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The Sunday Chat
A special edition of the Paducah Sun was issued on Sundays and suitably titled the Sunday Chat. It first reached readers in 1901 under the guidance of Paducah Sun editor Edwin (“E.J”). Paxton with an associate editor, Susan W. Morton, specifically dedicated to producing the Chat. Records indicate the Chat was also included with weekday issues of the Paducah Sun.
By 1902, the Paducah Sun (Weekly ed.) was being printed on Thursdays in addition to the regular daily edition of the Sun and the Sunday Chat. It seems that neither weekly title was a stable endeavor, with only scattered issues published, and, by June 1902, the title was formally changed to the Paducah Weekly Sun.
Larger than the daily Sun by 10--sometimes 14--pages, the 18-page Chat wanted to present readers with a more "diversified and careful selection of matter." According to the first issue, the Chat also meant to serve the entire family during the "quiet of the Sabbath.” Not surprisingly, the content was geared toward wholesome family matters and offered local news, society happenings, and entertainment in a leisurely, Sunday-paced style. Perhaps most strikingly, it sported fine artwork, much more so than its daily sibling--surely a feast for the eyes of the rejuvenating Sunday reader. To be sure, hard news wasn’t completely absent from the Chat, but it was seldom the main attraction. Instead, such space was given to large clothing and department store ads, society columns, and the like.
Original poetry, prose, and serial short stories were also common features in the Chat. The paper offered everything from murder mysteries to love stories, and even book reviews. At the turn of the 20th century, writers were reminiscing about the “old days” on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and beyond. Stories of note were those penned by Kentucky writer Adelaide D. Rollston. Her poetry and prose appeared in many popular Eastern journals including Louisville’s Courier-Journal and the defunct Saturday Star-Journal of New York. Rollston also published works in the monthly Youth's Companion--the longest running children's publication in the United States--alongside such esteemed American authors as Emily Dickinson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, and Booker T. Washington.
Perhaps Rollston’s work found a comfortable home in the Sunday Chat because of the influence wielded by its editor Susan W. Morton. The contents of the Chat appeared more feminine in nature when juxtaposed beside the daily Paducah Sun. Even the weekly edition of the Sun had less flair in substance and form. The Sun, spearheaded entirely by Paxton and his partner and uncle, Frank M. Fisher, expressed, in contrast, more of Kentucky’s woes; stories of lynchings, poverty, and smallpox were common fare in the Sun, whereas light fictional reading, social affairs, and entertainment delights dominated the Chat.
It is unclear when the Sunday Chat ceased publication.
Provided by: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY