21 July, 2006

Neal Graffy takes up the N-P Birthdate Issue

Yesterday in Edhat Neal Graffy took up the same issue... how old is the News-Press? A direct link is here. Hooray for Neal!

There are some minor differences between his research and mine... he indicates that the first SB newspaper, The Santa Barbara Gazette, folded in 1858... the WPA article posted just below says 1861, and actually gives an anecdote about the demise of the Gazette. I cannot find any library copies of the Gazette after May 14, 1857.

Neal argues that there was a gap in Santa Barbara Newspaper publishing... he says 1858-1868, which might actually be 1861-1868. One bit of evidence of a gap during this interval is the lack of earthquake information during roughly that period... see this link.

The special News-Press issue of Mar. 30, 1952, where the paper changed its birthdate from 1863 to 1855 seems unknown to Neal. That issue of the News-Press has its own history of newspaper publishing in Santa Barbara, and specifically says the Santa Barbara Post started publishing in 1863. I'll eventually post that article here.

Also, Neal mentions the `1863 error,' which is the change in the founding date of Press part of the News-Press (which is the older) from 1868 to 1863. Neal thinks that the change from 1868 to 1863 occurred sometime in the 1890's, but to me it looks like there was never really a shift in birthdate, but a non-standard enumeration of volumes during the 1870's and 1880's. The non-standard enumeration started with the Santa Barbara Daily Press, which started publishing on Sep. 9, 1872, and then in the subsequent 13 years between 1872 and 1885, their volume number increased by 19. That means that several volumes were packed in to one year; the standard procedure is to make one volume equal a year's worth of editions.

Then the successor of the Santa Barbara Daily Press, the Santa Barbara Press went through 4 more volume numbers in the next year, 1886. Then, starting in 1887, this paper became The Morning Press, and standard volume numeration started, but 9 or 10 extra volume numbers had been introduced. Later, people probably thought that the volume number and the assumption of one volume per year could be used to deduce a birthdate for the earliest predecessor, but this assumption was wrong, and led to a calculation of 9 or 10 years before 1872, which probably explains the 1863 date and error.

Again, the vaunted archives of the News-Press might resolve all this.


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