My Collecting Story… Simon Marshall-Jones…

September 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

headtats_simon_marshall-jonBeing an artist and writer, I possess a fascination with the world and the universe that isn’t limited by borders. Ever since I was a young boy, living in a small Welsh town, I have always wanted to know about the wonders out there, and before I had reached the end of my first decade I had an avid interest in both archaeology and astronomy, as well as other sciences. I have carried that abiding sense of wonder into my adult life and it continues to inform my everyday existence.

Collecting is as much part of my genes and psyche as my diabetes is part of my genetic make-up and creativity is a part of my psychology. Over the last four decades or so, I have collected everything from pop cultural artefacts (obscure vinyl records from seriously underground outfits, for instance) to high-brow books on unusual subjects (eg, the sociology and politics of death, and the history of Freemasonry). However, the one collecting habit that has given me the greatest pleasure is the one that harks back to those childhood interests – working towards amassing a complete run of Scientific American, from its foundation in 1845 until the present day.

I fell into collecting the magazine quite by accident. In each and every current issue is a column that looks back at articles and items of news from previous issues in its long history – 50, 100 & 150 years ago. It occurred to me that they were only the highlights, mere gilded snippets of a broader tapestry, inevitably giving only a minute glimpse of the fuller picture. I felt that, rather than wonder what else there was in each of these vintage issues, I would chase them down and read them for myself. Not only is this venerable magazine an almost complete history of science, it is also a wonderful tracker of social history as well. The progress of scientific discovery was much slower the, or so it appears, but no less momentous for all that. Scientific American spans steam, automobiles, airplanes, the American Civil War, both World Wars, the discovery of penicillin, insulin, computers, man’s first exploratory ventures into space and into the depths of the oceans – and it’s all been reported in the pages of Scientific American over the past nigh-on 165 years. That in itself persuades me that collecting the magazine is an exceptionally worthwhile enterprise, and often sends a frisson of delight down my spine.

My Collecting Story… Robert (Bob) Cassidy…

September 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

robert_cassidyA few  years ago, I bought a newspaper. I had a collection that I had started saving as a youngster, as events happened, but ordering one [again, as an adult] opened up a whole new world.  Now I have the Hughes’ papers in cases, and earlier collection in storage. While I have never met Guy nor Doreen, I feel that they are friends, who have been with me during some pretty tough times. What is the most exciting thing  that has happened during the collection process? For a couple of generations my family had thought that my great great grandfather had been buried in a mass grave at the site of the Battle of Fairoaks in Virginia during the Civil War. Last year Doreen found a newspaper that indicated that he, William White,  had survived the battle and had been transported with other wounded to the D.C. area. What could be more exciting  than that?

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Thanks for sharing your story Dave. If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field. Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story. We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

My Collecting Story… David Cunningham…

August 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

example_1666_london-gazetteI started collecting newspapers about 2-3 years ago. Originally I collected US coins and baseball cards but transitioned to picture postcards from the early 1900’s. I wanted to go back further in time so I started to collect letters/stampless letters from the 1800’s including a few neat letters from the Civil War. In my quest to find earlier documents I stumbled upon your rarenewspaper website. I was amazed that newspapers could be had from the 1600/1700’s. Too bad I didn’t find out sooner.

george_washington_script_siMy favorite era is newspapers from the Revolutionary War and the early formation of the United States government. Friends and relatives are amazed when I show them a newspaper with George Washington’s name in it. A few of the papers have names of officers who were engaged in the Revolutionary war. To me that makes it very historical since I know an active participant actually read that paper.

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Thanks for sharing your story Dave. If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field. Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story. We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

My Collecting Story… Paul Sarna…

August 6, 2009 by · 3 Comments 

kentucky-derby1The first newspaper I believe I ever collected was for the 1968 Kentucky Derby followed later that month by the ’68 Indianapolis 500 (timely to write this since it’s the month of May [when Paul wrote this] and I’m going to the Indy 500 once again this year).  I was only 6 years old at the time, but proud years later, that I started collecting newsworthy newspapers at such an early age. 1968, needless to say, was quite a year and I’m glad to this day that I never sold any of the newspapers I collected when I first started (though I admit I did not keep them in the best shape I could have….I didn’t realize 41 years later that I’d still be collecting newspapers!!!). I think the first newspaper that I ever bought multiple copies of was for the first Ali-Frazier fight in 1971, but I am not sure.

