They put it in print, 1917 – “The more things change…”

October 4, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

A recent post focused on a headline which borrowed Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s famous words from 1849: “the more things change, the more they stay the same” (translated from “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”). This tendency, as applied to human behavior, has certainly been substantiated time and time again in the world of politics.

During former President Trump’s term in office “leaks” were springing up everywhere. For a novice to the political realm this may have appeared to have been a new phenomenon; however, the banner headline from a San Diego Evening Tribune dated January 8, 1917 makes it clear that once again, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr was spot-on. How do we know? They put it in print:

They put it in print, 2003 – “Horses with no names?”

September 23, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Many recognize the names of the most famous racehorses of all time: Seattle Slue,  Man o’ War, American Pharaoh, and Citation to name a few – especially if they were featured in a major Hollywood Movie, but what about their sired offspring? Do we recognize their names? How do we even refer to them? Perhaps “Seattle Slue and his Crew”, “Man o’ War and his War Reenactors”, “American Pharaoh and his Royal Subjects”, and/or “Citation and Prized Awards” would be appropriate? While all of these ideas ended up on the drawing room floor, one did make the cut. Thanks to his jockey’s restaurant, we have “Seabiscuit and his Little Biscuits”. How do we know? In the July 10, 2003 issue of the Los Angeles Times, they put it in print.

While none of Seabiscuit’s foals grew up to become famous in and of themselves, the restaurant he inspired is still in business.

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Update 9/28/2021, compliments of K.W. from Illinois…

Creativity with Consequences…

July 12, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Whereas hindsight is 20/20, or so they say, it is sometimes hard to reconcile this statement with our lack of propensity to learn from our mistakes. However, when Orson Wells picked up his morning paper the day after his incredibly creative radio broadcast of War of the Worlds had filled the airwaves, there is little doubt his hindsight had perfect vision. e realized he should have handled things differently. The reality  that this new medium of radio was powerfully persuasive and must be handled with a large degree of responsibility could not have been missed. While we may not know which paper he held in his hands when this truth struck him like a ton of bricks, the discovery of a GREENSBORO PATRIOT (NC) for October 31, 1938 recently brought this moment to our attention.

From Dream to Dream…

May 14, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

I can’t speak for anyone else but, at this moment… I’m over with bad news. I long for news stories that make me smile … that bring to mind sweeter times. Today, in the subtlest of news stories, my wish came true and a huge smile spread over my face. On June 30, 1905, the Springfield Republican published their issue for the day. I am sure no one in the editor’s office had a clue that on the sports page there was one line in the box score that would, 80+ years later, inspire one of my favorite movie moments of all time. Allow me to borrow a paragraph from our RareNewspapers website’s description for this Springfield issue…

“Spoiler alert: Anyone who has viewed the *movie-classic, “Field of Dreams,” starring Kevin Costner, has been touched by Archie “Moonlight” Graham (played by Burt Lancaster). The poor fellow simply cannot catch a break. When this doctor, who had given up baseball after only 1 professional appearance in order to care for people via his physician training, was given (in the movie) a 2nd chance to get on the magical “field of dreams,” he was almost immediately faced with the choice between either leaving the field (never to return) in order to save an injured young fan from near-certain death, or stay on the field and enjoy the game he had always loved.”

Although Field of Dreams mixes fantasy and reality, this peek into a “real life person” made me dig a bit deeper. Wikipedia sums him up as follows: “”Doc” Graham, as he became known after his career as a ballplayer, served the people of Chisholm (MN) for fifty years. From 1909 to 1959, Graham was the doctor for the Chisholm schools. For many years, “Doc” Graham made arrangements to have used eyeglasses sent to his Chisholm office. On Saturdays, he would have the children of the Iron Range (Minnesota) miners, from Grand Rapids to Virginia, come to his office, have their eyes checked and then fit them with the proper set of glasses, all free of charge.”
Wrapped up in this good news from the past is also a reminder that sometimes, when one dream ends, a better one begins.

