Where History Comes Alive (Part 1)… Savannah in the mid-18th century…

November 26, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

People often say a trip to Israel brings Scripture to life as you walk in the same dust Christ did.  Now that is a journey at the top of my bucket list!  Until I get to check this one off, living on the East Coast gives me many similar opportunities albeit to a lesser degree. Standing on a spot where people who exuded bravery and conviction stood so many years before, is a moving and inspirational experience every time.  One of my favorite locations is Savannah Ga.  The Historical District has something for everyone, from history overviews and current culture to stunning architecture and sweeping landscapes. Reading stories of those 1st fearless Georgia Settlers in an APPLEBEE’S ORIGINAL WEEKLY JOURNAL dated September 15, 1733 brings the dreams of James Edward Oglethorpe to life and motivates a lover of history to embrace the challenges of their time.  Moments like this help to satiate my passion to see the world until I can complete my bucket list.

Swashbuckling Adventures…

June 28, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Hollywood has painted an image of life on the high seas during the 18th Century… sometimes covering noble captains like Master and Commander’s Jack Aubrey or scheming bandits like Pirates of the Caribbean’s Captain Jack Sparrow. Real life offers us more enthralling examples of both heroes and villains to study and newspapers of the era provide fabulous reading material to mine for these adventures.
In the late 1800’s

Captain James Cook “was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the British Royal Navy, famous for his three voyages between 1768 and 1779 in the Pacific Ocean and to Australia in particular. He made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand… In these voyages, Cook sailed thousands of miles across largely uncharted areas of the globe. He mapped lands from New Zealand to Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean in greater detail and on a scale not previously charted by Western explorers. He surveyed and named features, and recorded islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time. He displayed a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, physical courage, and an ability to lead men in adverse conditions. ” (Wikipedia).
On the darker side are stories of the notorious pirate, Captain Kidd, whom Wikipedia has the following to say … “ Acts of savagery on Kidd’s part were reported by escaped prisoners, who told stories of being hoisted up by the arms and “drubbed” (thrashed) with a drawn cutlass.” Whether you are looking for those in white hats or black, the news of the past offers intriguing characters to consider.

The Gentleman’s Magazine & Poetry… Still learning…

September 28, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Nestled among the prosaic commodity prices, legal decisions, and historical chronicles that regularly appear in an issue of Gentleman’s Magazine is a section that seems surprising to me — “Select Poetry, ancient and modern.”  In some ways, this is a reminder that times certainly have changed, and things are not as they always were.  A current publication for the leaders of our era, such as Forbes or Bloomberg or The Wall Street Journal would not contain poetry, unless a noteworthy personage deviated from business acquisition long enough to write, or possibly promote a struggling artist in the name of philanthropy, etc.

But, once upon a time, the well-educated person was learned in literary as well as economic matters.  As the column title hints, the classical emphasis on education set a background that persisted into all arenas of life.  With this in mind, I delved into the section and became even further struck by the subject matter of my sampling in meter and rhyme.  The closing refrain to each stanza concludes that nothing in life matters without….love.

But weak is our vaunt

While something we want,

More sweet than the pleasure that Prospects can give.

Come, smile, damsels of Cardigan,

Love can alone make it blissful to live.

The author of this particular poem only provided his (presumably) initials to this listing of Prospects, Nectar, Odours, Music, Friendship, Learning, Riches and Honour.  All, the poet asserts, are not sufficient to bring bliss to life — only love can do that.  The musings that follow include “Ode to a Goldfinch”, “An Astronomical Thought” and “A Translation of the Epitaph”.  Put together, they summarize the principle concerns of the time period — the natural and known world, the world yet to be discovered, happiness within all experiences, and the context provided by knowledge of eventual death.

That is, indeed, a selection of ancient and modern — even the modern of today.