Some of the best surprises I have had in collecting?….well 2 come to mind. One was purchasing, at a flea market in New York City, a Daily Morning Chronicle (Washington D.C.) of April 15, 1865 for about $20 in the late 80’s (I’m still kicking myself for even THINKING about selling that gem). Another purchase came at my table as a street vendor from a person I had never met, but came to my table to sell me this oversized box of newspapers.  I initially did not want to purchase them because I used a handcart to bring my table and inventory home and the box was big, but luckily I didn’t delay the purchase and bought them [for $35] by just glancing over the top half of the stack. When I got home I saw a New York Herald Titanic first report with some wear at the fold. The newspaper seemed to have multiple section so I initially let it go and continued looking through the stack. At some point it then dawn on me that these might not merely be sections of the same newspaper and when I looked again, neatly tucked in were Titanic first reports in the New York Times and the New York World in great condition!

The most rewarding part of my experience with newspapers was the street vending of old newspapers (and magazines) I did in New York City from 1988 until 2004. Even though I did not have many repeat customers (or not as many as I would have liked), it was rewarding. Not just for merely “making a living”, but for the people that had that certain look on their faces when they saw something that caught them by surprise or for when tourists from all over the country and world would take a photo of my stand as a memory of their visit.

Newspapers collecting is something I will ALWAYS do, and now is a good time to thank Tim, Guy, Doreen, Marc and everybody in the Rare Newspapers staff for helping me pursue my endless goal of collecting newspapers.

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Thanks for sharing your story Paul. If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field. Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story. We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

My Collecting Story… Gregory Christiano…

July 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

gregory-christiano1Many people think of a newspaper as ephemera, something to be thrown away after you read it or to be used to wrap fish or make silly hats. I never looked at it that way. After college graduation in 1969 I began to get an interest in antiquarian books, maps, prints and other collectibles. It wasn’t until I saw an ad in the paper for historic and antique newspapers. I sent away for the catalogue and notice a reference to a baseball game with line and box scores in a New York paper from 1865. I was curious and spent $2.00 to purchase it. Well, that got me hooked. Being an avid baseball fan, I lost all control and purchased dozens of those early papers with accounts of baseball games. In those early days (1970’s) it was relatively inexpensive to buy 19th century newspapers. There were only a few dealers and I became a regular customer. Timothy Hughes was one of my very first suppliers. I was never disappointed with the condition and the authenticity of my purchases.

When I first started collecting these papers, I had to learn about their fragility the hard way. I try to keep my collection pre-1870’s because those newspapers were printed on rag cloth and can be preserved a very long time. The technology to print newspapers on pulp had been around since the mid-nineteenth century but really picked up by the later`part of the 1870’s. My collection includes late 19th-century and twentieth century issues. Most of them are crumbling to the touch because of the sawdust-composite nature of newsprint. My bound volume of the NY Herald from 1877 is turning to dust. I do have a unique bound volume of the New York Times from early 1940’s printed on silk for archive storage. I picked that up at an auction in the early 1980s. To this day it looks brand new! My 20th-century collection is becoming brittle with each day, even after taking precautions to preserve these cherished papers. They are discolored and disintegrating. That’s why libraries have placed all their collections on microfiche.

I just don’t have the discretionary cash to have a professional paper conservator preserve my entire collection. I use the standard acid-free buffered boxes and folders (careful to keep the newspaper unfolded), storing my collection in a dark environment with a stable temperature between 65 and 70 degrees.

