University Archives

Lot 201

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"Dallas Morning News" November 23, 1963 Front Page Newspaper Printing Plate!

A newspaper printing plate from the Saturday, November 23, 1963 issue of the "The Dallas Morning News." This item offers us a truly rare snapshot of an ill-fated time and place: the city of Dallas, Texas the day following the assassination there of 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963). The front cover of the newspaper emphasizes the local angle of the tragedy-- Dallasites reporting the somber news to fellow Dallasites. Provenance: From the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist.

The curved, cast-metal stereotype plate features the typographical and photographic molds (in negative) which would be printed (in positive) as the front page of "The Dallas Morning News" (see attached photo of the printed front page for reference.) The grooves found on the inside of the curved plate show how it was fitted into the rotary press. Expected wear including isolated scuffs to the printing face, and minor corrosion within the drum, else near fine. The semi-cylindrical drum measures about 7" x 14.25" x 14" and weighs 40 lbs.

This stereotype plate features the huge headline, "KENNEDY SLAIN ON DALLAS STREET," which is approximately 3.5" on our plate, and the sub headline "JOHNSON BECOMES PRESIDENT," which is about .75" high (exact measurements are difficult to obtain because of the curved surface of the plate.) Supplemental article headlines such as "Receives Oath on Aircraft"; "Gov. Connally Resting Well"; "Pro-Communist Charged With Act"; "Day Began as Auspiciously As Any of Kennedy's Career"; "Impact Shattering To World Capitals"; and "Funeral For President Will Be Held On Monday" can also be seen. The two large photographs are of Kennedy (approximately 8" high) and Johnson (about 5.5" high.)

Curved newspaper stereotype plates like this one would have been commonly found at American newspaper headquarters well into the early 1960s. (The new process of photo-composition would be introduced by the mid-1960s.) The newspaper printing process began by first linotyping, or placing individual lines of text. These were then locked into place and molds of them were created by a process known as stereotyping. Last came mass printing onto newsprint.

An excellent working definition of stereotyping, which is relevant to our printing plate, is provided by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: "The process of casting metal plates in molds made from type locked in forms is called stereotyping… After the French developed a method using papier-mâché for the molds which made them flexible and able to produce curved plates, stereotyping became more practical for newspaper production. The curved plate was clamped into a rotary press which allowed for higher speed printing." (See attached photos showing views of similar stereotype plates.)

President Kennedy was shot in Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 around 12:30 pm. Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963) is believed to have shot Kennedy, as well as another occupant in the presidential limousine, Governor of Texas John Connally. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn-in on Air Force One a little after two hours later.

PLEASE NOTE: This item may require third-party shipping due to its unusual shape and weight (40 lbs.)

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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January 6, 2021, 10:30 AM EST

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