Union Spy (VA, 1851)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: Washington College, Lexington, Virginia

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, No. 3, Friday, June 27, 1851

Size and Format:  7.75 x 12.5 inches; 4 pages, two columns per page

Editor/Publisher:  L. Neal and R. Houston

Title Changes and Continuation:  Unknown

General Description and Notes:

The paper was created and held at Washington & Lee University is misdated in their catalog. The “1857” looks reasonable on the masthead, but the editorial on page two, “The Next Presidency,” says that the presidential campaign “of 1852 is about to commence.” Thus it appears the correct date is 1851, not 1857.

The paper contains story stories, news briefs, editorials, “city and county news,” “foreign,” poetry, “scraps,” and an ad for “job writing.”

Extant copy is very clear and legible–except for the date!

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Rockbridge Historical Society. Guide to the Manuscripts Collection of the Rockbridge Historical Society on Permanent Deposit at the Washington and Lee University Library, Lexington, Virginia. Lexington, Va: The Society, 1989.

Locations:  Rockbridge Historical Society Collection, Special Collections, Leyburn Library, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA

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The Repository (CT, 1851)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: Granby, CT

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  1851, several issues

Size and Format:  Over 50 pages

Editor/Publisher:  “School boy editors”, William C. Case and Daniel E. Holcomb.

Title Changes and Continuation:  Unknown

General Description and Notes:

Written by students and includes several issues all written in a ledger.

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  None

Locations:  Salmon Brook Historical Society,  Granby, CT

The Olive Branch (MI, 1851)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Unknown

Frequency: Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  1851

Size and Format: Unknown

Editor/Publisher: Unknown

Title Changes and Continuation: None

General Description and Notes:

None

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  None

Locations:  Manuscript Holdings, Bentley Historical Library, The University of Michigan,  Ann Arbor, MI

Flying Fish (Aus-CA, 1851)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Shipboard Mary Catherine, out of Sydney en route to California (1851)

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  No. 1, May 31, 1851

Size and Format:  Unknown

Editor/Publisher:  “Some of the women passengers aboard”

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description and Notes:

The Flying Fish was published by women passengers aboard the ship Mary Catherine out of Sydney, Australia, en route to the gold fields of California. The only known issue was dated May 31, 1851. The captain of the ship recorded in his log that to pass the time, some of the women passengers began writing a shipboard newspaper and published it on the day of the captain’s 32nd birdthday. He described it as “a little journal of fun and merriment.”

Two things are noteworthy about the Flying Fish. First, it is the only known shipboard paper produced exclusively by women. No doubt other shipboard papers had women contributors and scribes, but this is the only one, according to the sole remain independent documentary evidence from the voyage, founded, edited, and produced exclusively by women at sea.

Second, the fact that the captain consider the publication of the Flying Fish nothing more than something “to pass the time,” suggests that it was primarily a literary and humorous publication. The fact that Australia had been a British penal colony since its first settlements in 1788 may also indicate that the women were less than well educated or well read.  The passengers on board the ship who were  seeking their fortunes in California gold likely included former convicts, men and women. In such a context, the women’s journalistic and literary skills were probably not of a high caliber.

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Captain Henry Thomas Fox, Log of Mary Catherine, in possession of Mrs. F.G. Marginson, Hamilton, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, cited in Charles Bateson, Gold Fleet for California:  Forty Niners from Australia and New Zealand (Auckland:  Minerva Ltd., 1963), pp. 47, 136, 138; Roy Atwood, “Shipboard News: Nineteenth Century Handwritten Periodicals at Sea,” Paper Presentation to the History Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, 1997.

Locations:  None located

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