March 11, 2013 by TimHughes · 1 Comment
For likely a multitude of reasons, interest in World War II
newspapers ranks far higher than in the Korean War
, World War I
, or the Spanish-American War
. It may be a generational thing, as most collectors today are children of World War II
veterans and likely heard stories of the war first-hand, or found
newspapers in their parents attics which sparked an interest. One could debate a number of other possible reasons why other wars lack the intrigue found in that fought by the "greatest generation".
Headline collecting has always been a focus for this hobby, and as any collector knows, bold, banner headlines did not become commonplace until late in the 19th century. With the increasing competitiveness of daily newspapers across the country--Hearst
& others rising to prominence--flashier front pages were needed to draw attention at the corner news stand. It's a shame there is not more interest in the Spanish-American War
and World War I
as both events resulted in some huge, dramatic, & very displayable headlines.
Because there are a plethora of newspapers from the WWII
era available, collectors have become very discriminating in what they collect. Only the "best of the best
" will do, meaning just the major events and only those with huge and displayable headlines. If there is a "top 6" list of sought-after events, our experience is they would be: 1) attack on Pearl Harbor
; 2) the D-Day
invasion; 3) death of Hitler
; 4) end of the war in Europe; 5) dropping of the atomic bomb
; 6) end of the war in the Pacific
. One could add any number of other battle reports such as Midway
, battle of the Bulge
, fall of Italy, Iwo Jima
, battle for Berlin
, and so much more. And we could step back before American involvement in the war and add Hitler's
invasion of Poland
and the battle of Britain.
The bigger the headline the better. With some newspapers the entire front page was taken up with a headline and a related graphic. The U.S. flag was a common patriotic device. Tabloid-size newspapers
commonly had the front page entirely taken up with a singular headline and tend to be better for display given their smaller size.
And not just American newspapers draw interest. German newspapers hold a special intrigue, but the language barrier is a problem for many. But the British Channel Islands
, located in the English Channel between England & France, were occupied by the Nazi
during the war so their reports were very pro-Nazi
while printed in the English language (ex., Guernsey Island
). And the military newspaper "Stars and Stripes
", while certainly being American, was published at various locations in Europe and the Pacific. Collectors have a special interest in finding World War II
events in the official newspapers of the American military forces. Plus there were a multitude of "camp" newspapers, amateur-looking newspapers printed on a mimeograph machine for consumption limited to a military base, and typically printed is very small quantities. Their rarity is not truly appreciated by many.
For obvious reasons, there is also a high degree of collectible interest from those wishing to make sure certain aspects of history are not forgotten. The Holocaust
, and the Nazi propaganda
used to provide a rationale for eliminating the Jewish people, is well documented in newspapers from the era. In addition to the Holocaust and its atrocities
, issues providing context through reporting other pre-war events
such as the Great Depression, fascism, and increased militarism, are also desirable.
True to any collectable field, newspaper collectors are always on the lookout for an issue better than what they have, and collection upgrades are constant. Finding that special, rare, unusual or fascinating headline is what makes the hobby fun. Will interest in the Korean War
and the Vietnam War
gain more interest in future years? Perhaps so. With interest currently low and availability and prices very attractive, it might be a good time to explore.
June 25, 2011 by TimHughes · Leave a Comment
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January 11, 2010 by TimHughes · Leave a Comment
Many military units during World War II produced their own little "in-house" newspaper, typically crudely done on a typewriter and reproduced on a mimeograph machine. The reports typically had a more local theme on events happening in camp than reports on the national or international events of the day.
The large number of such newspapers from just World War II--they existed in the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I as well--would allow a hobby onto itself. Their quaintness is often interesting to today's hobbyists, and their titles and mastheads were often clever. Some of the titles I've seen include:
"Medico" "The Stalker" "G.I. Galley" "Dog Tags" "Bulletin Diarrhea" "Airflow" "Mosquito" "Buckaroo" "Prop Wash" "Guinea Gold" "The Saddle Blanket" "The SSHHH" "Garble" "The Bulldog" "Come What Will" "Army Talk" Spacific News" "Poop From Group" "Life O'Reilly" "Goat's Whisker" "News Jabs" and on and on. It seems like each year a new title crosses my desk.
The photo shows a typical camp newspaper from World War II, this one produced by the "Fourth General Hospital" in New Guinea. Given their focus, their title is both clever and somewhat morbid.
November 6, 2008 by TimHughes · 2 Comments
Headlines of events that never happened offer a fascinating focus in the world of newspaper collecting. Unlike radio or television broadcasts where errors can be corrected in minutes, and without any "physical evidence" of the mistake, once ink is on the paper it cannot be retracted.
Certainly the most notable and desirable would be the famous Chicago Tribune mistake of November 3, 1948 which proclaimed in its early edition: "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN" with issues in nice condition now extending well beyond the $1000 mark. Even in a later edition they continued the error but softening the headline by proclaiming: "G.O.P. WINS WHITE HOUSE!
", which I believe to be more rare than the more famous earlier edition.
One error newspaper which recently surfaced from our inventory comes with an interesting story, growing from the hysteria created by the surprise attack upon Pearl Harbor by Japan, which helped to usher in the U.S. involvement in World War II
The Los Angeles Examiner "War Extra" of Feb. 25, 1942
proclaimed in large letters across its front page: "AIR BATTLE RAGES OVER LOS ANGELES
". Puzzled by the headline, as I wasn't aware of any WWII battles reaching the shores of the United States, I did a bit of investigating.
The short answer is there was no air battle over Los Angeles. Just some hysteria run amuck. During the night of February 24/25, 1942, unidentified objects caused a succession of alerts in southern California. On the 24th, a warning issued by naval intelligence indicated that an attack could be expected within the next ten hours. Probably much of the confusion came from the fact that anti-aircraft shell bursts, caught by the searchlights, were themselves mistaken for enemy planes. In any case, the next three hours produced some of the most imaginative reporting of the war: “swarms” of planes (or, sometimes, balloons) of all possible sizes, numbering from one to several hundred, traveling at altitudes which ranged from a few thousand feet to more than 20,000 and flying at speeds which were said to have varied from “very slow” to over 200 miles per hour, were observed to parade across the skies. These mysterious forces dropped no bombs and, despite the fact that 1,440 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition were directed against them, suffered no losses. There were reports that four enemy planes had been shot down, and one was supposed to have landed in flames at a Hollywood intersection. Residents in a forty mile arc along the coast watched from hills or rooftops as the play of guns and searchlights provided the first real drama of the war for citizens of the mainland. The dawn, which ended the shooting and the fantasy, also proved that the only damage which resulted to the city was such as had been caused by the excitement (there was at least one death from heart failure), by traffic accidents in the blacked-out streets, or by shell fragments from the artillery barrage. Go here
to read the full text of this fascinating "battle" as provided by the "Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco".
Do you have any interesting error headlines in your collection? Feel free to share with others.