The Rare & Early Newspapers website’s “search” capabilities…

August 30, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

I memorized the U.S. Presidents in chronological order, based on a theory that we learn new things by attaching them to things we already know.  For example, if Abraham Lincoln is the 16th, then hanging James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson on either side of him creates a bigger building block to which attach Franklin Pierce and Millard Fillmore at the earlier side, and Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes on the later side. In this way, the framework of established knowledge allows further acquisition.

The Rare & Early Newspapers website encourages that way of learning.  When you search a topic, name, or general time period, all the results appear arranged by the date they were listed for sale, with the most recent listing at the top.  However, by changing “Sort:” from “Date of Addition” to “Issue Date,” a timeline appears that can be further modified by selecting “Newest First” or “Oldest First,” although it defaults to the most recent date at the top, which I find the most helpful order.

This tool is beneficial for a few consumer-based reasons, but my purpose is usually education.  Collectors know way more about their area of focus than I do, but I can learn quickly from the website listings.  For example, “Bonnie & Clyde” are familiar names, but a scroll down through the search reveals listings and images of headlines — the earliest dated May 20, 1933.

The listing reads as follows:  “‘Two Girls Help Men rob Minnesota Bank; Town Raked by Machine-Gun Shots in Escape:  Two young women and two men bearing sub-machine guns robbed a bank of $2,500 today…scattering shots down the main street as they fled… with much more detail. This robbery was reportedly committed by the infamous Bonnie & Clyde, (see Wikipedia) which if true would be the earliest report of their robberies we have found in a newspaper. But another source doubts it was committed by this infamous duo but by the Strain Gang instead, although even this site (see Wikipedia) raises the question: ‘…did the Strain gang take the fall for a Barrow gang job?’ Two sources with different opinions.”

And the newest listing, an August 22, 1938, issue of the Chicago Daily Tribune, says, “First report coverage on the capture of the last of the Bonnie & Clyde gang, Floyd Hamilton.”

That is one small aspect of this feature; I will be sure to fill you in with new ones as I find them. Oh, and I’ve already found the “Advanced Search” feature!

Is this the earliest Presidential portrait in a newspaper?

February 4, 2021 by · 5 Comments 

We recently discovered the November 23, 1844 issue of the iconic “Illustrated London News” from England, featuring on the front page portraits of James K. Polk and Henry Clay, both candidates for the Presidency.

Knowing this was a very early of a portrait of a President in a newspaper, I did a little digging to see if it might be, in fact, the earliest.

I could not confirm an earlier one. Research did note that the issue of April 19, 1845 of the same newspaper has a print showing the inaugural ceremonies and the procession to the Capitol, but that was 5 months later.

Given that most of the illustrated newspapers would not begin until the mid-19th century (Gleason’s Pictorial began in 1851), none of the more well-known American illustrated periodicals existed in 1844. Even Harper’s New Monthly, which had a wealth of small prints in each issue, did not begin until 1850.

Any collectors out there aware of an earlier print of a U.S. President in a periodical? It would be great to document the earliest, whether it’s this Nov. 23, 1844 issue or another.