I’m New Here: Week Seventeen…

June 7, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite the obvious gender bias inherent in the title, I like “The Gentleman’s Magazine“, as I suspect many non-gentlemen of the time did as well. This week I pulled an issue from April of 1775 – mainly because I enjoy the tone of superiority that saturates those months before what we now know of as the Revolutionary War (or whichever various title you prefer). “Colonial upstarts” were causing commotion and consternation to the rest of the world, but mainly to the ruling class in London. The heading of the very front page of the one perched on my desk amidst the new catalog excitement is entitled, “Continuation in the House of Lords on the Address to his Majesty respecting the Situation of Affairs in America”. What follows is a labyrinthine balance between appeasing the vanity of the monarch, and an attempt to elucidate the different aspects of potential vulnerability to defeat. In particular, the French and Spanish ships continuing to trade with the colonists brought great consternation. “Does the noble Earl pretend to interpret this explanation [England would be “…at liberty to seize any of their ships trading with American subjects”] generally, so as to authorize our taking their vessels at sea? If he does not, what can such a vague deluding promise avail? If he does, then I will venture to assure his Lordship, that he is miserably deceived; and that the first attempt to prevent French or Spanish ships from navigating the American seas will furnish them with an opportunity of asserting their maritime freedom, of making reprisals, and of justifying their conduct to the other great states of Europe, who are known to be long jealous of what they are pleased to call our despotic claim to the sovereignty of the ocean.”
When I read this, I start to understand a little bit this American spirit, this classification under which our country has been perceived by the world, from the very earliest days. This mindset changed the world. And that is an immense, and not embarrassing, thought.
But, lest you think the GM’s are all politics, I would like to recommend any meteorology enthusiasts plug in the data compiled monthly and displayed on the inside cover page. The average prices of corn, wheat, rye, barley, oats and beans are delineated by county. Genealogists will enjoy the Births, Marriages, and Deaths alongside the list of Promotions and Bankrupts. There are book reviews and parish reports and a comprehensive section entitled “Historical Chronicle“, which gives an overview of multiple aspects of the state of the world.
Anyway, to delve into these accounts of the earliest days of this country is to see the tenacity that fueled an eventual nation – and perhaps nurture an admiration for what was once made, an inspiration for all that could be made again.

You can read more about Gentleman’s Magazines via previous posts at: Gentleman’s Magazines

They Put It In Print (1938)… Martin Niemöller…

May 28, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” (Martin Niemöller)

The Christian Science Monitor for March 4, 1938 reports Reverend Martin Niemöller has been sent off to a Nazi concentration camp.

 

 

They Put It In Print… The Communist’s Oath from 1848…

May 14, 2019 by · 1 Comment 

As we were searching through our issues from 1848 looking for early Gold Rush content, we discovered an interesting item in a August 8, 1848 Boston Evening Transcript with content related to Communism. With contemporary material related to early Communism hard to come by, it is nice the B.E.T. decided to put this in print:

 

Equal rights – a long and arduous path…

May 6, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

“Equal Rights” – Within the United States, it is easy to think the struggle for equality based on race, gender and/or socioeconomic status was, and in certain areas continues to be, one placed on the shoulders of only Blacks and Women. However, it doesn’t take too much digging to see this was not the case. I was reminded of this reality when I recently came across a December 19, 1818 issue of the Niles’  Weekly Register. Therein I found a heading titled “Maryland legislature,” which included in part, “…A committee was appointed to bring in a bill to extend the same civil privileges to persons professing the Jewish religion as are enjoyed by those of any other religious sect…”.

As a bit of history, In 1776 Maryland’s constitution safely protected “…all persons professing the Christian religion…” yet said nothing at all for those of other beliefs. It was a fact not widely known among other Americans that in the State of Maryland, and in Maryland alone, a citizen professing the Jewish religion could not hold any office, civil or military. In 1797 Solomon Etting, Baltimore leader and representative Jewish figure, along with other prominent Jews petitioned the Maryland Assembly to address this prejudicial issue and secure equal rights for Jews. The petition was well received but ultimately rejected. Year after year as it was presented and turned down new advocates were enlisted including influential Gentiles. In 1818 Judge H. M. Brackenridge and others began a vigorous battle to right this wrong. The legislation ultimately to be known as “The Jew Bill” was enfranchised in 1825 and confirmed the following year. This change, along with a series of others, helped motivate many Jewish citizens to participate, from a position of privilege, in the early suffrage movement.

Regarding State and National Constitutions… Our fore(parents) may not have gotten everything right, but thankfully, in most cases, they had the foresight to created peaceful paths for change. Peaceful progress, using the proper channels the framers built within these founding documents, may take entirely too long, but staying within the given bounds has served us well over time. There is, and will likely always be much to be done, but we live in a marvelous land of progress. Let’s never let the need for pruning and continued growth ever cause us to hack away at the roots.

