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Wheeling majority. [volume] : (Wheeling, W. Va.) 1907-192?
Alternative Titles:
  • Majority July 11, 1918-<Apr. 29, 1920>
  • Wheeling weekly majority <June 15, 1916>-July 4, 1918
Place of publication:
Wheeling, W. Va.
Geographic coverage:
  • Wheeling, Ohio, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Wheeling Majority Publ.
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1907.
  • English
  • Labor unions--West Virginia--Newspapers.
  • Labor unions.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00990260
  • Ohio River Valley--Newspapers.
  • Ohio River Valley.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01243054
  • West Virginia--Wheeling.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01213675
  • West Virginia.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205316
  • Wheeling (W. Va.)--Newspapers.
  • "The only Wheeling newspaper not backed by capitalists."
  • Description based on: Vol. 2, no. 43 (Jan. 14, 1908).
  • Editor: Walter B. Hilton.
  • Joint Stock Co. formed in 1909, Walter B. Hilton, Pres.
  • Official organ of the Ohio Valley Trades and Labor Assembly, Belmont Trades and Labor Assembly, Tin Plate Workers' International Protective Association.
  • Suspended with Apr. 29, 1920 issue.
sn 86092530
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Wheeling majority. [volume] January 14, 1909 , Image 1


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Wheeling Majority

Beginning in 1907, the Wheeling Majority boasted by mid-December 1910 to be the "Only Labor Paper in the Ohio Valley…", and to have the "Largest Circulation… in…West Virginia'," a claim accepted by Evelyn L.K. Harris and Frank J. Krebs in their 1960 book on organized labor in the state, From Humble Beginnings. This is despite the existence of at least two other major labor papers in the state at the time. Beginning in 1909, the Majority was a weekly newspaper published by The Majority Company, a multi-union-owned joint stock affair. The company's president, avowed socialist Walter B. Hilton, edited and managed the paper. The Majority described itself as the "official organ" of several varying labor federations and unions in West Virginia over its run, including: the Ohio Valley Trades and Labor Association, the Belmont [Co. Ohio] Trades and Labor Association, the Tin Plate Workers International Protective Association of America, and the West Virginia State Federation of Labor.

The Majority's motto, "For Those Who Plod With Plow or Pick or Pen," while not appearing on the front page of every issue (nor did another of its claims, the "Only Wheeling Newspaper Not Backed By Capitalists"), nevertheless remained a consistent watchword in the paper's over decade-long history. The front page of every issue however did unwaveringly contain a union label (also known as a "bug" for its small size and often round shape), signifying that the paper was printed in a unionized shop. In this case, the label read "Allied Printing, Trades and Labor Council, Wheeling." The Wheeling Weekly Majority was listed as the paper's title on the front page and masthead from at least the Dec 16, 1909 issue through July 14, 1910. That title persisted on the masthead from July 28th, 1910 through at least August 10th, 1916. Regardless of its "official" title, the Majority averaged between 6-10 pages, with as few as four in rare cases. In several special editions (supplemented by a "Section Two"), often printed just before or after Labor Day, the page count could go as high as 16.

These special featuted contained features such as: an anonymous letters-to-the-editor column (titled "Free Speech: Everybody's Opinion" and later "What Our Readers Have to Say"), "The Majority's Market: Business men entitled to your patronage" (a page of ads with others sprinkled throughout), and Hilton's own column, ("A Few Remarks…").The paper supplemented its local and regional flair with "European Labor Affairs" and nationwide "Socialist/Labor News." At times the Majority reprinted, with attribution, stories from some of the state's other labor papers, (or at least commented on their editorials) including Huntington's The Socialist and Labor Star and Charleston's The Labor Argus. One such instance involved controversy surrounding a national committee established by the Socialist Party of America to investigate Governor Hatfield's response to the 1912-13 Paint Creek-Cabin Creek strike. The role of Party leader Eugene Debs, whom the Majority had backed for President in 1912, was at the heart of the issue. Debs approved the settlement, which Hilton and others had condemned as the United Mine Workers of America's leadership selling-out their union's rank-and-file members.

Wheeling's two most prominent newspapers, the Republican The Wheeling Intelligencer and Democrat-backing Wheeling Register did not escape the Majority's ire. Usually referring to it as the "Cash Register," the Majority claimed on November 16, 1911 that the Register "failed to justify its existence of fifty years." Meanwhile, the Majority described the Intelligencer as "...being part of a newspaper trust…" and lambasted it for publishing ads for strikebreakers in Akron in 1916. While these rivals have continued on in one form or another to the present day, the Majority, like many leftist papers of its day, died on the shoals of extreme repression during the First Red Scare in the years immediately following the First World War. Its last issue appeared on April 29, 1920.

Provided by: West Virginia University