RALPH NEWMAN: premiere buyer and seller of rare historical books and paraphernalia. Interviewed by Tom Weinberg at his John Hancock apartment-office.
00:00Copy video clip URL Continued footage from tape 14126. Videographer and Tom Weinberg are in elevator with Ralph Newman and a man called Glen who exits. Newman comments that Glen was too young to join the Civil War Round Table, so his father joined so he could bring him. When Glen got out of school he got into the book business and came to work with Newman.
00:43Copy video clip URL The group exits the elevator and walk through a corridor.
01:00Copy video clip URL Newman tells a story that he and Richard J. Daley were at the topping off the ceremony of the John Hancock building and that on the top most girder has a fake Abraham Lincoln signature in chalk that Newman wrote.
01:44Copy video clip URL Newman tells a story of getting a letter from Lyndon Johnson saying don’t fall in love with that log cabin in the sky so much you forget the rest of us down here in Texas. He notes he worked for Johnson on and off for seven years. He still sees Ladybird Johnson.
02:39Copy video clip URL They exit another elevator talking about great leaders: Lincoln, Truman, Daley. They exit onto the street. Newman comments that when he was born his parents lived on State and Walton, his father’s cigar store was on Clark near Chicago Avenue. He notes his earliest recollection, from age 3, was the old water tower. He says he’s lived in Europe and Japan, but he always comes back to Chicago. This is the one place he feels most comfortable operating. The city is always vigorous, noisy. He talks about all the things Chicago has that surpasses the gangster history the city has been known for: art, culture, ethnic diversity.
06:34Copy video clip URL Newman talks about Michael Jordon as an historical figure. His physical endurance is superior, he’s brought fame to Chicago and seems to be a good person. He says sports memorabilia has become so commercial. You can not manufacture a rarity out of obvious materials. You can just have a bunch of cards printed and signed. They are not real rarities because they were manufactured. A real rarity would be something like Jordon’s signed report card from when he was 12-years-old. He notes that last year he sold a page of homemade arithmetic that Abraham Lincoln wrote out about age 15. Lincoln wrote at the bottom of the page: “Abe Lincoln, his hand and pen, he will be great but God knows when.”
09:12Copy video clip URL Newman notes that Newman’s law is: don’t throw anything out, even the trash, without asking someone first. Weinberg and Newman shake hands and talk about an old friend.
10:29Copy video clip URL Various shots, b-roll of John Hancock building and ads for a gangster era tour.
11:31Copy video clip URL END