I’m New Here: Weeks Fourteen & Fifteen…

May 24, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week I didn’t post because I was involved in a local amateur production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  Consequently, I returned to work with many dramatic musical numbers dictating the soundtrack of my mind.  Perhaps that influenced my interest in an assigned hunt for a title that reported on the death of the “Leather Man” in 1839.

I found it, and duly replied back to the collector.  But I also took a little bit of a break to search out the meager story of this individual who was a vagabond for 32 years of his life.  The inscription on his tombstone describes a man, “who regularly walked a 365-mile route through Westchester and Connecticut from the Connecticut River to the Hudson living in caves in the years 1858–1889.”  Like clockwork, apparently, he completed his circuit every year and was greeted and given hospitality by many along the way who would normally reject any other vagrant.  The internet provides an intriguing image of this leather patchworked fellow in his exile from the rhythms of normal life.

And, with the tortured song of the male lead sounding in my head, I wondered at the days preceding his arrival; what made him the man who came to be known this way?

Was he tormented and driven to trudge through the days, or was this a happy occupation for a human being – leaving behind the established cares of civilized life, content to cover so much ground in so many hours for the prescribed revolutions of the sun?  Either way, or something in-between, he made it to the second page of The New York Times.  For all the documentation housed here, how many millions of unread or even untold stories must there be?

Anyway, I am back at work, tracking down first, second and third day accounts of the original murder that inspired Capote’s “In Cold Blood”  and pulling the obituary for a man who had no known name or history of origin.  Next week I am determined to look at these territory papers that are so desirable, and maybe delve into the popular Gentleman’s Magazines with their coveted battle maps.

All of which remind me of one theory concerning the Leather Man: that he was an ex-French soldier.  Perhaps that’s true, and all the years of marching over fields and sleeping rough became a way of life he ultimately could not break.  Whatever compelled him, day after day, I’m fairly certain a tragic musical score is appropriate.

Revisiting “The Crime of the Century” through the reporting of the Chicago Tribune…

December 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Question: What do you get when you cross The Chicago Tribune with “The Crime of the Century”?

The Chicago Tribune, self-described as “The World’s Greatest Newspaper,” earned a reputation for having dramatic, timely headlines. In this regards, they are perhaps 2nd to none. However, they are also well-known for what may very well be the greatest mistake in front-page headline news: “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.” While certainly the most recognized, it was not the Chicago Tribune’s 1st major faux pa. Approximately 16 years earlier, in an effort to be at the forefront of breaking news in regards to “The Crime of the Century,” they printed the dramatic headline: “REPORT ‘LINDY BABY HOME’.” Sadly this would prove to be a false, unsubstantiated report (aka, “fake news”) – as the Lindbergh baby would be found dead a little more than a month later. It sure goes to show how even the “best of the best” can make mistakes – a good lesson in humility for all of us.

Snapshot 1927… Several are killed and they’re worried about the score???

September 14, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from The Leominster Daily Enterprise dated January 27, 1927

Perhaps the editor should have picked up on this double entendre tainted headline?

The Traveler… inhumanity at its worst…

August 21, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Today’s travels took me to Gloucester, England by the way of The Glocester Journal dated August 17, 1767. I found a very horrific report on the barbaric treatments that Elizabeth blog-8-21-2017-barbaricBrownrigg did to the girl apprentices. She had beaten the one girl so viciously that, even though she had been found, the doctors were not able to save her life.  “On Sunday morning one of the unfortunate girls who were cruelly beaten, and otherwise most barbarously treated by the their mistress… of the wounds she received from there said inhuman mistress… when it appeared by the evidence of the of the surviving girl, that, about a year and a half ago, the deceased was put apprentice, and was upon trial about a month, during which she eat and drank as the family did; that soon after her mistress, Elizabeth Brownrigg, began to beat and ill-treat the deceased, sometimes with a walking-cane, at other times with a horsewhip or a postillion’s whip… and beat her with a whalebone riding-whip on several parts of her body, and with the butt-end, divers times about the head, the blood gushing from her head and other parts of her body;…” A neighbor hearing noises from the lower area of the house had her journeyman investigate it and that is how she was found.

