19th century Harper’s Weekly reviewed…

December 11, 2017 by · 2 Comments 

Over the years we have made several mentions of Harper’s Weekly, one of the most beloved illustrated newspapers of the 19th century. This title is also one of the most sought-after collectibles through our website,

RareNewspapers.com. Although I’m sure many others exist, I was pleasantly surprised to find a contemporary review of this publication on the front page of the Springfield Republican dated February 13, 1867. Even more pleasing was my discovery that, unlike It’s a Wonderful Life, the works of Vincent Van Gogh, and Thoreau’s Walden, along with a host of other now-popular people, songs, products, books, etc., which initially  found it difficult to gain traction, at least in one journalist’s opinion was seen as an unrivaled, gem of a publication. Their review stated, in part:

 

“The Harpers offer their Weekly in bound volumes for the year 1866 for $7. As a record and illustration of the times, it has no rival; its pages are history, literature and politics, all of the safest and soundest sort. Good as are the Harper’s pictures for America, valuable as its record of passing events, and interesting as are generally its sketches and stories…” (view entire article).

The link RareNewspapers.com will take you to our website where nearly every Harper’s Weekly has been photographed and described for your reading and viewing pleasure. Please enjoy.

Harper’s Weekly: a magazine or a newspaper?

December 12, 2016 by · 4 Comments 

Many collectors have wondered if the popular “Harper’s Weekly” publication is a newspaper or a magazine. Well,  there is really no clear answer.

I’ve always referred to it as a newspaper to distinguish it from their own sister publication “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine” which, being smaller, many more pages, and issued monthly, is blog-12-12-2016-illustrated-newspapersa more definitive magazine. Early in its history the weekly called themselves a “family newspaper”, and modeled themselves against “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” which began about a year earlier. If Leslie’s was a “newspaper” then certainly Harper’s Weekly was a “newspaper” as well.

However, in Mott’s “History of American Magazines” he includes a section for Harper’s Weekly, as well as one for Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper and other similar weeklies. Then he confuses the issue a bit more in the second volume of his book (pg. 43) by stating: “Half a dozen copiously illustrated weeklies of general appeal must be grouped separately. It would not be inappropriate to classify these periodicals as newspapers, since they all relied much upon the reporting of current events: indeed, one of them called itself a newspaper in its title. But they were all very much more than newspapers, and they placed the emphasis on features of appeal which belonged more characteristically to the magazine than to the newspaper–namely, pictures and belles-lettres…”.

So there you have it. No definitive answer, but in my book Harper’s Weekly is, and always will be, a newspaper.
Your thoughts?

Thomas Nast in Harper’s Weekly…

March 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Thomas Nast ranks as one of  the most successful, powerful, and prolific artists of the 19th century, and is a name linked closely to one of the most successful, powerful, and prolific newspapers of the 19th century. Through their successes, both Nast and Harper’s Weekly gained sufficient power to influence American politics in the second half of the 19th century and help shape the political climate of America during the industrial revolution.

Thomas Nast was German born, moving to America in 1846. Skilled as an artist, he first went to work for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in 1859, but within 3 years he began working for its competitor, Harper’s Weekly. His work continued to appear in Harper’s thru 1886.

It was a symbiotic relationship for the two. Circulation of Harper’s Weekly grew as Nast drawings were found in more and more of its pages, and Nast‘s notoriety and popularity grew in large part to the increased circulation of Harper’s Weekly. Nast‘s powerful pen in support of the prosecution of the Civil War was honored by President Lincoln when he called Nast “our best recruiting sergeant”.

With original artwork by Thomas Nast commanding prices far beyond the pocketbooks of most collectors, prints found in Harper’s–and only in Harper’s–remain a popular way to assemble a collection of this famed artist’s work at relatively low prices given the current availability of genuine issues.
For today’s collector, interest in Nast falls into three categories:

1) His portrayal of battles & events of the Civil  War, which often featured human interest themes & the effect of the war on those back home, remain as some of the best and most heart-felt scenes of the Civil War. Daily newspapers only provided written text; Harper’s Weekly and the prints of Thomas Nast provided a visual representation of the reality of war.

