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Original or Reprint? A Guide to Noteworthy Newspaper Issues

Daily Citizen (Vicksburg)

June 16, 18, 20, 27, 30, and July 2, 1863

Daily Citizen (Vicksburg, Miss.), July 2, 1863. Serial & Government Publications Division, Library of Congress.

Wallpaper Editions

The Daily Citizen was edited and published in Vicksburg, Mississippi, by J.M. Swords. Like several other Southern newspapers of the Civil War period, its stock of newsprint paper became exhausted and the publisher resorted to the use of wallpaper. On this substitute he printed the following known issues: June 16, 18, 20, 27, 30, and July 2, 1863. Each was a single sheet, four columns wide, printed on the back of the wallpaper.

On July 4, 1863, Vicksburg surrendered, the publisher fled, and the Union forces found the type of the Citizen still standing. They replaced two-thirds of the last column with other matter already in type, added the note quoted below, and started to print a new edition. Evidently, after a few copies had been run off (how many is unknown), it was noticed that the masthead title was misspelled as "CTIIZEN." The error was corrected, although the other typographical errors were allowed to stand, and the rest of the edition printed.

July 2, 1863

A note in the new July 2 edition explains:

Two days bring about great changes, The banner of the Union floats over Vicksburg. Gen. Grant has "caught the rabbit;" he has dined in Vicksburg, and he did bring his dinner with him. The "Citizen" lives to see it. For the last time it appears on "Wall-paper." No more will it eulogize the luxury of mule-meat and fricassed kitten -- urge Southern warriors to such diet never-more. This is the last wall-paper edition, and is, excepting this note, from the types as we found them. It will be valuable hereafter as a curiosity.

The prophecy contained in the note has been fulfilled. The original copies are treasured, and there have been over 30 reprints of this issue. Since many copies of the reprints exist, they have little monetary value. The genuine originals can be distinguished by the following tests:

  • Single type page, 9 1/8 inches in width by 16 7/8 inches in length
  • Column 1, line 1, title, THE DAILY CITIZEN, or THE DAILY CTIIZEN in capitals, not capitals and lowercase, or capitals and small capitals
  • Column 1, line 2, "J.M. Swords,......Proprietor." Notice the comma (or imperfect dot) and six periods
  • Column 1, last line, reads: "Them as they would the portals of hell itself"
  • Column 3, line 1, reads: "Yankee News From All Points."
  • Column 4, line 1, reads: "tremity of the city. These will be defended"
  • Column 4, paragraph 3, line 7, first word is misspelled "Secossion"
  • Column 4, article 2, line 2, word 4 is spelled "whisttle"
  • Column 4, last article before Note, final word is printed with the quotation mark misplaced, 'dead' instead of dead"
  • Column 4, Note, line 1, comma following the word "changes" rather than a period

Source: Information Circular 3 (Revised 1967).

Library Holdings

The Library of Congress has a copy of the original with the misspelled title, as well as a copy with the corrected title, both printed on the same pattern of wallpaper. The Library also has two other copies of the "second edition" (online catalog record).

Copies of the "first edition" are reported by the Minnesota Historical Society, the University of Indiana, and by a private collector. The American Antiquarian Society reports External holding an original and several copies of the second edition.