I’m New Here: Week Twenty-Eight…

August 29, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s probably obvious by now that histories of people are the most intriguing aspect of life to me and it helps me when I enter into the customer service aspect of this job. Each longtime collector, or birthday dabbler, or train-of-thought/rabbit trail follower (I made that term up) is led or driven by his or her own tale. And I am privileged to hear about the whys and wherefores of the quests.
This week I worked with an Earth Science teacher who has been collecting early records of hurricanes, tidal surges and solar eclipses with an intensity I can’t help but appreciate, even though I could barely follow his pontificating. It makes me happy that he is teaching, and I hope his enthusiasm is contagious to at least one of the jaded high schoolers trudging through the eleventh grade of our system of education. A writer in Manhattan checked in five times this week, and added titles that were absolutely vital to the history she is compiling and I have a mental image of scraps of paper covered in scribbles from which she cross checks and matches our latest catalog offerings. Her exclamations of delight are always tinged with the “I really shouldn’t…” tone that most dieters adopt.
Preferences aside, details really matter in this job. Enthusiasm over stories within a volume cannot excuse my neglect to mark the proper location for return. With thirty-one rows of interior shelving that is fifteen feet high and thirty feet long, a misfiled collection may never be found again, however valuable the issues or concentrated the search. Similarly, folks who ordered a hundred times don’t appreciate a letter that welcomes them as a new collector, and our six-digit item codes can’t have a single transposition without becoming wrong. By this error, I did not locate a New York Tribune from the Civil War period but a Scientific American from January 24, 1891. Tracing my mistake to the original point at which I veered from the straight and narrow path of accuracy, I ended up sitting down to a cup of tea and a technical description of the “Electrical Base Ball Bulletin.” It caught my eye because we are located in “The Birthplace of Little League” and host the annual World Series every August. As with the Science instructor, the technical jargon jumbles me a bit so I cannot begin to comprehend how the contraption worked. However, the description is clearly an invention of Mr. S. D. Mott of Passaic, New Jersey from 129 years ago, that was possibly the precursor to the system for the modern scoreboard display.

So, there you have it.

In the world of Rare and Early Newspapers, even a wrong turn (in a timely fashion) can land me in a place I learn something new.

What meaningful gift do you give to a 90-year-old?

May 31, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

One of the greatest challenges when it comes to gift-giving is what to purchase for someone in their 50’s-90’s+ that is both unique and meaningful.  While we at Rare Newspapers specialize in offering historic newspapers from the 1600’s, 1700’s, and 1800’s, we also offer Birthday Newspapers – issues from the day someone was born. A recent note from a purchaser of such a gift warmed our hearts. Thanks to R.M. for allowing us to share his response:

I just wanted to tell you all that this weekend I gave my Grandmother her 90th birthday gift –  a NYT from May 14th 1923.   Attached are two pictures.She was thrilled with the gift and my family was as well. Discussions are already underway over which great grandchild will inherit the paper :).

I’m not a collector, so I have no idea what the paper is worth, but I couldn’t believe the paper was only $42. No one really knew what to expect – some people told me ‘You know it’s just going to be a reproduction that looks old’ or ‘Don’t be surprised if it’s just the front page’, well – they were wrong. I’ve already suggested this gift idea to several friends and will continue to recommend your service, I’m sure at some time in the future I’ll need a gift this unique again. Thanks again!

Original newspapers for the “Day You Were Born” do make wonderful gifts.