The Greenfield Recorder newspaper in Franklin County, Massachusetts considers itself among the oldest newspapers in the United States. The modern Recorder represents mergers among a number of earlier publications, including one begun in 1792.
That year a young Boston printer, Thomas Dickman, started a weekly newspaper in what was to become Franklin County. Details of the business arrangements by which Dickman moved from Boston to set up a hand press in Greenfield are lost, but a young Greenfield lawyer, William Coleman, is generally believed to have been the printer’s sponsor. The paper was called the Impartial Intelligencer.
This blog, highlighting photography and rich media produced for the paper, is a nod to the Recorder’s roots.
Around 1795, Dickman was appointed postmaster, and the first post office was established in Greenfield. People came from as far as 20 miles away to collect their mail at this post office. To facilitate the pickup of mail the newspaper (by then called the Greenfield Gazette) listed under the various towns the names of persons having mail to be collected in the post office in Greenfield. In those days, the papers were delivered by post riders throughout the towns.
The paper lived through many variations in names over the years, and finally in 1841 became the Gazette & Courier. In 1861, the Gazette & Courier began the first daily newspaper in Greenfield. This was the time of the Civil War, and there was a demand for a daily newspaper to keep people informed of the war’s progress. Daily publication proved to be too costly, and the paper soon reverted to weekly publication. In 1929 it became a semi-weekly newspaper and continued as such until 1932, when it was purchased by The Greenfield Recorder and merged with that newspaper.
The Greenfield Recorder had been introduced in January of 1900 as a weekly. It became a daily in 1920. After the Courier-Gazette purchase in 1932, the combined newspaper was published as the Recorder-Gazette (the name by which many older residents of the area still refer to the current newspaper). In 1964, the nameplate was changed back to the Greenfield Recorder. In September of 1985, the present name was adopted to better reflect the newspaper’s market, which extends outside Greenfield to the boundaries of Franklin County and beyond.
In 1955, the newspaper was purchased by Henry J. Conland and William Dwight Sr., and today it remains part of their small group, Newspapers of New England, which is still owned and controlled by Dwight family members. NNE also owns the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H., and The Monadnock (N.H.) Ledger, as well as the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, the Amherst Bulletin and the entertainment weekly, The Advocate. NNE’s corporate headquarters is located in the Monitor building in Concord, N.H.