Baby Steps… A journey of a thousand miles…

August 13, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

An old Chinese Proverb observes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. My grandfather would have said, “You can eat an elephant: just one bite at a time”. Perhaps both are true when discussing America’s progression from slavery to the 1st black president. This journey has taken thousands of  steps – some quite noteworthy (ex., Brown v. the Board of Education), moved us forward by leaps and bounds – multiple steps at a time. Others, although relatively unknown (ex., The United States v. Cruikshank) set us back – steps in the wrong direction.  The latter was recently brought to my attention through a report in the March 28, 1876 issue of The New York Times which reported the Supreme Court’s decision in this case which is described by Wikipedia as: “a major blow to Federal efforts to protect the civil rights of African Americans”. Perhaps “2 steps forward, one step back” better describes this journey of a thousand steps – the first which began with the declaration: “We the People”. Thankfully, what started as a crawl, at some point, broke into a sprint. However, the trek continues.

Big things (sometimes) come in small packages…

August 2, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

A few weeks ago I was searching for a newspaper covering the Brown vs. the Board of Education case. Such searches can take anywhere from 15-20 minutes to hours, and not all are successful, so jumping in to such an effort is almost always accompanied by an interesting blend of enthusiasm and anxiety. I began my hunt by printing a list of the monthly volumes of the various titles within our archives which spanned May 18, 1954 – the day after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision, and then headed off to our archives to search them one-by-one, starting at the top of the list. The New York Times? Sold. The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News? Both sold. After working through the volumes from the largest cities of the era I moved on to those from smaller locations: The Times-Picayune? Sold as well. The Springfield Union from Massachusetts? Again… sold. I was about to give up when I thought, “I might as well check The Fitchburg Sentinel (from where?)”. Without much hope, I pulled the volume and turned to the date. And in that moment my lesson was learned – sometimes even small city papers have GREAT content! The Fitchburg Sentinel from May 18, 1954  actually contained 2 articles covering the Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling. Fantastic!  If you have interest in this topic or other Supreme Court rulings, historic newspapers may be for you.

Announcing: Catalog #309 (for August, 2021) is now available…

July 30, 2021 by · Leave a Comment

Catalog 309 (for August) is now available. This latest offering of authentic newspapers is comprised of more than 300 new items, a selection which includes: an American broadside with King’s announcement of American freedom, a Philadelphia newspaper from 1729, the Emancipation Proclamation in the N.Y. Herald, a terrific & very graphic issue on the Hindenburg disaster, Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game, front page report on the death of Jesse James, and more.


The following links are designed to help you explore this latest edition of our catalog:


Don’t forget about this month’s DISCOUNTED ISSUES.

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

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

A New Term For An Old Happening…

July 26, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

If I asked you what comes to mind when you hear the term “embedded reporter”, most of us would quickly picture some war scene… perhaps Vietnam … perhaps The Gulf War. Few of us would picture a train or “A Canadian Pacific Steamships” and yet, in 1870 an ingenious publisher decided to take a small printing press on board the first Transcontinental Railroad excursion and publish 6 issues westbound and 6 issues eastbound. Printed on a Gordon press in the baggage car, it is considered the very first newspaper composed, printed, & published on a train. Think … 1st embedded reporter. Similarly, in 1939, the PACIFIC EMPRESS was printed and considered “A Newspaper Printed & Published Daily Aboard Canadian Pacific Steamships”. These reporters may not have been dodging bullets behind enemy lines but they did boldly put themselves into harrowing circumstances to give 1st hand accounts covering big events during their lifetime. A fascinating precursor to Geraldo Rivera.

Memorial and Independence Day’s behind us… Veteran’s Day before us…

July 19, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Days come and days go. Time ticks by ordinary days and extraordinary days … work days and holidays. Another President’s day comes and another one passes. Another anniversary … birthday … Christmas in the rear view mirror. Each holiday blending into the one before. If I’m going to be completely honest, this Memorial Day came and went without me giving it the amount of focus I normally do. Fortunately, as I was writing up some issues for a future catalog here at Rare Newspapers, I came across a moving poem with illustrations on the front page of a Nov. 11, 1921 CHICAGO DAILY TRIBUNE. This poem was 1st published on August 7, 1914 but, on this November day it was republished as they dedicated The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Below is the poem and above is a link to that issue so you can see the artwork as well. Perhaps everyday should be reverently approached as Memorial Day, with a grateful heart and compassion for the sacrifices made by others on our behalf.

