A Fly on the Wall at the Constitutional Convention of 1787…

October 17, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

It is not uncommon these days to hear people discussing The Constitution.  How they discuss this crucial founding document may differ radically and the accuracy with which they discuss it may vary as well. As you can imagine, those of us at Rare Newspapers fall into the “Perhaps the best secular document ever written” camp. So, I am sure it will not surprise you to know that I have always longed to have been “a fly on the wall” during the Constitutional Convention. Given the writings of the Founders, I have to imagine we would all be blown away by their passionate discussions. Just the other day I heard someone discussing various states’ desire to hold a Constitutional Convention… to make some changes. His comment went something like this (paraphrased)…

– I have been in favor of a current day Constitutional Convention in the past however, as I look at where we are today as a nation, I do not think we can be trusted as a people to open this precious document and leave it vulnerable to changes made by this culture. –

He went on to say (again, paraphrased) … -I believe the day may come in the future when we could be trusted with such a sobering task, but today is not that day. –

For now, we will just need to content ourselves with protecting this amazing document as is until/if that day comes.

Note: The image shown above announcing a quorum had finally been reached at the Constitutional Convention was taken from THE INDEPENDENT GAZETTEER; OR THE CHRONICLE OF FREEDOM, Philadelphia, May 26, 1787.

A Fly on the Wall… The Birth of a State….

July 22, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

This is the second in the series… “A Fly on the Wall”.

It recently occurred to me that those of us at Rare & Early Newspapers have the unique opportunity to view the passage of time through the abundance of historical reports found within our extensive inventory. One case in point: In 1876 Colorado achieved Statehood, and like all of America’s states, its citizens had done much work, achieved lofty goals, and covered extensive ground before their adoption into the United States of America. The following issue of THE WEEKLY ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, Denver, Colorado, Nov. 15, 1865, is a sneak peek into Colorado Territory years before its big day of adoption. It would have been fun to be a fly on the wall during the proceedings which marked its statehood birth.

While the newspaper shown below is the earliest Colorado newspaper we currently have on hand, each issue covering a territory’s journey to statehood gives a fascinating look into the hearts and minds of those who formed the backbone of this great country.

Journalism from Early America to the Digital Age… Election Fraud and more…

June 10, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

Someone recently brought to my attention an article posted on the website “Brewminate: A Bold Blend of News and Ideas”. While scanning the article I was intrigued by the presence of illustrations of newspapers we have or have previously offered. One in particular which caught my attention was the timely political cartoon by Thomas Nast found in the Oct. 7, 1871 issue of Harper’s Weekly. While a degree of election fraud is (unfortunately) part-and-parcel of the election process, I was inspired to read through the entire article, and in so doing, found it to be quite informative… and wondered if the friends of Rare & Early Newspapers might also find it interesting. Hopefully you will also enjoy reading it:

“Journalism from Early America to the Digital Age”

 

Popular Categories – A Deeper Dive into the Legacies of U.S. Presidents…

May 9, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

Most people have their favorite President of the United States. I’m sure if we each came up with our short list of five favorites there would be considerable overlap. Washington, Lincoln, Ronald Regan or Barack Obama (depending on which side of the isle the person resides), etc. – each president, popular or otherwise, has their own fascinating history which often includes failure, success, and often a few quirky tidbits of fun facts. The wonderful thing about original newspapers is they give collectors the ability to dig into the more obscure details of the lives and legacies of each of these once-upon-a-time “leaders of the free world”. In fact, newspapers containing such mentions are so sought after, we have a dedicated link on our website to help with the exploration: Presidents (U.S.)

As I began perusing collectible issues related to this post my attention aroused by an interesting story regarding our 37th president, Richard Nixon. To counter-act the ever-growing tension which plagued the latter years of his administration – both Watergate and the “resignation” of his VP, Spiro Agnew, President Nixon nominated a replacement for Agnew whom he knew would be easily and quickly confirmed, but who also believed in his innocence in regard to Watergate – one who would likely pardon him if the need arose. President Gerald Ford, after taking the oath of office upon Nixon’s resignation, did in fact give him an unconditional pardon for any and all crimes he may have committed against the United States. Although this particular use of a Presidential pardon has only occurred once in U.S. History, now that the box has been opened, it likely won’t be the last.

National Day of Prayer… Love our neighbors… Newspapers provide perspective…

May 5, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

As we reflect on the political, religious, racial, socio-economic, etc., etc., etc. diversity of the citizens of the United States on this National Day of Prayer, one cannot ignore what appears to be our ever-increasing polarization and wonder if our days are numbered. Is it possible to learn to appreciate our differences… to be kind… to play nice? When we were just sprouting, many of us were taught the Biblical mandate to love our neighbors – albeit a difficult task, at least we could wrap our minds around the concept.

However, Jesus, in His famous Sermon on The Mount, upgraded this calling to a height eclipsing human reason:

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”

Is this really possible? Can we actually learn to love those who violently oppose us – who would wish us harm? God tells us that with Him, ANYTHING is possible. He also provides considerable encouragement when He states: “You often do not have because you do not ask.”

Reading news from the day it was first reported through historical first-hand accounts as found in Rare & Early Newspapers provides incredible perspective. Our shared heritage was built upon diversity. Did we make mistakes, have passionate disagreements, and even come to the brink of our demise? Absolutely! However, through it all we managed to stay together – to be a melting pot unlike any the world had ever experienced. Was this… is this a God-thing? One thread woven throughout our history has been the calls by our leaders (Presidents, Governors, etc.) to seek God through prayer – often given as Proclamations for a Day of Thanksgiving, Humiliation, and Prayer. The truth is, prayer has been woven throughout the fabric of our nation from the start.

