Rhode Island Reading Room
These documents are made available free to the public by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project

"The Printer and the Press"

by H. P. Smith (Chapter V)


State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at the End of the Century

Vol. II, pp. 563 - 611, Ed. Edward Field, A. B.

Boston & Syracuse: The Mason Publishing Company, 1902.

The Board of Trade Journal made its first appearance in November, 1889, with Little & Bosworth, proprietors.  It was the official organ of the Providence Board of Trade and supplied information of interest in the commercial, manufacturing, and financial circles of the city.  The paper was continued until March, 1893.  Two months later J. D. Hall & Co. began the publication of the Providence Journal of Commerce, of which Mr. Hall was editor; subsequently the Journal of Commerce Company was formed, with Mr. Hall at first as editor and later as business manager.  Mr. Robert Grieve succeeded Mr. Hall as editor.  In February, 1899, the paper was sold to the Providence Board of Trade, the title was changed to the Board of Trade Journal, and George H. Webb, secretary of the board, became the editor.  The publication is now called the Journal of Commerce and Board of Trade Journal.  With the exception of a short interval, Charles Bosworth has been connected with this publication from the beginning, and much of the credit for its artistic appearance and general mechanical excellence is due to his efforts.

The Independent Citizen was the name of a weekly paper, started in Providence on January 5, 1889, with Rev. John H. Larry, editor, and the Independent Citizen Publishing Company, publishers.  The general purpose of the paper was reform in a broad sense and independent expression on political topics.  Mr. Larry continued to edit the paper until September, 1895, when he was succeeded by W. H. S. Pittenger.  He was soon followed by E. N. Casey.  The paper was continued to January, 1898, having been published during the latter part of its existence by a stock company.

The Medical literature of Providence has included three or more periodicals which have ably represented the interests of the profession.  Rhode Island Medical Science was the name of a monthly publication, which was established in January, 1893, and continued two years.  It was at once succeeded by the Atlantic Medical Weekly, which continued to 1898.  The Providence Medical Journal, a quarterly, was established in January, 1900, and continues in existence.

An addition to the permanent daily press of Providence was made by the founding of the Providence Daily News on September 21, 1891, headed with the printed claim that it was to be 'a clean family paper'.  Heaton, Langtry & Co. were the publishers and the office was located at the corner of Dyer and Pine streets.  On October 6, 1891, The Providence News Company became the owner of the business, the names of R. W. Bryant, publisher, and C. W. Bacon, editor, appearing under the editorial heading; S. A. Hopkins was business manager.  On September 22, 1897, J. W. Watson became the publisher and manager, and Charles H. Howland, editor; the latter was succeeded by Charles P. Towle, who was followed by the present editor, Thomas H. McElroy.  Others who were associated with the business management of the paper are Torry E. Wardner, R. W. Jennings, Charles Carroll, and George Lockhart Darte, the present incumbent of the position.  In January, 1898, the title of the corporation was changed to the Providence News Publishing Company, of which D. Russell Brown is treasurer, and R. W. Jennings secretary.  The News has gained a fair measure of popular favor.

The L'Eco del Rhode Island has been published, in the interest of the Italian people of Providence, by Federico Curzio & Co. since 1897.  A Providence edition of Skandinavia, a Swedish paper , the headquarters of which are in Worcester, was edited by C. J. Ljungstrom; it was established in 1885.  Svea is the name of a Swedish weekly paper, with headquarters in Worcester; the Providence branch was established January 1, 1900.  It is in charge of J. S. Osterberg.  The Providence Watchman was started in November, 1900, and is issued from the Star printing office.  Rev. W. S. Holland is editor; the paper is devoted to religious affairs and the interests of colored people.

The list of religious, educational and strictly literary publications that have been founded in Providence is, like that of secular and news journals described, a long one.  A very large majority of these had only brief periods of existence and many are deserving of notice only for reference; a few only became permanent institutions and influential in their adopted fields.  The Religious Intelligencer or Christian Monitor was probably the first paper devoted to religious affairs in Providence; it was issued weekly from the office of the American, in quarto form, by James D. Knowles, and failed for want of support at the end of six months.  The first number was dated May 13, 1820.

In May, 1821, Barber Badger revived it with the title abridged to Religious Intelligencer, which, after a few numbers, was changed to the Rhode Island Religious Intelligencer.  In May, 1823, the form was changed to folio and enlarged, the title was made the Religious Intelligencer and Evening Gazette, and it so continued for about one year.

The Rhode Island Baptist was established in October, 1823, as a monthly, by Allen Brown, and was printed by John Miller; it survived one year.  The Christian Telescope was started August 7, 1824, and was edited by Rev. David Pickering, of the First Universalist church; Barzillai Cranston was the publisher, and later John S. Greene.  In August, 1826, the paper was enlarged to eight pages and given the customary comprehensive title of The Christian Telescope and Universalist  Miscellany.  In December, 1826, F. C. Swain was associated in the publication with Mr. Greene, and from that date to September, 1827, it was printed by Cranston & Marshall; from the latter date Mr. Greene was the printer.  In November, 1828, the paper was changed to folio form and the title still further extended to The Christian Telescope and Friday Morning General Intelligencer; it was discontinued in the following year.  Jacob Frieze was associated with Mr. Pickering in the editorial work for a time.  In opposition to the journal The Anti-Universalist, begun in 1827, with Origen Bachelor, editor and publisher, was removed to Boston in December, 1828, and there suspended.

A religious journal that received considerable favor and lived about fifteen years was The Hopkinsian Magazine, published by Hugh H. Brown and edited by Otis Thompson, from 1824 to 1840.  The Free Will Baptist Magazine was established in May, 1826, as a quarterly; it was made a monthly in May, 1828, and suspended in 1830.  It was printed at different periods by Barzillai Cranston, James B. Yerrington, and Marshall & Hammond; Zalmon Tobey was the editor.  The Religious Messenger was established July 2, 1825, with Origen Bachelor, editor, until January, 1826, and then by a committee of the Rhode Island State Convention to August 12, 1826.  James N. Seaman then took charge and was followed the next year by William Goodell.  The paper was a weekly and was discontinued in 1828.

The Gospel Preacher had an existence of a year, beginning December, 1827, with David Pickering, editor, and John S. Greene, publisher; it was a Universalist journal.  One number only of The Union Conference Magazine was issued in August, 1829, by Rev. Ray Potter, Free Will Baptist.  During 1831 Rev. David Benedict published and edited The Rhode Island Journal and Sunday School and Bible Class Advocate, taking the honors in competition for extended titles.  One number only of the Sunday School Herald was issued April 26, 1832.  Joseph A. Whitmarsh published The Light in 1835, but it was very soon extinguished.  A rival of this journal was called More Light, by Jacob Frieze, which also soon flickered out.  The Samaritan, a temperance paper, had an existence of about two years, first as a weekly and then semi-monthly, beginning November 10, 1841; Samuel S. Ashley and Thomas Tew were editors.

The Gospel Messenger, devoted 'to theoretical and practical religion and morality', was established November 28, 1840, and edited by Zephaniah Baker until January, 1842.  He was associated with S. P. Landers form that date to January, 1843, and they were successively followed by A. A. Davis, Harvey Bacon and D. B. Harris; it was a weekly journal, supporting Universalist doctrine.  A religious paper called John the Baptist was started in 1840, edited by John Tillinghast and published by Benjamin T. Albro, advocating the Six Principle Baptist creed; three years later it was removed to Pawtucket.

The Christian Soldier was a fortnightly publication started February 18, 1842, with J. Whittemore and T. H. Bachelor, editors, and Hugh H. Brown, printer.  It was a Free Will Baptist advocate, and in November, 1842, was issued from Pawtucket as well as from Providence.  J. W. Holman and W. Colegrove became associate editors.  In September, 1843, Providence and Boston are given as the publication offices, and in December of that year the title was changed to the Rose of Sharon and Lily of the Valley.  It is not known how long the paper continued.  Another paper of similar character, called the Free Will Baptist Quarterly, was published from 1835 to 1856, in Providence, and was later removed to Dover, N. H.

