Beyond the historic headline…

November 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

"Newspapers that shaped the world..."Newspapers that shaped the world…

Some of the better & more fascinating items found in old newspapers are not the most historic or significant, but rather the casual appearance of seemingly innocuous reports which excite collecting interest beyond the historic headline or dramatic presentation which are the more usual draw.

Much of what intrigues collectors can be lost within the body of reports, yet they tell a story of their own, such as the patriotic fervor of some colonist during the Revolutionary War.  I recall an issue of the Edinburgh Evening Courant of June, 1776 reporting on American soldiers: “…Their uniform is a dark grey coarse linen frock, which covers the whole body…with the words, ‘Death or Liberty’ marked in large red letters on the right sleeve; and many of them are so enthusiastic as to have them marked with their own blood…”. This report is almost lost on page 3 yet its message is very telling of the spirit which caused the Americans to win the war against a world power despite insurmountable odds.

Some reports are fascinating by their bias. A Richmond newspaper of July, 1863 reporting on the Battle of Gettysburg notes: “…The Confederates did not gain a victory, neither did the enemy. He succeeded in defending himself & we failed in some portions of an attack…We killed more of the enemy than we lost; we took very many more prisoners than lost. The Confederate army did not leave the enemy until it had tried every link of his armour…” Another newspaper notes: “ ..Information, certainly authentic, is in the hands of the Government, which leaves no doubt of the safety & triumph of the noble army. General Lee was victorious in all the combats which have taken place. He has been engaged with the whole force of the United States & has broken its backbone…”, Perhaps the most extraordinary example of optimism appeared in the Richmond Examiner of July 25: “…The result was not a defeat, it was not a loss; it was only not a victory…It was little else than a disappointment of extraordinary expectations…”. What a precious statement as an example of Confederate optimism.

Other little gems were very prophetic in their reporting, particularly when read with an historic perspective. A Scottish newspaper from 1775 sensed a lasting war with America as it reflected on the Battle of Bunker: “…The mischiefs which have already arisen & the greater calamities which are threatened from the unnatural war excited in America…It is impossible we can see, without the utmost alarm, preparations making for the prosecution of an expensive & ruinous war with our own Colonies…”. Some can be very recent, like the New York Times comment on rookie Mickey Mantle in 1951: “…Mantle, who gives every promise of developing into an outstanding baseball star, was ordered to report to his draft board next Wednesday…” An editorial comment in the Army & Navy Journal just after the Gettysburg Address opined: “…a dedicatory speech by President Lincoln, which we give in full, as decidedly the best feature of the occasion, as well as one of the most felicitous utterances of its author.” How true.

Some were prophetic even when the reports were simply wrong, like the Illustrated American article of 1898 reporting on “A New Flying Machine That Flies”–five years before the Wright brothers–when it said: “…It is impossible to imagine without terror the day when these mechanical birds, these flying apparitions, will be able to rain upon armies, hostile towns and escalating parties most deadly and most destructive explosives…”. How true it would become.

There can be much to be found in newspapers beyond the headline. What a thrill it is to discover such hidden gems; reports that have escaped hundreds of years of history only to rediscovered with new-found relevance today. Such are just some of the joys of collecting early newspapers.

Please enjoy:  Newspapers that shaped the world…

October newsletter from Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers…

October 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Each mid-month Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers… History’s Newsstand sends an e-newsletter to their members and collector friends.  This month’s edition is shown below. Please enjoy.

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers… History’s Newsstand

October 2012 Newsletter

Welcome to the October newsletter from Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers.  In addition to links to recent listings (including our most recent catalog), October’s discounted issues, an issue containing the Emancipation Proclamation (it’s the 150th anniversary), and new posts on the History’s Newsstand blog, this month we would like to bring to your attention to our recent inventory expansion which extends our Birthday/Gift Newspapers availability through the mid-1980’s.  Please enjoy!

1)  Discounted Issues – Nearly 300 issues have been reduced in price by 20% (as shown) thru October 31, 2012, and may be viewed at: Discounted Issues

2)  Birthday/Gift Newspapers – As mentioned, we have expanded our major city newspapers through the mid-1980’s. These make wonderful birthday, anniversary, and holiday gifts.  Feel free to see what might be available for your key memorable dates:  Birthday/Anniversary Newspapers

3)  Catalog 203 is available. This latest release for October includes over 350 new items, all arranged in chronological order.