Gold and green are the fields in peace.
Red are the fields in war.
Black are the fields when the canons cease.
And white forever more.


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.

Some Legacies Change the World…

July 5, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

We all leave our mark on this world to a greater or lesser extent. Most of us never know, this side of eternity, all the impacts we have made however, some legacies change the World in a way all can see and are without dispute… such is the case of Orville and Wilbur Wright. This summer I am once again headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my extended family for a time of rest and relaxation. We are scattered to the four corners of the wind and so this very large house gives the 25 – 35 of us an opportunity to reconnect each year. Inevitably, each trip includes a visit to the Orville and Wilbur Wright museum in Kitty Hawk. In light of my upcoming excursion, I took a quick look at issues we here at Rare Newspapers currently have in our archives describing the world changing legacy these 2 adventurers left for us. We have many issues to choose from however, one issue particularly caught my attention. Next day reports are always very desirable. In some cases, an event may not get the amount of recognition we feel it deserves until later, however, the December 18, 1903 issue of The San Francisco Chronicle reported the Wright Brothers 1st flight from December 17, 1903. In retrospect, we might think it should have been on the front page, however, the publisher may have had a difficult time imagining the extent to which the Wright Brothers Legacy would forever change our world.

Life’s Irony… Rachel Carson…

June 25, 2021 by · 2 Comments 

Almost daily, as we read through issues here at the RareNewspapers Office, we are smacked in the face with the ironies of life.  Here is the latest one to grab my attention.  Rachel Carson, wildlife specialist and crusader, wrote a book in 1962 titled, “The Silent Spring”.  Her book decried the use of pesticides and rallied President Kennedy to initiate a special study by his Science Advisory Committee.  Ironically, Miss Carson died of cancer at the not so old age of 56.  The April 15, 1964 issue of THE SPRINGFIELD UNION has a front page obituary in tribute to her and her work (see photo).

The American Dream at Work…

June 10, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

What is the American Dream? We often hear that phrase bantered about but people seem to have differing views of just what it means. I was recently reading an article by a young woman in her early thirties with 2 small children. She and her husband had decided to move to Hawaii for a simpler life… a life not cluttered with as many things or as many stresses. Her final words on the subject were, “we chose to give up the American Dream”. WHAT !?! She had me until that final statement. Is it possible she could have grown up in this country and not actually know what the American Dream is !?! Could she have been deluded to believe the American Dream is about things and schedules and the size of your home? Ok … I’ve taken a breath and calmed down a bit. One of the blessings we have as students of American History is a foundational knowledge of what our Founders believed the American Dream was. Let me allow them to speak for themselves:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The pursuit of Happiness … very different from guaranteed happiness. In many ways, the ability to pursue something is a far greater gift than it being given to you. There is often joy and a deep sense of accomplishment in the striving. Being handed something on a silver platter lacks the ability to give the same growth and satisfaction.

On April 14, 1964, The Leominster Enterprise wrote a front page article covering the Academy Award winners from the night before. One of these stars was Sidney Poitier, “who struggled from the poverty of a Caribbean tomato farm … Poitier, who was born in Florida, but who was raised on a tomato farm in Nassau, was unable to addend school until he was 11 years old. Two years later he was forced to help support his family. When he was 16 he moved to New York City with a series of odd jobs, including ditch digger, store clerk, pin-boy in a bowling alley and longshoreman. He finally joined the American Negro Theater and worked as a janitor in exchange for acting lessons. He advanced to small roles and moved on to stage parts…”.

Now there is the American Dream at work!

PS. That evening, Sidney Poitier became the 1st black man to win an Academy Award – all due to his PURSUIT of the American Dream.

Love of History Takes Many Forms…

May 27, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

I firmly believe that a love of history in one area often seeps into many other areas as well – that it is possible to be completely enthralled with each battle of the Revolutionary War and Vintage Ads for Cream of Wheat or Firestone Tires at the same time. With this in mind, I put out the following “all call”…

Calling all Disney fans !!!!!

Those of us who are Disney lovers in any form and specifically Disney Park lovers may find the following  interesting in light of the upheaval the Disney parks have faced over the last year+. On June 14, 1981, the Los Angles Times had the ad shown in the photo. Disneyland was beginning their shift from individual ride tickets to all-day passes. Later, they would move to annual passes which allowed locals to come and go at will, making Disneyland a part of their everyday life. What a memorable moment in Disney history for Disney Park fans.

« Previous PageNext Page »