Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2012 Issue

344 Years of History in the Paper from Timothy Hughes Rare and Early Newspapers

Hughes205

Extra! Read all about it!

Timothy Hughes Rare and Early Newspapers has just issued a new selection of old papers, Catalog 205. Covered are 344 years worth of news, as it appeared when it happened. Beginning with a “newsbook,” a precursor to the newspaper, it does not conclude until the Gulf War. The vast majority of the material comes from the 18th and 19th centuries, with breaking news about many of the events of the period. Wars are a major source of the news of these eras. For Americans, there is the Revolution, followed by the War of 1812, Mexican War and Civil War. Later papers cover the First and Second World Wars. However, there are many more events described, the forming of America's government, the issue of slavery and what to do about it, the assassination of Lincoln. There are scientific developments, inventions, crime and punishment, even Santa Claus (as illustrated by Thomas Nast). Most of the events covered precede the lifetimes of those living today, but among those some of our readers will recall include the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, America's first man in space, the assassination of President Kennedy, the troubled Apollo 13 mission to the moon, and the resignation of President Nixon.

Among the advantages of collecting newspapers is that most are inexpensive, priced in two figures, occasionally three, not four, five and more. They provide not just news of a particular event, but of other things going on in the world at the time, and advertisements of the day, always nostalgic and entertaining. Occasionally, these early accounts of the news just got it wrong. For example, one proclaims John Adams the winner over Thomas Jefferson in the 1800 election, prescient of the famed “Dewey defeats Truman” headline. Several British newspapers bring reports of Gen. Burgoyne's success against the Americans, including his capture of Albany, a place he never reached. Here are a few of the events described in these early newspapers.

While many of the events described occurred in America, the newspapers describing them were often British. Some were sympathetic to the colonists, others cheerleaders for the home team. This November 20, 1776, issue of the Edinburgh Evening Courant is decidedly optimistic for the British cause. It speaks of victories in New Jersey. According to letters received from New York, Congress has begun to “lower their tone as even to talk of relinquishing their pretensions to independency. This sudden revolution in their ground plan is said to be owing partly to the repeated defeats of their army...” It reports that General Burgoyne has an army of 20,000 men plus Indian allies passing Lake Champlain on their way to New York, an attempt to divide the colonies that ultimately would fail. It also notes that “Yesterday we hanged an officer of the Provincials who came as a spy...” That letter is dated September 23, and the unnamed spy who was hanged the previous day was one of the most noted of American patriots, Nathan Hale. Item 596694. Priced at $535.

The unhappy (from a British perspective) conclusion to the Revolution would be marked in the January 1782 issue of the Gentleman's Magazine from London. It reports on Sir Henry Clinton's letter which begins “...I had the honour to acquaint your lordship with my fears respecting the fate of the army in Virginia. It now gives me the deepest concern to inform you that they were too well founded...” Some “honour” indeed! It even more poignantly quotes from Lord Cornwallis, “I have the mortification to inform your excellency that I have been forced to give up the posts of York and Gloucester and to surrender the troops under my command, by capitulation, on the 19th inst. as prisoners of war to the combined forces of America and France...” Item 595435. $330.

For most of us, Francis Scott Key's career begins and ends in 1814, with his writing of the Star Spangled Banner. However, Key had another 30 years remaining to his life, not all of it necessarily used in the most productive of manners. Key was a lawyer, and from 1833-1841, was a U.S. District Attorney in Washington. Among his uses of that office were a couple of notable cases prosecuting opponents of slavery. Key, long associated with the American Bible Society, was against slavery, but disliked abolitionists more than he disliked slavery. Key's solution to what to do with freed slaves was to get them out of here. He was a proponent of the ship them back to Africa movement. Item 595151 is an issue of the Dedham Gazette (Massachusetts) from July 18, 1817. It was a time when Key garnered little press, but he shows up here for speaking to a group in Baltimore that was interested in forming a society to promote the colonization of American blacks in Africa. They proposed Sherbro, a province of Sierra Leone. They article notes that Key arose and gave a speech that “enlightened” and “delineated the future grandeur & importance of the objects in view...” $43.

The Bellows Falls Intelligencer (Vermont) reported on some amazing discoveries on the moon on May 10, 1824. The use of a strong telescope revealed “a colossal building situated near the equator of the moon, resembling a fortress with strait ramparts, which are arranged like the lateral fibres of an alder leaf.” It also found roads, evidence of cultivation, “and several other indications of rational beings on the planet.” Item 595164. $39.

Item 595119 is a copy of the New York Times from June 4, 1878. Inside is a fascinating article headed An Evening with Edison. Two things were displayed at Irving Hall, a massive organ being shipped to Italy by the musical Roosevelt, organ-maker Hillborne Roosevelt, a cousin of the then unknown future president, Theodore Roosevelt. Thomas Edison then demonstrated his phonograph, recording various songs and speech and playing it back to the amazed audience. Cornet player Levy played some songs, which were then played back on the hand-cranked machine. The tuning was not good as the cranker could not turn the handle at an even pace, causing the songs to speed up and slow down and sound terribly out of key. However, Edison, who had developed a steady hand, later turned the crank evenly, resulting in a much more harmonious performance. Later phonographs would be wound up like a watch when cranked, thereby offering a steady performance. Edison and Roosevelt even performed a vocal duet, which was played back to the appreciative crowd. Edison told, and recorded, several stories as well. By the way, the original Irving Hall is long gone, but the site now houses Irving Plaza, a notable venue for music, which has featured performers like Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, following in the footsteps of a singing Edison. $98.

