1848-1905 Vermont Newspaper Publishing Explosion

Members of the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project’s advisory committee are currently identifying historical Vermont newspapers to digitize. This is no small task, as they have over 500 titles to consider.
In August 1905, Charles S. Forbes devoted an issue of his monthly periodical, The Vermonter, to an extensive history of the Vermont press. Forbes charts the establishment of weekly papers by decade, as shown in the table below.

Decade

Number of new papers

1780-1790

3

1790-1800

12

1800-1810

16

1810-1820

10

1820-1830

26

1830-1840

53

1840-1850

44

1850-1860

38

1860-1870

26

1870-1880

59

1880-1890

24

1890-1900

11

1900-1905

7

Weekly Papers Established in Vermont 1780-1905

To emphasize how phenomenal this activity was, Forbes noted that the number of newspapers established was much greater than the increase in the state’s population. Many of these weeklies lasted only for short periods. According to Forbes, in 1850 there were just 35 weeklies in print. In 1905, he identified 84 weekly papers in print.
Vermont papers also issued daily editions, beginning with the Daily Free Press in 1848. Forbes lists 25 dailies that were established between 1848 and 1905. Again, over half had ceased; only 10 were being published in 1905.

– Prudence Doherty, VTDNP Project Management Group

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