Whatcha Got? Harry Rinker interviews Tim Hughes…

February 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Many collectors are quite familiar with Harry Rinker’s nationally syndicated radio talk show, “Watcha Got?”. Harry recently interviewed Tim regarding the Rare Newspapers collectible. Please enjoy the interview at (click on the audio mp3 button):  Watcha Got?

Note: The interview lasts about 15 minutes and begins at the 28:50 time marker (just slide the bar to this point). Better yet, enjoy Harry’s entire broadcast. 🙂

Announcing…

October 29, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Two special events related to the Rare & Early Newspapers collectible are scheduled for this week:

1) A long time collector of historic newspapers, Todd Andrlik, has written a book which is sure to quickly become a classic within the hobby, “Reporting The Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News”, which tells the story of the Revolutionary War through the eyes of the newspapers of the period. Todd used authentic newspapers from the period… putting into practice what has been stated many times at History’s Newsstand:  “History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was 1st reported.”  The link below will take you to Amazon’s “Look Inside” and will give you the opportunity to pre-order a copy through Wednesday, and direct order starting Thursday.  Thanks Todd.

“Reporting The Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News”

2) Newspapers that shaped the world…, a special edition catalog from Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers, is also scheduled to be released on Thursday, at 12:01 AM ET, on November 1, 2012. While the following link shows items from our previous catalog, as of 12:01, it will take you to the release of what may be our most notable catalog to-date.

Newspapers that shaped the world…

Start Spreading the News…

March 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Stephanie Finnegan from TREASURES MAGAZINE – Antique to Modern Collecting recently interviewed Tim Hughes for an article which was printed in the February, 2012 issue.  A copy of the article is below.  Thanks and appreciation goes out to Stephanie for her fine work.

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.

The Civil War…

April 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Not too long ago we had a collector ask several questions regarding rare newspapers from the Civil War.  We thought others might be interested in the questions and responses as well.

Collector:
I recently obtained a New York Tribune issue from January 1, 1863 that had the evening edition for January 2 inside it, with the attachment remaining uncut on its superior border.Was this the way it was meant to be printed? Was this some error in printing? If this was meant to be this way, why isn’t the evening edition of the January 1 paper attached and not the January 2 edition? Is there any significance to the uncut superior border? How commonly did that happen with ordinary papers of the day?
Tim:
Yes, the N.Y. Tribune was meant to be printed that way. We’ve had hundreds of issues done that way, also done by the Phila. Inquirer and perhaps others.  I have a theory concocted from various sources years ago but no definitive explanation.

Most major city papers had a daily and bi-weekly edition, and some a tri-weekly edition. The cost of a newspaper from the pre-1890 era was no small expense, so the latter two were more affordable for many. I suspect the “Evening Edition” did not publish 7 days a week; perhaps 2 or 3, maybe 4 (?). If this was the case it was easy for them to fill in the balance of the issue with news from a day or two before as the type was already set and those who purchased it hadn’t read it. This was more clearly defined with the Phila. Inq. run we had because they had in the first column that it was the “tri-weekly” edition, and in the same issue was another masthead from the day before. The Tribune did not print such a notice, or at least I haven’t found it yet.

And such editions with 2 masthead are quite uncommon because libraries would have only subscribed to the regular daily edition, given their desire to document all news for every day, and 95% of early newspapers on the market came from some institution after microfilming. So the 2 masthead issues are typically only found as never-bound issues which have survived the years in attics, trunks, etc.

Collector:
While I understand that there is no “only one correct answer” to this question, in regard to Civil War-era newspaper collecting, which papers are the Holy Grail of collecting? Which are the rarest but most sought-after ones? Are there any that even you have never seen, any that even you have been searching for for years and have never found?
Tim:
I would say a Gettysburg Address issue in a Gettysburg newspaper would float pretty close to the top. Or even battle of Gettysburg issues from Gettysburg. All the good Lincoln assassination issues tend to turn up from time to time because they were commonly saved. The Gettys. Add. would not have been saved as it wasn’t anything special at the time. To this day we probably get more requests for both Gettysburg events than any other during the Civil War.

Collector:
Do you have a favorite title form the Civil War?
Tim:
I would say the Philadelphia Inquirer. I like that it had more graphics, many embellishments at the tops of ftpg. columns, and often used larger type in its headings.

