A tribute to Bob Moores…

April 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

We recently became aware of the passing of Bob Moores, former owner of Gateway Books and a dealer in historic newspapers. Past is Present, the American Antiquarian Society’s blog, has a wonderful related post worth reading:

Tribute to a Great Friend and Book Dealer

A gem from the American Antiquarian Society… The Kentucky Spy…

August 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

Blog-8-8-2016-AAS-Kentucky-Spy181. “The Kentucky Spy and Porcupine Quill“, Frankfort, Kentucky, January 25, 1849

In recent years AAS has actively collected issues of pre-1877 American manuscript periodicals. These handwritten examples mimic printed periodicals in format and content, containing stories, news, and advertisements. Sometimes they were produced by individuals, serving as the manuscript equivalent of amateur newspapers, and sometimes they were issued by small groups. Others were produced as an activity of a school or lyceum.

AAS has held manuscript periodicals since the nineteenth century; but because these were long shelved alongside printed periodicals, they were easily overlooked. In the 1990s AAS staff began to pull them together into a separate collection, in the process discovering not only how many titles were already at AAS, but also the frequency with which they were produced. As it became apparent that the more specimens AAS had, the more they collectively revealed about early American scribal culture, AAS began to seek them actively. The collection now numbers more than sixty titles.

One of the more unusual is “The Kentucky Spy and Porcupine Quill.” The masthead claims that it is “Devoted to the science of matrimony, union, wedlock and the ladies.” However, the chief story, entitled “Wonderful rumpus in the town of Irvine,” is a fictional account, humorous in tone, of a revolt by 5,000 heavily armed slaves which in the story turns out to be a hoax. The editor and contributor(s) are unnamed.

“Brownsville Gazette” – a gem from the American Antiquarian Society…

August 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers’ focus: The American Antiquarian Society

In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

161. Brownsville Gazette“, Brownsville, Pennsylvania, May 21, 1808

Clarence S. Brigham’s two -volume History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820, published by AAS in 1947, was a landmark in newspaper bibliography. The fruits of thirty-six years of painstaking research are amply displayed in the detailed publishing histories and comprehensive censuses of institutional holdings. For fully 194 (nine percent) of the 2,120 titles included, Brigham was unable to locate any extant issues, though he could document the newspapers’ existence from other sources.

Since Brigham’s day it has been as AAS priority to locate and acquire issues of these “lost” newspapers. Many have been found, and much new information has been gathered towards a supplement to Brigham’s bibliography. Here is one such “discovery issue,” for the Brownsville Gazette, which turned up on eBay in 2004. The accompanying page from the manuscript to Brigham’s bibliography shows his draft entry for this title, clipped from the April 1920 number of the AAS Proceedings, where it was originally printed: from Isaiah Thomas’s 1810 The History of Printing in America (Cat. 9), Brigham knew that the Brownsville Gazette was being published early in 1810; and an 1882 county history citation indicated that it began publication no later than January 14, 1809. But no new information had come Brigham’s way between 1920 and 1947. Based on the discovery issue’s date and numbering, however, it is now known that William Campbell launched the Brownsville Gazette sometime in 1807.

“Le Bijou” – a gem from the American Antiquarian Society…

August 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers’ focus: The American Antiquarian Society

In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

180. Le Bijou“, Cincinnati, Ohio, September, 1879

A hobby practiced especially by teenagers, amateur journalism exploded in popularity in the United States following the invention of an inexpensive table-top printing press in 1867. During the 1870s and 1880s, thousands of amateur newspapers were published and liberally exchanged with other amateur journalists around the country. Because of the circumstances under which they were produced, amateur newspapers are becoming of increasing interest to historians, and AAS actively adds to its large collection.

