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Hartford Courant Older Than The Nation

March 5, 2012 by staff 

Hartford Courant Older Than The Nation, The newspaper is The Hartford Courant, the country’s oldest newspaper in continuous publication. The Courant is, in fact, older than the nation. It was started as a weekly paper in 1764 by a printer named Thomas Green. Green helped to keep The Courant afloat at first by selling clothing, stationery, hardware and spices out of a store in front of the newspaper’s office. He sold the newspaper to his assistant, Ebenezer Watson, who ran the business successfully until he died of smallpox in 1777. Then Watson’s widow, Hannah, took over the paper and became one of the first women publishers in America.

During the Revolutionary War, The Courant had the largest circulation of any newspaper in the colonies and was an influential backer of the rebel cause. The Courant’s existence was considered so important to the war effort that when its paper mill was burned down – probably by Tories – the Connecticut legislature authorized a lottery to raise money to build a new mill. In the meantime, The Courant printed a few issues on wrapping paper.

In the mid-1800′s, when the country was dividing over the issue of slavery, The Courant was inspired by a visit Abraham Lincoln made to Hartford. The paper became a leading supporter of the new Republican Party and Lincoln’s presidential campaign. When Lincoln won the 1860 election, The Courant’s headline pronounced: “VICTORY, VICTORY, WE’VE GOT ‘EM.”

Although the daily edition of The Courant began in 1837, the weekly Courant continued until 1896. At that point, the weekly became a tri-weekly for “country readers” who did not wish to take the daily Courant. In 1913, the publication launched its Sunday paper and one year later the tri-weekly edition was discontinued.

In 1979, The Courant was purchased by Times Mirror, a Los Angeles-based media and information company. The newspaper won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism for a series of stories on the flaws that plagued the Hubble telescope and the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for the in-depth coverage of the tragic events of the 1998 shooting at Connecticut Lottery headquarters.

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