Saturday, December 18, 2010

A New E-Book: America at War, A Magazine History

I recently delivered a powerpoint presentation for the holiday dinner of the New Jersey WW2 Bookclub. Here is an annotated presentation. I hope you find it interesting and informative.

Seasons Greeetings!



Friday, December 10, 2010

The First Rules of Baseball

I see that the first rules of Basketball are to be auctioned off today at Southeby's and are expected to bring two million dollars.
A while back, I was researching the origins of Baseball in the sporting paper Spirit of the Times and in the May 12, 1855 issue came across these rules, which I believe to be the earliest published. I've never seen another or an earlier account. A nice history of Porter and early American sporting magazines appears here:

The first image of Baseball as we know it appeared in volume three of Porter's Spirit of the Times in 1857.

Less than three months to spring training!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Amazing Early Periodical Devoted to Gambling

This post arises from a conversation with Vincent Golden, curator of newspapers and periodicals at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester Massachusetts, the greatest repository of pre-1876 American printed material in the universe, of which I am priviliged to be a member.

Vince told me of his excitement to find an 1843 magazine devoted to gambling (most probably the first on the topic), more specifically to exposing cheating. I asked him to send the images and here they are.

I do not have a copy of this gem in my collection. It is not listed in Union List of Serials and this may very well be the only copy in existence. It was written and edited by Jonathan Harrington Green (1813-1887) an American gambler, inventor, writer and later reformer in New York City during the early-to mid 19th century. In his youth, he was known as one of the most skilled card players in the United States. Following his retirement from gambling in 1842, he became an active crusader against illegal gambling and was responsible for enacting anti-gambling laws in several states. He is the author of several books on the subject. His Wikipedia bio is leaked here (I couldn't resist the temptation after the most recent firestorm!):
Here is the title page, an illustration and the back cover. The graphics of the front cover are impressive.

Just one more great example of the rich heritage of the American magazine. Thanks Vince!

Here are a few items from my collection all from the same decade. Since the Gambler's Mirror has great graphics, great rarity and a great topic that applies to today, I have chosen one example of each.
An 1845 magazine devoted to the elimination of capital punishment:

A wonderfully graphic temperance magazine

And an exquistely rare literarary magazine that may also be the world's only example (obtained from the renowned NYC dealer James Cummins), that, among other interesting content, contains a reference to Edgar Allan Poe.

Best of the season to all.
Periodically yours,