Some things actually do change…

July 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the things that struck me while discussing the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution with my children earlier this month was the insight of the American forefather’s demonstrated in their framing of the foundation of this new experiment in self-rule. While some might point to the flaws found within many of the founding documents, procedures, underlying beliefs, and early practices to poke holes in our current state of government, truth be told the seeds of change were sewn throughout the fabric of this new society – avenues which have allowed for peaceful and rightful adjustments to be made over time. Sure, there were times when peaceful change took a backseat, however, many changes have occurred through the prescribed method for making country-wide adjustments: the amendment process. This truth came to light recently when I came across a headline (Los Angeles Times, June 11, 1979) announcing a Supreme Court decision regarding the rights of the handicapped (see images). Was their prior decision regarding the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 correct? How about this related-decision? How were the rights of the handicapped perceived prior to the 1973 decision? Now? Sometimes the changes made over time are quite dramatic. At other times, the adjustments have as much to do with how we describe things, such as the 1990 Amendment which replaced all appearances of the word “handicapped” with “disabled.” Things really can and do change over time.

As a side note, I also happened to notice that on the same day, The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Madalyn Murry O’Hair aimed at having the inscription, “In God We Trust” eliminated from all U. S. coins. Wikipedia notes: “”In God We Trust” as a national motto and on U.S. currency has been the subject of numerous unsuccessful lawsuits. The motto was first challenged in Aronow v. United States in 1970, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled: “It is quite obvious that the national motto and the slogan on coinage and currency ‘In God We Trust’ has nothing whatsoever to do with the establishment of religion. Its use is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise.” Yes, somethings do change, but others, at least for now, remain the same. However, thanks to the wisdom of those who have gone before us, “We, the People” have a given means for expressing our views and may continue to do so until those who wish to silence dissent rule the day.

Are Presidential proclamations for thanksgiving and prayer unconstitutional?

June 26, 2017 by · 2 Comments 

Over the years we have written multiple posts featuring noteworthy Presidential proclamations for days of thanksgiving, humiliation, and prayer, and have listed quite a few on the Rare & Early Newspapers website. Not too long ago we came across an issue of The Boston Investigator for November 10, 1880 which contained an article focused on a view that such proclamations are/were unconstitutional. So, although we passionately disagree with this opinion, in an effort to be fair and balanced, we present the article below. Feel free to respond with your thoughts.

Talk about frustrating!!!

May 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

As I was contemplating the abundance of critical issues facing our nation, you can imagine my frustration when I picked up a newspaper and found the following article buried on an inside page:

Seriously? AND the most frustrating thing of all…

The article was found inside the Findlay Daily Jeffersonian dated December 21, 1880. I agree with the mantra, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, what if it is broke?

Separation of Church and State conflict, or good advice?

March 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

While the last few decades have bestowed upon us considerable discussion in regards to the intended meaning of the separation of Church and State, one cannot deny the abundance of religious references which have peppered the language of Presidents, regardless of their personal faith (or lack thereof), from the onset of the Union through the present. One such example is found in the June 15, 1845 issue of The New York Times, which prints the text (see below) of the letter President Ulysses S. Grant wrote to the children and youth of America at the request of the editor of The Sunday School Times for insertion into their Centennial Edition. The letter emphasizes the importance of the Bible in regards to life and liberty: “My advice to Sunday Schools, no matter what their denomination, is: Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet-anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your heart, and PRACTICE THEM IN YOUR LIVES. To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future. ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.’ Yours respectfully, U. S. Grant”.

Mere religious blather, or good advice rooted in truth? Thoughts?

The Traveler… the President takes office, again…

March 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

blog-3-6-2017-woodrow-wilsonToday’s travels took me to Springfield, Massachusetts, by the means of the Springfield Republican dated March 6, 1917, where the headlines announce “President Wilson Takes Oath”, “Firm Stand for Armed Neutrality – Nation Poised on Verge of War”. “Woodrow Wilson, with the major part of the world at war and America poised on its verge, consecrated his second inauguration as president of the United States at Washington yesterday with a last message of hope for peace… the president renewed his 1916-election-mapoath of allegiance to the constitution, praying to God that he might be given wisdom and prudence to do his duty in the true spirit of the American people…” Just in case anyone thinks the United States is more politically divided by geographic region today than it was 100 years ago…

~The Traveler

America – pulling a nation back together…

November 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

blog-11-14-2016-jfk-jr-photoMy Fellow Americans: Devastating hurricanes, Pearl Harbor, 9-11, the end of WWII, Lindbergh’s 1st flight across the Atlantic – while there is much that divides us, there have been times throughout our history when both triumphs and tragedies have inspired us to lay down our weapons and to unite as one. While these times of mutual good will are typically short-lived, they often act as a reset to help center us on that which binds us together. We need such a time!

