Original Wallpaper Copy of the Vicksburg Daily Citizen
Original Copy of The Daily Citizen, Vicksburg, Mississippi- This is a rare, original example of the so-called “Wallpaper Editions” of The Daily Citizen. This limited run newspaper 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. Wallpaper was utilized for 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, when Vicksburg surrendered to Union forces, although the Daily Citizen’s publisher fled, the Union forces found the type of the Citizen still set and ready for publication. 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 (how many is unknown) had been printed, 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 4, 1863
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.”
Only a rare number of original copies of this newspaper are extant. There have been over 30 reprints of this issue. Several of these reprints were completed in the 1870s, some 10 years after the Fall of Vicksburg, as souvenirs of the Siege and Fall of the city. Authentic originals, like this edition offered here, can be distinguished from later copies 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.
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.” Copies of the “first edition” are reported by the Minnesota Historical Society, the University of Indiana, and by a private collector.
This example remains in overall good condition; the colors on the wallpaper are still vivid, and the print very clear and readable. There are some obvious folds in the paper, but no significant tears. The paper is somewhat fragile, but can be carefully handled. We currently have two post-war souvenir copies of the famed Vicksburg wallpaper edition, but this is the first original copy we have encountered. These papers are remain a truly rare reminder of a pivotal period in the mid-Western theater of the Civil War.