Many Thanks to Give…

May 3, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

My family often jokes with me (maybe about me ) when they say, “she can use Disney World as an example for anything.”  They aren’t wrong and have accurately pegged me as a bit of a Disney fanatic.  I won’t bore you with all the reasons I have for loving this place but I will tell you how it came to mind today as I was perusing an issue published by Frederick Douglass.  For those of you who have visited Disney World or more specifically Epcot, I hope you have experienced Spaceship Earth.  I never tire of riding this attraction and hearing Dame Judy Dench recount mankind’s history of communication to me as I gaze at the vignettes on each side of  my “time machine”.  At one point, she is describing how, since the invention of papyrus, knowledge is able to be kept and shared more easily and so civilization advances more rapidly until …

“Rome falls, and the great Library of Alexandria in Egypt is burned. Much of our learning is destroyed—lost forever… or so we think. It turns out there are copies of some of these books in the libraries of the Middle East, being watched over by Arab and Jewish scholars. Call it the first backup system. The books are saved, and with them our dreams of the future.”

I get shivers every time I hear those words… so much knowledge… so much history… so many pages.  Just now, as I pause to admire this precious Frederick Douglass paper lying on my desk, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the people we, the collectors of historic newspapers, have to thank for watching over the issues that later end up in our hands.  Precious treasures of knowledge and history handed off to us, if even for a moment, to guard for future generations.

Inspiration from Days Gone by…

April 5, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

I heard an interesting quote the other day: “Long after the medals go into a box and the trophies have a layer of dust on them, will your speech still be having an impact on the audience you gave it to?” (Heather Neumann) Ironically, Heather’s statement had the impact it appears she wanted. As I contemplated her statement as I wrote this post, I was curious about who had made a lasting impact on this day throughout the ages, hoping to glean a bit of inspiration for myself. Here are a few that caught my eye.
Having been raised by a mother who took our health seriously, I was encouraged from a very young age to” take Vitamin C at the 1st sign of a cold”. Who do I have to thank for this bit of wisdom besides my mother? On 4/5/1932, the New York Times covered research done by Charles Glen King. Prof. King isolated the compound for Vitamin C for the 1st time… over 30 years before my mother began her diligent training. Charles’ work continued in the nutritional field to help any with open ears to a step into a healthier life… continuing to positively impact the bodies of mankind.
On April 5, 1990, the LA Times covered the death of legendary jazz vocalist Sarah Vaughn. The University of Central Florida’s website asserts … music impacts the brain by “reducing stress, pain and symptoms of depression as well as improving cognitive and motor skills, spatial-temporal learning and neurogenesis”. Perhaps the phrase, “music calms the savage beast” is not just an old wives saying enabling Sarah’s music to bring a sense of peace and wellbeing to the many who continue to listen to her, bringing far more lasting impact than her 4 Grammy’s and lifetime achievement award… continuing to positively impact the minds of mankind.
In April of 1985, USA Today covered Michael Jordon’s work with Special Olympics. Most of us can only imagine how hard it must be for someone famous and in the perpetual limelight to tear the focus off of themselves and place it on others. Often times we judge the motives of these people even when they are trying to do a good thing. Perhaps we should take their good deeds at face value and appreciate the fact that when we do good for others, both the giver and receiver are uplifted. In this case, Michael’s efforts to reach out to others has a lasting impact on the his life, the lives he touched and all of us watching if we can put our skepticism aside… continuing to positively impact the souls of mankind.
While I am sure I will never sing like Sarah Vaughn or discover a great scientific breakthrough, I do have daily opportunities to bless others. I am sure these will never make it into USA Today or the LA Times and that is okay however, if by chance they would, sometimes those trophies in a box can inspire the next person.

The Eyes are the Windows to the Soul … But not for Adolph Hitler

March 25, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Sometimes it is the little things that catch your eye and not the major content of a newspaper.  Two weeks ago, as I was photographing an issue for our most recent catalog, a tiny article at the bottom of the front page gave me pause and has been on my mind ever since. What began as a write up for an adorable vintage Disney ad turned dark.  The Eyes are the Window to the Soul … or so they say.  During the end of July, 1939, 3 English girls traveled to Germany to perform a tap dance for Adolf Hitler.  Upon their return, they reported how delightful he was and that they liked his eyes.  This reporting took place one month before Hitler invaded Poland beginning WWII and only one year before the Nazis took their fight to the 3 girl’s homeland.  Perhaps the eyes are the window to the soul however, the ability to read them is also necessary.  Reports such as these may not be the reason we purchase an issue but, they do give us an unprecedented window into a culture and are often the more valuable treasure.

William Cowper speaks out against slavery (1791)… They put it in print…

February 25, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Thank goodness “cancel culture” did not exist (at least in [Wilbur]force) back in 18th century.

Flashback to the late 17oo’s… Although slavery had been part and parcel of many cultures for thousands of years, and was certainly woven throughout all aspects of life and commerce in Great Britain, some were staunchly against the practice and had the courage to fight for those whose skin color did not match their own. One such person who was particularly outspoken in this regard was the popular and well-respected poet/hymnologist William Cowper. Although taking such a stand was both an affront and a danger to the political and social mores of the day, he (and others with similar convictions) were permitted to speak, and in the long-run, the world’s view was eventually transformed. How do we know? They (actually) put it in print!

