My Story… Carl Aspler…

May 14, 2009 by  
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carl_asper1For me, I love history and the first time I came across an old paper (I think it was the coronation of George V in 1911), I was smitten. I loved reading the headlines as they were years ago.

In the 80’s I also began collecting antique maps (also my love of history and discovery), and these took over for a while. Now I have antique maps and newspapers!

What gets me excited about the old news is to enjoy the personal connection that people make with the various stories. For example I used to keep a number of the front pages framed in my office at work. One day, a colleague came in and told me how he had admired the “Titanic Sinking” headline. This fellow, originally from Northern Ireland, told me that his father worked at the Belfast shipyard that built the ship, and that he had actually worked on the building of the Titanic. After thinking about it for a while, I gave him the paper. It meant a lot to him, and we all had a few tears in our eyes.

On another occasion I was talking to a friend and discovered that his father had been a soldier in the Canadian Army and had participated in the ill-fated Dieppe Raid in 1942. His father was captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in a Prisoner Camp. When I showed his the newspaper from a few days later, mentioning his father as “missing in action” it was also a very moving moment. I decided that I can live without it, and gave it to him.

Yet another time I mentioned to someone in the Salvation Army that I had a paper describing the sinking of the Empress of Ireland in 1914. The ship was on it’s way to an international congress of the Salvation Army. Most of the 150 members of the Army on board were drowned as was the Salvation Army Band. This was a difficult time for the Army (in fact the band was not reconstituted until 1969). I donated the paper to the Salvation Army museum, where more people can appreciate the story.

I also amaze my family from time to time. A few months ago, my teenage daughter was doing a history project on the London Blitz of 1940. I offered to loan her a front page describing the German first bombing assault on London. She originally wasn’t sure that people would be interested in an old newspaper. The fact that everyone thought it was “so cool” also gained me extra points with my daughter…

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Thanks for sharing your story Carl. If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to and place “My Story” in the subject field. Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story. We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

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