The Athens banner. (Athens, Ga.) 1902-1923
Place of Publication:
- Athens, Clarke county
Dates of publication:
- Dec. 7, 1902-v. 91, no. 21 (Feb. 11, 1923).
- No volume or issue numbering Dec. 7, 1902-
- On Sunday published with Athens daily herald as: Banner-herald, -Feb. 11, 1923.
The Athens banner. December 7, 1902
On January 5, 1827, O.P. Shaw began publication of the Athenian, Athens’ first commercially successful newspaper, at a subscription cost of three dollars a year. This newspaper replaced the gap left behind by P. L. Robinson’s Athens newspaper, the Columbian Centinel. The Athenian abandoned the ‘long s’ printing style of its predecessors and, in 1828, politically took a strong anti-tariff stance. In 1832, Albon Chase and Alfred M. Nisbet purchased the Athenian and renamed it the Southern Banner. The owners, both Democrats, quickly aligned their new publication with Georgia's Union Party and the John Clark political faction. In 1846, Chase retired and handed over control of the Banner to Hopkins Holsey who enlarged the paper to a size rivaled only by the Augusta Chronicle and Sentinel. Holsey was also a constitutional unionist and wrote editorials in support of Henry Clay’s 1850 compromise. Holsey sold his shares to union Democrat James A. Sledge in 1853 who then sold half controlling interest to A. A. Franklin Hill in 1855. The Banner maintained strong support for Howell Cobb and frequently featured editorials reflecting Cobb’s political views. At the open of 1860, the Banner maintained that it was not pro-secession, but, much like Cobb’s policy shift began to treat secessionist opinions more favorably. The Banner supported the Breckinridge and Lane presidential ticket, but the election of Abraham Lincoln catalyzed the paper’s shift towards secession. The Banner and its foil, the Southern Watchman, supported the Confederate government once separation became inevitable.
The Southern Banner experienced several ownership changes in post-war years. James Sledge, who owned and edited the paper during the war, sold the Banner to S. A. Atkinson. The Banner’s masthead and owners went unchanged for forty years until T. W. and T. L. Gantt, a father and son partnership, purchased the newspaper. They changed the masthead to North-East Georgian which continued as such for three years until H. H. Carlton and Company purchased controlling interest of the paper. Under the new ownership, the paper’s title was the Athens Weekly Georgian. By 1878, the paper returned to its original masthead under the ownership of W. F. Combs. The Banner experienced significant growth in 1879 with the introduction of a daily edition. The paper’s title was Athens Banner with weekly or daily included depending on the edition. The publication became the Southern Weekly Banner briefly in 1881 under the ownership of J. T. Waterman. In 1882, the Banner merged with its rival the Southern Watchman to form the Athens Banner-Watchman. Yancey, Cranford, and Gantt were owners of the paper until 1886 when T. L. Gantt became the sole proprietor. The Banner-Watchman’s masthead went largely unchanged until 1889 when the weekly edition became the Athens Weekly Banner. Later in 1891, the weekly edition became The Weekly Banner and printed as such until 1921 when the weekly edition ceased printing. The daily edition was titled the Athens Daily Banner from 1889 to 1902. In 1902, the daily became the Athens Banner under the ownership of H. J. Rowe. The Athens Banner continued with that title until 1923 when the Banner merged with the Athens Daily Herald to become the Banner-Herald. In 1933, the Banner-Herald became the Athens Banner-Herald and continues to publish under that masthead today.