A Catholic religious journal, of greater permanence than any of the foregoing, was established in 1875 by Rt. Rev. Thomas F. Hendricken, D. D., Bishop of the Diocese of Providence, and named The Weekly Visitor.  It was at first a small three column folio, but it soon gained a large circulation in this and adjoining States.  At the close of the first year it was purchased by Dr. Michael T. Walsh, of the Morning Star staff, was enlarged, and its scope was broadened to include current topics of importance.  The circulation rapidly increased, and within a few years a plant was purchased and two editions printed -- The Weekly Visitor going chiefly outside of Providence, and the Sunday edition into local circulation.  In 1881 The Visitor Company was formed, and subsequently the two editions were amalgamated under the title, The Providence Visitor.  The paper is now published by the Providence Visitor Publishing Company, of which the Very Rev. T. F. Doran is president; Rev. T. L. Kelly, editor and treasurer; Rev. J. C. Tennian, secretary; W. F. Kenefick, business manager.

The Voice of Truth was started in 1864 by J. H. Lonsdale and was continued nearly ten years.  The publisher announced that it would be supplied gratis unless the reader was anxious to pay 50 cents per annum for it.  The Living Christian had a short existence in 1873, with D. Schindler, editor.  The Church Union was published during the year 1875 by Edward E. Nickerson.  The German Evangelial Church Messenger served the interests of that religious sect in 1895-6.

The Black Board and Crayon was the original title of a quarterly publication which was first issued April 1, 1879.  In January, 1881, the name was changed to the Sunday School Superintendent.  It is published by the Providence Lithograph Company, chiefly as a guide to Sunday School teaching.  E. G. Taylor, D. D., was editor from April, 1879, to March, 1887, when Miss L. O. Ordway assumed the position.  The Missionary Helper was published during a part of 1885 by Mrs. M. M. Brewster.  The Association Notes is a monthly publication issued by the Young Men's Christian Association of Providence.

The Beulah Items was established in September, 1888, by Rev. F. A. Hillery, as a religious paper, aiding also the cause of Prohibition.  In May, 1892, it was consolidated with the Bible Christian, which was published in New Hampshire by Rev. E. B. Pike.  The new journal was given the name, The Beulah Christian, and Mr. Pike acted as associate editor.  The paper was issued by the Pentecostal Printing Company from 1898, of which Mr. Hillery was treasurer and manager.

Faith and Works was started as a four-page weekly on November, 21, 1896, with G. G. Fraser, business manager; John H. Larry, editor; and J. O. Randall, associate editor.  In September, 1899, Mr. Randall became editor, with G. W. Hope, associate.

The official organ of the Young People's Societies of Christian Endeavor is the Church Messenger of Rhode Island Christian Endeavor.  It is now in its eleventh year of publication and is edited by Miss Cora A. Wells.

A number of newspapers devoted to the cause of temperance have been started, but few of them had long life.  The Rhode Island Temperance Herald was established October 13, 1838, and claimed to be edited and published 'by an association of gentlemen'.  It was a weekly, and on October 30, 1839, the name was changed to The Olive Leaf and Rhode Island Temperance Herald.  In May, 1840, it was consolidated with the New York Weekly Messenger.  Charles Jewett, Lorenzo D. Jackson, and Abel Stevens succeeded each other as editors.  During 1838-9 the Providence Temperance Herald was issued.  The Cold Water Gazette was started March 21, 1840, edited by Wyllis Ames; it was a political campaign paper and suspended after election.

Of papers that may be classed as literary, educational, or scientific, there have been a large number, but none that have attained much prominence and permanence in those vast fields.  As far back as April, 1814, Martin Robinson and Benjamin Howland (Robinson & Howland) had the temerity to start the Rhode Island Literary Repository, which was edited by Isaac Bailey.  In those days illustrations were almost impossible for such a magazine and the contents were mainly selections from other periodicals and books.  It was an octavo monthly and lived only one year.

Origen Bachelor was the editor of the Juvenile Gazette, which was printed a few months in  1818; he was succeeded by William H. Smith.  The Ladies' Magazine, 'edited by a lady', as announced, printed by  John Miller, was established in March, 1823; only a few numbers were irregularly issued as a monthly.  The Ladies' Museum, Eaton W. Maxey, editor and publisher, was published from July 16, 1825, to July 22, 1826.  The Juvenile Gazette was the title of a small weekly published by O. Kendall, jr., in 1828; it was sold to Smith & Parmenter, who began the publication of the Literary Cadet July 29, 1826.  The literary culture of Rhode Island was further upheld by one of the longest named publications, The Toilet and Ladies' Cabinet of Literature which was established January 5, 1828.  It was first published by Josiah Snow until August, 1828; by W. A. Brown to November, 1828; and finally by Smith & Parmenter.  The first editor was Owen G. Warren, who was succeeded in November, 1828, by Samuel M. Fowler.  On January 24, 1829, the name was changed to The Saturday Evening Gazette and Ladies' Toilet.  It was a weekly quarto and suspended soon after the change in title.

Two monthly numbers of The Original were published in 1829 by Marshall & Hammond, Frances H. Whipple, editor.  A few numbers of The Olla Podrida were irregularly issued, probably in 1830, by John Bisbee; also a few numbers in that year of The Juvenile Repository, by Samuel S. Wilson.  The Literary Subaltern was established January 1, 1829, edited by Sylvester S. Southworth; it was a semi-weekly during the first year and a weekly thereafter.  It had several different publishers, and suspended in December, 1832.  On June 8, 1833, Albert G. Greene took the editorial control of the Literary Journal and Weekly Register of Science and Fine Arts, which was published by Knowles & Vose.  At the end of the first volume he expressed his regret that there was not in Rhode Island a sufficient degree of literary spirit to sustain such a publication, and it was suspended.  This paper was succeeded by the New England Family Visitor and Literary Journal previously mentioned.

On February 1, 1853, Mrs. Pauline Wright issued the first number of the Una; it was editorially announced that it would be 'devoted to the interests of women as long as such a paper shall be needed.'  It was a monthly and possibly fulfilled its mission.  It was removed to Boston in January, 1855.

The New World was originally a temperance advocate, started in 1870 by T. A. Carpenter, but it subsequently changed its character to an advocate of women's rights, with two women as editors.  It did not long continue.  The New England Register was established in 1871 by T. A. Carpenter, in the interest of mill operatives who were striving to obtain a ten-hour day of labor.  The paper was suspended when the object was accomplished.  The Temple of Honor, a temperance journal, was published monthly during a part of the year 1876 by H. F. Ferrin.

The Sun was started as a weekly on December 4, 1873, by Lester E. Ross, who continued it to November 20, 1876, after which date it was issued a short time as a daily and suspended.

In 1874 James E. Hanrahan began the publication of the Providence Evening Chronicle, but it survived only a short time.  In the same year the Sunday Dispatch was started by P. D. & E. Jones; they were succeeded by P. D. Jones alone, and he by W. B. W. Hallett.  Soon afterwards C. C. Corbett and Orville Remington became the owners, and the Dispatch Publishing Company was formed.  During the year 1890 the establishment passed to ownership of E. A. Corbett, who still continues it as a weekly.

In 1875 S. B. Keach began issuing a weekly family paper called Town and Country, which was continued until 1879.  The Weekly Visitor was started in October, 1876, but it was removed to Central Falls soon afterward.  The Item was first issued in 1886 from the office of the Press as a one-cent daily, but its career was brief.

Brown University has contributed to the literary life of the community by the establishment of The Brunonian, in July, 1829.  It continued until March, 1831, and in March, 1868, was revived by the undergraduates.  The first competitor of the Brunonian was The Brown Magazine, started as a monthly in April, 1890.  A year later the Brown Daily Herald was added to the list of college publications; it appears every morning during the term period.  In September, 1898, the Brunonian and Brown Magazine consolidated and the publication continues to the present time as a monthly.

In July, 1900, the Brown Alumni Monthly made its first appearance; it is conducted by an advisory board of the alumni, with Henry R. Palmer, of the Providence Journal, editor; Prof. J. N. Ashton, associate editor; Robert P. Brown, treasurer; Theron Clark, business manager.  In April, 1901, the students at Pembroke Hall organized a magazine, known as the Sepiad.

