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UALR Ottenheimer Library

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Establishment and Merger of Two Major Arkansas Newspapers

The Arkansas Gazette, founded in 1819, was Arkansas's first newspaper, estabished nineteen years before statehood was achieved. William E. Woodruff began printing it at Arkansas Post, the territorial seat at the time.  When the territorial seat was moved the Little Rock in 1821, Woodruff moved the paper there as well. Over the course of time, the paper covered numerous topics of critical nature in state history, while under the ownership of several men. In 1991, it was bought by Walter Hussman, Jr. and merged with the Arkansas Democrat, which he already owned.

With roots during the Reconstruction era, the Arkansas Democrat had evolved through several titles and owners before emerging in 1878 under the leadership of Colonel J. N. Smithee. Between 1878 and its purchase by Walter E. Hussman's Palmer Group in 1974, the paper underwent several ownership changes. With Walter Hussman, Jr. as the publisher, the paper entered a lengthy battle with the Gazette to control market share in the state. After a lengthy battle for market control, Hussman bought the Gazette's assets in October 1991. On October 18, 1991, the cessation of the Gazette was announced. At the same time, the creation of the the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was unveiled.

For additional background on the Arkansas Gazette, the Arkansas Democrat and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, consult The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.