Introductory Newspaper Catalog: Antebellum Americana
Presented for sale by Phil Barber, Cambridge, Mass. 02139 Telephone (617) 492-4653
About This Era and its Newspapers
The inhabitants of the United States have, then, at present, no national literature. The only authors who I acknowledge as American are the journalists. They are indeed not great writers, but they speak the language of their countrymen, and make themselves heard by them. -Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1831.
In this category I list newspapers from the time of the "Penny Press" revolution of the 1830's up to outbreak of the Civil War. In the Jacksonian populist Thirties, a revolution in mass communication took place, as radical as the change in the national government. Unprecedented advances in printing and paper making technology led to an explosion of newspaper growth, resulting in the emergence of the "Penny Press". It was so named because it was now possible for the first time to produce a daily newspaper that could be sold for just a cent a copy. Previously, newspapers were the province of the wealthy, literate minority. The price of a year's subscription, usually over a full week's pay for a laborer, had to be paid in full and "invariably in advance." This sudden availability of cheap, interesting reading material was a significant stimulus to the achievement of the nearly universal literacy, and more participation by all classes in the political process, now taken for granted in America.
A newspaper is a combination of good things, an excellent feast; and what, I ask, can
appear more interesting than to see the members of a family sitting on a cold winter
evening, around a good blazing fire, listening to the voice of one who reads to them the
news of the day? A family without a newspaper? Why, the very idea of it seems to involve
an absurdity. What, a man living in a free land, among a free people that elect their own
rulers, and govern themselves, and take no paper? Truly of such persons it may be said
"eyes they have, and see not" the things which they ought to know and understand...
-Editorial in an 1844 Boston newspaper.
The industrial revolution, as it transformed all aspects of American life and society, dramatically affected newspapers. Both the numbers of papers and their paid circulations rose dramatically in this period. The differences in the earliest issues and the latest in this period are quite startling. The true modern newspaper slowly takes shape, decade by decade, in response to improvements in reporting techniques, printing and paper making technology, and to changing social values and interests.
These three decades embrace a period of rapid change that is quite breathtaking. As the first generation born in liberty matured and took its place in the nation's leadership, a great gulf in political opinion came about. Just as the Federalists and the Republicans could not agree on the meaning of "liberty" a generation earlier, American public life was torn between men (for women could not yet vote) of vastly different political, social, and economic ideologies. That drama still plays out daily in the 21st century.
In our time, radio and television have so completely replaced newspapers as the nation's primary information sources that it may be difficult for the modern journalism hobbyist initially to fully appreciate the pivotal role that newspapers have played in our history.To read them now can furnish the modern collector with most interesting insights of how dramatic our history has been, and how rapid, almost overwhelming change has been the norm, rather than the exception, of the American experience.
About The Catalog Listings
All items in this catalog are unconditionally guaranteed to be genuine and accurately described. Any item may be returned within seven days of receipt for a full refund. No reason for return is ever required.They are in fine used condition and are complete with all pages as issued. All papers are free of damage or objectionable defects. I am are sure you will be delighted with their exceptional state of preservation. I purchase only the finest condition newspapers that can be found to offer to my valued friends and customers.
These are the finest quality original antique newspapers and magazines, that you might find elsewhere priced at much greater cost. It has always been my policy to present my catalog items at "wholesale to the public" prices. Therefore all catalog items and quoted prices are net, and are not subject to further discount, either for dealers or in consideration of quantity orders. It is our policy to price our items based on what we believe to be their fair market value. I do not set prices at absurdly inflated levels to take advantage of novices or "investors"; nor do employ the common ploy of starting with an unrealistically high price in order to "negotiate" a phony discount later. As over a third of our catalog orders are from dealers buying for resale, at our stated prices, we have every confidence that this policy maintains an ethical standard of integrity and fairness to all.
About These Newspapers and Magazines
The newspapers are full folio size unless described as quarto or octavo, which are respectively smaller in format, the latter being the standard size for most magazines. Most newspapers have been carefully removed from bound volumes and may exhibit characteristic minor spine weakness or separation without significant paper loss.
Each catalog entry is very briefly described for the general appearance, historical significance, and content of the title. Every issue 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.
The peridocials offered here are what are called "atmosphere" or "type" issues. They were printed on those ninety-nine days in a hundred that nothing of great historic note occurred. They are still of great value (and quite modest price) for the intimate glimpse they provide into a long-vanished world. Their articles detail what was important to Americans of those days, be it politics, wars, social values, or any ol the other enduring human concerns. Even the ads, so modest by our standards, speak to us of the never-changing human wish for novelty, status, comfort, and security.
The exact dates that you will receive will be of my choice as stock allows, all from within the years listed. There is a good supply of different dates in stock of each title, so you may order multiples of each listing with confidence; all different dates will be provided. Catalog prices are per single issue.
I cannot accept requests for specific dates or special historic content at these low "type issue" prices but we will be pleased to receive your want lists for such items.
I pride myself on the quality and accuracy of my catalog descriptions, and strive to provide all the information needed to enable you to make an informed selection. Please consult my collector information pages and glossary of terms page linked below, if you are not sure of what any of the descriptive terms mean.
Pictures of Cataloged Items
Digital photos are available of some of the items in this catalog. I am currently working on photographing all items and hope to have the results online soon.
Please note that the camera flash tends to exaggerate foxing and spotting, some degree of which is normal in old paper and which is not so dramatic in person!