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers may be reached at 570-326-1045 or info@rarenewspapers.com. Their website is www.rarenewspapers.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • 20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Full scale vintage <i>Sputnik-1</i> EMC/EMI Lab Model, with live transmitter. US$ 10,000-15,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown SOYUZ-3 space navigation indicator with unflown on-ground transformer. <br>US$ 30,000-40,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown on SOYUZ 9<br>An exhaustive manuscript on life in space. [Trans: On-Board Flight Journal for Spacecraft Soyuz-9, 1970]. US$ 6,000-9,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> SOYUZ 18? Flown Navigation Celestial Globe. Soyuz 18 lasted from May 24-July 26, 1975. US$ 30,000-40,000
    20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Space Suit from ISS Expidition 6. Worn by Flight Engineer Don Pettit on his dramitic return to earth. US$ 25,000-35,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Original Gemini 133P Trainer Assembly Five Part Electrical System & Attitude Maneuver ... US$ 60,000-90,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Rover Development. Collection of 11 vintage gelatin silver prints and 4 vintage NASA lithographs. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000.
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Lunar Orbiter I. The first image of the earth as seen from the moon. Gelatin silver print. August 23, 1966. US$ 2,500-3,500
    20 Jul 2016, starts at 1pm EDT, NY
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Michael Collins' Flown Crew-Signed Apollo 11 Emblem. One of the very few Armstrong signed mission artifacts. US$ 50,000-70,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Flown Apollo 11 Navigational Chart. Taken to Lunar surface mapping the start of the <br>first manned lunar descent. <br>US$ 25,000-35,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> FFlown Apollo 11 Flight Plan Sheetmission Day One. Some of the first words and data values written by Neil Armstrong. US$ 18,000-25,000
    <b>Bonhams Jul 20: </b> Apollo 12 - Alan Bean in the Ocean of Storms. Signed and inscribed by Bean. <br>US$ 2,000-3,000
  • <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Leaves from<br>George Washington's Own Draft <br>of His first Inaugural Address. An Extraordinary Rarity!
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Declaration of Independence: Benjamin Tyler 1818 - First Print with Facsimile Signatures.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Thomas Jefferson Signed Act of Contress Authorizing Alexander Hamilton to Complete Famous Portland Maine Lighthouse.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Emanuel Leutze. Silk Flag Banner designed by Leutze, created by Tiffany & Co., and presented to Gen. John A. Dix, 1864.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> The "greatest of early American maps … a masterpiece" (Corcoran). Thomas Holme.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Albert Einstein. Autograph Letter Signed. Einstein Counsels His Son ... Meaning of Life.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Normal Rockwell. Painting/Drawing Signed. Rockwell's "Barbeshop Quartet", 1936.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Frederick Douglass. Autograph Letter Signed to unknown correspondent. Washington, D.C.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Harry Truman. Autograph Manuscript Notebook for Kansas City Law School Night Class.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> Robert E. Lee. Autograph Letter Signed, June 11, 1782. Hours after the Battle of Culpeper Court House, Lee Escapes Again.
    <b>Seth Kaller:</b> George Washington. Letter Signed, as Commander-in-Chief, Continental Army, to Elias Dayton, Headquarters, [Newburgh, N.Y.], June 11, 1782.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>The Chap Book</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,<br><i>Troupe de Mlle Églantine</i>, 1896.<br>$20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Philippe Henri Noyer, <br><i>Limonade Brault</i>, 1938. <br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br><i>The Great Men of the World</i>,<br>designer unknown, circa 1945-46. <br>$7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3: Vintage Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>James Montgomery Flagg,<br><i>Wake Up, America!</i>, 1917.<br>$4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Alfred F. Burke, <i>Share / Jewish <br>Relief Campaign</i>, circa 1915.<br>$3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b><br>Ludwig Hohlwein, <i>Marke Pkz / <br>Burger - Kehl & Co.</i>, circa 1911. <br>$8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 3:</b> <br>Gian Emilio Malerba,<i> E.A. Mele / Modo e Novita per Signora</i>, circa 1900. $7,000 to $10,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop.</b> KEY, FRANCIS SCOTT. <i>A Celebrated Patriotic Song, the Star Spangled Banner.</i> 1814.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> [COLUMBUS, CHRISTOPHER, Amerigo Vespucci ..] Bernardus Albingaunensis .. Dialogo nuperrime edito Genue in 1512.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true originall copies,</i> 1632.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (WATKINS, TABER &c.). <i>An album of 32 photographs of the Yosemite and American West Various places</i>, c. 1890s
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (BATTLE OF CONCORD.) <i>Powder horn used by Minuteman Oliver Buttrick at the Battle of Concord</i>, April 19, 1775.
    <b>19th Century Shop.</b> (CIVIL WAR.) <i>An Extraordinary Confederate Photograph and Autograph Album of Dr. R. L. C. White</i>, 125 original mounted salt prints. 1859-61.

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