One of the most interesting amateur newspapers at AAS is Le Bijou, edited and published by Herbert A. Clark (ca. 1860-ca. 1924). A great-grandson of Lewis and Clark Expedition leader William Clark, Herbert was born into one of Cincinnati’s leading African-American families. His father Peter, an associate of Frederick Douglass, was politically active and instrumental in establishing free public schools for Ohio African-Americans. Le Bijou is notable for its prominent and forthright and advocacy of civil rights, a fight carried over to the Amateur Press Association, which in 1879 elected Clark it’s third vice-president over the heated objections of its Southern members. Many withdrew, forming in its stead the secret Amateur Anti-Negro Admission Association. Clark delightedly reported on the controversy in the pages of Le Bijou, which he published from 1878 to 1880. He then moved on to a career as a journalist and publisher of African-American newspapers.

A gem from the American Antiquarian Society…

January 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-1-30-2015In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

93. “Moniteur de la Louisiane“, New Orleans, February 21, 1810

The Moniteur de la Louisiane, established in 1794 by Louis Duclot, was the first newspaper published in Louisiana. Because so few early issues have survived, its history is difficult to piece together. The earliest known issue — since lost in a fire but preserved in facsimile — was dated August 25, 1794; all other extant issues are from the 1800s. Although founded when Louisiana was under Spanish control, the Moniteur was published primarily in French, the language of Louisiana’s majority population. Over time the newspaper grew in size from octavo to quarto to folio, and it also change publishers. This 1810 issue lists Jean Baptiste Le Seur Fontaine as publisher, A role he had assumed by 1803 and perhaps as early as 1797. Publication apparently ceased in 1814. When Fontaine died that year, he bequeathed to the city of New Orleans his personal file of the Moniteur.

This is one of two issues of the Moniteur sent to AAS by Edward Larocque Tinker as part of his very substantial gift of early Louisiana newspapers and periodicals.

A gem in the American Antiquarian Society… “The Royal Danish American Gazette”…

February 11, 2013 by · 2 Comments 

In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

104. “The Royal Danish American Gazette“, Christiansted, St. Croix, September 11, 1776

The Waldo Lincoln collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century West Indian newspapers numbers several thousand issues — many being the only known copies — and is one of the most important to be found anywhere.

The Royal Danish American Gazette was the first newspaper published in what is now the Virgin Islands. It was founded in 1770, when publisher Daniel Thibou relocated from St. Kitts to establish the first press on St. Croix. Portions were printed in Danish for the benefit of St. Croix’s sizable Danish population. We know that it had a fairly wide circulation, for a number of its articles were reprinted in contemporary American newspapers. Scholars have recently taken renewed interest in the significance of the West indies for early American history; but given the tropical climate, relatively few primary sources survive in West Indian libraries.

A gem in the American Antiquarian Society… The Michigan Essay…

January 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our Rare & Early Newspapers’ collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

Michigan Essay; or, The Impartial Observer“, Detroit Michigan, August 31, 1809

Isaiah Thomas devoted substantial space in The History of Printing in America (Cat.9) to a history of American serial publications, closing with an eight-page census of newspapers “Published in the United States in the beginning of the year 1810.” Thomas sought help in its compilation in March 1810 by placing a widely reprinted notice in The Massachusetts Spy, requesting publishers “to forward one or two of their papers … that the right titles of their several Newspapers, may be correctly inserted.” Many responded, and the newspaper issues sent to Thomas were later donated to AAS.

This example — the first and only extant issue of the first Michigan newspaper — arrived too late for inclusion in Thomas’s checklist. The manuscript notation on the side reads, “Utica, (N.Y.) Aug. 3d 1810. Mr. Thomas, Sir I send you this paper printed by a friend of mine to insert in your ‘History of Printing.’ If he sees your advertisement, he will send more, perhaps of a later date. Your obt. Servt. C.S. McConnell.” The Michigan Essay was printed by James M. Miller on Michigan’s first press, brought to Detroit from Baltimore in 1809 by Father Gabriel Richard. Most of the text is in English, but a few articles and advertisements are in French.

Antebellum American Newspapers… AAS…

April 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Vincent Golden of the American Antiquarian Society, recently produced a video which describes the history and characteristics of Antebellum American newspapers.  We thought our readers might enjoy this informative piece, from the Curator of the AAS:

Antebellum American Newspapers from American Antiquarian Society on Vimeo.