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Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Modified on 2013/04/19 09:18 by D. Shawn Schollmeyer Categorized as King county, King region

Table of Contents [Hide/Show]


  • Ayer Annual1
    • Content: Republican
    • Established: 1868/1876
    • Pages: 12
    • Size: sn83045610 (daily intelligencer - morning ed.) 24x36
      Note: these measurements seem to be for a spread rather than individual pages - documented reduction ratio based on 18x24
      ; sn83045610 (daily intelligencer - sat. ed.) 30x44;
      Note: Not sure what years these measurments cover or where they came from - LR 17x24 "24x36, 36x48 on Fridays in 1884"
    • Editor:
    • Publisher: Post Intelligencer Company
  • Frequency: daily
  • Coverage
    • Region: King
    • County: King county
  • Unique ids
    • LCCN: sn 83045604
    • OCLC: 9563195

Digitization plan

e.g. 2010-2012 grant
  • Plan to digitize 1876-1892 - 35 reels (UW) (originally planned 73 reels (to 1900) but ran out of room in grant)
  • Title carried into 2012-14 grant cycle and will digitized all 73 reels 1876-1900. ss


  • Preceding title:
    • The daily intelligencer. : (Seattle, Wash. Territory [i.e. Wash.]) 1876-1881 sn 83045610
    • The weekly intelligencer. : (Seattle, Wash. Territory [Wash.]) 1867-1881 sn 84022788
    • Seattle weekly post. : (Seattle, Wash. Terr.) 1878-1881 sn 86072000
    • The Seattle daily post. : (Seattle, Wash. Terr.) 1878-1881
  • Succeeding title:
  • Related titles:
    • Seattle daily post-intelligencer. : (Seattle, W.T. [Wash.]) 1881-1888 sn 83045611
    • Seattle weekly post-intelligencer. : (Seattle, Wash. Territory [Wash.]) 1881-1888 sn 86072001
    • The Weekly post-intelligencer. : (Seattle, Wash.) 1889-1901 sn 86072003

NEH Approved Essay

Daily Intelligencer LCCN sn83045610 Seattle Daily Post-Intelligencer LCCN sn83045611 Seattle Post-Intelligencer LCCN sn86072001

Originally founded in 1863 as the Seattle Gazette LCCN sn86076446 only to be renamed the Weekly Intelligencer LCCN sn84022788 by new owner Samuel L. Maxwell in 1867, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (P-I) served as the region’s pioneering newspaper and Seattle’s oldest continually operating business. In a land rich with timber, minerals, and waterways, the P-I served a growing community of 150 persons in 1860. Having survived over 11 moves and more than 17 owners, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer as of March 2009 no longer prints news in broadsheet, but remains an active force in the world of digital publishing. Soon after its creation, the Post-Intelligencer experienced a number of challenges and frequently changed owners for over a decade. After acquiring the paper in 1874 and publishing under the name the Daily Intelligencer, David Higgins resold the paper in1878 to then editor Thaddeus Hanford who quickly expanded the P-I while absorbing two rival publications: the Puget Sound Dispatch LCCN sn84022793 and Pacific Tribune LCCN sn86071976. The following year, Thomas W. Prosch and Samuel L. Crawford assumed ownership. Meanwhile, the Seattle Daily Post LCCN sn87093452 (also published on Sundays as the Seattle Weekly Post-Intelligencer LCCN sn86072000) emerged as its rival. Unable to sustain both papers independently, Hanford merged the Post with the Intelligencer, becoming the Seattle Daily Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Weekly Post-Intelligencer in 1881.

After the merger, Prosch managed the flourishing paper until its sale to a joint-stock company in early 1886. Later that year, Leigh S. J. Hunt, who purchased controlling interest in the paper from Clarence B. Bagley, used profits from his mining and real estate ventures to improve the P-I with new technologies and progressive journalism. Hunt not only secured a new print type, but also dropped the “daily” and “weekly” designations from the title in favor of the shortened Seattle Post-Intelligencer and published the paper daily LCCN sn83045604 (except Mondays) and weekly LCCN sn86072002. Additionally, he enlarged the Sunday edition and expanded the editorial staff to include famed political reporter Horace R. Cayton, who became Seattle’s first African American journalist.

