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Original or Reprint? A Guide to Noteworthy Newspaper Issues


Newspaper Jargon

Broadside Single sheet of paper, printed on one side.
Catchword The last word printed on the bottom of a page and that is repeated as the first word on the following page. The catchword "previews" the first word on the next page.
Chain Lines Widely-spaced parallel lines on paper caused by pressing the material, generally wet rags, into the wires of a paper-making mould. Chain lines tend to be more visible when a sheet of paper is held against light.
Colophon A descriptive note about the publisher and/or printer of a newspaper typically found at the bottom of a page.
Cotton Rag Paper High-quality paper made of cloth -- usually old rags -- that was used for printing newspapers prior to the 1860s-70s.
Facsimile An exact copy.
Foolscap Paper sized 8 1⁄2 × 13 1⁄2 inches (216 × 343 mm).
Laid Paper Handmade paper on which laid and chain lines (the wires of a mould) are visible. In contrast, wove paper has a more cloth-like, smooth appearance.
Mourning Leads Thick lines of dark ink bordering a newspaper's columns; a striking visual signal of tragic news. Also referred to as mourning bars.
Old-Style "s" Or 'long s.' A lowercase letter s that appears similar to an f. The rules of usage have changed through time and place.
Photostat An exact copy; the blacks and whites of the page are reversed, so white lettering appears against a black page.
Pied Jumbled, or mixed up. As in, the type was pied and had to be corrected and reset.
Rag Paper Paper made of cloth -- usually cotton rags -- that lasts for many years without deteriorating or discoloring.
Reprint A replica newspaper printed at some point after the original issue date; it may be an exact copy or vary widely from the original.
Slug Thick, horizontal line of dark ink separating articles in a column, similar to mourning bars or leads.
Watermark An identifying image that is noticeable when a page is held against light.
Wood Pulp Paper "Pulp" paper came into popularity in the late 19th century; it became cheaper and more readily available than rag paper. Wood pulp paper is typically highly acidic and becomes discolored and brittle with age.