Hi! Winnie Griggs here.
The hero of my upcoming June release, The Bride Next Door, runs a one man newspaper office in a small town in Northeast Texas. The story takes place in 1895 so I had to do quite a bit of research into what newspaper production was like at this time and when certain advancements came about so I could figure out what he would be dealing with. As I dug through various sources I developed a number of timelines and thought I would share those with you today. (Special Note: In honor of that upcoming release I'll be doing a giveaway in conjunction with this post so make sure to look for the details at the bottom of the post)
The first timeline is one that looks at how widespread newspapers were. Most of these numbers came from US census reports. Some of the numbers surprised me.
Spread of newspapers in the US (numbers are approximate)
- 1801 200 newspapers
- 1814 350 newspapers
- 1830 715 newspapers
- 1850 2,500 newspapers
- 1860 3,000 newspapers
- 1870 5,000 newspapers
- 1880 7,000 newspapers
The next timeline I developed from my research was one that looked at the technological developments. Some of these advancements happened much earlier than I expected, and some later.
- 1823 The steam driven printing press is invented by Jonas Booth. This makes the mechanical process of newspaper printing more efficient and less costly.
- 1844 The opening of the first telegraph line provides near-instant long distance communication. This makes it possible for local newspapers to offer timely coverage of far-off events.
- 1847 A four-cylinder rotary press is invented by Robert Hoe. Hoe's press can print up to 8000 pages per hour. This development caps off more than twenty years of improvements to the rudimentary cylinder presses developed in Europe..
- 1850’s Giant presses popped up during this decade that were able to print ten thousand complete papers every hour.
- 1875 The offset printing process for printing on tin was developed by Robert Barclay of England. It would be twenty-eight years later before Ira Rubel of the United States would take the process and rework it for printing on paper. This would become the beginning of a process still used by printing and publishing companies today.
- 1879 The benday process, an entirely mechanical procedure for production of halftone images, is developed by Benjamin Day Jr., a New York newspaper engraver.
- 1884 The Linotype method of printing is introduced. This was a process of creating movable type by machine rather than by hand and it marked a significant leap in production speed.
- 1886 Ottmar Mergenthaler set up the first successful automatic typesetting machine in the offices of The New York Tribune.
The third timeline I developed was one of milestones and significant/interesting
- 1815 Samuel Bangs established himself as the first printer in Texas when he set up a printing press on Galveston Island. Later he was captured by the Mexicans and sent to Mexico City where he became that country’s public printer.
- 1820 Many of the newspapers in America’s major cities are considered "mercantile papers", and had the words mercantile, advertiser or commercial as part of their names. They were often published on large sheets of paper and cost about six cents a copy, more than many working class folk could afford, making newspapers the province of the wealthy.
- 1833 The first edition of the New York Sun is issued. It was the first mass produced newspaper in America and was printed on four letter sized pages. Because of the innovations, it was much cheaper to produce and sold for a penny a copy, ushering in the age of the "penny press". The lower price and focus on human interest stories soon attracted a much wider audience made up of ordinary citizens. Within two years, the New York Sun was selling 15,000 copies a day.
- 1835 The first edition of the New York Herald is issued. This paper will quickly grow to become America's most widely read newspaper.
- 1849 A group of American newspaper publishers organize a group that will later become known as the Associated Press (AP). Their original purpose is to acquire news information from Europe.
- 1850’s During this decade, woodcut engravings come into use to illustrate news stories spurring the growth of "pictorial" weekly newspapers. These engravings were made either from news correspondent sketches/descriptions or from photographs.
- 1851 The Post Office starts offering a special inexpensive newspaper rate making long distance distribution more economical.
- 1856 This year saw a number of advancements. The New York Ledger publishes the first full-page newspaper ad. Machines that will mechanically fold newspapers are developed. Photographer Mathew Brady popularizes large type newspaper ads.
- 1859 The first baseball box score, very similar to today's version, appears in the New York Clipper. Devised by Henry Chadwick, the box score allows newspapers across the country to provide standardized and succinct summaries of baseball games to a growing national audience.
- 1860 The New York Herald starts the first newspaper archive (more commonly referred to as "morgue" in newspaper circles)
- 1863 Famous illustrator Thomas Nast creates a front page woodcut for Harper’s Weekly that becomes the iconic image of Santa Claus we still have with us today.
- 1867 The first double column advertising appears for the department store Lord & Taylor.
- 1873 The first illustrated daily newspaper is published in New York.
- 1880 First halftone photograph published in a newspaper. This was the famous illustration "Shantytown" by Stephen Horgan and it appeared in the New York Daily Graphic.
- 1883 Joseph Pulitzer acquires the New York World from Jay Gould for $346,000.
- 1885 It becomes common for newspapers to be delivered daily by train to outreaching areas.