4)  The Emancipation Proclamation – In celebration of the 150 year anniversary of the printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, we have an original printing available for viewing and/or purchase at:  Emancipation Proclamation (note: as an added bonus, this issue also contains a print and report of the Battle of Antietam)

Best wishes,

Guy Heilenman & Rare Newspapers Team

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers . . .
. . . History’s Newsstand

“…desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.” Hebrews 13:18

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Documenting the Civil War…

September 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

David Chasanow, at Americollector.com, recently did a post regarding the valuable role rare & historic newspapers play in documenting the events of the Civil War.  The post included an interview with Tim Hughes.  Please enjoy!

Battle lines: Vintage newspapers documented the Civil War as it happened

The end of the world… false alarm…

August 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

A few years ago several collectors contacted us wondering if the end of the Rare & Early Newspapers collectible was at hand.  They had just received news about Google’s newspaper digitizing project and wondered if this would lead to an end in people wanting to collect historic newspapers. “Might this be the end of the old newspaper’s collectible world?”  We tried to reassure them them that collecting the actual newspaper from the day it was 1st printed/read as compared to reading digitized versions is akin to eating an ice-cream sundae rather than looking at a picture of one.  No matter how perfect the picture of the sundae reproduces the look of an actual one, it can never compare to the real deal.  Apparently, time has proven this to be so.  2011 brought news from Google announcing the end of the digitizing project.  The date of the announcement is rather ironic.  Please read:

Google Announces End Of Newspaper Digitizing Project

🙂  🙂  🙂

First newspapers in North Dakota…

March 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Dakota Territory organized in 1861 encompassed both present-day North & South Dakota. It was in 1889 when statehood was gained that the Territory was split into North & South.

But it was during the Civil War, in 1864 when two solders issued at Fort Union (present-day North Dakota) a newspaper called the “Frontier Scout” Only a few numbers were printed at Fort Union. A bit later it reappeared with a “Fort Rice, D.T.” imprint and a date of June 15, 1865, noted as “vol. 1, No. 1”. It is not known to have continued after 1865.

It was not until July of 1873 when the first permanent newspaper appeared in the Territory, located at the capital of Bismarck and titled the “Tribune“. It started as a weekly but 8 years later became a daily, which it remains to this day. It boasts that it has never missed an issue, although because of a winter blizzard it was forced to reduce its size & one number was printed on wallpaper.

Not long thereafter the second newspaper in North Dakota began, titled the “Express“, printed at Fargo on Jan. 1, 1874. The third newspaper, and in yet a third city, was the “Plaindealer” which published at Grand Forks in 1874 as well.

My collecting story… Graham Dukes…

November 15, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

I have been collecting newspapers longer than most fellow enthusiasts, beginning when I was at school in England in 1943. My father went into a small second-hand shop and noticed that the owner, who sold candlesticks, old dinner plates and suchlike, was wrapping up the items in copies of the London evening “Star” for 1818, that he was tearing out of a bound volume. There were about 150 papers left and my father, who was well aware of my budding historical interest, bought the whole volume for threepence (10c).
From there I continued myself, often picking up items from shopkeepers who had no idea what they were. Nearly 70 years later, with several thousand items in store, (particularly London national papers, but also items from many other countries) some of my prize items, going back to the earlier sixteenth century, are still those that I found in the English back streets during my time as a schoolboy and later as a university student!
Graham Dukes

New discovery… Who knows what one might find?

November 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve often mentioned that one of the pleasures of the Rare & Early newspaper collecting hobby is finding unforeseen historical nuggets buried deep within the pages of newspapers… just waiting to be unearthed.  This was recently brought to the surface again by a collector/history teacher who purchases 19th century wholesale lots (undescribed as to content) for his students and for personal use .  His note is as follows:

This paper (from a wholesale lot) had a reference to a house vote for the “relief” of Susan Decatur, wife of naval hero Stephen Decatur.  She had inherited $75,000 from her husband, who was killed in a duel in 1820.  This is the equivalent of $1.4 million today.  The bill was defeated.  One of the nays was cast by Congressman Crockett (David).  Minor, but priceless info.  Your company does more good than you know.

Feel free to share your own discoveries with the collecting community.

