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Print Collection 12: The Trench Newspapers

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Le Pépère, April 21, 1916

"Have you ever sat in a trench in the middle of a battle and corrected proofs? Try it," wrote Captain F. J. Roberts, editor of the British trench newspaper The Wipers Times. The same combination of bitterness and humor in Roberts' words can be found in the hundreds of makeshift newspapers published by soldiers like Roberts during the war.

The improvised newsletters known as trench papers came about in part as a reaction to war reporting that reached the trenches from home. Official journalism often struck soldiers as inappropriate, since the controlled and self-censored press tended to produce confident, optimistic accounts that frequently misrepresented the war to home-front readers. In creating their own narratives of the war, soldiers saw a chance to satirize the press and to relieve the frustrations and fears that it brushed under the rug.

Trench newspapers were common in regiments across Europe. One hundred British papers and more than four hundred French ones are known to have been published. While some were simple penciled sheets reproduced with carbon paper, others were many-page publications made with printing presses, which soldiers sometimes came upon in the war-torn towns of France and Belgium. The Wipers Times, which appeared at different stages in its two-year history as The Kemmel Times, The Somme Times, The B.E.F. Times, and, after armistice, The Better Times, was made on a press found near Ypres (hence the paper's original name, a British mispronunciation of Ypres), which was later taken with the unit (the Twelfth Battalion Sherwood Foresters) when it moved. Due in part to a shortage of vowels in the type, only one page could be printed at a time, and issues were printed in editions of 100 or 200 copies. Their production was also constrained by the perpetual menace of bombardment. In the words of Captain Roberts, the paper was "produced when the air was generally full of shells... Often one had to stop writing an article in order to 'stand to.'"

The content of individual papers came from within the unit, inspired by daily events and inside jokes. Political satire was common, as were reviews of real and fictitious events, sham advertisements (for example, a "Cure for Optimism"), complaints and serialized stories. While these papers were most often intended for consumption within a single unit, they occasionally turned up far from the frontlines. In 1916, one issue of French trench paper Le Poilu du 37e was sold at a charity event in Boston for fifty francs.

The collection includes more than a hundred French trench papers (such as Le Pépère and Le Héraut) as well as newspapers in English and Arabic and German newspapers distributed as propaganda among Allied troops (such as America in Europe). See more about the trench papers in the Collection.




Call number Title Artists and Authors Date Size (cm) Notes
XS-012 Hommage de Reconnaissance... Pierre Chauvallon, Maurice Vannereau 1917 27.5 x 37.5 Publication dedicated to American benefactors of the Red Cross
XS-019 Le Pépère Jean Bastia, Andre Dahl et al. Apr. 21, 1916 25.8 x 33.6 French trench paper, 359th Infantry Regiment, Easter issue
XS-020 L'Esprit du Cor A. Roubille, Albert Vuillemot, Fernand Pastoul, E. Loeber, M. Radiguet Jul. 10, 1917 29.5 x 37 French trench paper, 66th Division
XS-070 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus Sept. 15, 1915 20.1 x 30 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-071 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus Oct. 15, 1915 20.1 x 30 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-072 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus Nov. 1, 1915 20.3 x 30.2 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-073 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus Nov. 15, 1915 20 x 30.2 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-074 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus Dec. 1915 20.5 x 30.2 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-075 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus Jan. 1916 20.1 x 31 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-076 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus Feb. 1916 20.2 x 30.9 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-077 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus May-June, 1916 20.2 x 31 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-078 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus July-Dec. 1916 20 x 31 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-079 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus Jan.