The Washington Shark (IA, 1850-1854)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: Washington, Washington County, Iowa

Frequency:  Irregular

Volume and Issue Data:  1850-ca. 1854

Size and Format:  “A folio with regular columns of ordinary size, tolerably fine pen type, published on the four sides of one sheet of cap paper”

Editor/Publisher:  Nathan Littler and Richard B. McMillan

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description and Notes:

In his own Washington County history, editor Littler described The Washington Shark as “a folio with regular columns of ordinary size, tolerably fine pen type, published on the four sides of one sheet of cap paper.”  The paper used pseudonyms frequently in its reports and the editors apparently tried to keep their own names a secret.  Littler says the paper contained “general news and current literature,” market reports, advertisements and society news.  The editor notes that it appeared only one copy at a time, so wide distribution did not occur.  Instead, readership was limited to those who could meet in public gathering places.

The Shark was put into the mail box when none were present.  It was directed to some one whom the editors felt would give it the widest publicity.  Usually, when the paper came, its owner would go the most frequented store in town, and taking his seat on a stool or mail keg, would proceed to read to the crowd that quickly assembled, the contents, advertisements and all.

Littler claims the paper appeared frequently, and when it did it was the “sensation of the town until its contents became familiar to all the citizens.”  If most “readers” were amused by the paper’s wit and satire, not all appreciated its occasional bite.

Some, however, to whom the jokes and caricatures fit most closely, were outrageously vexed and the only reason the editors were not punished corporeally at least, was the fact that they were safely incognito.

Littler says the Shark would attack “any and everything going on to which the editors were opposed or which was opposed to the best interests of the community.”

Apparently other handwritten papers were published in the area on the model ofThe Shark.  Notes Littler:  “Occasionally afterwards, other papers of a similar character came out, but none of them achieved the popularity of the Shark.”

Littler served as constable of Washington in 1850, the year the Shark first appeared.  In 1852 he was elected justice of the peace and served in that post until he moved to the town of Richmond, Iowa.  He returned to Washington in 1869 and wrote a history of the county which was serialized in the local paper.

McMillan (1823-1898) lived in Washington from 1846 to 1855.  During that period he was a county assessor and township clerk.  While editing the Shark, McMillan’s brother, Horace Greeley McMillan, lived with him.  The year Richard died Horace purchased the Cedar Rapids Republican, and he eventually owned two Iowa dailies and a weekly farm paper.

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Nathan Littler, History of Washington County, 1835-1875, ed. by Edna Jones (Washington, Iowa:  Jonathan C. Clark, 1977), 186-187; Roy Alden Atwood, “Handwritten Newspapers on the Iowa Frontier, 1844-1854,”Journalism History, 7:2 (Summer 1980), 56-59, 66-67

Locations:  None

[Thompson Paper] (DE, 1910-1920)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Delaware

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  Between 1910 and 1920 (approx.)

Size and Format:  Unknown

Editor/Publisher:  Unknown

Title Changes and Continuation: Unknown

General Description and Notes:

According to Eleanor McD. Thompson, Librarian in Charge of the Printed Book and Periodical Collection at The Winterthur Library, “My grandfather, who was an amateur artist and poet, put out a few issues of a humorous neighborhood newspaper all lettered and drawn by him.”  She noted that she has them in storage. Her father was apparently an insurance executive and created the paper as a lark.

Information Sources:

Bibliography:

Locations:  Eleanor McD. Thompson, Librarian in Charge, Printed Book & Periodical Collection, The Winterthur Library, The Henry Francis duPont Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE

The Tampa Gouger (FL, 1831)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:   “Our Shop,” “Tampa Bay” (presumably FL; elsewhere in the paper reference is made to [St.?] Petersburg  and Russia, but it may have been an attempt at humor under “Foreign Intelligence”)

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  Monday, June 1831, Vol 1., No. 1.

Size and Format:  Large newssheet, 4 pages

Editor/Publisher:  “Three of Us!”  Washington Hood (1808-1840), a surveyor, architect and engineer, possibly in his hand

Title Changes and Continuation:  Unknown

General Description and Notes: 

Issue dated “Monday, June 1831”  (Vol. 1, No. 1) carries the motto, “I gouge, Thou gougest, He gouges!”  The paper’s lead column reads:

“In presenting to its patrons the first number of the Gouger, we wish it expressly, distinctly, emphatically, and unequivocally understood that we totally, entirely and absolutely disclaim all allegiances, dependence , fealty, obligation or subservience to any body or bodies civil, military, or political–and that we are not in any sence or meaning, either direct or by inference or by consternation [?] the public’s. [signed] Humble servants, The US Three.

