This dissertation relies heavily upon the periodical literature of the Old School. I have uncovered more than eighty titles edited by Old School Presbyterians between 1837-1869. A complete list can be found at the end of this appendix. The weekly religious newspaper was the place where minister and layperson (including a few women) regularly exchanged ideas, learned what was going on the regional church, and engaged with the larger society. And since the weekly was viewed as transient and ephemeral, they generally did not write for posterity. The articles and editorials frequently bear the signs of hasty composition and hence provide a snapshot of current thinking rather than the more weighty quarterlies.

            Determining the circulation of a newspaper can be a daunting task. While a few editors were so kind as to report how subscriptions had fared at the end of each year, others refused to divulge such information. Of the latter, some published receipts in the newspaper, which enables some reconstruction of its circulation, while others printed lists of agents (which at least gives an idea of the geographical area that it served). In random studies of those papers that printed receipts in the newspaper itself, together with anecdotal reports by editors, it appears that nearly half of newspaper subscribers failed to pay their subscription each year. Many delinquents would pay eventually (some seem to have been in the habit of paying every 2-5 years), but the editor’s scorn frequently fell upon that class of Presbyterian who seemed to think that newspapers should be free of charge! Circulation estimates, therefore, must be taken as tentative.

            While the subscriber might not always be the primary reader of the paper, it is worth noting that only 10% of subscribers were ministers. Another 25-30% were women. Indeed editors frequently commented that their female subscribers paid most regularly, and often appealed directly to women, asking them to take the initiative in increasing subscriptions–noting that things moved more quickly when women got involved.[1] After sporadic contributions in the 1830s and 1840s, by the 1850s women were writing regularly for the newspapers (usually a children’s column, poetry and occasional letters to the editor).[2]

            The papers are generally described as elephant folios, ranging in size from five to eight columns per page. Prior to the 1850s all followed a standard single sheet (four page) format, but thereafter several papers experimented with double sheet style (eight smaller pages). Generally up to one quarter of the newspaper consisted of advertisements.[3]Around the same time editors started to utilize the sales technique of offering free goods, or reduced rates on other products, to encourage new subscriptions. Editors frequently apologized for the amount of advertising, but insisted that it was the only way to keep prices down.

            These periodicals self-consciously attempted to speak on behalf of the regional church and to provide a forum for that region to discuss the major issues of the day. Editors regularly engaged each other in debate, generally (though not always!) printing each other’s replies in order to allow their readers to hear both sides of an issue.

            Editors generally attempted to keep a respectful tone in their papers, but especially as the decade of the 1850s moved towards its close, tempers could fray–especially towards editors of other papers (after all, there was no one to edit the editor’s comments!). During one particularly heated winter, the Central Presbyterian remarked jocularly that

we really have thought as we looked over our Old School exchanges for a week or two, that the adversary has been very busy of late. The 'accuser of the brethren' could not want much finer sport than to see the New York Observer berate the Presbyterian for 'arrogance, bigotry, sectarianism, &c., &c.' in a style that would not discredit other newspaper notabilities in the great metropolis, whilst the Presbyterian, in reply, gives his New York brother a quid pro quo, and rather an ugly quid it is to be fastened on so respectable a newspaper as the Observer. We hope that some exorcism may eject this accuser of the brethren from our worthy cotemporaries.

            Nor has the East a monopoly of this agency. The Presbyterian of the West comes out in an insane assault on the action of our Church in regard to slavery, and brings a railing accusation against it, and with an infatuation that it is hard to account for on merely natural principles, proposes to begin an agitation of this question in our Assembly, such as we thought every sensible man in the country, out of New England, was now sick of, and admitted was not only useless but injurious to every interest concerned. Whereupon the St Louis Presbyterian applies a castigation to Dr. Monfort that will either exorcise or exasperate him, either drive these spirits out or put some worse ones in. We hope it may leave him in his right mind.[4]


Old School Presbyterians believed that these newspapers were crucial for the dissemination of the gospel and the edification of the church. One writer mourned that of the estimated 1600 ruling elders in the five southern synods supporting the Watchman and Observer in 1846, probably only a third subscribed to a religious paper. This was considered by some to be a sign of religious decline: “While such an example is set by many of the rulers in the house of God, it is not to me at all surprising that the Church is in a languid and declining state–especially as it relates to its benevolent operations. I have further noticed, that when the Church is truly revived by the spirit of God, there is a desire to know what can be done for the promotion of his glory, and the sources of information are sought with avidity.”[5]

            While Old School papers were reluctant to give political commentary (both out of principle and for the practical reason that their constituency was divided between the various parties), they frequently referred to political events. Practically every paper published the President’s annual address to the American people, and most papers had a column or two devoted to foreign and domestic political news. The few times that editors weighed in with political commentary reflects the intensity of those moments.

            In 1840, as the political campaign began heating up, Benjamin Gildersleeve encouraged his South Carolina readers to vote, but urged them to “abstain from participating in the excitement which contested elections are apt to produce.”[6] William Engles waited until after the 1844 election to deliver his opinion (he feared he would be accused of party bias if he spoke before the election) that “the recent canvass has been attended with great and flagrant sins which might well call down national judgments.” It was not so much the accusations of the candidates against each other, but the “prostitution of the press to purposes of the lowest and vilest abuse. . . . [P]rofessing Christians have seemingly neglected the most sacred duties of their calling to promote the success of their favorite candidates,” and (what was worse!) betting on the outcome.[7]

            Such complaints grew more numerous during the 1850s. Exactly ten years later Engles referred to nine New York City sermons on the 1854 election, commenting with horror that two pastors (not Old School, he assured his readers) even degraded themselves so far as to speak at a political meeting: “If they are to leave the pulpit to drag their garments in the mire of politics, we fear there will be a gloomy day both for the Church and for the State.”[8]


1. Regional Survey

            A. The Northeast

            The New York Observer (1823-1912) and the Philadelphia Presbyterian (1831-1923), ensured that the story of northeastern Old School newspapers was relatively uneventful. No paper ever tried to challenge the New York Observer, and the two that tackled the Presbyterian found the field decidedly barren and moved elsewhere. Both of these papers jealously guarded their subscription information, but it was generally known that they enjoyed wide circulation throughout the entire church. The New York Tribune claimed that the New York Observer had 18,000 subscribers in 1852, and 11,200 in 1856. I have been unable to find even an estimate for the Presbyterian during the years 1837-69, but William Engles’ handwritten records from 1831-1836 indicate a circulation of around 3,500-4,000 in the year 1835-36.

State                       Subscribers

PA                          1174

NJ                           205

NY                          162

MD                         87

DE                           25

New England        4

Northeast              1661      

OH                          160

IL                            25

IN                            19

MI                           2

Northwest             206

VA                          104

NC                          53

AL                          37

GA                          16

SC                           15

Southeast              225

KY                          74

TN                          27

MS                          13

LA                          13

Southwest             127

Foreign                 13


Total                      2132

Source: List of Subscribers, Presbyterian,1831-1836, Manuscript, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA


If the Presbyterian had the universal problem of a 40-50% delinquency rate, then the 2,132 paid subscribers probably reflect a total circulation of at least 3,500.

