mountain echo fig leavesColumns History Local History 

The Mountain Echo Fig Leaf Editions

By Ronnie Trubek

18 year old newspaper model, Miss Helena Farrell, displays three issues of the Mountain Echo, the Boulder Creek newspaper, published November 11, 18, and 25, 1916. After the turn-of-the-century lumber boom collapsed, Luther McQuesten, the final publisher and editor, would not buy newsprint due to “the high cost of papers and the delinquency of quite a few subscribers.” McQuesten printed his paper on leaves he gathered in the forest and each issue contained legal advertisements and social notes as well as editorials. The “fig leaf” issues have been variously reported to have been printed on poplar, catalpa, alder, or cottonwood leaves and further reported to have been four issues, not just three. The Mountain Echo withered soon after the publication of the “fig leaf” issues.

mountain echo boulder creek newspaper
The Mountain Echo, Vol. XX, No. 50 – “Fig Leaf Edition” (
The Mountain Echo, Vol. XX, No. 52 – “Fig Leaf Edition” (Ronnie Trubek Collection)

An index to the Mountain Echo is available online at the Santa Cruz Public Library and a plastic-encased fig leaf issue may be viewed at the San Lorenzo Valley Museum.

Passionate about the history of Santa Cruz County, in her spare time you’ll find Ronnie Trubek participating in history classes, lectures, and walks around the county or at shows collecting maps, postcards, photos and other ephemera relating to our rich and diverse community. (Featured photo from the Ronnie Trubek Collection)

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