Published in Philadelphia, PA
Articles from 1869
- Proposed Tunnel Under Dover Straits (January 27, 1869)
The Philadelphia Evening Telegraph was a daily afternoon newspaper started on January 4, 1864, by brothers-in-law Charles Edward Warburton and James Barclay Harding to compete with the Philadelphia Daily Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia’s only afternoon newspaper at the time. They speculated, correctly, that the rapid growth in population and wealth in the area would support a second afternoon paper, and by the end of its first year the Telegraph went from four to eight pages; it ran daily except for Sundays. The Telegraph was an independent paper, Republican in political slant and supportive of the federal government. Harding died in October 1865, leaving a firmly established paper with Warburton as sole proprietor. Harding had been an active politician, but Warburton and his staff kept out of politics. Former Telegraph reporter and city editor, Watson Armbruster, served as managing editor.
The Telegraph was noted for its innovations. In August 1866, Warburton connected its offices with the Philadelphia headquarters of a political convention to found a party to support President Andrew Johnson, using the telegraph to transmit the proceedings to the public. One of the paper’s major innovations was to present editorials from the leading newspapers from New York and other cities in a feature called “Spirit of the Press.” By the 1870s, the Telegraph was running six columns of editorials from other U.S. and European newspapers.
Warburton died on September 1, 1896, leaving the ownership to his son, Barclay Harding Warburton. According to American Journalism(1897) by Charles Austen Bates, the younger Warburton spent $175,000 to modernize the Telegraph with new equipment including presses and typesetting machines. From 1895 to 1897, the running expenses increased 33%, the advertising revenue 60% and the circulation 300%. At this time, the average daily circulation was 32,000 and on Saturday about 38,000. Warburton also added a woman’s page, an art page, and a society page to the previously established literary, amateur sporting, and theatrical pages. The Telegraph appealed to both the “classes and the masses,” as Bates put it. In addition to covering national and international affairs, the paper gave a fair share of editorial attention to items of local interest and ran from 14 to 16 pages.
On February 2, 1911, Warburton sold the paper to his brother-in-law, Rodman Wanamaker, the son of department store magnate John Wanamaker. John T. Windrim, an architect who had done work for the Wanamakers, succeeded Warburton as president, and George A. Waite, the assistant editor, became managing editor. The daily average net circulation had increased to 110,721. In addition to several pages devoted to women’s interests and comic strips including “Mutt and Jeff,” the paper now sported a daily “Evening Telegraph Page of Wanamaker News.”
The Telegraph ceased publication on June 28, 1918, after being bought out by Cyrus Curtis, president of the Public Ledger company (and founder of Curtis Publications), who merged it into his own paper, the Evening Public Ledger. Curtis explained that by acquiring the Evening Telegraph, he was able to add the Associated Press to his membership in the other news association services. The name of the merged papers was changed to the Evening Public Ledger and The Evening Telegraph from July 1, 1918 until the end of the year when the Telegraph’s name was dropped.