July 23rd… Why collect Rare & Early Newspapers?

July 23, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

It has often been said (by Tim Hughes and other collectors of historical newspapers) that “History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported”. When past events are studied through the eyes of those who experienced them first-hand, revisionism, “woke”-ism, and the politicizing of history is kept to a minimum. The breadth and depth of our understanding of the past is undoubtedly enhanced when we view past events through the lens of contemporaneous reporting. This is one of the great satisfactions those of us at Rare & Early Newspapers enjoy on a daily basis, and the driving force behind why more and more people are joining the ranks of those who collect newspapers.

While history certainly has its share of triumph and tragedy, success and failure, progress and regression, together they combine to form the tapestry of our shared human experience. Warts have been part of daily life since we made our all-to-quick exit from The Garden, but hopefully, as we study history in order to learn from the good and the bad, the knowledge we gain by observing the past will inform our actions of the present to help pave the way for a few less blemishes in the future. Our hope is that those who collect historic newspapers 100… 200… 500 years from now will find we were good stewards of our own current events.

It is with the above in mind we will occasionally post the list of newspapers we have for a specific day in history.

Today we explore:  July 23rd

 

18th Century Gentleman’s Magazines – So Much For So Little…

July 16, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Over 40 years ago we discovered one of the best titles of the 18th century for period news reporting. The title wasn’t even a newspaper but rather, “The Gentleman’s Magazine” from London.

Having begun in 1731, Gentleman’s Magazines ran uninterrupted for nearly 200 years publishing pages capturing news reports concerning America which could never be found in period American newspapers, and were rarely found in period British newspapers.

From its earliest years this popular title printed reports as varied as the creation of the colony of Georgia, William Penn laying out the city of Philadelphia, slave revolts, and reports of pirates operating in the Caribbean.

Issues have much on Ben Franklin & his work with electricity including the lightening rod & famous kite experiments as well as rarely published poems by the famed slave poet Phyllis Wheatley.

Death reports of the famous–and infamous–abound, from Mozart to Handel, from John Paul Jones to George Washington, Patrick Henry and Benedict Arnold… the list is awe inspiring.

Military events are abundant including much on the French & Indian War (with very early Colonel George Washington reports) & all the Revolutionary War battles from the Boston Massacre through the Treaty of Peace.

Keep in mind the American colonies were part of the global British Empire until 1776 so there was much interest in not only American events but notable world events which affected the broad scope of British interests.

Some of the best gems to be found are very inconspicuous reports such as the hanging of what would famously become known as the Liberty Bell. Under the heading: “America” and with a “Philadelphia, May 10” dateline from 1753 is a report reading: “Last week was raised and fixed, in the State-House Steeple, the great bell, weighing 2080 lb. cast here, with this inscription, ‘Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, to the inhabitants thereof.”

The full text of the hated Stamp Act is found within the pages of a Gentleman’s Magazine, and just one year later is found the formal repeal of the Stamp Act by King George III. Other Acts of Parliament harmful to colonial relations are reported as well.

Historic documents are certainly not lacking, among them being the Articles of Confederation, the “Causes & Necessity for Taking Up Arms”, the Constitution of the United States (in 1787), and the most desired document of all, the Declaration of Independence.

At a time when an early period printing of the Declaration in an American newspaper will sell for a half a million dollars or more, the ability to purchase a 1776 magazine with a timely printing of the full text of the document for under $4000 is a rare opportunity for any collector.

An added bonus found in many issues of Gentleman’s Magazine is that while plates and maps can simply not be found in newspapers of the 18th century, this wonderful publication contains a wealth of these engravings and wood-cut prints.

Printed separately from the regular pages of the issue and tipped within, most of the maps fold out to be double the size of the issue, and they include some of the more desired maps one would want of the 18th century, including Philadelphia, the colonies (from 1755), Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, the Caribbean, St. Augustine, the entire western hemisphere and so much more. Many collectors choose to frame the maps separately from the issue as they are very decorative and are typically dated in an upper corner.

Plates include the Philadelphia State House (later to be known as Independence Hall), St. Philip’s Church in Charleston, the fort at Bunker’s Hill, Ben Franklin’s ‘Square of Squares’, the guillotine which beheaded Louis XVI and his wife, a slavery medal, and even a plate of the Garden of Eden. What I have just described only scratches the surface of the treasures these magazines hold.

The “Gentleman’s Magazine” is a little gem packed with all the history one would want to find from the 18th century. Each issue typically has about 40 pages, and measuring about 5 by 8 inches, they take up very little room in a collection.

Perhaps best of all, The Gentleman’s Magazine is an accessible title as our inventory contains thousands of issues, and at prices far below what would be found in comparable American & British newspapers of the same period.

There can be little excuse for holding back on buying the best events in American history if one is willing to add this famous & successful title to their collection. And there certainly will be a time when even this title will become quite scarce as others discover it as a treasure just begging to be collected.

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.

Swashbuckling Adventures…

June 28, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Hollywood has painted an image of life on the high seas during the 18th Century… sometimes covering noble captains like Master and Commander’s Jack Aubrey or scheming bandits like Pirates of the Caribbean’s Captain Jack Sparrow. Real life offers us more enthralling examples of both heroes and villains to study and newspapers of the era provide fabulous reading material to mine for these adventures.
In the late 1800’s

Captain James Cook “was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the British Royal Navy, famous for his three voyages between 1768 and 1779 in the Pacific Ocean and to Australia in particular. He made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand… In these voyages, Cook sailed thousands of miles across largely uncharted areas of the globe. He mapped lands from New Zealand to Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean in greater detail and on a scale not previously charted by Western explorers. He surveyed and named features, and recorded islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time. He displayed a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, physical courage, and an ability to lead men in adverse conditions. ” (Wikipedia).
On the darker side are stories of the notorious pirate, Captain Kidd, whom Wikipedia has the following to say … “ Acts of savagery on Kidd’s part were reported by escaped prisoners, who told stories of being hoisted up by the arms and “drubbed” (thrashed) with a drawn cutlass.” Whether you are looking for those in white hats or black, the news of the past offers intriguing characters to consider.

The June (2021) Newsletter from Rare & Early Newspapers…

June 18, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Monthly Newsletter ~ Rare & Early Newspapers

Welcome to the June, 2021 edition of our monthly newsletter. This month we’ve added nearly 150 items to our list of discounted issues (50% off), a slew of new items to our most recently released catalog, a host of new posts to the History’s Newsstand Blog, and more. Please enjoy.
Catalog 307 – Enjoy both the remaining items from the initial release of our latest catalog of historic newspapers along with a set of newly added items:
  • Newly Added Items (updated just today) – some of the noteworthy (newly added) issues include: Captain Wirz – “The ‘demon’ jailer of Andersonville Prison”, the Gunfight at the OK Corral, the Spindletop oil discovery, multiple issues of Puck (great color covers), private letters of Daniel Webster, Brown vs. Board of Education, Blacks to have rights of citizenship in New York (1785), Adolf Hitler opens the 1936 Summer Olympics, Rabbis reject Palestine as Jewish homeland (?), William Wilberforce and the slave trade, the plan for a colonial town in America (1770), and more.
Discounted Newspapers ~ 50% off – Nearly 150 additional items have been added to our set of discounted newspapers – priced (as shown at 50% off). Although offered at a discount, the set certainly includes some gems. Some of the topics/issues include: a print of the Wright Brothers’ airplane, “the counting of slaves” in 1863, uncovering “The Holocaust”, an evening with Thomas Edison, a review of “King Kong”, the deaths of Tommy Dorsey, Knute Rockne, Jonathan Swift, Grace Moore (the Tennessee Nightingale), and Al Capone, among others.
History’s Newsstand Blog – A sampling of recent posts include:

Thanks for collecting with us.

Sincerely,

Guy Heilenman & The Rare & Early Newspapers Team
RareNewspapers.com
570-326-1045

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers . . .
           . . . History’s Newsstand
“…desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.” Hebrews 13:18b

Contemplating Memorial Day in light of the last 15 months…

May 31, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

I’m embarrassed. Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, I was so consumed by “in the moment” issues I neglected to take the time on Memorial Day to be thankful for “those who have gone before us” – specifically, the men and women who gave their lives so those of us who reside in the United States could live in safety… freedom… hope – in a land where the ideals of the pursuit of happiness, equality, freedom of speech, etc., while not yet fully realized, were and continue to be part an parcel of the dream we call America. Starting with a revisit of a post from a few years ago, this year I’m committed to being more thankful for others and less self-consumed. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the following as much as I have while preparing this post:

