11 October, 2006

The 1989 Measure D

I thought it would be useful to post some scans about the original Measure D. This is a Santa Barbara County sales tax measure that was passed in 1989, and that will expire in 2009. There is an effort to pass a new Measure D in this fall's Santa Barbara County election.

Some of the information about the new Measure D has made various statements about the old one, and so I thought it would be fun to just post the old information, and let everyone decide what they think.

BTW, an odd thing... the News-Press circa 1989 claimed that it was founded in 1885, not 1855!

22 August, 2006

Santa Barbara Democrat's Masthead

Finally got some time to have a look at the masthead of the Santa Barbara Democrat from 1878. The Democrat started as a weekly in January, 1878, and then became a biweekly in March.

B.W.Keep only appears on the masthead starting with the April 3, 1878 issue, which is number 16. But he does appear, validating a claim that Fred A. Moore, the lead publisher of the Democrat overlapped with Keep there. Keep published the very first Santa Barbara newspaper in 1855, and it is through the overlap between Moore and Keep at the Democrat that the current News-Press asserts an origin of 1855.

Moore went on to found the Independent, which eventually merged with News, which is the paper that led to the `News' in News-Press.

08 August, 2006

The 1880 Hiatus of the Daily and Weekly Press

I verified that the Daily Press stopped publishing on June 30, 1880 (Volume 8, No. 283). On that day, the editor published the following note:

With this issue the Daily Santa
Barbara Press ceases to exist.
We do not believe this announce-
ment will be a surprise to any
one; for a mere glance at the
columns of the Press, would con-
vince anybody possessed of an
ounce of sense that the paper is
not meeting its expenses. There
is nothing to be done but shut
it down. The undersigned further
announces that having been ap-
pointed to fill a far more agree-
able and remunerative newspaper
position in San Francisco, his
connection with the Press esta-
blishment ceases from this date.
The Weekly Press, we believe,
will be continued by a lady com-
petent in every way to conduct it.
We trust the people of this enter-
prising community will turn in
and give her a generous support.
Like the undersigned whe will not
have the same advantage enjoyed
by the preceding managers, that
of access to a rich man's purse,
but she has industry, ability,
and she is a woman. She ought to
be supported, and if she isn't it
will only be another evidence,
that in spite of all that has
been said, Santa Barbara hasn't
enough enterprise to support a
decent newspaper.

Persons who have subscribed to
the Daily Press and paid for it
in advance (they are mighty few)
will be served with the Weekly
Press, for a term equal to the
amount of their subscriptions.


R. D. Bogart.
Santa Barbara, June 30, 1880.

The Daily Press started up (under new ownership) again on Sept. 1, 1880, with Volume 8, No. 284. The article that re-initiated the Daily Press made it clear that the Weekly Press had also gone out of business... the last issue of the Weekly Press that I can find is from July 10, 1880.

So, if a paper goes out of business and does not publish for two months, and is restarted by a new owner, is it the same paper? Would the proper birthdate for The Press be May 30, 1868, or Sept. 1, 1880? I don't know that there is any clear convention.

Of course, the claim that the News-Press originated in 1855 depends on a much less documented chain of connections that goes through the News side, back to the Independent, to the Democrat and then via a person, B. W. Keep, who started the Gazette in 1855 but then left the publishing business for many years.

03 August, 2006

A Justification for an 1855 Origin

As I prepared the last post about the change in the Santa Barbara News-Press's birthdate from 1863 (itself wrong) to 1855, I realized how a claim for 1855 might work.

The Santa Barbara Gazette was started on May 24, 1855, by B. W. Keep and R. Hubbard; it went out of business in 1858 or 1861, according to various sources.

B. W. Keep later started The Democrat (with F. A. Moore) on Jan. 19, 1878. F. A. Moore bought out Keep and changed the name of this paper to the Independent starting on Aug. 17, 1878. This Independent is not related to the contemporary weekly now publishing in Santa Barbara.

Eventually this original Independent was purchased by Thomas M. Storke, in 1913, and merged with The Daily News at that time. Storke could claim a tradition existed back through Moore's seven-month overlap with Keep to the 1855 Santa Barbara Gazette.

The Daily News eventually merged (under Storke) with The Morning Press to form the Santa Barbara News-Press.

The Democrat is not available in local libraries; the only copies seem to be at U.C. Berkeley. So, it is not so easy to check if B. W. Keep was indeed involved in The Democrat. The story is verified by the 1941 WPA history posted earlier, however.