In 1855 the senior department of the Girls' High School began publishing The Gleaner, which lived about two years.  The High School Magazine was issued a short time in 1858 by the English and Scientific departments of the Providence Boys' High school.

The Rhode Island Educational Magazine was published from 1852 to 1854, with E. R. Potter, editor.  This periodical exerted great influence in State educational affairs, which were about that time undergoing rapid change and development.  It was the predecessor of The Rhode Island Schoolmaster, another very influential and able journal, established in 1855 by Robert Allyn; this was a monthly and was edited from 1858 to 1860 by William A. Mowry.  During the succeeding decade a board of editors was in charge, and in 1870 was followed by Thomas W. Bicknell and Thomas B. Stockwell to 1874.  It was then merged with the New England Journal of Education.

The students in the classical department of the High School started, on November 1, 1862, a paper called the Delphic Oracle.  In 1877 they published the High School Budget, and during the school year of 1882-3, they issued The Hypophet.  A paper called The Sentinel is now published by the University School.

As facilities for engraving and electrotyping became locally accessible and at less cost than formerly, a futile attempt was made to establish in Providence an illustrated periodical, which was named, 'Ours Illustrated'.  It had a brief career about 1870 under management of Webb Brothers & Co.

The Art Folio was established by J. A. & R. A. Reid on June 1, 1883, as a handsome illustrated periodical, but it survived only a year or two.*

(*footnote:  In addition to the newspapers of Providence, of which more or less extended account has been given in these pages, there have been a large number of short-lived publications, of which little is now known aside from the mere mention of their names in directories or elsewhere.  These are briefly mentioned here with such dates as are accessible.  The Bibliomaniac was a publication, the character of which may be inferred from its title, which was first published by S. S. Rider & Brother in 1867.  The Rhode Island Lantern was published in 1870 by the Rhode Island Lantern Association.  Three Links, an Odd Fellows journal, was issued in 1871 by George T. Bradley and John C. Keer.  A paper called Yours was published in 1873 by Trumpler & Birchfield.  W. G. Comstock published The Record in 1875.  The Jeweler was a trade paper issued in 1877 by W. J. Pettis.  The Parrott was a military paper established in 1878; it absorbed The Echo, started in January, 1879, and soon passed out of existence.  The Cosmopolitan was established in March, 1878, and was sold to the Echo Publishing Company in January, 1879.  The Confidential Reporter was published in 1880 by J. C. Gooding.  The People was issued in 1881 by J. F. Smith.  A German paper, called the Rhode Island Wochenblatt, was published in 1883 by William Alden Kirchen.  The Comet was a paper that blazed for four numbers in 1883.  The Outlook was a fortnightly publication issued by the Rhode Island W. C. T. U. in 1885, and subsequently became a monthly; it continues to the present time.  The Helper was the name of a paper published in 1885 by D. P. Buker.  The Providence Labor Tribune was founded in September, 1886, by the Providence Tribune Company.  The Rhode Island Farmer was published by F. E. Corbett during 1886-7.  The Rhode Island Citizen was published for a short period about 1885, by Benjamin F. Evans.  The Sunday Courier was established by A. D. Sawin and E. A. Corbett about 1887 and lived less than two years.  D. P. Buker published Buker's Illustrated Monthly and Household Magazine a few years, and later issued The Commercial Bulletin from 1886 to 1890.  The Rhode Island Military Journal was a monthly publication, the character of which is indicated by the title, which was established in November, 1889, and continued a few years under management of Colman Wells and the Military Publishing Company.  The Forester's Repository was issued by F. N. Shaw in 1888.  The Financial News was established by the Financial News Company in June, 1890; in the company were H. K. Stokes and O. B. Munroe; Mr. Stokes acquired sole control in May, 1891.  The New England Wine Merchant and Brewers' Gazette was published several years beginning with 1890, by F. E. Corbett.  J. W. Henderson published the New England Torchlight from 1890 to 1896.  The Home Guard was established in 1891 by Mrs. E. J. Smith.  The World was published in 1891 by Louis G. Philips.  A French paper, called Le Courrier du Rhode Island, was published in 1892 as one of several journals that supported the Democratic party.  The Evening Record was issued in 1892 by J. J. Monaghan.  A paper called About Town was published in 1892-3 by W. W. Spencer.  In 1893 was established The Greater Providence Magazine by P. W. Lovell.  A Swedish paper, called Framat, was published in 1893 by M. Hultin & Co.  The Rhode Island Israelite was a paper printed in the Hebrew language from August, 1894, edited by Samuel Mason.  The Narragansett Observer was printed in Providence in 1894, under management of H. E. Lewis.  Justice was a labor organ published in 1893-5 with George E. Bommer, editor, a part of that period.  The Pointer was published from September, 1895, to September, 1897, by John H. Larry.  A Swedish paper was published during 1895-6, with the title, Folket's Rost, by John Charlholm.  An Italian paper, called L'Aurora Novella, was started in 1896 by Collano & Evans.  The Providence Herold [sic] was a German paper, issued in 1898-9.  Club Life was established in 1898 by A. A. Fraser.  The Rhode Island Picket is a monthly publication, established in May, 1900, in the interest of the Sons of Veterans; F. E. Carpenter is editor.

Outside of Providence and Newport, in the various cities and villages of the State, are maintained a number of excellent newspapers, some of which have been in existence many years and have attained extended influence and gained the confidence of the public.  The first issue of the newspaper published in Pawtucket appeared November 12, 1825, with the title, The Pawtucket Chronicle and Manufacturers' and Artisans' Advocate.  It was edited by John C. Harwood, and was located in a wooden building on the south side of Main street west of the bridge.  The paper was a weekly with four pages of five columns each.  A November issue of 1826 gives the name of William H. Sturtevant as editor, but soon after this it passed to Carlile & Brown of Providence, and was discontinued January 27, 1827.  Three weeks later, on February 10, the paper was revived by Randall Meacham, who purchased the plant of Carlile & Brown.  On September 22, 1827, Mr. Meacham purchased his, then, only newspaper rival, The White Banner (published in the interest of Masonry), which had been started a short time before.  In July, 1829, S. W. Fowler became associated with Mr. Meacham, and January 1, 1830, Mr. Fowler's name appeared as editor.  Beginning with the issue of August 6, 1830, the publication day was changed from Saturday morning to Friday evening and so continued while the paper lived under that distinctive title.  On February 11, 1831, Mr. Fowler purchased his partner's interest, but his health failed, and in the summer of 1832 he went South, leaving his business in charge of John H. Weeden.  Mr. Fowler died of consumption August 26, 1832, and in the following October the printing and publishing business was sold by Mrs. Fowler to Henry and John E. Rousmaniere, of Newport.  They were unsuccessful, and in October, 1835, offered the establishment for sale.  As no purchaser appeared, John E. Rousmaniere retired in November, 1836, while the brother continued alone until April 19, 1839, when he announced a sale of the business and plant to the proprietors of The Gazette, and the consolidation of the two papers under the name The Gazette and Chronicle was effected.

