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Passaic City record. [volume] : (Passaic City, N.J.) 1890-1907
Place of publication:
Passaic City, N.J.
Geographic coverage:
  • Passaic, Passaic, New Jersey  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
O.S. Freeman
Dates of publication:
  • Began with June 19, 1890 issue; ceased with Nov. 30, 1907 issue.
  • English
  • Description based on: Vol. 14, no. 149 (July 24, 1890).
sn 85035722
Preceding Titles:
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Passaic City record. [volume] June 11, 1890 , Image 1


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Passaic City Record

The Passaic City Record grew out of a publication called the Freeman's Magazine and was first published as a four-page, six-column newspaper in 1890 in Passaic, New Jersey. It published weekly, initially on Thursdays, but on Saturdays beginning in May 1891. The newspaper was Republican in politics. Ozias S. Freeman was the publisher and editor. Freeman had established Freeman's Magazine in 1877 at seventeen years of age and the Passaic City Record in 1890. The paper grew to have 2,300 subscribers and six pages.

Passaic had transformed from a small village to an industrial center in the years following the Civil War. Benefiting from its rail connection to Jersey City and from a newly constructed dam and canal along the Passaic River, along with its proximity to New York (twelve miles) and Newark (nine miles). By the time Freeman started the Passaic City Record in 1890, Passaic was established as an important center for the manufacture of textiles. By the last decade of the nineteenth century most of the immigrants to Passaic were from Italy, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Austria-Hungary.

In June 1892, Passaic suffered a smallpox outbreak. It led to the erection of an emergency smallpox hospital constructed in seven days for a cost of $1,600. The local school also closed early for summer vacation, and on June 18, 1892, Freeman ran an editorial lamenting the willingness of the population to believe disinformation and how an effort was made to vaccinate as many people as possible, sometimes against their will: "many of our citizens are aware of the amount of opposition our health officers experienced in their effort to make vaccination in Passaic general, in many instances it being necessary to use physical force."

As a Republican leaning newspaper, the City Record supported the dominant political party of the city, as Passaic was a solidly Republican, electing only one Democratic mayor between 1869 and 1911. Reflecting its industrialized roots and the interests of the mill owners the City Record had a column called "The Labor World" which listed snippets of news about work and workers around the world, along with strikes and productivity statistics.

The 1890s saw the opening of a free medical dispensary for the poor, a charity day nursery (which is still in operation), a hospital, a settlement house, and the Passaic YMCA. The main branch of the public library was in City Hall, but Peter Reid built a branch in honor of his deceased wife, Jane Watson Reid, in the heart of the immigrant community. Reid was a mill owner who is quoted in the New-York Tribune on August 17, 1902 as saying "I built the library in that section because the people who have made my money for me in the mills worked and lived there for years…."

Freeman did not see the role of the editor as muckraker or investigator of the wrongdoing of his fellow citizens. In a speech called "The Duty of Newspapers" before the New Jersey Editorial Association, and excerpted in the Gloucester County Democrat on July 11, 1907, Freeman says "A man engages in the newspaper business to make a living, just like any one else in any other business. It is not the duty of a newspaper man to ferret out any mean or contemptible act any more that it is the duty of a citizen. The citizens of a community are responsible for the immorality, of a town, for dishonest elections, for the breaking of the law—not the newspaper. How many business men are there in a town who will condemn a wrongdoer when they know it will injure them?"

Freeman continued to edit and operate the Passaic City Record until he left Passaic in 1907.

Provided by: Rutgers University Libraries