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The Republican
The October 17, 2018, front page
of The Republican
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Advance Publications
Founder(s)Samuel Bowles II
PublisherGeorge Arwady
EditorLarry Parnass
Managing editorRaymond E. Kelly Jr.
Manager, Reader EngagementRobert Genest
FoundedSeptember 8, 1824
(199 years ago)
Headquarters1860 Main St,
Springfield, MA
CitySpringfield, Massachusetts
CountryUnited States
Circulation11,225 (as of 2023)[1]
ISSN1941-529X (print)
2641-2829 (web)
OCLC number52000893

The Republican is a newspaper based in Springfield, Massachusetts, covering news in the Greater Springfield area, as well as national news and pieces from Boston, Worcester and northern Connecticut. It is owned by Newhouse Newspapers, a division of Advance Publications. During the 19th century the paper, once the largest circulating daily in New England, played a key role in the United States Republican Party's founding. The newspaper became the first U.S. periodical to publish an African-American poet in 1854.

By 2023, The Republican's daily circulation had plummeted to 11,225, according to an audit published in the newspaper on September 27, 2023.[2] Content from The Republican is published online to MassLive, a separate Advance Publications company. MassLive had a record six million unique monthly visitors in June 2019.[3]


Established by Samuel Bowles II in 1824[4] as a rural weekly, it was converted into a daily in 1844. From the beginning it had a focus on local news. As rapidly as possible its news-gathering was extended until within a few years its columns contained departments of items from every town and hamlet along the Connecticut Valley, as well as from Springfield. It achieved national renown in the 19th century under the tenure of Samuel Bowles III, a legacy that was passed to his son, Samuel Bowles IV, and grandson, Sherman Bowles.


Samuel Bowles,[a] transformed the paper into the largest circulating daily in New England by the mid-19th century, and is remembered for his influence on abolitionism and the Republican Party, as well as his mantra for journalists—"Put it all in the first sentence."[5][6]
The historic Republican Block was home to The Republican from 1858 to 1867
The Springfield Republican as it appeared during the Reconstruction era, 1865

In 1854, the newspaper reportedly became the first to publish a Black poet in the U.S., a woman who wrote the oldest known work of literature by an African American.[7] A 16-year-old named Lucy Terry (1733–1821) witnessed two White families attacked by Native Americans in 1746. The fight took place in Deerfield, Mass. Known as “Bars Fight,” her poem was told orally until it was published, thirty-three years after her death, first in the Springfield Daily Republican, on November 20, 1854. The poem appeared in Josiah Gilbert Holland's History of Western Massachusetts the following year.[8][9][10]

In 1855, Bowles III called for the founding of a new party that would abolish slavery. He suggested the name "Republican". Once abolitionists founded a party by this name, The Republican became one of its most unrelenting supporters.

Bowles III believed that the newspaper should be a power in the moral, religious, and literary, as well as the political life of the community, and he tried to make his paper fulfill those functions. With the aid of J. G. Holland and others who joined the staff the paper attained excellent literary quality and a high moral tone. Its opinions soon reached all New England, and after the formation of the Republican party they extended far beyond the limits of any section.

During the controversies affecting slavery and resulting in the American Civil War, Bowles supported, in general, the Whig and Republican parties, but in the period of Reconstruction under President Ulysses S. Grant, his paper represented anti-administration or Liberal Republican opinions, while in the disputed election of 1876 it favored the claims of Samuel J. Tilden, and subsequently became independent in politics.[11] Its editorial board endorsed the Democratic candidate for president in every modern election except the 2008 election, in which it endorsed John McCain, but subsequently endorsed Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

Growth and changes

During Bowles' lifetime, and subsequently, the Republican office was a sort of school for young journalists, especially in the matter of pungency and conciseness of style, one of his maxims being: "put it all in the first paragraph".[11]

In 1849, Bowles hired Josiah Gilbert Holland, a poet who had studied medicine and taught school in the American South. Soon, the assistant editor purchased an interest in the newspaper and wrote spiritual and advice columns.

Under the leadership of editor Bowles and assistant editor Holland, the Republican became the most widely-read and respected small town daily in America.

Bowles was an acquaintance of Emily Dickinson, and he published a handful of the very few poems by the poet printed in her lifetime, including "A narrow fellow in the grass" and "Safe in their alabaster chambers".

Bowles was succeeded as publisher and editor-in-chief of the Republican by his son Samuel Bowles (b. 1851).[11]

Charles Dow, founder of Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, started his career as a business reporter for the Springfield Daily Republican, as an apprentice to the newspaper's then-owner, Samuel Bowles III.[12]

The Republican launched the careers of several prominent journalists and novelists. I. E. "Sy" Sanborn, longtime Chicago sportswriter and one of the original organizers of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in 1908, began his career at The Republican. Radio's "poet laureate" Norman Corwin was a reporter for The Republican in the 1930s.[13] Novelist Tom Wolfe was a reporter for The Springfield Union in the late 1950s.[14]

The title "Ms." was first suggested by an anonymous 1901 letter to The Republican. The letter read, in part, "To call a maiden Mrs. is only a shade worse than to insult a matron with the inferior title Miss. Yet it is not always easy to know the facts... The abbreviation 'Ms.' is simple, it is easy to write, and the person concerned can translate it properly according to the circumstances."[15]

During the 1920s, Sherman Bowles, son of Samuel Bowles IV, constructed a modern printing plant at 32 Cypress Street in Springfield and launched the hostile takeover of three competitors. His newspaper monopoly controlled a combined circulation of 280,000. He died on March 3, 1952, of a heart attack at the age of 61.[16]