- 1887 William Randolph Hearst is named as the editor of the San Francisco Examiner.
- 1890’s During this decade the first circulation figures of a million copies per issue were recorded.
- 1897 The New York Journal publishes the first color Sunday funny papers.
1898 The term ‘yellow journalism’ is born. When the USS Maine sinks in Havana Harbor, Cuba in a mysterious explosion, The New York Journal immediately blames Spain. This helps push the US into war with Spain. Those who condemn the paper for its sensational and reckless reporting call it ‘yellow journalism’. Note: Many historians today believe the explosion was caused by an internal fire that spread to on board ammunition.
If you'd like to see pictures of the printing press and newspaper office I used as my inspiration for the one featured in this book, you can find it on the Pinterest Board I set up for this book at this link: http://pinterest.com/wdgriggs/book-the-bride-next-door-06-13/
I'd love to hear what parts of this information (if any) surprised you and what parts you found the most interesting.
And now for the giveaway.
I'll be selecting two of today's commenters to recieve a copy of The Bride Next Door (or a choice of any book from my backlist). I'll pick the winner at 10:00 am CST on Monday and post the name in the comments of this blog.
After years of wandering, Daisy Johnson hopes to settle in Turnabout,
, open a restaurant, perhaps find a husband. Of course, she'd envisioned a man who actually likes her. Not someone who offers a marriage of convenience to avoid scandal. Texas
Turnabout is just a temporary stop for newspaper reporter Everett Fulton. Thanks to one pesky connecting door and a local gossip, he's suddenly married, but his dreams of leaving haven't changed. What Daisy wants - home, family, tenderness - he can't provide. Yet big-city plans are starting to pale beside small-town warmth...
Wow, I learned a lot this morning. Thank you Winnie. The first thing that surprised me is the steam driven printing press. I always thought the first presses were typeset by hand. Then in 1884 when the Linotype was introduced, I would have thought that would have been closer to the 1900s but once again, I learned something new. I found all of your third timeline quite interesting.ReplyDelete
I studied journalism in high school and had high aspirations of continuing in college (I did take a class in college) but due to circumstances I wasn't able to complete the program. I later worked for a television station (in accounting) that was housed in a five story newspaper building that I found exciting. I admired all the people that worked hard to bring the news to the people.
I would love to be entered to win a copy of The Bride Next Door. Thank you for the chance.
Smiles & Blessings,
countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com
Hi Cindy! Thanks for stopping by and I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. I was very surprised at the dates on some of these innovations as well. Most of this didn't appear in the book, but it helped me to figure out what sort of press and process my hero would utilize. And yep, I'm putting your name in the hat for the drawing.Delete
Wonderful information, Winnie! Thanks. You did a great job of laying out the progression of the industry.ReplyDelete
Thanks Susan! It was really an interesting train of research to pursueDelete
I was surprised all of this advancement before the 1900s and the snatching of Mr. Bangs to Mexico ~ how would he have gotten the news unless he spoke the language and sentence structure came easily to him? I found this post to be very interesting. I read the excerpt of The Bride Next Door and would like to find out more about Daisy's adventure! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill HouseReplyDelete
Hi Kathleen! The snippet about Mr. Bangs WAS intriguing, wasn't it. I was very tempted to wander down that research rabbit trail and see what else I could find about that situation but managed to restrain myself (for now!). But I sense there may be a story in there somewhere.Delete
I loved the timeline features! Wow, what a lot of history regarding newspapers. I think the capturing of Mr. Bangs made me wonder the most. The mexicans took someone from here to be a newspaper man over there?! I'm wondering the same thing as Kathleen - did he know the language? That's just so randomly interesting and intriguing. LOL Great post!ReplyDelete
farmygirl at hotmail dot com
Hi Susan - glad you enjoyed the timelines. And the incident with Mr. Bangs is very intriguing - I may have to pursue some additional research down that rabbit trail...Delete
I found it interesting the news correspondents own sketches, photos or descriptions were used in the making of the illustrations. Thanks for a chance to win one of your books!ReplyDelete
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com
Hi Merry. One area I really wanted to research in more detail was the whole process of doing woodcut engravings - it seems like it would take a special kind of skill to do that - especially with the time constraints they would have been under. But alas I didn't have the time as I was writing this book. But I'd love to have a heroine who does that for a living someday...Delete
I was surprised to learn that the AP has been around since 1849!ReplyDelete
Patty - I know! Here is one line about its early years:Delete
"That year (1849), five New York City newspapers got together to fund a pony express route through Alabama in order to bring news of the Mexican War north more quickly than the U.S. Post Office could deliver it."
Wow, I had no idea! It sure does show how the movies got their newspaper printing wrong sometimes, just didn't fit the dates.ReplyDelete
I actually thought the AP was older! Hmmm, now I'm thinking about a little research to find out more about the start of the news companies and their dates etc.
