Rare broadside issue of the Tombstone Epitaph

Clum, Sorin & Co., Proprietors, The Tombstone Epitaph VOL. I-NO.22. Tombstone, Pima County, Arizona, Monday, September 27, 1880.
Broadside extra, 24”h x 14”w.

An unrecorded broadside supplement to The Tombstone Epitaph, touting nearby gold, silver and copper strikes and probably intended for national distribution. Also remarkable for featuring a landmark Tombstone map.

The Epitaph was first launched by owner-editor John Philip Clum with an afternoon issue on Saturday, May 1, 1880, the year after Tombstone’s founding. The paper remains in print today and is in fact the oldest continuously-published paper in Arizona. During the Clum years it leaned Republican and supported the efforts of Wyatt Earp and his brothers to enforce order and reduce violence during the town’s phase of explosive growth. It is most famous for its coverage of the Earps, above all the infamous 1881 “Gunfight at the OK Corral” but is more generally valuable for the history of the Arizona silver boom and its most famous boomtown.

The Epitaph generally seems to have appeared as a four-page broadsheet, but offered here is an unusual broadside supplement dated September 27, 1880. The lead article promotes the gold, silver and copper deposits being mined in and around Bisbee in the Mule Mountains south of Tombstone, with a second section on American mining investments across the border in Sonora, Mexico. At dead center of the broadside is a schematic map of the Tombstone area, showing among other things the route of a projected road linking Tombstone and Bisbee. This is probably the earliest map printed in Tombstone and one of the earliest maps of the town.  It is predated only by two Britton & Rey maps, both from 1879 and recorded in single examples at the University of Arizona.

I find no recorded holdings of this broadside. The great rarity of early issues Tombstone Epitaph is demonstrated by the fact that Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers lists only four issues from 1880, all held by the Arizona Historical Society. The American Antiquarian Society’s newspaper catalog (Clarence) lists no holdings of any sort from that year.


Toned, else excellent.