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Elizabeth daily monitor. [volume] : (Elizabeth, N.J.) 1868-1880
Place of publication:
Elizabeth, N.J.
Geographic coverage:
  • Elizabeth, Union, New Jersey  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J. Madison Drake
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1880?
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Sept. 23, 1868)-
  • English
sn 83032217
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Elizabeth daily monitor. [volume] September 23, 1868 , Image 1


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Elizabeth Daily Monitor

The Elizabeth Daily Monitor was started on September 23, 1868 as a daily Independent Republican newspaper by James Madison Drake and Foster M. Cushing who were editors and publishers. Drake and Foster dissolved their partnership in January of 1869, and J. Madison Drake continued as sole editor and proprietor.

By 1868 Elizabeth had a population of approximately 20,000, largely because of Irish and German immigration. Railroads and manufacturing were transforming Elizabeth into an industrial hub, and in 1873, the Singer Sewing Machine Factory opened and built a workforce of over six thousand, at the time the largest in the world.

J. Madison Drake was from a newspaper publishing family as his father owned the New-Jersey Journal where Drake learned the printing trade. At 15, Drake began working at the Daily True American, and before he was 20, he was editor and publisher of the Mercer Standard, a literary paper. He started several short-lived newspapers prior to the start of the Civil War. After serving in the Civil War and receiving medals for bravery, he returned to private life in Elizabeth and began publication of the Elizabeth Daily Monitor in 1868.

In their inaugural issue, Drake and Cushing let the public know that they intended their paper to be focused on local news and that they would publish the full proceedings of the city council, the courts and public meetings and that every matter of local interest would be published daily. In order to maintain an elevated, high-toned position, they would not publish matters of a personal nature. Rapidly urbanizing the Elizabeth Daily Monitor was one of three daily newspapers being published in Elizabeth along with the Elizabeth Daily Journal and the Elizabeth Daily Herald.

While initially the Daily Monitor fulfilled its promise of quality local and state news coverage, its four pages and seven columns soon became dominated by advertisements. In April of 1869, the Daily Monitor replaced most of its front page with what it termed "The Elizabeth Directory," columns of mostly classified advertisements. In a column on April 1, Drake asks subscribers to "bear with us in all our shortcomings" as "we have never been troubled by a large amount of 'capital.'"

Financial troubles continued to plague Drake. The Wall Street crash of September 1873 led to a tightening of credit, and in October of 1873, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle announced that Drake had been briefly arrested during a visit to New York on complaint of Henry Linenmeyer & Co., paper dealers who charged that he had defrauded them of $3,000. He had purchased paper on which to print the Elizabeth Daily Monitor stating that he owned a large amount of property in Elizabeth. It was later found that the property was held in his wife's name.

Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, Drake was a Civil War hero as well as a prolific author and publisher. He published the Elizabeth Daily Monitor until 1881.

Provided by: Rutgers University Libraries