To order a catalog item, please enter the quantity of issues you want in the box in each item's description, then press the "Add to Cart" button. You will then see your "shopping basket" and its contents and total. You may remove selected items at any time, and use your browser's "Forward" button to view the cart page whenever you wish, and your "Back" button to return to the catalogs.
When you are ready to place your order, simply click "submit" on the completed shopping cart checkout page, and it will be e-mailed to me. As soon as I receive your order, I will confirm the availability of your selections via return e-mail, with your invoice for the total amount due, and I will reserve your confirmed selections for receipt of payment.
I accept checks, money orders, and all credit cards through PayPal, the free, safest Internet payment service. If you choose this payment option on your order form, I will request PayPal to send you a bill for the amount of your confirmed order. As soon as your payment is received, I will ship your order to you.
Postage per order addressed within the United States is 3.85 plus .40 per item ordered. Postage will be added to overseas orders at my actual cost. There is a seven day return privilege on all items.
Your comments are always welcome, as are your inquiries, if you have questions about these historic collectibles. We value our customers, and appreciate the confidence you place in us when ordering from our online catalogs. We strive to merit your patronage and to enrich your collecting experience through accurate, knowledgeable descriptions, honest pricing, courteous service, and timely order filling. Enjoy your browsing!
. [Complete issue of 4 - 8 pages, large quarto size, published at New York]. A huge Masthead woodcut of an American eagle with spread wings highlights this French-language newspaper, the chief spokesman of the Franco-American community. The tradition of foreign-language press in America began with a FRench language paper in Phildalphia in the 1790's and remains a robust part of the journalism scene, as immigrants arrive and are assimilated. Some water stains, o/w fine. 4pp large 4to . . . 4.95 View scan
My order quantity:
8My order quantity:
THE BOSTON ATLAS.. [Boston, complete issue of 4 pages, very large folio]. The leader of the influential New England Whig press, this newspaper was established by those following the principles of Daniel Webster. It offers fine news coverage, political and social commentary, and very many fine advertisements for a wide variety of goods, services, rail and shipping lines, etc. We offer them by date as follows
THE QUINTESSENTIAL NEWSPAPER of VICTORIAN AMERICA
THE NEW-YORK TRIBUNE. Edited by the great Horace Greeley, this highly influential newspaper is essential to an understanding of the America of the era. It was said that there was scarcely a home in America that did not possess a Bible and a subscription to the country edition of the TRIBUNE. Its influence was so great that Presidents were obliged to reply to his open letter editorials when Greeley questioned their policies. Indeed, Greeley himself ran for President, though, unsuccessfully, in 1872. The news coverage is fully and detailed, the best of its era, and there are hundreds of ads, many opinion pieces, Greeley's own classic editorials on every imaginable topic, and more. We offer early dates of this great American newspaper as follows:
War with Mexico!
Like the War of 1812, the Mexican War was an extremely controversial chapter of our history. Some saw it as the righteous doctrine of "Manifest Destiny" in action, while others, among them Henry Thoreau and a freshman Illinois Congressman named Abraham Lincoln, perceived it as unjustifiable aggression against an inoffensive neighbor for the purpose of adding more slave states to the federal union.
In 1844 U.S. diplomat (and future Confederate envoy) John Slidell was sent to Mexico offering $25 million for New Mexico, California, and an agreement accepting the Rio Grande boundary. Mexican government officials refused to meet the envoy. The United States annexed the former Mexican province of Texas in 1845, by Joint Resolution of Congress, neatly bypassing the Contitutional requirement that all treaties be ratified by the Senate, where pro-Texan forces could not command the necessary 2/3s vote.
In 1846 Zachary Taylor and a force of 3,500 soldiers was sent by President Polk to patrol the Rio Grande border.
On May 8, 1846, Polk met with his Cabinet at the White House and told them that if the Mexican army attacked the U.S. forces, he was going to send a message to Congress asking for a declaration of war.
When news arrived of the first skirmish at Matamoros, on land recognized as Mexican under international law, Polk sent a message to Congress on May 11 alleging that Mexico passed the boundary of the U.S. and shed American blood on American soil. Two days later Congress declared war on Mexico.
Editorial coverage in the following newspapers reflects the intense difference of opinion, while the military news often contains names which will become legends in 1861 - 1865. The tactics of this war, massed infantry charges and artillery bombardments, set the pattern for Civl War strategy, but would largely be responsible for the horrific and unnecessary casualties which came about due to the immense improvements in range and accuracy of these weapons between 1848 and 1861. Issues below are dated between the May 13, 1846 Declaration of War and the final reports published in February, 1848. All are clean and complete and are selected for their coverage of the campaigns of the war.
30My order quantity:
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except Negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.' When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure and without the base alloy of hypocrisy." - Abraham Lincoln
Select here to go to our full 19th Century Americana catalog, for newspapers individually described and catalogued for their historic significance, plus a further selection of "atmosphere" titles and selected ephemera.
Select here to go to our Pictorial Newspaper Catalog, for a selection of individually listed illustrated weekly newspapers, including Gleason's Pictorial, Harper's Weekly, Frank Leslie's and others of the 1850's and later.
I hope you have enjoyed this catalog, and have found its contents useful and informative. Please feel free to e-mail your questions and comments to our address below. We look forward to hearing from you!
To continue browsing my introductory catalogs of historic newspapers, please click on the banners listed below.