2) Perhaps most noticed as a political cartoonist, his work did much to expose the graft and corruption of William “Boss” Tweed, the powerful Tammany Hall political machine of New York City. In fact it was a Nast cartoon which caused Tweed to be arrested following his escape from jail and flight to Spain. A customs official recognized him from his many appearances in “Harper’s Weekly”. Nast has been credited with doing much to cause elections of all in the hands of those he supported (Grant’s two Presidencies), and cause to fail those he disliked.

It was Nast who created the caricatures of the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant to represent those parties, political icons which remain to this day. Desired among collectors are the first donkey to appear in the pages of Harper’s Weekly (January 15, 1870) and the first elephant to appear (November 7, 1874), as well as the first time they appeared together (December 27, 1879). All three command premium prices due to their desirability, but collectors are encouraged by the inexpensive prices for other genuine issues of Harper’s which include Nast illustrations of both.

3) Santa Claus prints. It is Thomas Nast who is credited with creating the modern version of Santa Claus, the jolly, rosy-cheeked, rotund purveyor of gifts in the uniform as we know him today. Nast’s first Santa Claus to appear in Harper’s Weekly was titled “Santa Claus in Camp” from during the Civil War, appearing on the front page of the January 3, 1863 issue. Yet it is the January 1, 1881 issue which has the Santa Claus centerfold which still appears in many Christmas advertisements and is perhaps his most famous rendition. There are many issues of Harper’s Weekly which have Santa Claus prints, all very desired among collectors.

True to any symbiotic relationship, with Nast leaving Harper’s Weekly at the  end of 1886, he lost his forum to reach the masses, and in losing Nast, Harper’s Weekly lost its political importance. Nast continued his work in other publications, none being very successful, until his death in 1902 to yellow fever. Harper’s Weekly never regained its success from the Nast years, and it ultimately ceased publication in 1916.

Harper’s Weekly issues with Nast prints are very displayable, particularly those which feature Nast images on the front page, or notable icons such as popular politicians, Santa Claus, Uncle Sam and Abraham Lincoln. A very famous Nast cartoon featuring Lincoln is the  “Long Abraham Lincoln A Little Longer” cartoon which is in the November 26, 1864 issue, signifying his successful second Presidential election.

All issues offered by Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers are genuine & complete in 16 pages, save for a few described otherwise. In many cases two or three Nast prints appear in one issue.

Creating Harper’s Weekly engravings: a fascinating process…

March 23, 2009 by · 7 Comments 

Harper’s Weekly issues of the 19th century remain among the more popular in our inventory, as the multiple engravings found in each issue document much of American history from 1857 through the end of the century. We have over 60,000 issues in inventory but still some dates are sold out as soon as they arrive. I suspect most of you have seen this title, but few may be aware of the interesting process of creating the prints in a timely manner.

The story of how Harper’s delivered this amazing product during the Civil War  is a fascinating one, and I must give credit to www.sonofthesouth.net for much of detail.

The process started by the deployment of not only reporters but also artists to the battlefield.  Some of the most renowned artists of the 1800’s got their start as illustrators for Harper’s Weekly, including Winslow Homer and Thomas Nast.   These artists would sketch scenes of the battles that they witnessed and the sketches would then be dispatched back to Harper’s for publication in the upcoming papers.

In order to publish the artwork, the images first had to be carved onto a block of wood.  But it would take too much time for a single engraver to carve an entire print, particularly given the timeliness of each issue.  To provide the illustrations as quickly as possible, a very clever idea was developed.  The illustration would be cut into 2 inch squares and each square would be engraved onto a different small block of wood by an assigned carver.

By dividing the illustration up, each artist assigned to just a portion, a team of workers could carve a full page illustration in a short period of time.  After the small blocks were completed they were then screwed together to form the overall illustration and a finishing engraver would provide final touches to be sure the pieces were perfectly aligned.  This completed wood block was then used as a “master” to stamp the illustration onto all the newspapers being printed.  If you look at a Harper’s engraving carefully you can often see where the blocks of wood were joined together.