-July, 1917 20 x 31 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-080 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus Aug.-Oct., 1917 19.8 x 31.2 French trench paper, Engineering Corps
XS-083 The Mess Kit June, 1919 24.5 x 31.5 American Expeditionary Forces paper
S-002 America in Europe Sept. 30, 1918 32 x 42.5 German propaganda paper directed at American soldiers
S-003 America in Europe Aug. 5, 1918 32 x 42.5 German propaganda paper directed at American soldiers
S-093 L'Echo de Tranchéesville Pierre Schlack, Gil Merren, Octave Pradels Nov. 16, 1916 31.1 x 45 French trench paper, 258th Brigade, N. 28
S-094 Bleutinent Viérus, P. Lacroix, L. David Oct. 1, 1916 28 x 44.8 French trench paper, Bleutinent N. 24
S-095 Le Paix-Pere Dec. 25, 1916 26.3 x 38 French trench paper, 359th infantry regiment. Christmas edition of XS-019, N. 40
S-096 La Musette A. Bessard, Guy d'Abzac, Capitaine Naéguellé n.d. 28 x 37.4 Litterary supplement to Le Poilu of the 37th Infantry Regiment, N. 1
S-097 Le Midi au Front G. Gaulène, P. Jalabert May 25, 1916 27.9 x 38 French paper, 296th Infantry Regiment. N. 8
S-098 Le Poilu sans Poil D'Hauterives n.d. 28 x 38 French trench paper, 9th Battalion of 23rd Regiment of Infantry. N. 15
S-099 Le Lapin à Plumes Marcel Jeanjean May, 1915 27.9 x 37.5 Illustrated supplement to Canard Poilu, N. 9
S-100 Le Poilu du 6-9 Georges Legey, Georges Bateau, Marcel Jeanjean, Pierre Chapelle March, 1917 26.7 x 38.8 French trench paper, the 69th de ligne, N. 8
S-101 l'Image 1917 32.4 x 33.4 Illustrated two-sided sheet with anti-German cartoons. N. 21
S-102 Poil... et Plume Gabriel Boissy Oct. 1916 39.3 x 44.9 French trench paper, the 81st infantry regiment, N. 4
S-103 On les aura André Soriac, R. Bacard April 15, 1917 32.6 x 44.2 French trench paper, the 279th Territorial Regiment, N. 5
S-104 Boum! Voila! Emile Pagèt, P. de Wasthol, Lucie Delarue-Mardrus, Francis Vareddes April 4, 1916 28.4 x 43.7 French trench paper, contributors from various regiments, N. 2
S-105 Grenadia J. de Clarfont, André Ferrières, Dehaye Nov. 17, 1916 30.7 x 44.4 French trench paper of the 41st [...], N. 6
S-106 Le Poilu V. Gonnet, Georges Frankel, Louis Despax et. al July, 1917 30.5 x 44.6 French paper, various contributors, N. 35
S-107 Face aux Boches Illustré D. Frénnoud (?) Feb. 1917 27.3 x 35.9 Illustrated supplement to Face aux Boches, 7th Company of the 76th Territorial Regiment, N. 16
S-150 Le Poilu du 37è A. Michel-André, E. Morisot, Francis Salabert 1916 32.3 x 25.2 French trench paper, the 37th de Ligne. No. 10. Reference to le Bochophage (S-155)
S-151 Face aux Boches Louis Drouet, Auguste Praneuf Dec. 1916 25.8 x 33.2 French trench paper, 7th Company of the 76th Territorial Regiment, N. 14
S-152 Face aux Boches Illustré D. Frénnoud (?) Dec. 1916 26.3 x 35.3 Illustrated supplement to Face aux Boches, 7th Company of the 76th Territorial Regiment
S-153 Rigolboche P. J. Poitevin, Lt. R. Brès, Jules Pech, A. Lafont n.d. 20.1 x 30.5 French trench paper, 20th Brigade, dedicated to marraines de guerre
S-154 Le Bochofage G. Colombani, Henri Alibedt, André Charpentier Dec. 25, 1916 24.8 x 32.6 French trench paper, 6th Company of the 68th Infantry, N. 5
S-155 Le Mouchoir Louis Schem, J. Sesage, Ch. Vilpelle Dec. 25, 1916 24 x 31 French trench paper, Mouchoir N. 41
S-156 A La Fourchette Oct. 1916 23.3 x 35.7 French trench paper, the 9th - 2 - 43.6
S-157 Les Tablettes d'un Poilu Jean Dur, Rapin Sept. 1916 11.5 x 18.1 French trench paper, 6th Company of the 133rd [...]
S-158 Le Cafard Enchainé H. Villaume, Jean Roit Dec. 25, 1916 24.6 x 31.8 French trench paper, the 226th [...]