It is was with the current atmosphere of angst as a backdrop that I was moved by an under-the-radar prayer found buried on page 11 of an issue reporting the assassination of President JFK. His death, airmailed via television directly into the living room of nearly every home in America, brought together Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike and unified us around shared grief.  May a day come when such unity of spirit flourishes without the inspiration of deep sorrow, tragedy, or war. As another assassinated President once said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand (Abraham Lincoln).” It is time for us to lay down our weapons. Much is at stake.blog-11-14-2016-prayer-jfk

The Traveler… announcing the new President…

November 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-11-7-2016-false-election-resultsToday I traveled to Fitchburg, Massachusetts, by the way of the Fitchburg Sentinel ~ Extra dated November 7, 1916. I found that they had the presidential election the previous day and were declaring the winner… “Hughes’ Election ‘Flashed” In New York City”. You all remember President Hughes now, don’t you? Oh wait, that’s right — the wrong winner had been declared! Woodrow Wilson had truly defeated Charles Evans Hughes instead.

~The Traveler

The Traveler… getting benched…

June 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-6-6-2016-BrandeisToday I traveled to New York City by the way of The New York Times dated June 6, 1916. I found that history took place in Washington, D.C. “Every available seat in the courtroom of the United States Supreme Court was occupied at noon today when Louis D. Brandeis of Boston took his seat on the bench as an Associate Justice of that august tribunal… Chief Justice White, rising announced the appointment of Mr. Brandeis,… then announce the readiness of Mr. Brandeis to take the judicial oath, which was administered,… Justice Brandeis was then escorted by Frank Key Green, the Marshal of the court, to his seat on the extreme left of the bench. Members of the court bowed as he passed…. Mr. Brandeis took his seat…”.

Mr. Brandeis was the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice, which was bitterly contested as he “…was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent might be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because he was incorruptible . . . [and] the fears of the Establishment were greater because Brandeis was the first Jew to be named to the Court.” He was eventually confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 47 to 22 in 1916, to become one of the most famous and influential figures ever to serve on the high court. His opinions were, according to legal scholars, some of the “greatest defenses” of freedom of speech and the right to privacy ever written by a member of the Supreme Court…” per wikipedia.

~The Traveler

The Traveler… “The Big Dipper” sets NBA record… Communism – the beginning of the end?…

February 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to New York City by the means of The New York Times, February 15, 1966. There I found that Wilt Chamberlain, playing for the 76’ers, had scored his 20,884th point to surpassed the record previously set by Bob Pettit.

Blog-2-15-2016-Communism-DeathThe front page also has the reporting of “2-SOVIET AUTHORS ARE CONVICTED” with subheads “Court Finds Works Published Abroad Harmed Regime” and “Sinyavsky Is Given 7 Years, Daniel 5 at Hard Labor”.  Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel were convicted of writing under pseudonym names and sending the books out of Russia for publication. “…The judgment, considered unprecedented in modern Soviet history, called it a criminal act to put into print beliefs and ideas that could be used profitably by ‘enemies of communism’…”  

As historian Fred Coleman writes, “Historians now have no difficulty pinpointing the birth of the modern Soviet dissident movement. It began in February 1966 with the trial of Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuli Daniel, two Russian writers who ridiculed the Communist regime in satires smuggled abroad and published under pen names… Little did they realize at the time that they were starting a movement that would help end Communist rule.” [source: Wikipedia]

~The Traveler

They put it in print… The Vietnam Crisis… before it was a crisis…

March 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the attractions of collecting old newspapers is the ability to look at history with the benefit of hindsight. Many times writers were right on the money when it came to predicting events in the future; many times they could not have been more wrong. Both views offer interesting reading.

Not long ago we came across a report of what would become a scar on the military history of the United States, specifically the lengthy war in Vietnam. A “Los Angeles Times” newspaper as early as March 25, 1965, some ten years before the Vietnam War would Blog-3-23-2015-Vietnam-Crisisofficially end (Saigon fell on April 29, 1975) had a headline announcing: “VIET CRISIS GROWS“. This report notes that Red China was committed to sending troops to fight in Vietnam if the Americans persisted in their growing involvement, and that they would: “…fight together with the South Vietnamese people to annihilate the U.S. aggressors.”  This is in response to the event of 3 weeks prior when the first American combat troops arrived in Vietnam, joining a force of 23,000 American “advisers”.  American involvement in the Vietnam War would only continue to grow for another 8 years.

I am sure almost no one who read this newspaper in the spring of 1965 could have guessed the future complexity and duration of American involvement in Southeast Asia. This issue constitutes half of what I would call “bookend newspapers”, or a pair of newspapers which report the beginning and end of noteworthy events.

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