            The first challenge to the Presbyterian was ostensibly based on price. The question of how to extend circulation interested editors a great deal. Most Old School newspapers seem to have had subscriptions of anywhere from 2,000-5,000. Several Presbyterians commented on the successful approach taken by the Methodist newspapers. They transformed every preacher into an agent by giving him ten cents per subscriber. Payment was received strictly in advance, and if the renewal was not received on time, the paper would be canceled. Presbyterian papers had to factor a 40-50% delinquency rate in receiving payments, so their papers generally cost twice as much ($2 or $2.50 per year) as Methodist papers (normally $1). David McKinney, a pastor from western Pennsylvania, overtured the General Assembly to start a cheap paper on the Methodist plan to reach the whole church, but after a storm of protest from the regional papers, complaining about the unfair competition of having the General Assembly operate a newspaper, the plan fizzled out. So in 1852, McKinnney decided to try it himself. The Presbyterian Banner was launched from Philadelphia at $1.25 in advance (clubs of 10 subscribers paid $10). By the end of his first year, McKinney had reached 11,000 subscribers–nearly equaling the New York Observer, and by the end of his second year, with a subscription of 15,000 (a third of which claimed that they had never taken a religious paper before), McKinney dropped the subscription price to $1 for everyone.

Cost of Production of a Weekly Newspaper, 1851

Items                                                                      weekly cost           yearly cost

composition          100,000 ems at 33  $33.00                     $1716.00

press work at $2.50 per 1,000 copies $2.50                       $130.00

Wrappers, folding, mailing, etc.                         $2.50                       $130.00

Paper, 2 1-10 reams, a $4                                     $8.40                       $426.80


Cost of first thousand                                                                         $2412.80

Cost of each thousand after                                                               $696.80


edition of 6,000 costs $6,000

a circulation of 16,000 would cost $13,000--leaving $3,000 for editor and office costs (at $1 strictly in advance)


Source, Circular of 1851 (bound with Presbyterian Banner, vol 1, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA)

            But McKinney was unable to match the other Old School papers in content, and his readership soon began to dwindle.[9] In 1855 he returned to Pittsburgh, buying out the Presbyterian Advocate from William Annan, and consolidating the two papers. But the result was that he was forced to raise his prices to $1.50 (a price matched only by the Presbyterian of the West in Cincinnati).

            The second challenge to the Presbyterian came in 1860, and was rumored to be motivated by political concerns. Alfred Nevin founded the Presbyterian Standard in 1860, a paper which devoted itself to defending the General Assembly’s realignment with the Republican party against the more conservative Presbyterian. Nevin claimed that the paper was prosperous, and the regular expansions of the paper (which cost only $1.25 in 1862 and $1.50 in 1863) would seem to substantiate his claims. Nonetheless, when he sold out to the Northwestern Presbyterian in 1866 after an abortive effort to move to Chicago, the new editors claimed that his subscription list had never risen above 2,200.

            Both the New York Observer and the Philadelphia Presbyterian maintained a conservative reputation throughout the Old School era. Samuel Irenaeus Prime, an editor of the Observer from 1840, had originally gone with the New School, but as a Princeton graduate he remained generally in its orbit, and by 1850 he had joined the Old School Presbytery of New York. The Observer self-consciously avoided calling itself an Old School newspaper, but it was considered as such by virtually everyone else. In most matters the Philadelphia to Albany corridor spoke with one voice.

            Hodge, of course, was the editor of the Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, the leading Presbyterian quarterly review since 1828. The Princeton Review, as it was popularly known, devoted a large proportion of its pages to theology and church matters, but readers knew that the latest scholarship in the sciences, literature and history would be examined–as well as occasional commentary (especially from Hodge) on political and social concerns. The weekly papers frequently summarized its contents for their readers, especially those editors who had themselves studied at Princeton.[10] But Hodge’s views were not always received kindly by the church. Especially as regional differences grew more stark, the Princeton Review could become a target for attack.[11]

Old School Editors

Editor’s Name                       Periodicals             Years                      Seminary training

Benjamin Gildersleeve         CO/W&O              1819-1856               PTS 1818

Thomas D. Baird                  PittsChrHerald      1829-1837               Private 1812

Charles Hodge                      BRPR                      1829-1868               PTS 1819

Samuel C. Jennings              Pbn Preacher         1832-1838               PTS 1827

John T. Edgar                       American Pbn       1834-1839               PTS 1816

William M. Engles                Presbyterian          1834-1867               Covenanter 1818

Robert J. Breckinridge         BLRM/SXC           1835-1843               PTS 1832

                                                DQR                       1861-1864

Nathan L. Rice                      WP/P&H               1835-1841               PTS 1832

                                                Pbn of the West   1846-1853

                                                St. Louis Pbn        1854-1856

                                                Pbn Expositor       1857-1861

William S. Plumer WS                         1837-1845               PTS 1827

William Annan                     Pbn Advocate      1838-1855               PTS 1827

Samuel Irenaeus Prime        NYO                       1840-1885               PTS 1833

William D. Smith   Pbn of the West   1841-1846               Private 1830

J. A. Dunlap                          Pbn of the West   1841-1846               PTS 1835

William Wallace Hill            Pbn Herald            1842-1862               PTS 1838

William A. Scott                   NOPbn/PacEx       1846-50, 59-61       PTS 1834

Washington Baird               Southern Pbn        1847-1854               Unknown, 1835

Cortlandt Van Rensselaer   PbnTr/PbnMag    1848-1860               PTS/UTS 1833

S. A. Hodgman                     Pbn Casket            1849-1854               Unknown

David McKinney                 Pbn Banner           1852-1864               PTS 1824

Richmond McInnis              TrueWitness         1854-1862               Oakland C Theol Dept 1839

Stuart Robinson                   PCMR                    1854-1856               UTS/PTS 1841

                                                TrueP/FreeChC     1862-1869              

Joseph G. Monfort               PW/Presbyter       1855-1869               NATS 1837

Thomas V. Moore                Central Pbn           1856-1860               PTS 1842

Moses D. Hoge                    Central Pbn           1856-1860               UTS 1843

George McNeill                    NC Pbn                  1858-1865               UTSNY/PTS 1849

Abner A. Porter                    Southern Pbn        1860-1865               CTS 1842


            Southern editors frequently complained that both the New York Observer and the Philadelphia Presbyterian were widely taken in the South–in many cases to the exclusion of Southern newspapers. Both papers attempted to maintain a balanced treatment of potentially divisive issues, which some northerners took to be simply catering to the slave power. As the 1850s wore on, however, many southerners became increasingly dissatisfied with both northeastern papers, complaining that northern editors did not really understand the situation in the South.

            The various denominational publications of the Old School also came out of Philadelphia and New York. The Foreign Missionary Chronicle had originally been published in Pittsburgh (1833-37) as the organ of the Western Foreign Missionary Society (under the control of the Synod of Pittsburgh), but the Chronicle moved to Philadelphia when the General Assembly took control of Presbyterian foreign missions in 1837. By 1840 it had reached a circulation of 5,000. In the 1840s this monthly periodical added the Domestic Missionary Chronicle to its pages–edited by the secretary of the Board of Domestic Missions, but in 1850 it was renamed The Home and Foreign Record and included sections on foreign missions, home missions, education, publications, and (by 1854) church extension. It was offered free of charge to all ministers, and by 1857 it had peaked at a circulation of over 19,000 (including 15,000 paid subscriptions). The Board of Foreign Missions continued to publish a separate monthly informational magazine, the Foreign Missionary (1842-68) which was designed to be accessible to children (its circulation topped 30,000 in 1860). Also for children was the Sabbath School Visitor, started in 1851 as a supplement to assist Sabbath School teachers. Within three months it had a circulation of 15,000, and it continued to grow until it reached 75,000 in 1861.

            B. The South and Southwest

            After the General Assembly of 1837, Old School Presbyterians recognized that Virginia was one of the borderline synods that would cast the determining votes when members of the excised New School Synods tried to claim their seats at the 1838 General Assembly. While most of the other Presbyterian newspapers in the South were generally favorable to the excision, Amasa Converse’s Southern Religious Telegraph, located in Richmond, Virginia, had long opposed the Old School measures. Therefore, with encouragement from his Princeton professors, Richmond pastor William Swan Plumer (a western Pennsylvanian by birth) quickly launched the Watchman of the South to defend the General Assembly’s decisions.

