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Tri-weekly Newspapers Explained

What is a tri-weekly newspaper?

Tri-weekly newspapers are published three times per week.

Some eighteenth and nineteenth-century newspaper publishers issued different editions of their newspaper simultaneously. Noah Webster, author of the dictionary, was one of the earliest newspaper publishers to use "the idea of a paper for country circulation made up without additional composition from type set for a daily." Webster was editor of the daily American Minerva in New York when, in 1794, he established The Herald; a Gazette for the Country, a semiweekly, in New York. (Daily newspaper in America, Alfred McClung Lee, New York : Macmillan, 1937, p. 381. CSL call number: PN 4855 .L38)

In the case of the New Haven daily palladium, during the early- to mid-1800s, the publisher issued a tri-weekly edition on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Where do tri-weekly newspapers come from?

Each issue of the tri-weekly was made up of the two "inner" pages of a pair of daily editions, so the Monday paper was made up of pages 2 and 3 of the Monday and pages 2 and 3 of the Saturday (of the week before) issues, Wednesday was made up of pages 2 and 3 of the Wednesday and pages 2 and 3 of the Tuesday issues, and Friday was made up of the pages 2 and 3 of the Friday and pages 2 and 3 of the Thursday issues. There was no Sunday paper.


If you were holding the Monday, Jan. 6, 1862 tri-weekly in your hands, the front page would be p.3 of the Monday, Jan. 6 daily, the second page would be p.2 of the Saturday, Jan. 4 daily, the third page would be p.3 of the Saturday, Jan. 4 daily, and the last page would be p.2 of the Monday, Jan. 6 daily.

Why the wacky page order?

The publisher was reusing printing plates from the daily edition, and wanted the newest news to be on the outer pages. Since both plates were of "inner" pages (pages 2 and 3) of daily editions, the front and back ("outer") pages of the tri-weekly edition ended up in reverse order. At least the correct day of the week appeared at the top of the front page.

Where is the masthead?

The reason there is no masthead, of course, is that there is no page 1, since only pages 2 and 3 of each daily issue were used to make up the tri-weekly edition.

Why would anyone want to subscribe to a newspaper with no page 1?

Tri-weeklies reduced the expense and difficulty of delivering newspapers in the country areas.

Also, sometimes during this era, pages 1 and 4 of daily newspapers were printed in advance (often at a separate publishing house), usually with nothing but ads, poems and stories, and reprints of items from out of state newspapers. Since the only fresh local news was found on pages 2 and 3, it was actually a better deal to get a tri-weekly, because there was twice as much news in each issue as there was in the daily edition.