I’m New Here: Week Twenty-Five…

August 9, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

I began this post with a completely different musing on the world of collecting.  However, one hundred and twenty words into it I received a query concerning the content of an issue posted on one of the web market places.  After my research concluded, I cleared my page to begin again.

We had a 1927 New York Times listed for sale, and the request was to verify whether or not a name was mentioned within the feature story.  And so, for the first time ever, I read about the USS S-4, a submarine that was rammed by a Coast Guard ship off of Massachusetts on December 17th.  Of the forty on board, six crew members survived long enough to signal their location.  For three days the divers heard sounds of life; then the tapping ceased.  One of the rescue team almost lost his life attempting to attach an air hose to the cavity in which the small group had huddled.  His buddy eventually received a medal for saving him.

It is horrible to follow the words of hope and heroic blow-by-blow efforts as diver after diver took a dangerous shift in the turbulence, spurred by the Morse signals from the submarine, “Is there any hope?”  Finally, reluctantly, the tragic designation was issued, “lost with all hands.”

If I read the historical bits correctly, it took three months to raise the sub, which (“who” to all those in the habit of employing the feminine pronoun for a ship) was utilized for another five years following the disaster.  My contact today was looking for the name of his grandfather among the divers who battled weather and odds in the hours following the crash.  And he is there.  The name I was commissioned to seek is nestled within the sentence, “First diver to the scene was ______________”  For a full column the radioed conversations from command to scene are reported word-by-word.  These were clearly the exchanges of men determined to save their fellow men, at great cost and against reasonable hope.  And my imagination had me within that family, hearing bits and pieces of this epic event through the years.  Perhaps he never talked about it at all.  Either way, the very words spoken as one diver worked through the obstacles are here on the pages within an issue that we will carefully package and ship out to his grandson.

For me, this personal narrative embedded within a national tragedy eclipsed every other treasure found in a week packed with collectors seeking titles spanning from Virginia Gazettes to Village Voices.

I just had to share.

The Traveler… Edison on board…

July 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-7-13-2015-EdisonToday I traveled to New York City by the way of The New York Times of July 13, 1915. There I found that “(Thomas) Edison Will Head Navy Test Board”. “…’The United States is far behind in these matters,’ said Mr. Edison. ‘I believe it is highly important for a board of civilians, made up of engineers from leading industries, to be formed for the purpose of looking into the feasibility of ideas developed by young men…'”

~The Traveler

The Traveler… “Don’t give up the ship”…

October 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I journeyed to Baltimore, Maryland, through The Weekly Register (dated October 9, 1813).  As Commodore Perry commenced battle on Lake Erie, he raised a flag with the infamous words “Don’t give up the ship” on it. “…They speak of the battle as being one of the hottest ever fought…” (see below).

In the report of the Battle on Lake Ontario, Commodore Chauncey references the news of the battle on Lake Erie. “…There is a report here, and generally believed, that Capt. Perry has captured the whole of the enemy’s fleet on lake Erie. If this should prove true in all its details (and God grant that it may) he has immortalised himself and not disappointed the high expectations formed of his talents and bravery…”

~The Traveler

The Traveler… USS Constitution defeats HMS Java… River Raisin…

February 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

This week I traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by way of the Aurora dated February 19, 1813. Here I found the report of “Another Naval Victory!” being reported “… On the 29th of December, off St. Salvadore, the Constitution, capt. Bainbridge, fell in with the British frigate Java, of 38 guns (mounting 49) and 400 men. After an action of one hour and forty-five minutes, the Java struck, with the loss of 60 killed and 170 wounded. The Constitution had 9 killed and 25 wounded… The Java was so much damaged in action, that it was deemed impossible to fetch her in, and by order of captain Bainbridge she was burnt…”.

Also in this issue was the report of the battle at river Raisin, including the killing (scalping) of General Winchester and the further mutilation of his body. It is so hard to imagine what they went through in those battles. So much for nostalgia.

~The Traveler

The Traveler…Frigate President makes a capture… newspaper proposal…

November 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled through Boston, Massachusetts, by way of the Independent Chronicle dated November 19, 1812, where I found an Official report from John Rodgers. The U. S. Frigate President had captured the British Packet Swallow and the rank of the commander of the vessel being the master and commander in the navy. “… She had no cargo in, except eighty-one boxes of gold and silver, amounting to between one hundred and fifty and two hundred thousand dollars…”. I would say that was a pretty nice cargo!

Also within the issue was the proposal of a new newspaper, that being the Baltimore Patriot. In slightly less than two years, this publication would be the first newspaper to publish The Star-Spangled Banner on September 20, 1814 (Note: Just for an FYI, it appeared within a week in a Washington, DC paper as well).

~The Traveler