It is well-known that the circus and theatre have the motto The show must go on. This means that the entertainment must continue what ever the problem. Although, as a whole, journalism does not have this motto, theirs could also be The show must go on.
A prime example is when a newspaper publisher ran out of paper to print his latest edition on, he found another suitable material to produce his current issue. This was ever so the fact during the American Civil War. The North had all the paper mills; Paper for stationery, envelopes and paper for printing newspapers. The South had the only wallpaper mills in the states. Due to blockades, the Confederacy often had difficulty obtaining paper to publish their newspapers. Having direct access to wallpaper, hundreds of Confederate newspaper editions were actually printed on wallpaper. The news was printed on the back side - the side that was pasted to the wall. The pattern side was not printed on. These special editions were only one page each. It is no surprise that since Louisiana had the most wallpaper mills, Louisiana produced the most newspaper editions on wallpaper.
The most famous Civil War wallpaper edition is the July 2, 1863 of the Daily Citizen, published in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Union capitulated Vicksburg on July 4. When some Union soldiers broke in to the newspaper office, they found the printing plate used to produce the July 2 issue. They changed the date from July 2 to July 4. Except for about two-thirds of one column, the text remained the same on both editions. Between the two editions it is estimated that fewer than 100 issues were produced bearing the July 2 and July 4 edition. After the Civil War ended the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was formed. This was for veterans., Much like the modern Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW.) There were literally a hundred different chapters of the GAR. Annual reunions were held for more than 50 years. It seems that at almost every reunion produced a reprint of this famous wallpaper edition. Thus, there were several hundred different reprints produced. This wallpaper edition is often found in antique shops or on Ebay. However, they are ALL reprints. The reprints have little collector value. Despite only about 100 originals produced, the collector value ranges between $3,000-$5,000.
The Civil War and blockades was not the only time newspapers were forced to issue an edition on paper other than the normal paper used.
The 1880's and 1890's also spawned several wallpaper editions. Fortunately, for history's sake, the editors saw fit to explain in a note in the editions why he was using wallpaper. The reasons varied from a blizzard to a quarantine cutting off their supply of regular paper. In 1881 there was a severe blizzard in the Dakota Territory which forced several editors to resort to publishing some editions of their newspaper on wallpaper instead of conventional paper. At this time no other wallpaper editions from this same blizzard are known, but it is probable that others do exist.
As a double-rarity, The Salem Register of May 5, 1881 noted above is the only known wallpaper edition of any era that printed the news on both the pattern side as well as the blank side.
The July 6, 1894 issue of The Whiting News, Whiting, Indiana, noted that the edition was being printed on wallpaper due to a railroad strike. (As a sign of just how creative an editor could get when his paper supply ran out, a 1916 edition of the same title was printed on roofing shingles! None of these have survived however - after the subscriber had read the edition, they likely used it for fire wood.)
In the January 19, 1895 wallpaper edition of The Weekly Tribune, Callaway, Nebraska, there is a note explaining that due to financial problems the editor was forced to use wallpaper.
The August 30, 1898 edition of the Feliciana Herald, Feliciana, Louisiana, was printed on wallpaper due to a quarantine extending to Memphis, Tennessee.