Below the fold, the column continues with an explanation of the publications purpose and character.

“We beg it, moreover, to be expressly understood by all those who may enjoy the high and distinguished privileges of drawing instruction, edification, and happiness from the rich, rare, racy, and diversified columns of the Gouger, that we hold it to be the standard of morals and manners, and the undisputed and indisputable umpire and director of wit, humour, taste, literature and sciences.”

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  None

Locations:  The Washington Hood Collection in the Downs Collection, Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera, The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE

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

Pioneer (CA, 1856)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: North San Juan, California

Frequency:  Semi-monthly

Volume and Issue Data:  March-July 4, 1856; six issues

Size and Format:  “sheet of foolscap”

Editor/Publisher:  Unknown

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description and Notes:

According to Kennedy, the only newspaper at North San Juanwas a manuscript sheet called the Pioneer, which appeared in 1856.  Kennedy speculates that the paper may have been a humorous publication.

Information Sources:

Bibliography: Chester P. Kennedy, “Newspapers of the California Northern Mines, 1850-1860–A Record of Life, Letters and Culture,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1949, pp. 24-25, 39, 132, 289, 508-509, 511-512, 609

Locations:  Cu-B?

The Pickwickian (NY, 1856)

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The Pickwickian (NY, 1856)

Publication History:

Place of Publication:  New York, NY

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data: March 2, 1856

Size and Format:  4-6 pages, roughly 8″ x 14″

Editor/Publisher:  “Propretors (sic) Daughter Julius & Pickwick.”

Title Changes and Continuation: Unknown

General Description and Notes:

“Our Motto is FUN.”  A journal of a New York City fireman’s association, containing a hand-drawn masthead and is hand illustrated with satirical cartoons.  In good condition and very legible. Contained in the Hook and Ladder Company Record Books 0f the Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Maryland, which included the company’s own handwritten newspaper, the Pony Gazette, circa 1854.

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  None

Locations:  The Hook and Ladder Company Record Books Collection (MS 662), Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, MD

Noilpum (CA, 1857-1858)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Hay Fork, Trinity County, California (ca. 1857-1858)

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  Unknown

Size and Format:  Unknown

Editor/Publisher:  Unknown (Isaac Cox?)

Title Changes and Continuation:  Unknown

General Description and Notes:

Kennedy notes that “except for a manuscript paper called the Noilpum, published at Hay Fork, all of Trinity County’s early newspapers were printed at Weaverville.  At most, only a very few copies may have been produced, and none are extant.

Isaac Cox reported in his history of Trinity County published in 1858,

We have named the “Noilpum” without spreading ourselves into explanatory easings, but now it comes.  It is the Hay Fork newspaper, an institution to absorb and assimilitate the literary exudations not otherwise provided for; a newspaper which, if presented to a Faust or Guttenberg of our day, would soon learn to know the “devil,” which again in all probability would cause relief in the tar and pitch market, the only operators in that commodity at present being the brokers of the squaw boudoirs.  The Noilpum is a goodly paper, and though it advocates the Administration in order not to hurt its books, would go dead downright for Jackson and Douglas in the question of “honest opinion.”   A paper is “ably” conducted, knowing nothing of Hoe and Co.’s Mammoth Cylinder, Anti-Friction, anti, etc. presses, or any other sleight-of-hand exponent of public greasing, being thus thrown back on pen and ink, will naturally get muddy and greasy enough to answer to the “mudsill” call and the pet name of printers’ cordiality, “dirty sheet.”  We may guess now you know what the “Noilpum” is.

Kennedy speculates that the Noilpum may have been a humorous paper (despite the lame attempt at humor above).

Information Sources:                        

Bibliography:  Isaac Cox, The Annals of Trinity County (San Francisco:  Commercial Book and Job Steam Printing, 1858), 125;  Chester P. Kennedy, “Newspapers of the California Northern Mines, 1850-1860–A Record of Life, Letters and Culture,” unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford, 1949, pp. 30-31, 39, 289, 574-75, and 603)

Locations:  None located

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