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A Brief History

The Tiny Tattler, "Canada's Smallest Newspaper" (originally it was 4" x 6" and was later expanded to 5½" x 8"), was founded by the late Ivan A Shortliffe in Central Grove, Digby County, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Its first issue appeared February 1, 1933 and was published until 1943.

By the time of it's last run July 1, 1943, the paper, the Tattler had become infamous for it's youthful perspective among it's readers.  It was widely circulated throughout Digby County and it's readership, an estimated 5 000 and up substantially from the original 18, spanned the globe with copies distributed in the southern United States, Europe and South Africa.

Death Threats

Throughout it's run, the Tattler covered events in Digby County, and later world events, "without fear or favor".  At one point, the two teenage friends behind the paper, Ivan Shortliffe and Rupert Cann, received death threats after the publication of a story exposing a rum-running operation.

Tiny Tattler - The Movie

The Tattler was the smallest newspaper in the world to receive government recognition and accepted as second class mail, meaning that it could be sent free of postage within a 40 mile radius.  A movie was even made in 1937 about the Tiny Tattler and was shown throughout the British Empire, including a special screening for King George VI and Queen (Mother) Elizabeth.

Post Tattler

Rupert Cann went on to settle in Texas and had long career as a hospital administrator.

Ivan Shortliffe continued in the newspaper industry after the final Tattler "went to bed".  He had a respected career with the Canadian Press and the Halifax Herald until his death in 1976.  This site is dedicated to his memory.

Special thanks to Margaret Shortliffe for providing information about Ivan and the Tattler that was essential in getting this site off the ground.


Excerpt from The Tiny Tattler (4" x 6" - sometime before 1939)


By Rupert E. Cann

One day as Ivan Shortliffe
Had nothing elso to do,
He went way up to Digby,
And his father went too.

He visited at the "Courier"
The Wallis Printers too,
And he was very much interested,
In the work they had to do.

But soon he started homeward
More slowly than he went,
Because he wished to stay with them
And play with type, and print.

And then on Christmas evening,
And now what do you think?
Along came a printing press
And also printer's ink.

And then upon his birthday,
Two trays oy type came down,
And not upon this Island
Could a happier boy be found.

He was so very happy,
He told it wher're he went,
And all he ever thought of,
was I have things to print!

He says, "I'll print a paper
Now what will be its name?
Oh yes! 'The Tiny Tattler' "
No other will he claim.

So now, all our dear readers
You have your tiny sheet,
But always please remember
Who put us on our feet.

(Editor's Note -- An extra word might be said in addition to the above original verses. We have now much more new type and equipment also given us by Mr. Wallis.)

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