Early Americana Catalog, Page 2

Presented for sale by Phil Barber, Cambridge, Mass. 02139 Telephone (617) 492-4653
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All items in this catalog are unconditionally guaranteed to be genuine and accurately described. Each catalog entry is briefly described for its general appearance, historical significance, and content. Every one contains hours of additional historic reading and insights into the world preserved on its pages, much more than I could find the space to describe here.

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Independence Day Celebrated - From the Library of Thomas Jefferson
E3-200. [SINGLE ISSUE] THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER [Semi-Weekly Edition], July 9, 1815. [Complete issue of 4 pages, folio size, published at Washington, D.C., by Gales & Seaton]
This issue of the great Washington newspaper was delivered to former President Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. His name, inked at the nameplate by a subscription clerk, is prominent and fully legible on Page One, as seen in my scan, to the right. Among the memorable content of the issue is the celebration of Independence Day, with the full speech of Richard Henry Lee before reading the Declaration, which of course Jefferson had penned 39 years earlier. What thoughts may Jefferson have had as he held this issue and read of the celebration of the republic he was so instrumental in creating? Frontpage article on "The Last Victory" of a U.S. warship, the brig Tom Bowline over a Royal Navy adversary. Splendid editorial on the lessons of the late war with England. Long backpage feature on steamboat inventor Robert Fulton. More.
Jefferson, the passionate champion of press liberty had become so disillusioned and embittered by the ceaseless attacks on his administration and character that after leaving office he canceled all his newspaper subscriptions, save to the Intelligencer and his local paper, the Lynchburg Press.
PROVENANCE: at his death, Jefferson's books and papers were willed to the University of Virginia. In 1899 there was a great fire at the library, "the Rotunda Fire", after which these papers were sold to the University of Louisiana Law Library (and presumably replaced by issues in better condition.) The library deacquisitioned them in the 1980's. To my knowledge no other newspapers of Thomas Jefferson have ever appeared on the public market. Supplied with my written provenance and certificate of authenticity. RARE OPPORTUNITY to own a memento of one of the greatest Americans..
Condition of this issue is heavily but evenly browned with some waterspotting the edges, from the 1899 fire. Several small splits and one 1/4" hole on page one. The paper is somewhat fragile and should be handled with special care and is eminently worthy of archival restoration . . . SOLD

Concord Gazette Subscription Bill and Receipt
E3-205. [DOCUMENT] Newspaper Subscription Receipt , March, 1816. [singlesheet, oblong 8vo size, from [Concord, New Hampshire]]
James Drake of Pittsfield, N.H., here pays in advance $1.50 on a $3 two-year subscription to the "Concord Gazette." Entirely handwritten and bearing the autograph of Joseph C. Spear, who printed the paper with his brother William for editor Tuttle, and would become sole owner in 1819. Nice early journalism ephemera.
Condition is very fine . . . 15.00

Portsmouth Oracle Subscription Bill
E3-206. [DOCUMENT] Newspaper Subscription Receipt , February 05, 1818. [singlesheet, oblong 8vo size, from Pittsfield, New Hampshire]
The newspaper's traveling agent Noah Herman here receives $1.25 from James Drake for a one year subscription to the fine old Federalist weekly, in print since 1793. Entirely handwritten, fine early American Journalism history.
Condition is very fine . . . 15.00

Human Beings as Commodities
E3-207. THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER, 1831 to 1838. [Washington, D.C., complete issue of 4 pages, large folio]. One of the great early newspapers, founded in 1801 as the de facto public relations organ of the Jefferson administration. The issues offered here are selected for their highly collectible advertisements, at least one per issue, offering slaves for sale or hire, committed to jail on suspicion of being runaways, or offering rewards for the return of runaways to their masters, making this powerful first-hand documentation of the reality of slavery in America. The frequent appearance of runaway ads demolishes the slaveholders' propaganda of the docile, contented "servant", which is the euphemism often used. The ads also bring to mind the admission by great human rights activist Fred Douglass that he was a criminal in the eyes of the law - guilty of the "crime" of stealing his own body from his "master"!
Condition is fine, with full news of the day, opinion and ads of every kind. Price per issue . . . . 9.95
A 1974 study documented only about 8,400 runaway notices published in American newspapers between 1790 and 1860, although there were an estimated 50,000 runaways each year. Ads were not generally purchased until the fugitives were missing for at least a month. Most runaways fled to protest unusually harsh labor conditions and remained in the vicinity of their home plantations until their grievances could be addressed. Almost none attempted the virtually impossible trek to freedom in Canada, and there never were any concerted rescue attempts from the northern states, despite slaveholders' obsessive delusions of great Yankee conspiracies against them and their human "property rights."
The appearance of runaway ads in this nationally-circulated paper, emanating from the capital of the only nation on earth that promised "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as the purpose of its government, was so controversial that the editors discontinued accepting them by the early 1840's. Bills proposing the outlawing of slavery in the District of Columbia itself were the only abolitionist petitions seriously considered the Federal Congress, until slaveholding interests imposed a "gag rule" forbidding Congress to even discuss these popular petitions. It was this attack on the democratic process itself, rather than a humanitarian concern for the rights of the slaves, which aroused Northerners into recognizing slavery as an intolerable threat to the liberties of all Americans, and which ultimately provided the spark that would light the holocaust of civil war.
  View Scan of a typical ad
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The Rarest of the Rare: Florida Territorial Newspapers

Newspapers printed in Florida before it enetered the Union in 1845 are legendary for their rarity. None was known on the private market until the small hoard from which the following came was located. The initial press runs in the small U.S. settlements there were quite small; few survived the punishing tropical heat and humidity. These issues were mailed north to various offices of the federal government, and found their way then to the Library of Congress, which recently released the issues after they had been microfilmed. It is extremely unlikely that other examples will ever surface, making this a once in a lifetime opportunity for the serious collector and student of American journalism.

Early Example of Tallahassee's First Newspaper, Delivered to Henry Clay!
E3-319. [SINGLE ISSUE]. THE FLORIDA ADVOCATE, February 21, 1829. [Complete issue of 4 pages, folio size, published at Tallahassee, Florida Territory, by Leslie Thompson]
Begun in 1825 as the FLORIDA INTELLIGENCER, this paper has the distinction of being the first newspaper to be published in that city. This issue contains much on progress in Pensacola and its effect of the town, an interesting announcement of candidacy by a local man desirous of join the local government. Also news and ads of all sorts, nice issue. This example is addressed the the U.S. Secretary of State, who at this time was the great Henry Clay, of Kentucky. From Clay it passed to the Library of Congress, which deaccessioned the issue when it was microfilmed in the 1980's. No other example of this date is know to still be in existence, according to the Union List of Newspapers, page 99
Condition is bright very fine, cleanly separated at the spine when micofilmed prior to release by the holding library, a few fold lines are reinforced on verso by removable clear library tape, causing no disfigurement . . . 200.00

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Related Catalog Links
Please click here to go to my Introductory Catalog, for an extensive selection of "atmosphere" issues of newspapers and periodicals of this period.


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