Sacramento Daily Union
Sacramento Daily Union (1851-1899)
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About this newspaper
Debuting under the banner, the Daily Union, the later-named Sacramento Daily Record-Union began its 143-year run on March 19, 1851. Born of an advertising war between the Sacramento Transcript and the Daily Placer Times, the first issue of the Daily Union included a promise that "advertisements will always be inserted upon the most liberal terms," and featured thirteen columns of ads out of the total twenty-four. Under the editorship of John F. Morse, the Daily Union quickly expanded beyond its initial 500-issue run. The paper's publishers also moved rapidly beyond their original claim that, "in politics, [the] paper will be neutral and independent," and in the second month of publication came out as firm backers of the Whig Party in California. Beyond politics, the paper sought to keep its concerns regional in service to the rapidly growing city of Sacramento and its mining and agricultural communities. The paper was often referred to as the "miners' bible."
Interests in the paper underwent a rapid series of changes. In January 1852, the publisher C. L. Hansiker & Co. sold the paper to E. G. Jefferis & Co. Following the losses suffered in the great Sacramento fire on November 12, 1852 (from which only a small printing press and some type survived), the paper was sold in May 1853 to James Anthony & Co. Bouncing back from the fire's destruction, the Sacramento Daily Union became the first California paper to issue a double-sheet daily in 1858. The rapid turnover of publishers slowed, and the paper enjoyed further success in printing the travel log of Mark Twain on his 1866 voyage to the Sandwich Islands (modern-day Hawaii), a place Twain described as one of "noble shade trees and enchanting tropical flowers and shrubbery."
The paper continued to enjoy an ever-expanding readership through the 1870s under new ownership and a new title. In February 1875, the Sacramento Publishing Company purchased the Sacramento Daily Union and the Sacramento Daily Record and combined the two papers into the Sacramento Daily Record-Union before shortening the title to the Record-Union on January 10, 1891. During the 1880s, the paper's circulation swelled to 105,000 readers daily. The paper maintained its regional focus throughout the height of its popularity while also devoting space to national news of local interest, such as the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The Record-Union's readership dropped to 50,000 in the 1890s, in part from competition with the Sacramento Evening Bee. In 1903, the Record-Union changed its title to the Sacramento Union, the banner it retained until 1991 when it became the Union. The paper survived another three years under this title before its demise in January 1994.
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Digitized through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize California newspapers for the National Digital Newspaper Program. Titles digitized as part of the NDNP are available both here and at the Library of Congress Chronicling America website.