Indianapolis Journal

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Indianapolis Journal
TypeDaily newspaper
Founder(s)John Douglass & Douglass Maguire
Political alignmentWhig and Republican

The Indianapolis Journal was a newspaper published in Indianapolis, Indiana, during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The paper published daily editions every evening except on Sundays, when it published a morning edition.

The first issue of the then-named Indiana Journal was published on January 11, 1825, by partners John Douglass and Douglass Maguire. From the outset the paper advocated for government sponsored internal improvements and protective tariffs that would aid Indiana’s agricultural economy. These positions led the Journal to align with the Whig Party beginning in the mid-1830s. Purchased in 1845 by John D. Defrees, and operated by him for nearly a decade, the paper was the first in Indianapolis to install a steam driven printing press. Under his leadership, the paper became Indianapolis's first permanent daily, the Daily Indiana State Journal in April 1851. The title changed to Indianapolis Morning Journal in 1853, then to Indianapolis Daily Journal the following year, and ultimately to Indianapolis Journal in 1867.

Berry R. Sulgrove, who had joined the Journal in 1854 as editor, acquired controlling interest in the paper a few years later and transitioned the paper from the Whig to the Republican camp. During the Civil War, Sulgrove published strong pro-Union columns supporting the policies of President Abraham Lincoln and of Indiana governor Oliver P. Morton. During the war, the Journal's daily circulation reached 6,000; while that of the Democrat and Copperhead-aligned Indianapolis Sentinel saw a decline in its daily readership due to interference and shutdowns enforced by Morton.[1]

John C. New, a banker, attorney, and leading Indianapolis-area Republican figure, purchased the Journal in 1880. New's leadership helped the paper excel, dramatically increasing its readership. Other rival papers, including the Indianapolis Mirror went out of business leaving the Journal as the only daily newspaper in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.[2]

The paper featured regular columns from famous writers and figures including James Whitcomb Riley, Benjamin Harrison, and Eugene V. Debs. The poem Little Orphant Annie, by Riley, was first published in the paper in 1885.[2] During most of its history, it carried eight 31-by-45-inch (790 mm × 1,140 mm) pages and at its peak had a circulation of 11,000.

The paper commonly supported Republican candidates for office, and published editorials supporting Republicans positions. During the late nineteenth century competition from the Indianapolis Star began a decline in the Journal's readership. The Star eventually took a majority readership in the region and the Journal eventually closed because of financial difficulties in 1904.


  1. ^ Klement, Frank L. (1984). Dark lanterns: secret political societies, conspiracies, and treason trials in the Civil War. LSU Press. p. 232. ISBN 0-8071-1567-3.
  2. ^ a b Van Allen, Elizabeth J. (1999). James Whitcomb Riley: a life. Indiana University Press. p. 162. ISBN 0-253-33591-4.