Memorial Day… The Blue and the Gray…

We recently discovered an original issue of The Atlantic Monthly for September, 1867, which contained the earliest nationally distributed printing (and maybe the first ever) of ‘The Blue and the Gray,” by Francis Miles Finch. Although Memorial Day had not been officially proclaimed (via General Order #11, May 5, 1868), the practice of placing flowers and wreaths on the tombstones if the fallen was somewhat common. What was uncommon was the act of a group of women in Columbus, Mississippi, which is best described in the preface to Finch’s poem (quoted from the New York Tribune):

“The women of Columbus, Mississippi, animated by nobler sentiments than are many of their sisters, have shown themselves impartial in their offerings made to the memory of the dead. They strewed flowers alike on the graves of the Confederate and of the National soldiers.”

In recognition of Memorial Day, please enjoy the full text of this grand expression of appreciation for those who have fallen in battle – be they blue or gray:

 

Two additional Memorial Day themed posts from the past are:

Perhaps not a perfect system, but… Happy Memorial Day!

A simple reflection on Memorial Day…

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.

One Hit Wonders Can Still Pack an Emotional Punch…

May 10, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I was doing some research  for a customer. This particular customer loves to collect obituaries from music and film stars of a bygone era. As I worked through his want list, I came upon a singer named Bobby Fuller. Unlike other stars on this want list, I had never heard of Bobby… or so I thought. Upon further research I discovered he was a “1 hit wonder” from 1966 and had released the song, “I Fought the Law and the Law Won”. As soon as I saw the title, a big smile formed. I am not sure where I had 1st heard the song…  after all, I would have only been 2 on it’s release date however, somewhere in my earliest memories my parents must have played it  or I heard it on a passing radio station. However it happened, the song left an indelible imprint on my young mind and those happy feelings came flooding back. I grabbed my i-phone and quickly brought up the song on my Spotify account and for a few moments was transformed to a simpler time. I am sure I’m not the only one who spent time growing up listening to music with their parents or watching old movies with their Mam Maw. For those of you who delight in those old memories as much as I do, here is a quick search of some of the issues we have with Stars of Past. Feel free to peruse my list or start a personal favorites search to create your own.

The Gentleman’s Magazine & Bankruptcy…

May 8, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Under the illustration of St. John’s Gate that introduces each issue of the Gentleman’s Magazine, is the month and year, followed by the table of contents (each issue via the link will show an image of this – typically the last image posted).  For the first time, I noticed the calligraphy that follows “CONTAINING” and precedes the article headings and their corresponding page numbers.  “More in Quantity and greater Variety than any Book of the Kind and Price.”  While I have nothing to compare it to, I can attest that of the thirty-seven distinct articles listed for March of 1782, the subject matter ranges from Parliamentary debates to a Swiss underground road, and includes bull-baiting and the wool trade along the way.  The regular coverage of weather, news from around the world, births and marriages and deaths, trials, and literary reviews is fit in around the special bits.

In particular, my interest was caught by “Usual Causes of Bankruptcy, Caution against — ” and turned to page 138 to read.

In all ages there have been men, who, by sudden losses, by entering into indiscreet obligations, by improvident conduct, or through fraudulent designs, have become, or pretended to become, incompetent to the discharges of their just debts; but the number of bankrupts which now appear in every Gazette is a subject of serious and alarming consideration.

Along with the obvious financial harm that can be caused by frivolous living and participation in gambling, the author addresses the lack of care and foresight that must be viewed as the social responsibility of every gentleman, in order to enable him to properly discharge his debts and contribute to the public funds by means of taxes.  He recommends annual reflection for the purpose of seeing areas of weakness in funding, and to not allow debts to unknowingly pile up beyond the ability to repay.  Then, he maintains, steps toward frugality can be made in enough time to avert distress.  Finally, he offers as example the late Sir Stephen Theodore Janssen who he terms a “virtuous citizen.”  He records the words of Sir Stephen, addressed to the Livery, as he deems them of value to the general population.  The speech concludes in this way:

I do further declare that it is my determined resolution to continue living in the same frugal manner, till the last shilling is discharged; and in case any turn of fortune should happen to me, my whole just debts shall be discharged so much the sooner, as I am determined to persevere in preserving the character of an honest man.

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.

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