20th century prices realized… revisted…

September 30, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

The previous post focused on “prices realized” from a sampling of key issues from the 20th century.  Fellow collector, Charles Signer, posted a response we thought collectors would appreciate.

These papers (see previous post) are excellent choices for your article. I think the Titanic disaster marked a new era in journalism, since improvements in printing technology and inventions like the facsimile machine made it possible for newspapers all over the United States and the world for the first time to cover the story simultaneously with full coverage and great graphics. Because the Titanic event took place at sea there was no “home advantage” as there would have been for a disaster taking place in a populated area. I don’t have the Rhode Island version of the story that you show, but I have seen others like it from other cities. I am amazed how they could get such good reporting and graphics literally overnight on such an unexpected story.

When I see the Honolulu Star-Bulletin First Extra I think of it as a time capsule marking of an end of an era. The front page of course gives the full first report, but the inside pages were mostly set up before the event, in the last hours of peacetime. The ads for 1941 consumer goods and Christmas sales suddenly fell out of place in the grim new wartime world. I imagine the people shown in the ads floating at the bottom of the ocean where they are all drowned dead but still visible to divers. It’s eerie.

I was going to say that the whole First Extra paper could be seen on the Honolulu Star-Bulletin website, but in trying to test the link as I write this I see that the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the Honolulu Advertiser merged on June 7, 2010. The combined paper is now the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. There used to be a great story on the Star-Bulletin’s old website about the people who put out those first reports that day. I guess it’s gone now.

I got a copy of the Dewey Defeats Truman paper from Tim Hughes before 2000 for about $850. It was real cherry. I grew up in Chicago where my dad and I would drive down in the evenings to get the first edition of the following day’s Tribune. When you opened up a Tribune for the first time there were tiny holes made in the printing process which made the pages stick together. The copy I got from Tim had those little holes so I knew I was opening that Dewey Defeats Truman paper for the first time ever. It was almost like being there on November 2, 1948, the evening the paper was printed. Yes, it truly is a classic that will be recognized as long as newspapers are remembered, which may be a lot longer than some of them are being published.

Thanks Charles!

Collecting Historic and Rare Newspapers Basics – Part Two

August 9, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

The following guide is posted on History’s Newsstand’s eBay Store. It is the second part of a primer on collecting Rare & Early Newspapers:

The purpose of this 2nd guide concerning historic, original, collectible and/or rare newspapers is to answer additional questions related to the hobby:

  1. Why are they so inexpensive?
  2. What might I find within the pages of a Rare Newspaper?
  3. What is the background of the (apparent) use of “f” vs. “s”?
  4. What is meant by “2nd-rate”?
  5. What is the value of my newspaper?
  6. How was 17th & 18th Century paper made?
  7. Are early issues with irregular type-set authentic?

1.  Why so inexpensive?

You can find newspapers published during George Washington’s administration for $35, issues with front page accounts of Indian skirmishes for $25, and genuine issues published in 1685 for as little as $30.  A hobby still very much undiscovered by the public, prices for genuine, complete newspapers dating as far back as the 1600’s are very low due to limited demand (at this time). For more than 30 years, we have dealt exclusively in the niche market of early newspapers, buying in huge quantities at very low prices to amass an inventory of over 2 million issues which are now available for the historical hobbyist.  There is no better time to begin amassing ah historical newspaper collection – while still on the up-side of the hobby’s appeal.

2.  What might I find within the pages of a Rare Newspaper?

Read the Boston Gazette of March 12, 1770 and learn of the massacre in that city and gain an appreciation of the revolutionary spirit never before imagined. Read 1st hand reports on the Civil War. View ads and reports from the American Wold West.  View the Banner Headlines of some of the biggest events from the 20th Century. Historic newspapers are a firsthand reflection of life at a time when descriptive ads for runaway slaves were commonplace; when Paul Revere advertised his bell foundry in local papers; when recently enacted laws, signed in type by George Washington, were published in the daily paper.  There is no better way to obtain an intimate view of life during nearly any chosen period from 1666 through the late 1900’s.

Since all are original issues (not reproductions), slight imperfections such as light foxing or staining, small margin tears, an occasional front page original owner (often library) stamp, and slight fold or edge wear are common. Most issues were once bound into volumes at the end of a year for preservation and bear minor left margin irregularities due to the disbinding process. None of these potential typical imperfections cause content loss. Many newspapers dated from the 1880’s through the 1920’s are pulpish (fragile) due to commonly used print materials used during this period, and appropriate care must be given to these issues. Some issues (especially magazines) were originally published with covers or wrappers, but unless described otherwise, they have long since been removed.

