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The star-independent. [volume] : (Harrisburg, Pa.) 1904-1917
Alternative Titles:
  • Harrisburg star-independent
Place of publication:
Harrisburg, Pa.
Geographic coverage:
  • Harrisburg, Dauphin, Pennsylvania  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
B.F. Meyers
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 56, no. 70 (Sept. 3, 1904)-v. 81, no. 59 (Feb. 10, 1917).
Daily (except Sun.)
  • English
  • Harrisburg (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Pennsylvania--Harrisburg.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204725
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 86081330
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The star-independent. [volume] October 7, 1914 , Image 1


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The Star-independent

The Star-Independent was published from 1904 to1917 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital since 1812 and the seat of Dauphin County. The city was named after 1719 settler John Harris. Dauphin County, formed in 1785 out of Lancaster County, honored the heir-apparent to the French king, Louis XVI, friend to the colonies during the American Revolution. Dauphin County, like much of Pennsylvania, was settled by Scots-Irish and German immigrants. By the early 20th century, Harrisburg was home to iron and steel furnaces and rolling mills; shoe, cigar, and clothing mills; a state lunatic asylum; and state and county government offices.

In 1891, Benjamin Franklin Meyers (1833-1918), a lawyer and a Democrat of German roots in Somerset County, bought and merged the Harrisburg Evening Star and the Harrisburg Daily Independent. In The History of Dauphin County (1907), Luther R. Kelker described the Star-Independent as "one of Pennsylvania's great daily papers," with a "superior and modern telegraphic news service" and the best production plant between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Its editor was Valentine Hummel Berghaus, Jr. (1879-1965), born in Doylestown, Bucks County. For 1914, the Star-Independent reported circulation of 16,031 to Geo. P. Rowell & Co.'s Newspaper Directory. A lively urban newspaper, it published national, international, and regional news, with "the sporting world," especially baseball, well-covered. The Harrisburg Senators competed in the Tri-State League against arch-rivals Allentown Teutons and Reading Pretzels.

The June 30, 1914 issue of the Star-Independent published photographs on page 9 of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, his son, and the latter's wife, captioned, "The brutal murder of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenburg, leaves Emperor Francis Joseph bereaved of an heir to the Austro-Hungary throne. It is feared that the death of the Archduke will be a serious blow to the aged Emperor." This regrettable but at the time seemingly inconsequential event was, of course, the first pebble in the avalanche that became World War I. By July 25, the front page of the Star-Independent reported war clouds gathering over Austro-Hungary and "Servia" (a historic name for Serbia), as the Russian army mobilized "to protect the Slav from the German fury." This was of concern to the 300 Austrians, Hungarians, and Serbs living in Steelton, three miles from Harrisburg. Steelton, a company town for the Pennsylvania Steel Co., had the first mill in the United States expressly built for manufacturing steel. The Star-Independent reported "news from Vienna that Austrian and Hungarian reservists in this country would be instructed to prepare to join their regiments." Steelton residents told reporters that many of them were applying for naturalization and "would not respond to a call to arms." By July, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Russia, Great Britain, and France were all embroiled in the impending conflict, but on August 4, the newspaper editorialized, "There is no indication that the arms of the United States will become involved in the European hostilities . . . it is pretty safe to assume that the countries in the war abroad have trouble enough without making an enemy of Uncle Sam." Reading history evolving day to day, with foreknowledge, has a horrifying fascination.

The Star-Independent was sold in January 1917, absorbed by the Harrisburg Telegraph.

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