Poetic analogy from the battlefield…

June 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The “Bradford Reporter” newspaper from the small town of Towanda, Pennsylvania, October 22, 1863, contains: “The Story of Two Bullets” which provides a somewhat poetic analogy to a hopeful conclusion to the Civil War.

Wishful thinking…

April 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

obit_john_gayreThe “Epitaph” shown in the photo is taken from the Columbian Centinel, Extra newspaper from Boston, Nov. 26, 1806. The graphic devises add a bit of charm to the simple–perhaps hopeful–thought:

“I John Gayre, am ready to swear,
That thought I lie here, I’m yet up there.”

Rare & early newspapers never cease to provide a bit of comic relief to the harsh edge of life.  Enjoy!

Contest Winners… “In Search for the Unusual and Bizarre”

March 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

AND the winners are…

A few weeks ago the History’s Newsstand Blog ran a contest asking members to contribute unusual and/or bizarre articles they’ve discovered through the years.  Many unique entries were submitted, and the voting, done by both members and staff, resulted in a photo finish.  The results:

1st Place ($100 website gift certificate) -Phil Howland who submitted a St. Louis Missouri Republican, June 22, 1826, regarding “A MISSOURI TRAPPER”

2nd Place ($50 website gift certificate) – Joe Rainone, who submitted THE DAY’S DOINGS,  February 10, 1872, regarding General Custer and Miss Spotted Tale”

3rd Place ($25 website gift certificate) -Erik Anderson, who submitted The Gentleman’s Magazine, dated March, 1732, regarding “Vampires”

The entire text all of entries may be viewed at:

In Search for the Unusual and Bizarre

Thanks to all those who took the time to submit an entry.  Many members indicated by e-mail as to how much the enjoyed reading the entries.  The MISSOURI TRAPPER:




Words of wisdom…

March 14, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

hw_12_5_1857Harper’s Weekly” of Dec. 5, 1857 has a small item:

“Dr. Stone, of New Orleans, speaking of yellow fever, says–‘The fever has a certain course to run. Keep the patient from dying, and he’ll get well.’ There’s wisdom for you.”

Which was more useful?…

March 7, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

morning-post-12_4_1792The “Morning Post and Daily Advertiser” newspaper of London, Dec. 4, 1792, has a report:

“A man in the county of Hereford advertises a Mare that has strayed, for which he offers a reward of Five Guineas. In the subsequent advertisement he advertises the elopement of his Wife, for the discovery of whom, he offers a reward of Five Shillings!”

The work of a headsman…

October 2, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Almost daily we find non-historical, but fascinating reporting in the issues we peruse.  It is one of the hidden pleasures of the collectible.  See the image to the right for one recently discovered intriguing little nugget published in the ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS issue of March 9, 1861. John Lund held the job of beheading state criminals in the Tower of London, but never mind that the last time such “services” were required was in 1746. Apparently his only responsibility was to show up twice a year to collect his pay check, which he did “…with a large bright hatchet on his shoulder”. They believe the position may be abolished(!)

By the way, a “sinecure”  is “an office or position requiring little or no work”.

Have you found any such nuggets in your newspapers?

Typical government job…

September 29, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Much of the intrigue of collecting early newspapers is discovering the many fascinating & bizarre tidbits interspersed amongst the more historic reports for which the newspaper was purchased. They provide a fascinating glimpse into daily life of 100, 200 or 300 years ago, and much like the thrill of those who pan for gold, discovery of these literary golden nuggets can be an absolute delight.

The July 9, 1881 issue of HARPER’S WEEKLY includes two small and inconspicuous notes reading:

“A Western newspaper announces that two desperadoes who were firing pistol-shots at persons passing on the street ‘were ordered to be quiet by Policeman Jones’. “

There is said to be living in Baden an old man who claims the unique title of ‘boot-stretcher to the royal family.’ For many years his sole duty was to wear the new boots of the father of the present Grand Duke until his master could put them on with comfort. The old man now enjoys a pension.”

Have you discovered any fascinating or unusual tidbits in newspapers you have purchased? Please share your story.