The history of the Independent looks pretty complicated. A copy from 1903 gives its founding date as 1878 or 1879, but a 1914 edition gives its birth date as 1880 or 1881. The paper was sold and re-sold a number of times, and had both daily and weekly editions. Actually verifying the claimed connections through the Independent will be a time consuming project.

01 August, 2006

In 1952, the Founding Date Moved from 1863 to 1855

The Santa Barbara News-Press gave the date of its foundation as 1863 until 1952, when it changed its birthdate to 1855. The occasion of this change was a `Golden Jubilee' for Thomas M. Storke, the prominent publisher of the News-Press. A special Golden Jubilee insert was produced on March 30, 1952, the official date of the Jubilee; the opening of the News-Press offices on De La Guerra Plaza in Santa Barbara was also celebrated by the Jubilee.

The top of the paper before the change, on March 29, 1952 is below. Note on the far left where it says `Eighty-ninth Year, No. 152' (you can click on the image to enlarge it). Also, just below I've put an enlargement of these words.

This year of age and enumeration, assuming 365 issues a year (well, 1952 was a leap year, so 366), leads to a birthdate of Oct. 20, 1863.

The top of the paper after the change, on March 30, 1952 is below. Note on the far left where it says `Ninety-Seventh Year, No. 312' (you can click on the image to enlarge it).

This year of age and enumeration leads to a birth date of May 14, 1855. That is slightly at odds with the date of the first edition of the Santa Barbara Gazette, the newspaper that first published on May 24, 1855, and whose start the News-Press claimed `by right of inheritance' according to an article published in the special Jubilee insert of the March 30, 1952 News-Press, and reproduced below.

In one day, the News-Press aged over 8 and 1/2 years... its birthdate went from 1863 to 1855.

Below is the article from the March 20, 1952 edition of the News-Press that provides a history of newspaper publishing in Santa Barbara.

This article is definitely not readable at the resolution allowed by Blogger. It is reproduced below. However, there is a known inaccuracy in the statement, pretty near the end:

Without interruption, from today's
News-Press back through the Daily
Press, the Weekly Press and the Post,
it is now 89 years old.

The Daily Press did not publish continuously. According to California Editor by Thomas M. Storke, p. 94, the Daily Press stopped publishing during the summer of 1880, approximately from July 1, 1880 until Sep. 1, 1880.

THE FIRST ENGLISH language newspaper
in Santa Barbara was the Gazette, a small
four page, five column weekly started
by B. W. Keep, a printer, and R. Hubbard,
a writer. This paper contained one page
in Spanish. The Gazette apparently
basked in the friendly community for
several years. Then in an unfortunate mo-
ment, the luckless editor wrote something
which carried a note discordant to
the predominating religious sentiment of
those in power for the Spanish element
turned sharply against the little
newspaper. As a result, an enactment was
rushed through the legislature which made
the mere posting of a legal notice a legal
publication, and the Gazette, receiving no
more legal advertising, languished and died.

E. B. Boust and a man named Ferguson took
over where the Gazette left off and published
their first edition of the new Post, in 1863.
Boust was an ardent Secessionist, but a pru-
dent man. The final tragic chapter of the
war between the states being then in
progress, he was content to devote the
columns of his little weekly to matters other
than the great war.

He was joined shortly by J. A. Johnson, a re-
tired clergyman who organized the First
Congretational Church here. After a time,
Johnson became the sole owner of the Post
by buying the interests of his associates,
and on June 24, 1869, he changed the name
of the little weekly newspaper to
the Press.

On Sep. 9, 1872, Johnson issued
the first number of the Santa Barbara
Daily Press, and from 1872 to 1876
he published both the weekly and the
daily Press, through their columns
strongly advocating numerous
projects he believed to be for
the advancement of Santa Barbara.

He even traveled over the East, speaking and
writing about the opportunities for success-
ful enterprise which abounded in California.

Two years after Johnson launched
the Santa Barbara Daily Press, Al
Pettygrove and company started the
Daily News. The first issue appeared
May 3, 1874. Associated with Petty-
grove was E. M. Hott, a capable news-
paperman. Two years later, on May 16,
1876, the Santa Barbara Daily Press
and the Daily News united in a
consolidation, continuing publication
under the name of the Daily Press.

The coast was swept by a financial panic in
1875 and in the following year Johnson lost
the Press, and Col. W. W. Hollister, one of
the foremost men of the community, took
over the paper.

Harrison Gray Otis (General Otis
of later years), a brilliant young
newspaperman employed on the Ohio
Statesman, was induced by Col.
Hollister to come West and assume
editorial charge of the Press. On
March 11, 1876, Otis took the position.
He, with his talented wife, Eliza A.
Otis, who was a constant contributor,
where making a strong newspaper of
the Press when another financial panic
struck California, and they left Santa
Barbara to establish a home in Los An-
geles. Their Otis took charge of the
Times, which has become a worthy
monument to his memory.

R. D. Bogart, associated with Otis on the
Press, went to San Francisco about the same
time and established the Wasp, a periodical
that became widely celebated.

John P. Stearns, builder of Stearns wharf
and one of Santa Barbara's real captains
of industry, acquired the Press in 1888.
Theodore M. Glancey, a young man of
marked literary attainments, took editorial

On Sept. 23 of that year, Glancey was
shot and mortally wounded by
Clarence Gray, an attorney, who
aspired to the post of district
attorney and was made the subject of
editorial criticism by Glancy. Gray
was spirited to a jail out of town --
some say Los Angeles, others
Ventura -- to avoid lynching. He was
tried in San Jose because of the high
feeling here and, after two jury disa-
greements, went free. He died misera-
bly some years later in San Francisco,
an outcast, never returning to Santa

C. F. McGlashen, who joined the Press
editorial staff in 1880, became the next
owner of the paper, with George P. Tebbets
as business manager. Later, they sold to
W. G. Kinsell. From him the paper passed
to Walter Nixon, and in 1892 George Knepper,
and Eastern educator, and John T. Johnston
became owners. After a brief period the
Press passed to a syndicate headed by the
late R. B. Canfield, C. A. Edwards and others,
the majority stockholder being I. G. Waterman,
a young millionaire. Clio L. Lloyd was put in
as business manager, and Frank Selover became

In 1898 Waterman sold the Press to
R. B. Fithian, who moved the Press plant to
the Fithian building. Frank Hunt, who had
been with the Press since 1872, starting as
a printer's devil, was made manager.

Robert Cameron Rogers, one of
Santa Barbara's most gifted authors
of both prose and verse, next
acquired the Press from the Fithian
interests, and its columns reflected
his scholarly guidance. Mr. Rogers
died in 1912, and Reginald G. Fernald,
Mr. Roger's brother-in-law, became
publisher of the Press.

On Feb. 1, 1870, the Times was started by
E. Boust, the same man who seven years be-
fore had started the Post, which a year later
became the Press. The Times had one defi-
nite policy, which was to oppose anything
advocated or favored by the Press, and conse-
quently it strongly opposed extending any
encouragement to the Atlantic & Pacific Rail-
road Co. Judge Jarrett T. Richards, a most
able jurist, succeeded to the ownership of
the Times, but even his ability and promi-
nence in the community was not sufficient to
carry the little paper through the throes of
a severe financial panic, and it ceased
publication in 1875.

In 1872 E. N. Wood started the Index, which
was noted for the almost classic style in
which many of its articles were written,
while the exquisite beauty of the verse con-
tributed by Mrs. Wood, the editor's wife,
added to its fame. Mr. Wood died on Oct. 14,
1874, the Index passing to the ownership of
Mr. and Mrs. William F. Russell. The
Russells were from Minnesota, where Russell
had been prominent in politics, and was a
leading member of of the Minnesota
constitutional convention. He was a Union
veteran, distinguished for his outstanding war
services. The Russells were highly talented,
but as they were impractical, both in business
affairs and in their inability to restrain
free expression of opinion which might clash
with accepted religious and moral ideas, the
Index shortly ceased to exist, despite the
unusual literary atmosphere which its pages

On May 25, 1875, the Daily Republican was
launched by A. S. Winchester, while two years
later, in 1876, the Daily Advertiser was
started by Pettygrove & Stone. The Advertiser
succumbed on Nov. 29 of the same year, while
the Republican, which was strongly pro-Repub-
lican, continued for a time longer, only to
disappear in the financial quicksands which
had trapped so many other ambitious
newspaper ventures here since the little
Gazette blazed the way.

In 1878 the Democrat was started by
B. W. Keep,E. Boust, and F. A. Moore and this
proved a more enduring venture than many of
the others. It continued through eight years
as the Democrat, and wielded much influence
at times. Then, in 1886, Keep and Boust sold
their interests in the paper to Moore, who
changed the name of his paper to the

The Independent passed from Moore to
George P. Tebbetts, and from Tebbetts to
William LaVies. Under LaVies' ownership,
Clio L. Lloyd and Charles Donahoe were in
charge for a time.

A year or two after the death
of LaVies in 1898, the Independent
passed by purchase to Thomas M.
Storke, who established his first
issue on Jan. 2, 1901.

