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The Washington Sunday Globe belonged to the turn-of-century genre of yellow journalism. Beginning May 5, 1901 and printed at various times as the Sunday Morning Globe and the Sunday Washington Globe, this Democratic newspaper enjoyed a circulation of 16,000. The eight-page, seven-column publication prided itself on its abundance of written content as it covered the scandals of the nation and the city. Perhaps the biggest scandal of all, however, was the story of its editor William J. Elliott, who oversaw the production at the Sunday Morning Globe Publishing Company at 407 11th Street in the northwest quadrant of the city.
Elliott began the Sunday Globe with years of yellow journalism experience, publishing a muckraking paper called the Sunday Capital in Columbus, Ohio. His abrasive editorial style put him at odds with a number of his fellow journalists. In February 1891, one of his ongoing personal feuds with former employee Albert C. Osborn, an editor at the competing Sunday World, came to a head in a street fight in which William Elliott and his brother Patrick killed Osborn and a bystander. For this Elliott received a life sentence for second-degree murder. After eight years in the Ohio penitentiary, however, he was pardoned by the state's governor. Less than a year later, Elliott returned to the Nation's Capital and began writing on Irish revolutionary politics for the Washington Post, another field in which he had some questionable business. In 1901, he began publishing the Sunday Globe.
Like his previous editorial work, Elliott's Sunday Globe sensationalized both national news stories and local interest happenings. In its inaugural editorial, the paper promised to fill its pages with "the latest, live sensations of the greatest Capital, of the greatest Nation, and of the most consistent and persistent sinners of any people on the face of the earth!" The top stories often featured "scandals" involving minor federal agencies or gritty urban industries. Other items included profiles on infamous Washington elites, a section on murders and suicides, scattered articles about international affairs, and a scathing editorial page. In addition, Elliott published his own column under the title "Prison Reform," addressing the "issues" (or vendettas) he had accumulated during his time in prison and purporting to give " 'a plain, unvarnished' tale of life in a modern penitentiary."
The Sunday Globe survived only a year. Elliott went on to publish another Sunday paper, The Graft, in 1905, but that title also proved short lived. Like much of Elliott's life, the history of the Sunday Globe remains largely obscured, though both are certain to contain as much intrigue as the front pages of his newspaper.
Provided by: Library of Congress, Washington, DC