Waterbury Democrat Family
Waterbury Evening Democrat [LCCN: sn94053256], Waterbury Democrat [LCCN: 2016270502], Waterbury Evening Democrat , Waterbury Democrat [sn93053725]
According to historical accounts, the Waterbury Democrat family of newspapers was founded in 1881 by an Irish Catholic Democrat, Cornelius Maloney. Irish Catholics made up approximately half of Waterbury’s population at this time. The city’s first Irish immigrants arrived during the early 1830s, and by the 1880s, they had largely overcome discrimination from the city’s Protestant community and were establishing themselves as a formidable force in local politics. Maloney, himself, served as a Representative in the Connecticut General Assembly in 1887 and 1888.
The first titles listed under Maloney’s name in the City Directory for 1882 and 1883 was a weekly newspaper known as the Valley Democrat. The name of that weekly is recorded as changing to the Waterbury Valley Democrat for the years 1884 and 1885 and issued as the Sunday Democrat in 1886 and 1887. Finally on December 5, 1887, a daily named the Waterbury Evening Democrat appeared [sn94053256]. This important publication focused its reporting on city news and sports, but included columns for the neighboring towns of Naugatuck, Oakville, and Watertown. In time, the paper was billed as the only Democratic paper in the industrializing Naugatuck Valley.
The Democrat began as a family affair and was rooted in the newspapering business of the region. Cornelius Maloney and his brother, Michael Thomas Maloney, established the publishing firm of C. & M. T. Maloney in 1882. The brothers learned the printing and newspaper business in New Britain, where Cornelius apprenticed with Oviatt & Guernsey, and later worked for the New Britain Record and the New Britain Observer.
Irish activist Stephen J. Meany was hired as the first editor of the daily Waterbury Evening Democrat [sn94053256]. This attorney and poet actively promoted the Irish nationalist cause in the Democrat, as well as a populist, pro-labor viewpoint. The editorial for the first edition of The Waterbury Evening Democrat [sn94053256], declared a belief in “the greatest good of the greatest number; the triumph of popular rule over oligarchical recklessness; the requital for honest labor as against capitalist greed; the dignity of mind and muscle above monopoly and money-bags; religious liberty instead of sectarian strife; and, extending sympathy to our people beyond the ocean, the establishment of Irish nationhood on the ruins of British provincial servitude.” Meany’s famous tenure at the Democrat was brief: he died unexpectedly on February 8, 1888.
The purchase of a new and faster printing press in 1891 allowed the Maloney’s to keep up with the growing interest in their publication. Daily circulation grew from 2,500 in 1893 to 4,851 in 1903, when it was marketed as “The Peoples’ Paper.” During the 210-day Waterbury trolley strike which began on January 11, 1903, the Evening Democrat editorials promoted the cause of the strikers, advocating for their pay raise, asserting the peaceful nature of the strikers, and condemning “scabs” as disreputable.
The title of the paper shifted intermittently between 1887 and 1917. From 1887 to 1895, it was known as the Waterbury Evening Democrat [sn94053256]. Beginning in August 1895 the name changed to the Waterbury Democrat , in November 1897 to the Waterbury Evening Democrat , and in October of 1900 it reverted to the Waterbury Democrat [sn93053725]. In March of 1903, it again became known as the Waterbury Evening Democrat [sn93053726] and in 1917 as the Waterbury Democrat [sn82014085]. The paper continued to play an important role in Waterbury life until December 28, 1946, when the Maloney family sold the Evening Democrat to the American-Republican, Inc., publishers of the Waterbury Republican [sn82014095] and the Waterbury American [sn 82016392], citing increasing costs as the reason for the sale.