The reason I collected it: The Semi-Weekly Argus from Washington Territory…

July 10, 2023 by · Leave a Comment 

“The Semi-Weekly Argus” of Port Townsend, Washington Territory, July 7, 1873, might seem like an ordinary issue with typical content of the day. However the most intriguing aspect of the edition is not the data nor its content; it’s the paper upon which it is printed. It is yellow.
On rare occasions, newspaper publishers had to deviate from the traditional newsprint with which we are familiar, when necessity required an alternative. In such situations “necessity paper” was used, the term for whenever an issue was printed on anything non-traditional.
Given Port Townsend’s relative remoteness in the Northwest, I would suspect supply routes were often questionable a best, particularly with this date being 16 years before statehood.
We have encountered newspapers printed on paper with a wide assortment of colors, as well as wrapping paper, cornhusk paper, wallpaper, lined notebook paper. tissue paper, etc. Such editions were typically very short-lived, perhaps a few days at best, until supply chains could be re-established.
Here is a great example of the use of “necessity paper” and a visually prominent addition to any collection.

An unusual two issue set… a disaster and a massacre…

April 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Set: FRANK LESLIE’S ILLUSTRATED NEWSPAPERS, New York, both dated May 3, 1873.

The Intrigue: A two issue set of the same title with the exact same date? Yes. In regards to standard daily newspapers, especially those printed for major city distribution, it was not uncommon for there to be multiple editions of the newspaper printed on the same day – perhaps a morning and evening edition. However, we have yet to discover a weekly illustrated newspaper who printed more than one version of an issue on the same day. It is this lack of discovery to-date which makes this two-issue set rather interesting. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated apparently printed two nearly identical but different issues for May 3, 1873… each having a different cover. One might think they accidentally reprinted a cover from a previous week for some of the issues, but we have had the other issues surrounding this date, and none of them have either cover in question. Additionally, while the inner pages are almost all the same, there is also another page (pg 125) which is different. Everything else is identical.

If anyone is aware of the background concerning this set, please share.

Note: Additional (and quite interesting) information concerning both front pages may be found at Colfax Massacre and Richmond Switch Disaster (Rhode Island).