It wasn’t until the 1890’s that the technology of printing caused the end of hand-done engravings for the pages of Harper’s and other illustrated periodicals. With the demise of this labor-intensive trade also came the end of some of the more beautiful works of art to be found on paper. They remain treasures today and hearken back to an era when artistry and long hours of work were an important part in providing the news.

Code = RN72109SH

Code = RN72109SH

The September (2017) Newsletter from Rare & Early Newspapers…

September 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Each month the staff of Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers sends out a newsletter to our members which includes special offers, discounts, alerts to new inventory, and information related to the rare newspaper collectible.

The September, 2017 newsletter is as follows:

Dear Friend of Rare & Early Newspapers,
Welcome to the September edition of our member’s newsletter. Below please find a handful of links to a free issue from 1865, a new set of issues priced at 50% off, and a few other goodies. Please enjoy.
Free Issue (regular price is $54) – We are offering a free issue (pay only the S&H) of the September 2, 1865 edition of Harper’s Weekly. This issue includes a variety of prints related to immigration (castle Garden, New York), cannibalism in Haiti, investing on Wall Street, the Housatonic Railroad disaster near Bridgeport Connecticut, and a portraits of multiple Civil War officers. The issue will be in average condition (not 2nd-rate), and includes additional prints not described. The issue may be viewed/purchased at: Harper’s Weekly, September 2, 1865. Note: This issue is only available through the provided link. Approximately 10 are available. Please, only 1 per collector.
*Discounted Newspapers – Nearly 250 newspapers have been reduced in price by 50% (through October 15th) and may be viewed at: Discounted Newspapers. The prices shown already reflect the discount. Some of the noteworthy content/issues include: Babe Ruth sets home run record, the Winecoff Hotel disaster, Orville Wright’s death, Bobby Jones wins Gram Slam, 1st robbery of the James Gang, Ethan Allen, General Greene (Rev War), and more.
Catalog 262 continues to be available. The following two links include the remaining items along with remnants for #261:
Recent Listings – Over 700 items have been listed within the last 20 days, many of which will never appear in catalogs. They may be viewed at: Recent Listings
Hollywood – Our listings of Los Angeles newspapers containing death reports of noteworthy actors/actresses and poster-sized ads for the Opening Day showings of many beloved movies continues to grow. They may be viewed at:

Additional Premiere movie ads are available via eBay auctions (opening day ads)
Note: If a favorite movie ad or actor/actress is not shown, feel free to ask. We’ll be happy to check to see if we have a corresponding issue.
History’s Newsstand Blog – Some of the recent posts include:

* Regarding our discounted issues… Why the extreme discount? Having over 15,000 items posted on the Rare & Early Newspapers website, with most links showing the most recently listed items first, there are undoubtedly a host of great items which simply become overlooked. These selected discounts enable us to bring a handful of these to light while benefiting our members.
 Thanks for collecting with us.

If you would like to receive these free monthly newsletters, along with additional news and alerts concerning the hobby, go to:

FREE RARE & EARLY NEWSPAPERS MEMBERSHIP

The (now) controversial Robert E. Lee monument unveiled in Richmond (1890)…

August 28, 2017 by · 1 Comment 

Whether or not the Robert E. Lee monument will remain in Richmond has yet to be determined, but considering the controversy, we thought it might be interesting to post the original Harper’s Weekly report from June 14, 1890 concerning the unveiling of the monument. The link provides the full text related to the image. The text reads, in part:

“The occasion of the unveiling of the Lee statue at Richmond, Virginia, on the 29th of May, possessed features that render it unique in history. It was a mighty tribute to the central figure of a lost-cause, attended by an undercurrent of satisfaction even that the cause was lost… The Confederate flag was everywhere conspicuously displayed…  The military companies affectionately bore it in the line of march, but with it they bore the Stars and Stripes, and bore them loyally. The paradox is explainable only by the fact that the former no longer meant disunion… The opinion has with much reason been expressed that the occasion of such magnitude as the one described, with reference to the late Confederacy, is not likely ever to be repeated. General Lee personified what was best in a bad cause. His individual virtues gave the Southern people, who craved a demonstration commemorative of an indelible epoch in their lives, some substantial and unquestioningly credible to rally around. The honor to the hero of their vain struggle has been paid, and the full conditions for another gathering are wanting. It may therefore by surmised that in the great outpouring of the ex-Confederates at Richmond the final obsequies of the war of session have taken place, and the circumstances attending it show how completely the wounds of conflict have been healed, and a mist important chapter of American history closed. AMOS W. WRIGHT

