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Arizona Republican, The Weekly Republican and Arizona Weekly Republican
When the first four-page issue of the Phoenix Arizona Republican appeared on May 19, 1890, few could have imagined that in the next century it would cover a major metropolitan area and become Arizona’s largest and most influential daily newspaper. Phoenix was a dusty, remote desert village of 3,000, and it had only become the territorial capital the previous year. The first editors, Charles. O. Ziegenfuss and Edwin S. Gill, began the daily as a partisan political organ to promote Lewis Wolfley, the territorial governor. There were already two other established daily newspapers in Phoenix, and the Arizona Republican struggled to survive financially.
The Arizona Republican also published the Arizona Weekly Republican in 1890, which about a year later became the Weekly Republican. From 1892 to 1899, it called itself the Arizona Weekly Republican followed by a one-year stint as the Republican Herald. From the end of 1900 until May 1901, the weekly was renamed simply the Arizona Republican, before returning once more to the Weekly Republican.
Arizona journalism was often sensationalistic, combative, and sometimes dangerous. There were few professional boundaries, and editors were blunt and colorful as they sparred with each other as entertainment to sell newspapers. In 1890, for example, Republican editor Gill attacked a Prescott newspaper editor as a “degraded reprobate.” At the same time, ex-Governor Zulick sued Gill for calling him a “swindler and a crook,” while the former territorial chief justice impatiently took a shot at Gill on a Phoenix street.
Nonetheless, the Arizona Republican boasted full Associated Press coverage, attempted to cover news from throughout Arizona, and circulated throughout the territory. In 1895, the Republican introduced the first linotype machine in Arizona. The economic panic of 1893 aggravated the paper’s financial situation, however; advertisements were paid in barter with food tokens from a local restaurant. Frank M. Murphy, a railroad president, mining executive, and Phoenix developer purchased the Republican in 1896. He hired Charles C. Randolph, editor of the New York Times Washington Bureau, who gave the Republican new life and brought the beginnings of modern journalism to Arizona. A former territorial official, Dr. George W. Vickers purchased the Republican in 1900, and in 1909 Dr. Stephen Weaver Higley became owner with Sims Ely as his editor. The paper supported the interests of the Republican Party and its head, Phoenix hotel owner, John C. Adams. Prominent on the Republican's front pages was the political struggle that culminated in statehood for Arizona in 1912.
Phoenix businessman and community leader, Dwight Heard, and his manager Charles A. Stauffer, purchased the Arizona Republican in 1912 to promote the cause of Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party. Heard brought political independence and more fairness to news coverage. He vigorously devoted attention to public service and promoted the development of Phoenix and the new state by championing improved government, paved roads, parks, and water systems. Heard ran the Republican until his death in 1929. Newspaper magnate Eugene Pulliam purchased both the Arizona Republican and its rival the Phoenix Gazette Pulliam changed the title to the Arizona Republic, its current name, at a time when registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans in Arizona five to one.