So, on this agreed upon, country-wide, National Day of Prayer…

Dear Lord,

We, as a nation, need Your help. Please give us the ability too see others through Your eyes and to love those with whom we fervently disagree. We understand the truth in President Lincoln’s words: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” We realize there are many from outside our borders who are actively fomenting such division, and rather than steeling ourselves against such attacks, we too often respond as mere pawns.  Help us to unite against such nefarious intentions. Help us to appreciate our common Source – that we are all made in Your image, our common citizenry, and the abundance of our shared experiences – birth, death, and a ton of joys and sorrows in between. Help us to play nicely with one another – to seek common ground whenever possible, and to agree to live peacefully with our differences. While humanly absurd, please give us Your strength to love one another. We grasp this is a You-size quest and therefore come to You with child-like humility – pleading for You to do that which we cannot do ourselves. We, as a nation, need Your help. Thanks in advance.

Amen

The following is a post from the past which, in my opinion, is worth a second look:

America – pulling a nation back together…

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

Snapshot 1844 – Voter Fraud… “death by a thousand cuts…”

April 8, 2022 by · Leave a Comment 

Political scientist Robert Dahl defines a free and fair election as one in which “coercion” is comparatively uncommon.

Did voter fraud occur in the 2020 U.S. Presidential election? Of course. To think otherwise would be naive. Some degree of fraud has likely occurred in most, if not all elections which involve an imperfect people. This may seem a bit jaded, but I’m actually encouraged by the degree to which most elections in America have been “free and fair”. Still, complaints regarding election fraud have been documented throughout our history. True? In some cases, yes. Enough to impact the final outcome? It’s hard to know.

One such cry came from Louisiana in 1844, and was recorded in the National Intelligencer dated Nov. 30, 1844 (originally printed in the New Orleans Bee). Truth be told, fraud cannot be stopped. However, for the sake of the confidence of the electorate (i.e., to preserve a free and fair election), every intention must be made to keep it to a minimum – while not inhibiting citizens from voting. Balancing both is no small task – but is worth our ongoing effort.

 

They put it in print, 1917 – “The more things change…”

October 4, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

A recent post focused on a headline which borrowed Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s famous words from 1849: “the more things change, the more they stay the same” (translated from “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”). This tendency, as applied to human behavior, has certainly been substantiated time and time again in the world of politics.

During former President Trump’s term in office “leaks” were springing up everywhere. For a novice to the political realm this may have appeared to have been a new phenomenon; however, the banner headline from a San Diego Evening Tribune dated January 8, 1917 makes it clear that once again, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr was spot-on. How do we know? They put it in print:

Is this the earliest Presidential portrait in a newspaper?

February 4, 2021 by · 5 Comments 

We recently discovered the November 23, 1844 issue of the iconic “Illustrated London News” from England, featuring on the front page portraits of James K. Polk and Henry Clay, both candidates for the Presidency.

Knowing this was a very early of a portrait of a President in a newspaper, I did a little digging to see if it might be, in fact, the earliest.

I could not confirm an earlier one. Research did note that the issue of April 19, 1845 of the same newspaper has a print showing the inaugural ceremonies and the procession to the Capitol, but that was 5 months later.

Given that most of the illustrated newspapers would not begin until the mid-19th century (Gleason’s Pictorial began in 1851), none of the more well-known American illustrated periodicals existed in 1844. Even Harper’s New Monthly, which had a wealth of small prints in each issue, did not begin until 1850.

Any collectors out there aware of an earlier print of a U.S. President in a periodical? It would be great to document the earliest, whether it’s this Nov. 23, 1844 issue or another.

Snapshot 1977… The Original (?) Star Wars…

December 28, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

As we were searching the Calendar section of a Los Angles Times, July 10, 1977 for a full-page ad for an upcoming ELP concert to be held at the Long Beach Arena, we came across another full-page ad for the newly released movie, “Star Wars”. While such ads are desirable when found in a Los Angeles Times (due to the Hollywood connection), what caught our attention was the text of the ad which, instead of just having “STAR WARS”, had “STAR WARS NOW”. Upon investigation we learned that the original STAR Wars was quickly edited soon after it was decided to convert the stand alone movie into a trilogy. Several fans of Star Wars had posted frustration in their inability to obtain the original-release version of the movie. This made me wonder if the odd title in the ad (“STAR WARS NOW”) is/was related to this change. If anyone has more information in regards to this version of the ad, we’d love to know (guy@rarenewspapers.com). Thanks.

The United States elections – a bumpy walk through time…

December 11, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

(false report – Rutherford B Hayes won)

The first president of the United States, George Washington, was elected by a unanimous decision in 1789 [the election process started in 1788]. Since then few elections, whether for mayor, governor, president, etc., have sailed on such smooth waters – and the preponderance of elections outside the U.S. have not fared any better. While the privilege and responsibility of citizens of democracies to exercise their right to elect those whom they wish to lead them cannot be understated, the process is often fraught with civic and relational tension. However, once the election is in the rear view mirror, in most instances wounds are eventually healed and sunny skies return – even if it takes months.

We at Rare & Early Newspapers have created a link to our available election-related issues and arranged them in chronological order. There may be a few stray issues which do not belong in the list, but hopefully those who have an interest in such things will appreciate the somewhat tumultuous stroll through time.

Elections Through Time

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