Ford’s Theater… then and now…

April 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-4-24-2015-1865-Ford's-Theater150 years ago, much of the nation was still reeling from the death of Abraham Lincoln. A mere 10 days previous time stood still and tears flowed freely at the news that the President had been killed. Did many travel to Washington, D.C. to mourn his passing? Did some visit the very site of his tragic and untimely demise to place a candle… flowers… mourn? The Philadelphia Enquirer, April 17, 1865, not on only printed a sketch of the captured John Wilkes Booth, but they also included a front-page schematic (right) of the back-alley escape route where a horse was waiting for the infamous villain and his accomplice. While the region has gone through several transformations over the course of the last 150 years, this same alley exists today. The current-day photo shown below was sent to us be a collector friend who also included the following note:

I have attached a picture of the rear of Ford’s Theater as it looks today (showing the original windows/doorways that have been bricked-up)…and I want to point out that the alleyway shown on that April 17th issue is incredibly, to this day, the only exit on the entire block and proportioned to what it was in that newspaper.

If you’ve never visited Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., it is certainly worth the trip.Blog-4-24-2015-21st-Century-Ford's-TheaterNote: During my days as a Middle School Teacher, can anyone guess the most common question students asked upon visiting this spot during a school trip?

The Civil War… April, 1865

April 10, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

What news was reported in April, 1865 – 150 years ago? Such a walk back in time through the eyes of those who read the daily and weekly newspapers of the period can be quite Blog-4-3-2015-Lincoln-Shotrevealing. 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 link 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 walk back in time:

April, 1865

A sampling of what you will find may include articles and info regarding: the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln (along with much on his funeral), the capture and death of John Wilkes Booth, the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, the Fall of Richmond, and more. Enjoy!

I’m thankful for… Abraham Lincoln…

November 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, one is compelled by the overwhelming blessings so many of us experience on a daily basis to consider things for which we are thankful, but often overlook. One such gratitude-producing individual for me is Abraham Lincoln. Was he a perfect man? No. Have many of his flaws been white-washed from history? Yes (I’m counting on the same treatment). However, this does not negate the truth that in my eyes, he was a man for “such a time” as his was. I’ve always appreciated his writing (whether it be from his own pen or another’s makes no difference to me). One of my favorites is:

“I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If the end brings me out wrong, then ten Angles swearing I was right would make no difference at all.” Abraham Lincoln

We should all have such strength of conviction in regards to our actions under fire.

A short time ago I came across a letter from him which was printed in a National Intelligencer dated January 27, 1865 that may rival the above. It is his response to a letter received from him from Eliza Gurney, the wife of a recently departed friend. The full text is viewable via the image shown below, with the transcribed text to follow.Blog-11-26-2014-Abraham-Lincoln-Letter

Executive Mansion,
Washington, September 4, 1864.

Eliza P. Gurney.
My esteemed friend.

I have not forgotten–probably never shall forget–the very impressive occasion when yourself and friends visited me on a Sabbath forenoon two years ago. Nor has your kind letter, written nearly a year later, ever been forgotten. In all, it has been your purpose to strengthen my reliance on God. I am much indebted to the good Christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay.

Your people–the Friends–have had, and are having, a very great trial. On principle, and faith, opposed to both war and oppression, they can only practically oppose oppression by war. In this hard dilemma, some have chosen one horn, and some the other. For those appealing to me on conscientious grounds, I have done, and shall do, the best I could and can, in my own conscience, under my oath to the law. That you believe this I doubt not; and believing it, I shall still receive, for our country and myself, your earnest prayers to our Father in heaven.

Your sincere friend,

A. Lincoln.

So, what are you thankful for?

The Traveler… the Thanksgiving proclamation…

November 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-11-03-2014-Lincoln-Thanksgiving-ProclamationThis weeks travels took me to Boston, Massachusetts, by the way of The Liberator dated November 4, 1864. There I found President Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation for a National Thanksgiving. “It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health… Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart, the last Thursday in November next, as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God, and the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the universe; and I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers supplications to the Great Disposer of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land, which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and our posterity throughout all generations… ABRAHAM LINCOLN.”