On August 3, 1838, two young men, Robert Sherman and Shubael Kinnicut, who had learned the printing business in the office of the Chronicle, began the publication of the Pawtucket Gazette, and within the following year purchased the Chronicle, as just stated.  The young men received substantial encouragement in their efforts to make a good local paper, and they prospered.  They did most of their own work in type-setting and printed their edition on a hand press in the old way.  In March, 1841, the office was removed to larger quarters; when Amos M. Read finished his brick block on the site of the old office, the plant was again removed into it and there remained until March, 1866, when it located in its present quarters in Manchester Hall.  Three enlargements of The Gazette and Chronicle have been make - the first on January 5, 1855; the second June 29, 1860, and the third July 1, 1870, giving it nine columns to the page.  During a part of the Civil War period the number of columns was reduced to seven; it now has eight pages of six columns each.  The first cylinder printing press in Pawtucket was placed in the Gazette and Chronicle office and was first used on May 4, 1855; this was displaced for a larger one, which was in use until December, 1886, when a new and improved machine was introduced.  Steam power was first used in the office November 29, 1866.  During many years prior to January 1, 1866, the imprint of the Gazette and Chronicle gave the name of Robert Sherman as publisher; on that date the firm name was changed to R. Sherman & Co., through the purchase of a one-fourth interest, on January 1, 1864, by Ansel D. Nickerson, an employee of the office since 1846.  On January 1, 1870, John S. Sibley purchased Mr. Sherman's half interest and Mr. Nickerson took Mr. Kinnicut's quarter interest, and from that date until April 1, 1875, the firm of Nickerson & Sibley published the paper.  On this date Charles A. Lee, an employee since 1863, purchased an interest from  the senior partner, and the style was changed to Nickerson, Sibley & Co.  Three years later, April 1, 1878, Nickerson sold out to Mr. Lee, and on the following January 1, 1879, the firm name took the form of Sibley & Lee.  Mr. Sibley died in 1893, having previously sold his interest in the business to his partner, who conducted it to January 1, 1894, when he became associated with Lester W. Upham (Lee & Upham), and so continued to Mr. Lee's death, May 16, 1900; since this date the paper has been published by The Chronicle Printing Co., consisting of L. W. Upham and George N. Burroughs.  The semi-centennial of the Chronicle was becomingly celebrated November 12, 1875, when a fac-simile sheet was issued of the first number of the paper.  The semi-centennial of the Gazette also was celebrated August 3, 1888, when a souvenir sheet of a historical and illustrated character was published.

Of the other weekly papers of Pawtucket the majority were short-lived and of little historical importance.  The Mercantile Reporter appeared about 1829, and seven numbers were issued.  The Battle Axe was published for a time by Benjamin W. Pearce, in the interest of temperance, and  his condemnation of liquor-sellers was so bitter that they or their representatives broke into his office and threw his plant into the river.  The Business Directory was published and gratuitously circulated by Alfred W. Pearce, brother of Benjamin, and after several years was absorbed by the Gazette and Chronicle.  Other former weekly journals, several of them temperance advocates, were Truth's Advocate, Midnight Cry, the Pawtucket Herald, Rose and Lily, Sparkling Fountain, Temperance Regulator, and the Pawtucket Observer; the latter was started in June, 1860, by George O. Willard, who had learned his trade in the Gazette and Chronicle office.  It was a Republican paper, but notwithstanding that party won its first national victory in that year, the paper was not liberally supported and it was discontinued in March, 1861.  From that date during nearly a quarter of a century the local field of journalism was ably occupied by the Gazette and Chronicle.

On April 10, 1885, the first Pawtucket daily newspaper was issued from the Gazette and Chronicle office, with the title, The Evening Chronicle, Charles A. Lee, editor and proprietor.  It acquired a franchise in the United Press Association and was ably conducted, but its public reception did not warrant its continuance and the last number was printed May 2, of the same year.  On the 30th of April, of the same year, the first number of the Pawtucket Evening Times was issued, with George O. Willard, editor and proprietor.  Mr. Willard had been connected with the Providence Press during many years, and when that paper suspended he went to Pawtucket, where he received encouragement in starting the Times.  After a hard struggle of about two years he overcame his numerous obstacles and made his business prosperous.  The paper was a one cent daily and it ultimately obtained a large circulation.  William C. Sheppard was associated with Mr. Willard in the editorial management, with Seabury S. Tompkins, local editor.  On January 31, 1890, the Times was sold to David O. Black, formerly owner of the Providence Telegram, and after March 26 of that year was issued by the Times Publishing Company, of which Mr. Black is the head, and Peter J. Trumpler, business manager; Charles O. Black, treasurer.  The Times is ably conducted and largely successful; its handsome building was erected in 1895-6, and is fully equipped with modern web presses, type-setting machines, etc.

A second one cent daily was established September 15, 1888, by Martin Murray, called The Evening Tribune.  It answered for a time in an able manner the demand for a Democratic organ and received fair support from the first; but a combination of circumstances and political conditions caused its suspension in 1899.

A small monthly publication, called the Pawtucket and Central Falls Real Estate Record, was started by H. H. Sheldon, a real estate dealer in Pawtucket. In a few months the title was changed to the Pawtucket Real Estate Record, and at the beginning of the second volume it was made a weekly.  In December, 1886, I. A. Kearns was employed as assistant editor and a little later took full editorial charge.  In May, 1887, the Pawtucket Record Company was formed, consisting of Mr. Sheldon, David J. White, and P. C. Sheldon, the paper was enlarged and its character broadened.  In November, 1890, Mr. White became sole owner, and in the following year he purchased the Central Falls Visitor and consolidated the two under the name of the Record-Visitor.  The paper was stopped in 1895.

The Pawtucket Commercial Bulletin was established in December, 1892, by J. D. Hall & Co., of Providence.  J. D. Hall, jr., was editor for about a year when C. H. Bosworth assumed control of the paper.  It was subsequently absorbed by the Providence Journal of Commerce.

A Democratic daily paper was established in Pawtucket on December 11, 1893, with the title of Pawtucket Evening Post, by the Post Publishing Company.  It was an eight-column folio, but later was changed to an eight-page sheet.  While there was editorial ability shown in the columns of the paper, as well as mechanical attractiveness in its make-up, the business was unprofitable.  In November, 1897, the establishment passed under management of L. B. Pease and the name of the paper changed to the Sun.  It suspended in a few weeks.

A newspaper printed in the French language called Le Jean Baptiste, was started on January 1, 1897, by J. B. S. Brazeau, who is editor and proprietor.  He has made the business a success and his publication creditably reflects the life of the French element of the population of Pawtucket and Central Falls.  Another French paper, named L'Esperance, was started in March, 1891, by J. M. Authier, and continued a few weeks as a semi-weekly.

Pawtucket and Central Falls have had several ephemeral publications that gained little influence or patronage.  Among them were the Pawtucket Free Press and the Sunday Ledger, both issued in 1894, and the Central Falls  and Blackstone Valley Argus Advertiser, the Central Falls Weekly Herald, 1875, and the Family Guest, 1881.

The first newspaper established in Woonsocket was The Weekly Patriot, a family journal, started in 1833 by Sherman & Wilder, which has survived the usual newspaper fatality and is still in prosperous existence.  A short time after the paper was founded, Mr. Sherman purchased his partner's interest, Mr. Wilder retiring to become one of the firm of Hapgood & Wilder, who, in 1835, established the Rhode Island Advocate as the second paper in the town.  This publication ceased after about nine months, leaving the Patriot substantially the whole newspaper field during several months.

About May 1, 1836, I. Robinson began the publication of the Rainbow, which, in its fifth number (April 16) claimed to have 1,000 subscribers.  It was devoted to 'literary miscellany and the arts', and it is not strange that it was discontinued at the end of a year.  N. Robinson was its editor.

During the Dorr political excitement, in 1842-3, a free suffrage advocate, called the Independent, was removed to Woonsocket from Providence, and published only a few months by Walter Sherman.  In 1842, also, the first issue of the Woonsocket Sentinel and Thompsonian Advocate made its appearance, dated February 16; it aimed to reform the practice of medicine according to the theories of the Thompsonian system, and to provide reading upon subjects of hygiene and health, temperance, miscellany and news.  It was a weekly, published by Mason & Vose, the editors being William Vose and Dr. G. W. Davis; Josiah Perkins had charge of the Washingtonian temperance department.  An associate editor, Dr. J. M. Aldrich, was added to the staff in December, 1842, and in March, 1843, a new editorial force took the paper, but it was discontinued before the close of that year.

In 1850 Erastus Fisher began publishing the News Letter, a weekly, which survived less than a year.  The next Woonsocket journal was a semi-monthly devoted to agriculture, called The Farm and Fireside; it was started January 5, 1867, and published from the Patriot office, by S. S. & G. W. Foss; this also was discontinued at the close of a year.