            The paper was an immediate success. Plumer used his Princeton contacts to maintain a regular flow of original articles (Archibald Alexander’s Thoughts on Religious Experience, and several other works were first published here in serial form). Over the next seven years, the other four southern Old School Presbyterian newspaper found it impossible to compete and sold out to the Watchman.

            1838    Southern Christian Herald         (Cheraw, South Carolina)

            1839    American Presbyterian (Nashville, Tennessee)

            1840    New Orleans Observer (New Orleans, Louisiana)

            1845    Charleston Observer                 (Charleston, South Carolina)


The final merger also resulted in Plumer’s resignation from the editor’s chair. Benjamin Gildersleeve took over the editorial reigns of the renamed Watchman and Observer, but Plumer’s success is evident in Gildersleeve’s removal to Richmond. Plumer’s list of agents suggests the spread of the Watchman from 1837-1843 (the decline in the number of agents in 1843 was due to his attempt to reduce the amount of postage he was paying).[12]

Agents of the Watchman of the South, 1837-1840

                                                10/26/37 1/10/39                   11/21/39 12/17/40 5/18/43

Maine                                     0                              1                              1                              1                              0

Connecticut                          0                              6                              7                              5                              2

New York                               4                              8                              7                              2                              2

New Jersey                            1                              3                              3                              1                              1

Pennsylvania                        5                              11                            10                            7                              1

Maryland                               0                              4                              4                              6                              1

District of Columbia             2                              2                              3                              3                              3

Virginia                                  110                          164                          160                          149                          83

North Carolina                      36                            64 (SoChrHer)       64                            58                            40

South Carolina                      7                              51 (SoChrHer)       50                            49                            18

Georgia                                  4                              13 (SoChrHer)       16                            18                            8

Alabama                                9                              41 (SoChrHer)       43                            52 (NO Obs)          12

Florida                                    2                              3                              3                              5                              1

Mississippi                           3                              22 (SoChrHer)       25                            34 (NO Obs)          9

Louisiana                               0                              4                              5                              8 (NO Obs)            4

Arkansas                               0                              3                              6                              5                              0

Missouri                                0                              13                            14                            12                            3

Tennessee                             1                              18                            69 (AmPbn)           76 (NO Obs)          32

Kentucky                               3                              9                              19 (AmPbn)           18                            2

Ohio                                       3                              8                              8                              6                              3

Indiana                                   3                              6                              8                              9                              2

Illinois                                    0                              2                              4                              4                              1

Texas                                      0                              0                              0                              3                              0

Total                                       193                          456                          529                          531                          228


Source: WS (dates as given above)


            It is no accident that the early 1840s also saw some discussion of merging the two southern seminaries, Union (Hampden-Sydney, Virginia) and Columbia (Columbia, South Carolina). But the financial complexities added by the seminaries’ endowments prevented any swift action, and regional identities swiftly produced a second attempt at regional newspapers by the mid-1840s.

            This time, however, most of the Presbyterian efforts at newspaper editing took the form of anti-catholic journals. As reported in chapter four, in 1844-45, Old School Presbyterians in the South and West created no less than five anti-catholic newspapers. Neither the Jackson Protestant or the Western Protestant survived a year of publication, as A. A. Campbell’s death ended his enterprise, and Nathan L. Rice merged his paper with the True Catholic after nine months. The other three originally attempted to engage the editorial labors of ministers from other denominations, but only the True Catholic (1844-1847) was able to sustain the effort as an interdenominational Protestant paper. The Herald of Religious Liberty and the New Orleans Protestant gradually became denominational papers, and were renamed the St. Louis Presbyterian (ca. 1849) and the New Orleans Presbyterian (1847) respectively.[13]

            In 1847, two years after the merger that took the Charleston Observer to Richmond, the deep South reentered the newspaper scene with the Southern Presbyterian (originally published in Milledgeville, GA, before moving to Charleston, South Carolina, and then Columbia). This quickly became the leading paper in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Around the same time, South Carolina ministers became convinced that a southern quarterly was necessary to counteract Princeton’s commanding presence in the Princeton Review. From 1847-1889 the Southern Presbyterian Review provided a distinctively southern commentary on theology and culture (with considerably less interest in the scientific and literary pursuits maintained at Princeton), providing a forum for southern Presbyterians such as James Henley Thornwell, John B. Adger and James Lyons.

            After a brief attempt in the 1840s to provide a paper for the whole South, the Watchman and Observer gradually receded in scope until it returned to its original plan as a paper for Virginia and North Carolina. Renamed the Central Presbyterian in 1856 by its new editors, Moses D. Hoge and Thomas V. Moore, the paper self-consciously attempted to articulate a central stance between Philadelphia and South Carolina that would help keep the Union together.[14] Two years later the North Carolina Presbyterian was founded due to the Central Presbyterian’s perceived lack of interest in North Carolina matters. While the North Carolina Presbyterian drew off a substantial number of North Carolina subscribers, the Central Presbyterian remained the leading southern Presbyterian paper in places that did not have a regional paper.

            Further west, New Orleans’ Presbyterians continued to pursue the elusive goal of a stable weekly newspaper. After the demise of the New Orleans Presbyterian around 1850, H. J. Bardwell established the Mississippi Presbyterian in Kosciusko, Mississippi, in 1853, only to die halfway through his first year as editor. But members of the Synod of Mississippi were convinced that Bardwell had the right idea: start the paper in Mississippi to build up subscription in the countryside, and then move to New Orleans to gain the urban audience. The following year, Richmond McInnis started the True Witness in Jackson, Mississippi, before moving to New Orleans in 1857.

            Tennessee also remained hopelessly committed to the newspaper project. In 1845 Archy B. Lawrence launched the Bible Witness in Nashville, but after six months he sold out to Louisville’s Presbyterian Herald. The following year saw the beginning of the longest running Old School paper in Tennessee, Nashville’s Presbyterian Record (1846-51), but it too met the same fate. But it does not seem accidental that while the first Tennessee paper sold out to Virginia, these latter two sold out to Kentucky. In the 1840s and 1850s Kentucky was being drawn away from its earlier Ohio River connection with the Northwest, and was more and more closely connected to its southern neighbor. The last Tennessee paper, the Memphis Presbyterian Sentinel (1859-60) developed a significant constituency in Tennessee and northern Mississippi before merging with the True Witness to form a truly southwestern Presbyterian paper in New Orleans. The timing could not have been worse. By early 1862 the Federal Army controlled the city and the True Witness and Sentinel was closed down permanently.

Subscriptions to the True Witness and Presbyterian Sentinel, 1859-1860

1859-1860               True Witness        Presbyterian Sentinel          Total (though some duplicates)

MS                          596                          453                                          1047

TN                          14                            436                                          450

LA                          442                          3                                              445

AR                          22                            118                                          140

TX                          86                            11                                            97

AL                          42                            21                                            63

Other South          28                            38                                            66

Other North           19                            24                                            43

Foreign                  1 (Scotland)           0                                              1

Total                       1270                        1104                                        2374


Subscription was usually nearly twice the number that paid each year, so it is likely that the total subscription was at least 4,000



After the war, the Presbyterian Index (1866-68) published out of Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans, but only with the Southwestern Presbyterian (New Orleans, 1869-1909), edited by Henry Martyn Smith, did the southwest finally get a permanent newspaper. John H. Rice, editor of the Presbyterian Index, complained that the Central Presbyterian was too popular in Alabama after the war for his paper to successfully compete.[15]