Most of my collection consists of mostly 19-century New York City papers – Sunday Mercury, Herald, Tribune, World, Sun, Times, Daily Star, Daily Graphic, then into the twentieth-century with Herald-Tribune, World, Telegram and Sun, Journal American, Mirror, Daily News. Then I branched out to Colonial and Revolutionary period, with titles like Dunlap and Claypool American Daily Advertiser (1790s – I have about four issues), The Aurora (Benjamin Franklin Bache – 1790s), Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser from 1793 [the forerunner to Dunlap’s paper].

I also have some sporting magazines, Porter’s Spirit of the Times, Wilke’s Spirit of the Times, and of course, Harper’s Weekly and others. Today I concentrate on specific issues of interest for me, like early reporting on rapid transit in New York City [the New York Daily Graphic has some terrific illustrations of the early elevated lines, like the Gilbert Elevated RR, sporting events, Civil War accounts etc.

Some rare titles: Day’s New-York Bank Note List, Counterfeit Detector and Price Current. published 1826-1859 [I collect bank notes and coins also]… Demorest’s New York Illustrated News…a couple of 1864 copies. Greenleaf’s New-York Journal & Patriotic Register (late 1790s) – I have a couple of these. On and on and on. They are too numerous to list here. I’ve been collecting for over 30 years, and am still fascinated with every issue I have in my collection.

I am on mailing lists and receive constant updates on what is available. The prices have gone up, but still reasonable. What copies I can’t obtain, I can see at the New York Public Library where I go to access their microfilm department to read and photocopy some of the rarer issues. There is nothing like reading history as it happened, by eyewitnesses as the events unfolded. With the future of newspapers in question, collecting them is even more important. Yesterday’s newspapers are not dead, not irrelevant, but still alive:

This is what really happened, reported by a free press to a free people. It is the raw material of history; it is the story of our own times. -Henry Steel Commager, preface to a history of the New York Times, 1951

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Thanks for sharing your story Gregory.  If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field.  Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story.  We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears.  Thank you for your contribution to the community.

My Collecting Story… Brendan Dwyer…

July 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Here is my antique newspaper collecting story. Not how I got started, but in the middle:

nantucketgif—–I moved to Nantucket [see 19th century image] in 1997 and fell in love with it’s rich history—-whaling, Quakers, isolation, American Revolution neutralism, etc.—Well–in 1795 a bank robbery occurred here where around $20,000 was taken in various international currency ( keep in mind the date and the world travels of the whaling industry). This robbery  shocked and shucked the town whereby feuds developed and lasted for generations. All very interesting. Well, I found out the court dates of the accused robbers and the newspapers which covered the proceedings. I had been buying antique  newspapers from [Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers] for a number of years, so I searched [the] site and found several of the newspapers which covered the court proceedings.

Keep in mind this was from 1795!!!!!  Just amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Thanks for sharing your story Brendan.  If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field.  Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story.  We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears.  Thank you for your contribution to the community.

My Collecting Story… Glenn Guttman…

June 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The High Point of My Collecting Experience:

chicago_fire

I started collecting “antique” newspapers after responding to an ad in the back of a Coin World magazine where Tim Hughes was offering his latest catalog of old newspapers.  I was amazed at the variety of selections available, the reasonableness of the prices for items that were well over 100 years of age and the beauty of many of the features within the pages of the newspapers.

As a native of Chicago, one of the first items I purchased back in the early 90’s was a Harper’s Weekly dating back to 1871, just a couple of weeks after the Great Chicago Fire.  I had purchased the item in very good condition from Tim for around $30-45 as I recall.  The issue was chock full of many interesting items surrounding details of the Great Fire, how it started, what area it consumed, engravings of the landscape after the fire, etc.  There were a couple of Nast cartoons as I recall in the magazine (newspaper) as well. Overall, a very interesting piece.

One day, I had heard the “Antiques Roadshow” was filming in Chicago, at Navy Pier and my wife and I decided to go with two items.  She brought this intricate and delicately framed picture which was created out of shiny silk stitching that was unlike anything I (or anyone else) had ever seen.  Truly a unique item.

We also brought my Harper’s Weekly to get an idea as to its value from an independent appraiser.