S-159 Marmita M. P. Courcel, Paul Clérouc, R. Diligent Dec. 15, 1915 24.1 x 32.5 French trench paper, the 267th Infantry Regiment. N. 17
S-160 L'Echo des Guitounes Pilé, Lemercier de Maisoncelle July 31, 1916 20.2 x 28.1 French trench paper, 144th de ligne, under management of Face aux Boches. N. 25
S-161 L'Artilleur Déchainé A. Ostermann, A. Praneuf, Chancy, David Aug. 15, 1916 21.9 x 28.1 French trench paper, 70th Battery of the 11th Regiment of Artillery à pied. No. 21
S-162 La Bourguignotte Albert Muhlemann, André Schwab, Eugène Piron April, 1916 22.2 x 27.4 French trench paper, the 227th de ligne. N. 8
S-163 La Premiere Ligne G. Biolier, René Girard, Racine Carrée n.d. 20.9 x 27.1 French trench paper, the 78th Battery of the 3rd [...], N. 2
S-164 Le Poilu A. Comtes, B. Teulée Sept. 30, 1915 21.5 x 26.5 French trench paper, the 303th Infantry Regiment. N. 10
S-165 Nos Filleuls D.-M. Bergey Jan. 1917 20.5 x 26.7 Boreaux newspaper connected with Le Poilu St. Emilionnais (S-167). No. 2.
S-166 Le Poilu St. Emilionnais D.-M. Bergey, Paul Saby, Hubert Chagneau, K. Lotin Dec. 2, 1915 20.3 x 27 French trench paper of the Pigouil soldiers. No. 9
S-167 Le Son du Cor Sergent A.B.C.D. et al. Jan. 1916 18.6 x 26.9 French trench paper, Chasseurs à Pied, N. 9. Contributors from various units
S-168 Le Tortillard Nov. 10, 1916 36.3 x 22.9 French trench paper, Battery of le chemin de fer
S-169 l'Anti-Cafard Dec. 1916 18.4 x 23 French trench paper, l'Anti Cafard N. 21
S-170 La Petite Marmite Tirefeu n.d. 17.9 x 23 French trench paper, 6th battery of the 53rd [...], N. 25
S-171 Le Tords-Boyaux n.d. 15.5 x 20 French trench paper, 413th Machine-gunners
S-172 Carnel de la Semaine d'un Poilu Jan. 22, 1917 16.3 x 25.2 French trench paper, "3 du 2 98T"
S-173 La Voix du 75 G. Pennel, Chollet April 1916 14 x 22 French trench paper, First Group of the 62nd Artillery Regiment
S-174 Les Rigolos Potimier Feb. 15, 1917 18.3 x 23.1 French trench paper, 116th Battery of the 103rd Infantry Regiment
S-175 Le Souvenir Jean des Vignes Rouges, Fernand Gregh, Michel Missoffe, André Laphin, Charles Dornier Nov. 1916 23.3 x 33 French trench paper, contributors from various units, N. 11
S-176 Le 120 Court Paul Broise, Grand Benêt Fils March 13, 1916 25 x 32.7 French trench paper, Battalion of Chasseurs. N. 14
S-177 l'Ancre Rouge Gabriel Gasc, F. de Prayols July 9, 1916 24.3 x 31 French trench paper, 9th Battalion of the 6th Colonial. N. 6
S-178 Le Canard du Boyau P. Goursat, R. Petel, G. Coroyer Sept. 1916 25.2 x 32.6 French trench paper, 74th Regiment of Infantry. N. 8
S-179 Le Canard Poilu Pierre Chapelle, Hunyadi Janos, Laprote-Dugué March 1, 1916 25.1 x 32.6 French trench paper, Postal sector 127. N. 54
S-180 Le Klaxon A. Samuel, Jean Ménil, Sylvain Toussant Dec. 1916 25.1 x 32.3 French trench paper, 367th Regiment of Infantry. N. 12
S-181 L'Echo des Gourbis J. Cazes, Ernest Lafont April 12, 1915 21.2 x 32.7 French trench paper, 131st Regiment of Infantry Territoriale de Campagne. N. 2
S-182 L'Echo du Boyau René Delmas May 15, 1916 25 x 32.4 French trench paper, the 214th [...], No. 8
S-183 Le Camouflet François Cancel, Sendrou, Franz Oct. 15, 1916 25.1 x 32.4 French trench paper, 7th Engineering, Company 15/7. N. 7