            C. The Northwest

            In the 1840s the Synod of Kentucky was intimately connected to the synods of Cincinnati and Indiana in the operation of New Albany Theological Seminary, and the Louisville Presbyterian Herald had a significant patronage on the north bank of the Ohio River. The Indiana and Cincinnati synods had originally been carved out of the Synod of Kentucky (in 1826 and 1829 respectively), and Kentucky remained more closely connected to the Northwest than the Southwest. Likewise, the Synod of Missouri also had a share in NATS and the St. Louis Presbyterian had a large number of Illinois subscribers. At least until 1850 Kentucky and Missouri were frequently considered to belong to the Northwest. But by the 1850s Chicago was replacing Cincinnati and St. Louis as the center of the Northwest, and the perception of Kentucky and Missouri as slave states made a significant dent in the relations between these two synods and their northern brethren, resulting in an increasing divide between the New Northwest and the Upper Southwest. Many southwestern emancipationists tried to preserve the unity of the western states, but with less and less sympathy from north of the Ohio. The establishment of Danville Theological Seminary in Kentucky in 1853 revealed the isolation of Kentucky, as few northerners or southerners came to Kentucky’s aid in the funding of the seminary. The founding of the North West Theological Seminary in 1857-59 also showed the depth of the chasm–as the Synod of Missouri was (perhaps unintentionally) excluded from the government of the seminary, resulting in a rancorous debate between Nathan L. Rice (editor of the St. Louis Presbyterian) and Joseph G. Monfort (editor of the Cincinnati Presbyter).

            The final divide between the border states and the Northwest may be seen in the two “loyal” Presbyterian papers founded in 1865. The loyalist Kentucky paper took the name, Western Presbyterian, with the hope of rebuilding the western consensus (echoing the original name of the Kentucky paper, the Western Presbyterian Herald). Subscription information indicates that a better name would have been the “Kentucky Presbyterian” (between 80-90% of subscribers were from Kentucky). Shortly thereafter, a Chicago paper was started as the Northwestern Presbyterian, a title that indicated the editors’ conviction that Chicago was at the center of a new Northwest. While maintaining a friendly stance toward Kentucky’s Western Presbyterian, the Northwestern Presbyterian did not view Kentucky as a part of the Northwest.

            In 1837 three Old School papers dominated the northwest: Thomas Dickson Baird’s Pittsburgh Christian Herald, William L. Breckinridge’s Western Presbyterian Herald (Louisville, KY), and Nathan Lewis Rice’s anti-Catholic oriented Western Protestant (Bardstown, KY). In 1838 Baird sold out to William Annan who renamed his paper the Presbyterian Advocate, and Breckinridge and Rice combined forces to co-edit the Protestant & Herald. Pittsburgh would remain a fairly stable market for Annan and his successor McKinney, but the western field would see considerable change.

            The Western Presbyterian Herald had begun as the Standard (published out of Cincinnati and South Hanover, IN 1831-35), and as the only weekly Old School paper west of Pittsburgh, it retained a considerable patronage from Ohio and Indiana. But with the growth of Presbyterianism in Ohio, Cincinnati developed its own paper out of Simeon Brown’s monthly Calvinistic Monitor (Fredericksburg, 1839-40) and semi-monthly Family Monitor (Marion OH, 1840-41). But when the Presbyterian of the West (Cincinnati 1841-1859) finally managed to put together a weekly paper in 1845, Ohio patronage for the merged Protestant & Herald began to dry up. Especially after two Tennessee papers sold out to the renamed Presbyterian Herald in 1846 and 1851, the Kentucky paper developed a much stronger connection to the growing Southwest. Nonetheless the Herald retained strong connections with Indiana and Illinois throughout the 1850s (though Missouri and southern Illinois tended towards the St. Louis Presbyterian after 1850).

Subscriptions to Kentucky Newspapers, 1838 vs. 1849

Western Presbyterian Herald             Pbn Herald

Paid subscriptions  1837-38                1848-49

KY                          406                          963

OH                          215                          33

IN                            119                          156

IL                            45                            104

IA                           1                              41

MO                         17                            97

TN                          8                              101

MS                          9                              102

AL                          7                              55

Northeast              18                            7

Northwest             3                              3

Southeast              4                              9

Southwest             2                              21

Other                      0                              2

Total:                      854                          1692


            The Presbyterian of the West found a ready market north of the Ohio River, and though it never printed receipts in the paper, agent lists suggest that Ohio, Indiana and Illinois were the main regions of circulation. Editors J. A. Dunlap & W. D. Smith claimed to have the cheapest weekly religious paper in the United States in 1845 at the low price of $1.50, with less than 5,000 subscribers, but were forced to raise rates to $2 by the second volume. In 1846 Kentuckian Nathan Lewis Rice took over the editor’s chair, and for the next seven years the Ohio-based Presbyterian of the West would be more outspoken in its criticism of abolitionism than its Kentucky neighbor. After seven years Rice departed for St. Louis (where he would edit the St. Louis Presbyterian), leaving ruling elder John D. Thorpe as both publisher and editor of the Presbyterian of the West (the only ruling elder known to edit an Old School paper). Eighteen months later the Presbyterian of the West was transferred to Joseph G. Monfort, who quickly became Rice’s nemesis. Within months the paper shifted from Rice’s conservative anti-abolitionist position to Monfort’s vigorous anti-slavery rhetoric. For the next fifteen years (1855-69) Monfort’s editorials made him infamous throughout the Old School as the token “abolitionist” editor. For those northwestern Presbyterians who were frustrated with the passivity of their church with respect to slavery, Monfort championed their cause with eager zeal.[16]

            Rice, on the other hand, found a friendly home in Missouri, and his attacks in the St. Louis Presbyterian on Monfort and his colleague, Erasmus Darwin MacMaster (professor of theology at New Albany Theological Seminary) echoed throughout the church. The Missouri paper had limited circulation outside of its home state, but other editors frequently published excerpts. While perhaps most thought that Rice tended to get too shrill in his fifteen year crusade against MacMaster, they tended to agree with Rice that Monfort and MacMaster were radicals. After four years in St. Louis, the last three at the helm of the St. Louis Presbyterian (1854-57), Rice took a call to Chicago to pastor the North Church and edit a new paper, the Presbyterian Expositor (1857-61).

            Chicago had become the economic center of the Northwest, and Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaper, was determined to see it become the religious center as well. McCormick had chosen Chicago as the base of his production facility precisely because of its ability to reach the whole West. As a native Virginian, McCormick was deeply concerned by the radical tendencies that he saw in much of the Northwest. Now he hoped to see Chicago become the center of a conservative movement that would hold the Union together and prevent the balkanization of the West. Rice was precisely the man that McCormick wanted in Chicago. The most famous Old School pastor in the West, Rice had successfully debated Alexander Campbell several years earlier and had frequently engaged with Roman Catholics, Universalists, Abolitionists, and other radicals in his defense of Protestant and Presbyterian orthodoxy.

            Chicago had never had a Presbyterian paper of its own before. The Presbyterian Banner, while publishing in Philadelphia, had added a Chicago editor in January of 1855, in an attempt to bolster circulation in the Northwest. “R” applauded this step since the North-West “have felt that, in many respects, they were a peculiar people in their church-relations, as Presbyterians and in the circumstances of their position, differing in some respects from any other portion of our Zion.” Wishing to communicate more clearly these distinctives to the rest of the church, yet unable to support a paper of their own, “R” stated that “We believe ourselves to be thoroughly and truly conservative, in the proper sense of that term, and thoroughly desirous of the true welfare of the Church and country. But we do not think that there has always been that freedom and fullness of expression in existing papers in regard to many questions, which their nature and bearing required.”[17] It is not entirely clear which questions “R” wished to speak with greater freedom and fullness of expression. But it is worth pointing out that prior to 1855 every Old School paper in the Northwest was edited by conservatives–whereas a sizeable portion of Old Schoolers in the Northwest were moving towards the emerging Republican party. With the accession of the more radical J. G. Monfort to the editorship of the Presbyterian in the West in 1855, the Chicago editor of the Presbyterian Banner disappeared.

