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.

March through the years via the lens of Rare & Early Newspapers…

March 6, 2020 by · 4 Comments 

Walk with us back through time to see what noteworthy, historic and collectible events occurred during the month of February. In so doing, we hope you’ll agree: “History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”

March Through Time

February through the years via the lens of Rare & Early Newspapers…

February 10, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Walk with us back through time to see what noteworthy, historic and collectible events occurred during the month of February. In so doing, we hope you’ll agree: “History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”

February Through Time

January through the years via the lens of Rare & Early Newspapers…

January 13, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Walk with us back through time to see what noteworthy, historic and collectible events occurred during the month of January. In so doing, we hope you’ll agree: “History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”

January Through Time

Snapshot 1934… Bonnie & Clyde – their destiny foretold…

November 18, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

In 1934 Bonnie penned what most believe to be her last poem: “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde”, which appeared in newspapers throughout the country shortly after their deaths. The uncanny foretelling of their fate would capture the imagination of many, and help transform them into legendary figures – a fantasy she had held since her teenage years. Although the poem appeared in quite a few newspapers, few can be found. However, we recently came across a Chicago Daily Tribune dated May 25, 1934 which printed the poem on the day of their funeral. Enjoy.

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