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.

Be sure you are buying what you think you are buying…

June 10, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

History can throw collectors a curve ball now and then. If something read in an early newspaper doesn’t seem quite right, take a few moments to research. With the plethora of information on the internet today, it need not be difficult nor time-consuming.
When writing up a 1792 newspaper reporting the installation of the cornerstone of the President’s house, at first blush it seems to agree with history. The cornerstone of what is now known as the White House was, indeed, laid in 1792. But it reports it happened in Philadelphia. Okay, the nation’s capital moved from New York to its temporary location in Phila. for ten years while the District of Columbia was being built out, so again the report seemed logical. However, more research uncovered what was being reported.
The newspaper is the Columbian Centinel from Boston, dated May 26, 1792. Page 3 has a somewhat inconspicuous report reading: “The following inscription is cut on the cornerstone lately laid as the foundation of the house designed for the future residence of the President of the United States, viz ‘This Corner Stone of the House to Accommodate the President of the United States, was laid May 10, 1792; when Pennsylvania was out of debt; Thomas Mifflin then Governour of the State’.”
Here is the background of the report:
As mentioned, the U.S. capital did move to Philadelphia. The President’s House was a mansion built from 1792 to 1797 by the state of Pennsylvania, located on Ninth St. between Market and Chestnut Streets, in Philadelphia. This was done to persuade the federal government to permanently stay in the city, yet this house intended for the president of the United States never housed any president.
On July 16, 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act which designated Philadelphia the temporary capital for a 10-year period while the permanent capital at Washington, D.C., was constructed. The recently built Congress Hall was used from December 6, 1790, to May 14, 1800. The president of the United States, first George Washington and then John Adams, resided at the house leased from financier Robert Morris, also known as the President’s House, on Market Street, between Fifth and Sixth Streets.
In September 1791, the Pennsylvania state government enacted the “Federal Building Bill” to pay for the renovations needed for the federal government office space and for the construction of a new executive mansion. Twelve lots were purchased on the west side of Ninth Street, between Market Street, then named High Street, and Chestnut Street.
This is the building with the cornerstone mentioned in the newspaper report, laid on May 10, 1792 (the cornerstone of the White House in Wash. D.C. was laid five months later). On March 3, 1797, Penna. Governor Mifflin offered the nearly completed mansion to John Adams on the eve of his inauguration. But Adams rejected the offer on constitutional grounds stating “as I entertain great doubts whether, by a candid construction of the Constitution of the United States, I am at liberty to accept it without the intention and authority of Congress”.
Thus neither Washington, no longer president when the mansion was ready, nor Adams, would reside in the President’s House in Philadelphia.
In 1800, the University of Pennsylvania purchased the property at public auction for use as a new, expanded campus. The university demolished the building in 1829 and replaced it with two new buildings.
So goes the interesting history of the “White House” that never was. Yet the report is an interesting piece of history nonetheless.

Snapshot 1973 – Henry Kissinger – 1st ethnic Jew & 1st naturalized U.S. citizen to become Secretary of State…

June 7, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

When it comes to politics and ethnicity, gender, religion, etc., U.S. firsts are noteworthy. A few which stand out are John F. Kennedy (1st Roman Catholic President), Barack Obama (1st black President), Kamala Harris (1st female and 1st black Vice-President), Antonin Scalia (1st Italian-American Supreme Court Justice), Hiram Revels (1st former slave to serve as a U.S. Senator), etc. The list of such significant milestones is almost endless.

Although it took place during my lifetime, to my loss one failed to capture the attention of my (then) 14-year-old mind. However, thanks to a collector’s request to see if we had coverage of the tragic death of singer-songwriter Jim Croce, my digging within our archives turned up a September 22, 1973 News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) which not only had a report on his death, but also featured the front-page headline: “KISSINGER CONFIRMED IN 78-7 VOTE” – telling of his becoming both the first Jewish-American AND first naturalized citizen to be confirmed as Secretary of State. He was sworn in the following day. Quite historic. Such “finds” are nearly a daily occurrence in the lives of our Rare & Early Newspapers’ staff – just one more reason to love this collectible!

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!

