Master Wordsmiths Often 1st Shared Their Treasures in Newspapers…

April 12, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

What do Walt Whitman (poet extraordinaire) … Joel Chandler Harris (Uncle Remus fame) … Charles Dickens (needs no introduction) all have in common? Perhaps my title gave the answer away. These and many other authors often shared their literary master pieces in newspapers before they were printed in book form. Recently, as I was delving into some San Francisco Chronicles, I came upon another addition to this illustrious list. Warm welcomes to Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan. On September 3, 1939, the San Francisco Chronicle, This Week Magazine section began a “thrilling series of short mystery stories” by Agatha Christie. This 1st story in the series “The Labours of Hercules” was titled “Invisible Enemy”. By putting such variety of writing into a public newspaper, the everyday person was often exposed to quality literature giving them the opportunity to increase their education in a casual way. Thanks to these master story tellers for sharing with all of us.

Christmas-themed poems from 1850 – Food for thought…

December 24, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Earlier this year I came across a December 21, 1850 issue of Household Words – a publication “conducted” by Charles Dickens, which actually contained an original work by him titled “A CHRISTMAS TREE.” Although this was his publication, the majority of the contributions within were typically written by others. While perusing the issue I came across a set of Christmas-themed poems which stirred my heart. Hopefully you will also find them moving. Enjoy.

I’m New Here, Weeks Five & Six…

March 22, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s a great day when you locate an issue that someone is wanting, particularly when they really want it.  Usually the request begins with, “There’s probably no chance you have this title, but…”  Because of our significant database I can now ascertain the general direction a new search will go, and have learned to further diminish expectations with words like, “Well, you are correct — that is a highly desirable date…”  Occasionally, my computer will display little notes or other indicators that this is possibly something I (with assistance) can find.  Without raising hopes I mention that it doesn’t look promising but there is something I want to double-check before I give a definitive “no”.

This morning’s call from one of our cheery customers delivered a query for a Harper’s Weekly from 1863.  He was looking for Emancipation Proclamation content, although many collectors want that particular issue for the full page Winslow Homer print or the double-page Thomas Nast “The War in the Border States”.  I reverently turned the pages to investigate the text in question, and found it free of foxing or damp stains or tears.  And then I found something else.

Just beside the historical, monumental words, the Harper’s editor placed or approved a first installment of Wilkie Collins’ No Name.   Although I have read his fifth book, I didn’t know that Collins was another contemporary of Dickens and Whitman.  I didn’t even know that “Wilkie” was a man.  And these little rabbit trails clamored for my attention and had me skimming the assertion by William Makepeace Thackeray on The Woman in White:  that it had him “transfixed” – a book that I’d found lengthy and melodramatic upon personal encounter.

I particularly enjoy this multi-layered discovery aspect of collecting/perusing early newspapers, and I grin over the notes back from purchasers describing the bonus treasures.  One that came this week included an exclamation over a Gentleman’s Magazine:  “R is over the moon as we discovered a paragraph about an intercepted letter from Alexander Hamilton complaining about congress and money! It’s just stunning to read these things as contemporary accounts.”

So, feel free to join the conversation and comment about the amazing things you unexpectedly have in your collection that you never intended to purchase. My own W.C. search is ongoing, as all the commentary I can find is that Collins was serialized in Dicken’s “All The Year Round”, with nary a mention of the great Harper’s.  Incidentally, if you are new to this world it might either interest or frustrate you to know the brand encompasses “Harper’s Weekly”,” Harper’s Monthly” (which is also sometimes called “Harper’s New Monthly”), and then the non-newspaper titles of “Harper’s Bazaar” and the various Harper’s books.  The Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspaper inventory contains the first two titles and it is there I will be searching for Chapter Two.

At least, that is how it will begin.

Collecting Ideas: Charles Dickens…

April 4, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

An area of collecting interest which continues to draw interest is collecting newspapers with Charles Dickens related content.  Whether one’s passion is Harper’s Weekly Illustrated issues containing serialized versions of his writings, issues published by him directly (All the Year Round & Household Words) , or newspapers with news concerning his travels and/or his thoughts on various topics, there certainly are a host of ways to enjoy this particular area of newspaper collectability.

Although not directly related to the hobby, we recently came across a post we thought our Dickens-collecting friends might enjoy:  15 Things You Never Knew About Dickens, by Emma Taylor.  Feel free to share your Dickens knowledge with the collecting world via responses to this post.

Charles Dickens on newspapers…

June 15, 2009 by · 3 Comments 

dickens_newspapersThe Boston Evening Transcript of July 21, 1862, has a front page article “Charles Dickens on Newspapers”, a speech he delivered in London at the Newsvenders’ Benevolent Institution.  The lengthy speech takes two-thirds of a column and is filled with witty comments, and ends with: “…The newsman is to be meet with at every turn, on steamboats and in railway stations; his profits are small…he is indispensable to civilzation and freedom, and he is looked for with peasurable excitement every day…”.