            Two years later, when Nathan L. Rice moved to Chicago, the prospects for a Chicago paper were no better, but since the Presbyterian Expositor was funded by Cyrus McCormick’s deep pockets, it moved from a monthly (1857-59) to a weekly (1860-61) without concern for the number of subscriptions. McCormick and Rice combined forces to bring the Northwest Theological Seminary to Chicago (with Rice as professor of theology), which cemented their plans to make Chicago the center of a conservative Presbyterianism that would save the Union. With the outbreak of the war, Rice’s purpose for being in Chicago was ended. The triple burden of pastor, professor and editor finally wore him down and he resigned to take a call to Fifth Avenue and Nineteenth Street Presbyterian Church in New York City (a much friendlier place than Chicago for a reputed southern sympathizer).[18]

            During the war the divide between the border states and the Northwest became evident. At the beginning of the war, Robert J. Breckinridge, professor of theology at Danville Seminary, began editing the Danville Quarterly Review (1861-64) as a means to promote his Unionist politics. The weekly Presbyterian Herald was bought out by Breckinridge’s chief antagonist, Stuart Robinson, who renamed it the True Presbyterian (1862-64), devoted to the absolute spirituality of the church; he therefore refused to declare loyalty to the Federal Government. Robinson’s continued attacks on the loyal Breckinridge (who was considered as a possible Republican candidate for the United States Senate in 1864) earned him exile to Canada and the suspension of his newspaper. After the war, Robinson and his colleagues restarted their paper as the Free Christian Commonwealth (1865-69). Due in part to his prompting, the Synods of Kentucky and Missouri both split after the war, with a majority objecting to the actions of the northern General Assembly. But the larger portion of that majority did not wish to enter the southern General Assembly either. A minority signed the “Declaration & Testimony,” a severe criticism of the General Assembly’s actions, and urged immediate union with the PCUS. In 1869 the independent Synod of Kentucky merged into the southern General Assembly. The Synod of Missouri was somewhat more moderate. Their organ, the Missouri Presbyterian, was renamed the Old School Presbyterian from 1870-74 because during those years they were the only body of Old School Presbyterians who had not reunited with the New School. But finally in 1874 they too voted to join the southern General Assembly. Predictably, nearly 90% of its circulation was contained within the state of Missouri.


2. The War and the Newspapers

            While the war caused some hardships for northern papers, generally causing prices to rise, the effect on southern papers was nothing less than devastating. Initially Presbyterians fared better than other denominations. In May of 1862 the Central Presbyterian reported that three-fourths of all Baptist papers in the South had closed, along with most southern Methodist papers, but only the True Witness had failed of the Presbyterian papers–and that was due to the capture of New Orleans.[19] Presbyterians had a higher proportion of the well-to-do in their ranks, which may explain the relative stamina of their papers during the early stages of the war. But runaway inflation caused the Central Presbyterian to raise prices every few months, from $2.50 in 1860 to $20 in 1865 ($10 for six months), and for much of the war it published only a half sheet in order to conserve paper.[20] Nonetheless the Central Presbyterian was able to continue publishing almost every week during the war (the last religious weekly in Richmond)–in part due to those who purchased subscriptions for the army which maintained a circulation in the vicinity of 3,000.[21] The burning of Richmond on April 3, 1865, though, put the Central Presbyterian out of commission for four months–the shortest hiatus of any southern Presbyterian paper. The price was gradually reduced until it reached $3 in 1868–at which time circulation was nearly 4,000.


                Old School Periodicals: 1837-1869               


1. OLD SCHOOL WEEKLY & MONTHLY NEWSPAPERS (weekly unless otherwise noted)

New York Papers:                               Years                     Editors                  

New York Observer                             1823-1912               Sidney E. Morse (-1840)

                                                                                                Samuel Irenaeus Prime (1840-49, 1851-85)[22]

                                                                                                Thomas Ruggles Gold Peck (associate ed 1854)

Western Presbyterian (Buffalo)         1841                        John C. Lord


Philadelphia Papers

Presbyterian                                          1831-1923               John Burtt (1831-32)

                                                                                                J. W. Alexander (1832-33)

                                                                                                William M. Engles 1834-67[23]

                                                                                                Samuel Irenaeus Prime (1850-51)

                                                                                                John Leyburn (1852-61)

                                                                                                Alexander Blyth Bullions (1860-61)

                                                                                                Matthew B. Grier 1861-99

Presbyterian Treasury (monthly)      1848-1849               Cortland Van Rensselaer

Presbyterian Magazine (monthly)     1851-1860               Cortland Van Rensselaer[24]

Presbyterian Banner                            1852-1855               David McKinney[25] (moved to Pittsburgh)

Presbyterian Standard                         1860-1866               Alfred Nevin & Alfred Taylor (1860-65)

                                (Philadelphia & Chicago)                    Alfred Nevin & F. Senour (1865-66)[26]


Pittsburgh Papers:                                                                                            

Pittsburgh Christian Herald                1829-1837               Thomas D. Baird (became Presbyterian Advocate)

Presbyterian Preacher                         1832-1838               Samuel C. Jennings

Presbyterian Advocate                       1838-1855               William Annan[27]

Presbyterian Banner                            1855-1937               David McKinney[28] (1855-64)

                                                                                                James Allison and Robert Patterson (1864-1889)

Family Treasure (monthly) 1864-1869               David McKinney[29]



Old School Periodicals: 1837-1869 (continued)

Ohio Papers:                                        Years                     Editors                  

Standard (Cincinnati)                          1831-1835               John Burtt (1832-5?) (Moved to KY as Pbn Herald)

Western Peacemaker (Oxford)           1837?                      Robert H. Bishop & John W. Scott[30]

Calvinistic Monitor (Fredericktown)   1839-1840               Simeon Brown (became Family Monitor)

Family Monitor (Marion)                    1840-1841               Simeon Brown and J. A. Dunlap (became PW)

Presbyterian of the West (Springfield)   1841-1845               J. A. Dunlap & W. D. Smith[31]

                                (Cincinnati)           1845-1858               J. A. Dunlap & W. D. Smith (1845-46)

                                                                                                N. L. Rice (1848-53) & S. R. Wilson (1846-48)

                                                                                                Willis Lord & Simeon Brown (1853-54)

                                                                                                John D. Thorpe (elder) & anon (1854)

                                                                                                J. G. Monfort (1855-59) & F. P. Monfort (1855)

Presbyter (Cincinnati)                         1859-1869               J. G. Monfort[32]

Western Protestant (Cincinnati)        1845                        Nathan L. Rice (merged with True Catholic)[33]

Christian Monthly Magazine             1845-?                     Thomas E. Thomas

Family Quarto (Zanesville–monthly)   1848-1850               Simeon Brown (sold to Presbyterian of the West)

Reunion Presbyterian (Cincinnati)    1865-?                     McP. Thompson (NS), N. C. Burt, and J. G. Monfort

Our Monthly                                         1870-                       W. McKinney


Chicago Papers:

Presbyterian Expositor (monthly)      1858-1860               N. L. Rice

Presbyterian Expositor (weekly)        1860-1861               N. L. Rice[34]

Presbyterian Era                                   February, 1864      E. Erskine (only one issue due to lack of support)

Northwestern Presbyterian                1865-1869               E. Erskine & Alfred Hamilton (1865-69)

                                                                                                Alfred Hamilton (1865-67)

                                                                                                David McKinney (1866-69)[35]

                                                                                                J. B. McClure (1867-69)


                Old School Periodicals: 1837-1869 (continued)

                                                                Years                     Editors                  

Missouri Papers (St. Louis unless otherwise noted)

Western Emigrant (Booneville)         1838-?

