I’m New Here: Week Thirty-Three…

October 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

This week, while pulling issues that contain Emily Dickinson death notices, I read about the first public appearance of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and also the institution of the Income Tax.  As this was in 1886, I was surprised at the latter.  Actually, I was surprised to see so many famous names and events in just a ten day span within that May.  Oscar Wilde was hosting parties, Chicago was caught up in the Haymarket affair, and Coca-Cola was invented by a pharmacist.  The rabbit trail I chose to follow (after investigating this whole Federal Income Tax thing that has historically been attributed to Woodrow Wilson’s presidency almost thirty years later) began with the following words to the Editor of the New York Times:  “Mr. Putnam’s remarks on the impropriety of republishing [Washington] Irving’s works in their unrevised form, have but one fault; they are not strong enough.”

It is Autumn with a capital “A” in the northeast United States where, flanked by hilly vistas of multi-hued splendor, every street corner proclaims this the month of Hallowe’en.  Washington Irving, author of the famous ghost story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, could easily have been one of the serialized authors featured in the 1869 “Saturday Night” issues I have been pulling for a Philadelphia area collector.  And October is definitely the time of year in which strange, extraordinary and macabre stories would have provided thrilling weekend entertainment to a 19th century culture blessedly devoid of electronic clamor.

I didn’t know about Irving’s first published work, or the misinformation campaign to hype interest prior to the release of A History of New York.  I read about his “Knickerbocker” alter ego whose fictitious disappearance sparked a national following.  This moniker influenced sports teams, architectural structures, social groups, and even a toy company.  To this day, a resident of Manhattan is a Knickerbocker — nicknamed after a man who never was.

So, I am thankful for the censure that drew my attention away from the tax tables and the following words of “THE NEW INTERNAL REVENUE LAW. Topics of Interest to Everybody”:

Among these the Tax and Tariff laws are prominent, possessing an interest for every one, inasmuch as they most sensibly affect the cost of living, enhancing the prices of everything we eat, drink, or wear, adding to the value of articles of both necessity and luxury.  The Tax law especially appeals directly to our pockets; and we find that a share of our profits from manufacturing any article, as well as a proportion of the income which we annually receive, is due to the Government.

I would much rather consider impropriety of a literary kind.

 

 

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

Who’s Who in Newspapers? Karl Marx edition…

August 23, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The 6th installment of Who’s Who in Newspapers:

George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton… Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Vince Lombardi… John Wayne, James Dean, Katharine Hepburn – these individuals, among many, are easily recognizable. However, there are quite a few historical figures who, while having adorned the pages of many a newspaper, are far from household names, or, if they are, their connection with historic newspapers might be a bit of a surprise. Such is the case with Karl Marx. While his name is well-known, few are aware he was a foreign correspondent for the New York Tribune before his name became synonymous with socialism and communism.

Feel free to peruse the following chronological list of newspapers to explore his articles, and a few others which were written about him:

KARL MARX

Who’s Who in Newspapers? Daniel Sickles edition…

April 26, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The 5th installment of Who’s Who in Newspapers:

George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton… Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Vince Lombardi… John Wayne, James Dean, Katharine Hepburn – these individuals, among many, are easily recognizable. However, there are quite a few historical figures who, while having adorned the pages of many a newspaper, are far from household names. Such is the case with Daniel Sickles. Who is he? What was he known for? When did he live?

Feel free to peruse the following chronological list of newspapers to discover why he received so much coverage in the newspapers of his day:

DANIEL SICKLES

Snapshot 1969… Teddy Kennedy in hot water…

April 7, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the July 26, 1969 issue of the Springfield Republican, Springfield, Massachusetts…

Snapshot 1969… Teddy Kennedy (was) in cold water…

April 4, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the July 20, 1969 issue of the Springfield Republican, Springfield, Massachusetts…

Snapshot 1817… Slavery…

March 30, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the February 20, 1817 issue of the National Intelligencer, Washington (D.C.)…

Who’s Who in Newspapers? Joseph A. Turner edition…

February 23, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The 4th installment of Who’s Who in Newspapers:

George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton… Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Vince Lombardi… John Wayne, James Dean, Katharine Hepburn – these individuals, among many, are easily recognizable. However, there are quite a few historical figures who, while having adorned the pages of many a newspaper, are far from household names. Such is the case with Joseph A Turner. Who is he? What was he known for? When did he live?

Mr. Turner just happens to be the publisher of what is believed to be the only Confederate newspaper printed/published on a Southern Plantation: The Countryman. He was the owner of Turnwold Plantation, located about 9 miles from Eatonton, Georgia – of Chick-fil-A, J.C.H. (see below), and The Color Purple fame.

As if this distinction were not enough, he took on Joel Chandler Harris – the eventual famed author of the Uncle Remus, Br’er Rabbit, and Br’er Fox stories, as an apprentice at the age of 14 – and trained him to serve as the typesetter for the newspaper.

Whenever we post an installment of “Who’s Who in Newspapers,” we typically provide a link to a chronological listing of newspapers which have information regarding the notable person in question. In this case, however, the newspapers are extremely rare, and while we do (at the time of this post) have a handful of issues, in this instance our link simply goes to a sample issue of this title:

THE COUNTRYMAN, by Joseph A. Turner

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Who’s Who in Newspapers? P.T. Barnum edition…

January 25, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The 3rd installment of Wh0’s Who in Newspapers:

George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton… Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Vince Lombardi… John Wayne, James Dean, Katharine Hepburn – these individuals among many are easily recognizable. However, there are quite a few historical figures who, while having adorned the pages of many a newspaper, are far from household names. Such is the case with Daniel Mendoza. Who is he? What was he known for? When did he live? These questions and more can be garnered through the newspapers of his day. Please enjoy the second installment of:

Who’s Who in Newspapers?

P.T. Barnum Edition

Note: As you explore this chronological set of newspapers, if duplicate issues appear for the same date, the item with the highest item # will have the most up-to-date information. While a few items may be available for sale, the purpose of this post is to introduce the reader to what can be found in historic newspapers.

The Traveler… up from the ashes…

April 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to New York City by the way of the Harper’s Weekly dated April 20, 1867. In the issue I found the reporting of the “Burning of the Lindell Hotel, at Saint Louis, Missouri, blog-4-17-2017-lindell-hotel-fireMarch 30, 1867″. “…The Lindell is admitted to have been the largest building for purposes of accommodation ever erected in America. It was six stories high exclusive of attic and basement; and was divided into the five hundred and thirty rooms, and the largest of which was 116 by 44 feet. The actual cost of the building was $950,000, which, with the ground (valued at $326,400), makes the whole value $1, 276,400 — note to speak of furniture, $500,000 worth or which was imported… The efforts of the firemen were not relaxed, though it was evident that they would prove futile; the full force of the Department was steadily at work until 3 o’clock on the morning of March 31, at which time all the inner work was consume, and a considerable portion of the walls had fallen in, and the once imposing hotel was a mass of crumbling, blackened ruins.”

Almost immediately, the citizens of Lindell began assembling to discuss the rebuilding of the hotel. New construction began in September of 1872 with the opening in September of 1874.

~The Traveler

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