3.  What is the historical background of the use of “f” vs. “s”?

Centuries ago before the printing press there were grammatical reasons for use of a serpentine-styled “s” to be used rather than the more typical “s”. Its look was much as if an “s” was elongated and leaned to the right. When this letter was converted to a block letter for the printing press (around 1500) it looked much like an “f” but with the slash through one side & not the other–look carefully and note the difference. This letter caused confusion with the “f” ever since, and around 1750 publishers were abandoning this letter in favor of the more typical “s”, and by 1800 it was almost universally abandoned.

4.  What is meant by “second rate”?

A “second rate” issue is somewhat worn, possibly with edge tears, some light staining, rubbing, or other minor disfigurements. All pages are present with no cut-outs, but the prints contained within the issue, if prints are present, would not be suitable for framing.  An acceptable issue for researching content only, or if condition is inconsequential.  Please do not request for us to confirm that an issue offered at the 2nd rate price contains prints that are in good condition.  A 2nd rate issue is 2nd rate throughout.

5.  What is the value of my newspaper?

As one might suspect there are many factors which determine value.  Much like a jeweler cannot give a value of a diamond via email or a phone call, ethics would not permit anyone to place values on newspapers without seeing the issues in hand to determine authenticity condition, news placement, etc.  Although viewing issues of similar date, condition, and displayablity on eBay and/or on reputable websites may give a general sense of their potential value, your best bet is to contact a reputable dealer in historic and/or rare newspapers.

6.  How was 17th & 18th Century paper made?

The handmade paper used in the 17th and 18th centuries can be distinguished from paper that was made later by holding the paper up to a light and looking for “chain-lines” which are left from the wires in the paper mold. With this method, fewer fibers accumulate directly on the wire, so the paper is slightly thinner and more transparent to light. This pattern is usually very apparent and appears as lines that run about an inch apart, with several horizontal short lines connecting the long wire lines. Some modern paper has artificially-applied chain lines, and is usually referred to as “laid” paper, which is the name given to handmade chain-line paper. The handmade chain-line paper was made of cotton and/or linen rags, which were soaked in liquid until the fibers broke down into bits. Paper was formed by hand by dipping a paper mold into the fiber suspension, and then lifting and shaking off the excess water. The paper sheet was then partially dried before being removed from the mold. Modern handmade paper (used in fine printing of small editions by private presses, as well as in artists books) is basically made by the same process.

Wood pulp paper (made with a sulfite process that causes high acid residue in the paper) wasn’t widely used in the U.S. until after the American Civil War. Breakthrough in paper-making occurred when “wove” paper was invented. Wove paper was first used in a book printed in America in 1795 in a book by Charlotte Smith entitled “Elegiac Sonnets and Other Poems”. Wove paper, which shows no chain-lines, is made on a wire mold often made of brass and/or bronze wires that have been woven like fabric. Therefore, there is no chain-like pattern, and the paper has a much smoother appearance. After 1800, wove paper became the standard paper for books and other uses, although there was still some laid or chain-link paper in use through the 1820s and beyond.

The first machine-made paper in America was made in 1817 in Brandywine, Delaware, and the first newspaper printed on this paper was “Poulson’s Daily Advertiser. The major start in manufacturing paper by machine began when a French paper machine called the Fourdrinier was introduced in New York in 1827, followed by the manufacture of more of the machines two years later in Connecticut. Machine-made paper is more uniform in thickness, lacks the uneven edges of handmade paper and is weaker and more prone to tearing. Machine-made paper is made on a continuous wire mold which usually has watermarks. Although it can be hard to tell machine-made wove paper from handmade wove paper, handmade paper is usually thicker and also varies in thickness from piece to piece.

The last major development in paper manufacture was the development of wood pulp paper, which was much less expensive to manufacture than rag paper. The first successfully-made wood pulp paper was manufactured in Buffalo, New York, in 1855. By 1860, a large percentage of the total paper produced in the U.S. was still rag paper. Most of the newspapers printed in the U.S. during the Civil War period survived because they were essentially acid-free 100% rag paper, but the newspapers printed in the late 1880s turn brown because of the high acid content of the wood pulp paper. In 1882, the sulfite wood pulp process that is still in use today was developed on a commercial scale and most of the high acid content paper was used thereafter in newspapers, magazines and books.

