Snapshot 1903 – “Jack the Ripper” in America?

April 15, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

In the midst of what appears to be the steady decline of American culture, and the resulting tendency to develop a “woe is us” mindset which begins to long for the past, every now and then I come across a newspaper which serves as a reality check. Such was the case as I perused a Memphis Morning News dated December 21, 1903. The front-page alone had the following headlines: “No Safety for Americans” in Columbia, “Thieves Rob Jail”, “Killed All His Family”, “Russell Is Hurt” (student hits teacher in the head with a rock), “Mountain Bandit Escapes From Jail”, “Charles Nellens Arrested – Charged With Murder of Millionaire Wentz…”, “Saved Two Women From Fire”, “Preferred To Die – Charged With Postal Robberies, He Suicides”, and my favorite, “Jack The Ripper… Ghastly Find In A Hotel”. AND, I’ve yet to move past the front page. YIKES!

Truth be told, Western Culture (in general) and American Culture (specifically) are declining, but the call should be to right the ship for present and future generations, not to bury our heads in the sands of the past. Thanks to the slap in the face provided by this newspaper from 1903, I’ll get back to being thankful for all that is good in the present, while pushing for an even better tomorrow. Go back to life in 1903? No thank you – and WWI, the Spanish Flu, and the devastating Qing Famine are still far beyond the horizon. Note: The latter may not have been a “Western Culture” event, but when 20-30 million people die of starvation, it deserves a mention.


PS  Spoiler alert. The Jack the Ripper headline is an early 1900’s version of what today would be labelled “click bait”.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

You’ve Come A Long Way Baby. . . from the Pony Express to the internet…

April 12, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Every one of our collectors is unique, a fact never more apparent than when a new catalog is released.  Some place an order within moments of the release of the online version, while others wait till the hard copy hits their mailbox to quickly scour the pages – calling us with whatever instantly piqued their interest. Another group takes a laid-back approach and may not get to perusing until a week or more later, sometimes calling to order from a previous catalog. Whatever their style, all collectors enjoy receiving the catalog at regular intervals. Why am I bringing up catalog releases in a blog post? Today, as I was paging through a NEW YORK DAILY TRIBUNE dated April 2, 1860, I noticed an article on the pricing for the brand new Pony Express.  I chuckled to myself as I contemplated a time when our catalogs would have been delivered on horseback. Imagine the feelings of distress for the people who lived in California compared to those who lived right down our street. No matter how you like to approach your catalog browsing, it has to be better than waiting for the Pony Express… unless you call and your item has already sold; then all bets are off!

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

Great Story Telling is Essential to Life… Hans Christian Anderson’s Mastery of Creating the Fairytale…

April 8, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Some experiences transcend generations and ages, capturing the imaginations and hearts of both mother and daughter, grandfather and grandson. Often these moments come via a well-written narrative. The idea of being enraptured by a story to the point where reality fades away can be experienced by reading the tales “Scheherazade” spun or the fairy tales created by The Grimm Brothers. Such stories could have begun as follows: “On a cool spring evening, in a tiny hamlet, deep in countryside of Denmark, a small lad was born who would grow to bring magic and delight to people of all ages.” In fact, on April 2, 1805, this fictional beginning became a reality with the birth of Hans Christian Anderson.  Undeniably one of the great storytellers of all time, his works would be told, retold and reimagined for every generation since they were penned – capturing the curiosity of children and adults alike.

Here, in the 21st Century, I often hear complaints concerning the lack of (quality) storytelling which mesmerizes the viewer or reader and allows the darker, heavier parts of life to fall away – enrapturing and encouraging the reader/listener by what is good and beautiful and true… traits which spur us on to be our better selves. These are the stories we need today, and if truth be told, everyday. Let us all hope & pray that exceptional storytelling is not a dead art. Thankfully, till it resurfaces in abundance, we can always enjoy the gems of the past.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

“Collecting Newspapers – The Basics” (Part V) – Reprints…

April 5, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

While “fakes” in collectibles, depending upon the item being sought (stamps, coins, Hummels, etc.), can be common, thankfully such is not the case with Rare and Early Newspapers. Furthermore, the common “fakes” (called “reprints”) are well documented and were rarely done with nefarious motives. Part of the reason for the rarity of reprints is likely the price-point of most collectible newspapers (still quite low) in comparison to the cost of creating a fake which would be good enough to pass as authentic to someone who is familiar with the collectible. Printing methods, ink, paper, era-specific (“tell-tale”) environmental impact, and more have varied so significantly over time, the cost and effort it would take to create profitable forgeries cost/effort prohibitive. Still, there are exceptions – and being “in the know” can save one from being duped out of their hard-earned savings.