Thanks for the wonderful history info and for the giveaway!
Hi Jasmine. Glad I inspired you to do some follow-up research! :) I find research to be one of the most fun things about writing historical set romances. There are so many interesting and unexpected tidbits you can stumble on.Delete
I have heard this, but I think it's interesting they call the newspaper archive a morgue. I read a book by Bailey Bristol that talks a lot about the morgue. Thanks for the post and giveaway.ReplyDelete
Hi Rose. I've always thought morgue was a rather morbid term for the archives. I may need to do a little additional research to find out how it came by that name!ReplyDelete
I'm surprised there were so many newspapers in the 1800's. I thought all the technology in the 1800's was interesting. I've never read any history about newspapers and the technology that went along with it. Thank you for sharing this history with us. Please enter me in your giveaway.ReplyDelete
Hi Barbara. Glad you enjoyed the post. And it would be interesting to find out how many of these papers were dailies and how many were weeklies. You're name is definitly in the hat for the drawing!Delete
I love the plot of this book! Amazing how the newspaper business grew so much! shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)comReplyDelete
Hi Veronica - thanks for the kind words about my book - it was a really fun one to write and I love these characters. Got your name in the hat for the drawing!Delete
Wow! You gave a lot of info I didn't know about, the fact that I like the most was the beginning of the sunday funnies in the New York Journal. I loved Sundays when I was a girl cuz my dad would always hand me the comics...great memory! Thanks for the opportunity to win the book, I would love to read it!ReplyDelete
JoJo - Ooooooh, I share some of those same memories with you in regards to the Sunday comics. My sister and I used to jockey for position on who would get the funny papers first. I must confess, even years later as an adult, this would often be the first section I'd read.Delete
Oh Winnie. This was so interesting. Can't believe they learned and had so many things back in those times, until I started being on this site. I was interested to see our first TX. paper was in Galveston, not far from here. And, that so many newspapers could be made already in the 1800s. And, that a Newspaper Co. would sale for $346,000. That would be a fortune in these days. Please put my name in to win your book. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)comReplyDelete
Maxie, glad you enjoyed the post. Isn't it interesting how skewed our perceptions of the nineteeth century can be? And yes, your name is definitely in the hat for the drawingDelete
Hi Winnie looking forward to your next book. This research sure looks like a lot to cover. I was surprised by how fast the newspaper spread between 1830-1850 going from 700's to 2500, that is quite a lot. I have read some books about beginning papers and seems like there was lot of leg work to get things to put in the paper and it began with only one page to start. I wonder if the paper will become obsolete with internet and all the news we can get here and tv.ReplyDelete
Paula - Thanks for your interest in my new book! A that's a good question about how relevant physical newspapers will be in the coming years. I think a lot of papers are in trouble already because of everyone moving toward online content. It will be interesting to see how adaptable these companies will be to the changing demands of the consumer.Delete
Thanks for the post...I found alot I didn't know about the newspapers...I thought the AP was older too but great to know! thanks for the chance to win...truckredford(at)Gmail(dot)ComReplyDelete
Hi Eliza - and here I was thinking AP was younger - just goes to show how we all have different perceptions. Thanks for stopping by!Delete
A lot of info - didn't realize how many changes it took to evolve into the newspapers that we have today. The comments about "yellow journalism" were interesting.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!
Hi Bonnie. Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the post.Delete
This sounds like a great book! I would really like to win it, thank you for hosting this giveaway.ReplyDelete
Hi Wendy - Thanks for the nice thoughts about my book - I'm putting your name in the hat!Delete
I love the idea of a one-man (woman) newspaper. I would have probably run one had I lived in those days. And I hope I win! kkakins (at) gmail (dot)comReplyDelete
Hi Karla - it WAS kinda fun having my hero run a newspaper office. I hope readers will enjoy it as well.Delete
Amazed that in 1850, they could print 10,000 complete newspapers per hour. Would love to win your book. sharon,CAReplyDelete
Hi Sharon. I agree, that does seem amazing, even for today! Thanks for stopping by.Delete
My Dad worked for the local newspaper for 25 years. He was a Printer and Linotype Operator. After he left the newspaper, he was a Union Organizer for the ITU (International Typographical Union).
Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.
Hi Janet. How neat to have such history right there in your own family. Thanks for stoppig by and glad you liked the postDelete
Thanks to everyone who stopped by and left a comment - I had fun reading everyone's thoughts! I've selected the winner for the signed copy of my book and it's VERONICA!ReplyDelete
Congratulations! And thanks again to everyone.
Thank you for writing clean and loving romance!ReplyDelete
Gee, I never really thought about all of the research necessary to weave a believable tale. It makes me appreciate your art so much more!ReplyDelete