Historic Maryland Newspapers Project > Themes in Maryland History as Seen Through Its Newspapers
- Annapolis’ Maryland Gazette plays a central part in Maryland’s evolution from colony to state.
- Baltimore newspapers flourish as the city emerges as a key economic center of the state.
- The first telegraph message is sent from Washington to Baltimore in 1844, allowing news to be reported the same day it unfolds.
- Marylanders strive for a middle ground in the years leading up to the Civil
- Outside of Baltimore local newspapers emerge, offering a window into Maryland life outside of the city.
- Daily papers often report on the Maryland Colonization Society, which worked to repatriate freed slaves to Africa.
- In contrast, papers such as the Baltimore Sun and the Planter’s Advocate of Prince George’s County represent the views of urban and rural elites.
- Disruptions in the newspaper business caused by the outbreak of hostilities
in April 1861 are particularly acute in Maryland.
- Editors are imprisoned by federal authorities and newspapers shut down if deemed pro-Confederate.
- Two casualties of this federal censorship are the Baltimore Daily Exchange and the South.
- Marylanders avidly read those newspapers still operating for the latest war news written by the first cohort of war correspondents.
- The Sun and the American survive the war and continue to dominate the news business in the Gilded Age.
- New newspapers emerge to serve the needs of ethnic groups and different
classes of society.
- Progressive reformers assume control of the Baltimore News.
- In 1892 John H. Murphy founds the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper to serve a community suffering under Jim Crow segregation.
- Baltimore’s Ottmar Merganthaler revolutionizes printing with his invention of the Linotype machine around 1886. The ability to mechanize typesetting leads to a proliferation of newspapers.
- Early in the 20th century, Baltimore boasts between four and six dailies with many more specialized titles published weekly.
- The fire of 1904 destroys most of the Baltimore business district, including the offices of many newspapers.
- The advent of affordable photo printing technology is embraced by the afternoon Baltimore News-Post (American).
- Outside Baltimore county and local newspapers continue to flourish, preserving important evidence of the concerns of small-town Maryland.
- By the 1920s, newspapers in Maryland settle into a period of stability that continues until the last quarter of the 20th century.
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