Historic Account of Earlier Newark Sunday News

by Nat Bodian

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Few living Newarkers or former Newarkers are aware that the first issue of the Newark Sunday News on November 24, 1946, was not a beginning -- but rather a resumption of a Sunday News edition published in the early 20th century.

This is the birth story of that Newark Sunday News.

The first issue of that earlier Newark Sunday News was published on February 24, 1901. It consisted of 36 pages. This is an account of some of the excitement that accompanied its printing.

AS the presses started to roll for that first Sunday edition in 1901, according to one account, "scores of men and boys converged on the building at 221 Market Street, all well protected against the cold as the weather prediction that night was for snow.

"They huddled around the stairway leading down into the basement from whence came a muffled throbbing sound. Then came the call from the basement and the waiting crowd clattered down to the basement, to a room next to the roaring presses, where from behind a counter, two men passed out newspapers."

"Newark Sunday News" read one of the boys aloud from the title line on the printed paper as he lumbered up the stairs to Market Street.

"I said I'd get the first one off the press and I did!"

Sunday News Covers Police Headquarters

The reporter of the previous quotes about the first edition now has been assigned to cover Police Headquarters on Saturday nights, and he describes his observations as a Newark News police reporter:

"In those days, police headquarters was a remodeled brownstone-front building at 9 Bank Street.

"Police Chief Henry Hopper had his office in what had been the parlor, and in the old dining room was a big desk with two brass rails.

"Jack Cosgrove, as captain of detectives, had his headquarters in the old Pantry. Behind the big desk, on their respective shifts, were Lieutenants Gus Astley, Tom Tracy, and John Prout.

"All three lieutenants were helpful to reporters in dispensing news. Astley was a joker. Prout liked to talk about his naval battles in the Civil War. Tracy, who fought in the Irish Rebellion, kept a little tin fife in his desk. Sometimes, he would blow his fife to summon reporters from the outside.

News in the First Sunday Edition

Again, from a report of that first edition of the Sunday News in 1901: "Men and women waiting to board trolleys paused to buy copies. Many had been at the theatres. Playing that week was "Quo Vadis" at the Newark; "Northern Lights" at the New Century; "Robie's Knickerbockers" at Waldmann's' "Sig Hopkins" at the Empire, and "Rip Van Winkle" at the Columbia.

Newark News Vendors

Some of the paper vendors of the Sunday News picked up their copies in baby carriages, express wagons, and two-wheeled carts, or toted them on their backs. The Newark News Co. was an independent organization which operated a few horse drawn trucks. These got their quota of the Newark Sunday News. The Mullin Livery Co. also provide horses and trucks for the Newark News, daily and Sunday.

End of First Newark Sunday News

The first Newark Sunday News was published every Sunday morning from February 24, 1901 until Sunday, February 26, 1905. The Sunday edition of the Newark News would then remain dormant until its rebirth on Sunday, November 24, 1966.

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End Note About Information Source for This Entry:

The quotes in this "Old Newark Memory" about the reportage of that first edition were by a veteran reporter by the name of Howard Garis, who had been with the Newark Evening News since 1896. He would remain with the Newark News until his retirement in 1947.

In those interim years, he created the daily Uncle Wiggily story in the Newark News, which ran for nearly four decades. He wrote 15,000 of them. See my earlier "Old Newark Memory" on Howard Garis titled "Recalling Newark News Writer Howard Garis and His Rabbit."

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