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!

All kidding aside, April Fools’ Day has an origin story…

April 1, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

You may love it or hate it, but by the end of every 1st of April you likely have been “pranked”. During my years of teaching 7th-9th graders, rather than dread the endless attempts to fool me, I made it my quest to laugh when I fell victim to their practical jokes… and to one-up-them before the bell signaling it was time for them to move on to their next “suspecting” victim tolled. I can’t say I always won the day, but when it came to working with 13-15 year-olds, laughter really was good medicine.

This point was often driven home by midday as those who had not embraced a more jovial attitude toward, or appreciation for, their student’s amazing creativity, whined and fussed and wondered aloud: “Who in the world ever thought this was a good idea?”

Note: Their actual comments were a little more graphic, but we endeavor to keep this space family friendly.

Sadly, time would show a direct correlation between those who stood their stoic ground and those who filed for early retirement. Good people – poor career choice.

Those days are long past, but as I was contemplating this “unofficial” holiday, I reflected back upon their angst and wondered if there was in fact a source responsible for their great displeasure. Thanks to the wonderful search engine hosted by The New York Times, I was able to find a few clues in an article they published on April 2, 1871 – which is shown in its entirety below. Please enjoy.

“The Idea of a President” – Food for thought on Presidents’ Day…

February 19, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

When you hear the phrase, “The Idea of a President”, does anything come to mind?

It is no secret my wife loves Disney World. I love(ish) it to, because “a happy wife makes a happy life”, and there are few things more enjoyable than watching her delight in the escapism that is Disney World. If you’ve never been there, the combination of the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, enhanced by Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs makes for a splendid vacation. Of course, at this point some might be wondering where I stand in regard to Disney’s recent political engagement, but that very question is the reason for this post:


Nestled in the middle of The Magic Kingdom is a colonial-style building which houses The Hall of Presidents. Walt Disney was a huge fan of Abraham Lincoln in particular, and of the American concept of a “President” in general. Without going into detail about the presentation itself, simply said, I can’t recommend it enough. Thanks to my wife I have had the opportunity to view the program during multiple administrations over the past (many) decades, and I have never failed to walk away with a greater appreciation for the one in office – not due to my alignment with their politics or their wisdom-buoyed leadership, but because of the office itself and the weight of responsibility which those who hold the office inherit. It truly is a fantastic presentation!

I was recently reminded of this point when I came across an issue of The New York Times dated March 16, 1976 which included an inside article headed: “Disney’s Hall of Presidents Not ’76 Politics”. As I read through the article and viewed the corresponding photos my appreciation for “the presidency” itself was lifted, and I was encouraged, at least for a day, to set aside my political arrows and thank God for all those who have, are, and will serve, 1st-hand, “The Idea of a President”.

May HE give them the wisdom to honor the position, as I honor them. Happy Presidents’ Day!

Valentine’s Day – So Many Entertainment Choices…

February 12, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

Starting the end of the 1st week in January stores everywhere begin to take on a pink hue, and raspberry chocolates become the norm in every candy aisle. These changes are a reminder to start planning for mid-February. Attitudes towards Valentine’s Day vary widely, and both sides of the spectrum have legitimate arguments. After 30+ years, Guy and I have decided that going out on Valentine’s Day isn’t a great option for us as we always experience subpar food at a highly elevated price. So, we have begun to choose to have a “date night” at home. With this in mind I was thinking through some older rom-coms to set the mood. Obvious choices came to mind such as “While You Were Sleeping” – along with a few more obscure picks like “Dan in Real Life”, which, if you have not seen this movie, is the perfect combo of family, love and humor. Don’t miss it. And then there are movies which are perfect for both romance and whole family viewing such as “Beauty and the Beast”, the animated version. As you ponder your plans for Valentine’s Day, just remember, you can’t go wrong with a great movie, popcorn and a good bottle of wine (or sparkling cider), so, start planning now and have a delightful Valentine’s Day.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in 1923…

December 24, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

Just in from Bethlehem…

Merry Christmas from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,

compliments of The Globe, December 24, 1923!

(view previous Christmas-themed posts)

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”…

December 13, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

The world-famous article shown below appeared in THE (New York) SUN on September 21, 1897. It is certainly one of the most challenging issues to collect as few are known to exist. It has been said this may very well be the most recognized editorial of all time. Found on page 6 and headed: “Is There a Santa Claus?”, this is the famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial written by Francis Pharcellus Church, a sardonic Columbia College graduate & veteran Sun writer, he produced a masterpiece in fewer than 500 words.