S-184 La Fusée Lt. de Bouillé May 5, 1916 25.1 x 32.7 French trench paper, 252nd Regiment of Infantry. N. 7
S-185 L'Etoupille Aug. 8, 1916 32.5 x 25.1 French trench paper
S-186 Le Poilu Marmité L. Vergnaud, Albert Payand Nov. 20, 1916 24.7 x 34.8 French trench paper, the 133rd Regiment at the front. N. 33
S-187 Poilu-Noël L. Vergnaud, Albert Payand Dec. 20, 1916 25.4 x 33 French trench paper, Christmas supplement to Le Poilu Marmité (S-186). 133rd Regiment at the front. N. 35
S-188 Le Plus-que-Torial G. Linconnu, F. de Lille March 15, 1916 24.9 x 32.6 French trench paper, the 342nd Territorial Regiment. N. 3
S-189 Le Sac à Terre et... Raoul Pradel, S.Tray, Ignotus Oct. 1916 25 x 32.6 French trench paper, 61st Battalion of Chasseurs à pied. N. 70
S-190 Télé-Mail André Igon, Paul Gateaud, Pière Colombier, A. Lecomte March 16, 1916 24.3 x 33 French trench paper, the telegraphists and fortification specialists en Campagne. N. 7
S-191 Titis & Totos Dec. 20, 1916 25.1 x 33.2 French trench paper, 157th Regiment of Infantry. N. 32
S-192 Le Ver Luisant Francis Salabert, Gypé, Jean Poincignon June 1916 24.3 x 31.6 French trench paper, 68th section of floodlight operators of the 6th engineering unit. N. 9
S-193 La Vie Poilusienne Georges Crouzet, Pierre Causse April 1916 25 x 32.3 French trench paper, 142nd Infantry Regiment, N. 4
S-194 Lettres d'un Poilu H. Paul n.d. 22.9 x 36.2 French trench paper, 11th Company 106/3, N. 3
S-195 L'Echo des Cagnas Dec. 15, 1916 22.8 x 35.6 French trench paper, 333rd Infantry Regiment machine gun company, N. 36
S-196 Le Grospère J. Diot Sept. 1916 22.8 x 36 French trench newspaper, unillustrated
S-197 Le Pouds des tranchées 1917 23.1 x 36.5 French trench paper, 133rd Infantry Regiment
S-198 Le Mouchoir de Boche Dec. 10, 1916 22.8 x 35.7 French trench paper, 3rd Company of 227th Infantry Regiment
S-199 Notre Rire n.d. 23.2 x 35.9 French trench paper, 3rd Artillery Regiment
S-200 Le Petit Echo G. Morin, Géfiel, G. Labrunie March 11, 1917 23.4 x 37.3 French trench paper, 18th Territorial. N. 122
S-201 L'Écho des Tranchées Le Grignoux May 10, 1916 21.1 x 32.8 French trench paper, 17th Territorial. N. 44
S-202 Le Crapouillot André Warnod, Michel de Brunoff, Jean Galtier-Boissière, E. Galtier-Boissière June 1917 21.4 x 30.1 Newspaper of Jean Galtier-Boissière published for soldiers and civilians. N. 1
S-203 Le Dernier Bateau J. J. Roussau, P. Frédus July-Dec. 1916 20.3 x 31.2 French trench paper, Engineering Corps. Duplicate of XS-075
S-204 La Ligature Ferrey, Maran, J. E. Auclair Dec. 15, 1916 20.1 x 31 French trench paper, 1st Section of 8th Engineering Unit. N. 10
S-205 l'Echo du Boqueteau A. Boudon July 1916 19.8 x 30.7 French trench paper, l'Echo du Boqueteau N. 32
S-206 La Guerre Joviale André Rosmond May 1917 21.2 x 31.2 French trench paper, 370th Infantry Regiment. N. 25
S-207 La Premiere Ligne E. Gougerot, L. Barbier, A. Villemot Dec. 1, 1916 20.9 x 31.3 French trench paper, date corrected to 1915. 78th Battery of the 3rd [...]. N. 9
S-208 Les Poilus de la 9è Candide, Laroustoc, Juliette Claroux July 11, 1915 19.8 x 30.9 French trench paper, 9th Company of 69th Chasseurs à pied. N. 14
S-209 La Mitraille Oct. 13, 1916 20.1 x 30.7 French trench paper, a machine gun unit, N. 1
S-210 La Marmite Pasquier, Chenu-Lafitte Sept. 1916 20.8 x 31.4 French trench paper, 160th and 360th Infantry Regiments, N. 11