They Put It In Print… FDR “packs” Supreme Court… In his own words…

April 12, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The Springfield Union (MA), dated March 10, 1937, has the complete text of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fireside Chat in which he defends his rationale for “packing” the Supreme Court. As we stand at the brink of perhaps yet another similar moment in American political history, it is timely to consider his thinking – in his own words, and thanks to the editors of The Springfield Union, they put it in print. Enjoy.

I’m New Here…Week Seven

March 29, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

  • This week I decided to spend some of my hard-earned money on an old (& rare) publication.  I’d already processed searches for sports figures and jazz singers and mobsters and indentured servants — so many interests that whizzed past me as I was busy with phone calls and emails and web orders.  The only way I could think to appease my conscience about taking a pause to look around a little bit for myself was to become a customer.  There is an entire collection — shelves of bound volumes — of publications by women.  I want to dig through and “see what’s what”, as my grandmother always said.  But that would probably take more research time just orientating myself than I feel easy about spending.  Still, that inclination narrowed the scope of this first quest a bit, and a search through notable dates in history led me to the NYC women’s suffrage march of 1912.

“THE REMARKABLE DEMONSTRATION IN NEW YORK LAST WEEK WHEN 15,000 WOMEN OF ALL STATIONS IN LIFE MARCHED THROUGH THE STREETS OF THE METROPOLIS TO EXPRESS THEIR DEMAND FOR THE VOTE”.  The headline itself seems shocked by the occurrence, with subsequent captions numbering the onlookers at 500,000.  It’s a grand photo spread highlighting the oldest, the youngest, and crediting 619 men with “heroically joining their womenfolk upon the march.”  This is the purchase for me.

The Women’s Suffrage movement is just one of the stories for justice and equality well documented through historic publications.  Whether an account of invention, discovery, narrative or relationship, these papers are jam-packed with the details of the human experience.  Sometimes there is an encouraging perspective of what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown.  One hundred years after the push began, the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote.  But, this week I also found an eyewitness account of mob riots in Baltimore — including casualty listings — from  1812.  Evidently, much remains to be learned.

My selection (Harper’s Weekly, May 11, 1912) was on the very top shelf, stacked tightly and bound into a volume with Titanic events and many illustrations of William Taft.  I chose an issue with a damaged front cover since I am not very interested in then Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee “…whose proposed amendment to the Constitution will limit the President’s tenure of office to one term of six years.”

The cover price of 10 cents doesn’t hold, but since the average age-expectancy has drastically increased as well, it’s a modest expenditure.  Taking it home with me, opening it up, and dawdling over the columns as much as I like, seems an indulgent treat.  I might even ask the shipping department if they will package it for me…

Did you know? Elections and Inaugurations…

March 26, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

You may already know U.S. elections and inaugurations have always fascinated citizens of the United States – which is probably typical throughout the world, but Did You Know the reporting of these historic moments within newspapers has traditionally been quite extensive, with most issues containing multiple articles surrounding these events – often including the entire text of the winner’s election and inauguration speeches? Many of these are available through our regular website, RareNewspapers.com. We’ve arranged these in chronological order for readers/explorers to enjoy: Inaugurations and Elections

Snapshot 1918… President Wilson becomes the first U.S. President to…

December 13, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from The New York Times dated December 14, 1918. This week marks the 100th anniversary of Woodrow Wilson becoming the 1st U.S. President to walk the shores of Europe while still in office. It is hard to believe it took 1  1/4 centuries for this to occur.

Who should have the right to vote? Food for thought…

November 5, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Who should have the right to vote? Should Native Americans? Blacks?  Poor Whites? Women? Citizens who either don’t own land or who are unemployed (i.e., don’t pay taxes)? Although all of these at one time did not have the right to vote, today, we all (hopefully) unanimously agree the answer is a resounding YES – and thankfully, although it took time, they now can. However, although we are unified in our appreciation that all citizens should be granted this privilege, is there a responsibility that comes with this right – a civic duty to not only exercise this “right”, but to do so as an informed voter? THE DAILY GRAPHIC’s (New York) November 2, 1875 illustrated front page weighed in on this issue with a degree of sarcasm. Enjoy.

They Put It In Print… Schools need to teach The Constitution…

October 29, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Human nature has a tendency to drive us to forget – to enjoy the bountiful privileges earned on the backs, and at times the very lives of those who have gone before us, but to forget the great cost paid to obtain them. After a few generations pass, the backdrop which drove such impassioned effort to earn them is also lost.

The year was 1922. It had been a mere 1.5 centuries since the ratification of The U.S. Constitution had paved the way for a new form of society, and there was already a deep-rooted concern that the unless citizens studied and learned the basic tenets of the Constitution, it would not stand. How do we know? The Virginia Pilot dated September 22, 1922 put it in print. Although its now nearly 100 years since the article was written, the call remains – perhaps even more-so.

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