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  • Ayer Annual1
    • Content: Republican
    • Established: 1898 (as San Juan Islander); Islander estab. 1891
    • Pages: 4
    • Size: 17x24, 13x20, 15x22
    • Editor: FN & OH Culver
    • Publisher: Culver Bros.
  • Frequency: Weekly
  • Coverage
    • Region: Northwest
    • County: San Juan
  • Unique ids
    • LCCN: sn88085190
    • OCLC: ocm17347718

Digitization plan

2008-2009 grant
  • WSL film 1894-1914 (merged with Islander title) (11 reels).
  • Found that 1899 issues are merged with Islander film - going to evaluate and digitize all.
  • Made it into final list sent to OCLC. Decided to add due to local need and geography. Plan to digitize WSL's film - 1899-1914 (9 reels)


  • Preceding title: Islander (Friday Harbor)

Essay Draft

The Islander was first published by James Cooper Wheeler on March 6, 1891 in Friday Harbor, Washington. Friday Harbor is located on San Juan Island in the Puget Sound about half-way between Bellingham, Washington and Victoria, British Columbia. The paper included news from nearby Orcas Island and Lopez Island. The inhabitants of the islands were mostly fishermen and farmers and much of the paper is devoted to news of farmers' cooperatives, commodity prices, new agricultural production methods, and the movements of shipping vessels. The San Juan Islands also produced lime for concrete and the striking beauty of the setting encouraged tourism.

It was common for rural newspapers of this period to experience delays due to the difficulty of moving equipment to remote locations, and the Islander was no exception. The first issue noted that, in addition to other initial struggles, "our keg of printing ink was lost overboard and floated around the bay two or three days before being found." The first issue of the paper declares its opposition to the other Friday Harbor weekly paper, the San Juan Graphic, published by Frank L. Baum (no relation to the famous author). The Islander promised to be independent in politics and kinder toward those who frequented the local saloons.

A.J. Paxson served as owner and editor of the Islander from July 1894 to June 1895. He was a member of the Populist party and, though the paper never took a strong political tone, Paxson was quite critical of "patriotism" and extremism in his editorials.

O.H. Culver and his brother Fred Culver bought the Islander in 1896. Prior to this purchase, O.H. Culver had worked on a newspaper in northern Idaho from 1884-1889. He relocated to Washington and succeeded William Lightfoot Visscher as editor at the Fairhaven Herald in 1890. He also managed the Bellingham Herald for two years. The Culver Brothers declared their membership to the Republican party in the first issue of the Islander they published. In 1898 the name of the paper was changed to the San Juan Islander. O. H. Culver also became a customs official in 1897, managing the port in Roche Harbor for three years before establishing the port at Friday Harbor where he remained customs official until 1920.

O.H. Culver left the newspaper in 1909. Fred Culver and the "Islander Company Publishers" continued the San Juan Islander until April of 1913 when it was sold by Fred Culver's widow to John N. Dickie of Seattle. The San Juan Islander ceased publication in 1914.


  1. N.W. Ayer & Son's American newspaper annual -- 1900 -- 338N.W. Ayer & Son's American newspaper annual -- 1904 -- 878N.W. Ayer & Son's American newspaper annual -- 1906 -- 896
  2. NDNP Candidate Title List (Appendix A1.2)
  3. Chronicling America record (LOC) - San Juan Islander
  4. WorldCat record - San Juan Islander
  5. WSL record - San Juan Islander
  6. UW record - San Juan Islander
  7. History of Whatcom County, Volume II, by Lottie Roeder Roth, 1926, pps. 41-42.
  8. Info on AJ Paxson


  • Filmed by: WSL
  • Positives held by: WSL and UW (same 11 reels)
    • Condition of film (based on first full issue on reel 1)
      • No targets
      • Filmed in 1964 for State Library
      • Image size 1.45 x 1 in.
      • Contrast seems good in reader
      • Resolution ?
  • Negatives held by: UMI/Proquest and UW
    • WSL has 1891; 1894-1914 (11 reels)
    • UW has 1902-1914 (4 reels - incomplete)
  • Positive Holdings
    • Location: WSL; UW
    • Call Number: drawer 60/59; A2359
    • Library holds: 1899 Nov 2 - 1914 Jun 5 (includes Islander 1891; 1894-1899; UW holds WSL film for years 1891; 1894-1914


Double checked and Proquest does have all years (only listed to 1902 on their spreadsheet list). Ordered 1891-1914 (11 reels). Ordered testing of negatives as well. lrobinson, 2009/04/01 13:54

UW has 4 reels of negatives covering dates:
  • 1902/09/18-1905/11/18;
  • 1905/12/25-1909/04/16;
  • 1909/04/23-1912/05/31;
  • 1912/05/17-1914-06-05.
    Newspapers appear to be shot in 2b orientation.
  • The positives available in the UW stacks do not match the negatives. 11 reels are available covering dates:
  • 1891/05/06-1897/01/08 (incomplete);
  • 1897/01/07-1899/11/02;
  • 1899/11/02-1902/09/04;
  • 1902/0904-1905/03/05;
  • 1905/03/04-1906/08/04;
  • 1906/08/05-1908/01/04;
  • 1908/01/04-1909/06/04;
  • 1909/06/04-1910/11/04;
  • 1910/11/04-1912/04/05;
  • 1912/04/05-1914/09/05;
    All of these papers are shot in 1a orientation; drb24, 2009/03/31 10:01

UW has 4 reels covering Sept 1902-1914 Jun - dates don't match positive reels in UW stacks. It seems UW negs are different than their positives. lrobinson, 2009/02/20 12:53

Proquest only has 1891-1902 negatives (reels 1-3?) - where are WSL's remaining 8 reels (reel 4-11)?; lrobinson, 2009/02/20 10:53

Checked out and took WSL positives to UW lrobinson, 2009/02/19 15:01


See San Juan islander eval spreadsheets (Google)



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