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The Richmond Virginian. : (Richmond, Va.) 1910-1920
Place of publication:
Richmond, Va.
Geographic coverage:
  • Richmond, Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City State
Richmond Virginian Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 26, 1910)-v. 12, no. 90 (May 15, 1920).
Daily (including Sunday) 1912-1920
  • English
  • Richmond (Va.)--Newspapers.
  • Virginia--Richmond.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205345
  • Issues for July 4, 24 and Aug. 2, 1911 called: State ed.
sn 90052005
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The Richmond Virginian. January 28, 1910 , Image 1


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The Richmond Virginian

The Richmond Virginian began publishing in January of 1910, entering a competitive field that included but was not limited to the The Times Dispatch, The News-Leader, and The Evening Journal. As a result of the burgeoning newspaper publishing landscape, The Richmond Virginian appears to have been in search of a noteworthy identity. First published as a daily evening paper, after two years, the Virginian shifted to mornings and offered a slight change of design, news coverage, and focus.

Despite the array of publications clamoring for attention, the Virginian was founded by publisher, W. McDonald Lee and editor, S. B. Woodfin, who brought considerable experience and great confidence to the enterprise. Lee offered prestige and know-how just as he had with his previous endeavor, the Virginia Citizen out of Irvington, Virginia, where he worked from 1893 to around 1920. Prior to moving to the Richmond Virginian, Lee's reputation had preceded him, having served as county Commissioner of Revenue and president of the Virginia Press Association in the late 1890s.

McDonald Lee also brought a strong sense of moral uprightness to the Virginian, with a devotion to total abstinence of alcohol and evangelical Christianity. The paper's motto in the upper left-hand corner read, "A Clean Paper for the Home." In its the salutary editorial it explained that, "The Richmond Virginian is the response to a demand for a Paper in Richmond of broad gauge, progressive spirit and high Morals; a paper which will give all the news of the day that is of real value, and will give it without partiality... a paper which will stand for the material, intellectual and moral interests of Virginia. . .which can be trusted by fathers and mothers as worthy to make daily visits to the family circle."

That said, his partner, S.B. Woodfin, late of The Times Dispatch, managed to create a more open forum for the paper with its Independent / Democrat leanings (as described by Lester J. Cappon's Virginia Newspapers, 1821-1935). The front page was often overrun with national and international news, curious slice of life entries that sometimes veered toward the sensational, and the familiar boilerplate, as needed. At its inception in 1910, The Richmond Virginian published a daily edition, and in 1912, it began publishing a Sunday edition. That same year, it went from an afternoon to a morning publication.

The Virginian had a very well defined life span from 1910 to 1920. It is interesting to note that McDonald Lee was a fervent prohibitionist and the title ceased publication just as the age of prohibition hit its stride.

On the May 14, 1920 editorial page, the editors announced the end of The Richmond Virginian: "The Richmond Virginian will appear tomorrow for the last time as a separate and independent newspaper... The Evening Journal has acquired the subscription lists and business of the Virginian and will succeed the latter paper in its daily visits to thousands of homes in the city and state where for years the Virginian has been the welcome medium of keeping in touch with the best thought and news of the world." In the final issue printed May 15, 1920, the Virginian bid its readers a fond farewell: "In this, the last issue of The Richmond Virginian, we wish to extend an expression of our grateful appreciation to the loyal patrons and friends whose support and co-operation have made it possible for the Virginian to accomplish what it has done in behalf of prohibition."

Provided by: Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA