An unusual two issue set… a disaster and a massacre…

April 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Set: FRANK LESLIE’S ILLUSTRATED NEWSPAPERS, New York, both dated May 3, 1873.

The Intrigue: A two issue set of the same title with the exact same date? Yes. In regards to standard daily newspapers, especially those printed for major city distribution, it was not uncommon for there to be multiple editions of the newspaper printed on the same day – perhaps a morning and evening edition. However, we have yet to discover a weekly illustrated newspaper who printed more than one version of an issue on the same day. It is this lack of discovery to-date which makes this two-issue set rather interesting. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated apparently printed two nearly identical but different issues for May 3, 1873… each having a different cover. One might think they accidentally reprinted a cover from a previous week for some of the issues, but we have had the other issues surrounding this date, and none of them have either cover in question. Additionally, while the inner pages are almost all the same, there is also another page (pg 125) which is different. Everything else is identical.

If anyone is aware of the background concerning this set, please share.

Note: Additional (and quite interesting) information concerning both front pages may be found at Colfax Massacre and Richmond Switch Disaster (Rhode Island).

The Traveler… to catch a bear… He’s what?… No whites allowed?

February 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled back to London, England, by the way of The London Chronicle: or, Universal Evening Post dated February 18, 1764. There I found an interesting article on “The manner of catching Bears at Kamtschatka” (see photo below) which is a peninsula in Russia Far East. Although that article itself is quite interesting in the manner of how to catch these animals, the introduction is even more fascinating. “Bears and wolves are so numerous, that they fill the woods and fields like cattle; the bears in summer, and the wolves in winter. The bears of Kamtschatka are neither large nor fierce, and never fall upon people, unless they find them asleep; and then they seldom kill any outright, but most commonly tear the scalp from the back part of the head; and, when fiercer than ordinary, tear off some of the fleshy parts, but never eat them… It is remarked here that the bears never hurt women; but, in the summer, go about with them like tame animals, especially when they gather berries. Sometimes, indeed, the bears eat up the berries which the women have gathered, and this is the only injury they do them…”

Another article is of a death of a “…woman that went by the name of John Chivy. She dressed always in man’s apparel, and passed for a man; and notwithstanding she had been married upwards of 20 years, her sex never discovered till her death…”.

The following article caught my attention. “Among the sundry fashionable routs or clubs, that are held in town, that of the Blacks or Negro servants is not the least. On Wednesday night last, no less than fifty-seven of them, men and women, supped, drank, and entertained themselves… till four in the morning. No Whites were allowed to be present, for all the performers were Blacks.” The closing sentence made me ponder as to its meaning. I welcome your thoughts and explanations as well.

~ The Traveler

Black History Month… looking back…

February 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Slavery. The word itself stirs intense emotions for nearly all who hear it… even for those who have not been directly confronted with the institution. For some it brings feelings of guilt… “How could my forefathers have engaged in such activity?” For others it brings feelings of oppression… anger… and more.  While many people groups have been subjected to this burdensome yoke of man through time, for Americans, none is quite as impacting as the enslavement of African Americans. In honor of Black History Month, Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers has created a Pinterest Board which takes a look back at a time in U.S. history when slavery was alive and (not so) well:

Pinterest… Slave Ads & Related Woodcuts Prints

Additionally, we’ve arranged our available authentic newspapers related to Black Americana in chronological order (recent first) to provide a snapshot into the past for those interest in reviewing how slavery in general, and Black History more specifically, has been depicted in newspapers over the past few centuries. They may be viewed at:

African-American / Black Americana / Slavery…

Interesting items on the Underground Railroad…

February 11, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

The “Supplement to the New-York Daily Tribune“, May 11, 1849, has the following at the top of the front page. Note the incredibly strong pro-slavery bias in the first paragraph:

A well dressed runaway…

July 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

It is not uncommon that runaway reward ads include a small engraving of a person, but never have I seen an engraving of so well-heeled a runaway as this guy. And his reward of “1 mill” is a bit of an insult as to his value. This ad appeared in the “Middlesex Gazette” from Middletown, Connecticut, July 29, 1829

An institutional need…

January 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

One of our fellow collectors recently made the following inquiry seeking missing issues of an African-American newspaper from North Carolina. Not having any magical answers for him, I offer his request to all our customers in hopes someone might have a lead or suggestion. Feel free to respond through this blog.

African-American Newspaper–Durham, North Carolina

I’ve been casually interested in old newspapers and magazines for a number of years, and have regularly used them in my university classes (I recently retired as a professor of environmental policy at Duke, and often used them to document early conservation struggles.)

A few weeks ago,  I got involved in a volunteer project at the historical collection of the Durham, NC county library, indexing microfilmed copies of a weekly African-American newspaper called the Carolina Times, published between 1927 and the present.

The content, especially in the 1930s and 1940s, is amazing.  I had known a fair amount of Durham history, but was taken aback by the many specific injustices documented even here (supposedly one of the South’s most progressive cities) in the Jim Crow era.  There is much original research still to be done, and the newspaper provides a vivid counterpoint to the local white media, which are also available.

Unfortunately, our microfilm lacks all issues between 1927 to 1937 and 1944-48.  Also missing is the early version of the paper, the Durham Standard Advertiser, 1919-1927.  Extensive searching reveals that no other library in the country has these issues, in any format (everyone has the same, incomplete, microfilm).  I’ve used all my research skills to try to track them down, without success.

It would be a real contribution to both Durham history and African-American history to make this missing material available to scholars and others.  Might you have any ideas?  Private collectors?  Archives that would not show up in the usual searches of libraries or internet troves.    Peak circulation was 20,000 (in the 1940s) so it is not a completely obscure title.  The paper’s offices burned in 1975, so the original archive was lost.

I can really recommend this kind of material to anyone interested in modern history.  Any help with my own quest would be appreciated.

Obama Wins… What newspapers provide…

November 5, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Regardless of your view on the recent U.S. election, one thing is for certain: Barack Obama’s victory was a very significant and historic event! If you collect historic newspapers you’ve been able to follow the progression of African Americans – from slavery, through the early rumblings of the abolitionist/anti-slavery movement, into the struggle for emancipation (both officially and pragmatically), to achieve the right to vote, followed by the struggle of the civil rights movement, and finally, to the top and most honored position of all – The President of the United States.  It has been a long and hard-fought struggle, but thanks to all that has made our country great, it was a struggle with hope.  The realization of this hope has set the stage for a new era in this great experiment in self-government.  The melting pot is working, evolving the United States into a country where there are no African-American, Latino-American, Anglo-American, Mexican-American, etc. citizenry, but rather, one united citizenry poised to return to the great American Dream founded on the principles wisely set forth by our forefathers and supported by the many men and women who have given their lives in the cause of this great hope…  And it has been and will continue to be chronicled passionately in rare and historic newspapers.

Note:  To all those who have African American and/or slavery/anti-slavery newspaper collections:  Don’t forget to obtain a USA Today, Washington Post, or similar newspaper containing the election results. Although it may not have siginificant financial value at the moment, my guess is there are many who have gone before us whom would declare it “PRICELESS”.  🙂