferson City are two large paddle wheelers. It would be great to ride on one someday.

Another page is taken up with a large map showing portions of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers from Jefferson City to New Orleans, and also including Florida and much of the Southeast United States. Principal cities and other rivers are noted–a terrific overview of the theater of so much military action. “Scenes of Camp and Army Life…” has 9 scenes showing just some of what soldiers do when they are not fighting.

The doublepage centerfold is very impressive, showing a “Grand Review of General McDowell’s Corps…On the South Side of the Potomac” showing simply hundreds & hundreds of soldiers at attention. And why are so many women & children in the foreground? There are several more military scenes as well, including a very nice view of “Harper’s Ferry as Evacuated by the Confederate Troops”. The Potomac runs along some very steep cliffs in this portion of Virginia.

Rhode Island’s first newspapers…

July 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

This history of Rhode Island’s European settlements goes back to roger Williams in 1604 but it was no until well over 100 years later that Rhode Island got its first newspaper. It was on Sept. 27, 1732 when James Franklin begin the “Rhode Island Gazette“, but it lasted for  only 20 issues. James Franklin also started the “New England Courant“, one of the first newspapers in Boston, and is perhaps most famous for creating an apprenticeship for his younger brother, Benjamin, who would go on to be a very successful newspaper publisher (among many other accomplishments) in Philadelphia.

It would be another 25 years before the next newspapers would be founded in Rhode Island, it being the “Newport Mercury” begun in that coastal town in 1758. Providence would have its first newspaper, “The Providence Gazette“, in 1762.

Reporting a non-event…

July 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

It must have been a very slow news day as the “Boston American” of April 11, 1912 has a  bold headline (see below) proclaiming a non-event (see). Ironically, this was also the day after the Titanic set sail for its maiden voyage. Four days later the headline would be extremely significant.

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