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An original four-page, two -sheet December 13th 1880 issue of The Tombstone Epitaph newspaper published 10 months before the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Coral.

The paper has been removed from a bound volume and the original binding holes are visible. This is not an issue that was cut out of a bond volume with the two sheets archivaly reattached. Although there is minor paper loss along the top and bottom of the center fold the two sheets remain securely attached to one another in the middle.

The paper is toned and brittle but can be safely handled due to the application of archival document mending tissue along a portion of the margins. The photos were taken with a bright photography lamp and appear brighter than the original pages

The Tombstone Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThis article includes a list of generalreferences, butit lacks sufficient correspondinginline citations.Please help toimprovethis article byintroducingmore precise citations.(November 2010)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)The Tombstone EpitaphTypeMonthly JournalFormatNewspaperOwner(s)Tombstone Epitaph, Inc.EditorMark BoardmanFoundedMay 1, 1880LanguageEnglishHeadquartersThe Tombstone Epitaph, P.O. Box 1880, Tombstone, AZ removed by ]

The Tombstone Epitaphis aTombstone,Arizona, monthly publication that covers the history and culture of the Old West. Founded in January 1880 (with its first issue published on Saturday May 1, 1880), it is the oldest continually published newspaper in Arizona.


The Epitaphlong has been noted for its coverage of the infamousGunfight at the O.K. Corralon October 26, 1881, and its continuing research interest inWyatt Earp,Doc Hollidayand their outlaw adversaries theCochise County Cowboys. In 2005, it presented for the first time a sketch of the O.K. Corral gunfight hand-drawn by Wyatt Earp shortly before his death.[1]

Clum and hisEpitaph[edit]

John Clumwas no stranger to southern Arizona when he decided to relocate from Tucson to Tombstone in 1880. In Tucson, Clum had published theTucson Citizen, another landmark Arizona newspaper. Prior to taking over theCitizen, Clum had been the U. S. government appointee in charge of theSan Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. While there, Clum had the distinction of being the only U.S. authority to captureGeronimo, the renegade Apache, although he was later released. He did not finally surrender to the U.S. Army until 1886, bringing theApache Warsperiod to an end.

Chided by associates who said he would write an epitaph and not a newspaper, Clum was inspired to call his new publicationThe Tombstone Epitaph. Setting a tone followed by several subsequent owners and editors, Clum sang Tombstone's praises when he launched what he initially saw as a mining journal. As mayor of Tombstone and publisher of its Republican paper (the rivalItalic Nuggetprovided theDemocratic counterpoint), Clum was among the group of townspeople who supported the Earp brothers as they attempted to enforce law and order in Tombstone in the early 1880s. Tensions between the factions—the Earps and the "cowboys"—escalated to a violent showdown near theO.K. Corralin 1881. In an explosion of gunfire, the Earps and their eclectic friend, Doc Holliday, killed three young cowboys—Frank and Tom McClaury and Billy Clanton. Personal, professional and political disagreements found their outlet on that cold October afternoon, producing an event that continues to inspire historical research and debate.

Although an inquest into the shootout determined the shootings were justified, public opinion in Tombstone was with theoutlaw Cowboys. The Earps soon left Tombstone, as did Clum, who traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept employment with the U.S. Post Office. Ownership ofThe Epitaphfell to former political adversaries.

After Clum left,The Epitaphremained a going concern, though it could never regain the standing it had prior to 1886, the year Tombstone's silver boom began to crumble as silver prices fell and the mines filled with water. Subsequent editors predicted a return to the heady days of the 1880s, but such a turnaround in the town's financial fortunes never occurred.

Tombstone's future seemed tied to its relatively mild desert climate, the emergence of automobile tourism in the 1920s, and its sometimes violent history. Such were the elements that underlay Tombstone's first Helldorado celebration in 1929—an event orchestrated by one of Tombstone's greatest boosters, editor William Kelly. But soon Kelly was gone andThe Epitaphpassed into new hands as it continued to cover local news and take on job printing from area clients.

Television Westerns[edit]

The Epitaphand its editor (referred to as "Harris Claibourne") were prominently featured in many episodes of thetelevision WesternseriesTombstone Territory, which aired from 1957 through 1960. (The actual editor at that time, Clayton A. Smith, was credited for his "full cooperation" at the end of many episodes).[2]In addition, the rivalry betweenThe EpitaphandThe Nuggetwas featured in a 1959 episode of the TV Western seriesThe Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, which also devoted an episode to "Fighting Editor" John Clum the following year.

A new era in the Old West[edit]

By the early 1960s, popular interest in Old West history and western vacations put Tombstone, Arizona, on the map once again. Led by Harold O. Love, of Detroit, Mich., investors purchasedThe Epitaph, the O. K. Corral, the Crystal Palace, and Schieffelin Hall, and set about to showcase them to Tombstone visitors. As more and moreEpitaphvisitors expressed interest in learning more about Tombstone and Old West history, the newspaper owners decided to split the paper into 2 separate editions—a national historical monthly and a local weekly newspaper. In doing so, the owners felt they could serve the interests of visitors and residents at the same time.

In 1975,The Tombstone EpitaphNational Edition was launched as "the historical monthly journal of the Old West." Since that time, it has showcased the research of western writers and historians with stories devoted to western exploration, mining and ranching history, outlaw and lawman history, Native American history, the U. S. Army and warfare in the West, western women, frontier photography, and western personalities, among other topics. Named a national journalistic landmark by Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists, the monthly journal reaches an international audience.

Publication[edit]Cover of the December 31, 1922 edition.

The national historical monthly is published by Tombstone Epitaph, Inc., an Arizona corporation. In addition to publishing the historical monthly,The Epitaphoffice in Tombstone's historical district welcomes visitors from 9:30a.m. and 5 p.m. daily. Inside of Tombstone's oldest continually operated business, visitors can watch a free video presentation on printing in the 1880s, view a Washington flat bed press on which early issues ofThe Epitaphwere printed, explore a large museum devoted to the era of "hot metal" printing, see rare photographs and other early Tombstone newspapers, and learn much about the life ofJohn Philip Clum, the frontiersman who startedThe Epitaphafter Tombstone burst on the western mining scene after silver was discovered by Ed Schieffelin in 1877.

Subscriptions – $25 in the U.S. and $50 elsewhere—can be started by visitingThe Epitaph'swebsite[3]or by writing toThe Tombstone Epitaph, P.O. Box 1880, Tombstone, AZ 85638.

In 1975, Tombstone Epitaph, Inc. reached an agreement with theUniversity of ArizonaJournalism Department to continue publication of the local edition, which circulates in Tombstone. The local edition was produced by journalism students on a biweekly basis during the academic year until 2018.[4]

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