The early and remarkable success of the Weekly Patriot was chiefly due to the energy and ability of Samuel S. Foss, its editor.  He was a native of Boylston, Mass., born in 1821, and began his apprenticeship in the Patriot office in 1837.  Three years later he became associate editor, and in 1841 purchased the establishment from William N. Sherman.  At that time the circulation was down to 500 and the plant was in poor condition.  Mr. Foss at once improved the paper and gradually added to the material until the office became one of the best in the State.  The circulation ran as high as 9,000 in some years prior to 1873.  He removed the office to the Waterman block in 1855 and ten years later purchased the building, after which it was known as the Patriot building.  Mr. Foss died August 16, 1879.  He was a man of great public spirit and made his paper instrumental in advancing all local public projects that merited his favor.  Upon his death his twin brother, German W. Foss, took charge of the paper and conducted it until his death in 1880.  Herbert E. Holmes was then engaged to edit the paper for the Foss estate until 1881, when The Patriot Printing Company was formed, of which William H. Goodale, George B. Arnold and Elmer Ray were the principal members and directors.  T. H. Mann and Warren Lee Goss entered the concern at a later date.  On August 4, 1886, George B. Arnold became proprietor of the establishment and L. B. Pease purchased the business and plant and since that date the paper was continued as the weekly edition of the Daily Evening Reporter, retaining the old familiar title.  The Daily Patriot was started in 1876 by S. S. Foss, the first issue bearing dated April 3; it was a small four-page sheet and sold for one cent.  The new venture was fairly patronized, and with his  usual enterprise Mr. Foss, at his own expense, constructed a telegraph line to Providence in order to get his news promptly.  On April 3, 1878, the daily was enlarged and improved.  On March 15, 1881, it was sold to L. B. Pease, who merged it with the Evening Reporter.  The latter was the first daily newspaper established in the place, the first issue being dated October 1, 1873, with Mr. Pease editor and proprietor.  It was only a four-column folio and sold for one cent, but it was ably managed, and on March 20, 1876, was enlarged by four columns.  Further enlargements were made in 1879, 1883, and 1884, one column to each page, in each of those years.  In October, 1889, the paper assumed the eight-page form.  On December 16, 1884, a morning edition was added, but only four numbers were issued.

The Reporter met with remarkable success, and in 1901 had a circulation of about 7,000.  Mr. Pease remained sole proprietor until 1890, when he organized the Woonsocket Reporter Company.  He withdrew from this connection and from the conduct of the paper in the fall of 1897.  The active conduct of the paper since that date has devolved upon George A. Smith as editor, and Henry E. Whitney as business manager, both of these men having been connected respectively with the editorial and business departments of the paper during a long term of years.  Besides the men named there have been engaged on the editorial force of the Reporter, J. W. Smyth, F. W. Thurber, B. R. Somes, Thomas Steere, Henry DeWolfe, Edw. P. Tobie, jr., F. M. Lally, and J. F. Kennedy.  Among Mr. Whitney's predecessors as business manager have been Geo. A. Nason, E. B. Condon, and Arthur S. Pease.

A file of one volume (III) of the Ladies' Mirror is preserved by the Rhode Island Historical Society.  Number 1 of this is dated November 3, 1832, which will indicate approximately the date of its beginning.  It was published at Woonsocket Falls, semi-monthly, by Sherman & Wilder.  In the number just mentioned the name of G. W. H. Fisk is given as publisher, but it was taken out before the close of the year.  An editorial begging for payment o subscriptions appears in the last number of the volume.

The Valley Republican was a short-lived two-cent daily, started April 26, 1886, by Goss & Mann and printed in the Patriot office.  The paper was discontinued when the Patriot was sold to George B. Arnold in August of that year.

The first Sunday newspaper in Woonsocket was the Sunday Journal, started May 3, 1885, with Edward B. Condon and Maxime L. Bouret, proprietors.  At the end of four weeks Condon sold to his partner and four weeks later the paper was discontinued.

Newton's Textile Gazette, devoted to the interest of mill owners, was established in July, 1883, as a monthly.  In April, 1885, it began as a semi-monthly and after October, 1888, was issued weekly.  Charles M. Newton is editor and publisher and the paper has gained a large circulation and influence; its title is now the Textile Manufacturers' Labor Weekly.

The Evening Call was established on May 30, 1892, by the Evening Call Publishing Company, Samuel E. Hudson, business manager, and Andrew J. McConnell, editor.  It is an independent Democratic paper and has attained permanent success.

On January 1, 1899, L. B. Pease, who was long associated with the Patriot and Reporter, started the Evening Sun, a one cent daily paper; but the local field was already fully occupied and the paper suspended on March 17 of that year.  The Evening Star was started by a corporation early in 1899, with John R. Martin, editor, and continued until the ensuing fall.

New England Siftings was a weekly journal, established in 1882, with Charles A. King, editor; its career was short.

There is a large French element in the population of Woonsocket and its vicinity, for the benefit of which several papers have been published in that language, only one of which now survives; this is named La Tribune, and was founded in April, 1895; it has been published by an incorporated  company since May, 1896, and is the only French-Canadian daily paper in the State.  In February, 1897, it absorbed another paper, named Le Progres, which was established in the previous year.  Charles C. Gauvin is general manager of the Tribune.

Other French papers that were unsuccessful were the Courier Canadien, established in 1880 by Gagnon & Archambault, and suspended at the end of six months, and the business was transferred to Worcester.  La Reveille was started in 1876, with Joseph Daignault, editor, and continued until 1897.  The Courier de Woonsocket was established in 1822 by Belanger Brothers and was subsequently removed to Worcester.  Le Foyer Canadien was started in 1892 and lived less than a year.  La Cloche du Dimanche, established in September, 1899, by G. Vekeman, suspended in December of the same year.  A paper called La Travailleur had a short existence also.

The first newspaper claiming Burrillville as its field was stated in 1880 by Smith B. Keach, of Harrisville, and called the Burrillville Gazette.  Mr. Keach sold it in about six months to Whittemore Brothers, who, after an unsuccessful effort to profitably print the paper there, established a job printing business in Providence and issued the paper from that plant.   The Gazette was continued thus until the fall of 1892, when they consolidated with the Burrillville News, which had been started eight months earlier by Edgar A. Mathewson, also of Harrisville.  This was Mr. Mathewson's second attempt in this line, he having started the first Burrillville News in 1880, soon after Mr. Keach began publishing the Gazette; the first News lived only a few months.  After the consolidation of the two papers the title was made The Burrillville News-Gazette.  In 1895 the patronage of the paper declined until it was unprofitable, and the title and about 160 subscribers were sold to the publishers of The Pascoag Herald.  The latter paper was started by Arthur S. Fitz, in April, 1892, at the request of the business men of the town.  Mr. Fitz had been conducting The Pomona Herald at Providence, but resided in Burrillville, whence he removed to Pascoag, established a job printing business and newspaper office and continued the Pomona Herald; this paper he made the only successful agricultural journal in Rhode Island.  With two competitors in the local field, the Herald had a hard struggle, but finally outstripped them, and the consolidation resulted as just described.  Mr. Mathewson started his third newspaper in Burrillville in 1895, calling it The Star, but it survived only a few months.  In 1893 Mr. Fitz made a close corporation for his business, taking into it some of his employees, and F. L. Sayles acquired a small interest and was chosen president of the company; Mr. Fitz assumed the office of treasurer, manager and editor; F. H. Potter, foreman and secretary.  The plant and business was gradually largely increased, and an extensive printing patronage obtained from a wide field.  To more effectively carry this on, a reorganization took place under the name of Herald Syndicate, with A. S. Fritz, president and manager; T. W. Steere, treasurer; F. E. Fritz, secretary; E. P. Metcalf, auditor; and a board of directors, consisting of these and K. K. McLaren, John J. Watson, jr., and Daniel D. Waterman.  A Providence office is kept open for convenience of customers in the city.

Little Rhody is the name of a paper which is published at North Scituate; it was started February 6, 1891, by N. A. Angell, who still continues it.  The Telephone was issued during 1885-6 at Coventry by G. G. Cutting.  During the years 1880 and 1881, Frank Potter published the Chepachet Weekly.  A paper called the Woonsocket Union, bearing the imprint of Georgiaville (Smithfield), was started February 23, 1894, by J. Frank Masterson; it did not last long.

