Leadville had many newspapers in the early 1880s. Six of those newspapers began publication in 1879 or 1880 not long after Leadville incorporated. Each newspaper used variations of their names. Late in 1885, four of the newspapers merged (Leadville Daily Herald, Leadville Weekly Herald, Leadville Democrat, and Leadville Weekly Democrat) to become a new paper called The Herald Democrat at the start of 1886. Besides the merged newspaper, two additional newspapers remained going into the 1900s. The Herald Democrat still exists today with small weekly papers.
With the widespread use of the printing press, dissemination of news locally became easier and more accessible. By the late 1800s, any small town could have a local newspaper. Leadville started with six newspapers and, with those earliest editions, advertisements were a fundamental feature. A printer manually assembled every article, every advertisement, and every page until publishers started using computers to lay out newspapers about a century later.
The printer hand placed and assembled backwards each letter, line, and decorative element on the page. These pages needed to be backwards because the press printed in reverse, creating a mirror image on the paper. Articles that were mainly text were straightforward to assemble. However, advertisements that were more complex took more care to create. Once made however, the publishers often used the same ads for weeks until the businesses wanted different layouts.