Twelve issues, twelves different cities…

April 23, 2009 by  
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Occasionally one finds a single title which had two or maybe three cities of publication, particularly some of the Old West titles which moved from place to place during their early years. Even the venerable Gazette of the United States moved from New York to Philadelphia when the seat of government moved, in order to be close to the political action it was reporting.

trans-continental-excursionThe Trans-Continental had a different take on printing in different cities. It’s creation was a stroke of historical genius in the mind of its editor, W. R. Steele, when on May 24, 1870 over 130 passengers boarded a beautiful eight car Pullman train built under special orders of George M. Pullman specifically for this trip, the first chartered excursion by rail from the Atlantic to the Pacific. On board was carried small printing press which was used to publish 12 issues of the “Trans-Continental” newspaper, each at a different point along the round-trip journey. By what is read in these twelve issues it was a glorious affair enjoyed by all, amid the splendor of the finest mode of living ever constructed on wheels.

For their enjoyment, the passengers were lavished with the finest food, surrounded by a setting which few of the finest mansions constructed could rival. Sights of the new West as well as extraneous news & anecdotes of the day were recorded in the pages of this newspaper, witnessed by the passengers continually in awe of the splendor of the prairies, magnificence of the Rockies and the warmth & hospitality of the people they met along the way.

The Trans-Continental lasted but 42 days and twelve issues–six printed on the westward journey & six printed on the return to the east coast. What is unique is that each issue not only carries a different date but a different city of publication.

Unfortunately for the collector exceedingly few genuine issues of the Trans-Continental remain. Having a complete set in our private collection we had each issue professionally reproduced and bound into a SINGLE BOOKLET so any collector can read from one of the more intriguing & unusual newspapers of the 19th century.

You may never own an original but you can take some vicarious enjoyment in the trip by reading what those 130 passengers enjoyed nearly 140 years ago by clicking on the “single booklet” link above. After all, isn’t this what brought is all to the hobby in the first place?

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