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A newspaper produced by prisoners at Waupun, 1886

The Prison Press.

This first issue, dated Jan. 5, 1886, is the only copy of a newspaper describing itself as "... the first and only printed sheet ever owned, edited, published and sent forth to the world, by prisoners confined within the walls of a penitentiary." It was edited by a prisoner named George L. Wooten, about whom nothing else is known. Its four pages provide a unique glimpse into 19th-century prison life in Wisconsin. Whether any more issues were ever printed has not been discovered; no others appear to survive in libraries. These digital images were made from an undated photocopy; the original paper copy probably deteriorated beyond repair sometime in the 20th century, when the photocopy was made. For more information on the same subject, see the entry "prisons in Wisconsin" in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History.

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Related Topics: Territory to Statehood
The Founding of Social Institutions
Creator: Wooten, George, ed.
Pub Data: Waupun, Wis.: [Wisconsin State Prison], 1886; Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 5, 1886). From a photocopy in the Wisconsin Historical Society Library, call no.: Pamphlet 01- 10732
Citation: The Prison Press. (Waupun, Wis. : [Wisconsin State Prison], Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 5, 1886); Online facsimile at:; Visited on: 4/19/2014
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