The issue-specific attributes which help to distinguish a reprint from an authentic issue would fill a book to rival Tolstoy’s War and Peace – making an attempt to do so within a single post absurd. However, over the past decade we have created over a dozen posts in an effort to cover as much as possible – specifically targeting the most common. Hopefully you will find them helpful:


If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

All kidding aside, April Fools’ Day has an origin story…

April 1, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

You may love it or hate it, but by the end of every 1st of April you likely have been “pranked”. During my years of teaching 7th-9th graders, rather than dread the endless attempts to fool me, I made it my quest to laugh when I fell victim to their practical jokes… and to one-up-them before the bell signaling it was time for them to move on to their next “suspecting” victim tolled. I can’t say I always won the day, but when it came to working with 13-15 year-olds, laughter really was good medicine.

This point was often driven home by midday as those who had not embraced a more jovial attitude toward, or appreciation for, their student’s amazing creativity, whined and fussed and wondered aloud: “Who in the world ever thought this was a good idea?”

Note: Their actual comments were a little more graphic, but we endeavor to keep this space family friendly.

Sadly, time would show a direct correlation between those who stood their stoic ground and those who filed for early retirement. Good people – poor career choice.

Those days are long past, but as I was contemplating this “unofficial” holiday, I reflected back upon their angst and wondered if there was in fact a source responsible for their great displeasure. Thanks to the wonderful search engine hosted by The New York Times, I was able to find a few clues in an article they published on April 2, 1871 – which is shown in its entirety below. Please enjoy.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

Announcing: Catalog #341 for April, 2024 – Rare & Early Newspapers…

March 29, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post


The April catalog (#341) is now available. Shown below are links to various segments of the catalog, our currently discounted newspapers, and recent posts to the History’s Newsstand Blog. Please enjoy.

CATALOG #341 – This latest offering of authentic newspapers is comprised of more than 300 new items, a selection which includes the following noteworthy issues: a 1775 Virginia Gazette reporting the Gunpowder Incident, a magazine published by Frederick Douglass, Nathan Hale’s actual quote(?), Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, the Duke of Monmouth is beheaded, a 1643 British newsbook from the English Civil War, and more.



Helpful Links to the Catalog:
DISCOUNTED ISSUES – What remains of last month’s discounted issues may be viewed at: Discount (select items at 50% off)
Thanks for collecting with us.




Guy Heilenman & The Rare & Early Newspapers Team


[The links above will redirect to the latest catalog in approx. 30 days

upon which time it will update to the most recent catalog.]

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

“Collecting Newspapers – The Basics” (Part IV) – Setting Values…

March 25, 2024 by · 532 Comments 
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

We are often asked “What’s my newspaper worth?” in phone calls and email messages. As one might suspect, there are many factors which determine value and much like a jeweler cannot give a value of a diamond by an email or telephone inquiry, our ethics do not permit us to place values on newspapers without seeing the issues in hand.

Many factors determine value. The more important include condition, desirability among collectors, extent of coverage, completeness of the issue, proximity of the city of publication to where the event happened, time lag between the event date and the reporting date, dramatic appeal (more so with 20th century issues), and location of the report within the issue (front page? page 3?). Other factors come into play with more significant events but those noted are the prime determinants of value.

From a personal perspective setting values has been an interesting process, as no guide book of values existed 30+ years ago when I started the business. I priced an item in my catalog for $10 and if I had twenty orders for it I knew the price was too low.  If no one ordered it the price was too high. Through the years, and by data basing sold prices (on index cards prior to the computer!), I’ve honed my own “price guide” based on actual sales, and it is this now-sophisticated database which we use to set values for new inventory as it arrives.

Do values continue to rise? In general, yes, but we are careful to never recommend the purchase of early newspapers for investment purposes. As is true of most collectibles, rarity and desirability determine where prices will be for the future.

But providing an historical perspective from our own files, back in October of 1981 we sold in our catalog #26 the NEW YORK HERALD of March 5, 1865 reporting the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, very nice condition, for $70. In 2018 we sold another issue of the NEW YORK HERALD of March 5, 1865, also in very nice condition, for $745. If we had a similar issue today, it would likely go for around $1,000 – and even more if offered through a prominent auction house.

So, what do you do if you have a newspaper and would like to know its approximate value? One resource is this Blog – not for posting questions, but for exploring. We have many posts which provide specific examples of issues and their prices. Perhaps a better resource is the Rare & Early Newspapers website which provides 10,000+ examples (best to search by date and look for a comparable – see image below). Once you’ve explored these avenues, you are always welcome to contact us directly by email ( We would need the exact title and exact date of each issue to get started. Sending only photos does not work for us.

What two resources are not helpful?

