Hawaii’s first “regular” newspaper…

May 30, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

In a previous post we discussed the first newspaper in Hawaii was essentially a student newspaper, titled “Ka Lama Hawaii” (The Hawaiian Luminary), done by Protestant missionaries at their school at Lahainaluna on the island of Maui. But it was just a few months later when the second newspaper in Hawaii–and considered the first “regular” newspaper on the islands–was published. “Ke Kumu Hawaii” began publication on Nov. 12, 1834 (some references cite an October beginning which cannot be verified).

We were fortunate to bring into our inventory the volume one, number two issue of this title, dated Nov. 26, 1834. Very similar in size to “Ka Lama Hawaii” it contains 8 pages, 6 of which are in the Hawaiian language. Rather than a student, or school newspaper, this was a regular newspaper for the general public.

We provide photos of this very rare newspaper for our friends to enjoy.

Today’s Front Pages… a nice newspaper app…

May 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

A newspaper collector recently brought to our attention a nice newspaper-related app:

“For iPhone and  iPad users there is a fantastic App for collectors. The Newseum has an App called Today’s Front Pages. It has a full page photo of every major and most minor papers in the US and many foreign papers for that current day. So on the day a major event hits the news I can check all the major papers or the paper where the event occurred and see if the page is something I want. You can only check the current day. Even many small town papers are represented including the Sun-Gazette. Great for collectors!” Steve. K.

While the majority of collectors wait for history to prove-out which headlines are worthy of collecting, this app will allow those on the cutting edge of future collectible to be a bit more proactive.  I’ve already downloaded the (free) app for use.  You can as well at:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/todays-front-pages/id418572455?mt=8

Thanks Steve.  If your interest still remains in past events, feel free to browse headlines through time at:  www.rarenewspapers.com

The Civil War… 150 years ago today… May 25, 1861

May 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:

Today’s issue, dated May 25, 1861, has the entire front page taken up with a a very dramatic fire at Willard’s Hotel in the nation’s capital, showing the New York Fire Zouaves working feverishly to t out the blaze. One firemen is being held by his legs as he is suspended upside down with a fire hose!

Other prints inside deal more with the war, including: “Camp Cameron…” from Washington, D.C., a nice print of “Evening  Parade at Fort Pickens…” which provides a nice overview of the fort. Another print shows troops leaving from Dubuque, Iowa, aboard two of the large paddle wheeler boats which ply the Mississippi. The interior of the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington shows a Mass. regiment resting there, with support braces for the construction work going on evident. I understand the new dome is in the early stages of completion.

A full page print shows: “The  79th Regiment (Highlanders) ” of the New York Militia marching down the street in kilts! What a sight! And there is also an impressive full page print of “Camp Scott, York, Pennsylvania” showing many troops encamped there.

Yet another page has a map of the United States showing the strategic routes in the interior of the country. I always look forward to maps concerning the war as they provide a perspective which makes the battle strategies in the various parts of the country more understandable.

America history in British newspapers…

May 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

After 35 years in the hobby I can honestly say today as I said then: collecting early newspapers is an inexpensive hobby when compared to other collectibles of like vintage. And the reason is basic economics: supply and demand. Although the collecting fraternity has increased through the years, and the supply of early newspapers has dwindled some, prices still remain a relative bargain for material over 100—and over 200—years old.

Exceptions exist. American newspapers of the 18th century are few and far between today. When I began in the hobby in the mid-1970’s, finding the occasional 18th century bound volume of American newspapers was rather common. I even purchased a number of volumes of colonial and Revolutionary War newspapers printed in the colonies. Such purchases are very rare today, and consequently prices for American titles before the1790’s can be exorbitant for many collectors.

Which brings me to this topic. We are fortunate in this hobby to have a terrific alternative to American newspapers of the colonial era: British newspapers. Keeping in mind that the American colonies were British possessions at the time, considerable American reporting was not uncommon (and I can attest that American newspapers of the same period had considerable European reports!). In fact most British newspapers took their accounts directly from American newspapers so the reporting was identical. And the added bonus of British newspaper reports is commentary with a British bias, offering an interesting perspective to what we remember from history class.

Hobbyists of 25 – 50 years ago eschewed British titles because American titles were so common. But today the collecting market is much different. In many respects I see today’s availability & pricing of British titles much like the situation with American titles 50 years ago. We can find major American events of the colonial era at prices still under $1000 (higher for the “best of the best”) in the London Chronicle or like titles, and under $300 for second tier events.  We find there is typically a 5 fold price difference between reports in American versus British newspapers. We’ve sold the Boston Tea Party for $1150 in the London Chronicle. In an American newspaper a like account would exceed $6000.  We’ve sold the Boston Massacre in the London Chronicle for the same price. And it would easily exceed $6000 in an American title. One of the most significant documents of the Revolutionary War, “The Causes & Necessity For Taking Up Arms”, we sell as a $340 item in the Gentleman’s Magazine, yet we sold it for $5550 in the New England Chronicle. Same complete document, both from 1775, one within the budget of most collectors, the other not.

But prices are rising for British imprints as more collectors are becoming aware that if they want their collection to contain all the significant events of the 18th century, British newspapers and magazines are their only alternative.  The Declaration of Independence remains the most desired event for American collectors. An American newspaper printing is beyond the budgets of almost all collectors, if available at all. An auction price of $50,000 – $75,000 would be expected, while we recently sold the same document in the London Chronicle for $8775. But I will also note it was not long ago that we sold it for $4450. Our current price for a front page account of the Battle of Lexington & Concord in the London Chronicle is $985. Our previous sale of the identical dated issue was $440.