Western Casket (monthly)                 1849-1855               S. A. Hodgman[36]

Herald of Religious Liberty                1844-1849               Hiram Chamberlain (1844-45)

                                                                                                Association of different denominations (1845-46)

                                                                                                Alexander Van Court, Dr Potts & Mr Eustace

St. Louis Presbyterian                         1849-1860               Joseph Templeton & Samuel Pettigrew

                                                                                                Templeton & D. S. Morrison (1852)[37]              

                                                                                                E. Thompson Baird (1852-54)

                                                                                                N. L. Rice (1854-57)[38]

                                                                                                James A. Paige (1857-59)

                                                                                                J. H. Van Court (1859-60)

The Presbyterian of Our Union         1860-1862               Schenck & Co. (1860-62)[39]

Missouri (St. Louis) Pbn                     1866-1870               Robert P. Farris[40]                 

Old School Presbyterian                     1870-1874                              


Kentucky Papers:

Western Luminary (Lexington)          1824-1835               John Breckinridge (1824-26)[41]

                                                                                                J. Cabell Harrison (1824-25)

                                                                                                Thomas T. Skillman (1826-29)

                                                                                                Oramel S. Hinckly (1829-1831)

                                                                                                John F. Coons (1831-35)[42]  

Western Protestant (Bardstown)      1835-1838               Nathan L. Rice (merges with Presbyterian Herald)

                Old School Periodicals: 1837-1869 (continued)

                                                                Years                     Editors                  

Western Pbn Herald (Louisville)       1836-1838               William L. Breckinridge & J. G. Monfort (1836-37)[43]

                                                                                                William L. Breckinridge (1837-38)[44]

Protestant and Herald                         1838-1845               W. L. Breckinridge and N. L. Rice (1838-39)

                (Louisville, Bardstown, and New Albany)       N. L. Rice (1839-41)[45] & S. S. McRoberts (1840-41)

                (Paris)                                                                     S. S. McRoberts (1841-42)

                (Frankfort/Louisville)                                          W. W. Hill (1842-45)[46]

Presbyterian Herald (Louisville)        1845-1862               W. W. Hill (1845-62) & A. B. Lawrence (1845-47)

                                                                                                                & Robert Morrison (1854-56)

True Presbyterian (weekly/bi-monthly) 1862-1864               Rev. Stuart Robinson & Robert Morrison

Western Presbyterian (Louisville)          1864-1865               J. L. McKee & Thomas Cleland (Monthly)

Western Presbyterian (Danville)       1865-1870               Edward P. Humphrey & Stephen Yerkes (1865-66)[47]

                (Louisville)                                                            Heman H. Allen (1866)

                (Louisville & St. Louis)                                       Heman H. Allen & S. J. Nicchols (1866-1870) 

Free Christian Commonwealth           1865-1869               Anonymous Association (led by Robinson, 1865-66)

                                                                                                Rev. Stuart Robinson (1866-68)

                                                                                                Rev. J. V. Logan (1868-69)[48]               

True Catholic (monthly–Louisville) 1844-1847                William L. Breckinridge & Edward P. Humphrey[49]

                                                                                                Nathan L. Rice (1846)

                                                                                                Archy B. Lawrence 11/46-2/47

                Old School Periodicals: 1837-1869 (continued)

                                                                Years                     Editors                  

Presbyterian Standard (Paducah)      1854-1855               An Association of Ministers and Elder (monthly)

The Rechabite (Maysville–monthly)   1843-??   R. C. Grundy, R. H. Stanton, & Wm W. Richeson


Tennesee Papers:

American Presbyterian                        1834-1839               John T. Edgar       (sold to Watchman of the South)

Jackson Protestant                              1844-?                     A. A. Campbell (d. 1846)

Bible Witness (Nashville)                   1845 (6 mo)            A. B. Lawrence (Merged into Presbyterian Herald)      

Presbyterian Record (Nashville)        1846-51   (Sold to Presbyterian Herald)

Presbyterian Sentinel (Memphis)      1859-1860               F. A. Tyler[50] (& Ed. E. Porter, April-July 1859)[51]


Baltimore Papers (all monthlies):

Baltimore Lit. & Rel. Magazine          1835-1841               R. J. Breckinridge and Andrew Cross

Spirit of the XIXth Century                1842-1843               R. J. Breckinridge[52]

Presbyterial Critic & Monthly Review  1854-1856               Stuart Robinson & T. E. Peck


Richmond Papers:

Watchman of the South                      1837-1845               William S. Plumer[53]

Watchman and Observer                    1845-1856               Benjamin Gildersleeve[54]

Central Presbyterian                            1856-1909               TV Moore & MD Hoge (1856-60)[55]

                                                                                                William Brown (1861-79) & P. B. Price (1865-?)


North Carolina Papers:

N.C. Presbyterian (Fayetteville)         1858-1899               George McNeill & Bartholomew Fuller, Esq. (1858-1865) & Willis Miller

                                                                                                B. Fuller, Esq. & William McKay (1866-1868)

                                                                                                John M. Sherwood (1868-1872)

                Old School Periodicals: 1837-1869 (continued)

                                                                Years                     Editors                  

South Carolina/Georgia Papers:

The Missionary (Mt Zion, GA)         1819-1820?             Benjamin Gildersleeve

Charleston Observer (Charleston)    1827-1845               Benjamin Gildersleeve[56]

Southern Christian Herald (Columbia)   1835-1836               R. S. Gladney

                                (Cheraw, SC)         1837-1838               Dr. M. MacLean[57] (ruling elder)

Southern Presbyterian (Milledgeville)    1847-1909               Washington Baird (1847-54)[58]

                (Charleston, SC)                                                   J. L. Kirkpatrick (1854-57)

                                                                                                H. B. Cunningham (1857-60)

                (Columbia, SC)                                                      A. A. Porter (1860-1865)[59]

                                                                                                James Woodrow, et al (1865-91)

Pastors and People Journal (Macon)      1857                        R. L. Breck & William Flinn


New Orleans/Mississippi Papers:

New Orleans Observer                        1837/8-1840           Benjamin Chase/A. B. Lawrence[60]

New Orleans Protestant                      1844-1846               1st Pbn & J. B. Warren (became NO Pbn)

                                                                                                John Holt Rice (1846-47)[61]

New Orleans Presbyterian                  1846-1849               W. A. Scott

                                                                1850-                       W. A. Scott & Rev. Beadle

Mississippi Presbyterian (Kosciusko, MS) 1853            H. J. Bardwel (died, 1853)

True Baptist (Jackson, MS)                1854                        A. Newton (with Meth, CumbP)

True Witness (Jackson, MS)             1854-1857               Richmond McInnis[62]

                (New Orleans)                       1857-1860               Richmond McInnis[63]

True Witness & Sentinel (New Orleans & Memphis) 1860-1862 McInnis & F. A. Tyler (1860-62)

Presbyterian Index (Mobile & NO)   1866-1868               John H. Rice & H. H. Smith (of New Orleans)

Southwestern Presbyterian                1869-1909               Henry M. Smith (1869-91)  


                Old School Periodicals: 1837-1869 (continued)

                                                                Years                     Editors                  

Western Papers (monthlies):

The Panoplist and Pbn of Texas        1855-                       Jerome Twitchell

The Watchman (San Francisco)        1850-?                     Albert Williams (1850-?)[64]

Oriental (San Francisco)                     1855-                       William Speer[65]

Pacific Expositor (San Francisco)      1859-1862               William A. Scott (1859-61)[66]

                                                                                                George Burrowes (1861-62)               

Trinidad Enterprise (Trinidad CO)     1863-71                   Jacob Winters



Biblical Repertory                                1829                        An Association of Gentlemen

Biblical Repertory & Theological Rev.   1830-1836               An Association of Gentlemen

Biblical Repertory & Princeton Rev.      1837-1878               Charles Hodge (1837-1868)

Southern Presbyterian Review          1847-1889               J. H. Thornwell, et al. (1847-1862)

Danville Quarterly Review  1861-1864               R. J. Breckinridge, et al.



