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Semi=weekly graphic. : (Pine Bluff, Ark.) 1895-1902
Alternative Titles:
  • Pine Bluff graphic
Place of publication:
Pine Bluff, Ark.
Geographic coverage:
  • Pine Bluff, Jefferson, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.W. Adams
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 9, no. 22 (Oct. 12, 1895)-v. 15, no. 74 (Nov. 26, 1902).
  • English
  • Jefferson County (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Pine Bluff (Ark.)--Newspapers.
sn 89051163
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Semi=weekly graphic. October 9, 1895 , Image 1


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Pine Bluff Weekly Graphic, The Pine Bluff Graphic, Semi=Weekly Graphic, Pine Bluff Daily Graphic, Weekly Graphic, and Pine Bluff Weekly Graphic

Pine Bluff, in Jefferson County, is in the Lower Delta region of central Arkansas. Pine Bluff was originally part of Arkansas Post, the first European settlement in Arkansas. From 1686 to 1821 it was a local government, military, and trade headquarters for French and Spanish colonists, and later, United States settlers. It was important in the early nineteenth century as a cotton center and port on the Arkansas River, with a Golden Era in the 1880s. By 1890, it was the state's third-largest city. In 1881 the first railroad was constructed, connecting Pine Bluff to Little Rock. Railroads were the largest industry until 1942, when the Pine Bluff Arsenal was built. Though it was an early European establishment with a rich history, floods, drought, and economic depression contributed to the city's decline in the twentieth century.

In 1887, late in Pine Bluff's settlement history, Read Fletcher and T. H. Bass started the Pine Bluff Weekly Graphic. Bass acted as business manager and brought his printing press from Redfield to Pine Bluff, where Fletcher worked as editor. He devoted the Graphic to the interests of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, and the state of Arkansas, and the principles of the Democratic Party. The next year Fletcher ran the paper on his own, publishing once a week on Saturdays. Fletcher's hopes for the Graphic eventually came true, but Fletcher moved on to other civil service just a few years after founding the paper. He became a prominent politician, including serving as a member of the state House of Representatives.

In 1888, James "Jim" White Adams bought the paper and expanded it to several editions published throughout the week. The various editions were reflected in the title, with the Graphic printing under the Semi-Weekly, Weekly, and Daily names. The daily edition moved from an evening to a morning paper over the years and appeared every day except for Mondays, with a special Sunday edition. The semi-weekly edition was printed on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The daily and semi-weekly issues were four pages, while the Sunday edition was eight pages.

Like the Graphic's founder, Read Fletcher, James Adams was a politician and he served two terms in the State Senate. He continued as editor and publisher until his sudden death in 1908.

In 1898, Adams hired Meyer Solmson to report the society news in Pine Bluff. Solmson was 18 when he joined the Graphic, but already had several years of newspaper experience. In 1894 he was the local agent for the evening edition of the Arkansas Democrat (1878–1903) in Little Rock. From 1896 to 1897, Solmson worked as the Arkansas reporter for a paper out of Memphis, Tennessee, the Commercial Appeal (1894–current). The Graphic noted that Solmson was always working hard. In 1895, he owned and operated a store selling "notions," renting a place on Second Avenue in Pine Bluff. On June 10, 1895, the Graphic praised his efforts, writing that Solmson was "a bright clever boy, and one of these days he will be a merchant prince of this city." As a member of the Anshe Emeth congregation, Solmson was involved in many of the Jewish community events and classes. In 1897, the year before Solmson joined the Graphic, Pine Bluff's Anshe Emeth group became Arkansas's first chartered Jewish congregation. The Graphic had long reported the local Jewish community's society news and events, like the annual Purim Day balls.

In one of Solmson's reports for the Graphic in 1901, he related that Carl Stubblefield, Sr. had left town due to his large number of debts. Stubblefield later returned to Pine Bluff to find Solmson, stalk, and threaten him for writing the article. During their final confrontation, Stubblefield went to draw something from his hip pocket, but Solmson drew his gun first, shooting and killing Stubblefield. Solmson immediately went to the courthouse to surrender himself to the sheriff. Adams reported the incident in the Graphic, and in his editorial correctly predicted that Solmson's actions would be ruled self-defense. Coincidentally, Solmson had resigned his position at the Graphic just a few months before to work as a salesman.

After James Adams' death, his brother, George Adams, took over the Adams Printing Company and continued on with the Graphic. By 1920, George Adams had five machines including a new model No. 14 linotype. The Graphic grew with the town and was successful for years, but finally folded in 1942.

The Adams brothers supported the causes they thought were in the best civic interests of Pine Bluff. The Graphic focused on local and state news, with some reports about major international news, such as the Armistice of 11 November 1918. In 1904, an extra edition updated readers quickly after news came in about election results and fraud accusations in the votes for Arkansas governor ("Wood Concedes Davis a Majority on Face of Return").

Provided by: Arkansas State Archives