My collecting story… T. S. P. in New York, NY…

June 12, 2020 by  
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Below we continue our series in which we post the “stories” graciously submitted by our collecting friends during the pandemic of 2020.

When we were kids my dad gave my older brother Some old paper money preserved between pieces of glass from colonial days and an old facsimile copy of a newspaper from the day that Lincoln was shot. It made a big impression on me. So when I started collecting old newspapers for the book it was that newspaper that inspired me to start a collection of my own. I remember how I felt when I picked it up and looked at it and realized that people of the time were reading these words that they were holding this paper and seeing the news for themselves. You could hear them saying how they felt about what was going on. And so not too long ago I made a point of going through your online catalog looking for some of these old Lincoln newspapers. I spent hours and days pouring over these and picking out from all those that were published on that day. I look for papers that were poignant or well illustrated or published in towns near where earlier generations of my family had lived. I looked for illustrations that showed the American spirit the way people felt at time and the events of the day. I wanted to find the illustration of John Wilkes Booth leaping to the stage from Lincoln Sparks at Ford theater. I wanted to show him laying in state. I wanted to show the crowds lining the railroad tracks as his train with his coffin Road by. I wanted to show those allegorical illustrations that show the country in the morning. But most of all, I wanted to show future generations of my family a paper that might’ve been the one that our own ancestors would’ve read that day. I was collecting all of this to make a record of the world that my family had lived in here in North America since the early 1600s. I wanted to future generations to know the story of what it took to build the life we now enjoy. I wanted them to see the uncertainties We faced, the tasks that were set for us as events as unfolded And the choices we made.

The other day I was watching some old movies in honor of Easter and Passover and among them was the 10 Commandments. At the end of the movie Moses is told by God that he is not going to be crossing the river Jordan. He was not going on with the people here the lead to the new land. The story of Lincoln‘s death is much the same. He had brought us through the Civil War and set down for all time on a document that ended slavery and freed a people. And then when peace was only moments away, he died and did not cross over into that time with the rest of us. I’m trying to remember at the moment whether or not FDR died before peace was declared at the end of World War II. He had brought us through the great depression, the dust bowl and World War II. And then there’s Martin Luther King and his “ I have a dream “ speech that was so prophetic. None of these men crossed over into the peace that they saw coming and into the land that they had envisioned and fought for — but they saw it on the horizon.

And so I am going on collecting these papers. I’m showing that events are not as simple as they are written in the history books we read in school. I’m showing the dialogue in the arguments that went on before decisions were made. I’m trying to show that not all people took the same side and then each had their own arguments and their own point of view. They chose their own paths and fought for them. And now when my family closes the book I plan to leave for them to read I want them to choose for themselves a path that will take him into the future. They may not cross over into the future is that they plan but I want them to think about the course and make a choice.

As additional “stories” are posted they will be available at: MY COLLECTING STORY. We did this many years ago as well – and their posts are also included.

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