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Nashville Union and American
By the mid 1850s, Nashville was a center of publishing with at least five daily newspapers. The Nashville Union and American was formed in May 1853 by the merger of the Nashville American and the Nashville Union, both Democratic Party papers. First established in 1835, the Nashville Union's political support included state printing contracts for as long as the Democratic Party was in office. Part of its mission was to oppose Senator Hugh L. White's efforts to succeed Andrew Jackson as president in 1836. The Nashville American was established in 1848. Staunchly Democratic, the paper referred to the Whigs as a "feeble remnant of abolitionism in the North." In the merger announcement on May 17, 1853, the Nashville American assured readers that "it will be the constant aim of the consolidated journal to preserve the democratic party of Tennessee a unit for all the great purposes of its organization." John L. Marling & Co. served as editor and proprietor of the new Nashville Union and American and was succeeded the following year by G.C. Torbett & Co. Subsequent publishers included E.G. Eastman & Co., J.O. Griffith & Co., F.C. Dunnington & Co., Jones, Wallace & Co., and Jones, Hays & Co.
Tennessee's divided loyalties were manifest during the "Second Party System," a period of intense political activity that followed the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828, as well as during the Civil War. The state's division was evident too in the newspaper industry. An incident defining this turmoil occurred in 1859 and involved the Nashville Union and American. The editor of the paper, George G. Poindexter had been caught up in an "editorial war" with Allen A. Hall of the Nashville Daily News. The conflict reached a high point when Poindexter accused Hall of being an abolitionist. Threats were exchanged, and Hall shot and killed Poindexter when the latter came to his office. This feuding between rival newspapers is parodied in Mark Twain's short story "Journalism in Tennessee," a satirical account of life in a fictional newspaper office based on Twain's experiences as a printer and journalist in Tennessee in the 1850s.
At the beginning of 1862, Nashville had nine large publishing houses and at least 19 journals. However, most Middle Tennessee newspapers, including the Nashville Union and American, suspended publication after the fall of Fort Donelson that February. Many printers and editors were in the Confederate army, newsprint was in short supply, and federal forces occupied much of Middle Tennessee. The Nashville Union and American resumed publication after the war in December 1865, under the name the Daily Union and American. Over the years, the newspaper underwent many changes of name and ownership. At various times, it was published as a daily, weekly, semiweekly, and triweekly. The Daily Union and American retained this title until 1866 when it merged with the Nashville Dispatch to become the Nashville Union and Dispatch. In 1868, the newspaper joined with the Nashville Daily Gazette and reverted to the Nashville Union and American once again. In 1875, the paper joined with the Republican Banner to form the American. The following year, it became the Daily American, and in 1894 the Nashville American. In 1910, the latter merged with the Nashville Tennessean to form the Nashville Tennessean and the Nashville American, a predecessor of Nashville's present-day newspaper, the Tennessean.
Provided by: University of Tennessee