I’m New Here: Week Seventeen…

June 7, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite the obvious gender bias inherent in the title, I like “The Gentleman’s Magazine“, as I suspect many non-gentlemen of the time did as well. This week I pulled an issue from April of 1775 – mainly because I enjoy the tone of superiority that saturates those months before what we now know of as the Revolutionary War (or whichever various title you prefer). “Colonial upstarts” were causing commotion and consternation to the rest of the world, but mainly to the ruling class in London. The heading of the very front page of the one perched on my desk amidst the new catalog excitement is entitled, “Continuation in the House of Lords on the Address to his Majesty respecting the Situation of Affairs in America”. What follows is a labyrinthine balance between appeasing the vanity of the monarch, and an attempt to elucidate the different aspects of potential vulnerability to defeat. In particular, the French and Spanish ships continuing to trade with the colonists brought great consternation. “Does the noble Earl pretend to interpret this explanation [England would be “…at liberty to seize any of their ships trading with American subjects”] generally, so as to authorize our taking their vessels at sea? If he does not, what can such a vague deluding promise avail? If he does, then I will venture to assure his Lordship, that he is miserably deceived; and that the first attempt to prevent French or Spanish ships from navigating the American seas will furnish them with an opportunity of asserting their maritime freedom, of making reprisals, and of justifying their conduct to the other great states of Europe, who are known to be long jealous of what they are pleased to call our despotic claim to the sovereignty of the ocean.”
When I read this, I start to understand a little bit this American spirit, this classification under which our country has been perceived by the world, from the very earliest days. This mindset changed the world. And that is an immense, and not embarrassing, thought.
But, lest you think the GM’s are all politics, I would like to recommend any meteorology enthusiasts plug in the data compiled monthly and displayed on the inside cover page. The average prices of corn, wheat, rye, barley, oats and beans are delineated by county. Genealogists will enjoy the Births, Marriages, and Deaths alongside the list of Promotions and Bankrupts. There are book reviews and parish reports and a comprehensive section entitled “Historical Chronicle“, which gives an overview of multiple aspects of the state of the world.
Anyway, to delve into these accounts of the earliest days of this country is to see the tenacity that fueled an eventual nation – and perhaps nurture an admiration for what was once made, an inspiration for all that could be made again.

You can read more about Gentleman’s Magazines via previous posts at: Gentleman’s Magazines

I’m New Here: Week Eleven…

April 26, 2019 by · 4 Comments 

Now that I have been here for a couple of months, the fuzziness is clearing a little bit more.  Even better, to my way of thinking, is a growing familiarity with names and voices of some long-time collectors.  It’s a cheery thing to have someone greet you by name with an optimistic lilt to their new request.  At least, it is a very cheerful thing to me and I have a growing collection for whom I feel a certain ownership.  It helps the general air of camaraderie that I am getting it right at least as often as I get it wrong these days.

One of the customers I am silently referring to as “mine” has a list of dates and titles, and he doles them out to me at a rate of about three or four a week.  He fits that category the crew here refers to as “research request”, and I am always happy when he calls or emails.  Like some collectors, this gentleman is pursuing a theme, and his quests for pertinent people or events can span more than two hundred years.  There are sections of our archives that I now find quickly, and those titles are easily located and verified for desired content (by people much more proficient than I).  Occasionally, there is a request that leads me to a part of the archives I would swear was not there the last time I searched that quadrant.

This week an assignment took me up to the ninth row of aisle WC.  After pulling out the very bottom volume (these are anywhere from ten to fifteen pounds each, and stacked four or five high) I swooshed down to find a table upon which to search the pages for the relevant issue.  And that’s where I began to learn brand new things.  This volume, all wrapped and sealed as if ready for shipping, surely required a different process than I had used on previous queries.  But when asked, both of my sources responded with faint groans and some muttered utterances that still perplex me.  The upshot was that it is all the fault of some fellow who wanted to increase the profit margin on newspapers and led the industrial trend to switch from rag paper to newsprint made exclusively of wood pulp.  Consequently, a newspaper from 1600’s or 1700’s is able to be folded and rolled and thoroughly read — while a New York Times from June of 1900 can crumble just from attempting to lift a page.

A name was uttered — and I would repeat it if I knew I had the facts just right.  But I don’t even understand clearly what makes the paper so bad.  It has something to do with acidic materials used to create the wood pulp that damaged the integrity of the pages over a period of time…

It takes me back to Walt Whitman, with apologies for the repetition.  His chatty interview with Robert Ingersoll was published in the pulpish time of  The World (NY) dated October, 26, 1890. The content is rich with dialogue and illustrations, but there aren’t many copies that survived, due to their fragility.  Thankfully, the publishing houses learned from their mistakes and by the 1930’s changes were made.

Anyway, I am pleased to be making your acquaintance, and now know how to treat future pulpish requests, should they arrive.

Snapshot 1798… Isaac Newton’s temperament…

May 10, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the July 25, 1798 issue of The Weekly Register, London, England…

The Traveler… tired of pirating… checking out early?…

November 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-11-21-2016-piratesI traveled to London by The London Chronicle of November 22, 1766 where if found that not all Pirates are bad. An article with the dateline “Newport, Rhode Island, October 6” which is from “a letter from Castle Brew, at Annamaboa, on the Coast of Africa…”. It talks about the pirate infested areas along the coastline, but in particular the one ship “commanded by one Hide”. “…These fellows neither murder, or force any into their service; but, on the contrary, one of their  crew complaining that he was weary of that life, they put him on shore, and allowed him a sufficiency to bear his expences to the first English factory.”