In 1960, Advance Publications, owned by the Newhouse family, purchased a 40 percent stock interest in the Republican Company, Inc., holder of The SpringfieId Union, The Springfield Sunday Republican and The Springfield Daily News. The Newark, New Jersey–based company had an agreement with the Bowles heirs to purchase their 45 percent stock holdings in the Springfield companies on Sept. 1, 1967. The purchase was opposed by the editors of the newspapers and a prolonged legal battle ensued.[17] An organization called the Springfield Newspapers became the local division of the Newhouse family empire with David Starr, a vice president for Advance, serving as publisher.[18]

The Springfield Daily News and the Morning Union merged operations in the 1970s, operating as separate papers, even endorsing different candidates for the same offices. The circulation for the Morning Union was reported at 128,041 on October 8, 1972.[19] The Springfield Daily News circulation stood at 92,342 on September 30, 1972.[20] Eventually the two newspapers were combined into The Union-News (a morning paper) in 1988, with The Sunday Republican being published on Sundays.

Larry McDermott served as publisher for a decade beginning in 1999 and the newspaper reverted to its historical, pre-Union-News name of The Republican around 2003. At the start of McDermott's tenure, circulation for the Union-News was 90,555.[21] By September 2005, it had slipped by less than 5 percent to 86,359.[22] With McDermott's retirement in December 2009, George Arwady became publisher of The Republican. He was previously publisher of The Newark Star-Ledger, where he had threatened to shut down that newspaper amid financial crises.[23][24] The Republican has seen its advertising base and circulation shrink in recent years. It reported its daily circulation was down to 11,225 in September 2023.[2]

In 2019, the New England Newspaper Association awarded The Republican the "Newspaper of the Year" title as a daily, and among Sunday newspapers, for its investigative reporting on the Springfield Police Department controversies earlier that year.[25]

Longtime editor and Yankee Quill winner Wayne E. Phaneuf retired in 2020 and was succeeded by Cynthia G. Simison and later Larry Parnass .[26][27]


See also


  1. ^ Despite being one of three generations tied to the paper, "Samuel Bowles", without a generational suffix, usually refers to Samuel Bowles III.


  1. ^ McIntyre, Douglas A. "America's 100 Largest Newspapers". 24/7 Wall Street. AOL-HuffPost. Archived from the original on November 23, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "The Republican". Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  3. ^ "MassLive sees over 6 million unique visitors in June, surpasses in digital audience in July". MassLive. September 3, 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  4. ^ Dakin, M. "Samuel Bowles". Amherst College. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  5. ^ "Samuel Bowles". Encyclopedia of World Biography. The Gale Group, Inc. Archived from the original on December 7, 2018.
  6. ^ "The Republican (1844–Today)". NewsBank, Inc. October 25, 2016. Archived from the original on October 16, 2017.
  7. ^ Hatch, Shari Dorantes. Encyclopedia of African-American Writing: Five Centuries of Contribution : Trials & Triumphs of Writers, Poets, Publications and Organizations. United States, Grey House Pub., 2009, 884.
  8. ^ "'How could you not admire Lucy?': PVMA, Historic Deerfield organizing Lucy Terry Prince Day to celebrate first published Black poet". Greenfield Recorder. July 9, 2021. Retrieved December 23, 2023.
  9. ^ Gerzina, Gretchen, and Gerzina, Anthony. Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary Eighteenth-Century Family Moved Out of Slavery and Into Legend. United States, HarperCollins, 2009, p. 221.
  10. ^ These Truly Are the Brave: An Anthology of African American Writings on War and Citizenship. United States, University Press of Florida, 2018, 149.
  11. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bowles, Samuel". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 344.
  12. ^ Mangan, Gregg. "Humble Beginnings of the Dow Jones: How a Sterling Farmer Became the Toast of Wall Street". Connecticut Connecticut Humanities. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  13. ^ Staff and wire reports (October 19, 2011). "Radio legend Norman Corwin dead at 101". masslive. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  14. ^ "Tom Wolfe, famed author and Springfield reporter, dead at 87". MassLive. May 15, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  15. ^ McDermott, Larry (November 1, 2009). "Word sleuth finds Ms. origin in Springfield". The Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts). Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  16. ^ "Catalog". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  17. ^ "REPORT TO COURT HELPS NEWHOUSE; Attacks Papers' Operations in Springfield, Mass". The New York Times. April 23, 1964. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  18. ^ Barry, Stephanie (July 11, 2011). "The Republican's David Starr honored for 70 years with Newhouse Publications". masslive. Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  19. ^ "The Republican Archives". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  20. ^ "The Republican Archives". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  21. ^ "The Republican Archives". Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  22. ^ Retrieved October 8, 2023. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ Newsroom, The Republican (December 15, 2009). "Larry McDermott, publisher of The Republican, announces retirement; to be replaced by Newark Star-Ledger publisher George Arwady". masslive. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  24. ^ "'Star-Ledger' Publisher Threatens January 2009 Shutdown". September 18, 2008. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  25. ^ "The Republican named best daily, Sunday newspaper in New England". The Republican. Springfield, Mass. October 13, 2019. Archived from the original on October 13, 2019.
  26. ^ "The Republican editor Wayne Phaneuf to retire; Cynthia Simison named successor". masslive. November 28, 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  27. ^ Newsroom, The Republican (February 5, 2023). "Executive editor Cynthia Simison to retire; Larry Parnass named leader of The Republican's news team". masslive. Retrieved February 20, 2023.

Cambridge History of English and American Literature (1921) in the public domain.