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About The Columbus commercial. (Columbus, Miss.) 1893-1922
Columbus, Miss. (1893-1922)
- The Columbus commercial. : (Columbus, Miss.) 1893-1922
- Alternative Titles:
- Weekly commercial
- Place of publication:
- Columbus, Miss.
- Geographic coverage:
- J.T. Senter
- Dates of publication:
- Began in 1893; ceased in Mar. 1922.
- Columbus (Miss.)--Newspapers.
- Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
- Description based on: Vol. 7, no. 34 (Jun. 3, 1902).
- Published as: Weekly commercial <Nov. 17, 1903-Nov. 29, 1904>.
- sn 87065028
- Related Links:
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
Mississippi Index, Columbus Index, The Columbus Commercial, The Columbus Dispatch, The Columbus Weekly Dispatch, The Columbus Dispatch, The Columbus Weekly Dispatch and The Columbus Dispatch
Columbus, the seat of Lowndes County situated on the bank of the Tombigbee River in east-central Mississippi, has been a commercial center of the surrounding cotton-producing region since the 1830s. Although a Confederate arsenal was based there during the Civil War, Columbus escaped capture and destruction by Federal troops. By the early 20th century, it was the second largest town in the region and a manufacturing center.
Shortly after the Civil War, the Mississippi Index (1865-69?), a four-page tri-weekly, began publication. It was established by the Worthington brothers, William, Samuel, and Winfield, sons of Henry H. Worthington, long-time editor/proprietor of the Columbus Democrat (1834-78). James A. Stevens, who worked at the Index, became publisher/editor of the succeeding newspaper, the Columbus Index (1869-93), alternately known as the Columbus Weekly Index or the Weekly Index; a tri-weekly edition was added in 1873. In 1893, with a new publisher, the newspaper became the Columbus Commercial (1893-1922); it was published weekly prior to 1909 and semiweekly until at least 1918. Page count varied from four to eight pages throughout the Commercial's run.
By August 1886 English-born widow, Susan C. Maer, was sole editor/publisher of the four-page semiweekly Columbus Dispatch (1879-1908), also known as the Columbus Sunday Dispatch and the Columbus Wednesday Dispatch; and the concurrent eight-page Columbus Weekly Dispatch (1902-05). After starting as city editor of the semiweekly, her son, Percy W. Maer, became editor/publisher of the weekly Thursday version, also known as the Columbus Dispatch (1905-08). After 1908, only the weekly edition, called either the Weekly Columbus Dispatch or theColumbus Dispatch, seems to have survived. After another change in publisher, the newspaper became a semiweekly again in 1919, and the name reverted back to the Columbus Dispatch.
Similar in content and both Democratic in affiliation, the Commercial and Dispatch consolidated to form the Commercial Dispatch in 1922; V. Birney Imes became the editor. Still published, managed, and edited by the Imes family, the Commercial Dispatch is issued in 2015 as a daily.
Columbia was home to the first free school in the state, the Franklin Academy started in 1821. Established in 1884, the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College for the Education of White Girls (currently known as the Mississippi University for Women), was the first taxpayer-supported college for women in the United States. The Index, Dispatch, and Commercial Dispatch often carried news about the schools. The papers also described festivities surrounding "Decoration Day," the annual laying of flowers on Confederate and Federal graves first held in Columbus's Friendship Cemetery in April 1866, a precursor to modern Memorial Day.
The Columbus newspapers offered good national, state, and local news coverage in the early 20th century. The "war in Europe", World War I, was consistently front-page news for its duration. Editorials commented regularly on state politicians, including, for example, newspaperman James Kimble Vardaman, who served as governor (1904-08) and United State Senator (1913-19). Legal notices, advertisements, and social news complimented stories on local sports, festivals, and other entertainments. The visit of President William Howard Taft to Columbus on November 2, 1909, however, was perhaps the most significant local event in the early 20th century, making the front page of the Columbus Commercial for nearly two months.
Provided by: Mississippi Department of Archives and History