Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2012 Issue

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

Hughes205

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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

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Joyce (James). <i>Dubliners,</i> first edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1914. £100,000 to £150,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> The Beatles.- Baker (Geoffrey.) 3 Autograph Letters and 1 Autograph Card signed to Ann Gosnell, addtionally sgn’d by George Harrison, John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon and others, 1968. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Pilgrim Press.- Dod (John). <i>A plaine and familiar exposition of the tenne commandements ...,</i> [Leiden], [William Brewster], 1617. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Automaton Chess Player & Mechanical Illusion.- Reynell (H., printer). “The Famous Chess-Player, No.14, St.James's-Street, next Brooks's,” broadside advertisement for "The famous Automaton", [1784]. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Clemens (Samuel Langhorne). <i>Life on the Mississippi,</i> first English edition, signed presentation inscription from the author, 1883. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Arctic Sledge Flag.- Fulford (Reginald Baldwin). Sledge flag... HMS Discovery, 1875. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> first edition, first printing, 1997. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Piranesi (Giovanni Battista). <i>Le Antichità Romane,</i> 4 vol., 1756. £20,000 to £30,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal, called). <i>Urbis Venetiarum Prospectus Celebriores,</i> 3 parts in 1, Richard Ford's copy, Venice, Giovanni Battista Pasquali, 1751. £10,000 to £15,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. September 26, 2019</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Atlases.- Speed (John). <i>A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,</i> bound with <i>The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine,</i> 1631-27. £12,000 to £18,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Anatomical illustration.- Aselli (Gaspare). <i>De lactibus sive lacteis venis... dissertatio,</i> first edition, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1627. £20,000 to £30,000
  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first issue, 8vo, 1997. £15,000 to £20,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible, Italian.- Malermi Bible, woodcut illustrations, folio, Lazaro de Soardi & Bernardino Benali, Venice,1517. £8,000 to £12,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Germany.- Homann (Johann Baptist). <i>Atlas von Deutschland,</i> engraved half title, hand coloured, 87 double page engraved maps, [folio, Erben, Nuremberg, 1753]. £8,000 to £10,000
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> [Mirk (John)].- <i>Liber festivalis et Quatuor sermons</i> [bound with], [Le Roy (Pierre)] <i>A Pleasant Satyre or Poesie,</i> first edition in English, Widdow Orwin for Thomas Man, 1595, 8vo. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Antoninus Florentinus (Saint Archbishop of Florence). <i>Confessionale: Defecerunt…,</i> 8vo, Pietro Quarengi, Venice, 15 February 1499. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Jesuit Letters.- [Froes (Father Luigi) & et al.)] Avvisi del Giapone de gli anni 1582, 1583, 1584…, 1586 [bound with] Avvisi della Cina et Giapone…, FIRST EDITIONS, Rome. £1,000 to £1,500
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Plutarch & Probus (Aemilius). <i>Plutarchi Cheronei et Aemilii Probi Illustrium,</i> folio, Nicolas de Pratis for Jean-Petit, Paris, 1521. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Bible.- English. <i>The Byble in Englyshe of the Largest and Greatest volume,</i> elaborate woodcut border, text vignettes, folio, 1541. £1,000 to £1,500
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fore-edge Painting.- Lord George Byron, The Giaour, a Fragment of a Turkish Tale, bound with 10 other titles, 4 plates marked 'Proof.', 1813. £800 to £1,200
    <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Manson (John). Twelve by Sixteen Papers of John Mason, a collection of 50 sheets of paper, some watermarked, 12 x 16”, c.1978. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Fleming (Ian). <i>Dr. No,</i> FIRST EDITION, original boards, dust-jacket, 8vo, 1958. £700 to £900
    <b>Chiswick Auctions, Sep. 25:</b> Eliot (T.S.) <i>Four Quartets,</i> NUMBER 121 of 290 COPIES, signed by author, 1960. £400 to £600
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.

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