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Country: United States
City: Middlebury, Vt.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 156
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 1,260
Earliest Date: 5 January 1883
Latest Date: 25 December 1885
One of Vermont's longest running weekly newspapers started in 1836 as the People's Press, and Anti-Masonic Democrat in Middlebury, a thriving agricultural and manufacturing center in northwestern Vermont. The paper changed title six times by 1850. It appeared as the People's Press, and Addison County Democrat (1838-41), Middlebury People's Press (1841-43), Northern Galaxy, and Middlebury People's Press (1843-44), Northern Galaxy (1844-47), and Middlebury Galaxy (1848-50). On January 15, 1850, the paper announced that "a desire to be known--PERMANENTLY--by an acceptable, unpretending, and expressive appellation" resulted in a new name, Middlebury Register. When a group combined the Register with a short-lived rival, the Addison County Journal , the masthead acknowledged the second paper from 1883 to 1885, but returned to the shorter Middlebury Register in 1886. During the last decade of operation from 1937 to 1947, the paper's official title was once again the Middlebury Register & Addison County Journal.
Of the numerous owners, publishers and editors who were involved with the People's Press and its successors, five in particular contributed to its longevity and success. Justus Cobb founded the paper in 1836 with Daniel Spooner, and although he left the same year, Cobb returned as printer and publisher from 1842 until 1859. After another hiatus, when he served as Middlebury's postmaster, Cobb returned to become a partner in the Register Printing Company from 1870 to 1873. Lawyer Harvey Bell was editor and an owner from 1841 until his death in 1848, followed by Joseph H. Barrett from 1848 to 1856. Lyman E. Knapp, later a governor of the District of Alaska, was editor and publisher from1865 to 1878. In 1882, a partnership that included Joseph Battell, an eccentric local businessman and philanthropist, took over. Battell's association with the Register lasted until his death in 1915.
The People's Press began as a campaign paper for the Whig party, and continued to support Whig and Republican positions on local and national issues, including abolition of slavery and temperance. In 1841, editor Bell acknowledged the importance of diverse content in a country paper and promised to spare space for agriculture, science, and literature. In the 1850s and 1860s, news item often provided a local slant on national events, such as Middlebury's response to Lee's surrender in April 1865. After the Civil War, there were regular contributions from Addison County town correspondents. When the paper expanded to eight pages in 1883, more general reading material and local news filled the space.
Joseph Battell used the Register to promote his personal interests, projects, and opinions with articles that proclaimed the importance of wild lands and conservation, campaigned for local beautification and public works projects, and railed against the automobile and industrialization. He supplemented the agricultural content with an illustrated "Horse Department" that featured articles about his beloved Morgan horses. The Register flourished under Battell's direction and remained an important local institution under later publishers. When the paper ceased in 1947, the New York Times reported that it was the second largest weekly in the state.
Provided by: University of Vermont