Although the letter from Virginia and the famous response by Church have become well known (translated into 20 languages), few would know the prefacing paragraph which immediately precedes Virginia’s letter: “We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:…” and then Virginia’s letter and Church’s response.

The famous phrase “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…” begins the second paragraph, and the letter closes with: “…No Santa Claus!  Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”

The press tracked Virginia until her retirement as a 70-year-old school teacher, while Church remained anonymous as the author until his death in 1906.

As for Church, he was a hardened cynic and an atheist who had little patience for superstitious beliefs, did not want to write the editorial, and refused to allow his name to be attached to the piece. More than a century later, it is the most reprinted editorial in any newspaper in the English language. This reality is a great reminder to all of us to always give our best effort, even when we don’t necessarily agree with those whom are in authority over us – moral conflicts accepted.

So, for a few brief moments let’s set aside the weight of “enlightenment” which is pressed upon us by virtue of adulthood and attempt to appreciate the sweet exchange between a “cynical” journalist and a curious, yet innocent, young girl. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to ALL!

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!!!

Christmas in July…

July 28, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

We all have those moments when a memory comes flooding back with all the delight or despair the original moment generated. Such was the case earlier this week as I was organizing a new our new acquisition of Harper’s Weekly Illustrated issues. After working my way through several years, I paused to sort through a stack of Christmas issues.  Although it’s the middle of summer and the temperature outside regularly toys with 3-digits, my mind darted back to a midsummer day 20+ years ago when Guy and I were hiking part of the Loyalsock Trail in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. As we were walking along the trail near where we had set up our tents, we thought it odd to hear Christmas music in the distance, however, as we turned off the path and prepared to cross a stream we were amused and entertained by dozens of families and friends celebrating “Christmas in July” right in the middle of the woodland path. Their generator running to power countless strings of Christmas lights, music pumping, and tables crowded with homemade goodies – this family event was in full festive swing.

Jumping back to the present…

With a smile on my face at the thought of this communal celebration, I grabbed my stack of Christmas issues and headed back up to the front office to share them with all of you through this post. Below you will find a few I’ve listed. We may only have only one 1st-rate issue of each of these, there are plenty of similar to choose from on this hot day in July: Christmas-Themed Harper’s Weekly.

Sample Harper’s Weekly w/ a Christmas Theme

January 1, 1881

December 24, 1881

January 3, 1880




The Birth of a Holiday… Mother’s Day Becomes Official!

May 5, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

As I was researching a collector’s Mother’s Day themed request this past week I happened upon a striking Rotogravure Section with a front page image of a mother and her 2 children.  The image, titled “MATERNAL LOVE”, by Hughes Merle, perfectly captured the warmth, innocence and depth of a mother’s love for her children and her children’s trust of and love for her. Completely taken with the image, I checked to see if there was any correlation with Mother’s Day. This Rotogravure was not only published on Mother’s Day but more specifically, the 1st official Mother’s Day. notes the following:

“The official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children.

After gaining financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, in May 1908 she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. That same day also saw thousands of people attend a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.

Following the success of her first Mother’s Day, Jarvis—who remained unmarried and childless her whole life—resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar. Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood.

By 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. Her persistence paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.”

On April 15, 1914, the New York Times had a small article stating… “The Federal Government is lending its assistance to the movement, and on that day the clergy of the whole country will be asked to preach sermons regarding the general welfare of the home and so help to make Mother’s Day of practical value. The celebration of this day is in no way connected with woman suffrage, although the association is friendly to the suffrage movement wherever it may benefit the home.”

While the above statement may not hold the warmth and tenderness often associated with Mother’s Day, it is nice to see formal recognition of the truth often summed up as, “the Mother is the heart of a family and home.”

With Mother’s Day merely a week away…

In addition to the various Mother’s Day themed original newspapers we have posted at, our staff also created a Mother’s Day related video to go along with our sister-store on Etsy. Enjoy.

St. Patrick’s Day in the news…

March 17, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

A parade, a fire, a discovery, a flood, a celebration, and more… St. Patrick’s Day since the mid-1800’s has certainly been newsworthy. Feel free to browse the link below to view more than a dozen issues with St. Patrick’s Day themed reports. Enjoy!



Note: In some instances, you will need to click on the individual issue’s link to see the related content.

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