“All the News That’s Fit to Print”… one editor gets it right…

September 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

While the remainder of the newspaper seems to overwhelming contradict an editorial comment made by a contributor for the Southern Sentinel (Louisiana) in the issue of October 24, 1863, one can certainly appreciate his honest approach to reporting. I dare to say this could not be printed in most current-day newspapers with any degree of integrity. Please enjoy:No News?

What about three wrongs making a right?

December 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Death of Jack RubyFinishing out our month-long tribute to the memory of John F. Kennedy, today we look at what may have been the closing chapter of the tragic death-sequence which began on November 22, 1963 with the assassination of JFK, advanced to November 23, 1963 with the shooting and death of Lee Harvey Oswald, and culminated on January 3, 1967 with the passing of death-row inmate, Jack Ruby. Many to this day are convinced that all three deaths are rife with conspiracy. Perhaps time will prove them to be correct.

Finding newspapers on the death of Ruby are quite difficult as the event was not deemed significant by most, and many institutions were no longer saving their newspapers for year-end binding – choosing instead to store them on microfiche to conserve precious storage space. However, every now and then one turns up. Please enjoy (?) the January 3, 1967 report as it appeared in The Parsons Sun (Kansas): The Death of Jack Ruby

Wisconsin’s first newspapers…

January 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The state of Wisconsin was under several governances before coming onto its own with statehood in 1848. It began as part of the Indiana territory, then part of the Illinois territory, then part of the Michigan territory, then detached as the Wisconsin territory in 1836.

Printing began in the territory in 1827, and it was on December 11, 1833 that Wisconsin had its first newspaper titled the “Green-Bay Intelligencer“, done by Albert Ellis and John Suydam. The city was actually listed as Navarino, which today is a small suburb of Green Bay, population at the 2000 census listed as 442. Ellis was also the very first printer in Wisconsin, printing lottery tickets in 1827 and an almanac in the Chippewa language.

The second newspaper in Wisconsin was actually created as a vehicle to support the candidacy of Morgan Martin for territorial delegate to Congress. He employed William Stevenson and Joseph Dickinson to produced the “Wisconsin Free Press” at Green Bay in August of 1835. But it lasted for less than a year with the printing equipment sold  to the “Intelligencer“.

Two more newspapers were created in the 1830’s, they being the “Wisconsin Enquirer” in November of 1838 at Madison, the newly created capital of the territory, and then the  “Milwaukee Advertiser” on July 14, 1836. During the 1840’s many newspapers were created as Wisconsin worked towards statehood.

A visit to Jim Thorpe (Mauch Chunk), PA…

November 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A few weeks ago my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting a relatively unknown town steeped in history. Upon our return to the Rare & Early Newspapers office/archives, I spent some time exploring one aspect of the town’s history (The Molly Maguires) through the eyes of contemporary newspapers. A sampling of what was discovered both on the excursion and upon our return has been posted through images on Pinterest.  Please enjoy:

Jim Thorpe & The Molly Maguires

Additional posts regarding Jim Thorpe himself, the town’s name since shortly after his death in 1953, may be viewed at:  Jim Thorpe… “the greatest athlete that ever lived.”

War makes “sad havoc” among the newspapers…

April 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

This item provides some interesting facts on what war does to newspaper publishing. It appeared in the “Daily Richmond Examiner” issue of February 4, 1864.

The “experts” don’t always get it right…

March 28, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

We recently unearthed two different newspapers which scream the reality “the experts are often wrong”.  The first report was an early review of “Gone With The Wind” which was not favorable (issue #580564).  The 2nd was a statement concerning Babe Ruth which occurred soon after he was traded to The New York Yankees which questioned whether he would be an impact player (issue #581104).  Interestingly enough, the opinion was given by Billy Evans, one of the most famous umpires (and member of the Hall of Fame) of all time.  Feel free to comment on similar finding of your own.  In the meantime, enjoy the reports:

Gone With The Wind…

Babe Ruth…

A carefully worded conclusion…

August 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

This item was published in the June 6, 1771 issue of the “London Chronicle“, but was taken from the Boston Evening-Post. It’s a comical piece which could have come from a modern-day situation comedy. As always, its the style of writing which adds to the article’s appeal.

