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The Indianapolis journal. [volume] : (Indianapolis [Ind.]) 1867-1904
Alternative Titles:
  • Daily journal
  • Sunday journal
Place of publication:
Indianapolis [Ind.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Douglass & Conner
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 17, no. 50 (Sept. 3, 1867)-v. 54, no. 160 (June 8, 1904).
Daily Nov. 2, 1884-June 8, 1904
  • English
  • Indiana--Indianapolis.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205182
  • Indiana--Marion County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01213920
  • Indianapolis (Ind.)--Newspapers.
  • Marion County (Ind.)--Newspapers.
  • "Republican."
  • Also issued on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Evening eds.: Evening journal (Indianapolis, Ind.), 1871-1873, and: Indianapolis evening journal, 1873-<1874>.
  • On Sunday published as: Sunday journal, Nov. 2, 1884-June 5, 1904.
  • Semiweekly ed.: Indianapolis journal (Indianapolis, Ind. : Semiweekly), 1868.
  • Weekly eds.: Indiana State journal (Indianapolis, Ind. : 1866), 1867-1870, and: Weekly Indiana State journal (Indianapolis, Ind. : 1871), 1871-1875, and: Indiana State journal (Indianapolis, Ind. : 1875), 1875-1904.
sn 82015679
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The Indianapolis journal. [volume] January 3, 1883 , Image 1


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The Indianapolis Journal

 Indiana state printer John Douglass relocated to Indianapolis, then a town with fewer than 1,000 residents, when the state capital moved there from Corydon in 1825.  Douglass purchased a share of the Western Censor and with his partner, Douglass Maguire, changed the title. The Indiana Journal debuted on January 11, 1825.  The anti-Jacksonian (later Whig) newspaper advocated government-sponsored internal improvements and protective tariffs to aid Indiana’s agricultural economy.

Beginning in 1839, the Journal appeared more often than once a week,the frequency of publication based upon the schedule of the Indiana General Assembly.  Semiweekly, triweekly, and daily editions appeared at different times from 1839 to 1851, as the Journal accommodated more state legislative news.  In 1840, Douglass and his new partner, Samuel V. B. Noel, also published the Spirit of ’76 to support William Henry Harrison’s presidential candidacy.  Noel became sole owner of the Indianapolis Journal in 1843. He renamed the paper the Indiana State Journal and leased its presses to the noted abolitionist and social reformer Henry Ward Beecher, who published the Indiana Farmer.

John D. Defrees owned and operated the Journal from 1845 to 1854.  As a Whig, Defrees criticized the Democratic administration’s conduct of the Mexican-American War and frequently exchanged editorial barbs with the Democratic Indiana State Sentinel.  Among the important changes Defrees made to Indiana journalism was installing Indianapolis’ first steam driven printing press.  He also launched the city’s first permanent daily newspaper, the Daily Indiana State Journal, which debuted in April 1851.  The daily edition was renamed the Indianapolis Morning Journal   in 1853, the Indianapolis Daily Journal  in 1854, and simply the Indianapolis Journal in 1867. 

Berry R. Sulgrove joined the Journal in 1854 as editor.  He became majority owner by 1856 and transitioned the Journal into the Republican camp.  During the Civil War, Sulgrove penned strong Unionist editorials supporting the policies of President Abraham Lincoln and Governor Oliver P. Morton.  The Journal’s daily circulation reached 6,000 during the war, when the population of the city was approximately 19,000.

Indiana’s bustling literary scene in the late 1800s was due in part to managing editor Elijah W. Halford’s advocacy and support of Hoosier authors.  James Whitcomb Riley, the “Hoosier Poet,” greatly benefitted from Halford’s patronage and published hundreds of poems and humor pieces in the Journal from 1877 to 1901.  Riley also worked briefly as a reporter for the Journal.

In 1880, Indiana Republican Party Chairman John C. New purchased the Indianapolis Journal.  New avidly promoted Benjamin Harrison for President of the United State in the election of 1888.  He distributed thousands of pro-Harrison Journal issues among delegates at the Republican National Convention to help secure the candidate’s nomination.

With a daily circulation of 8,263 in 1890, the readership of the Journal trailed that its chief competitors.  Resisting the influences of yellow journalism, the Journal refused “to put itself on a level with the cheap papers flooding the country” and appealed “only to that class of reading public which wants the news presented in a decent and dignified manner.”  The Journal boosted its daily circulation to 22,320 in 1901, but in a city of 170,000 the Indianapolis News remained the leading newspaper with a daily circulation of 50,000.  In June 1904, George McCulloch, publisher of the recently established Indianapolis Morning Star, purchased the Indianapolis Journal.  McCulloch issued the paper as the Indianapolis Morning Star and Journal until October 26, 1904, when the Journal name disappeared from the title.

Provided by: Indiana State Library