The Founding Documents – the Bill of Rights edition…

July 12, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

I recently read about a “man on the street survey” where people were asked to choose one of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights from a list of 4 options. The options were: The right to vote, the right to healthcare, the right to a public education and the right to trial by a jury of your peers. Sadly, most of those interviewed did not pick the correct one. Even worse, most picked either the right to healthcare or the right to a public education. I quickly sent a group text to my adult children and asked them the same question and then awaited their responses with a bit of trepidation. Thankfully, my concern was unfounded.

One of the reasons we at RareNewspapers.com love what we do is that we feel as if we are helping to keep the heart of our country alive by protecting authentic papers containing real-time (contemporary) reports regarding our founding documents such as the Bill of Rights.  The portion shown below was printed in THE PENNSYLVANIA PACKET & DAILY ADVERTISER, Philadelphia (PA), October 6, 1789. Newspapers like these need to be cherished and their message intentionally disseminated to all generations so future surveys are a bit more encouraging. Thanks in advance.

Sometimes you just know what it means – The Spirit of ’76…

July 4, 2024 by · 1 Comment 

Sometimes you hear a word or a phrase and even though you can’t clearly give a written definition, you just have a gut feeling of what it means. Earlier today, when I was looking at a Picture and Magazine section from a Chicago Sunday Tribune, July 4, 1926, I breezed by the caption of the front-page image… The Spirit of ’76. After a moment, I found my mind wasn’t so much thinking of what that phrase meant, but instead, I was struck by the emotions which had been stirred… pride (in a good way as my mother would say), determination & a deep sense of purpose. Wanting to see if the phrase, “The Spirit of ’76” had a clear definition, I went to Wikipedia and found the following…

“The Spirit of ’76 is a sentiment explored by Thomas Jefferson. According to the text published at Monticello, “The principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence promised to lead America—and other nations on the globe—into a new era of freedom. The revolution begun by Americans on July 4, 1776, would never end. It would inspire all peoples living under the burden of oppression and ignorance to open their eyes to the rights of mankind, to overturn the power of tyrants, and to declare the triumph of equality over inequality.”

Thomas Jewett wrote that at the time of the American Revolution, there was “an intangible something that is known as the ‘Spirit of ’76.’ This spirit was personified by the beliefs and actions of that almost mythical group known as the Founding Fathers and is perhaps best exemplified by Thomas Jefferson.”

Jefferson and the Second Continental Congress believed the Spirit of ’76 “included the ‘self-evident’ truths of being ‘created equal’ and being ‘endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights’ including ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'” ~ Wiki

Hmmmm… “an intangible something”. I would agree this spirit is hard to completely capture with words, but it can certainly be understood with a feeling, a picture, or a flag, and it is certainly a “spirit” we need in abundance today.

Memorial Day (aka, Decoration Day) and the melting pot of grave markers…

May 27, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

Soon after the Revolutionary War, during the formative years of The United States, the metaphor “Melting Together” was often used to describe the citizenry of this new experiment in self-government. In the early 1900’s this morphed into “Melting Pot” as a result of Israel Zangwill’s famous play of the same name. The breadth of ethnicities which make up our nation can almost be described in Biblical terms – “every ethnos” (people group) – and for much of the past two centuries, although not without hurdles to clear, it has been one of our greatest strengths. However, being in the same pot does not necessitate a “melting together”. It takes hard work. Yet, the effort has proven to be worth it. Of course, our enemies know the reality of both – the strength it brings…. and the effort it takes, and so they seek to foment division from within. Sadly, too many do not see this nefarious manipulation or the writing on the wall if they continue to allow themselves to be a pawn of the tactics used by those who seek to weaken us at the core.

So, what does this have to do with Memorial Day? A few days ago I came across a May 31, 1939 New York Times which contained multiple reports telling of the prior day’s Memorial Day celebrations held throughout the country. What struck me was the “melting together” of citizens from every walk of life as they honored those who had given their very lives to earn, preserve, and protect those from each and every ethnos who comprise the melting pot in which we live. As I pondered which article to feature in conjunction with this post, considering current events, I thought the one below to be apropos. It is interesting to note that this article was written in the midst of perhaps the greatest effort in human history to create a nation based on the antithesis of a melting pot – specifically targeting those hereafter honored:

Happy Memorial Day? Perhaps. Grateful Memorial Day? Absolutely!

Pre-Memorial Day (Decoration Day) preparations…

May 26, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

Today (Sunday, May 26, 2024) is the day before what was originally called Decoration Day. Whereas we will have another post tomorrow commemorating the day, today I was browsing through some of our previous posts and related website listings, and was struck by both the early emphasis on “preparations” for the day, and the ritual of decorating the grave sites of those who had paid the ultimate price in war. This led me to ponder how I could incorporate both into this years “holiday”. I’m not sure if it will happen, but we currently have 11 grandchildren and their parents with us this weekend, so I’m hoping they’ll all agree to walk down to the small Civil War cemetery (on what is now called Freedom Road) where several black soldiers from our area are buried, and place a few American Flags among the decades-faded markers. If it works out, I’m looking forward to the umpteen questions which will come my way.

in the meantime, feel free to take a gander at an item we have on our website which has several reports on the very first official Decoration Day celebrations which took place throughout the United  States in 1869:

Decoration Day

Snapshot 1903 – “Jack the Ripper” in America?

April 15, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

In the midst of what appears to be the steady decline of American culture, and the resulting tendency to develop a “woe is us” mindset which begins to long for the past, every now and then I come across a newspaper which serves as a reality check. Such was the case as I perused a Memphis Morning News dated December 21, 1903. The front-page alone had the following headlines: “No Safety for Americans” in Columbia, “Thieves Rob Jail”, “Killed All His Family”, “Russell Is Hurt” (student hits teacher in the head with a rock), “Mountain Bandit Escapes From Jail”, “Charles Nellens Arrested – Charged With Murder of Millionaire Wentz…”, “Saved Two Women From Fire”, “Preferred To Die – Charged With Postal Robberies, He Suicides”, and my favorite, “Jack The Ripper… Ghastly Find In A Hotel”. AND, I’ve yet to move past the front page. YIKES!

Truth be told, Western Culture (in general) and American Culture (specifically) are declining, but the call should be to right the ship for present and future generations, not to bury our heads in the sands of the past. Thanks to the slap in the face provided by this newspaper from 1903, I’ll get back to being thankful for all that is good in the present, while pushing for an even better tomorrow. Go back to life in 1903? No thank you – and WWI, the Spanish Flu, and the devastating Qing Famine are still far beyond the horizon. Note: The latter may not have been a “Western Culture” event, but when 20-30 million people die of starvation, it deserves a mention.

 

PS  Spoiler alert. The Jack the Ripper headline is an early 1900’s version of what today would be labelled “click bait”.

Happy Thanksgiving, 2023…

November 17, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Each year as Thanksgiving approaches my thoughts (rightfully) bend a knee in the direction of gratitude which I try to express, for better or worse, in a simple post. In so-doing, while the feedback has been generally positive, on occasion I have been accused of being rather verbose, loquacious, over-talkative, etc., when what I tried to communicate could have been delivered with a higher degree of eloquence with considerably less long-windedness (i.e., I can be a bit wordy). In an effort to reign in this default behavior, in expressing this year’s thoughts I’ve elected to let a series of photos taken from a single issue of Harper’s Weekly from 1900 do the talking. I hope you find them thought-provoking.

Happy Thanksgiving!

By the way, if pictures really do say a thousand words, success! My verbose, loquacious, over-talkative streak lives on!!!

If they would only have built it sooner… (Shoeless) Joe Jackson…

October 27, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Even if you are not a fan of baseball, in case you haven’t done so already, the movie “Field of Dreams” is winner. The themes of perseverance, worthwhile priorities, and personal sacrifice are masterfully woven together to create one of the more inspiring movies of the 1980-1990’s. Steering clear of spoilers for those who have yet to see it, I’ll just restate that which is already included in the movie’s trailer: “If you build it, they will come!” Without being overly sappy… honestly, you really need to see it.

So, how does this relate to Rare & Early Newspapers? A few days ago one of our staff found an article from 1913 featuring one of the three main characters – “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (of Black Sox scandal fame), who was given a “2nd chance” at playing baseball – the assumption being he would have jumped at the chance to reengage at the professional level had he been given the opportunity to do so. Without saying more, I’ll let the heading and the 1st few paragraphs of the article do the talking (see below). Oh, and for the record, post-baseball, Joe and his wife (who were a team of their own until his death) eventually moved on from baseball, opened a BBQ restaurant, then “Joe Jackson’s Liquor Store”, and along the way co-raised two of his nephews. For better or worse, even if someone would have built it, I’m not sure he really would have come.

I hope you enjoy a portion of the article:

Who will be the Superpowers of the 22nd century?

October 9, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

While Great Kingdoms come and Great Kingdoms go, no one can argue that The British Empire owned the title of Superpower for much of the 1600’s through 1800’s. This is not to disparage Spain, Prussia, France, Russia, Portugal and the entire Asian and African regions, but during this stretch of time, England/Britain had staying power to go with their strength. However, as the writing on the wall began to identify potential challengers to their title, it is interesting to hear who Lord Stanley, the notable British Prime Minister in 1858, had to say would be the major powers of the 20th century. An article with his thoughts which would prove to be prophetic in less than 100 years appeared in the March 22, 1858 issue of The New York Times. I wonder who will be the global force(s) 100 years from today? Bonus question: Will their dominance reach into the heavens… or to the depths of the sea?

Snapshot 1839… Is an atheist’s sworn statement in court valid?

September 22, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Let’s be honest, if a journalist posed this question in a mainstream newspaper today, the pushback for even asking the question would likely go viral within minutes, if not seconds. However, in 1831 the Boston Police Court was wrestling with this very question. In fact, the language used to describe such a situation was not one of validity, but competency. The article is too long to show in full, but for those who may be curious I’ve included 2 photos below – one each of both of the introduction and the conclusion.

Note: Some might also find the slavery-themed content within this same issue rather interesting as well: Daily National Intelligencer, July 2, 1839.

 

Horace Greeley inadvertently meets a slave trader (1859)…

September 11, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

As Kansas began to bleed were slaveholders in Missouri and Kansas selling their slaves to other slaveholders in the South? Did the efforts of the well-intended inadvertently lead to opportunists who “helped” to rid the region of slaves by becoming slaver traders? The article shown below from The Norwalk Experiment (OH) dated June 14, 1859 appears to indicate as much. While the likelihood of the worst of humanity rearing its ugly head under such circumstances is certainly not hard to fathom, our efforts to find documentation of this happening at this particular time has come up dry. If anyone can shed light on whether or not this had become common practice, please respond. If relevant, we will post your comment. Thanks in advance. In the meantime, the complete article is shown below.

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