I’m New Here: Week Thirty-Two…

September 27, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

This week as I was pulling some Gentleman’s Magazines to fill online catalog gaps, I hovered over an issue prior to searching within the computer system.  It was dated July 1776, and I took a minute to let that soak in.  I am regularly awestruck at handling all these papers, but particularly anything from such an important, pivotal year and month in American history.  Actually, I suppose it was significant to world history as well.

This is not a museum, however, but a place of business and conscience compelled me to limit my sighing to less than a minute before turning to the keyboard and pulling up the listing for this title and date.  And, as I read the opening lines of the description, I felt again the great privilege I have to be here.

“It is rare to find newspapers or magazines with the magical date of 1776, let alone ‘July, 1776’.  Here is one.”

These paragraphs are such valuable tools for searching as well as learning.  While Timothy Hughes Rare and Early Newspapers can boast 44 years in existence as a business, the depth of knowledge of history and its significance that is applied to filtering through the millions of papers in order to present each one goes far beyond a mere business listing.  And the one that filled my screen only served to deepen my wonder at this treasure trove chronicling the earliest days of this country.

The first article contains 3 pages of text on events in America, including: “Proceedings of the American Colonists since the Passing the Boston Port Bill” with various reports, one stating that: “…the main army of the United Colonies has changed its situation; and that the head-quarters are now at New-York, where Gen. Washington has already taken up his residence…”.  A proclamation issued by Congress concerning a redress of the grievances of the colonies says in part: “Therefore, Resolved, that it be recommended to the respective Assemblies and Conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to…their affairs has been…established, to adopt such a government…”, signed in type: John Hancock. Perhaps the most significant report is one mentioning the convention at Williamsburgh containing an important resolve (see) passed by the delegates which reads in part: “…That the delegates appointed to represent this colony…be instructed to propose to that…body to declare the united colonies free and independent…and that they give the assent of this colony to such declaration …..

I remember in my first days here, wondering if I would be required to wear gloves when handling these issues.  My query was shrugged off, but I have been asked the same by friends and acquaintances when I talk about my job.  We are used to seeing important things enclosed and protected behind glass and velvet ropes.  But these papers were made to be read, and passed around so the news could spread.  The older ones are often in better condition than the ones from the past few decades.  Still, they are individually protected within folders, as much to keep the edges safe and protected as to shield from light and other environmental contaminants.  I like that the storage options  we use are the same as those we offer to our collecting community.  Even though the crew here is much more seasoned than I, there is an unspoken acknowledgement that this is really amazing stuff, and I am not the only one that gets a bit awestruck…

I’m New Here: Weeks Twenty & Twenty-One…

July 4, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s hard to put into words all I learned last week, other than conclude (again) I work in an amazing place. Distinct events blurred together as we completed the regular tasks of a pre-catalog release week, simultaneous with the receipt of eleven pallets of a new title.
As I know the least, I am the least helpful in this bulk intake process. Everyone else has done it before – making space where none seems apparent. So I stayed out of the way, fielding phone, email and web orders to the best of my ability.
This week, however, marks the Fourth of the July, and I took the opportunity to look at some surrounding details of 1776 through the real time lens of reported news.

The Sons of Liberty met under the Liberty Tree. It’s not an American fable; I read the notice calling for attendance and providing an alternate location in case of overflowing turnout. People staked fortune and life to sign the Declaration of Independence, and Philadelphia papers published their names alongside that document. Paul Revere was a working man who bought advertisements in The Massachusetts Centinel to draw more customers into his silver shop. Somehow, the risk of this bid for colonial freedom becomes more meaningful as I consider the sacrificial participation required from everyday people who had plenty to occupy them in their own private lives. Regular folks became significant because they stepped up when there was every reason to keep their heads down.
Today I am thinking about the farmers and shopkeepers, the printers and the writers who looked beyond immediate concerns to take a stand for the implications on centuries to come. Surely these are some for whom the words resounded, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary…”  I won’t pontificate aloud, but there are so many contrasts to the perspective I readily adopt within my plush and easy American life.

Fresh perspective on the human story feeds the impulse: the more I find out, the more I want to know.  But the disconcerting truth is that the more I search, the more versions I find.  The best course of action just might be to head back into the annals and read it for myself…

 

A political cartoon from 1776 themed on the Revolutionary War…

February 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Political cartoons are ever-present in our world today. It would be difficult to find a daily or weekly publication today without at least one. And they have been around for a long time–perhaps longer than you might think.

