The Acquisitions Table: Emergency Paper Sources



The Weekly Junior Register.  Franklin, LA.  May 2, 1863.  Vol. 2, no. 17.

In 1860 there were 555 paper manufacturers in the United States, but only 24 were in the South. Hence Confederate newspaper offices often had trouble obtaining printing paper during the Civil War. They were forced to seek alternative paper sources, such as the blank back of unused wallpaper. This issue is printed on the back of a beautiful pattern of peasant scenes. Wallpaper issues are extremely rare, but AAS happens to have another copy of this date on different, floral-patterned wallpaper. At this time Franklin was occupied by Union troops, but paper supplies had not been restored. Purchased from Old Editions. Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund.

Besides wallpaper, newspaper publishers sometimes had to resort to wrapping paper, lined ledger paper, and even tissue paper, and war was not the only cause of shortages.  The editor of the  Colorado Transcript (Golden, Colorado) for April 8, 1868 wrote, “We couldn’t help it. – Some of our subscribers will receive this week’s Transcript printed upon yellow wrapping paper, owing to the non-arrival of a supply at our factor’s store.  We had only enough to print about half of our edition, and have been compelled to resort, to this make-shift.”  Purchased from Old Editions. Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund.

~ Vincent Golden

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