The Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman: Methods of Authentication for the First Issue

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date

April 2016

Faculty Sponsor

Darryl Butt, María del Carmen Casas Pérez, Jennifer McGlinchey Sexton, Dr. Nick Bulloss, Dr. Cheryl Oestreicher


Authentic first issue copies of the Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman, now known as the Idaho Statesman, from July 26th, 1864 are rare - and many reproductions exist. In 2015, an alleged copy of this issue was donated to the Boise State University Special Collections and Archives. Optical microscopy, however, revealed it to be printed on a sulfite wood-pulp paper that only entered mass production in in the United States after 1882. The newspaper is in fact a reproduction that supplemented the July 26th, 1890 issue of the Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman. X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy of this paper and its ink revealed the presence of Ti, Fe, Ca, Cu and Zn. The copy of the Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman first issue held at the Idaho State Archives in Boise, which was thought to be authentic, is in fact a different reproduction from June 14th, 1930. An authentic copy is, however, held at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Through this research it is now possible to establish which copies of the first issue of the Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman are authentic and therefore not only of relative monetary value but also of value to the cultural heritage of the State of Idaho and its residents.

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