There was the occasional political cartoon in 18th century magazines, only a few of which are American-themed, and fewer still can be found as most have been removed years ago. Although we have had a few in years past, we recently purchased not only a very nice one, but one from a title difficult to find in today’s world of collecting.

The November, 1776 issue of “The London Magazine: Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer”, not to be confused with the more common “Gentleman’s Magazine”. A full page plate in the issue has a very political cartoon themed on the Revolutionary War, captioned: “News From America, or the Patriots in the Dumps.” and shows Lord North standing on a platform holding a letter announcing successful campaigns by the British troops in America. A distraught woman, ‘America’, holding a liberty cap, sits at the base of the platform. Others present react to the news. There are several websites concerning this political cartoon, one of which can be seen here.

A February stroll thru time – 50, 100, 150, 200, & 250 years ago…

February 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-2-1-2016What news was reported in the month of February – 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 years ago? Such a walk back through time via the eyes of those who read the daily and weekly newspapers of the period can be quite revealing. This is why we often say, “History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.” The following links will take you back in time to show the available newspapers from the Rare & Early newspapers website. There’s no need to buy a thing. Simply enjoy the stroll.
February
1966 – 50 years ago
1916 – 100 years ago
1866 – 150 years ago
1816 – 200 years ago
1766 – 250 years ago

They put it in print… Sons of Liberty…

April 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Finding reports in centuries-old newspapers which read like they came from today’s papers are always fascinating. They provide interesting evidence that  life today, in many ways, is not necessarily so much different from years ago.

A report in the October 12, 1776 issue of “The Pennsylvania Ledger” newspaper (see below) of Philadelphia contains a very interesting piece which accuses the manipulation of news, reading: “It is astonishing to see daily the insults offered by the Tories…since the news of the skirmish on Long Island; on the first report…congratulate each other…They have the effrontery to assert that it is much worse than reported, that it’s so bad that the Sons of Liberty are afraid to let it be known least the people should be discouraged. Is not this intolerable?…they propagate every intelligence they receive, taking care to calculate it so as to serve their own turn; its beyond a matter of doubt that they keep up a secret correspondence through the colonies in order to comfort one another to keep up their sinking spirits and to propagate falsehoods…” (see).

In light of on-going accusations by political parties today that news reports are manipulated to serve their own interests, it is fascinating to find the same happened during the Revolutionary War so many years ago.Blog-4-13-2015-Sons-of-Liberty

Living in the moment…

April 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-4-28-2014-DeclarationOne of the joys of reading newspapers of a bygone era is the opportunity to put yourself in a very special moment in history. One fine example is the report in the August 22, 1776 issue of “The Continental Journal” from Boston, which notes that: “…immediately after divine worship, the Declaration of Independence was read by Col. St. Clair, and having said, ‘God save the free independent States of America!’ the army manifested their joy with three cheers. It was remarkably pleasing to see the spirit of the soldiers so raised after all their calamities, the language of every man’s countenance was, now we are a people! we have a name among the states of this world.

Such editorial commentary brings the excitement of the period to life. This is truly the way to enjoy history–what a wonderful hobby!

Reflecting on a Day of Thanksgiving & Prayer from 1776…

November 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

On this (American) day of thanksgiving, it seems appropriate to reflect on such a day from the past through the eyes of those who were embarking on what may have been the most historic event in U.S. history – July 4, 1776.  A special thanks is in order for our friends in Scotland who captured this significant moment on the pages of the Edinburgh Evening Courant, dated September 2, 1776. Please enjoy:Declaration of Independence

18th century American magazines: one to share…

February 2, 2009 by · 3 Comments 

Magazines published in 18th century America were relative few & far between when compared with newspapers of the same era. From the first magazine in 1741 through the Revolutionary War only 18 magazine titles were published, most lasting but a few issues. During the Revolutionary War only one magazine was in print, and it only lasted from January, 1775 through July, 1776, this last issue containing the Declaration of Independence.

Magazines have always been of interest to me since almost all titles carried various news of the day, typically within the back several pages, much like the British “Gentleman’s Magazine” had done since 1731. Some American magazines contained plates as well, but finding issues with the plates still intact can be extremely difficult and frustrating. The more noteworthy the plate, the less likely it will be present, typically removed by some previous owner many years ago. So when issues come on the market with significant plates still bound within the issue, it’s a moment of much excitement.

Here is one from our private collection, The Columbian Magazine from Philadelphia dated January, 1787, which contains a full page plate of “General Washington”, in addition to a foldout plate of the “Meteorological Observations” for the month of December, 1786.  We are pleased to share these photos with our fellow collectors, and wish all of you the great luck in finding your own American magazine with notable prints!