The looking glass. (Atlanta, Ga.) 1894-????
Place of Publication:
- Atlanta, Fulton county
Dates of publication:
- Began in 1894?
- Atlanta (Ga.)--Newspapers.
- Fulton County (Ga.)--Newspapers.
- Georgia--Fulton County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01211153
- Also on microfilm: Athens, Ga. : University of Georgia Libraries.
- Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 10 (Apr. 7, 1894).
The looking glass. April 7, 1894
Infamous illustrator, writer, and newspaperman Orth Harper Stein and business partner Aaron B. Burk debuted The Looking Glass, a twelve-page newspaper known for controversial content, on March 19, 1892 in Savannah, Georgia. Before establishing The Looking Glass, Stein traveled the nation forging checks, taking on legitimate newspaper work, and writing under pseudonyms to hide from both personal enemies and the law. From October 1891 to February 1891, after his release from a Dekalb County jail, Stein worked for the Atlanta Journal as an illustrator and columnist. He was already familiar with the Atlanta newspaper world, because prior to his arrest, he spent a few weeks at the Atlanta Constitution under the alias 'J. B. Raymond.' He left the Journal to publish The Looking Glass with Burk, and they organized the paper under a stock company titled the Looking Glass Publishing Company in late-December 1892. The Looking Glass stood apart from other contemporaneous papers with its bold engravings, ornate type, and Stein’s habit for embellishing stories. His favorite editorial targets were members of the upper-echelons of Georgia society and politics, which often placed the paper at the center of city drama. By February 1894, The Looking Glass circulated in Atlanta, where Stein’s penchant for trouble emerged again. His sensational gossip sections, which featured information provided by anonymous correspondents across the state, featured controversial news pieces, and he was eventually charged with criminal libel in April 1895. Legal troubles and frequent criticism of The Looking Glass’ content, however, only feed its popularity as the paper maintained a high circulation rate of 12,000 in Atlanta.
Besides gossip, Stein also delved into 1890s local Atlanta politics. He specifically took interest in the political rivalry between William H. Brotherton and Captain James W. English. Stein’s involvement came to a head in March 1898, when Judge John D. Berry attacked Stein at the Kimball House. The assault, combined with decreased advertising revenue from a boycott movement, prompted Stein to sell The Looking Glass in April 1898. Thomas Cooper de Leon, a well-known writer and journalist, became the paper’s new owner, but The Looking Glass could not stay afloat without Stein’s presence and it ceased publication in May 1898. The Savannah Morning News reported the newspaper’s closure on June 5, 1898 with a column titled 'The Looking Glass Suspends.' The article summarized events leading up to the paper’s suspension and noted 'As was the case in Savannah, Atlanta generally regards the demise of Stein’s sheet as a good riddance, as it was always in bad odor on account of the scandal which it thrived upon.' Stein moved to New Orleans in May 1898, where he found work at the Times-Democrat. He worked for that paper until his death from Tuberculosis on April 26, 1901.