What got the juices flowing for Thomas Paine…

June 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Pennsylvania Magazine” was one of only two American magazines which published during the years of the Revolutionary War, including a June, 1775 issue containing a great coverage of Battle of Bunker Hill and Washington’s appointment as Commander-In-Chief, and ending with the July, 1776 issue which included the Declaration of Independence.

The Pennsylvania Magazine

The Pennsylvania Magazine

For most of its 19 month life, which began in January, 1775, it was edited by the famed Thomas Paine, employed by the publisher Robert Aitken. Aitken was often frustrated by Paine’s procrastination in providing material, as mentioned in Isaiah Thomas’ “History of Printing in America”:

“…Aitken contracted with Paine to furnish, monthly, for this work, a certain quantity of original matter; but he often found it difficult to prevail on Paine to comply with his engagement…Aitken went to his lodgings & complained of his neglecting to fulfill his contract…insisted on Paine’s accompanying him & proceeding immediately to business & as the workmen were waiting for copy. He accordingly went home with Aitken & was soon seated at the table with the necessary apparatus, which always included a glass, and a decanter of brandy. Aitken observed, ‘he would never write without that.’ The first glass of brandy set him thinking; Aitken feared the second would disqualify him, or render him intractable; but it only illuminated his intellectual system; and when he had swallowed the third glass, he wrote with great rapidity, intelligence and precision; and his ideas appeared to flow faster than he could commit them to paper. What he penned from the inspiration of the brandy was perfectly fit for the press without any alternation or correction.”

Great Headlines Speak For Themselves… death of Fatty Arbuckle…

June 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the LOS ANGELES TIMES, June 29, 1933: “‘FATTY’ ARBUCKLE DIESFatty Arbuckle Death

Remember these names from the “golden era”?

June 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

One of our more recent purchases was a sizable collection of  newspapers from the West Coast which included many 20th century issues covering the deaths of famous movie stars or Jean Harlow Death Reportentertainers. Not surprisingly, Los Angeles newspaper gave much coverage to the passing of some of the more iconic names of stardom from the “golden era”. Those of a certain age well remember many of famous names of the 1930’s-1950’s (totally unknown to the millennial generation) and I count myself among them, so it was with a certain amount of nostalgia that I read the reports as I was writing up the newspapers for future catalogs.

If I had any common reaction to the reports I read it was to the age of many when they died. When I think of such stars I always presumed they were in their late 60’s or late 70’s when they were still acting & much older when they died. But that was when I was in my teens and 20’s, and anyone who had been “around for awhile” seemed like they were much older than they actually were. I was struck by the ages of many when they died, and perhaps you might be as well. Here is a sampling:

Clark Gable Death ReportTyrone Power 45

Humphrey Bogart 57

Rudolph Valentino 31

George Gershwin 38

Nat “King” Cole 45

Clark Gable 59

Jean Harlow 26

Cary Cooper 60

Mario Lanza 38

Jayne Mansfield 34

Steve McQueen 50

Judy Garland 47

An unexpected avalanche in Italy…

June 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-6-20-2014-from-ItalyWhat started off as a series of basic questions concerning one of our newspaper listings quickly turned into considerably more.  Someone from a small-town near Naples, Italy was seeking coverage of an 1883 earthquake which had devastated the region. Thankfully, the issue we had contained the coverage he needed, and we sent it on to him. Typically, this would have been the end of the story. Blog-20-2014-Italian-ConnectionHowever, he soon informed us the newspaper and associated interactions with Doreen Mileto, our office manager, had turned into quite the human interest story at his end – appearing in one local Italian newspaper… and then another… and yet another – creating an avalanche of interest. While you may need a translator to read the articles (the one shown above is not available on-line), please enjoy:

Terremoto di Casamicciola: Copia storica del New York Times presto a Ischia


The Traveler… the largest single arrest of Rabbis in American history…

June 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Rabbis ArrestedToday I traveled to New York City by the way of The New York Times dated June 19, 1964. There I found a photo on the front page entitled “16 Rabbis Arrested as Pool Dive-In Sets Off St. Augustine Rights Clash”. The photo shows a policeman jumping into the pool at the Monson Motor Lodge to arrest the rabbis. The rabbis were there in response to a letter asking for assistance written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s letter that he sent while being imprisoned in St. Augustine due to the civil rights unrest, due to that area not following the segregation policies. This became the largest arrest of rabbis in American history.

~The Traveler

Great Headlines Speak For Themselves… Lionel Barrymore death…

June 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The best headlines need no commentary. Such is the case with the DAILY NEWS, Los Angeles, November 16, 1954: “LIONEL BARRYMORE, STAGE GREAT, DIESLionel Barrymore Death Report

“Wrongway” Corrigan is honored with a backwards headline…

June 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles “Herald Expressnewspaper of August 5, 1938 honored the interesting exploits of Douglas Corrigan with a rarity in the newspaper world: a headline printed backwards.

This was one of the fascinating tidbits of aviation history. Corrigan flew from Long Beach, California to New York & wanted to fly to Ireland but was denied. So he filed his flight plan to return to Long Beach but flew instead to Ireland, stating “navigational errors” due to heavy cloud cover, etc. (see hyperlink for details). He was given a ticker tape parade in New York City with the banner headline reporting: “N.Y. Millions In Bedlam of Noise and Tons of Confetti Greet L.A. Air Hero” with subheads and a large photo of the parade.But the fascinating part of this item is the banner headline at the very top of the ftpg: ” ! NAGIRROC YAW GNORW OT LIAH” and with a small note below it stating: “If You Don’t Know, Read this the Way Corrigan Flew–Backwards!"Wrong Way" Corrigan

Interesting comments on Jesse James…

June 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The April 27, 1881 issue of the rare “Elk Mountain Pilot” from the ghost town of Irwin, Colorado, has 3 interesting and unusual tidbits concerning the recent death of the noted outlaw, Jesse James: “Jesse James has climbed the golden stairs, (?) to interview those he has sent before.” and: “The papers throughout the country are publishing the picture of Jesse James and no two of them are alike.” as well as: “We have not heard of any one taking up a subscription to erect a monument to the memory of Jesse James.” Yet another tidbit mentions the death of Charles Darwin – making these mentions an interesting tandem.Jesse James

The Traveler… will she deliver?… matrimony unmasked…

June 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

1714 Post Boy Today I traveled to London, England, by the way of The Post Boy dated June 1, 1714. There I found an article with the dateline Hague in which “…the Hereditary Prince’s Consort would rejoice the Czar, by bringing a young Prince into the World.”  However there were different opinions as to her delivery as her “reckoning” had elapsed. Was she really with child? Was the child dead? Would she deliver soon? It was determined “…that Times alone can determine which of these different Sentiments of the Physicians is the best grounded.”

The back page contained an advertisement for a new publication which caught my eye… “Matrimony unmask’d; or, The Comforts and Discomforts of Marriage Display’d”. Sounds like it could have been an interesting read!

~The Traveler