The Traveler… up from the ashes…

April 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to New York City by the way of the Harper’s Weekly dated April 20, 1867. In the issue I found the reporting of the “Burning of the Lindell Hotel, at Saint Louis, Missouri, blog-4-17-2017-lindell-hotel-fireMarch 30, 1867″. “…The Lindell is admitted to have been the largest building for purposes of accommodation ever erected in America. It was six stories high exclusive of attic and basement; and was divided into the five hundred and thirty rooms, and the largest of which was 116 by 44 feet. The actual cost of the building was $950,000, which, with the ground (valued at $326,400), makes the whole value $1, 276,400 — note to speak of furniture, $500,000 worth or which was imported… The efforts of the firemen were not relaxed, though it was evident that they would prove futile; the full force of the Department was steadily at work until 3 o’clock on the morning of March 31, at which time all the inner work was consume, and a considerable portion of the walls had fallen in, and the once imposing hotel was a mass of crumbling, blackened ruins.”

Almost immediately, the citizens of Lindell began assembling to discuss the rebuilding of the hotel. New construction began in September of 1872 with the opening in September of 1874.

~The Traveler

The Civil War (post conflict)… June, 1865

June 5, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Blog-6-5-2015-When-Johnny-Comes-Marching-HomeWhat news was reported in June, 1865 – 150 years ago? Such a walk back in time through the eyes of those who read the daily and weekly newspapers of the period can be quite revealing. This is why we often say, “History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.” The following link will take you back in time to show the available newspapers from the Rare & Early newspapers website. There’s no need to buy a thing. Simply enjoy the walk back in time:

June, 1865

A sampling of what you will find may include articles and info regarding: President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral, the capture of Jefferson Davis (found wearing a woman’s dress), the first Hebrew free school in New York City, the trial of the conspirators (including Mrs. Surratt),  follow-up detailed Civil War battle reports from several Generals, a well-known print in a Harper’s Weekly titled, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” and more. Enjoy!

The things we take for granted… Let there be light…

March 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Hofstra University maintains a Facebook page where staff from their special collections department can post interesting finds. We recently discovered yet another interesting post – this one showing a late 19th century image from a January 14, 1882 issue of Harper’s Weekly.  It sure brings to light one of the joys of the hobby – reading contemporary reactions to inventions and advancements of which we now take for granted. For an interesting historical journey, do a little internet research on the electric battles between Tesla and Edison.

The Traveler… the first admission… “black is beautiful” 1st coined…

February 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-2-2-2015-John-RockToday I traveled to New York City by the means of two different titles… The New York Times of February 2, 1865 and the Harper’s Weekly of February 25, 1865. In the New York Times I found “J. S. Rock (Colored,) of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, was to-day, on motion of Senator Sumner, admitted an Attorney and Counselor in the Supreme Court of the United States.”

The Harper’s Weekly includes a nice illustration of “John R. Rock, Colored Counselor”.  Within the article reads “…Mr. Rock is known in Boston as a first-class lawyer. This even, following two days after the passage by Congress of the proposition to amend the Constitution so as to abolish slavery in the United States, will be regarded by the future historian as a remarkable indication of the revolution which is going on in the sentiment of a great people. Mr. Rock has never been a slave. He represents the colored freeman, as Mr. Douglass represents the freeman. This extraordinary reversal of the Dred Scott decision is an act almost sublime…”

In doing further research on Mr. Rock, he is also credited with coining the phrase “black is beautiful” while giving a speech in Boston in March of 1858 as a refutation of the western idea that the physical features of African Americans were unattractive. However, further research has found that he did not say those exact words but did in essence about the beauty of the black people.

~The Traveler

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