A paper named the Blackstone Valley Argus was established in Lonsdale on December 1, 1882, by Thomas W. Schurman and William H. Brown.  It lived a little more than two years.


East Providence has had a number of newspaper ventures, but the town depends mainly on city newspapers for its daily reading.  The first number of the East Providence Eagle appeared on June 14, 1882, with E. A. Corbett, editor and proprietor.  It was a six-column folio, but another column was added in December of that year.  The publishers were Corbett & Sawin (A. D. Sawin) after 1886, and in February, 1887, A. D. Sawin assumed the whole business.  After various other changes the paper passed under control of George L. Fritz, of Providence, who still conducts it.

The Rhode Islander, which was published a short time from an office in Providence by Benjamin W. Evans, was removed to East Providence in 1896, where it is still continued under the present management of Mary Frost Evans.

The East Providence Record was established in October, 1885, by E. F. Sibley.  In August, 1887, the firm of Sibley & Johnson was formed, who continued the publication until October, 1889.  The paper was finally merged with the Olneyville Times, which is now published by Mr. Sibley.

The East Providence Mirror was started in April, 1896, and continues to the present time; it is published by the Franklin Press Company, and Orland Freeborn is the editor.

The Cranston City Times was established May 1, 1895, by Thomas S. Hammond, who has a large printing establishment in Providence.  The paper still continues to represent the affairs of Cranston and its vicinity.  A paper called the Cranston Leader had a short career, beginning in June, 1889, with the Leader Publishing Company publishers.

Olneyville had its first newspaper established on January 4, 1884, and called the Rhode Island Citizen.  It was issued by the Citizen Publishing Company, with Cyrus Walker, editor, and Benjamin W. Evans, business manager.  Litigation over an alleged libel caused the suspension of the paper after about a year and a half.

The Olneyville Tribune was started September 2, 1893, by David E. Parmenter, but it was short-lived.

The first issue of the Olneyville Times appeared in August, 1887, with Sibley & Johnson, proprietors.  Since the death of Mr. Johnson in 1891, the paper has been published and edited by E. F. Sibley, and creditably represents the interests of that suburb of Providence.

In southern and central Rhode Island a large number of country journals have been offered to the reading people, meeting with different degrees of success, a few of them attaining prosperity and influence in their respective fields.  The first newspaper published in Westerly was the Literary Echo, beginning in the spring of 1851, with George H. Babcock, editor and proprietor; it was continued to 1858 by him, and by Edwin G. Champlin and James H. Hoyt successively, its name being changed in 1856, to the Westerly Echo and Pawcatuck Advertiser, and was then merged in and succeeded by The Narragansett Weekly, the first number of which appeared April 29, 1858.  This journal was published and edited about one year by J. H. Utter & Co. (John Herbert Utter), when it became the property of J. B. & J. H. Utter, who increased their facilities and continued the business nearly thirty years and to the death of J. H. Utter in October, 1887.  His interest then passed to his partner, and by him was transferred to his own son, George H. Utter, the firm name being G. B. & G. H. Utter.  In connection with this paper the firm began, in the fall of 1861, the publication of The Sabbath Recorder, a weekly Free Will Baptist advocate.  This paper had been published in New York about eighteen years, chiefly under the direction of George B. Utter, who removed it to Westerly and there continued it to 1872; it was then sold to the American Sabbath Tract Society and removed to Alfred, N. Y.  Upon the death of George B. Utter the business was continued by the surviving partner.  On the 7th of August, 1893, was issued the first number of the Westerly Daily Sun, the Narragansett Weekly being continued in connection therewith until March, 1889, when it was suspended.  For the publication of this bright daily newspaper a modern plant was installed, including a web press, and type-setting machines.  The Sun is independent in politics, with Republican proclivities, and under Mr. Utter's management has acquired large influence.

The Westerly Enterprise was a monthly paper, established by T. A. Carpenter in November, 1867.  It was distributed gratuitously  several months.

In 1884 The Rhode Island Telephone was removed from Wickford to Westerly and the name changed to The Westerly News and Rhode Island Telephone.  It was edited and published by J. Warren Gardiner to January 7, 1888, when Alva C. Lowrey assumed charge and changed its title to The Westerly Tribune.  The paper was continued as a weekly to September 6, 1888, when the first number of the Westerly Daily Tribune was issued, with the Tribune Company, publishers, composed of Thomas H. Peabody and Alva C. Lowrey.  On January 3, 1889, Mr. Peabody purchased his partner's interest, and the paper continued to December, 1897.  The plant remained idle a few months, when it was purchased by Brunner & Benson, who started the Westerly Herald, which lived nearly two years under their management, and that of the Herald Company.

On February 20, 1885, E. Anson Stillman issued the first number of a semi-monthly sheet called Stillman's Idea; it was devoted mainly to advertising and continued a number of years.

On June 19, 1888, the first number of the Westerly Journal, a weekly, was issued by Frank H. Campbell; this paper was removed to Arctic, town of Warwick.

In Hopkinton, John Larkin established in October, 1890, a monthly called the Informant, which ran exactly one year, and was discontinued in favor of a weekly called the Hope Valley Free Press.  This paper was first issued in July, 1891, has had as editors John Larkin and George H. Hadley, and is independent in politics.  The Grange Visitor was a monthly established in Hope Valley by H. N. Phillips.

The Wood River Advertiser was started at Hope Valley on January 1, 1876, by Lyman W. A. Cole.  He was an energetic and able editor and soon obtained for his paper a large circulation.  In 1881 Mr. Cole died and the business was purchased by Herbert N. Phillips, then editor of the Shannock Sentinel.  He removed his plant to Hope Valley and consolidated the two papers under the title, Sentinel-Advertiser.  In July, 1894, he changed the name to Hope Valley Advertiser, as still retained.  At the death of Mr. Philips, E. T. Spencer became owner of the establishment in February, 1895, and so continues.  The Advertiser is the official advertising medium for Hopkinton, Richmond, and Exeter, and enjoys a large measure of prosperity.

The Narragansett Herald was established in April, 1875, by Dr. Irving Watson, who has continued in control of the paper to the present time.  During about two years after he founded the Herald it was called the Narragansett Herald, Hopkinton Gazette and North Kingstown Courier.  The Hopkinton Gazette had been previously started and was purchased by Dr. Watson, and the Wickford Tribune, which he established, were combined under the above title.

The Block Island Budget was established in 1885 by W. G. Crawford, of Boston, and was sold by him to John P. Sanborn, of Newport, where it has since been printed in the office of the Mercury, the name having been changed to The Mid-Ocean.  Charles E. Perry has edited the paper from the first, excepting one year.  The Island Home is a paper made up chiefly from reprint, started by the pastor of the Baptist church on Block Island a number of years ago.  A paper with this title is now published by Littlefield & Lodge.

The Watch Hill Surf, a semi-weekly, was published in the season of 1888, by George G. Champlin, at Watch Hill.  A weekly is now published with the title, Block Island Surf, by The Croke Printing Company, Charles E. Perry, editor.  The 1901 edition is called volume 1.  The Narragansett Surf is published by the same company, with Charles B. Warren, editor. The Watch Hill Surf was succeeded July 12, 1894, by the Watch Hill Life, with J. C. Kebabian, publisher.  It is issued only in the summer season, and still represents the interests of that popular resort.

The Wickford Standard was established in August, 1888, by Coggeshall, Gardiner & Co., and continued under their management one year, when the senior partner retired, leaving Claude Gardiner in charge.  At a later date it passed to Chace & Young and was published by them in 1893, when James H. Coggeshall, the founder again assumed the proprietorship.  The Standard is a reliable weekly journal and is circulated throughout the State.

The Portsmouth Chronicle was established at Portsmouth as a weekly journal in October, 1885.  It is Republican in politics and is one of a number of similar journals published in various New England villages by S. E. Fiske, of Fall River.

Little Compton had a newspaper, which was published in 1882 by Isaac B. Cowen.

One of the very early attempts to found a newspaper in Rhode Island was made in Bristol, when Capt. Golden Dearth, in January, 1807, issued the first number of The Mount Hope Eagle.  D. A. Leonard, then postmaster, edited the paper, which survived one year.