Storke had worked on the Press, and
in 1899, a year before his purchase
of the Independent, he became night
editor on the Press.

In 1895, Frank Sands started a news-
paper which he called the Daily
News, a name which had been dropped
in the merger of the Press and Daily
News, several years before. Mr.
Storke purchased the Daily News from
Mr. Sands--13 years after the pur-
chase of the Independent and the two
papers were consolidated under the
name of Santa Barbara Daily News.

For 35 years, from its start in 1878 to 1913,
the Independent had been a powerful influence
in local and county affairs, and the consoli-
dation of the Independent and the News proved
the beginning of a new epoch in local news-
paper history.

The consolidation left Santa Barbara with but
two papers, the News and the Press. In 1932
these consolidated. The merger brought Santa
Barbara a strong daily newspaper, with morning
and evening and Sunday issues. Until
April 21, 1937, the News and the Press were
kept as separate issues, and together
published a Sunday edition known as the
Sunday Editions of the News and the Press.

Another newspaper which started forth in a
fine way was the Santa Barbaran. It was
started by C. C. Davis, who came to Santa Bar-
bara from Leadville, Colo. The community
gripped his imagination, as it had that of
the men who had come before him. His little
paper, printed on book paper, appeared in
1897. It was a gem typographically, and in
a literary sense as well, but those same
financial quicksands which had drawn down so
many others ended the career of this little
journal also.

The Santa Barbara News-Press, as published
today, traces its ancestral lineage back to
the first of local newspaper history in 1855.
Without interruption, from today's News-Press
back through the Daily Press, the Weekly Press
and the Post, it is now 89 years old. Through
the right of inheritance, from the days of the
Daily Press it is the oldest daily newspaper
still being published in Southern California.
With the exception of a few months between
the days of the Post and the Gazette when
Santa Barbara had no newspaper there is an
unbroken chain of interwoven ancestry
between Santa Barbara's first newspaper, the
Gazette, established in 1855, and The
News-Press of 1952.

The News-Press of today, housed in its own
building, with the lastest equipment through-
out, and served by press services that cover
the globe, would not be recognized in any
characteristic by its great-grandfather news-
papers, the Post of 89 years ago, or the
Gazette of 97 years.

In those distant days if a printer
could run off a hundred or so copies
of his little four-page sheet an hour he
was doing something, while today the
80-page highspeed multiple color Goss
press can print and fold 666 copies
of the News-Press a minute, or 40,000
copies an hour.

As news pours in from every corner of the earth,
teletypes, working automatically, turn out
telegraph news in copy form ready for the
battery of lino-type machines.

In every department of the plant, from stereo-
typing and printing to engraving, modern
mechanism, with precision more than human,
suggests the long road that the newspaper
profession has traveled since those early-day
editors and printers wrestled with their

But there is a continuity running
through all this Santa Barbara
newspaper history. It started at
a time when the Gazette editor could
look back only three years to Indian
raids on the county's ranches, and
plead for the continuance of Fort
Tejon to protect the counties of
Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Los
Angeles, San Diego, and San

All the newspapers that followed the Gazette--
the Post, Press, Advertiser, Index, Republi-
can, Democrat, Independent, Barbaran--
directly and indirectly form a living link
contributing something of worth to the
individuality that today finds expression
in Santa Barbara's News-Press.

30 July, 2006

In 1887, The Morning Press said it began in 1868

At the right is a short article from the Sept. 20, 1887 edition, page 2, of The Morning Press, on the occasion of an upgrade in the format and typeset (the `number') of the newspaper. This quote is evidence that the birthdate of today's Santa Barbara News-Press is in May, 1868, and neither 1855 (as currently claimed by that newspaper) nor 1863 (as was claimed for many years, starting roughly in May of 1889). The article above is in agreement with the WPA guide of 1941 shown in an earlier blog post here. The article is also evidence that the News-Press is not the oldest newspaper in Southern California; it appears that the Bakersfield Californian is the oldest.

In case the image is unreadable, here is
a transcription:

The Santa Barbara Press was established
in May, 1868, as a weekly, and for a short
time was published under the title of the
"Post." The first daily was issued
Sep. 9th, 1872. It was our intention
to issue the enlarged number on the
fifteenth anniversary of the daily, but
non-arrival of the material prevented. We
believe the Press is the second oldest
paper in Southern California.

The Morning Press was the successor to The Santa Barbara Press; the name change actually occurred on the date of the short article above. The Morning Press became the `Press' part of the Santa Barbara News-Press in 1937 as the final step in a takeover by the Santa Barbara News, which was a younger newspaper.

