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The Atlanta constitution. [volume] : (Atlanta, Ga.) 1885-19??
Alternative Titles:
  • Weekly constitution
Place of publication:
Atlanta, Ga.
Geographic coverage:
  • Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Dates of publication:
  • Began with vol. XVIII (November 17, 1885).
  • English
  • Atlanta (Ga.)--Newspapers.
  • Fulton County (Ga.)--Newspapers.
  • Georgia--Atlanta.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204627
  • Georgia--Fulton County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01211153
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection and Georgia Historic Newspapers archive.
  • Daily eds.: Atlanta constitution (Atlanta, Ga. : 1881), and: Evening constitution.
  • Has occasional supplements.
  • Some issues of vol. XXXVI called XXVI in error.
  • Vol. XVIII (November 17, 1885) (microfilm surrogate); title from masthead.
  • Vol. XXVI, no. 52 (December 28, 1903) (online surrogate); (Georgia Historic Newspapers archive, viewed July 27, 2021).
sn 89053706
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The Atlanta constitution. [volume] September 13, 1887 , Image 1


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The Atlanta constitution

Seeking to establish a strong, Democratic daily newspaper in Georgia's new capital, Carey Wentworth Styles and James H. Anderson first published the Atlanta Constitution on June 16, 1868. As editor, Styles editorialized against Radical Reconstruction and the Rufus Bullock administration in the Constitution's pages. After six months, Styles proved unable to finance his half of the Constitution, so his shares transferred to Anderson who then sold them to William Arnold Hemphill, the paper's business manager and Anderson's son-in-law. Edward Y. Clarke and N. P. T. Finch managed the editorial department of the Constitution, which became so successful that it forced Atlanta's oldest newspaper, the Atlanta Intelligencer, out of business in May 1871.

In mid-1876, Clarke sold out to former Intelligencer editor Evan P. Howell who subsequently became company president. Shortly after his arrival, Howell hired the already famous Henry W. Grady as a political writer and editor. Grady's advocacy for an industrialized "New South" turned him into one of the South's most prominent journalists, and he established a legacy pushing for Atlanta's economic development. Grady's "New South" was also a vision of white supremacy, however, and he worked to publicly minimize the South's hostile racial climate. By 1880, Grady owned a quarter-share of the Constitution, and his fame resulted in the largest circulation of any newspaper in the South by the end of the decade. During this time, the broadsheet became the de facto publication of the powerful "Atlanta Ring." Howell employed several notable Southern writers: poet Frank Lebby Stanton; humorist Charles "Bill Arp" Smith; and "Uncle Remus" creator, Joel Chandler Harris.

Following Grady's death in 1889, Evan P. Howell's son, Clark Howell, became managing editor. When Hemphill retired in 1901, he sold his stock in the Constitution to Roby Robinson and Clark Howell. By 1902, Clark Howell was company president until his brother, Albert Howell, took over in 1912. Clark Howell remained an editor and owner of the Constitution until his death in 1936, at which point Clark Howell Jr. took over. The Howell family maintained controlling interest in the Constitution until 1950. Ralph McGill joined the Constitution in 1929, and he became its most famous journalist since Henry Grady. McGill was leading editor in 1942, and, through his signature personal essay columns, he called for reforms and addressed injustices in Georgia and the South. In 1960, the now-famous editor took over as publisher of the Constitution and maintained that role until his death in 1969. McGill was a strong supporter of the civil rights movement and continued reporting on social injustices despite harsh opposition.

In June 1950, Atlanta Journal owner James Middleton Cox acquired the Constitution and formed Atlanta Newspapers, Inc. For a time, the newspapers published under their respective mastheads with the Constitution issued in the mornings and the Journal in the afternoons. After trends reduced the popularity of evening papers, the Journal and Constitution finally merged under a single masthead. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution continues today as among the top 20 newspapers in circulation nationwide.

Provided by: Digital Library of Georgia, a project of GALILEO located at the University of Georgia Libraries