A gem in the American Antiquarian Society… Charleston Mercury Extra…

January 14, 2013 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.).

Charleston Mercury Extra“, December 20, 1860

The divisive political events of the 1850s had pitted North against South on numerous issues, including the expansion of slavery into the western territories, tariffs on goods such as cotton, and broader concepts of states’ rights vs. federal law. Political compromises made throughout the decade in an attempt to keep the nation together effectively collapsed with the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860. South Carolina, heir to the legacy of states’ rights lion John C. Calhoun, was the first to address the possibility of leaving the Union. On November 10, 1860, four days after the presidential election, South Carolina brought the issue to a head by calling a secession convention for the following month.

Considered by virtue of timing to be the first Confederate imprint, this broadside announced to the public the convention’s declaration, on December 20, 1860, that South Carolina would secede from the United States. This sheet was removed from a wall in Charleston by the Boston-born author Caroline Howard Gilman (1794-1888), who had moved permanently to Charleston following her marriage to the Rev. Samuel Gilman. Gilman mailed the broadside to her daughter Eliza in Salem, Massachusetts. Eliza in turn presented the document to AAS member Nathaniel Paine who, heeding the Society’s call to preserve all printed material relating to the unsettling national events, passed the broadside along to AAS.

A high-resolution image of this issue is viewable at: American Antiquarian Society, #47

Encouraging newspaper collecting in 1862…

July 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

An article in the “Charleston Mercury” of June 13, 1862 has a curious item concerning the collecting of early newspapers, and even includes a statement about the value in keeping current (meaning 1862) issues for future posterity:

“NEWSPAPERS—Many people like newspapers but few preserve them; yet the most interesting reading imaginable is a file of old newspapers. It brings up the past age with all its bustle and every day affairs, and marks its genius and its spirit more than the most labored description of the historian. Who can take up a paper half a century old without the thought that almost every name there printed is now upon a tombstone at the head of an epitaph? The newspaper of the present day will be especially interesting years hence, as containing the current record of events fraught with tremendous import to the cause of freedom in all the civilized world. We therefore would urge upon all the propriety of preserving their papers. they will be a source of pleasure and interest to them hereafter.”