07 June 2011

[or_history] Oregon's First Newspaper Was Also Handwritten

2635.While The Musalman may be the only calligraphed newspaper left anywhere on Earth so far as anyone knows, a particularly well-hidden treat of Oregon history predates even that. And it was strictly handwritten.

History mavens may think of Oregon's first pape as the Oregon Spectator, published in Oregon City from the mid 1840s through the mid 1850s. I was as surprised as anyone to find out that that's not entirely correct. That honor goes to a tri-weekly which only put out all of twelve issues, and went by the rather zany name of The Flumgudgeon Gazette and Bumble Bee Budget, which apparently predated the Spectator by a couple of years (it took about that long to ship a letterpress from New York in the mid-19th Century). Entirely handwritten by one Charles Edward "Philosopher" Pickett, although his handful of readers knew him by the name "Curltail Coon".

It wa apparently timed to irritate the Oregon Territorrial Legislature and legend has it that it did so despite its small circulation - handwriting a tri-weekly and getting it printed had to be quite a onerous task and one with manifest production limits.

The whole story (or as much as is extant) can be found at this page: http://www.offbeatoregon.com/H1007a_flumgudgeon.html, a part of the much larger Offbeat Oregon History site, which is a treat in and of itself which was just revealed to me.

H/T and big-time thanks to Dave Strom (twittah)

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