GREENVILLE - The Greenville Journal, in circulation from 1907-18, is among 17 historic Ohio newspapers that have been digitized and uploaded to the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America website at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.
It was all made possible by a $248,600 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, it was announced recently by the Ohio History Connection.
The National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio, part of the National Digital Newspaper Program developed by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, enables the Ohio History Connection to digitize 100,000 additional Ohio newspaper pages published from 1836 to 1921 by August this year.
These pages will join the other 40 papers - more than 200,000 Ohio newspaper pages published between 1845 and 1922 - that are already available on Chronicling America through the projects first and second of three phases.
It was learned that The Greenville Journal, located in Greenville, the seat of Darke County in northwest Ohio, was the county’s most storied newspaper, according to one website. The Journal was established as the Greenville Patriot in the 1830s, but struggled to gain a base of subscribers in its infancy. Sold numerous times to different owners for the first several years, the name was eventually changed to the Greenville Journal. It was not until 1850, when it was purchased by E.B. Taylor and J.G. Reese, that the paper had begun to hit its stride.
The Journal, published weekly, strongly supported the Whig Party’s political views. The paper took its motto “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable” from a speech made by Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, a prominent member of the Whig Party. While supporting the Whigs, much of the paper was devoted to publishing Ohio’s laws. With the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, the Whigs stated that they were “willing to stand by the compromise measure, but no steps further.” The Journal wanted to ensure that citizens were obeying the law, no matter how unjust it was.
Once the Republican Party was formed by anti-slavery advocates in 1854, the Journal changed its political support and became the official organ of the Republican Party in 1855. It was a staunch supporter of Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln in the election of 1860. That year, E.W. Otwell and James M. Craig would buy the paper with only an estimated 150 subscribers. Otwell would eventually buy out his partner to become the sole owner, publisher, and editor in 1869. With his own vision for how the paper should look and feel, Otwell decided to enlarge the Journal from a seven- to a nine-column folio, making it easier to read and turning it into the largest paper in the county at that time. To gain more subscribers, Otwell made the paper more family-focused and included articles that would appeal to women and children. The Journal dedicated plenty of space to national and political news but never forgot about local matters. Otwell was sure to always include a “City News” column that focused exclusively on the happenings in Greenville.
In 1879, Otwell decided to leave the paper business for a seat in a law firm, but kept the newspaper in the family by turning over publication duties to his son, Curt. By 1880, 20 years after Otwell took ownership of the paper, the number of subscribers had climbed to more than 1,150. The Greenville Journal would almost last for another 40 successful years, publishing its last issue on July 4, 1918.
Other Ohio newspapers added to Chronicling America are: from Cincinnati, Organ of the Temperance Reform (1852-1852), Ohio Organ of the Temperance Reform (1853-1854), Star (1875-1875), and Cincinnati Daily Star (1875-1880); from Georgetown, Democratic Standard (1840-1845); from Kalida, Kalida Venture (1845-1854); from Maumee City, Maumee Express (1837-1838) and Maumee City Express (1838-1840); from Medina, Medina Sentinel (1914-1921); and from Ravenna, Democratic Press (1868-1895), Ohio Star (1852-1854), Portage County Democrat (1859-1864), Portage Sentinel (1845-1854), Weekly Portage Sentinel (1854-1861), Portage Sentinel (1861-1862), and Western Courier (1837-1838).
For a full listing of Ohio historical newspapers, visit http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/ohio.
The Ohio History Connection’s Archives/Library at the Ohio History Center in Columbus contains the largest collection of Ohio newspapers in existence. The newspaper holdings contain newspapers published from 1793 to present, 4,500 titles, 20,000 volumes, and over 50,000 rolls of microfilm of Ohio titles.
Much of the microfilm in the Society’s newspaper collection was created in 1971 as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities initiative called the United States Newspaper Program. Since then, the information published in the thousands of deteriorating wood-pulp newspaper volumes in the society’s collections has been transferred to more than 16,000 rolls of master negative microfilm. The National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio builds upon this earlier effort.
On May 24, 2014, the Ohio Historical Society changed its name to the Ohio History Connection. Established in 1885, this nonprofit organization provides a wide array of statewide services and programs related to collecting, preserving and interpreting Ohio’s history, archaeology and natural history through its 55 sites and museums across Ohio, including its flagship museum, the Ohio History Center in Columbus. For more information about programs and events, call 800.686.6124 or go online at www.ohiohistory.org.