After about 2 hours of standing in line, finally someone came to analyze the items brought in by my wife and I.  A woman saw what my wife had and was quite intrigued and asked if it could be reviewed by the art expert.  We were taken out of line and my wife and I started “high-fiving” each other thinking we had hit the jackpot with our great find.  Once looked at by the art appraiser, our hopes were deflated once we learned that our picture was a widely produced, and factory manufactured piece of no intrinsic value whatsoever.  A complete bust in terms of value.  Maybe worth $20 the expert stated.

Next, my newspaper and I were taken to a review appraiser who looked at the item carefully, smiling all the while, but saying nothing.  He then spoke to what turned out to be one of the on-set producers and then came to us and asked if we were interested in being taped for the show with our item. They said it was a fascinating piece and that being filmed in Chicago, with an article of such local interest, it would be a wonderful addition to the show.  We accepted the invitation and took a seat awaiting our turn to discuss the item on camera.

Three more hours passed and nothing was happening.  Despite our numerous requests to get an idea as to when we would be called to begin filming, we received no information.  We were hungry, tired, and had been sitting/standing/sitting and fidgeting for over 5 hours with no clue as to when our “15 minutes of fame” would occur.  Finally, my wife said she had had it and that it was time to go.  We informed the producer of our intent to leave and asked that our item be appraised if possible.  The producer tried to persuade us to continue to wait, but enough time had elapsed to fill a double-header in baseball, with no indication that we would ever be called to the camera.

Anyway, about a half-hour later, the appraiser came and took a look at the item again, went through the many details he had noticed which made the magazine (newspaper) so interesting. And five minutes later he told us that the newspaper we purchased, in the Chicagoland area, if offered at auction, would probably fetch an offer of around $200 by his estimation.

It was a day I rather enjoyed but for the exasperating wait for many hours.

Thanks Tim for offering such great pieces of history to the public and sharing your passion with the rest of the world.  It’s provided many years of fun.

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Thanks for sharing your story Glenn.  If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field.  Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story.  We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears.  Thank you for your contribution to the community.

Media Transformation…

June 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

meredith_walker_bachelors_dFrom Benjamin Harris’ papers of the seventeenth century to the modern day media centers online and on TV, the newspaper has undergone a drastic change in style.  The true transition began when America broke free of British news in 1783 and established the Pennsylvania evening Post as the first American daily.  The many papers published in between these early years were deeply rooted in cultural ideals as well as secrecy from the British Empire depending on the time frame.  The rise to the media outlets as we know them to be today has been a long time coming but is the best form of news to fit modern society.

Isaiah Thomas’ Massachusetts Spy was one such paper that was secretly published within 1770 and 1776 during the American Revolution.  Many similar papers were published during this time, albeit a difficult time in which to publish any type of paper with a continuous circulation.  Many papers did not survive past a few months and those that did were changed to Royalist perspectives due to the British occupancy.  However, after the independence of 1776, papers began to experience the freedom they so craved from the tyranny of an overseas empire.  These new papers united resistance to oppression, praised patriotism, and denounced tyranny, often making the papers themselves a bit more radical than the majority of the population.  These papers often served to unify the general public which proved to be a general step in the right direction when instating a nation.

The later eighteenth century saw the rise of partisan papers and political parties began to take shape.  Federalist and Republican presses dominated different realms of the nation and proved to reach out to constituents in an easy way.  This time period cemented the newspaper ideals and molded the reporting to be what we now know it to be: local affairs and the rivalry of competitors which has since become a dominant force in American journalism.  With the increased annexation of states, the newspaper audience grew as more and more citizens joined the ranks of the United States.  These early papers of the West were often poorly written but served to provide an outlet for these new national citizens in which to approach their Congressman and get their voices heard.  This is what the news was originally about, catering to a smaller local audience in order to get their voices heard on a national scale in the end.  After this original introduction of papers around the United States, they have since grown into larger entities that are all-encompassing.