The influence of newspapers…

August 16, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

I’m sure we would all agree with Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1839) that “the pen is mightier than the sword”.  What about the pen as wielded via the text of a newspaper?  Napoleon’s view was that “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets”.  Interesting comment from one of history’s infamous (famous?) sword bearers.  The following editorial note found on the front page of the June 17, 1867 issue of the Bethlehem Daily Times (PA) provides affirmation of this view:

However, lest we become overly fearful of the devastation such influence  has upon our thinking, Erasmus (1571) provides us with a word of encouragement to the contrary:   “There is no sword to be feared more than the Learned pen”.  Perhaps we are safe.  🙂

Did you notice the 1867 price for the issue shown at the top of the image?  Apparently, if the average person was inclined to be paid “a penny for their thoughts”, newspaper editors believed their thoughts were worth double.

With the ever-decreasing circulations of newspapers, I wonder what the equivalent form of influence is today… and will be 10 years from now???

The first newspapers in Kansas…

March 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The first permanent settlement in Kansas was made at Fort Leavenworth in 1827, but  until 1854 when the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed by congress the region remained a part of the somewhat indefinitely bounded Indian Territory.

Early in 1834, missionary Jotham Meeker set up his printing press–the first press to be used west of the Missouri River–at the Shawnee Baptist Mission in present Johnson County. That year he published hymns, religious tracts, and other materials that were the first items printed in Kansas.

On February 24, 1835, Meeker printed at the Shawnee Mission the first number of the “Shawnee Sun” (Siwinowe Kesibwi), the first periodical publication in Kansas, and the first printed entirely in a Native American language. The paper was issued at irregular intervals from 1835 to as late as 1844, probably in limited editions of 150 or 100 copies. Measuring about 6 3/4 inches by 10 3/4 inches, the paper had two 8 1/2-inch columns of text per page.

The “Shawnee Sun” circulated among the Indians at and near the mission settlement. Today only one copy of one issue is known to have survived–the issue for November 1841, now in the library of the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

The “Kansas Weekly Herald” was established at Leavenworth on Sept. 15, 1854 by William Osborn and William Adams. It was a truly pioneer enterprise as is evidenced by the fact that the town site was occupied only by four temporary tents. The editor in his first number noted: “Our editorials have been written and our proof corrected while sitting on the ground with a big shingle for a table.”

Another newspaper was begun in Kickapoo, Kansas, in 1854 titled the “Pioneer“, and a year later the first newspaper at Topeka was established, the “Kansas Freeman“.

More on the time lag in news reporting…

August 10, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

journals_and_journeymen_briSome weeks ago I commented on the time lag between a news event and its appearance in newspapers of the day, focusing on the publication dates of the Declaration of Independence in various newspapers.

Because time lag is a major factor in looking for news reports prior to the use of the telegraph in the mid-19th century, I thought more discussion should be given to the issue.  Again I turn to Brigham’s “Journals and Journeymen” for much valuable information.

Obviously the  delay in receiving news of world events was beyond the control of newspaper publishers. The news of the death of Queen Anne on August 1, 1714 arrived in America on September 15. George I died June 14, 1727 but his subjects in America did not learn of it until August 13. George II died October 25, 1760 and it was two months later before the news arrived at Boston. Even the significance of the Treaty of Versailles at Paris which ended the Revolutionary War was first heard of at Boston on October 22 and not published in a newspaper until October 30 despite the event happening on September 3.

Ocean travel was dangerous & speed was dependent on the weather. Foreign wars & privateering also made voyages quite hazardous. The first issue of the “Boston News-Letter” of April 24, 1704 carried London reports of December 20, 1703. It was common for ships to load their passengers & their London newspapers and then wait around in the Channel for up to 3 weeks or more before sailing. During the first two years of newspaper publication there were exceptional voyages of five weeks, but the average was about two months.

After the Revolution & before 1820 merchants began building larger vessels which meant improved speed. In 1820 there were frequent sailings of 28 to 30 days, but there was no dependable time schedule.

Noting the diaries of some famous travelers we gain some insight. In 1722 Samuel Johnson traveled from Boston to England in 39 days. Benjamin Franklin in returning from England to Philadelphia in 1726 did so in 67 days. William Beverley sailed from Virginia to Liverpool in 37 days. Abigail Adams, whose story of a voyage is one of the most detailed on record, sailed from America to England in 30 days in 1784.

Postriders took a week to travel from New York to Boston, and at least two days from Philadelphia to New York. When stagecoaches came into use around 1785, the delivery of letters & newspapers was quicker & more consistent.

But by the establishment of the magnetic telegraph in 1844 and the laying of the Atlantic cable in 1858 (but not perfected until 1866) news was transmitteed from country to country instantaneously.

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