The Sunday Paper, 1888-1922


by Sandra Gabriele and Paul S. Moore, forthcoming from University of Illinois Press, History of Communication Series.

What’s in The Sunday Paper?

  • a newsreel
  • a cut-out toy
  • a serial novel
  • a radio on wheels
  • a collectible poster
  • an election-night festival
  • a color comic supplement
  • a glossy, pictorial magazine
  • sensational, illustrated features
  • pages of ads for department stores
  • program listings for sports, theatre, film, and radio
  • an endless series of contests (guess how many ads are in the classified section!)

It has all of these things … and more. The Sunday Paper recounts the history of the illustrated, weekend newspaper in North America from the origins of the form in the 1890s to its relation with film and radio in subsequent decades.

The Sunday Paper traces the intermedial history of newspaper weekend editions between 1888 and 1922. Weekend newspapers borrowed from and collaborated with magazines, moving pictures, radio and other media, transforming the familiar process of news-reading into a wide range of new types of media consumption. The newspaper aspired to be more than just ink on paper, attempting to position itself at the center of the changing media landscape of modernity.

The weekend paper was a visual medium that transformed journalism’s written texts into a form distinct from the weekday news. This book traces the role of the newspaper in the emergence of popular culture and mass media by focusing on many different types of supplements that began to appear in weekend newspapers over the turn of the century. Via this startlingly innovative but often-overlooked media form, American journalism stewarded consumer society and found its own economic engine, appealing to mass readerships and mass market advertisers alike. Through Sunday editions (in the U.S.) and Saturday papers (in Canada), readers became spectators and readerships became audiences.