Although strengthened by innovation and new technology, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer faced external challenges that threatened to destroy the news agency. When the Great Fire of June 6, 1889, razed most of downtown Seattle, including the P-I’s building, Hunt salvaged and relocated his press to a house he owned and published the newspaper from his barn without missing an edition. The following month, still operating out of his residence, the Post-Intelligencer reported on the historic constitutional convention in Olympia, which prepared Washington for statehood. Hit hard during the national financial Panic of 1893, Hunt was forced to sell the paper to a group of Ohio-based investors in 1894. Under new leadership and with a renewed fiscal commitment, James D. Hoge increased the P-I’s circulation and eliminated many of its previous competitors; only the Seattle Daily Times LCCN sn86072007 remained. Having survived fire, financial disasters, and feverish competition, the newspaper reported in July 1897 that gold had been discovered in the Klondike region. Beriah Brown Jr., son of a former Seattle mayor and P-I editor, first broke the news in an article announcing: "GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! ... STACKS OF YELLOW METAL!" Almost immediately the paper experienced a rush of activity and prosperity as it published special guides for would-be Yukon prospectors. The P-I's "Klondike Edition" printed 212,000 copies and became the largest newspaper run produced west of Chicago. Postmasters, various newspaper editors, mayors, librarians, and members of town councils across the nation received copies for redistribution. The campaign was so successful that international news agencies in France, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland reprinted the P-I’s circulars.

The viral Klondike Edition resulted in a boom economy for Seattle that not only enhanced its reputation as the major trade port to Alaska but also permanently increased its population, which doubled from 42,837 in1890 to 80,671 in 1900. After so much success, Hoge decided to sell the paper to nearby Spokane investors headed by George Turner. In 1899 Turner resold the P-I to former Washington state senator John L. Wilson who ran the paper until 1912.

Essay Notes

Bagley, Clarence B. History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vols. 1-2. Chicago/Seattle: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1916. (Chapter X. “The Press,” pp. 189-207). http://uwashington.worldcat.org/title/history-of-seattle-from-the-earliest-settlement-to-the-present-time/oclc/7372062&referer=brief_results

Bagley, Clarence B. History of King County, Washington, Vol. 1. Chicago/Seattle: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1929. (Chapter XXI. “Newspapers,” pp. 466-472). http://uwashington.worldcat.org/title/history-of-king-county-washington/oclc/16690641&referer=brief_results

Grant, Frederic James, ed. History of Seattle, Washington: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. New York: American Publishing and Engraving Co., 1891. (Chapter XX. “Newspapers” pp. 362-371). http://uwashington.worldcat.org/title/history-of-seattle-washington-with-illustrations-and-biographical-sketches-of-some-of-its-prominent-men-and-pioneers/oclc/2617374&referer=brief_results

Hanford, C.H., ed. Seattle and Environs, 1852-1924, Vol. 1. Chicago: Pioneer Historical Pub. Co., 1924.

“Post-Intelligencer Changes Hands.” Editor & Publisher 51: 15 (September 21, 1918). http://uwashington.worldcat.org/title/editor-publisher/oclc/1567511&referer=brief_results


  1. N.W. Ayer & Son's American newspaper annual -- 1880 -- image 271
    N.W. Ayer & Son's American newspaper annual -- 1897 -- 828
    N.W. Ayer & Son's American newspaper annual -- 1884 -- 346
  2. NDNP Candidate Title List (Appendix A1.2)
  3. Chronicling America record (LOC) - Seattle Post Intelligencer
  4. WorldCat record - Seattle Post Intelligencer
  5. WSL record - Seattle Post Intelligencer
  6. UW record - Seattle Post Intelligencer



  • Filmed by: unknown
  • Positives held by: UW
    • Call Number: A329
    • Library holds: 1876-06-05 through 1969-07-15
    • Film condition: 1A position, not targeted, quality varies
  • Negatives held by: UW
    • Call Number: A329


  • film eval notes, 1876-06-05 1876-12-05: generally good; some images have a transferred image, sometimes the letters look a little smudgy, probably and artifact of the old printing technique, and the early issues are taped together. reduction ratio estimated by measurement, not sure if the dimension are correct either.
  • film eval notes, 1890-09-11 1890-11-30: acceptable. There is slight information loss in the gutter, but very little distortion or shadow and pages seem evenly lit and legible.
  • film eval notes, 1899-02-26 1899-04-25: contrast and lighting seem good, but the print is tiny and sometimes difficult to read due to fading of type. Focus seems to be more of a problem on this reel than the others. About 1/10 of images are at least slightly out of focus or very light, which greatly impacts legibility of the very small typeface and may impact OCR. Positive was very scratched.


Link to Seattle Post-Intelligencer eval spreadsheets



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