Foreign Missionary Chronicle (Pittsburgh)                     1833-1838

                (Philadelphia)                                                        1838-1849[67]

Foreign Missionary (New York)                                        1842-1868[68]

The Home and Foreign Record (Philadelphia)                1850-1869[69]



Sabbath School Visitor (Philadelphia)                              1851-[70]

Children’s Friend (Richmond)                                            1862-[71]

Southern Boy’s and Girl’s Monthly                                 1867-                       E. Thompson Baird & Prof Wm Logan Baird


The Education Annual                                                        1832, 1835

Home, The School and the Church (Philadelphia)          1851-1860               Cortlandt Van Rensselaer

[1]E.g., Watchman and Observer 3.1 (August 19, 1847), 3.39 (May 6, 1848). Gildersleeve–who had been editing Presbyterian papers in the South for more than twenty years–noted the rise of female subscribers as a recent development.

[2]Since contributors usually published anonymously (their identity only known to the editor), it is quite possible that women contributed even more to the weeklies. Unfortunately, I have been unable to uncover the identities of all of the pseudonyms used.

[3]A study of the changing nature of advertising in religious newspapers would be interesting. There is a stark contrast between the strictly informative ads of the 1830s and 1840s and the much more enticing approach of the 1860s. One of the earliest of these ads is for the American Agriculturalist, found in the Presbyterian Herald of January 24, 1861:


“You want it, Your wife wants it, Your Children want it, It will certainly pay, and you would have it, if you only knew how USEFUL, how INSTRUCTIVE, and how ENTERTAINING it is.”



[4]“What Is Among the Editors?” CP 2.7 (Feb 14, 1857) 26.

[5]“Ruling Elders,” Watchman and Observer 1.27 (February 19, 1846) 107.

[6]editorial, “The Presidential Election Campaign,” CO 14.12 (May 9, 1840) 46

[7]Presbyterian 14.45 (Nov 9, 1844) 178.

[8]Presbyterian 24.45 (Nov 11, 1854) 178.

[9]McKinney claimed that his editorial policy differed from the Presbyterian in that he would encourage free discussion, as over against the Presbyterian’s tendency to reject articles that the editors considered injurious to the interests of the church. Presbyterian Banner 2.20 (Feb 11, 1854). But due to his attempt to make the paper popular, the Banner wound up being relatively uninteresting.

[10]While half of all Old School ministers studied at Princeton, Princeton alumni made up 62% (sixteen out of twenty-six) of all those who edited Presbyterian journals for at least five years. The following list shows that twelve of the first fifteen long-term Old School editors were Princetonians. In 1840, seven of the eight Old School papers were edited by Princeton Seminary alumni (the one exception was Engles of the Presbyterian, who was elected to the seminary’s Board of Directors in 1842). In 1860, only nine of the seventeen Old School editors were from Princeton.

[11]When Hodge dissented from the General Assembly’s stance on loyalty oaths during the Civil War, opposition to Hodge became so strong that many westerners called for Hodge’s removal from Princeton Seminary. Alexander Sterrett, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Evansville, Indiana, declared, “If I were a member of the next Assembly I would have no more compunction of conscience in moving to vacate his chair and put some good loyal and orthodox man in his place, than I would of cracking a nut.” A. S. from Evansville, “Princeton Logic,” Presbyter (October 18, 1865).

[12]At this time editors paid postage for every bill received. Postage laws changed several times throughout the antebellum era.

[13]In the 1830s the two most famous Old School anti-Catholics devoted their periodicals to anti-papist literature: Robert Jefferson Breckinridge’s Baltimore Literary and Religious Magazine (Baltimore, 1835-41), retitled The Spirit of the XIXth Century (1842-43); and Nathan Lewis Rice’s Western Protestant (Bardstown, 1835-38). It is significant that these periodicals were located in two of the first four Roman Catholic episcopal seats.

[14]“Our New Enterprise” CP 1.1 (Jan 5, 1856) 2. The editors claimed that “Our political and geographical position, central between the extreme North, and extreme South, creates peculiar responsibilities and duties. In the threatening aspect of political affairs, and the peril, to which no sane man can close his eyes, that now menaces the permanence of our Federal Union, it is very important that we should have an organ of communication with our people, that will be under our control, watchful of our interests, and faithful to those great conservative principles that underlie all our institutions.”

[15]CP 1.41 (April 25, 1866). The editor, William Brown, apologized, and urged Presbyterians in the Southwest to take the Presbyterian Index first, and only take the Central Presbyterian as a second paper.

[16]Back in 1845, T. E. Thomas had edited the Christian Monthly Magazine as an explicitly anti-slavery journal designed to provide a forum for communication between anti-slavery Presbyterians. No significant documentation has been found for circulation information. Only two of the seven issues located at the Presbyterian Historical Society contain any receipts–one month for 60, the other for 21.

[17]R, “The Banner for the North West” Presbyterian Banner 3.15 (Jan 6, 1855).

[18]See chapter 8 for a full discussion of this episode.

[19]CP 7.21 (May 22, 1862).

[20]CP 9.50 (Dec. 8, 1864). The cost of paper was thirty times higher than it had been at the beginning of the war.

[21]CP 10.1 (Jan. 5, 1865). Also see August 13, 1863. At the same time, the Philadelphia Presbyterian was sending 10,000 copies each week to the Northern armies. The Presbyterian Standard 4.1 (March 31, 1864) could only send a few hundred–suggesting that among those Old School Presbyterians in the North who could afford to give the paper to the soldiers, the loyal but conservative Presbyterian still held their allegiance over the more overtly Republican Standard.

[22]NY Tribune claims NYO has 18,000 in 1852; 11,200 in 1856

[23]10,000 sent to Union troops during war

[24]3,000 after first year (Jan 1852)

[25]1853–10,000 (highest circulation of any OS paper), of which 3,000 had never received a religious paper. Reduced price to $1 after third year when subscriptions peaked at 15,000.

[26]Sold to the Northwestern Presbyterian, which claims that Standard’s highest circulation was 2,200 (Dec 9, 1865), but Nevin claims that it was self-supporting at one point (when price was $1.50).

[27]1838–started with 1900; by 1855–5,000.

[28]14,000 subscribers in 1855; Had largest circulation of all Pbn weeklies. (Pbn Herald says 12,000–Sept 27, 1855)

[29]3,000 subscribers (moved to Cincinnati and becomes Our Monthly)

[30]Mentioned in Philip R. Shriver and Edith Foth Puff, A History of Presbyterianism in Oxford, Ohio, 1818-1825-2000 (Oxford Presbyterian Church, 2000) 24.

[31]The Calvinistic Monitor had been a monthly, but the Family Monitor was semi-monthly, as the early Presbyterian of the West. On Jan 2, 1845 it became a biweekly, finally going weekly after the close of vol 4 in Sept of 1845. On January 18, 1844 circulation was around 3,000, but it dwindled until ruling elder John D. Thorpe took over as published in 1847. In 1852 claims: "widely circulated in the Synods of Oh, Cincy, Indy, and Illinois." Steadily increased under Rice. Added corresponding editors: W. C. Anderson of Oxford OH, J. A. McClung of Indy IN, J. D. Smith of Columbus OH, and N. C. Burt of Springfield OH during Lord and Brown’s tenure. By end of vol 8, circulation is at its highest level ever... 1855–well supported

[32]The Presbyter merged with Christian Herald and Presbyterian Recorder in 1869 after the reunion.

