Happy Passover… Happy Easter…

April 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

President George Washington is known for his letters to various Hebrew congregations (Newport, Savannah, etc.) and churches which are filled with spiritual references. Considering the recipients, such language might be expected even if the writer was not a person of faith.  However, the following is a speech he gave to the leaders of Philadelphia upon his visit to the city while in transit to New York to take the oath of office.  At a time when he could have said anything, what he chose to say and how he chose to say it speaks volumes.  Please enjoy his address as it appeared in The Massachusetts Centinel, May 2, 1789:

What could have been…

December 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

One might wonder how some significant events in history might have been responded to had reaction been different from what the history books note. During the Civil war the “Albany Atlas” decided to fool with history a bit following the Emancipation Proclamation, and supposed a “Counter Proclamation” by the Confederate President, Jeff Davis. The article shown–which appeared in the Confederate newspaper “Memphis Daily Appeal” of January 23, 1863 (while printing in Jackson, Mississippi at the time)–makes for some interesting reading on what could have happened in history (see below).

Thoughts on titles in America…

September 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The date was July 8, 1789, and the government of the “United States of America” was but a few months old when the “Massachusetts Centinel” printed this article: “Thoughts Upon Titles”. Given the only experience at the time was the European model when it came to titles for those in leadership positions, it would not have been unusual for the topic to be raised as to what titles should be used for America’s governmental officials. This piece offers some interesting insight into the thoughts of the day:

How shall we address the President?

August 31, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Although we may think it odd today,  back in 1789 when our federal government was just being formed and George Washington was inaugurated as America’s first President, there was little precedence as to how to address the new chief executive of the government. The only examples given by the European powers were royalty where “your highness” or “your excellency” were appropriate. But what about a democratically elected President?

The article shown is taken from the “Gazette of the United States” newspaper from New York, May 16, 1789, about two weeks after Washington was inaugurated. It provides some interesting insight in to the thoughts of the day when the government was truly in its infancy.


Editors take note: be mindful of photos accompanying headlines…

June 4, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

kennedy_killedThe “Second Extra” of the Atlanta Journal newspaper of November 22, 1963 has a curious–if not macabre–combination of headline and photo. As would be expected of an “Extra” of this date, the large & bold headline proclaims: “KENNEDY KILLED” but immediately beneath it is a photo of a street sweeper pushing his bucket which has a pair of trousers & boots protruding from the top, with the caption: “Sweeper Means What He Says”.

One might excuse the editor, for I’m sure that in rushing this edition to the streets as quickly as possible  the planned headline was removed and the Kennedy death report quickly inserted with little thought as to what else was scheduled for top half that day’s edition.  But it serves as an important lesson to budding newspaper editors everywhere: be mindful of what what might accompany an article or photo.

Obama Wins… What newspapers provide…

November 5, 2008 by · 2 Comments 

Regardless of your view on the recent U.S. election, one thing is for certain: Barack Obama’s victory was a very significant and historic event! If you collect historic newspapers you’ve been able to follow the progression of African Americans – from slavery, through the early rumblings of the abolitionist/anti-slavery movement, into the struggle for emancipation (both officially and pragmatically), to achieve the right to vote, followed by the struggle of the civil rights movement, and finally, to the top and most honored position of all – The President of the United States.  It has been a long and hard-fought struggle, but thanks to all that has made our country great, it was a struggle with hope.  The realization of this hope has set the stage for a new era in this great experiment in self-government.  The melting pot is working, evolving the United States into a country where there are no African-American, Latino-American, Anglo-American, Mexican-American, etc. citizenry, but rather, one united citizenry poised to return to the great American Dream founded on the principles wisely set forth by our forefathers and supported by the many men and women who have given their lives in the cause of this great hope…  And it has been and will continue to be chronicled passionately in rare and historic newspapers.

Note:  To all those who have African American and/or slavery/anti-slavery newspaper collections:  Don’t forget to obtain a USA Today, Washington Post, or similar newspaper containing the election results. Although it may not have siginificant financial value at the moment, my guess is there are many who have gone before us whom would declare it “PRICELESS”.  🙂

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