07 7 / 2011
Dated Thursday, September 18, 1851, the newspaper back then was known as The New-York Daily Times. (I love the hyphen.) It was priced at one cent.
I must have walked by that replica thousands of times before I finally paused for a closer look. It was made up mostly of blurbs, many of them just a few sentences long. None was more than five paragraphs. The international news consisted of dispatches from Turkey, Bremen, Bavaria and Prussia, in most cases summarizing local publications rather than offering original reporting. The local New York City reporting was quite chatty, with headlines like “Disturbance by Rival Blacksmiths,” “Run over by an Ice Cart,” and “Women Poisoned.”
Even non-news was news back then. A short dispatch titled “False Alarm” read: “Item gatherer failed to discover the first spark of the fire.” And I was taken with a brief from another edition: “Not Dead.-Mr. John Overho, of Prince street, who was reported to be beyond all medical skill on Saturday, from the effect of coup de soleil, we are glad to learn is likely to recover.”
But what struck me most that day, as I studied that front page, was a single thought.
This looks like a blog."