~The Traveler

Final editions of newspaper publications…

October 14, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

We are frequently asked to appraise final editions of newspaper titles which have gone defunct. Sadly, much like the specific publications themselves, collectors rarely find these final editions to be blog-10-14-2016-chicago-daily-newsattractive. Some might suggest the lack of interest in current newspapers (in general) might have a negative impact on the hobby of collecting historic newspapers, but our experience has shown no such correlation. Alternately, the decline in readership of current titles and the corresponding abundance of newspaper publications going out of business seems to be directly proportional to the ease and speed for which information can be had at a minimal (if any) cost. In most instances, by the time a newspaper hits a subscriber’s doorstep, much of the news is already outdated. One journalist of such a “final edition” had their own thoughts on the matter, and interestingly enough, whether you agree or disagree with his bitter-pill-tainted analysis, some of the social issues mentioned seem as appropriate for today as they did when the article was written in 1978. The article may be read in full at: Chicago Daily News, March 4, 1978 (see images 4-10).

 

Don’t believe everything you read… Hitler rise to power unlikely!

July 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

One of my favorite quotes regarding the internet, but whose founding warning-principle is rooted in print media is:

“The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy.” -Abraham Lincoln, 1864

Blog-7-14-2016-HitlerYou simply cannot believe everything you read, hear, and in some cases, see. In most instances the misinformation is at least somewhat unintentional. However, sometimes even the well-intended get it wrong – including the so-called experts. Such is the case with a report in the August 16, 1932 edition of the New York Times. The heading in question reads: “Hitler Dictatorship In Reich Held Unlikely“. Just to be sure the heading would not be misinterpreted, a segment of the corresponding text states: “…the probability of Adolph Hitler and the National Socialists gaining power in Germany was not strong…” Let’s just say Frederick J. E. Woodbridge, an esteemed professor of American History at the University of Berlin, was a bit off the mark.

 

They put it in print… Zenger’s newspaper ordered to be burned…

July 20, 2015 by · 2 Comments 

Blog-5-25-2015-John-Peter-ZengerA sure-fire way to get yourself in trouble–at least in early 18th century America–would be to criticize the governor. John Peter Zenger, publisher of “The New York Weekly Journal“, had a problem with a decision made by of the colonial governor, William Cosby, and expressed his frustration in his newspaper. On November 17, 1734, On Cosby’s orders, the sheriff arrested Zenger. After a grand jury refused to indict him, the attorney general Richard Bradley charged him with libel in August of 1735. Thus began his imprisonment and a trial that would lead to Zenger’s acquittal and would more importantly create the foundation for the freedom of the press we enjoy today.

The “Encyclopedia of Censorship” reports that: “…In October 1734 a committee was appointed to investigate Zenger’s newspaper and to look into the charges of seditious libel that had been alleged against it. The committee found numbers 7, 47, 48, and 49, which contained a reprinted article on the liberty of the press, to be libelous as charged and ordered them to be burned. Zenger was arrested and jailed.”

See the link below which shows the entirely of issue number 47, dated Sept. 23, 1734. You can read the continued article which got Zenger thrown into jail, but ultimately won not only his own freedom but a significant freedom for newspaper publishers everywhere:

The New-York Weekly Journal, September 23, 1734

Nellie Bly… an interview with Susan B. Anthony…

July 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-7-15-2015-Nellie-Bly-Susan-B-AnthonyNellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman), the American Journalist who became famous through her writing for Pulitzer’s New York World, is best remembered for her exposé regarding the horrific conditions within mental institutions obtained by faking her own insanity – taking investigative journalism to a whole new level, and her documentation of her record-breaking 72-day trip around the world as she emulated Jules Verne’s fictional character Phileas Fogg from Around the World in 80 Days. However, few are aware of her intimate and informative interview with Susan B. Anthony, perhaps the only woman to rival her pioneering spirit, which was printed in the New York World, February 2, 1896. The article in its entirety may be viewed at:

Nellie Bly – Interview with Susan B. Anthony

Ludicrous advertising in the late 1800’s…

March 20, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Hofstra University maintains a Facebook page where staff from their special collections department can post interesting finds. We recently discovered the following which illustrates one of the collecting strands of the hobby: sensational (or absurd) advertising:

The City of Boston receives noteworthy journalism award…

March 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog_Guy_11_2012The following is a note we recently received from one of the collector friends of Rare & Early Newspapers:

Happy to report that the section “Boston Journalism Firsts” and other contents of the Boston Journalism Trail site were used to nominate Boston for the Historical Site in Journalism Award given by the American Society of Professional Journalists, the largest journalists organization in the United States. The organization gave its 2014 award to Boston, thus for the first time honoring a whole city for the totality of its contributions to journalism. The organization’s president is to present the city’s mayor with a memorial plaque to be placed in a public space in downtown Boston in 2015. Thanks for all your support over the years.

To view details:

http://www.spj.org/news.asp?REF=1260

http://www.emerson.edu/news-events/emerson-college-today/boston-recognized-journalism-history#.VL0ipnZ6_YI

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