Melbourne Advertiser (AUS, 1838)

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Melbourne Advertiser (AUS, 1838)

Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Port Phillip, Melbourne, SE Australia

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  January 1, 1838, Vol. 1, Nos. 1-17 extant (minus No. 16); first 10 issues were handwritten

Size and Format:  Four pages,  two columns (see images on State Library of Victoria website)

Editor/Publisher:  John Pascoe Fawkner

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description and Notes:

Earliest paper in Southeast Australia

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Jerry Don Vann, Rosemary T. VanArsdel, Periodicals of Queen Victoria’s Empire: An Exploration (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), p. 23

Locations:  State Library of Victoria, Australia (images online)

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Le Californien (CA, 1850)

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Le Californien (CA, 1850)

Publication History:

Place of Publication: San Francisco, California

Frequency:  Weekly, began January 17,1850, ceased in Feb? 1850.

Volume and Issue Data: January 31, 1850, No. 3.

Size and Format: Unknown

Editor/Publisher:  Unknown

Title Changes and Continuation: None

General Description and Notes:

In French.  Lithographed due to lack of proper type for French language.  The librarian could not locate the original, but they are supposed to have it.

Information Sources:                

Bibliography:  Wall, Alexander J. “Early Newspapers,” New-York Historical Society Quarterly, V. 15, N. 2 (July 1931).

Locations: Newspaper Collection, New York Historical Society, New York, NY

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

The Emigrant (LA-CA, 1849)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Shipboard Alhambra en route to California gold fields (1849)

Frequency:  Weekly; irregular

Volume and Issue Data:  The Alhambra departed New Orleans in the fall, 1849; only four numbers issued; known dates:  No. 3, Sept. 5; No. 4, Sept. 20, 1849

Size and Format:  “Two sheets of foolscap, closely written out in full”

Editor/Publisher:  “Mr. Moss”

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description & Notes:

The Emigrant was published aboard the Alhambra, a ship which embarked for California from New Orleans in the fall of 1849.  The ship’s paper was supposed to be published weekly during the voyage, but lasted only four numbers.

The Ship Alhambra

The Alhambra’s master, Captain George Coffin, filled more than half of each issue with his own compositions of rhyme and verse.  In his privately printed memoirs, Captain Coffin noted, “On Saturday, August 23rd, appeared the first number of ‘The Emigrant.’  It consisted of two sheets of foolscap closely written out in full by Mr. Moss.”

Coffin claimed the paper “was well received, the reading matter was various, to please all tastes, and the croakers were silenced.”  He also claims audience response was so enthusiastic that when the second installment was ready on August 30, measures had to be taken to preserve order among the passengers.  “So great was the desire to get hold of it that it was voted that one of the passengers should read it aloud to the rest.”  A freshly minted medical school graduate, Dr. Clark, was selected to read the poem.  Captain Coffin noted the doctor “placed himself on the capstan, and the rest of the company gathered round, some standing, others seated about on spare spars, water casks, or whatever else they could find.”  The Captain-author, however, found that his work was not read with proper fire and feeling.  This lack of force and ability, according to Coffin, explained why the young doctor had no doubt failed in his chosen profession.

The Emigrant’s third issue, published Sept. 5, 1849, featured another of Captain Coffin’s poems, “Simon Spriggin’s Soliloquy.”  The issue also contained an advertisement:

WANTED:  A few degrees of south latitude.  Any person being able to furnish them shall be installed an honorary member of the Committee on Navigation.  Apply at the Surgeon’s office.

The Committee on Navigation was the title ironically given a group of the Alhambra’s passengers who were in the habit of offering the ship’s officers unsolicited advice on how to improve the operation of the vessel.

The Alhambra’s newspaper struggled through one more issue, then died.  Captain Coffin noted its passing:  “From this time ‘The Emigrant’ languished for want of sustenance; it did not appear the next Saturday.  It made one more effort on Saturday, September 20th, and then gave up the ghost.  The editorial valedictory had some reference to ‘casting pearls before swine . . .'” (p. 50).  Simon Spriggins bowed himself out with a final poem, the inspirational character of which may be gathered from this stanza:

“Your saddle bags shall yet be filled

With Sacramento’s glittering ore.

Your doubts and fears shall all be still’d

And troubles come not near you more.” (p. 51)

Lewis notes that The Emigrant and other shipboard newspapers (see, e.g., BAROMETER, THE PETREL, and SHARK) “lacked the formality of print but more nearly approached conventional journalism” than the various travel journals and diaries kept during the voyages.

According to Captain Coffin’s accounts published after the voyage, (41) On Saturday, August 23, appeared the first number of “The Emigrant.”  It consisted of two sheets of foolscap closely written out in fully by Mister Moss (Mr. Sam Moss, Jr.  “ super Cargo) [p.12].

(43) The first number of “The Emigrant” was well received, the reading matter was various, and the croakers were silenced.

(45) Saturday, August 30–The second number of “The Emigrant” appeared promptly by this morning.  So great was the desire to get hold of it, that it was voted that one of the passengers should read it aloud to the rest.  The selected Doctor Clark as the reader. . . .  He placed himself on the capstan, and the rest of the company gathered round, some standing, others seated about on spare spars, water casks, or whatever else they could find.

(49) September 6–The third number of “the Emigrant” appeared this day

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  George Coffin, A Pioneer Voyage to California and Round the World, 1849-1852, Ship Alhambra (Chicago:  privately printed, 1908); Oscar Lewis, Sea Routes to the Gold Fields:  The Migration by Water to California in 1849-1852 (New York:  A.A. Knopf, 1949), pp. 89-92; 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

Barometer (MA-CA, 1849)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Shipboard Edward Everett (1849)

Frequency:  Weekly, every Saturday

Volume and Issue Data:  The Edward Everett departed Boston Jan. 13, 1849

Size and Format:  Four pages, handwritten

Editor/Publisher:  “A board of five editors was responsible for the journal” (Lewis); members of the Boston and California Joint Mining and Trading Company en route to the California gold fields

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description & Notes:

According to Lewis, the first organized contingent to leave Boston for the California gold fields was the Boston and California Joint Mining and Trading Company.  The group sailed from Boston aboard the Edward Everett, a 700-ton “fast-ship,” on January 13, 1849.  The company of 150 men, included eight sea captains, four doctors, a clergyman, a mineralogist, a geologist, merchants, manufacturers, farmers, artisans and medical and divinity students.

The Edward Everett was a relatively new ship (approximately six years old) and well equipped.  The bunks below deck were named after Boston localities.  To combat boredom at sea, numerous regularly scheduled activities were organized, including a musical band, a weekly newspaper, Sunday and mid-week church services, and lectures.

The ship’s newspaper Barometer was intended to circulate the ship’s news among the passengers and the crew, and to publish “original contributions in prose and verse.”  Lewis calls the Barometer, “probably the earliest of the gold-ship ‘newspapers'” (p. 89).  According to Lewis, the Barometer was

a four-page hand-written sheet issued every Saturday during the voyage of the Edward Everett.  A board of five editors was responsible for the journal, the columns of which were filled with daily happenings on the ship, together with a record of her position and speed, and a leavening of lighter fare in the form of “original prose and poetical matter.”

Lewis notes that this and other shipboard newspapers (see, e.g., EMIGRANT, THE PETREL, and SHARK) “lacked the formality of print but more nearly approached conventional journalism” than the various travel journals and diaries kept during the voyages.

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Oscar Lewis, Sea Routes to the Gold Fields:  The Migration by Water to California in 1849-1852 (New York:  A.A. Knopf, 1949), pp. 89-92; 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:  Bancroft Library, CA?

 

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