The following excerpt from one of his anti-slavery poems was printed in the Columbian Centinel dated June 16, 1791:

Snapshot 1936… It’s time to help the Jews…

February 15, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

In the midst of rampant anti-Semitism, and just a few years prior to the start of the Holocaust, David Lloyd George, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, made an impassioned plea for the world to come to the rescue of the Jewish People by providing them with the homeland they had been promised decades earlier. In his speech he reminded the world of how the Jews had come to the aid of England… and the United States… and Russia, and were now in need of a response in kind. Unfortunately his call to action fell on deaf ears and the impact of heads buried in the sand now stands as a black mark on the timeline of history. The following account of his appeal to the House of Commons was found in The Scranton Times dated June 10, 1936:

Snapshot 1863… A slave mother’s attempted escape…

January 11, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

We recently discovered a heart wrenching account of a slave mother’s attempted escape with her child on an inside page of a New York Tribune dated January 29, 1863. Editorializing on my part will not do it justice. It is accounts like this one, which were part of everyday life for many who were living in bondage, is a continual reminder that I will never be able to comprehend what it’s like to walk in the tattered shoes of a slave.

As we close the door on 2020…

December 31, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Overall, 1923 was a pretty good year. However, even a decent year has its share of troubles. A few examples from 1923 include:

The Rosewood massacre, the eruption of Mount Etna, the unexpected death of the popular President Warren G. Harding, Gustav Stresemann being named Chancellor of Germany resulting in policies which led to hyperinflation crushing the German economy (paving the way for Hitler’s rise, the Great Kanto earthquake devastates Tokyo and Yokohama killing an estimated 142,807 people, 640 structures a burned to the ground in Berkley (CA), Adolf Hitler is arrested for his leading role in the Beer Hall Putsch greatly increasing his popularity among those who want to see change, the Gleno Dam (in Italy) bursts killing hundreds, multiple competing factions in China align themselves with the Communist Party – greatly strengthening their influence – and eventual dominance, Prohibition reigns, the largest peace-time U.S. Naval disaster (to-date) occurs off the coast near Santa Barbara (the Honda Point disaster), and more. Although somewhat under the radar, a number of world events took place during 1923 which, upon looking in the rear view mirror, helped pave the way for Communism in China, Nazism in Germany, and the severely ramped up conflict in the Middle East.

Yes, even a good year can have its share of warts. AND then, there’s 2020… Was it worse than the years impacted by the Spanish Flu epidemic, WW1, WW2, any of the Great plagues, the death and destruction brought by Atilla the Hun – to name a few? This doesn’t diminish the impact of the pandemic which defined much of 2020; rather, it’s intention was to merely put it in perspective (if possible).

Speaking of perspective…

A few days ago the front page of a Rotogravure Section of a Detroit News for December 30, 1923 caught my eye. It was a great reminder that there are times when it’s simply best to look to the future with child-like faith. Happy New Year!

Snapshot 1977… The Original (?) Star Wars…

December 28, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

As we were searching the Calendar section of a Los Angles Times, July 10, 1977 for a full-page ad for an upcoming ELP concert to be held at the Long Beach Arena, we came across another full-page ad for the newly released movie, “Star Wars”. While such ads are desirable when found in a Los Angeles Times (due to the Hollywood connection), what caught our attention was the text of the ad which, instead of just having “STAR WARS”, had “STAR WARS NOW”. Upon investigation we learned that the original STAR Wars was quickly edited soon after it was decided to convert the stand alone movie into a trilogy. Several fans of Star Wars had posted frustration in their inability to obtain the original-release version of the movie. This made me wonder if the odd title in the ad (“STAR WARS NOW”) is/was related to this change. If anyone has more information in regards to this version of the ad, we’d love to know (guy@rarenewspapers.com). Thanks.

The United States elections – a bumpy walk through time…

December 11, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

(false report – Rutherford B Hayes won)

The first president of the United States, George Washington, was elected by a unanimous decision in 1789 [the election process started in 1788]. Since then few elections, whether for mayor, governor, president, etc., have sailed on such smooth waters – and the preponderance of elections outside the U.S. have not fared any better. While the privilege and responsibility of citizens of democracies to exercise their right to elect those whom they wish to lead them cannot be understated, the process is often fraught with civic and relational tension. However, once the election is in the rear view mirror, in most instances wounds are eventually healed and sunny skies return – even if it takes months.

We at Rare & Early Newspapers have created a link to our available election-related issues and arranged them in chronological order. There may be a few stray issues which do not belong in the list, but hopefully those who have an interest in such things will appreciate the somewhat tumultuous stroll through time.

Elections Through Time

Snapshot 1775… A prayer for the country and its leaders…

December 7, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

We recently sent sent out high-resolution images of a Virginia Gazette (Williamsburg, VA) dated July 20, 1775 which included coverage of the “Causes & Necessity of Taking up Arms”, the last appeal for peace, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Within hours we were receiving an abundance of responses from those who had read the issue, and guess what was commented on most frequently? The coverage of the “Causes & Necessity of Taking up Arms”? No. The last appeal for peace? No again. Perhaps the report regarding the Battle of Bunker Hill? No, no, and again no. What captured the attention of most of those who responded was an anonymous prayer printed on the front page. Without commentary, I include this prayer below.

Dear Lord, As America continues to wrestle with election issues, my prayer is that no matter who You enable to hold positions of leadership/authority, You will direct their steps – whether they acknowledge You or not. I pray You will give them wisdom, humility, and compassion for all whom they serve. I am also grateful for Your sovereign will, and rest in the hope beyond reason which has already revealed the end of the story. Amen!

Note: To our readers, if anyone knows who wrote the above prayer from 1775, please let us know. Thanks.

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