The reason I collected it: The State, 1892…

February 23, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

The odd, dramatic, and unusual have always been a draw for me, and when I encountered The State (dated Nov. 9, 1892) from Richmond, Virginia, I knew it had to be part of the private collection.
The entire front page is a celebration of the election of Grover Cleveland as President in 1892. It is done in a very dramatic fashion, featuring a huge engraving of a rooster (once the symbol of the Democratic party) that stretches from just below the dateline to the bottom of the front page. There are also insets of both Cleveland and Adlai Stevenson. Of curious interest is the lack of a headline or any text.
The condition is worn as was typical with newsprint of the era, and with various archival repairs, but wow, what a wonderful issue for display!

“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:

THE HALL OF PRESIDENTS

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!

They Put It In Print – The 12th President of The United States…

February 16, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

Who was the 12th president of The United States of America? Okay, perhaps your high school civics teacher didn’t require you to memorize their names in chronological order, but in case they did I’ll give you a little more time so you can run through them starting with Washington (hint, you’ll need more than both hands to count them out).

At this point I’m sure many have opted to simply do a quick internet search to “remember”. Cheating??? No judgement here. Do you have your answer?

Here goes…

So, did you come up with rolyat yrahcaz (the name is spelled backwards so your eyes wouldn’t easily notice it while reading the 1st two paragraphs)? However, NO! Sorry.

The one who was elected to be the 12th president refused to be inaugurated on the given day (March 4, 1849) since it was scheduled to be held on a Sunday. Being a “religious man”, he felt it improper to take the oath of office on the Christian Sabbath. Left with the unacceptable dilemma of having the top seat in the land left vacant, albeit for a short time, David Rice Atchison was sworn in to serve as “president for a day”. How do we know? The National Intelligencer for March 10, 1849 put it in print:

While the state of Missouri (Atchison’s home state) affirms this, the official website of the Senate of the United States says otherwise – and provides their reasoning.

Yet, who is right? I’m not a political scholar, but if accuracy of information provides a clue this same “official” article also says this rumor 1st appeared in the March 12th issue of the Alexandria Gazette… and we know for a fact this to be false. Again, how do we know? Our newly discovered issue is dated two days prior.

I love this collectible!

The reason I collected it: The Battery, 1848…

January 19, 2024 by · Leave a Comment 

THE BATTERY, from Washington, D.C., was a campaign newspaper supporting Zachary Taylor for President and Millard Fillmore for Vice President.
In the era before radio, television, and the internet it was not uncommon for political parties to create short-lived newspapers to support their candidate and publicize their political platform. Such newspapers tended to be short-lived; once the election was over… so was the newspaper. However, some titles existed for some months afterward.
Shown below is a portion of the #16 issue dated Oct. 19, 1848, the title existing from July 6 through November 2, 1848, then printing just two more issues: Nov. 16, 1848 and Jan. 25, 1849, for a total of 20 issues.
Of special interest–and a prime reason for it qualifying for the private collection–is the great masthead engraving, which is essentially a political cartoon showing the heroic Taylor on his horse commanding: “A little More Grape! Captain Bragg” to be shot at Lewis Cass, his political rival.
This phrase was a famous one in Taylor’s military career, a command to then-Captain (later General in the Confederacy) Braxton Bragg to fire more grapeshot at the Mexicans during the Battle of Buena Vista in the Mexican War.

A wonderfully rare title, a short-lived Presidential campaign newspaper, and a political cartoon for a masthead.

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?

The Kennedy name frequented newspaper headlines…

August 25, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

A debate during dinner among friends regarding the most notable moments in 20th century American history may cause a few disagreements, however, none would argue with including the assassination of JFK as a noteworthy addition to the list. After all, the Kennedy dynasty ruled politics for decades, and John sat as king until his tragic death in 1963… with Bobby’s and Teddy’s passing larging serving as the final curtain on the Kennedy’s perennial command of newspaper headlines… or so we thought. Just as the name was beginning to be relegated to the dusty chronicles of the past, it has resurfaced on the political stage once again for this up-and-coming presidential election. Whether or not you were or are a fan of the Kennedy’s, major headlines featuring the Kennedy name are likely to soon be found in newsstands throughout America. It is not a stretch to speculate that Robert F Kennedy Jr. (Bobby’s son) is hoping to erase the sad

memories stirred when viewing the front page of THE DAILY MAIL, November 22, 1963 and/or the HERALD-EXAMINER–EXTRA, June 6, 1968, by something a little more positive and forward thinking: “A KENNEDY WINS AGAIN!” Of course such a headline would produce varying reactions based on one’s political bent – but regardless, the dynasty would have new life.

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