S-211 Le Péca n.d. 19.8 x 31.2 French trench paper, Stretcher-bearer unit
S-212 La Saucisse François-Oswald Aug. 1916 21.2 x 30.7 French trench paper, 205th Infantry Regiment. N. 9
S-213 Le Tadebalgues Jan. 10, 1917 20 x 31.1 French trench paper, illustrated
S-214 Le Schrapnell July 15, 1915 20.3 x 31.1 French trench paper, Le Schrapnell N. 5
S-215 La Vie Chère à Berlin n.d. 20 x 30.3 French trench paper, 115th Company of [...] Unit
S-216 Les Quat'z'Arts du Front Paul Bisch, Albert Arnaud July 25,1916 20.2 x 31 French trench paper, A. 16/27. N. 6
S-217 Ya Bon April 25, 1917 23.6 x 30.5 French trench paper. Ya Bon N. 12
S-218 La Revue du Front et le Souvenir Jean des Vignes Rouges, P.J. Poitevin, Maurice Allou, J. Delorme-Jules Simon Feb. 1917 23.7 x 32.4 Contributors from war writers and members of various units. N. 14
S-219 Le Filon Octave Aubert, Auguste Delfau, J. Serenne March 20, 1917 24.7 x 32.6 French trench paper, 34th Division
S-220 Brise d'Entonnoirs Pince Sans-Rire, Louis Abric Feb. 1917 25.6 x 32.6 French trench paper, 82nd Infantry Regiment. N. 8
S-221 L'Écho Côtier May 1, 1917 25.6 x 32.5 French trench paper, Marine unit, N. 5
S-222 Le Gafouilleur Stein, Baudry Jan. 15, 1917 25.2 x 32.7 French trench paper, 12th Cuirassiers, First Squadron of machine gunners. N. 19
S-223 La Mitraille Raphaël Cler, Raoul Beauchamp, Fernand Sernada March-April, 1917 24.7 x 32.3 War publication of Raphaël Cler. Managed by soldiers and civilians. N. 14 and 15
S-224 Bombes et Pétards March 1, 1917 23.2 x 18.4 French trench paper, Trench-mortar operators in sector 192
S-225 L'Echo des Dunes Georges Gouaux, Henri Mass April 1917 21.9 x 27.9 French trench paper, 51st Artillery Regiment. N. 10
S-226 Le Bavardar de l'A.O. Aug. 18, 1917 21 x 26.8 Trench publication of l'Armée d'Orient. N. 1
S-227 L'Echo des Marmites Lucien Boyer, Grissotin, Jules R. Hervé April 25, 1917 21 x 27 French trench paper, 221st Infantry Regiment. N. 19
S-228 Taca Tac Teuf Teuf Edouard Sené, Del Marle, F. Désert, Harmel Jan. 15, 1917 25.3 x 34.1 French trench paper or several groups of armoured car operators. N. 1
S-229 Le Pastis Tomasi Sauveur June 25, 1916 24 x 30.6 Trench publication founded in response to l'Ancre Rouge (S-178). N. 1
M-092 Le rire aux éclats Maurice Devriés, Bethmann-Hollweg Jan. 1917 37.6 x 49.6 French trench paper of [...] Infantry Regiment. N. 7
M-093 Le Héraut: Echos du Camp de Zossen Leon Niémack, Eugene Dienne, Luc Fichtner ct. 18, 1914 31.7 x 47.5 Newspaper written by POWs in Zossen. N. 1
M-094 Le Tord-Boyau Maurice Vittone, Henri Daroust, Louis Latapie July, 1917 31.2 x 46.4 French trench paper produced by members of 15th and 80th Infantry Regiments. N. 11
M-095 L'Horizon Emile Laport, Bernard Naudin, J. Delorme-Jules Simon, Robert Vallery-Radot n.d. 29.8 x 45.7 French trench paper, from Postal sector 12. Naudin illustrations. N. 6
M-096 Le Diable au Cor G. R. D. Mac Grégor, Gordon-Biquefort, Julien Damoy May 1, 1917 32 x 48 French trench paper, 47th Division of Chasseurs alpins. N. 36
M-097 Akhbār Al-Harb April 20, 1917 32.8 x 49 Algerian war newspaper. Akhbār Al-Harb No. 139. News of Italian and Russian fronts, War in the Air, etc.

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