I have made some progress on what Neal Graffy called the `1863 error,' which is the change in the birthdate of The Santa Barbara Post, the progenitor of the Press, from 1868 to 1863. Starting on Sep. 20, 1887 the Morning Press put `Established May, 1868' in its masthead, which is a bit hard to read in the image at left. But on about May 17, 1889, the phrase in the masthead changed to `Established May, 1863'. The shift may have been induced by a mistaken calculation based on the assumption of one volume number per year for the Press. In fact, starting in 1882, the Press used two volume numbers per year, causing the volume number to advance to 26 by 1889; mistakenly subtracting 26, under the assumption that there was one volume each year, from 1889 yields an apparent, but wrong, starting date of 1863.

Starting on Dec. 15, 1894, the founding date of 1863 was placed on the front page of the paper, just under the paper title.

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.

18 July, 2006

Source: 1941 WPA Guide to Santa Barbara

Below are several pages from the 1941 WPA Guide to Santa Barbara. The information supports a May, 1868 start date for the earliest predecessor (the Santa Barbara Post) of the modern News-Press. The News-Press claims it started in 1855, which I have been unable to verify.

17 July, 2006

How Old is the Santa Barbara News-Press?

Like many in the Santa Barbara area, I've gotten interested by the ongoing drama at our local daily, the News-Press. One thing I got obsessed with... how old is the News-Press? The newspaper takes great pride in declaring itself oldest in Southern California, and `since 1855'. Is it true? Not that I have been able to verify.

What I can verify: the earliest predecessor of the News-Press was the Santa Barbara Post, which commenced publishing on May 30, 1868 (the original Memorial Day, see the posting below). The Post published until June 10, 1869, then became the Santa Barbara Weekly Press starting June 24, 1869. The same business started publishing a daily edition, the Daily Press, on Sep. 9, 1872, which eventually evolved into The Morning Press. Oddly enough, the Morning Press did not quote its start date as 1868, but instead quoted a start date of 1863, which I cannot verify.

The Morning Press was acquired by Tom Storke (who was running the Daily News, founded later than the Post) in September of 1932. At least one edition of the Morning Press - June 1, 1935 - says the paper was founded in 1869. But the volume numbering corresponds to the 1863 founding. Storke re-christened the combined operation the News-Press, starting in 1938, and adopted the 1863 founding date.

Then on March 30, 1952, the News-Press, on occasion of a golden celebration of Tom Storke and the dedication of its new building, changed its date of origin from 1863 to 1855, just saying they carried on the tradition of the Santa Barbara Gazette, which did start publishing in 1855. There is no thread of business continuity between the Gazette and the News-Press.

The verifiable birthdate of the News-Press of May 30, 1868 would make the News-Press younger than the Bakersfield Californian, which dates from Aug. 18, 1866. The San Diego Union-Tribune dates from Oct. 10, 1868. Both those papers give pretty clear histories on their websites, unlike the News-Press... I have not scrutinized the self-asserted histories of the Californian and Union-Tribune.

The archive of the News-Press might have new info that would support a claim of 1855 or 1863, however. It would be very nice for the News-Press to clarify the situation for once and for all.

I note that the New York Times claimed today (July 17, 2006) that the News-Press was 105 years old... this date comes from Barney Brantingham, and corresponds to the date of Tom Storke's first acquisition of a newspaper, the (then) Santa Barbara Independent, in late 1900. But that Independent was sold by Storke in 1909 or 1910. Then he left the local news business and moved to the Bakersfield oil fields, and did not return until 1913, when he purchased the Santa Barbara Daily News. A few months later in 1913, he purchased that Independent back.

California State Library Info for N-P Predecessor

From the California State Library, the info for Volume 1, Number 5 of the Santa Barbara Post, ultimate predecessor to today's News-Press is below. One can work backward to surmise that Volume 1, Number 1 was published on May 30, 1868.

Title: The Santa Barbara post.
Published: Santa Barbara, Calif. :
Boust & Ferguson,
Description: v. Volume
Designation: Began in 1868.
Ceased in June 1869.
Notes: Description based on:
Vol. 1, no. 5 (June 27, 1868)..
Subjects: Santa Barbara (Calif.) Newspapers..
Later title: Santa Barbara press
(Santa Barbara, Calif. :
1869 : Weekly) (DLC)sn 85025118
LCCN: sn 93051509
DBCN: AEO-2626

California State Library:

Location: Calif. History Room (B)
06/27/1868 - 12/19/1868