Unusual Titles: The Answers

Last week we posted ten nineteenth-century newspaper titles, which included three fake ones. Here are the real titles from that list with images of the mastheads as proof.

1. Sucker and Farmer’s Record (Pittsfield, IL).  March 30, 1843.


At that time people of that region were sometimes known as suckers.  See the reply in this previous blog with one theory about the name “sucker.”

3. Horseneck Truth Teller and Gossip Journal (Greenwich, CT).  August 9, 1830.


This is the first issue of a paper where the intent of the editor was to expose the moral failings of the community.   It appeared in an earlier blog posting here.

4. Criminal Life of Albany (NY).  April 20, 1865.


Another unrecorded paper with the purpose of exposing the seamier side of politics and life in the state capitol.

6. Estabrook’s Great Public Chowder (Boston, MA).  May 8, 1847.


The subtitle is “A Journal of Entertainment for the People.”  As the name implies, they have included all sorts of items (stories, gift cards, jokes, etc.) to make up a chowder of a newspaper.

7. Stephen H. Branch’s Alligator (New York, NY).  July 17, 1858.

Stephen Branch's Alligator

Here is another newspaper aimed at exposing the corruption of a city, this time New York City.  It lasted just twenty-five issues and Branch edited some of them while in jail on charges of libel.

8. Mud Turtle (Alligator Bayou, TX).  February 8, 1864


This is a very rare humor paper out of Texas.   Based on surviving issues, it is surmised that Alligator Bayou was some place near Houston.

9. Striped Pig (Boston, MA).  [1838?]


The striped pig of the title and accompanying woodcut referred to a tale of someone being banned from selling alcohol at a fair in Dedham, Massachusetts, and instead took a pig, painted stripes on it, and charged admission to see it while offering attendees a glass of rum as refreshment.  It was supposedly a popular exhibit.  A striped pig indicates opposition to temperance movements.

The fake titles are:

2. Widow’s Bite and Lincoln Advocate  (Cleveland, OH)
5. Honest Politician (Washington, D.C.)
10. Pitch Fork of Righteousness (Philadelphia, PA)

It isn’t easy coming up with fake titles that sound like they could have been issued in the 1800s, but how did we do in tricking you?

Published by

Vincent Golden

Curator of Newspapers and Periodicals, American Antiquarian Society

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