~The Traveler

The Traveler… “spite” hermetically sealed… President Lincoln’s draft order…

February 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

I traveled today to New York City by way of The New York Times dated February 1, 1864. There I found that President Lincoln had just “Ordered, that a draft for five hundred thousand men, to serve for three years or during the war, be made on the 10th day of March next, for the military service of the Untied States, crediting and deducting therefrom so many as may have been enlisted or drafted into the service prior to the 1st day of March, and not heretofore credited.” This is signed in type: ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Also in the issue is an article with the heading “The Death Bandage of Gen. Walker”. “…Lieutenant Drennon… brings with him, hermetically inclosed in glass, the bandage which covered the eye of Gen. William Walker, when he was shot at Truxillo, Honduras…. ‘Remnant of the bandage which encircled the brow of Gen. William Walker, who having honorably capitulated to Norvell Salmon, Commander of H.B.M. steamship of war Icarus, was treacherously surrendered to the Honduras authorities, and by the executed on the 12th September, 1860, in the town of Truxillo. Posterity will do justice to their memories. The victim will be deplored while the traitor will be execrated.’  The bandage is thick with gore, full of bullet holes, and is partially burned — the file of executioners standing so close that the discharges set fire to it…” This was to be presented to General Walker’s father who resided in Nashville, Tennessee. What an item to be presented with to remember your son…

~The Traveler

#24 – Lincoln’s assassination in a Washington, D.C., newspaper… (*revisted)

January 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Daily-Morning-Chronicle-LinOne of the (positive) frustrations we have always dealt with as a rare newspaper dealer is not being able to share some of the best material which comes our way. Not surprisingly very rare and very historic items have a waiting list of customers waiting for it to come into inventory and such newspapers are typically sold before they have the opportunity to be listed in a catalog. But here is where our blog is of value, allowing us an opportunity to share some nice material even though no longer available for purchase.

Holding true to the belief that newspapers from cities where historic events took place are the best to have, our recent sale of the “Daily Morning Chronicle” of April 15, 1865 from Washington, D.C. fits this description very well. Although purchased by a member with a *“want list” for such material, the issue is too fascinating not to share with others, hence this link to the listing and photos.

Enjoy one of the best newspapers to have on Lincoln’s assassination.

Note: Although we manage a want list for key material, with thousands of such wants, the system is not perfect (i.e., we occasionally miss an item on someone’s want list and it ends up being purchased through a member or public offering). We simply promise to do the best we can. If you have key content of interest, feel free to be in touch.

*The Fall of 2013 marked the 5th anniversary of the History’s Newsstand Blog by Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers. We are grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the newspaper collecting community, and appreciate those who have participated through guest posts, comments, and readership. In 2014 we will revisit the top 25 posts (measured by activity), with the number 1 post being revisited during the first week of 2015. Please enjoy. If you would like to contribute a post for consideration of inclusion on the blog, please contact Guy Heilenman at guy@rarenewspapers.com.

The Gettysburg Address… What did he actually say?

November 19, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

“Four score and seven years ago…”

150 years ago this month, President Abraham Lincoln delivered what we now consider to be one of the greatest speeches of all time. Interestingly enough, since 5 different manuscripts exist, there is some disagreement amongst historians concerning what he actually said. Might original newspapers of the day with eye witness accounts provide the answer? If the speech had been long we probably wouldn’t have a high degree of confidence in the newspaper reporters’ accounts, but the brevity of the speech certainly increases the probability of an accurate transcription. Original reports may not have the definitive answer to this question, but they certainly provide reasonable evidence regarding what was actually spoken. Once again, “History is never more fascinating than when it is read from the day it was first reported.

View Authentic Newspapers with Gettysburg Address Coverage

The Traveler… at the theatre…

November 4, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Today’s journey took me to Washington, D.C. via the Daily National Intelligencer (November 4, 1863). There I found an article advertising a new theatre tragedy at Ford’s Theatre entitled “The Robbers” written by a German author. What is most intriguing is find that a cast member that they are applauding is the son of Junius Brutus Booth, John Wilkes Booth “…probably as good an interpreter of its interpreter of its many intricate and difficult portions as could be desired…  Mr. Booth will, as a matter of course, appear as Claude Melnotte, a character which he is admirably suited to sustain, both by personal and mental gifts… those desirous of witnessing the honest and sincere efforts of an aspiring young actor in all of the best acting tragedies should make their arrangements accordingly.”

It is hard to image his following appearance on April 14, 1865…

~The Traveler

Lincoln’s famous letter to Lydia Bixby…

October 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The photo shows the report in the December 2, 1864 issue of “The Liberator” of Lincoln’s very famous & heart-felt letter to a woman who lost five sons in the Civil War. A very sobering report which gives one a small sense of the horror of war not just on the battlefield, but at home as well. This letter has been praised by many as among Lincoln’s best works of writing, along with the Gettysburg Address and second inaugural address.

How often does a President admit he is wrong?

September 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The character of Abraham Lincoln, which has made him arguably the best President of the United States, has been the subject of many books. One bit of evidence can be found in the September 5, 1863 issue of the “Army & Navy Journal” which contains a famous letter to General U.S. Grant (see below).

In this remarkable letter, President Abraham Lincoln congratulates General Grant for an important victory — the capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, 1863. Lincoln differed with Grant about how to handle the campaign, but when Grant pursued his own strategy successfully, Lincoln frankly admitted that Grant was right.

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