The Snowbound (NV, 1890)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:  On Southern Pacific Railroad near Reno

Frequency:  Irregular daily, “every week-day afternoon”

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol.1, No. 1, Jan. 31, 1890-Feb.1890?

Size and Format:  Four pages; outside pages were printed in blue ink, inside pages were written in pencil; manila paper.

Editor/Publisher:  “S.P. Prisoner in Car No. 36, blockaded at Reno, Nevada,” aka George T. McCully

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description and Notes:

The Snowbound, as its names suggests, appeared after a blizzard blocked the pass routes through the Sierra Nevadas for 600 passengers aboard a Southern Pacific train.  According to Lingenfelter, passenger George T. McCully “sought to relieve the anxious weeks of waiting by printing a newspaper for his fellow passengers.”  Highton claims, however, that the printer of The Snowbound was unknown and that the paper printed before the train left Reno Jan. 30, although it was dated Jan. 31.

In any case, the first number of The Snowbound aspired to be “issued every week-day afternoon by S.P. Prisoner in Car No. 36, blockaded at Reno, Nevada” as “A Souvenir of the Sierra Nevada Blockade 1890.”  It was both printed and handwritten:  the outside pages were printed in blue ink; the inside pages were written in pencil.  It is not known if the paper continued after its first number.

“The Two Inside Pages”–contain the matter which appeared in original issue of “THE SNOWBOUND” published on manilla paper and written with lead pencil.  The outside pages were made up to complete a four page paper, which we take pleasure to issue, at the request of the passengers as a souvenir of the blockade.  in addition to regular copies, we present them with one “proof” copy on plate paper…. (p.4)

“The editor [thanks] the Reverend William Appel, messrs. L.W. Harmons, P.S. Heffleman, Ernest Block, H.K. Pratt and others who kindly assisted to make entertaining to those especially who were in the blockade, the columns of our little souvenir, “THE SNOWBOUND.”

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Phillip I. Earl, “Unique newspaper born of 1890 snow blockade in Reno,” Sparks Tribune, Nov. 30, 1983, p. 4; Jake Highton, Nevada Newspaper Days:  A History of Journalism in the Silver State (Stockton, Calif.:  Heritage West Books, 1990), pp. 97;  Richard E. Lingenfelter, The Newspapers of Nevada (San Francisco:  John Howell-Books, 1964), 72-73; Richard E. Lingenfelter and Karen R. Gash, The Newspapers of Nevada (Reno:  University of Nevada Press, 1984).  (p.4, col.2) in article “SP No.38”–“…N.J. Weaver correspondent of the New York Herald, has done his part towards enlightening the world, giving the Herald  three solid columns of our misery.”

Locations: Jan. 31, 1890:  CHi; CSmH; CU-B; NvHi

The Sitka Times (AK, 1868)

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Publication History

Place of Publication:  Sitka, Alaska Territory

Frequency:  Weekly (irregular)

Volume and Issue Data: Sept. 19, 1868, 1:1; Oct. 19, 1868, 1:6; Oct. 31, 1868, 1:7; Nov. 7, 1868, 1:8

Size and Format:  8 x 12 in.; two cols.; four pages; cursive pen and ink.

Editor/Publisher:  Thomas G. Murphy, aka “Barney O. Ragan” or “Regan”

Title Changes and Continuations:  The Sitka Times (Sept. 19, 1868-Nov. 7, 1868) continued as Alaska Times (printed), 1869-1870.

General Description and Notes:

Editor Murphy (“Regan”) claimed The Sitka Times was “the first paper published in Alaska.”  The “introductory” column on page two outlines the editor’s intention to publish local news and to promote the general economic development of the region:

“To day we present the Sitka Times to the citizens of  Sitka and the world at large.  It is the first attempt ever made to publish a paper in this vast land of Alaska.  The Times will be devoted to local and general news.  We shall, when we deem it practicable, discuss all question of public interest, touching the affairs about Alaska.  In Politics and Religion the Times will be neutral.  The Pacific Rail Road we are in favor of and would love to hear the scream of its whistle echoed from the peaks of Alaska, and the musical strain of humanity shouting a chorus of  ‘Let the iron horse speed along with its precious burden of emigration.’  We are strongly in favor of a civil government and strictly opposed to military rule.  Give Alaska a civil government, you may soon expect to hear of rich minerals having been fully developed by our latent industry, but not before.

“Having no ‘devil’ in our office the ‘Times‘ should be virtuous.

“As our local items will be few we shall spare no pains in giving a well defined description of all fights; recording in language of flowers the matrimonial pursuits of mankind; with the respectful details of those, whose souls have fled to the ‘spirit land'” (1:1, p. 2, cols. 1  and 2a).

The editor explained and defended the handwritten format of his paper in the first “Editorial:”

“The appearance of the ‘Times‘ being written instead of printed will perhaps cause many a laugh.  In olden times a laugh would be out of place, as written pamphlets and the town crier were the means alone employed of conveying news, as no [?] parties at that time had been established by the fair.

“To invest in the purchase of a press would incur great expense and until we see better inducements than are now offered, a press can be dispensed with, although the copying of even so small a sheet, as this is, requires much labor and some means.

“Our budget in producing such a paper is not with the view of making a fortune, but chiefly if possible to gratify the citizens of our Town and for this we shall do our best” (1:1, p. 2, col. 2)

The paper’s script is relatively large and the cursive hand is quite legible.  The front page of the first number includes a large, bold name and masthead and the rest is advertisements for Sitka businesses.  Page two is the editor’s introductory comments and the editorial.  Page three covers seven local news stories including ship arrivals and departures.  The fourth and last page is even divided between local news and advertisements.

