Old Donaldsonville Newspapers

Newspapers have been used to spread news for thousands of years. Handwritten newssheets posted in public places probably were the first newspapers. The earliest known daily newssheet was Acta Diurna (Daily Events), which started in Rome in 59 B.C. The world's first printed newspaper was a Chinese circular called Dibao (Ti-pao). The Chinese began printing Dibao from carved wooden blocks around A.D. 700. The first regularly published newspaper in Europe, Avisa Relation oder Zeitung, started in Germany in 1609.

In 1690, Benjamin Harris of Boston founded Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, the first newspaper in the American Colonies. However, the colonial government ordered it stopped after one issue. In 1704, John Campbell established The Boston News-Letter, the colonies' first regularly published newspaper. By 1765, the colonies had more than 20 newspapers.

 Newspapers in the United States developed rapidly in the 1800's. By 1830, the country had about 1,000 papers. However, they were available only by subscription, and they cost about 6 cents a copy, which was more than working-class people could afford. Then in 1833, Benjamin H. Day started the New York Sun, the first of many successful penny newspapers. In the late 1800's, papers tried to outdo one another with sensational reports of crimes, disasters, and scandals. The most sensational newspapers included two New York City dailies—William Randolph Hearst's Journal and Joseph Pulitzer's World. Edward Wyllis Scripps established the first newspaper chain during the late 1800's. The number of U.S. newspapers peaked in 1909, when the country had about 2,600 dailies and about 14,000 weeklies. (1)

In Ascension Parish, there have been quite a few newspapers published, most of them in Donaldsonville. The first newspaper published in Ascension Parish was The Creole, published by J. C. St. Romes in 1816.
(2) More newspapers followed throughout the 19th and the early part of the 20th centuries. Explore the chronology of old Donaldsonville newspapers below and then click on the links in the chronology to open a window to the past.

Donaldsonville Newspaper Chronology

(Chronology and newspaper images donated to the Ascension Parish Library by Mr. Kirk Landry.)

(1)Stewart, Robert K. "Newspaper." World Book Online Reference Center. 2007. [Ascension Parish Library. 06/14/2007.]

(2) The Flight of a Century (1800-1900) In Ascension Parish Louisiana. Marchand, Sidney A. (1936). p. 43.