NORTH BEND – An antique newspaper collection made its debut on Wednesday.
Local historian Lionel Youst has been quietly adding to his private newspaper collection over the years, never with the intention to put it on display but rather keep it as a hobby. That is until he was asked to do a presentation at Evergreen Court at Baycrest Village in North Bend on Wednesday.
Historian Lionel Youst holds a newspaper Wednesday during a presentation at the Evergreen Court Retirement Community in Coos Bay.
“I asked if they had the ability to do a power point, where I could bring one of my canned lectures with pictures, but they didn’t so I had to find something else,” Youst said. “I’ve been dealing with newspapers for a while and got hooked on this antique newspaper collection I started, so I decided to bring it in to show them.”
The collection began when the Marshfield Sun Museum got on the mailing list for an auction house in New York, which contained a category for antique newspapers. Youst saw that there were seven consecutive editions of the London Gazette from 1670 up for bid and it caught his attention.
The minimum bid was $140, so he put in a bid for $160.
“I got the darn bid,” he laughed, “and it is just enthralling.”
The Gazette at the time printed twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, filled with news of the day. According to Youst, his copies contain mostly shipping news and is the first newspaper to ever be printed in English.
Residents of the Evergreen Court Retirement Community in Coos Bay listen to historian Lionel Youst talk about newspapers during a presentation…
“It only started printing in 1665,” he said, adding that his copies are in excellent shape. “It was printed on rag paper, not pulp paper, so it hasn’t deteriorated. It is also where papers got the term ‘rags.’”
The Marshfield Sun also received a catalog that just bid off antique newspapers. One catalog showed five editions of The Post Boy from London in 1695. There was one from 1705 and the last from 1735. The first three are tri-weekly, while the last two editions were dailies.
“These were some of the first dailies printed,” he said. “The format hasn’t changed much from the London Gazette either.”
He pointed out that in 1715 the Stamp Act required certain papers to have a tax and be properly stamped. Three of his Post Boy editions have this stamp on them.
“Of course, in 1765 they extended the Stamp Act to the colonies and started the Revolutionary War,” he said. “The act wasn’t rescinded until the 1830s, which reduced the price of newspapers, making them cheap and meant they could print bigger papers.”
Some of the more interesting pieces to his collection come from the New York Daily Tribune, two of which come from 1852 and one from 1854. These hold columns written by Karl Marx, who worked as the European correspondent for the Tribune for 10 years.
“He wrote long erudite essays,” Youst said. “He had access to the British Museum, who took all the newspapers from Europe and read them all. He was immensely intelligent on all subjects, from war going on in China and India, politics in France, everything.”
Not only this, but Youst has papers in the collection that he saved from when he served in the military and was stationed in Libya. At the time, he would get the Paris edition of the Herald Tribune. He still has his copy with the banner headline informing the world that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
The masthead of an 1854 New York Tribune from his from local historian Lionel Youst's personal collection of newspapers as he talks Wednesday …
“I have the headline from the Paris edition of the New York Times when he was shot as well,” Youst said.
Though the Wednesday presentation at Evergreen Court was the collection’s first public appearance, Youst isn’t sure when the collection will emerge again.
“This is an experiment to see how it goes over,” he said.
But one thing he is firm on, and has said numerous times about his other projects which included rescuing the archives of The World, is that newspapers are worth saving.
“This is the first draft of history,” he said.