According to Hinckley, Murphy was known by contemporaries as a “politician, lawyer, priest, editor, printer, author and poet.”  He organized early efforts to establish a civil government for the territory and was elected by a small but apparently unrepresentative group to head the new government.  Within three days a second vote removed Murphy from office.  He later became the city attorney.

Murphy eventually imported a printing press, but had insufficient money to print his newspaper.  The Sitka mayor invested the necessary funds and, on April 23, 1869, Murphy edited the first printed issue of the (retitled) Alaska Times.

Information Sources

Bibliography:  Ted C. Hinckley, The Americanization of Alaska, 1867-1897 (Palo Alto, Calif.:  Pacific Books, Publishers, 1972), 39-46; Nichols, “History of Alaska Under Rule of  the United States,” (1924), 426; James Wickersham, A Bibliography of Alaska Literature, 1724-1924 (Cordova, Ak.:  Cordova Daily Times Print, 1927), 253-254.

Locations:  Cu-B; DLC (photocopy, 1:1 only); Territorial Library-Juneau.

The Shushana News (AK, no date)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: Chisana, Alaska

Frequency:  Daily, but irregular

Volume and Issue Data:  Unknown

Size and Format:  Ledger sheets

Editor/Publisher:  “A placer miner named McGillicuddy” (Davis, 1976)

Title Changes and Continuation:  Unknown

General Description and Notes:

According to Davis, a placer miner named McGillicuddy issued the Shushana News from a cabin eight miles from his nearest neighbor.  He owned the only radio in the area and would take notes of broadcasts, then rewrite his notes on ledger sheets.  A dog at a camp eight miles away had been trained to fetch McGillicuddy’s daily and return it to the camp.  McGillicuddy handed the paper to the dog, neatly rolled in a strong wrapper, and the newsdog would return to its master at the camp with the latest radio news reports.  The dog’s master would then post the paper where everyone else in the camp could read it.  On at least one occasion, the dog returned without the paper, but was punished and produced the missing paper.

Information Sources:                 

Bibliography:  Phyllis Davis, A Guide to Alaska’s Newspapers (Juneau, Alaska:  Gastineau Channel Centennial Association and Alaska Division of  State Libraries and Museums, 1976), p 14.

Locations:  No copies located

The Sewing Circle (WI, 1852)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: Madison, WI


Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1,  No. 7, June 23, 1852

Size and Format:  13 pages

Editor/Publisher:  Published by the Missionary Society and produced by Joanna B. Thompson and Anne B. Sewell, “Editresses”

Title Changes and Continuation: None

General Description and Notes:


Information Sources:

Bibliography: None

Locations:   Newspapers, No. SC 2052, Archives, The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

The Scorpion (NV, 1857)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: Genoa (Mormon Station), Nevada

Frequency:  Probably monthly

Volume and Issue Data: Feb. 1, 1857-ca.Dec. 1857

Size and Format:  12 columns, with illustrations; written in “a large, bold hand”

Editor/Publisher:  Stephen A. Kinsey

Title Changes and Continuations:  Unknown

General Description and Notes:

According to Lingenfelter and Gash, The Scorpion was the second handwritten newspaper produced in Nevada, following the lead of Joseph Webb’s Gold Canon Switch (ca. 1854).  The paper carried the motto:  “Fear no man, and do justice to all.”  The monthly publication reportedly contained 12 columns of stories and illustrations, including caricatures.  The paper said it would “contain a full and extensive digest of all the current news and discussions of the day,” and that “nothing which can interest the general reader will be omitted.”

Lingenfelter and Gash speculate that “the paper probably died before its twelfth number,” a year before the first printed paper, the Territorial Enterprise, appeared in the Nevada territory.  The Enterprise reported April 12, 1871 under the headline, “A Curiosity,” that the paper had been shown a copy of The ScorpionThe Enterprise reported that the July 1, 1857 issue of The Scorpion was written in “a large, bold hand.”

Information Sources

Bibliography:  Bob Karolevitz, “Pen and Ink Newspapers of the Old West,” Frontier Times, 44:2 (Feb.-Mar., 1970), 31; Robert F. Karolevitz, Newspapering in the Old West:  A Pictorial History of Journalism and Printing on the Frontier (New York:  Bonanza Books, 1969), p. 115; Jake Highton, Nevada Newspaper Days:  A History of Journalism in the Silver State (Stockton, Calif.:  Heritage West Books, 1990), pp. 2; Dan De Quille, The Big Bonanza (New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, 1947); see also, Territorial Enterprise, April 12, 1871; Richard E. Lingenfelter, The Newspapers of Nevada (San Francisco:  John Howell-Books, 1964), p. 47; Richard E. Lingenfelter and Karen R. Gash, The Newspapers of Nevada (Reno:  University of Nevada Press, 1984), p. 89.

Locations:  None

Scorpion (CA, 1857)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: Placerville, California

Frequency: One known issue

Volume and Issue Data: 1857

Size and Format: Unknown

Editor/Publisher: Unknown

Title Changes and Continuation: None

General Description and Notes:

According to Kennedy, the paper may have been humorous.

“The Scorpion was a manuscript paper which roused the ire of a contributor of the Mountain Democrat.  In a letter published in that paper on March 27, 1857, the contributor, who signed herself “Manta,” violently belabored the Scorpion.  It seems to have been a scandal sheet, published by a group of men who resented the refusal of some young women to dance with them.  If the Scorpion was any more venomous than the women who described it, it must have been one of the most poisonous papers on record.”

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Kennedy, Newspapers of California North Mines, 524

Locations: Unknown

Schoolcraft’s First Literary Magazine (MI, 1827)

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See The Muzzeniegun or Literary Voyager 

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