Where will the hobby be with such events in another 25 years? Will all 18th century newspapers–American and British–be considered museum pieces? Much will determine where prices go and I will not hazard a guess. But I am pleased that as the hobby enters a crossroad in availability versus pricing, we currently have a reasonable path to follow for the foreseeable future. These are interesting times for the collecting fraternity.

“…one of the vilest scoundrels that ever lived…”

May 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Samuel Medary was the publisher of the controversial newspaper “The Crisis” from Columbus, Ohio, a Civil War era newspaper from the North which was supportive of the Southern cause. Obviously it met with much opposition during its brief life, at one point raided by a hateful mob. When Medary died in1864 it was not surprising that his death would not be treated nicely by other Northern newspapers, but this report went to the extreme. Keep in mind that this appeared in the Jan. 25, 1865 issue of “The Crisis“, so the introductory paragraph would be expected:

The Civil War… 150 years ago today… May 18, 1861

May 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:

The front page of the May 18, 1861 issue shows a ship of the Confederacy, the ‘Lady Davis, two guns…”, which is almost comical. It appears to be nothing more than an over-sized tug boat with two cannons mounted on the deck. Is this what their Navy is like? This war can’t last long.

Two other full page prints shows the great variety in uniforms among the Union forces, one of “Col. Ellsworth’s New York Zouaves” and the other “Col. Wm. Wilson & His Staff”. I also like the print of “The Battery  or Park Promenade at Charleston…during the Bombardment of Fort Sumter”, showing part of the town. There is also a print showing Fort Pickens in Pensacola harbor. It appears to look much like Fort Sumter further to the north. Two smaller prints show Camp Dennison near Lancaster, Pa. I wasn’t aware there was an installation there.

I’m intrigued by the print of “The Long Bridge Leading Across the Potomac from Washington to Virginia…”. The Potomac seems to be a very wide river, and I’ve never seen such a long bridge!

The Traveler… Standard Oil dissolved… now that makes sense…

May 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled into The Christian Science Monitor dated May 16, 1911 and found that after being in court cases for over four and a half years, the Standard Oil case had been ruled on by the U. S. Supreme Court with the decision being for the dissolving of the company due to anti-trust practices.   This issue includes a photo of the Supreme Court justices and a text block with the charges against the company.

Another article in the issue dealt with need for new street lamps in Florence, New Jersey. The election for the gas commissioners and appropriation for the lamps were to be held in May, however, there was no board to conduct the election. How’s that for politics?

~ The Traveler

Guess he was on a bad tour…

May 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The front page of the “Columbian Centinel” of Boston, April 19, 1788, has a “Description–By a resident in the Island” of Jamaica. The writer must have taken much time & effort to be as unflattering as possible. It makes for some interesting reading:

The Civil War… 150 years ago today… May 11, 1861

May 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:

Today’s May 11, 1861 edition has nice prints of two soldiers. In seeing other prints of those involved in the war, I’m struck by the variety of uniforms–or lack of them–among many. The only common apparel seems to be the hat, and even those show some variety as well. I would have suspected all Union soldiers would be dressed alike.

The recent action at Harper’s Ferry is portrayed in three prints, one showing a view of the town. I always enjoy seeing town views. Another print shows the town of Annapolis, Maryland, where the famed ship “Constitution” is docked, shown in the foreground.

The dramatic print in this issue is certainly the double page at the center, showing the “Destruction of the United States Navy Yard at Norfolk…By fire…” and also the “Destruction of the United States Ships at Norfolk…”. What a blaze! Two more prints show soldiers marching off to the war, one shows them marching right onto the ship ‘James Adger’. I wonder if they know what the are in for?

Included also is a nice print of Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, Penna., showing troops in parade formation, and I am a bit surprised by the full page of 4 scenes of “Fortifications Thrown up to Protect the U.S. Arsenal at St. Louis, Missouri”. I wouldn’t have guessed war preparations were necessary in the West.

First newspapers in Oklahoma…

May 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The history of present-day Oklahoma is different from most states, as most of the district was set apart by Congress in 1834 for the occupation of five tribes of southern Indians who were taken there from 1820-1840. In 1889 part of the area was opened for white settlement, although  a considerable number moved into the territory before lawful entry, causing them to to be called “Sooners”. Oklahoma did not become a state until 1907, the third last of the continuous 48 to do so (New Mexico & Arizona were the last).

The first Oklahoma printing press came by way of Georgia & Tennessee where it published various Indian pamphlets. The first newspaper in Oklahoma was the “Cherokee Advocate” which began Se[pt. 26, 1844 at Tahlequah, printed in both English and Cherokee. It was preceded by one month by the “Cherokee Messenger” but it was more of a magazine than a newspaper, and it lasted for just 13 issues. The “Advocate” continued publishing–with some interruptions–for over 60 years.

The “Choctaw Telegraph” was issued at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation near the end of 1848 but it did not last beyond a year. But it was then revived in 1870 and continued until 1907. Yet another newspaper was printed at Doaksville in May, 1850, called the “Choctaw Intelligencer“. Printed in both English & Choctaw it lasted for about a year. The other pre-Civil War newspaper was actually a high school publication called the “Cherokee Rosebud” and done by the students of Park Hill Female Seminary at Tahlequah. It began in 1848.

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