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The New era. [volume] : ([Portsmouth, Va.]) 1845-1847
Place of publication:
[Portsmouth, Va.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Portsmouth, Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City State
A.F. Cunningham
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (July 7, 1845)-v. 2, no. 104 (Mar. 13, 1847).
Triweekly <Dec. 15, 1845-Mar. 13, 1847>
  • English
  • Portsmouth (Va.)--Newspapers.
  • Virginia--Portsmouth.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01213398
  • Also available online.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Suspended with July 12, 1845 issue; one issue published July 21, 1845; resumed with July 29, 1845 issue.
sn 86071753
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The New era. [volume] July 7, 1845 , Image 1


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The New Era

Published at the corner of High and Crawford Streets, in Portsmouth, Virginia, the Democratic The New Era ran from 1845 until 1847. In volume one, number one of The New Era, published on July 7, 1845, proprietor A. F. Cunningham introduced his venture, "Well, gentle public, here we are before you, receive us kindly, and treat us gently, for we come to you in all modesty and trembling hope." Distributed daily from July to December 1845, it then became a tri-weekly from December 1845 until its conclusion in March 1847. For the most part, The New Era stuck to a consistent format, with six columns per page and advertising on pages one, three and four while editorials, local news and events, congressional news, court news, treasury news, foreign news, maritime news, poetry and obituaries were fit onto pages two and three. A subscription to the paper cost ten cents per week, $1.25 for three months, $2.50 for six months or five dollars for a year.

The New Era was a continuation of the tri-weekly Chronicle and Old Dominion, published by the team of Cunningham and Theophilus Fisk from 1843–1845. Before that, from 1839–1843, they called the paper the Commercial Chronicle, and the Portsmouth and Norfolk Tri-Weekly Old Dominion. Fisk, once a Universalist minister, was a Democratic pro-labor editor from Boston and had a long history of working in the newspaper industry. After working in Boston and New York, Fisk headed south and started a progressive semi-monthly in Portsmouth called the Political Reformer whose motto was "Equal Privileges to All—Exclusive Favors to None." In its inaugural message to the public, printed on Christmas day 1840, Fisk's Reformer claimed to be "the first number of the cheapest periodical in the world." From 1838–1846, Cunningham and Fisk also published a weekly for Portsmouth newspaper patrons called the Old Dominion.

The New Era's motto was "Onward," but in March 1847, The New Era moved onward no more. The last issue of The New Era, published March 13, 1847, contained a column titled, "Valedictory" in which Cunningham explained that the paper was ending. "With this number, our connection, as editor and publisher of this paper, ceases," he explained, "to say we relinquish our labors without painful regret, we cannot ... we have labored faithfully, honestly, and sincerely, to give strength to the Democratic party, and contribute our humble share to spread pure moral influence over the community." The publication continued as The Chronicle and Old Dominion, its earlier title, with Captain D. David Fiske (no relation to Theophilus Fisk) serving as the new proprietor. In the same March 13 issue, Fiske promised a very brief suspension in the paper's production while arranging the new office before it resumed publication, but it seems to have ended with that issue.

Provided by: Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA