Harper’s Weekly: a magazine or a newspaper?

December 12, 2016 by · 4 Comments 

Many collectors have wondered if the popular “Harper’s Weekly” publication is a newspaper or a magazine. Well,  there is really no clear answer.

I’ve always referred to it as a newspaper to distinguish it from their own sister publication “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine” which, being smaller, many more pages, and issued monthly, is blog-12-12-2016-illustrated-newspapersa more definitive magazine. Early in its history the weekly called themselves a “family newspaper”, and modeled themselves against “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” which began about a year earlier. If Leslie’s was a “newspaper” then certainly Harper’s Weekly was a “newspaper” as well.

However, in Mott’s “History of American Magazines” he includes a section for Harper’s Weekly, as well as one for Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper and other similar weeklies. Then he confuses the issue a bit more in the second volume of his book (pg. 43) by stating: “Half a dozen copiously illustrated weeklies of general appeal must be grouped separately. It would not be inappropriate to classify these periodicals as newspapers, since they all relied much upon the reporting of current events: indeed, one of them called itself a newspaper in its title. But they were all very much more than newspapers, and they placed the emphasis on features of appeal which belonged more characteristically to the magazine than to the newspaper–namely, pictures and belles-lettres…”.

So there you have it. No definitive answer, but in my book Harper’s Weekly is, and always will be, a newspaper.
Your thoughts?

The Traveler… unbelievable human brutality…

October 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

This week I traveled back to New York City by the way of the Harper’s Weekly, October 7, 1865. Although this issue is filled with a variety of woodcuts [illustrations], the one that struck me the most was of the “Grounds at ABlog-10-5-2015-Andersonvillendersonville, Georgia, Where are Buried Fourteen Thousand Union Soldiers Who Died in Andersonville Prison” and the accompanying article. “…The graves of the soldiers starved and poisoned and brutally murdered there are not scattered about over the innocent hill-sides of our land, but are dug under the sod that drank their blood and bore witness to the cruelty of Wirz, Winder, and the rebel authorities at Richmond, who kept these demons at their posts… James M. Moore,Assistant-Quarter-master, and his party, returned from Andersonville, where they have been engaged for a month in identifying the graves and giving honored sepulture to the fourteen thousand victims of rebel barbarity, who suffered all manner of torture and death in that notorious prison-pen…”.

~The Traveler

Elon Musk and his Hyperloop idea is 146 years old…

August 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The recent buzz about Elon Musk and his Hyperloop transportation system is an idea that was actually conceived in 1867, and received enough attention at that time that a model of the “Pneumatic Railway” system, as displayed at the American Institute in New York City, appeared on the front page of the October 19, 1867 issue of “Harper’s Weekly”.

Once again the old adage and Biblical verse  “there is nothing new under the sun” is proven to be true. Every new idea seems to have some sort of precedent or echo from the past.

The Traveler… The Emancipation… the last look… and today…

January 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

This week I traveled 150 years back in time and through the activities of the Civil War via the Harper’s Weekly dated January 24, 1863. This issue contains a double-page illustration by Thomas Nast entitled “The Emancipation of the Negroes, January, 1863 – The Past and The Future.” Mr. Nast shows their present life in the center circle, of a happy home including a picture of President Lincoln hanging on the wall. The illustrations to the left show obstacles they had to endure — being sold at auctions and separated from loved ones, beatings, and being chased (if running away). The illustrations to the right show what they are looking to in the future with the implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation — owning a home, children going to public school, being treated fairly by the employer and being paid for working.

This illustration has an accompanying article that describes the illustration and also includes text from the Tribune of March 11, 1859, which dealt with the largest single sale of humans (slaves) in the United States. Mr. Pierce M. Butler of a city near Savannah, Georgia, sold 486 slaves — men, women and children — to pay his debts. This gives a prospective of what the slaves had to endure as they were being separated from each other as family members and long term friends.

As a contrast , this issue also presents a look into the past with an illustration and small article, “A Slave-Pen at New Orleans – Before the Auction. A Sketch of the Past.”

Today we also celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Let us all remember his famous words… “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty we are free at last.

~The Traveler

The Civil War… 150 years ago… March 1, 1862…

March 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An ongoing reflection on the Civil War… 150 years prior to this post…

Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio… where was this war being fought?  How are our loved ones doing?  Are they near live action?  Are they even still alive… or perhaps injured?  Is the war coming to me?  Are we safe?  Will soldiers harm civilians?  Will we ever be able to visit our relatives on the other side again?  Would they even want to see us?  What does all this mean?  Today we look at original newspapers printed for March 1, 1862, and try to understand what it was like to walk in their shoes. Please enjoy:

Original Newspapers Read On March 1, 1862

“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”, Timothy Hughes, 1976

The Civil War… 150 years ago… February 22, 1862…

February 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An ongoing reflection on the Civil War… 150 years prior to this post…

On February 22, 1862, news was spreading that Jefferson Davis was soon to be elected President of the Confederacy.  If so, what would this mean?  Would the war soon be over?  Would this entrench the opposing sides making an early end nearly impossible?  Additional news was spreading that Fort Donelson either was, or was soon to be, under fire.  It seemed as if every day brought discouraging news to the North, and quite the opposite to the South.  Please enjoy the following original newspapers printed for the day, and see life unfold through the eyes of those present during this flash-point period in American history:

