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Daily Kennebec journal. [microfilm reel] : (Augusta, Me.) 1870-1975
Alternative Titles:
  • Daily journal
  • Kennebec journal
Place of publication:
Augusta, Me.
Geographic coverage:
  • Augusta, Maine  |  View more titles from this: City State
Sprague, Owen & Nash
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 1, 1870)-v. 150, no. 6 (Jan. 7, 1975).
Daily (except Sunday)
  • English
  • Augusta (Me.)--Newspapers.
  • Kennebec County (Me.)--Newspapers.
  • Maine--Augusta.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01209573
  • Maine--Kennebec County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01211990
  • Available on microfilm from Bell & Howell Information and Learning.
  • Issued weekly section titled: Parade of youth, <Jan. 19-Mar. 1, 1936>
  • Microfilm.
  • Weekly ed.: Kennebec journal (Augusta, Me. : 1825), 1870-1913.
sn 82014248
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Daily Kennebec journal. [microfilm reel] January 1, 1870 , Image 1


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Daily Kennebec Journal

The Daily Kennebec Journal was first published Saturday, January 1, 1870, in Augusta, Maine, the state capital and the seat of Kennebec County. Before the Daily Kennebec Journal was established, the Kennebec Journal was published only as a weekly, though it had a supplement, the Maine Daily Journal, that was published during legislative sessions to provide news of government activity. The four-page daily editions were published every day except Sunday, and the weekly continued to be published on Wednesdays until 1913.

Sprague, Owen, and Nash were the publishers in 1870. The publishing credit was changed to Sprague & Son in September 1877. In 1882, Clarence Burleigh and Charles Flynt became the publishers. When editor John Stevens left in 1889, Burleigh and Flynt also took over editorial duties.

The front page of the 1870 inaugural edition of the daily paper describes the weekly paper and the new daily paper, including the price difference - $2.00 per year for a weekly subscription and $7.00 per year for the daily. A single copy of the daily could be purchased for four cents, but by 1882 that had dropped to three cents, and in 1912 to two cents. The daily paper describes itself as including "proceedings of the Legislature in full, also reports of proceedings of important committees and the Agricultural and Educational departments."

The first edition specifically identifies service to the towns of Augusta, Hallowell, and Gardiner, though it mentions that it does intend to serve a wider area. It also notes that it intends to make news more readily available to more people, including "mechanics, farmers, and ladies." In later years, the geographic coverage expanded, including with an edition that went to Somerset County, helped by the newspaper office's proximity to the railroad in Augusta.

The Daily Kennebec Journal had Republican leanings from the time it was established. One of the owners and editors of the weekly Kennebec Journal that preceded the daily was a young James G. Blaine, and he used the paper to promote his party’s politics before entering politics himself.

The layout changed in the 1890s as advertising was distributed throughout the publication and less on the front page. Human interest was added more heavily into the mix of content, and in the 1900s, sports and financial reporting were more frequent. A feature called “Maine Gossip” included poetry and short tidbits about life in the state. By 1905, the paper had grown to 12 pages, and in the 1910s, its circulation neared 12,000.

During the Daily Kennebec Journal's run, state government news remained prominent, but national and international news were often on the front page. The April 16, 1912, edition included news of the Titanic sinking on the front page, alongside news of a local fire in Augusta, a weather report, and a section entitled "Capital Chat," which on that day reports on the illness of U.S. Representative Arthur Hinds of Maine’s first district as well as on the activity of Maine's U.S. Senators.

In 1929, Guy Gannett purchased the Kennebec Journal. He was already well known in Maine media, owning the Portland Press Herald, The Waterville Sentinel, and three radio stations. His family was also prominent in the Augusta area. His father William Howard Gannett was the founder of the nationally popular Comfort magazine, for which Guy Gannett served as president for a time. Gannett died in 1954, but his company operated until 1998, retaining ownership of the Kennebec Journal in its later iteration until then.

In the 1930s, the Daily Kennebec Journal was usually 10-12 pages, except coverage of the 1936 flood took 32 pages. In the 1950s, 16-page editions were the norm. A shift to offset printing methods, plus larger photos, marked the modernization of the paper in the 1970s.

The Daily Kennebec Journal existed until 1975; its successor is still published today as the Kennebec Journal.

Provided by: Maine State Library