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Country: United States
City: Austin, Tex.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 466
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 1,938
Earliest Date: 1 August 1871
Latest Date: 12 April 1883
At the Democratic State Convention in January 1871, delegates decided that Austin needed a Democratic newspaper to compete with the two Republican papers already in circulation. A committee, led by Alexander Stuart Walker, was tasked with working out details for a Democratic paper. Walker arranged for the Statesman Publishing Company to print the new paper. They found their editor in John Cardwell, a lawyer who had recently moved to Austin.
The Austin Democratic Statesman debuted on July 26, 1871 as a tri-weekly published on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The first issue stated, “This paper is established in support of the principles of Democracy as set forth in [the Democratic State Convention] platform.” In August 1871, the Statesman Publishing Company introduced a Tuesday weekly, the Weekly Democratic Statesman, which gained immediate success. Cardwell served as editor for both papers. In 1873, a subscription to the Weekly Democratic Statesman cost two dollars and fifty cents. That same year the Democratic Statesman abandoned the tri-weekly format and became a daily. The paper, four pages long and with a size of 29 x 43 inches, had a circulation of 1,800.
The Statesman printed international and national news, local news, correspondence from reporters based in Washington, D.C., and announcements of state government events. Columns were reserved for brief news telegrams from reporters stationed throughout Texas and editorials representing the paper’s Democratic principles. The paper also reported on the growth of state and city services, ethnic and racial conflicts in the Austin area, and economic strategies for local businesses. Considered a family paper, the Statesman ran articles on farming, animal husbandry, medicinal home remedies, fashion, childcare, and household management.
Col. L. J. Dupre was hired as assistant editor in 1873. Caldwell and Dupre worked together in promoting the political aims of the paper, both having reputations as outspoken Democrats. In 1883 Cardwell retired from the paper, with Dupre leaving soon after. The paper subsequently adopted a more passive political voice, which caused the Statesman’s circulation to decrease. This trend continued until 1887, when a group of local businessmen took control of the paper.
In 1883, the Weekly Democratic Statesman changed its name to the Austin Weekly Statesman, and in 1898, the name changed again to the Austin Weekly Statesman and Diversified Farmer, which ceased publication in 1906. The daily edition continued in many different formats until joining with the Austin American in 1973. As of 2012, the Austin American-Statesman remains the preeminent paper servicing Austin and Central Texas.
Provided by: University of North Texas; Denton, TX