852 RARE: The Weekly Special – Horse Thieves and What to do About Them

Some printed works have a remarkable way of transporting us to other times. This is often true of those ephemeral publications not intended to be kept for generations, but which somehow defy the odds and survive. Coming across them is one of the pleasures of working with older material. A handful of evocative items acquired in the past few years by Historical and Special Collections provide a keyhole glimpse into an occasional aspect of local life over 150 years ago: horse stealing. This is a crime most of us don’t have to worry about these days, but it was a serious concern in 19th century Massachusetts, as these two broadsides — one from Roxbury, Mass. (1836) and the other from Norton, Mass. (1843) — remind us.

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