I Would Love to Have Them All…

April 22, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

As you can imagine, working here at the RareNewspapers office can be a bit like a kid working in a candy shop.  Almost daily I push the thought, “Maybe I should buy this one for myself”, to the back of my mind. Sometimes it is because of the historic impact of the content I am seeing and the deep desire to personally protect it for posterity.  Sometimes it is because the issue triggers a fond memory and whisks me away to another day.  Last week this thought would not stay in the back of my mind but continued to crash to the forefront over and over.  Finally, with my many rationalizations in hand, I pulled out my credit card and purchased the issue.  Feelings of nostalgia of a simpler by gone era washed over me as I paged through my new treasure.  This treasure is mine however, if you are ever drawn to that same simpler time, we here at the RareNewspapers office have other options for you to consider.  There is truly something for everyone.  I may have been drawn to the vintage ads, drawings, paper dolls and old stories, but there is so much more.  Take a moment to step back in time.  Sometimes those brief moments are all that are needed to add a bit of perspective to the “thoroughly modern” life we currently live.

Sedentary? Perhaps all you need is a little Jolt to get you going…

March 15, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

When we think of life in the 19th century (and prior), many adjectives come to mind but “sedentary” isn’t one of them. However, couch potatoes (minus the couch since few could afford them) must have been somewhat prevalent as to inspire an entrepreneur to come up with a solution: The JOLT! Whereas advertisements for such “inventions” were quite common in Scientific American, we recently discovered this one on the back page of a May 9, 1885 Harper’s Weekly. Although the contraption may not have been much of a financial (or health-generating) success, the mantra, “if at first you don’t succeed…”, merged with humanity’s proclivity for rest and relaxation, has served manufacturers and designers of exercise equipment for quite some time.

It’s interesting to note this ad occurred in May – long past the expiration date of most New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps making and then breaking annual promises to one-self is more of a recent pastime.

From Waco to Brooklyn…

February 8, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Have you ever been thinking one thing and a moment later your mind has completely carried you down several rabbit holes and back up into a field far away? As you try to retrace your steps, you are utterly amazed at how you ever ended up where you did. I find history to be much the same. I may begin my historical trek in a tiny town in the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania, but before long I find I’ve meandered to the center of New York City. Such is the journey I took this snowy afternoon.

Every day I drive past an old industrial complex in my mountain town Of Williamsport, PA.. The signage says, “Williamsport Wire Rope Company” and the factory yard is filled with enormous spools stacked about … a photographer’s fantasy for possible black and white images. This picturesque scene is what originally caught my attention on those many drives home. This particular day a rabbit trail led me to an exploration of what the wire cable produced in this factory would have been used for which quickly lead me to an engineer named John Augustus Roebling (1806 – 1869). John had owned the very first wire cable company, similar to the one in my town. Not satisfied to just produce these cables, his mind dreamt of the many, yet be discovered, uses those wires might  have … Voila ! … Suspension Bridges. As a suspension bridge designer and builder extraordinaire, he  was instrumental in creating the beautiful city of Pittsburgh which became known as “The City of Bridges”. From Pittsburgh to the Niagara River … from Waco to Brooklyn NY, this man took spools of wire cable and transformed each area he touched into a practical work of art. My rabbit trail reminds me that my local history can be the start of the very best future road trips. Whether your interests lie with new scientific discoveries, historical biographies or works of art, much of history can satisfy almost any inquisitive mind. I see a historical bridge excursion coming this spring… perhaps even from Waco to Brooklyn.

The Titanic orphans: the rest of the story…

December 21, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the advantages of reading a newspaper with fascinating reports from long ago is the ability to investigate and see how the “event” came to a conclusion.