Thanks for the member inquiry which led to these responses from Tim.  Feel free to send your questions, comments as well.

Featured websites – TeachHistory.com

March 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Teachers with a love of history, listen up!  The following resource can improve your curriculum and make you a stronger educator.  Students of history will enjoy the breadth and depth of the historical journey as well.

TeachHistory is a fantastic website (blog), developed and maintained by Ben Edwards, which provides engaging information & a plethora of useful educational resources related to history.  It describes itself as:

“a blog dedicated to social studies and history teachers across the United States who use Colonial American history, imagination and multisensory teaching methods to inspire their students. Our goal is to provide a resource where teachers like you can access information about colonial history plus technologies, methods and products that are making a difference in education today.”

While Ben’s experience with teachers and students is varied, perhaps the most useful channel for keeping him in touch with the pulse of teacher/student interests and needs occur via the many intimate conversations had while engaging teachers and students through his Walking Tours of Historic Boston.  Combine this with both his (historic) heritage and his natural love of history, and you have the making of a blog which is sure to stay relevant over time.  Some of the recent posts include:

Colonel Shaw, Sergeant Carney and the 54th Massachusetts

Remembering Alex Haley and Roots

Black History Month: A Tribute to Phillis Wheatley

Young Ben Franklin and the Silence Dogood Letters

Teachers: Are You Engaging AND Empowering Your Students?

Many of the posts include detailed images and reference accounts of actual Rare & Early Newspapers – most of which come from his personal collection.  Ben fully grasps a foundational truth regarding primary sources:  “History is never more fascinating than when it is read from the day it was first reported.” Thanks Ben, for your contributions to both the Rare Newspapers and Educational communities.

Featured websites – RagLinen.com

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

From time to time we like to take a look at various websites which may enhance our Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers‘ members collecting experience.  Todd Andrlik’s “Rag Linen“, is such a site.  It describes itself foremost as “…an educational archive of rare and historic newspapers, which serve as the first drafts of history and the critical primary source material for historians, authors and educators.”  A sample of Rag Linen’s posts on the corresponding blog include:

Rag Linen also has useful information on the History of Newspapers, the Condition & Preservation of newspapers, and more.  Well done Todd.  Thanks for your contributions to the rare newspapers community.

First newspaper in Connecticut…

January 25, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Tim Hughes, founder

Printing in Connecticut began as early as 1710 by its first printer, Thomas Short. Short became an orphan at a young age and was captured by Indians & carried away to Canada. He was eventually ransomed, likely by his brother-in-law, Bartholomew Green, who taught him the printing trade. The Green family was well known as early printers throughout New England.

Printing in New Haven began when James Parker, of New York, was appointed postmaster by Benjamin Franklin, although there is no evidence he ever spent much time either as postmaster or printer. He employed John Holt, of Williamsburg, Virginia, to manage the printing office. “The Present State of the Colony of Connecticut Considered” from 1755 is the earliest known production by James Parker in New Haven. On April 12, 1755 he brought out the first number of a  newspaper titled the “Connecticut Gazette“, with Holt as editor. It was the very first newspaper printed in Connecticut and continued until Feb. 19, 1768 at which time it ceased publication.

Just a few months later in Hartford, on April 25, 1768, the “Connecticut Courant” began publication and remains in print today as the country’s oldest continually published newspaper.

The first newspaper in Alabama…

October 19, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Tim_2008Credit must be given to John Oswald’s “Printing In The Americas” for the following on first newspaper printed in Alabama:

“Samuel Miller and John B. Hood started the ‘Centinel” at Mobile, Alabama, on May 23, 1811, but there is some doubt as to whether it was actually printed there. It was a troublous time for the town. The district in which it was located was claimed by Spain as a part of Florida, which she owned, and it was not until 1812 that the Congress of the United States annexed the Mobile district to what was then called the Mississippi Territory. The following year Gen. James Wilkinson occupied it with a military force, which was not resisted by the Spaniards. It is probable that the printing of the “Centinel” was done at Fort Stoddert, further up the river in American territory. In 1817 the territory was divided, the eastern portion being named Alabama, after a tribe of Creek Indians which inhabited the district, with St. Stephens as its capital. The territory became a state in 1819.”

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