The Civil War… August 31, 1861…

August 31, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Beginning this week we begin a new format for our reflection 150 years ago on events of the Civil War through the eyes of the original readers of the Harper’s Weekly issue printed for August 31, 1861. Dr. James Robertson did a weekly review for the reprint edition of the “Harper’s Weekly” which provides much insight into the events of the day and scholarly commentary on both the illustrations and reporting in the newspaper.

The Virginia Tech website provides the credentials of Dr. James Roberson:

“One of the most distinguished names in Civil War history, Dr. Robertson was Executive Director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission and worked with Presidents Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson in marking the war’s 100th anniversary.  Today his Civil War Era course at Virginia Tech, which attracts 300 students per semester, is the largest of its kind in the nation.
The Danville, Va., native is the author or editor of more than 20 books that include such award-winning studies as “Civil War! America Becomes One Nation”, “General A.P. Hill”, and “Soldiers Blue and Gray”. His massive biography of Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson won eight national awards and was used as the base for the Ted Turner/Warner Bros. mega-movie, “Gods and Generals”. Robertson was chief historical consultant for the film.”

Dr. James Roberson’s commentary:

From the publisher of the Harper’s reprints…

August 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

While Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers’ archives contain nearly every issue of Harper’s Weekly… available for purchasing… all original… I suspect more collectors are aware of the “reissue” editions of Harper’s Weekly from the Civil War years, easily noted by: “THE REISSUE OF” printed just above the “H” in “Harper’s…” on the front page. Done 100 years after the Civil War, they were a successful educational tool in classrooms across the country.

I recently found this letter from the President of the firm which did the reprints, and thought it offers some interesting insight into the history of the reprint series. It is not dated, but I suspect it was written in December, 1861.

Very early automobile…

August 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

This “Warrington’s Road Engine” appeared in the Jan. 1, 1881 issue of “Scientific American” magazine with a related article headed: “Novel Road Engine”. It predates the work of Karl Benz, generally accepted as the creator of the modern-day automobile, who produced some of his earlier work around 1885.

The article notes that: “…the fuel, which is at the same time the motive agent, is common illuminating gas which is mixed with a certain proportion of air & exploded in the cylinder in the manner common to well known gas engines…”.

The Civil War… 150 years ago today… August 24, 1861

August 24, 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:

I am intrigued by the front page print of my August 24, 1861 issue: “Presentation of Prince Napoleon by Sec. Seward to the President” as it portrays Abraham Lincoln as a very tall, lean man. I know he is tall, but I think this print is not to proportion based on other prints of him I have seen.  Elsewhere in the issue is a nice full page of: “General McClellan & His Staff” plus a very dramatic print of a: “Splendid Charge of U.S. Cavalry at the Battle of Dug Spring, Missouri” .

I am intrigued by the print of “Scenes in the Brooklyn Navy Yard”, as among the 7 prints is one of a large gunboat under construction. What a massive undertaking! Other prints in this issue include “Camp Warren, Burlington, Iowa…”, a dramatic double page print of a naval battle: “The U.S. Frigate St. Lawrence Sinking the Privateer Petrel At Sea”, plus I was surprised to see a nice print of: “The Rebel General Lee”, the first time I ever saw a print of this famous Confederate general.

What happened to this Yankee stadium?

August 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

A question for all the Yankee fans out there: what happened to this stadium?

The March 29, 1914 issue of the “New York Times” shows the “…Plans For Yankees Park…” with a detailed drawing captioned: “How the Yankees’ Ball Yard at 225th Street and Broadway Will Look When it is Completed.” and beneath which is a detailed article headed: “Yankees’ New Park To Hold 40,000 Fans” “Double-Deck Grand Stand of Steel and Concrete to be Completed in September“. The article (see photos) provides many details of the new ball park, however I can find no record of it being built.

The Yankee website notes that the team shared the Polo Grounds with the Giants from 1913 through the early 1920’s until the stadium called the “House that Ruth Built” was ready for use in 1923. Does anyone know the history of this “mystery stadium” supposedly built in 1914?

