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Butler citizen. [volume] : (Butler, Pa.) 1877-1922
Place of publication:
Butler, Pa.
Geographic coverage:
  • Butler, Butler, Pennsylvania  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
John H. & W.C. Negley
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased with Nov. 4, 1922 issue.
  • Vol. 14, no. 31 (June 27, 1877)-
Daily (except Sun.) <May 17, 1909->
  • English
  • Butler (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Pennsylvania--Butler.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214346
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 86071045
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Butler citizen. [volume] September 3, 1879 , Image 1


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Butler Citizen

Published in Butler, Pennsylvania, from 1877 to 1922, the Butler Citizen had roots in the American Citizen and the Butler County Press and continued these papers’ commitment to the Republican Party. Maj. Cyrus E. Anderson said farewell in the American Citizen of April 14, 1869, accompanied by a greeting from the paper’s new owner/editor, John Henry Negley, a local attorney and descendant of one of the early settlers of Butler. Negley also purchased the plant of the Butler County Press and named the new publication the Butler County Citizen. William Clark Negley became his father’s partner in November 1872 and then sole owner in September 1888. The Citizen (as it referred to itself in print) was active during years of enormous growth in Butler and environs, with local prosperity fueled by oil and natural gas wells, a boom in manufacturing (steel cars, plate glass and bottles, bricks, etc.), and railroad expansion.  The population of the town of Butler exploded in the second half of the 19th century, increasing eightfold from 1,148 in 1850 to 10,853 in 1900.

The Citizen was noteworthy for its consistency of format and editorial philosophy through the decades of the Negleys’ proprietorship. It was a weekly under the Negleys, with a few minor schedule changes, from Friday to Wednesday to Thursday. (New owners later changed it to a daily-except-Sunday schedule.) The format altered only slightly, from eight columns and four pages to nine columns and four pages. The main visual change was a modest new typeface for the nameplate in the early 1880s. Neither of the Negleys engaged in the vitriolic political editorializing common to many of their contemporary newspapers. The Citizen’s Republican partisanship was apparent only in its listings of local and regional caucuses to choose candidates, the subsequent listing of candidates with encouragement to vote for them, and cheerful or doleful reports of election results. Strong coverage of local events, both personal and business, with a mixture of state, national, and international news, filled the Citizen.

As always with historic newspapers, it is interesting to read local interpretations of world news events. After hailing the election of Republican presidential candidate James A. Garfield in 1880, the Citizen extensively reported the news of Garfield’s shooting on July 2, 1881, the agonizing ups and downs of his condition in the weeks that followed, and his death on September 19. The Homestead Strike near Pittsburgh, one of the most serious labor disputes in United States history, began as a lockout on June 30, 1892, leading to a battle on July 6, 1892, between unionized iron and steel workers and the Carnegie Steel Corporation and the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. The Citizen editorialized on July 22 in favor of the union but against violence. Given its location in a heavily industrialized area only 35 miles from Pittsburgh, the Citizen’s views on the strike, the defeat of the steelworkers, and subsequent trials of various participants make compelling reading.

Provided by: Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA