COOS BAY — For the first time, the Marshfield Sun Printing Museum is featuring a brand new historic newspaper exhibit.
The privately-owned collection covers how newspapers developed to what they are now and how news was covered by varying publications over the years, some featuring articles by Karl Marx and poems by T.S. Elliott.
“The contrast of the 350-year history of the newspaper, with its current decline, is worthy of consideration,” said historian Lionel Youst, collection owner. “We are seeing newspapers closing down, reducing days of publication, reducing staff, the disappearance of local and ubiquity of corporate ownership, and especially the presidential attacks on the press as ‘the enemy of the people.’ I think this is a good time to reflect upon the distinguished history of the press in contrast with its current crises.”
Youst first became interested in these historical papers after he started volunteering at the Marshfield Sun Museum, which was subscribed to the Ephemeron Magazine that held auctions for old papers.
Youst saw a group of papers up for auction from the London Gazette and said to himself, “Why not?”
“So I put in a bid,” he said. “I have three of those papers on display here at this exhibit. One thing led to another, like it does when you gather things, and now we have this exhibit. This is fun.”
The collection is upstairs on two tables, protected by glass and black panels to keep the light off them but can be removed during tours.
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Featured is the first paper in England printed in 1670, as well as one that shows the start of World War I.
“The first panel has the first showing of the phrase ‘America First’ from 1941, which you won’t hear again until Trump’s inaugural address,” Youst said. “It was a slogan, a movement, to keep America out of World War II.”
Beneath each panel is a news story, a pivotal moment in history. Included in the exhibit is also a copy 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.
In addition, Youst saved papers from his service in the military while he was stationed in Libya. At the time, he received the Paris edition of the Herald Tribune and still has his copy with the banner headline telling the world that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
“I hope our modest exhibit of historic newspapers, local, national and international, will leave the visitor with an appreciation of what we may be losing,” Youst said.
The Marshfield Sun Printing Museum is open from 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and closed Sundays and Mondays. It is located at located at 1049 North Front St. in Coos Bay. Admission is free.