The Bristol Gazette was started in September, 1833, by Bennett J. Munro, editor and publisher, and W. H. S. Bayley, printer.  In the following January Mr. Bayley purchased the entire business and continued the Gazette four years.  A few weeks later he issued the first number of The Bristol Phenix, which is still published, its existence covering a period of more than sixty years.  Mr. Bayley continued publisher until his death in November, 1862, when it was purchased by C. A. Greene, who conducted the business until October 21, 1893, when he sold it to the Herald Printing Co., of Pascoag, and three months later it was changed from a folio to an octavo.  November 1, 1894, the establishment was purchased by Farrally Bros. (W. H. and J. F.), who at once changed from an eight-page weekly to a four-page semi-weekly, which greatly advanced the prosperity of the journal.

The Clarion, or Bristol County Advertiser, was established about December 1, 1823.  In number 27, dated May 22, 1824, the editor, Samuel Randall, said:  'The Clarion has been transferred to us by the late editor', and solicited the patronage of the public.  The paper was printed by Levi Luther and published from the office of the Gospel Palladium.  In May, 1840, The Bristol Eagle, a small sheet, was started by C. A. Greene and T. Rutherford; it lived only one year.

The town of Warren had a printing office before the beginning of the last century, when, in 1792, Nathaniel Phillips began the publication of a paper called the Herald of the United States.  His office was situated on 'Main street opposite Cole's Inn', as the imprint reads.  In 1808 this business was transferred to John F. Phillips, son of Nathaniel, and the paper suspended in 1812.

In 1809, on the 11th of March, appeared the first number of the Bristol County Register, a weekly paper.  No name of editor or publisher appears in the paper, one volume of which is preserved in the R. I. Historical Society library.  The first number contains 'An address to the Publick", in the which the purpose [sic] of the paper is declared to be 'to circulate correct views of the pursuit and policy of our own government, and wholly to keep up the independence of our own nation'.  It was a Whig organ.

The firm of Mason & Bird started The Columbian Post-Boy in 1812, but it lived only one year.  On November 6, 1813, Samuel Randall began the publication of The Telescope, which he continued until 1817.  In the latter part of April, 1825, he again issued a small paper, bearing the title, The Telegraph; the second number, preserved in the Rhode Island Historical Society library, bears date March 2, 1825.  This paper lived only one year.  In 1823 Reuben Potter started the Clarion.  Six months later he sold out to Samuel Randall, who gave up the undertaking at the end of another six months.

The last issue of The Telegraph, before mentioned, contained the prospectus of a paper that was to succeed it.  This was the Northern Star, published by Samuel Fowler and Charles Randall, a nephew of Judge Samuel Randall.  Mr. Randall became sole proprietor a few years later, and in 1855 the good will of the establishment was purchased by Albert R. Cooke; the paper was discontinued, and Mr. Cooke began the issue of a semi-weekly paper, called the Rhode Island Telegraph.  A semi-weekly publication could not be sustained, and it was soon made a weekly, and was sold in 1859 to Edwin F. Applegate.  The paper was suspended in 1862.

In 1867 Capt. James W. Barton founded the Warren Gazette.  In 1876 ill health compelled him to relinquish business and the establishment was sold to George H. Coomer & Co.  Three years later the establishment was purchased by William H. Martin, who has successfully conducted the paper to the present time.

In the year 1849 John B. Lincoln established a printing office in Phenix Village, the material having been purchased by the owner of the Spencer block and leased to Lincoln.  In May, 1850, he began the publication of The Kent County Atlas, which received popular local encouragement.  Although Mr. Lincoln was a good practical printer, he was unable to make his venture a permanent financial success, and in 1852 the citizens of East Greenwich purchased his plant and on July 3 of that year he issued the first number of his paper from that village, retaining the former title.  Failure soon followed here also, and in 1854 William N. Sherman purchased the plant and on May 27 of that year began the publication of the Rhode Island Pendulum.  Between that date and January 1, 1900, this paper had many owners and editors, among them Charles Carroll, Frank S. Adams, Josiah B. Bowditch and William B. Streeter.  On the date last named A. W. Laughlin purchased the establishment from Mr. Streeter, and has since ably conducted this journal, which has had an existence of nearly half a century.

In 1879 the East Greenwich Enterprise was started by Thomas C. Brown, who continued it less that two years, when it was sold to the proprietor of the Pendulum and merged with that paper.

Several school papers have been published by the East Greenwich Academy in recent years.  The Trio was one that made its appearance in 1879 and continued  several years, and the Academian is now in existence and has been published a number of years.

After Mr. Lincoln removed his printing office from Phenix, as before stated, and in 1860, Moses W. Collins began printing in that village, and on November 1, of that year, issued the first number of The Phenix Weekly Journal; the first three numbers bore no name of editor or publisher.  The number dated December 19, 1861, appeared with the name of Ira O. Seamans as editor and proprietor.  The paper was continued about one year, when the plant was sold to E. L. Freeman, then of Central Falls.

On February 22, 1876, Reuben E. Capron and John H. Campbell (Capron & Campbell) began printing at Harris, and on March 25 of that year, published the first number of The Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner.  On August 1, 1878, Mr. Capron sold his interest to his partner, who is still publishing an excellent country weekly in his own building, erected for the purpose.

The removal of the plant of The Westerly Journal to Arctic has been noticed.  Frank H. Campbell, who had published the Journal, started, on July 2, 1892, The Pawtuxet Valley Daily Times, which he has published at Arctic since.  The paper is capably edited and supports Republican principles.

The first paper in South Kingstown was published in Wakefield, June 12, 1858, with the title, The South County Journal.  Duncan Gillies was announced as publisher, with Thomas P. Wells, Isaac M. Church, and A. G. Palmer, associates.  On June 11, 1859, the name of the paper was changed to The Narragansett Times, with Thomas P. Wells, publisher; he was succeeded April 26, 1861, by David Dunlop.  Mr. Gillies had returned to his Scotland home, but in August, 1864, he came back by urgent request and became the owner and publisher of the paper, which he continued until his death in August, 1881.  The establishment was burned April, 1880, but was immediately renewed.  Upon the death of Mr. Gillies his sons took charge of the business (D. Gillies' Sons), and have continued it to the present time.

The vast improvements made in the art of printing and its allied industries in this country since the first meagre outfit was brought into Rhode Island, have already been briefly alluded to in this chapter.  Some of the details of these improvements as they have been gradually developed in this State are not without historical interest.  The form and construction of the ancient printing presses of James Franklin and his distinguished brother are well understood by persons familiar with the art.  They were operated only by hard labor and their daily product was extremely limited.  The press was made mostly of wood, with an iron screw to produce the impression.  On such a press less than 200 small sheets could be produced in an hour.  If the sheet was longer than the bed of the press, two impressions were necessary to complete it.  The inventive genius of the Yankee soon took hold of the printing press problem; the iron frame, with powerful lever and knuckle joint to produce the impression, constituted an important forward step; but even these presses were crude and slow at first; still it should not, therefore,  be inferred that most excellent work could not be produced on them, for it is difficult even at the present day to excel some of the beautiful printing of the old masters of the art.  It was on one of those improved hand presses that the Providence Journal and other early publications were printed when the Journal was started in 1829.  In 1836 one of the then celebrated Adams bed and platen power presses was introduced in the Journal office; this was a remarkable machine and kept its place, especially for book work, for nearly half a century.  By producing the impression on a flat bed, the best of work could be done, while the operation of the bed and platen by rotary motion greatly increased the speed.  About 800 impressions per hour were easily produced.  The old Adams press in the Journal office was turned by hand power until 1856, when a steam engine was installed, and also one of Hoe's early cylinder presses.  As is well known, the impression on all of the cylinder presses now in use (and they include almost  the entire range of printing machines), is given by an iron cylinder turning above a flat bed or against another cylinder, the flat bed having a reciprocating motion.  This plan opened the way to far greater speed, but still the early single cylinder presses produced only about 1,000 impressions per hour.  To further increase capacity the Hoes brought out their double cylinder press, using two cylinders above one bed, which doubled the output; one of these was placed in the Journal, and as the circulation of the paper increased, presses of still greater capacity were installed.  Finally, when inventive genius had perfected what is known as the web press, which prints from a continuous roll of paper, and cuts, pastes and folds the sheets as they pour in a rapidly flowing stream from the wonderful machine, one of the best of these was placed in the Journal office, and has been added to the equipment of the Telegram establishment, and other prosperous daily newspaper plants in the State.  The use of this kind of press involves a stereotyping plant, as the sheets are printed from a curved plate, cast from the type, and fitted around the surface of one or more of the cylinders.