Actual headlines in 2002…

August 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We offer thanks to fellow collector Morris Brill for the following headlines which appeared in 2002:

“Something Went Wrong In Jet Crash, Experts Say”

“Police Begin Campaign To run Down Jaywalkers”

“Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over”

“Teacher Strikes Idle Kids”

“Miners Refuse To Work After Death”

“Juvenile Court To Try Shooting Defendant”

“War Dims Hope For Peace”

“If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile”

“Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges”

“Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead”

“Kids Make Nutritious Snacks!”

“New Study Of Obesity Looks For Larger Test Group”

(more later!)

The Civil War… 150 years ago today… August 17, 1861

August 17, 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:

This week’s edition (for August 17, 1861) has more prints of some  leading officers in the war, including Generals McDowell & Mansfield, and Flag Officer Stringham and Col. Blair. Sometimes war-related prints include prints of famous places I’ve never seen, such as the print of Boston soldiers marching off to war, in front of the famous Faneuil Hall. There are some follow-up prints concerning the Battle of Bull Run, including a print of “A Fire Zouave Relating His Experience of the Battle of Bull Run in the Street at Washington.” Their uniforms are fascinating.

Speaking of uniforms the doublepage centerfold is a great display of 23 different types of uniforms worn by the Confederate Army–an interesting array of costumes! There is an interesting full page print of a: “Stampede of Slaves From Hampton to Fortress Monroe”, but the most sickening print I’ve seen this far is a full page of: “The Rebels Bayoneting Our Wounded on the Battlefield at Bull Run”. Such brutality!

The Traveler… the passing of a signer… the sentencing…

August 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In today’s travels, I found the Salem Gazette of August 16, 1811 carrying a very small notification of the death of the Honorable William Williams. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. This also stated that he continued through life as a Washington federalist.

The back page featured a small “Anecdotes” article. One item had what some may consider as a very cruel and unusual punishment. “A Corregidor debating to what death to condemn a man who had committed a great crime, because it appeared to him that hanging was too little for the offence, his clerk, who had a scolding wife, said “Had we not best marry him?”.

~The Traveler

Tombstone was about to fade away…

August 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Having offered several Tombstone newspapers from its brief heyday in the late 19th century, I thought you would find this article from the “Prescott Journal-Miner” of Arizona, July 8, 1930, interesting.  Having visited Tombstone about 3 years ago I can assure all that it does survive, albeit primarily as a partially reconstructed tourist attraction. It’s a fun town to visit if ever in Southern Arizona:

The Civil War… 150 years ago today… August 10, 1861

August 10, 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:

With all the battle action to report it is interesting that the front page (of my August 10, 1861 issue) is taken up with a literary piece. But there is much inside on the Battle of Bull Run, including a full page: “Retreat of our Troops from Bull Run, by Moonlight…” and a very dramatic full page print: “Charge of the Black Horse Cavalry Upon the Fire Zouaves at the Battle of bull Run”. This print shows very hot hand-to-hand combat. It must have been not only brutal, but very confusing with every foot filled with charging soldiers. Yet another print shows “Carrying in the Wounded at the Battle of Bull Run”. I can only imagine the total carnage.

Elsewhere is a nice half page print of: “Sandy Hook Hqts. of Col. Stone, on the Upper Potomac”.  And if I thought last week’s centerfold was dramatic, this one has to be even better. It’s a large print showing hundreds of soldiers, a few on horseback, with dead and dying soldiers . Smoke and bursting bombs fill the air, yet the gallantry seems incredible as the soldiers charge in very close quarters. I notice several Negro soldiers as well. And if this was not sufficient, there is yet another very dramatic full page print of the: “Gallant Charge of the 69th Reg….Upon a Rebel Battery at the Battle of Bull Run”.

There is a very nice full page “Map of the Seat of War in Virginia” showing from Washington, D.C. to Staunton, Va. & the site of the Bull Run battle. There there is a “Balloon View of Fortress Monroe & the Mouth of the Chesapeake”. I didn’t realize that the fort is connected to the mainland by a very narrow strip of land. I can see what it is important in the protection of the harbor.

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