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Burlington free press. [volume] : (Burlington, Vt.) 1827-1865
Alternative Titles:
  • Weekly free press
Place of publication:
Burlington, Vt.
Geographic coverage:
  • Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
L. Foote
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 21 (June 15, 1827)-v. 34, number 27 (Dec. 29, 1865) = new series, vol. 12.
  • English
  • Burlington (Vt.)--Newspapers.
  • Vermont--Burlington.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01207603
  • Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Daily eds.: Daily free press (Burlington, Vt.), Apr. 1, 1848-July 9, 1868, and: Burlington daily free press (Burlington, Vt. : 1868), July 10-Dec. 31, 1868.
  • Editors: Luman Foote, 1827-<1832>; D.W.C. Clarke, <1850>-1853; G.W. Benedict, 1853-<1863>; G.G. Benedict, 1854-<1863>.
  • Issues for <July 6, 1827-> called: <volume 1, number 4->
  • Other weekly eds.: Times (Burlington, Vt. : 1858), 1858-1861, and: Burlington times (Burlington, Vt. : 1861), 1861-1865.
  • Publishers: Foote & Stacy, <1828-1832>; H.B. Stacy, <1835-1846>; D.W.C. Clarke, <1850>-1853; G.W. Benedict, 1853-<1863>; G.W. & G.G. Benedict, 1854-<1863>.
  • Republican. Cf. Rowell, 1869-1876.
sn 84023127
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Burlington free press. [volume] January 8, 1836 , Image 1


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Burlington free press and Burlington weekly free press.

In 1827, the town of Burlington, Vermont had about 3,000 residents, a thriving village on Lake Champlain, a university, a medical college, and a growing industrial and commercial economy. The town's single newspaper, the Vermont Centinel, supported the democratic politics of Andrew Jackson. Because many Vermonters favored Jackson's opponent, President John Quincy Adams, lawyer Luman Foote advertised a new weekly paper that would "provide content entertaining and instructive to every class of reader" and support the Adams administration and its policies. Foote and Seneca Austin published the first issue of the Burlington Free Press in June 1827.

After Foote left to pursue the ministry in 1833, his associate, Henry B. Stacy, ran the paper until 1846, when DeWitt C. Clarke became owner and editor. According to historian Gene A. Sessions, Clarke was a "gifted, combative, and partisan editorial stylist." Although Clark optimistically began publishing The Daily Free Press in 1848, both papers met significant financial challenges. In 1853, George W. Benedict, a prominent businessperson and former University of Vermont professor, and his son, George G. Benedict, assumed ownership and editorial responsibilities for the Free Press.

The Benedict family's association with the Free Press lasted into the first decades of the twentieth century. G.W. Benedict served as editor until 1866, when his son succeeded him. G. G. Benedict modernized the facilities and equipment, and he expanded coverage and distribution. In 1866, the weekly adopted a new title to distinguish it from the daily edition. Other local businesspeople joined the Benedicts to form the Burlington Free Press Association in 1868. The Benedict family maintained majority interest until 1897, when business manager Willard B. Howe acquired the controlling interest. John L. Southwick, a longtime employee, replaced G. G. Benedict as editor-in-chief in 1907 and served until his death in 1932.

In its early years, the Burlington weekly Free Press provided news of the world beyond Burlington and surrounding communities. As it grew from four pages to sixteen (and back to twelve in its last years), the paper extended its coverage and influence to cover the state. The Free Press focused its local reporting on Burlington, but it included several pages of news from towns across central and northern Vermont. Portions of each issue provided news about state and national politics and events. As a family paper, the weekly also included feature articles, poetry, and fiction. The Free Press supported Whig and then Republican politicians and platforms, but, especially under the direction of G. W. and G. G. Benedict, promoted progressive causes such as antislavery, suffrage for women, temperance, and prohibition.

In March 1923, the Free Press announced that the weekly edition would be discontinued after 96 years of continuous publication. The announcement indicated that the weekly had been operating at a loss for some time. For the "comparatively few hundreds of old friends within the state and without who preferred a weekly summary of Vermont's doings," the publishers offered a new service, a subscription to an expanded Saturday issue of the daily edition. The masthead proclaimed that the Saturday Free Press was the largest Vermont weekly until late October 1941.

Provided by: University of Vermont