Such is a case with a Detroit newspaper dated six days after the Titanic’s sinking which had a front page photo of the: ” ‘Orphans Of The Titanic:’ Parents Gone and Even Names Unknown“, the caption noting in part that the: “…two little orphans, who were found clasped in each others’ arms in one of the lifeboats…thought to be the children of an unknown…French couple…The little ones speak only French…all efforts to establish their identity have so far failed…”.
And there the story ends for readers of that April 21, 1912 issue of the Detroit News-Tribune. One wonders what became of the unfortunate children.
Well, they were part of an intriguing story with a good ending.

This link has the details, but in short, the children’s father absconded from France with the boys after losing custody of them in a divorce settlement. The father died on the Titanic, and photos of the boys in newspapers were identified by the mother in France, who would soon be reunited with them.

Did you ever read a news report from  a century ago and wonder how it finished out? The internet makes it possible to find out!

You know of Molly Pitcher. Do you know of Betsy Doyle?

November 5, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

On November 22, 1812 the British, at Fort George, were cannonading the Americans at Fort Niagara. George McFeeley was the American commander and several days later made his official report to Brigadier General Smyth.
Within the report McFeeley noted: “…An instance of extraordinary bravery in a female (the wife of one Doyle, a private in the United States Artillery, made a prisoner at Queenston,) I cannot pass over. During the most tremendous cannonading I have ever seen, she attended the six-pounder on the mess-house with red hot shot, and showed fortitude equal to the Maid of Orleans…”.
In an act of female heroism during combat, much like the work of Molly Pitcher (although considered folklore by many historians), Betsy Doyle played a notable role. A mother of four whose husband was captured at the Battle of Queenston & held as a prisoner by the British, after some gunners were wounded Betsy stepped in to help. The Americans were loading “red hot shot” into their guns to fire at Fort George. Betsy helped bring the shot from the fireplaces downstairs to the guns.
The December 16, 1812 issue of the “Boston Patriot” is one of few newspapers which reported this event.

Acts of female involvement in combat are rarely reported. Here is a nice one.

Snapshot 1969… Gaylord Perry and The Man on the Moon…

August 13, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Every collector has seen this famous headline from 1969, or one of the thousands like it which appeared on every newspaper at the time: “MEN WALK ON THE MOON” (see DAILY NEWS, New York City, July 21, 1969). But an interesting quirk in coincidental history is inconspicuously buried inside, perhaps only of interest to baseball fans–and every collector of historic newspapers.
The story is best told by Major League Baseball in their piece titled: “The Story of Gaylord Perry, the Moon Landing, and a Most Unlikely Home Run”.
An excerpt reads: “…One day during the ’64 season, Dark [manager of the S. F. Giants] and San Francisco Examiner reporter Harry Jupiter looked on as Perry smacked some home runs during batting practice. Jupiter told Dark that Perry looked pretty good with a bat in his hands and remarked that the pitcher might even hit a home run one of these days. Dark’s response set in motion one of the weirdest coincidences in baseball history: “Mark my words,” he said, “a man will land on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.”
Jump ahead five years to July 20, 1969. Perry, now 30 and clearly established as one of the best arms in the game, was scheduled to start against the rival Dodgers. But there was something else happening that afternoon: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were about to become the first men to set foot on the moon. You can probably see where this is going.
At 1:17 p.m. PT, Apollo 11 landed. Some 238,900 miles away at Candlestick Park, Perry stepped to the plate in the top of the third inning — and, wouldn’t you know it, he hit the first home run of his Major League career. As the righty told MLB.com back in 2009:
“Well, about the top of the third, over the loudspeaker, they were telling everybody to stand and give a moment of silent thanks for the astronauts who landed on the moon. And I’d say 30 minutes later, Claude Osteen grooved me a fastball, and I hit it out of the park.”
Alas, by 1969 Dark had moved on to managing the Cleveland Indians, denying him the chance to say, “Hey, technically speaking, we did put a man on the moon before you hit a home run.”

A fascinating piece of history, verified with both reports in this issue of the Daily News.

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