There is also an interesting article from Paris… “Within a month or six weeks past, several persons in this city, tired of life, have sought the means to deprive themselves of it. Some of them have done it by pistols; but a Baker who in cool blood leaped from the top of Pont-Royal… and was only slightly wounded:… however it was imitated a few days ago by a young man,… threw himself out of a window of the third story into the garden of the royal palace; whereby all his limbs were either broken, or dislocated; and when they raised him up, he only said that it was very unhappy for him that the houses of Paris were so low…”.

~The Traveler

Introducing: RareNewspapers.com – The Revolutionary War…

September 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Collectible Revolutionary War Era Newspapers

Blog-9-15-2016-Revolutionary-War“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”

First-hand Accounts of the American Revolution

What is now American history was once current news. Revolutionary War newspapers produced daily reports mentioning political leaders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Hancock, plus military leaders (both American & British) including Gates, Gage, Carleton, Howe, Clinton, John Paul Jones, Burgoyne, and the infamous traitor, Benedict Arnold, along with other noteworthy names, such as Paul Revere and Thomas Paine.

Follow The Stuggle Against Tyranny

We offer an opportunity to own complete, genuine newspapers from the era of America’s founding fathers. Read first-hand battle reports from including Lexington & Concord, Bunker Hill, Saratoga, Ticonderoga, and Valley Forge. Immerse yourself in significant political events, such as the Declaration of Independence, the “Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms,” Articles of Confederation, the Stamp Act, and other historical happenings. Read of soldiers protecting the liberty of their families; the British taking over our prized cities of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York; and the struggle of the 13 colonies as they fought to be freed from the tyranny of British rule and taxation.

The Relationship Between Great Britain and the Colonies

It’s always interesting to get a glimpse into how the British newspapers reported news about “her charter colonies in America.” The London Chronicle published some terrific content on that topic in April 1774, and another article about taxing the American colonies containing the quote: “Might not America, under tax masters thus interested in their oppression, be deemed in a state of abject slavery?”

Revolutionary War

Hold History in Your Hands

It comes as a surprise to many that newspapers from the Revolutionary War that are 200-plus years-old are available for purchase, and are reasonable priced and well preserved. The reason that 18th century newspapers have held up so well is mostly because they were printed on durable rag linen. Rag linen was a common type of paper that was made from pulping linen rags often from ship sails or clothing.

The Traveler… being “turn’d off”…

September 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Today my journey took me to London, England, by the means of The Post Boy dated September 20, 1716. There I found the Ottoman-Venetian War was going strong with little relief for the Turks. Even their truce request of a couple hours in order to bury dead had been denied. Then only to be faced with coming into Blog-9-19-2016-Humorbattle with nails and iron and iron spikes being hidden in the sand and planks at the Communication Bridge which lamed their horses and then to be fired upon by cannon and small shot, killing more men.

I found an interesting article on the back page. “…Last Wednesday night, a Man being at the Gallows, about to be hang’d, was pardon’d; and the Friday following, another being just ready to be turn’d off, the Duchess of Berry pass’d by that Place to the Opera, and ask’d what was the Matter. Being told, she order’d the Lieutenant-Criminal to deferr Execution, while she went back, and interceded for him to the Duke-Regent. Having obtain’d his Pardon, she sent one of her Pages with it; whereupon, the Cord was cut from about his Neck, and he with much ado brought down the ladder…”

~The Traveler

Introducing: RareNewspapers.com – The 1600’s and 1700’s…

September 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Collectible 1600s & 1700s Newspapers

Blog-9-9-2016-1600s-and-1700s“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”

It might not be your first thought, but newspapers from the 1600s and 1700s are very similar content-wise to modern newspapers. Early newspapers contained reports on wars, natural disasters, listed items for sale, and published death notices. Sound familiar? Newspaper content hasn’t changed drastically in 300-plus years. It is interesting to read accounts from this era and realize how similar we modern folk are to our ancestors. It seems that people at their core are mostly the same, and to this day, want to read news covering similar topics. That being said, some aspects of newspapers definitely have changed.

What has changed are the dimensions (smaller then, larger now), the number of pages (fewer then), paper quality (higher quality rag linen then), and the format. Newspapers of this period typically had an inflexible format, meaning that if page three was dedicated to foreign news, even if the most amazing foreign event occurred, it would appear on page three, not page one—period.

Due to the time it would take to typeset and print an issue, breaking news of major events would often be printed on a separate sheet called an “Extra” or an “Extraordinary” that was delivered with the daily issue or sometimes was not distributed until the following day.

Much more can be said regarding newspapers from the 1600’s and 1700’s, but for now, please enjoy the Rare Newspapers dedicated page dedicated to original and historic issues from this era:

The 1600’s and 1700’s

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