Buy a Century-Old Newspaper Printed on a Leaf

Caitlin Schneider
PBA Galleries
PBA Galleries / PBA Galleries

A 30-square-inch leaf newspaper, encased in plastic laminate, is up for auction at the PBA Galleries website

On November 4th, 1916, an issue of the The Mountain Echo from Boulder Creek, Calif., went out in unusual fashion.

It was one of the paper’s "Fig Leaf” editions, printed on a poplar or cottonwood leaf. Editor Luther McQuesten blamed late-paying readers and a lumber shortage for his decision to cut costs by printing on “nature’s own papyrus.”  

As he explained in Vol. XX, No. 50: "Owing to the high cost of paper and the delinquency of quite a few subscribers, it becomes necessary for the ‘Echo,’ in order to exist to return to first principles, for print paper."

After the guilt trip came the regular news: Beauregard Lipse was recovering from a recent operation, Halloween was crime free, and the “Boom Club” raised almost $40 during the holiday dance and supper, which would be put towards street lighting.

The Mountain Echo was founded by Nova Scotia native Charles Campbell Rodgers in 1896. Rodgers died just two years later, and his grandson (or possibly brother) acted as editor and publisher until McQuesten took over the business in 1914. It’s still published every Tuesday.

Bids for the leaf newspaper start at $130.

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