York Newspaper Contributors Had to Meet Editor’s Standards
Newspapers were the only media outlet in the 19th century and politics often had the most extensive coverage. Even though some papers in the 19th century claimed to be unbiased in theie coverage, most were not. They were emphatic in their political views, attacking candidates and office holders of opposing parties with a vengeance.
Newspapers also had some literary content–poems, essays and stories. The People’s Advocate newspaper, founded in 1844 and edited by Yorker G. Christopher Stair until his death in 1851, is described in Gibson’s 1886 History of York County as a paper noted for “dignified attitude and literary standing.” Stair was an early York County Superintendent of Schools and an advocate of education through his newspaper.
In 1849 the People’s Advocate advertised that it had “the largest circulation of any English newspaper printed in the County of York.” (Note the distinction–there were still quite a few German-speakers and German-readers in York County mid-19th century.) Readership evidently stretched outside of York County. The Advocate lists agencies in both Baltimore and New York when the paper could be obtained.
The People’s Advocate was definitely a Whig paper. The October 30, 1849 issue jabs the Democratic York Gazette for barking like a dog for nothing at Whig President Taylor and rants about the hardships caused American companies by the tariff polices of former Democratic President Polk.
Click here for former post on the People’s Advocate and its political views under a later editor.
Gibson’s History described Stair as intelligent and witty. As part of the Advocate’s literary content, submitted poetry and other writings were sometimes published. The wit comes through in the three rather caustic rejection notes published in one issue:
We want it to be distinctly understood that we will publish NO ARTICLE hereafter except the writer gives his name. What need the writer fear when his article is Original?
Lines “TO A YOUNG LADY,” by J.C.H., we cannot publish without the writer’s name.–We think the scissors is the principal author.
“CONTENTMENT” is hardly legible, being written with a pencil. If the author is too poor to buy pen and ink, we can accommodate him.
“THE HOME BY THE BROOK,” we are sorry to inform our young friend, is still too much out of measure to be published. STILL “TRY AGAIN.” By calling on us the writer can obtain the manuscript.
Click the link’s below for more on York newspapers.
Pennsylvania Gazette 1777-78.
The York Democratic Press.