Another very important feature of daily newspaper work in Rhode Island to-day, is the almost entire abolition of type-setting by hand.  After years of effort and the expenditure of large sums of money, ruining his health and contributing to his recent death, Otto Mergenthaler, of New York, perfected the so-called linotype machine which bears his name.  The operator works upon a key-board, causing the rapid placing in line of brass dies of the letters, from each line of which is cast a solid line with the words upon one of its edges; these are placed in columns and used thereafter the same as type.  This wonderful piece of mechanism seems almost endowed with thought, and no person interested in mechanics can spend an hour more profitably than in witnessing its beautiful and effective operation.  One or more of these machines is operated in most of the large printing establishments of the State.

Most successful daily and weekly newspapers carry more or less illustrations; these are made possible only through the great improvements and inventions of comparatively recent years.  All such pictures in former times were made only by engraving them on wood, at great expense, from which an electrotype was made.  The printing was done from this copper-faced plate, thus saving wear and other damage to the wooden block.  Early wood engraving in this State was very crude, as seen by the cut used in the title to the Newport Mercury.  But artists rapidly advanced in their skill and methods, until wood-engraving became, and still is, one of the most beautiful and effective means of art-expression.  But it is very costly.  Finally, and just when the necessity was at its highest, ingenious inventors and experimenters found a method of making a metal reproduction of a photograph by a process too intricate to be explained here, and at nominal cost.  This is one of the great art achievements of modern times in its relation to newspapers, books and periodicals; the illustration of all of these was at once revolutionized.  By this beautiful half-tone process, as it is commonly called, any photograph or black and white drawing can be faithfully duplicated in a few hours, ready for the printing press, and instead of paying from ten or twenty to a hundred or more dollars for a wood-engraved portrait or other picture, the publisher obtains an exact reproduction of the photograph for a mere fraction of such figures.  Half-tone work is now produced in a number of large establishments in the cities.

Facilities for obtaining late news in the early years of the journalism of the State were very meagre, and it would seem that more effort was expended in securing and printing foreign advices, than in affairs of our own country.  We look in vain in the papers of those times for New England news, unless it was the brief notice of some important national event, while of what would now be termed local news, Rhode Island affairs in Providence or Newport, there is almost nothing to be found.  The slow-going mails were the only resource of the editor, and Providence and Newport papers appeared regularly containing information that was printed a day earlier in New York journals.  Rhode Island publishers were not exceptionally slow in this respect, and measures for improvement were adopted here about as early as anywhere.  The Providence Journal, previous to 1840, organized expresses to aid in gathering election returns, sending them to Boston for this purpose, where the Atlas was noted for its enterprise.  In 1840, when it appeared that the triumph of the Whig party depended on the result in Pennsylvania, the Atlas sent expresses over the whole State, chartered a steamboat to bring the news to Providence, where it was supplied to the Journal and carried forward to Boston by riders with relays of horses.  And when the day line was established from New York to Boston by way of the Sound, Norwich and Worcester and the Worcester and Boston railroads, the Providence Journal regularly expressed New York morning papers from Danielsonville, Conn.  Additional and more rapid-running railroads gradually improved these conditions and finally, in 1848, the telegraph began operation between Providence and New York, just in time to supply news of the presidential election of that year.  The marvelous growth and improvement in facilities and methods in news-gathering since that time, the laying of the Atlantic cable, the formation of various press associations, etc., are well understood.

The newspapers of Rhode Island that have become permanent institutions have an average of high standing in the broad field of journalism at the present time, in the closing years of the century.  Their most conspicuous characteristic, speaking in general terms, is, perhaps, their freedom from unworthy literature, scandal, and the like, and the general efficiency of their editorial management.  The large reading public of this State has never shown much disposition to accept newspapers the contents of which were not suited to the family circle, and the universal law of supply and demand has here accomplished the usual result.

H. P. Smith

Three other short-lived newspapers are to be credited to Newport before the close of that century.  The first of these was the United States Chronicle; but the founding of this journal belongs to Providence, where the first number was issued in January, 1784, under proprietorship of Bennett & Wheeler.  It was published in Newport in 1791, where the editor was Henry Barber. The paper suspended in 1802

The Rhode Island Museum was published in Newport about six months, beginning in July, 1794, and closing in the following December.  This was followed by the issue, on April 15, 1798, of The Weekly Companion and Commercial Centinel [sic], by Oliver Farnsworth, 'Printer to the Honorable General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island.'   The first number appeared under direction of Oliver and Havila Farnsworth, but from April 6, 1799, the former was alone in the business.  The paper suspended after about one year, and its owners soon afterward published The Guardian of Liberty for a time; the first number was issued September 25, 1800.  At about the same date was founded the Rhode Island Republican; this also was published by Oliver Farnsworth, 'near the Coffee House', on Thames street.  This journal had a longer career.  Its editor, in 1841, printed the statement that the first issue was dated October 5, 1801, but the editor of the Newport Bibliography, by reckoning back from numbers now at hand, finds the date as first above given, a few days only before the date of the first number of The Guardian of Liberty.  The latter paper was short-lived and probably was merged with the Republican, the motto of which was, 'An indissoluble Union of the States is essential to their liberty and existence' - a fact that had to be proven a half century later in the carnage of civil war.  The original Republican lived about two years; but another journal bearing the same title was started on March 22, 1809, by William Simons.  The older one of that name is not mentioned by him in his early issues and seems to have passed out of memory.  His office was at No. 5 Mill street.  On July 23, 1812, the day of publication was changed from Wednesday to Thursday, but on April 13, 1814, was again made Wednesday.  The Republican was successful; it made the editorial claim of being actuated 'by a zeal that knows no bounds, and governed by principles which have no ends but the public welfare'.  We cannot wonder that the paper survived.   Mr. Simons continued as publisher until 1825, when Atkinson & Read (James Atkinson, Wm. Read), bought the establishment and continued the business to 1830.  Mr. Read was then alone two years and in 1832 sold to Francis B. Peckham, in whose name it stood until August, 1833.  Then A. B. Peckham appears as publisher until December of the same year, when Francis B. Peckham again assumed ownership, and in October, 1836, sold to Callender & Tilley.  Mr. Callender was a bookseller and Mr. Tilley a practical printer.  The last issue of the Republican bears the date of April 21, 1841, and in its place the same firm published the Rhode Islander, the first number of which was dated May 4, of that year.  This was a non-political journal and aimed to fill its columns with clean family reading.

The Anti-Masonic movement had a memorable existence in this State and threatened to gain permanent political control.  The party that was born of that movement, like all leading and ambitious political organizations, needed newspaper 'organs', as they were called.  One of these was the Anti-Masonic Rhode Islander, the startling motto of which was, 'Thou shalt do no murder'.  The first number was dated November 4, 1829; in No. 28 the publication day is given as Wednesday and the office location, 178 Thames street.  Allen & Folsom were the publishers.  Dr. Benjamin Case, who was a very radical anti-mason, was the editor, and he waged a wordy warfare in his columns during the life of the party.  A file of this journal was formerly in possession of St. John's lodge of Masons, but it has disappeared.

The next newspaper established in Newport bore the resounding title, Freedmen's Advocate and the Impartial Inquirer, which began October 1, 1830, with William Cutter, editor and proprietor, 'four doors north of the Custom House, Thames street.'  The paper was devoted to advocacy of the principles which led to the election of Andrew Jackson to the presidency of the United States; but personalities and political abuse soon occupied most of its columns, and it suspended after a short career.


These documents are made available free to the public for non-commercial purposes by the Rhode Island USGenWeb Project. Transcription and pictures 2003 by Beth Hurd


Mail e-mail