Original Newspapers Read On February 22, 1862

“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”, Timothy Hughes, 1976

The Civil War… 150 years ago… February 8, 1862…

February 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An ongoing reflection on the Civil War… 150 years prior to this post…

150 years ago today, citizens, from both the north and the south, sat down over a cup of coffee (if they were lucky) to read newspapers telling of the capture of Fort Henry, the Battle of Mill Spring, the available (advertisement) speech by Frederick Douglass, and more, while perhaps looking over large detailed maps of related regions.  The daily newspaper was their connection to the events touching nearly every household in America.   Enjoy a glimpse of the issues printed for the day:

Original Newspapers Read On February 8, 1862

“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”, Timothy Hughes, 1976

The Civil War… 150 years ago… February 1, 1862…

February 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An ongoing reflection on the Civil War… 150 years prior to this post…

On February 1, 1862, the following issues were all held… and read… by those living during the American Civil War.  Feelings of fear, sorrow, and uncertainty were prevalent as readers searched for news which would provide a glimmer of hope that loved ones would be safe, the greater good would prevail, and soon all would be well.  Experience a glimpse of their world as you browse through the following:

Original Newspapers Read On February 1, 1862

“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”, Timothy Hughes, 1976

The Civil War… 150 years ago… January 25, 1862…

January 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Today we continue our look back on the Civil War as reported within the newspapers held by those living during the Civil War… 150 years ago to-date (of this post). While many of the issues shown below are no longer available for sale, reading a snap-shot of what was printed for the given day will hopefully provide a glimpse of life during the critical period in American history. Each link shown will take you to the full description w/ images of authentic issues which were held by those living during the Civil War. Today’s selections are:

Small front page map…
THE NEW YORK HERALD, January 25, 1862 * Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky * General George H. Thomas The first column on the front page has a very small map headed: “Sketch of the Battle Field & Its Vicinity”, with related heads at the top of the column: “The Battle Of Mill Spring” “The Rebels Overcome by the Superior Fighting of the Union Troops”. Plus there are other one column heads on the front page including: “The Capture of Biloxi” “News From Central Kentucky” “The Burnside Expedition” “North Carolina Rebels in a Flutter” “News From Missouri” and more.
1862 Cedar Keys, Florida…
NEW YORK DAILY TRIBUNE, NY, January 25, 1862 * Cedar Keys, Florida * General George Burnside This Genuine newspaper has a Wealth of Civil War reporting from during Abraham Lincoln’s administration. Among the one column headlines on the Civil War are: * LATE NEWS FROM SOUTHERN SOURCES * The Rebels Hear From Kentucky * THE BURNSIDE EXPEDITION * Rebel Alarm And Uncertainty * DRAFTING IN NORTH CAROLINA * Cedar Keys Captured by Union Forces and more. Complete in eight pages.
South Carolina… Civil War…
CHARLESTON DAILY COURIER, Charleston, South Carolina, January 25, 1862 * Rare confederate issue Printed in the dateline is: “Confederate States Of America” which is rarely found on Southern newspapers. Front page war reports include: “From Richmond” “Latest Northern News–Battle Of Fishing Creek–Probable Total Failure Of The Burnside Expedition–Nine Of The Vessels Lost–700 Yankee Troops Lost” & “The War in Kentucky” “Second Great Victory–The Enemy’s Entrenchments Attacked & Forced–The Stars & Stripes Waving over the Federal Fortifications–The Rebels Driven to the River–Large number of Prisoners & Heavy Losses–Zollicoffer’s Body in our Possession–Bailie Peyton, Jr. Killed.” Other minor war reports throughout, plus various ads and notices. The bkpg. has a war-related poem: “My Maryland”.
‘Little Mac Out Again’ which shows McClellan on horseback…

HARPER’S WEEKLY, NY, January 25, 1862 This issue features a nice full frontpage illustration entitled ‘Little Mac Out Again’ which shows McClellan on horseback. A fullpage features two halfpage illustrations ‘Fort Holt, Kentucky, Opposite Cairo’ and ‘Commodore Foote’s Gun-Boate Flotilla on the Mississippi’. A fullpage “Bird’s-eye View of the Vessels Composing the Burnside Expedition at Fortress Monroe, and Showing Norfolk and Its Approaches”. A halfpage “Map Showing Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and the Approaches to Norfolk From the South”. A very nice double page centerfold ‘Grand Reception at the White House, January, 1862’ shows Lincoln & many from the military. A half page “Embarkation of Part of General Burnside’s Expedition at Annapolix, on Board the ‘Hussar'” and a nearly half page “Execution of private Lanahan, of the Regular Army, for Murder, at Washington”. A full page “Birds-Eye View of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Its Approaches”. A 1/3 page “War Map, Showing the Theatre of Operations of the Mississippi Expedition and General Buell’s Army. The back page features two political cartoons.

The prisoner left with them…

January 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An interesting legal case reported in the “Harper’s Weekly” issue of May 7, 1859:

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