To find out who their new president was, Boston residents had to search for this pithy item on the second-to-last page of the March 31, 1789, Herald of Freedom: “All accounts agree that his highness George Washington is chosen president and his excellency John Adams vice-president of the United States.” In those days, federal politics came after news from Europe and letters to the editor. When Washington died in 1799, the story appeared on Page 3 (out of four) in the Massachusetts paper the Greenfield Gazette—following news of a local robbery. Historian and rare-document dealer Mark Mitchell has about 20,000 old newspapers in his house in Fairfax and will bring along a few must-reads—including 18th-century stories covering the printing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—to a discussion and document display at 2:30 p.m. at the Newseum, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 284-3544. (Amanda Ripley)