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The Daily Eagle, Wichita Daily Eagle and Wichita Eagle
Established as the first daily newspaper in Wichita to carry the Eagle name, the Daily Eagle printed four pages of news each day except Monday beginning on May 20, 1884. The Daily Eagle boasted of having “the largest circulation of any daily paper in southwestern Kansas.” Although the Daily Eagle only produced a mere 17 issues, its name remains synonymous with its successors, as well as with the city itself. On June 8, 1884, the Daily Eagle became the Whichita Daily Eagle, which circulated under that name until August 18, 1886, when it was changed simply to the Wichita Eagle. The publication schedule remained the same, but the size of each issue fluctuated between four, six, and eight pages and frequently included supplements. In 1888, the Eagle began routinely publishing a larger, 12-page Sunday edition reaching an additional 1,000 readers each week.
Marshall M. Murdock (1837-1908), a man recognized for his progressive ideas, worked as the editor and publisher of the Eagle, assisted by his younger brother and business manager, Roland P. Murdock (1843-1906). The elder Murdock, commonly known as “Marsh,” had first established the weekly Wichita City Eagle in 1872 and remained with the paper through all its title changes until his retirement in 1906. Murdock believed a strong daily newspaper supporting local and regional commercial interests would help Wichita “not only to be the city of this greatest of great valleys, but possibly, even probably, the city of the State of Kansas.”
During its short tenure, the Daily Eagle reported on the 1884 Republican National Convention and bore witness to the decline and collapse of the Greenback Party. From its first issue on June 8, 1884, the Wichita Daily Eagle embraced some of the latest formatting changes in the newspaper industry, explaining that “such a thing is unprecedented in American journalism – a border town with a nine-column daily.” On July 20, 1886, the Eagle began publication as an eight-page newspaper that “suitable machinery could be manufactured to order.” It claimed to be the first newspaper ever to be “printed on a power press in this valley and its presses the first to run by steam.” The Eagle witnessed the activities of the temperance movement, as well as the success of the railroads and the corresponding rise of Populism.
On March 18, 1890, the title reverted to the Wichita Daily Eagle, although its editors, affiliation, and audience remained unchanged. These early renditions of the Eagle paved the way for numerous successors, including the Wichita Eagle we know and read today.
Provided by: Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, KS