General Americana Catalog

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, much more than I could find the space to describe here.

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Please consult my collector information pages and glossary of terms page linked below, if you are not sure what the descriptions mean. Your comments are always welcome, as are your inquiries, if you have questions about these historic collectibles.Enjoy your browsing!

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Go to 19th Century Americana Catalog Page 1 3 4 5 6


Early Example of Mass-Marketing Advertising
G2-201. [SINGLE ISSUE]. THE TAUNTON DAILY GAZETTE, April, 1867. [Complete issue, 4 pages, folio size, published at Taunton, Mass., by J.W. Hall]
On Page One of this charming daily newspaper is an ad for Poultney College in Vermont, in which the headline within the ad are arranged so as to read to the casual observer "$500 REWARD , A YOUNG MAN FOUND DEAD IN POULTNEY. THE MURDERER AT LARGE." With the reader's attention thus secured (murder was a somewhat rarer crime then than it is to-day) the ad is found to describe th courses, instructors, and tution for the College. Most unusual at this early period, this emerging style of exaggeration in advertising will fuel the mass-market culture of today, which is so different from the ethos of the post-Civil War era. Lots of national and local news, Republican commentary, many ads, and more. THE TITLE IS UNRECORDED in the Union List of Newspapers, (see page 301, where a scattering of Weekly Gazettes is noted.). About a half-dozen issues ran the ad noted above
Condition is fine, library spinecut, very possibly each issue is the only surviving specimen of the date, per issue just . . . 7.50

Finely Engraved Trade Cards
G2-209. Steel Engraved Trade Card, American Woven Leather Belting Company. ND, 1880's LOT OF 5 CARDS
Fine steel engraving distinguishes this interesting 1880's advertising card, which promotes the Springfield, Mass. American Woven Leather Belting Company, with one of its products shown. Recalls the days when that western Massachusetts city was a proud center of American industrial productivity.
Printed on heavy glossy card stock, about 5 1/4" x 3". Condition is a nice clean very fine, virtually no wear. LOT OF FIVE just . . . 12.50  View Scan

Handsome Stephen Foster First Edition
G2-212. [SHEET MUSIC] OH BOYS, CARRY ME 'LONG: A Plantation Melody. Written & Composed by Stephen C. Foster , published in 1851. [Complete original issue, 6 pages, large quarto size, published at New York, by Firth, Pond, & Company]
FIRST EDITION of this attractive popular sheet music by the great American composer, whose tragically brief life ended in 1864 at the age of 37. Its subject is the final words of a dying slave, saying good-bye to his loved ones and favorite pastimes, in pseudo-African dialect. Although offensive to modern racial sensibilities, Foster's interpretation of American slave culture was based on a keen ear for the cadence and rhythm of African-based speech. His interpretation of African Americans was the first to present blacks not as absurd caricatures but as human beings, with the same depth of feelings and strength of family ties as white Americans. "In this type of song, universal in the appeal of its naive pathos, he has never had an equal" says biographer H.V. Milligan. Nice item. I see the much more common 20th edition offered at $60 or more online.
Condition of this issue is fine, carefully extracted from a bound volume with no damage, normal minor light foxing . . . 95.00

Scarce African-American History Periodical from early in the Abolitionist struggle
G2-213. [SINGLE ISSUE]. THE AFRICAN REPOSITORY, AND COLONIAL JOURNAL, October, 1833. [Complete issue of 32 pages, 8vo magazine size, published at New-York]
This is the monthly of the American Colonization Society, whose goal was the peaceful abolition of slavery by purchasing the unfortunate captives from their masters, and returning them to Africa. To this end the Society founded the nation of Liberia. The progress and hardships of that experiment is chronicled throughout most of the paper, in a number of letters datelined Monrovia, its capital city, including one from a respectable colored man" formerly from Georgetown.. The opposition to the movement is also chronicled, and the opinions of many prominent Americans both pro and con are here printed
Nice clean very fine; last few leaves are somewhat irregular in the blank margins as a consequence of hasty opening 172 year ago, affecting no content . . . 75.00

The First Numismatic Cartoons in the American Press!
G2-233A. [SINGLE ISSUE]. HARPER'S WEEKLY, February 21, 1857. [Complete issue of 16 pages, large quarto size, published at New York]
"Brother Jonathan's New Baby" is the title of a splendid backpage cartoon that shows Miss Liberty cradling the new Flying Eagle Small Cent, while the old Large Cent (depicted as a child with the wreathed reverse of the old coin in place of her head) weeps inconsolably. Great history for the coin collector, plus another cartoon "The Spanish American Difficulty" shows a U.S. Silver Dollar giving the boot to the old Spanish Milled Dollar. The same Act of Congress that authorized the small cent also demonetized Spanish-American silver coin, the mainstay of the nation's circulating money, for now after sixty years the U.S. Mint is able to produce enough coin to supply demand. Good feature on U.S. intervention in Nicaragua, people reputed to be over 100 years of age (and how much they drink!). The "Revolution in Peru" is covered in a two page spread with eight woodcuts of the battles and places. Lots more.
Very fine condition with very light damping on the lower part of the pages, not affecting the cartoons, easily remedied by washing. . . . 45.00

G2-234. [Waybill]. Boston and Providence Railroad Corporation, 1849. [Prov., R.I.]. A small vignette of a train adorns this attractive railroad bill of lading. Printed form with MS entries describing goods accepted for shipment to Boston, from quite early in the history of American railroading. 8½" x 7"; VF, small inkstain at fold . . . . 4.95
My Order quantity: 

G2-235. [Steamboats]. Waybill, Clyde's Steamship Lines, 1870's. [Fall River, Mass.] Handsome memento of America's great riverine and coastal steamboat trade, a printed Bill for goods transported, with entries and the name of the steamship filled in by hand. Nice condition, uncommon. 8vo, fine . . . . 4.50
My Order quantity: 

G2-236. [Gold Rush]. The Steamer Bulletin, September 21, 1860. [San Francisco]. A special newspaper prepared "for the Atlantic States and Europe", being a highly detailed record of the weeks happenings at the mines and in the cities of California, Nevada, and Arizona. Great reading on the genuine "Old West", just packed with information. Steamer vignette in the masthead . 8 pages, folio size; choice VF, spinecut, rare opportunity . . . 120.00  Select here to view a full color detail of the masthead and partial front page of this newspaper.

Classic Engravings of the Real Wild West
G2-261. [SINGLE ISSUE]. HARPER'S WEEKLY, April 21, 1866. [Complete issue of 16 pages, large quarto size, published at New York]
Classic fullpage woodcut of Indian braves attacking an overland stagecoach, with an excellent narrative, is a splendid contemporary example of "The Wild West" as it was recorded while taking place. Street scene at Santa Fe continue the theme, and there is a fine cover view of black children at the Abraham Lincoln School for freed slaves at New Orleans. Nice issue.
Nice very fine condition, a few old ink (or watercolors) spots on the cover, barely touching the print there. . . . 30.00

One of The Earliest U.S. Baseball Matches, Announced in a Very Rare Brooklyn Newspaper
G2-284. [SINGLE ISSUE]. THE BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE, AND KING'S COUNTY DEMOCRAT, October 21, 1845. [Complete issue of 4 pages, folio size, published at Brooklyn, New York]
Page Two of this very significant newspaper contains a small dispatch headlined A GREAT MATCH AT BASE BALL announcing the game between the "New York Bass [sic] Ball Club" with the Brooklyn club at the famed "Elysian Fields" ball park, to take place at "2 o'clock this afternoon." The editor accurately comments "The great interest attached to this match will attract large numbers from this and the neighboring city".
Alexander Cartwright, bank teller and volunteer fireman, suggested that an informal group of men who had met to play ball since 1842 form a club. Accordingly the Knickerbockers, the first U.S. ball team, was founded, and the "Elysian Fields" park rented for their use. More of a gentleman's club for recreation, the team played by its own rules, with emphasis on proper conduct, with a select membership limited to forty players. The first recorded game was played there by the club on October 6, 1845, with perhaps a dozen more games played by the team until the close of the season on November 18. See Seymour's Baseball, the Golden Years, (Oxford University Press, 1960), for a full discussion of this pioneering club. You can also visit the Baseball History website for more info on the historic early games.
This item is superb American baseball history, in an extremely rare newspaper, from the dawn of the sport. The earliest known newspaper account of a baseball game in a U.S. newspaper appeared in New York on September 11, 1845, making this paper a very noteworthy artifact from the first month of U.S. baseball history. Unlike the common New York dailies carrying notices of the games, the present example is one of only two known survivors of this date (see the Union List of Newspapers, page 443), which was formerly held in the Library of Congress, de-accessioned by the library in the 1980's. This superb issue would form a cornerstone of a truly distinguished collection of baseball Americana.
Bright clean Very Fine, the issue was cleanly cut at the spine, affecting no text, when microfilmed by the library's permanent reference collection prior to de-accession. . . . 600.00

A Fine Oversized Tax Stamp
G2-287. [TAX STAMP]. DISTILLERY WAREHOUSE STAMP, 1878. . 9¼" x 3¼" size, printed at Bureau of Engraving & Printing Washington D.C.
Issued by the Internal Revenue Department, this oversized tax stamp recognizes the duty payment per cask of distilled spirits. A fine portrait of "Old Rough and Ready", President Zachary Taylor graces this uncommon Revenue Stamp. Engraved and serially numbered by the same facility that produced the nation's currency.
Nice fine condition, unissued, with three punch mark cancellations, as all extant specimens possess. . . . 7.50

Continue to 19th Century Catalog Page 1 3 4 5 6

Related Website Catalog Links at Historicpages.com
My Introductory Catalog features an extensive selection of inexpensive "atmosphere" issues of newspapers and other periodicals, and ephemera of this period.
  • Please click here to go the Antebellum Americana section, having items from 1830 - 1860.
  • Please click here to go the Age of Expansion section of 1865 - 1910.
  • Please select here to go to our Civil War catalog, for newspapers of 1861 - 1865 individually described and catalogued for their historic significance, plus a selection of "atmosphere" titles and selected ephemera.


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