West Virginia’s first newspapers…

January 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The history of West Virginia newspapers dates some 70 years before West Virginia became a state. Statehood came late to West Virginia, carved from Virginia in the midst of the Civil War, happening officially on June 20, 1863. But its first newspaper began in 1790 when Nathaniel Willis began his “Potowmac Guardian & Berkeley Advertiser” at Shepherd’s-Town, near Harper’s Ferry.  Less than two years later Willis moved the newspaper to Martinsburg.

The second newspaper was the “Shepherd’s Town, Charles-Town and County Advertiser” begun by Philip Rootes and Charles Blagrove on June 28, 1797. No copies beyond October 11, 1797 have been located. The third newspaper was the “Berkeley Intelligencer” done at Martinsburg on April 3, 1799 by John Alburtis.  Many followed, including what is shown in the image, “The Observer, and Western Advertiser”, Lewisburg, [West] Virgina, 1884.

Pictures… Is a thousand words always enough?

January 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The New York Times of October 20, 1862 includes a wonderful article which eloquently combats any romanticized view of the Civil War. Sometimes, far from the realities of the slaughter (in time and distance), we fail to properly connect with the tragedy and horror experienced by so many. The article includes, in part, “There is one side of the picture that the sun did not catch, one phase that has escaped photographic skill it is the background of widows and orphans, torn from the bosom of their natural protectors by the red remorseless hand of Battle, and thrown upon the brotherhood of God. Homes have been made desolate, and the light of life in thousands of hearts has been quenched forever. All of this desolation imagination must paint — broken hearts cannot be photographed.” Rather than say more, we’ll let the article speak for itself. The actual original article itself may be viewed in full at:

Brady’s Photographs; Pictures of the Dead at Antietam

Summing up the Revolutionary War through 1779…

January 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The front page of The Edinburgh Advertiser“, July 23, 1779, has a great letter (see below) signed by “An Englishman” which pretty much sums up the Revolutionary War through the mid-point of 1779. Never before have I seen a more accurate appraisal of the situation in so few words.

The Traveler… The Emancipation… the last look… and today…

January 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

This week I traveled 150 years back in time and through the activities of the Civil War via the Harper’s Weekly dated January 24, 1863. This issue contains a double-page illustration by Thomas Nast entitled “The Emancipation of the Negroes, January, 1863 – The Past and The Future.” Mr. Nast shows their present life in the center circle, of a happy home including a picture of President Lincoln hanging on the wall. The illustrations to the left show obstacles they had to endure — being sold at auctions and separated from loved ones, beatings, and being chased (if running away). The illustrations to the right show what they are looking to in the future with the implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation — owning a home, children going to public school, being treated fairly by the employer and being paid for working.

This illustration has an accompanying article that describes the illustration and also includes text from the Tribune of March 11, 1859, which dealt with the largest single sale of humans (slaves) in the United States. Mr. Pierce M. Butler of a city near Savannah, Georgia, sold 486 slaves — men, women and children — to pay his debts. This gives a prospective of what the slaves had to endure as they were being separated from each other as family members and long term friends.

As a contrast , this issue also presents a look into the past with an illustration and small article, “A Slave-Pen at New Orleans – Before the Auction. A Sketch of the Past.”

Today we also celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Let us all remember his famous words… “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty we are free at last.

~The Traveler

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln… one the the very best…

January 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The April 22, 1865 issue of the National Police Gazette, New York, printed what many consider to be the best illustrated newspaper related to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Judge for yourself. Regardless of your final analysis, please enjoy the images from this incredible authentic newspaper compliments of Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers… History’s Newsstand… via Pinterest:

The Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln illustrated by the National Police Gazette… on Pinterest…

Patrick Henry bio in the Citizen Soldier… 1840…

January 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The following is a 2nd look at a post from a few years ago.  We’ve updated the images to make the text easier to read.  Please enjoy.

Although much has been written about Patrick Henry, a December 18, 1840 issue of the Citizen Soldier, Vermont, gives us a glimpse as to how he was viewed within less than 50 years of his death. The end of the biography has a few extra treats as well. Although quite lengthy… it is certainly worth the read:

A gem in the American Antiquarian Society… Charleston Mercury Extra…

January 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our Rare & Early Newspapers’ collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

Charleston Mercury Extra“, December 20, 1860

The divisive political events of the 1850s had pitted North against South on numerous issues, including the expansion of slavery into the western territories, tariffs on goods such as cotton, and broader concepts of states’ rights vs. federal law. Political compromises made throughout the decade in an attempt to keep the nation together effectively collapsed with the election of Abraham Lincoln in November 1860. South Carolina, heir to the legacy of states’ rights lion John C. Calhoun, was the first to address the possibility of leaving the Union. On November 10, 1860, four days after the presidential election, South Carolina brought the issue to a head by calling a secession convention for the following month.

Considered by virtue of timing to be the first Confederate imprint, this broadside announced to the public the convention’s declaration, on December 20, 1860, that South Carolina would secede from the United States. This sheet was removed from a wall in Charleston by the Boston-born author Caroline Howard Gilman (1794-1888), who had moved permanently to Charleston following her marriage to the Rev. Samuel Gilman. Gilman mailed the broadside to her daughter Eliza in Salem, Massachusetts. Eliza in turn presented the document to AAS member Nathaniel Paine who, heeding the Society’s call to preserve all printed material relating to the unsettling national events, passed the broadside along to AAS.

A high-resolution image of this issue is viewable at: American Antiquarian Society, #47

Wisconsin’s first newspapers…

January 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The state of Wisconsin was under several governances before coming onto its own with statehood in 1848. It began as part of the Indiana territory, then part of the Illinois territory, then part of the Michigan territory, then detached as the Wisconsin territory in 1836.

Printing began in the territory in 1827, and it was on December 11, 1833 that Wisconsin had its first newspaper titled the “Green-Bay Intelligencer“, done by Albert Ellis and John Suydam. The city was actually listed as Navarino, which today is a small suburb of Green Bay, population at the 2000 census listed as 442. Ellis was also the very first printer in Wisconsin, printing lottery tickets in 1827 and an almanac in the Chippewa language.

The second newspaper in Wisconsin was actually created as a vehicle to support the candidacy of Morgan Martin for territorial delegate to Congress. He employed William Stevenson and Joseph Dickinson to produced the “Wisconsin Free Press” at Green Bay in August of 1835. But it lasted for less than a year with the printing equipment sold  to the “Intelligencer“.

Two more newspapers were created in the 1830’s, they being the “Wisconsin Enquirer” in November of 1838 at Madison, the newly created capital of the territory, and then the  “Milwaukee Advertiser” on July 14, 1836. During the 1840’s many newspapers were created as Wisconsin worked towards statehood.

The Traveler… Captain Hull honored…

January 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today I traveled to Hartford, Connecticut by way of the American Mercury, January 6, 1813. There I found that Isaac Hull, commander of the United States frigate Constitution, was being honored in New York City. He was being presented the  freedom of the city “…for his gallantry in capturing the British frigate Guerriere…”. He was presented with a gold box, richly set with emeralds, representing the action between the two frigates, and the arms of the city. Mr. Clinton delivered the speech, Captain Hull replied to the address and “…on descending the steps from the Hall was greeted with three cheers as a brave and faithful public servant whom all ‘the people delight to honor.'”

Also in this issue are several military recruitment advertisements, one which is illustrated for the Dragoons.

~The Traveler

Call it triple irony…

January 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The “Detroit Free Press” issue of December 12, 1939 report this interesting incident which affected–of all organizations–a fire company…