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Country: United States
City: Brattleboro, Vt.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 22
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 88
Earliest Date: 21 July 1837
Latest Date: 12 October 1853
The Windham County Democrat was started in 1836 in Brattleboro, Vermont as a weekly. The minority party paper was established by a group of Democrats and was first edited by Joseph Steen. In 1837, George W. Nichols, who had edited the Brattleboro Messenger, and Farmers' and Manufacturers' Publick Journal and the Brattleboro Messenger between 1826 and 1834 and the Vermont Phoenix from 1834-1836, purchased the Democrat and served as publisher and editor. In the winter of 1841, Nichols hired an editorial assistant, Clarina Howard Carpenter. They married in 1843, and after George Nichols fell ill in 1844, Clarina Nichols took over many of the editorial duties. Her editorial role was not acknowledged publicly until 1849. Mrs. Nichols is identified as the editor on the second page of several issues from the 1850s. The Democrat ceased publication in December 1853.
During its early years, the Democrat was a four-page weekly. It included political articles, some poetry and stories, notices, advice, and advertising. Mrs. Nichols transformed the partisan political paper into a family journal with strong literary and reform content. She reprinted articles taken from other papers and wrote her own editorials to inform readers about women’s economic and political rights, temperance, and antislavery. When the Nichols ended their affiliation with the Democratic Party, they used the pages of the Democrat to support the Free Soil movement, which opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories.
Toward the end of her tenure as editor, Mrs. Nichols devoted more space to women’s issues. The June 1, 1853 issue, for example, includes articles on women orators such as activists Antoinette Brown and Lucretia Mott, female medical education, an antislavery speech delivered by Lucy Stone, and the conclusion to a long essay on equal rights for women by minister and abolitionist Thomas Wentworth Higginson. In an October 1853 issue, Mrs. Nichols addressed “Vermont Women” and asked them to circulate petitions directing the Vermont Legislature to restore property rights to married women and to allow women to vote in school meetings.
Although the Windham County Democrat’s positions were not supported by all Brattleboro residents and were frequently criticized by the editors of other local papers, circulation reached a respectable 1,000 subscribers. Mrs. Nichols’s pieces were reprinted by papers throughout the northeastern United States, and their editors often complimented the “talented editress.”
Provided by: University of Vermont