An interesting and fairly unique piece of history is in the Advantage offices. The Biddeford Weekly Journal broadsheets measure in at approximately 31” x 23”, making it one of the largest US papers we have seen. This size is not “American” standard, as these side by side broadsheets are printed 2 X 2 x 2 x 2 (quarter printing).
The Biddeford Weekly Journal arrived as part of a microfilming and digitization project for the McArthur Public Library of Biddeford, Maine.
The history of broadsheets dates back to British imposed newspaper tax based on the number of pages in a publication and the publishers desire to fit more information on a single page to cut down on the page count. Broadsheet became a standard for many American newspapers including The Washington Post and New York Times.
Broadsheets large in size such as the Biddeford Weekly Journal of the late 1800’s were less expensive to print, but also more appealing to an upper class audience. At this time (late 1800’s), the Biddeford Weekly Journal was the largest circulating paper in York County, Maine. The first very first issue of the Biddeford Weekly Journal was published on January 5th, 1884. The Biddeford Weekly Journal started as a 4-page broadsheet, with six columns on a page and as much as a third of the page taken up by headlines. The sale price, beginning with the second issue on Jan. 7, was two cents, comparable to the cost of a big daily from New York or Boston. The cost of a year’s subscription was $5!