7.  Are eary issues (pre-1800) with irregular type-set authentic?

Pre-1800 Printing – A Little Background: Type was handset in the 18th century and all margins were (typically) of equal size from top to bottom. As part of the inherent crudeness of making paper back then, individual sheets might have slightly different shapes but in general all sheets were rectangular, wider than tall with pages 1 & 4 of a newspaper printed on one side and pages 2 & 3 printed on the other, then folded in half to produce the typical 4 page newspaper. It was rather common for even a regularly shaped sheet to be put on the printing press slightly askew, causing the printed sheet to appear somewhat crooked, keeping in mind everything was done by hand, and often by young hired hands.  We have seen a few instances where an irregularly shaped sheet caused the print to run off one of the edges. Also, newspapers and magazines were often bound into volumes at the end of the year with the three exposed edges trimmed to look neat, and in the trimming process some text can be trimmed off if the newspaper was bound into the volume askew, or if the trimmer simply took off too much blank margin to even up the edges.

(Note) Invitation: In order to provide an ongoing resource for newcomers to the hobby, feel free to add additional insight which you feel might be beneficial to those entering the hobby on the ground floor. Our hope will be to include many of these comments within a future post. Thanks in advance for your contributions.

Collecting Historic and Rare Newspapers Basics – Part One

August 2, 2010 by · 12 Comments 

The following guide is posted on History’s Newsstand’s eBay Store.  It is the first part of a primer on collecting Rare & Early Newspapers:

The purpose of this guide concerning historic, original, collectible and/or rare newspapers is to answer the three most common questions related to the hobby:  How you can determine if an issue is authentic,  the meaning of commonly used terms related to the hobby, and why the original issues do not just fall apart.

How Can You Determine If An Issue Is Authentic?

It was not unusual for newspapers to celebrate the anniversary of an historic event or their inaugural issue by reprinting that issue for their subscribers or the general public. Never meant to deceive, through the years such issues were tucked away in attics and dresser drawers as interesting souvenirs only to be uncovered by distant relatives convinced they found the genuine item.

Although only an expert examination can definitively qualify a newspaper as genuine or a reprint and such experts with sufficient knowledge & experience are few & far between, there are a few clues which can guide a novice in making a determination:

* Does the newsprint match that used at that time? Genuine pre-1880 newsprint usually has a high rag content and is very pliable, sturdy & reasonably white. Most reprints in the post-1880 era are more browned, fragile and lacking in physical substance.

* Does the issue contain an historic or significant report? Many reprints contain very historic reports rather than mundane news of the day, and such genuine issues are rarely found randomly outside of a larger collection.

* Is the issue a volume one, number one issue? They were commonly reprinted on anniversary dates.

* Does the format, content or any extraneous printing on the issue appear out of the ordinary? Many reprints were used for promotional purposes and altered to serve another purpose beyond just reprinting a genuine newspaper.

Reprint, fake, or facsimile newspapers are a rarity in this hobby with the vast majority of such issues limited to less than 20 titles. The Library of Congress maintains a check-list of points to look for on most of these issues and can be accessed through their website.

What Are The Most Frequently Used Terms & What Do They Mean?

* Octavo (8vo): Approximately 8 1/2 by 5 inches. Popular size for 18th Century magazines.

* Quarto (4to): Approximately 12 by 9 inches. Common size for many early newspapers.

* Folio: Full size. Eighteenth century issues are approximately 17 by 11 inches, while 19th century issues come closer to present day newspapers.

* Foxing: Dark spots due to age, chemical content of the paper, or storage environment.

* dblpgctrfld:  Doublepage centerfold. A print, typical in Harper’s Weekly, which stretches across two pages.

Why Do The Issues Simply Not Fall Apart?

To the surprise of many, newspapers published before 1880 remain in very nice condition as the paper had high cotton and linen content. Most issues from the 1600’s and 1700’s are in much better condition than issues from World War I, hence little care is needed for issues over 120 years old.

(Note)  Invitation: In order to provide an ongoing resource for newcomers to the hobby, feel free to add additional insight which you feel might be beneficial to those entering the hobby on the ground floor.  Our hope will be to include many of these comments within a future post.  Thanks in advance for your contributions.

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