[WOMAN PRINTER OF THE AMERICAN WEST]. Billhead from Mrs. John L. Howe, publisher of the "Folsom Weekly Telegraph" Mrs. John L. Howe, Printer / Publisher.
[WOMAN PRINTER OF THE AMERICAN WEST]. Billhead from Mrs. John L. Howe, publisher of the "Folsom Weekly Telegraph"

[WOMAN PRINTER OF THE AMERICAN WEST]. Billhead from Mrs. John L. Howe, publisher of the "Folsom Weekly Telegraph"

Folsom, California: Folsom Weekly Telegraph, 1875. Billhead (118 x 210 mm), printed on recto only, docketed on verso in MS: "No. of. Cred. $5.00 Folsom Telegraph." Evidence of folds (not objectionable). SEE IMAGES. Very good. Item #3337

PRINTED BY A WOMAN IN THE GOLD RUSH TOWN OF FOLSOM, CALIFORNIA, UNKNOWN TO ALL BIBLIOGRAPHERS ON THE SUBJECT. This "printed flotsam" of Western Americana was once ubiquitous; it now survives only as bibliographic "dark matter."

While otherwise unremarkable, the present billhead is -- as far as we have been able to determine -- ONE OF THE EARLIEST SURVIVING EXAMPLES OF ITS KIND THAT WAS PRINTED BY A WOMAN OF THE AMERICAN WEST. Her name is Mrs. John F. Howe, Jr. Whereas the billhead wrongly spells her name as Mrs. John L. Howe, her signature on it clearly reads "Mrs. John F. Howe." The billhead is dated March 30, 1875 and records the receipt of $5.00 from the Estate of R.J. Jenkins for placing a Creditor's Notice in the "Folsom Telegraph" which clearly names Mrs. Howe as publishers.

According to the 1880 History of Sacramento County, The "Folsom Weekly Telegraph" (as it was then known) was founded in 1860. Following the death of O.D. Avaline, the press was operated by his widow, Mrs. Avaline from 1863-1865. J.F. Howe leased the paper in 1874, and in 1877 sold it to W.W. Light, who leased it to Mrs. J.F. Howe, "the present editor and publisher." This individual was Lucillia Howe (1829-1891), originally of Ohio, who is buried in Folsom alongside her husband J.F. Howe (1824-1873), likewise a native of Ohio. Mrs J.F. Howe is mentioned as "proprietess" of the Folsom Weekly Telegraph in McKenney's Pacific Coast Directory 1880-81 (Sacramento County), and in the 1883-84 Directory as "publisher."

Helen Giffen's "California Mining Town Newspapers 1850-1880: A Bibliography" gives exactly zero information on the "Folsom [Weekly] Telegraph."

Provenance: Gene Westerberg --> gift to Dorothy Sloan in 1983 (see accompanying TLS) --> purchased by us from Dorothy Sloan Rare Books in 2020.

Price: $850.00