[33]A semi-monthly published from February through November.

[34]Circulation was around 1700 when sold to the Presbyterian Standard in 1861.

[35]With the addition of the Standard, 4,000 circulation (but Standard customers not paying–by Nov 1866, list is under 4,000, but Dec 1, 1866, notes that it is the largest circulation of any Old School paper in the West).

[36]Sometimes titled Presbyterian Casket of Sacred and Polite Literature

[37]Circulation is 1195 in June, 1852

[38]January-March, 1855–MO 178 (outside StL), IL 30, IA 6, TN 6, MS 3, IN 2, LA 2, VA 2, MI 1, PA 1, Scotland 1; by June 25, 1857 there are 12 agents in MO and 4 in IL. Rice claims that he leaves the paper self-sustaining on October 8, 1857.

[39]On August 16, 1860 the editor claimed that it was “The Largest Religious Newspaper and, with one exception, the oldest published in the West,” causing some consternation among Old School editors. It was published out of St. Louis, New Orleans and New York, and the editors claimed that the New York City subscription alone was 2/3 of the previous list for St. Louis Presbyterian. It was sold to the True Presbyterian in 1862. Joshua Butts (1860-62) California editor

[40]From March-December, 1866 paid subscriptions included: MO 647, IL 17, KY 13, CA 6, AL 6, VA 5, OH 5, MD 5, TN 5, IA 4, NY 4, LA 4, NH 3, PA 3, NJ 2, NE 2, WV 2, AR 2, GA 2, MD 2, MN 1, NC 1, TX 1, KS 1, MS 1, MT 1, France 1 Of these, 23% were women and 10% ministers. It would appear that it had only slightly more than 1,000 paying subscribers.

[41]Subscription of 575 at the start; 900 by end of first year; near 2,000 by 1831 throughout the South and West.

[42]Sold out to Cincinnati Journal

[43]In November of 1837 it utilized 48 agents in Kentucky, 31 in Ohio, 22 in Indiana, and thirteen others in the west, along with five in the northeast and three in the south.

[44]Receipts for Nov 1837-Nov 1838 showed: KY 406, OH 215, IN 119, IL 45, MO 17, PA 12, MS 9, TN 8, AL 7, NY 5, VA 4, WI 2, LA 2, MI 1, NJ 1, IA 1. It merged with the Western Protestant.

[45]On December 3, 1840, Rice reported only around 2,000 subscribers. On March 24, 1842, he noted that he was owed $5,000 just in bills from the last two years. Receipt and agent patterns continue to suggest that half of subscribers were in Kentucky, followed by Ohio and Indiana.

[46]Hill says there were 1,400 subscribers when he took over; by Sept 14, 1843 there were 1,700 paying subscribers. On September 28, 1848 he reports around 3,000. After the Cincinnati Presbyterian of the West draws away much of the Ohio readership, the 1849 receipts reveal 961 subscribers in Kentucky, 152 in Indiana, 106 in Tennessee, 104 in Illinois, 102 in Mississippi, 96 in Missouri, 55 in Alabama, 41 in Iowa, and 33 in Ohio (along with 41 others scattered around the country and one in Scotland), for a total of 1692 paid subscribers. After the merger with the Tennessee Presbyterian Record in 1851 the southwestern shift is obvious: in seven months in 1851-52 the Presbyterian Herald received 314 Tennessee and 110 Mississippi subscriptions, but northwestern interest also increased as 239 Indianans subscribed. By 1856 the Kentucky paper sent 40% of its circulation to Kentucky, 20% to Tennessee, 20% to Indiana and Illinois, and another 12% to other southwestern states. Naturally, when the southern mails stopped in 1861, the Herald suffered, and was finally sold to the True Presbyterian in 1862.

[47]Seems to be about 75-80% KY; Dec 6, 1866–claims to have doubled subscriber list since moving to Louisville.

[48]Sold to Christian Observer, 1869.

[49]Along with two Baptists and two Methodists.

[50]1,000 opening subscribers (CP Dec 25, 1858).  April 1859-April 1860–MS 453, TN 436, AR 114, AL 21, SC 17, TX 11, NY 7, NC 6, GA 5, VA 5, KY 4, Choctaw Nation 4, NJ 3, LA 3, CT 3, MO 3, IN 2, IA 2, OH 2, IL 2, WA 1, PA 1, FL 1, MI 1 (1103 paid)          

[51]Merged into True Witness

[52]Subscription averaged around 800, peaked at 1,000, and ended just under 800 (“Close of the Work” (December 1843) 663.

[53]Aug 1837–700; Feb 1838–2200; Aug 1838–2700; Aug 1839–4000; 1842 (somewhat less than 1841); peaked at nearly 5,000, but dropped under 2,000 by 1845. (merged with Charleston Observer) “A Brief Retrospect of the Southern Religious Press” CP 3.3 (Jan 16, 1858) 10.

[54]Dec 1848–around 1600

[55]Dec 1859–over 3200. Gildersleeve continued as the managing editor, writing some editorials, but leaving most of that to Moore and Hoge. May 1863–subscription lists “stronger than ever” but rising costs; by 1865, 1/3 of “good” circulation is among the soldiers.  Suspended April-July 1865.  Circulation “larger than before” in 1866 (around 2900).  July 1867–3500 (“the best ever”). It merged with Southern Presbyterian of Atlanta and SouthWestern Presbyterian of New Orleans, 1909.

[56]Merged with Watchman of the South

[57]Sold to Watchman of the South

[58]Moves to Charleston in 1853

[59]Suspended during war 1863, 65

[60]Sold to Watchman of the South

[61]William A. Scott was the moving force behind its formation; first issue on October 1, 1844; Warren died in August of 1845, after which Scott served as editor until 1850.

[62]Dec 12, 1854–1200-1300 subscribers.  Nov 1856–has 18 agents in MS, 4 in LA.  (About 75% of subscribers are in MS, 10% in LA). May 14, 1857–nearly half of subscribers are females.

[63]corresponding editors, J. N. Waddel (LaGrange, TN) 1858-59 and P. J. Sparrow (Pensacola, FL) 1859-60; (& Elisha B. Cleghorn 1858-61). Adds 100 subscribers in TX within weeks of move to NO (Syn TX makes it official organ).  1859–MS 596, LA 442, TX 86, AR 22, AL 42, TN 14, KY 4, MO 6, PA 2, GA 5, NC 5, FL 4, IL 4, SC 4, IN 3, MD 2, CT 3, MA 2, NH 1, OH 1, IA 1, Ireland 1. Of these, women were 25%, ministers 9%. In March and April of 1861 Tennessee was a larger market than before: MS 167, LA 64, TN 42, AL 26, AR 24, TX 24, MO 5, NC 3, OH 2, NJ 2, ME 1, MD 1, SC 1, NY 1.

[64](Nothing known but 1.1 in April)

[65]weekly in English, every three weeks in Chinese; Speer had been a missionary in China.

[66]Agents:  Martien of Phila; Carter of NY; Schenck of StL; W. A. Bartlett of NO; Dr. J. Carter of Mobile AL.  Lost 200 subscribers through cutting off of the southern mails. 

[67]1837–under 2,000; 1840–5,000; 1848–8400 (sent free to every minister, licentiate and student who wants it)

[68]1840–15,500; 1852–21,500; 1860–30,000 (+4250 for pamphlet edition)

[69]1852–11,264; 1854–15,000; 1855–16,500; 1857–19,000; 1867–10,000 (3,000 free)

[70]15,000 after three months in 1851; March 1852–30,000; Oct 1852–40,000; 1860–60,000; 1861–75,000

[71]Started at 3,000; up to 10,000 by May, 1863