“Yellow Journalism” and muckraking are terms of the later nineteenth and twentieth century which have helped to cement the importance of journalism in American society.  Yellow journalism references journalism that features scandal-mongering, sensationalism, or other unethical antics by news media organizations; muckraker refers to an individual who investigates and exposes issues of corruption that violate previous societal ethical values.  The original Yellow Journalism battle began between Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal.  These type of battles remain in existence today between rival news networks although they are no longer central to newspaper in print.  The move from print papers to online and televised news accounts has made an extraordinary difference in the modern world.  Most modern day businessmen do not have the time to read an entire newspaper which has since tripled in length, but can hear the snippets of news on the radio or from a news station on TV; furthermore, they can always go online and click the top headlines of the day.  This transformation in the media world is a telling sign of the shift in technology that we have yet to fully realize the significance of.

This post was contributed by Meredith Walker, who writes about the BachelorsDegreeOnline.com. She welcomes your feedback at MeredithWalker1983@gmail.com.

My Collecting Story… Brent Lacy…

June 11, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

brent_lacyI began collecting a few papers several years ago, by way of genealogy.   For years I had been researching my family tree, started by an obituary of my gg-grandfather that mentioned that he fought in the civil war and was from Kentucky.  Research led me to find out many things about where he came from and also some records from the war.  One thing I found out was the unit he was fighting with and date that he was taken prisoner.  To put together a book for the family, I began to look for more information to fill out the story other than who begat who.  During this time I found old newspapers I began to look for anything that mentioned his commander or unit and papers around the time of his capture.  What I found was amazing several papers from the days before and after contained first hand accounts and reports of the battles he was in.  Information on where they were on specific days and time and what they were encountering told at the time, became invaluable to filling out his story.  One story in particular locked me in, one that told of troops sneaking upon the enemy (my ancestors unit) early one morning and taking several prisoners.  That was the day my ancestor was taken captive, and here was a newspaper article from 1864 describing the actual event.  This was news of the day written in the day, not some glossed over or condensed history book and who knows he could have possibly read the same newspaper article at some point!  I was hooked.  I still look for things related to him and also now look for what was going on in other locales where other ancestors lived.  It has made for fascinating genealogical research to see what was reported then and what they would have been seeing as current news, filling out the story of our ancestors lives.  Well that’s my story.   I am thankful for the www.rarenewspapers website.

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Thanks for sharing your story Brent.  If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field.  Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story.  We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears.  Thank you for your contribution to the community.

My Collecting Story… Richard Sloan…

May 28, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

lincoln_assassination_ny_heI’ve been interested in the Lincoln assassination ever since I was thirteen years old.   The 19th century images really grabbed me, and continue to give me a sense of what took place.  As a New Yorker, my interest expanded to Lincoln’s N.Y.C. funeral, Lincoln’s prior trips to NY, Mrs. Lincoln’s NYC shopping sprees, and John Wilkes Booth’s activities in the city.  In the course of all of this, I also became interested in 19th century NY photographers, theaters, hotels, and department stores.  It has become obvious to me that period photographs convey and impart just so much.  The old newspapers turned out to be the missing ingredient.  There is nothing like holding an old NYC newspaper in my hand (or a weekly like Harper’s, Leslie’s, Gleason’s, etc;).  Turning old pages that someone had turned in 1865 doesn’t just provide research information; it takes me back in time and shows me what life was like.  It’s a wonderful experience to re-capture the sense of immediacy and news-gathering that someone had experienced back then when he or she turned those very same pages — whether it’s reading the details of Lincoln’s 1861 arrival in the city, reading the details of such events as his assassination, his funeral, finding out what parades took place in town the previous day, or what shows are currently playing in town.  Old newspapers are time machines!

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Thanks for sharing your story Richard. If you would like to share your story of how you became interested in collecting rare and/or historic newspapers, e-mail it to guy@rarenewspapers.com and place “My Story” in the subject field. Although not necessary, feel free to include an image. Please do not include your e-mail address or a personal website as part of the text of your story. We will post collector stories every few weeks and will send you a notice when your story appears. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

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