Galveston, Texas: Geo. Mason Jr. Editor and Publisher, August 26, 1894. Item #436
Small 4to. 215 x 145 mm., (81/2 x 5 ½ inches). 4 pp. Drop title. Folded.
Excellent copy of a rare printing of an amateur newspaper, printed in Galveston, Texas on a tabletop printing press. These cheap presses, called a “Novelty Press” by its inventor Benjamin O. Woods of Boston, sold for only a few dollars and became the rage after its was introduced in 1867. “During the ten years following the invention of Wood's press, the number of amateur newspapers in existence increased from fewer than 100 to almost 1,000. Although many of these were short-lived, some endured for five years or more. Amateur journalism flourished all across the country from Maine to California. In addition to editorials, original short fiction, essays, jokes, stories gleaned from other publications (both amateur and professional), and poetry, puzzle departments began to appear as a regular feature in many amateur papers” (AAS).
The Census of 1880 list one Geo. Mason Jr. aged three years living with his father George Mason in Galveston, Texas. This would make George Jr. seventeen years old in 1894, the year that this issue was published. The subscription rate of The Sunday Herald was 25 cents a year, with payment in advance. This issue brings highlights from around the country to local Galveston enthusiasts. The articles are tongue-in-cheek notices of amusing and odd occurrences that caught the eye of young George Mason. I addition to funny articles on politics (Democratic), an execution in China, the animal show in New York, the origins of swords and bayonets, and a woman selling her children, there is a full page of baseball news on the final leaf. There is a notice about seven players being struck by lightning in Bowie County, an umpire who refused to start the game until he took a bath, and a request for local scores and highlights of Texas baseball teams. There is also a complete rundown of National League Standings as of August 25th, 1894. Boston and Baltimore were tied for first, followed by New York, Philadelphia and Cleveland a few percentage points back. Brooklyn, Pittsburg, Chicago and Cincinnati were within striking distance of first place and St. Louis, Washington and Louisville were at the bottom of the standings.
Not in OCLC, or Texas Newspapers 1813-1939 a Union List of Newspaper Files, Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, 1941. See American Antiquarian Society, Amateur Newspapers, for a description of this journalistic phenomenon and their collection. This issue does not appear to be in the collections at AAS.