1) Ebay. Why? Just because someone is asking for an amazing price doesn’t mean they’ll ever sell it at that price. “Previous Sales” are what matters.

2) Posting a question on this Blog. Why? We rarely monitor it.

Feel free to send any additional questions concerning the valuation of newspaper to us at the same email shown above. We’ll do our best to answer any that come our way… and who knows, perhaps they show up in a future post. 🙂

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

Who’s Who in Newspapers? Pamela Sparhawk edition…

March 22, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

The 7th installment of Who’s Who in Newspapers:

Thanks to Swann Auction Galleries, we discovered another fascinating but unheralded name which appeared in three 1817 issues of the Columbian Centinel (see a photo of the notice below). Swann staff provided the following background:

Pamela Sparhawk was born circa 1761 in Africa, was captured as a young girl and brought to Boston in slavery and was granted her freedom during the American Revolution. She had been separated from her brother by her original owner, but miraculously reconnected with him in Boston, where he owned property and was living under the name Samuel Bean. When Samuel died in 1816, Pamela petitioned the court to be recognized as his heir. Her petition ran three times in the Columbian Centinel newspaper, telling the story of her life: “Pamela Sparhawk of Boston . . . is a native of Africa, and was brought from thence to the West-Indies by a slave trader . . . and was a slave in the family of Rev. Mr. Merriam, of Newton, until the American Revolution. . . Samuel Bean acknowledged her to be his sister and was satisfied of the fact, but it would be difficult if not impossible for her in a court of law to establish her claim . . . in consequence of the unhappy circumstance, which will be easily perceived.” The notices were signed in type with her mark, a sideways capital “X.” The statement was witnessed by Congressman Timothy Fuller (father of the important feminist author Margaret Fuller), but it apparently went unheeded by the General Court.

Pamela Sparhawk’s life has recently been reconstructed and celebrated by the Historic Newton organization in an online exhibition, “Finding Pamela: Writing a New History,” and was described in the Boston Globe on 30 June 2021.

The link to the auction (which at the time of this post was still in the future) is:

SWANN Auction #2663 – The petition of formerly enslaved woman Pamela Sparhawk

Thankfully we had an issue with this coverage as well, but the greatest gain was the research which Swann’s offering inspired. In less than 15 minutes we were able to locate *background information on Pamela which we found qui te interesting.

If you’re curiosity has been piqued to the point where you decide to discover more about her through the following link, please note the additional related information shown below the heading: “Who was Pamela Sparhawk?” Enjoy.


If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

Archetype Publisher . . . Benjamin Harris

March 18, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

People of today have a love hate relationship with newspapers. Each of us has our favorite news source and others we shy away from. Without giving it a thought, we take for granted one vital blessing we enjoy as a US Citizen in the 21st Century. . . the ability to choose. Had we been alive in during the era of Benjamin Harris, we would not have had such a choice.  As the 1st publisher & journalist in the Colonies, Harris provided the only option for journalistic expression. Encylopedia Britannica reports, “His newspaper, Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestick (Sept. 25, 1690), the first newspaper printed in the colonies, was suppressed by Boston authorities after one issue.Before this title, while still in England, he published, THE PROTESTANT (DOMESTICK) INTELLIGENCE, OR NEWS BOTH FROM CITY AND COUNTRY. I suppose you could call him the 1st struggling journalist in the US and a bit of inspiration to all of us who love collecting these historical treasures 


If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

March, 2024 Newsletter from Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers…

March 15, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 
Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Welcome to the March Newsletter from Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers. In addition to the ongoing monthly features (Newly added catalog items, this month’s discounted newspapers, links to recent posts, etc.) we also have two “fun” items:

A Flash From The Past

(Tim Hughes’ 1st Video for

Special 10-Day Offer for Members

(10 Items Originally Priced at $99-$120 for Only $20 Each)

The remaining monthly features are below. Don’t miss the post regarding the 12th U.S. President and the Tim’s post about an item from his personal collection. Please enjoy.

Catalog 340 – Newly Added

(25 more added just yesterday)

Catalog 340 – Complete List

(great issues still available)

March’s Discounted Issues (over 200 at 50% off)

(over 100 items)

Recent Posts to the History’s Newsstand Blog

They Put It In Print – The 12th President of The United States…

This Month in History – March…

The reason I collected it: The State, 1892…

“The Idea of a President”… has over 18,000 collectible newspapers

available for under $50…

Dramatic Headlines Speak for Themselves… Martin Luther King Jr Assassinated!

A Fly on the Wall … With the Founding Fathers…

As always, thanks for collecting with us!
Guy & Laura Heilenman & the entire Rare Newspapers Team

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy...

Next Page »