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American telegraph. [volume] : (Washington [D.C.]) 1851-1851
Place of publication:
Washington [D.C.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Georgetown, District of Columbia  |  View more titles from this: City State
  • Washington, District of Columbia  |  View more titles from this: City State
  • Alexandria, Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City State
Connolly, Wimer & McGill
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 24, 1851)-v. 1, no. 232 (Dec. 20, 1851).
Daily (except Sunday)
  • English
  • Washington (D.C.)--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204505
  • Washington (D.C.)--Newspapers.
  • Also issued on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Published simultaneously at Washington, D.C., Georgetown, D.C., and Alexandria, Va., Mar. 24-May 6, 1851.
  • Publishers: Connolly, Wimer & McGill, 1851; T.C. Connolly, 1851.
sn 82014594
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American telegraph. [volume] March 24, 1851 , Image 1


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American Telegraph and Daily American Telegraph

On March 24, 1851, the American Telegraph was established on 7th street in Washington, D.C., by the publishers Thomas C. Connolly, James Wimer, and Thomas McGill. During its short life, the newspaper would undergo several changes in publishers and political affiliation. At its onset, the American Telegraph was founded as a part of the penny press at a slightly higher price of 2 cents per issue. Its content included local, national, and global news, with occasional notes from the editors, but the Telegraph specified that it would not engage in party politics. In addition to Washington, the newspaper also served nearby Alexandria and Georgetown.

During its first months of publication, the American Telegraph remained mostly independent from politics. On December 15, 1851, Connolly became the sole publisher. On December 22, 1851, the American Telegraph was renamed the Daily American Telegraph with Connolly continuing as publisher, but with staunch states' rights supporter and Democrat General Duff Green as the editor. Under Green's pen, the Daily American Telegraph announced that it would become political and would provide a voice to "unite and consolidate the South" and support the Democratic Party nominee for President. Another Washington, D.C. newspaper, the National Era, noted the change, commending the neutrality of the American Telegraph on the issue of slavery during 1851, but lamenting its shift towards a pro-Southern attitude.

Although the Daily American Telegraph stated in its December 22, 1851 edition that it would support the Democratic nominee for President, the departure of Green in late January 1852 also meant the departure of the newspaper's support for the Democratic Party. The January 28, 1852 edition of the newspaper featured a prospectus distancing the newspaper from politics, noting that Connolly was "assum[ing] the entire control" of the newspaper. On February 3, 1852, John L. Smith became the junior publisher and specified that the newspaper would adopt a "liberal, independent, conservative spirit," but would not align itself with a particular party.

In Washington Newspapers, Fred A. Emery describes the Daily American Telegraph as a "political organ" designed to help Whig Presidential candidate General Winfield Scott. Its identity as a Whig newspaper became pronounced in June 1852. After the Whig convention, the Daily American Telegraph featured a column on the second page of most issues supporting Scott for President. Although the newspaper had featured positive articles about Scott earlier, editions published after June 1852 expressed a clear endorsement of the General. T.C. Connolly was a prominent Washington Whig himself, and on August 16, 1852, another Washington Whig named Joseph B. Tate replaced John L. Smith as the junior publisher. The newspaper continued its staunch support of Winfield Scott despite his eventual loss. The Telegraph admitted defeat, but commended the process of American democracy. Shortly after, following another change, with Joseph B. Tate taking over as sole publisher, the Daily American Telegraph issued its last edition on November 18, 1852. No specific reason was offered for the closure. In the last edition, Tate stated his intention of opening another daily newspaper. After his brief tenure with the Daily American Telegraph, Tate went on to start the Daily Evening Star, one of the most successful daily newspapers in Washington, D.C.

Provided by: Library of Congress, Washington, DC