The Examiner and the Weekly Examiner
LCCN: sn86077047, The Examiner, Hartford, Conn., 1881-188?
LCCN: sn92051407, The Weekly Examiner, Hartford, Conn., 188?-190?
LCCN: sn92051523, The Labor Standard, Hartford, Conn., 1908-192?
A cooperative association “comprising individuals of various creeds, professions, and nationalities” and “loving freedom and hating oppression” brought out the first issue of the weekly Examiner on Saturday, November 19, 1881. The masthead carried the description: “Devoted to the discussion of all questions relating to the moral, social and material advancement of the people.” A “Salutatory” on page one contextualizes this mission in great detail. At the appearance of its first issue, the Examiner was heralded by the Fall River Labor Standard as “a labor paper in a state that is all in the hands of the enemy.” The cooperative added to the progressive profile of the paper by advertising the agreement of Connecticut reformer and suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker to write a column. The editor was Robert H. Pyne. His politics might be gleaned from news accounts of him addressing, in 1887, a mass meeting to protest the hanging at the Chicago Haymarket and, as state organizer of the United Labor Party, the Hartford Central Labor Union. In 1896, he was reported as speaking at a convention of the Connecticut People’s Party.
The earliest issues carry a great deal of news and commentary from and about Ireland. There are regular reports from the meetings of local Land League groups. One such report sits beside an editorial chastising a conservative priest who tried to keep his parishioners from attending a Land League fundraising ball. Pyne also editorialized about U.S. foreign policy from a working-class point of view and penned a 1901 editorial opposing the campaign to colonize the Philippines. Labor meetings and strikes and campaigns are thoroughly covered, often in a column called “Industrial Notes.” The editor also frequently comments on the diverse and competing ideologies guiding various sections of the Connecticut labor movement. The effectiveness of “politics” versus the strike and the boycott was frequently addressed. Letters to the Editor often provide insight into the same debates. The Examiner is, thus, a rich source of detailed news about working people’s community and political activities. Regional editions were produced, according to the Hartford City Directory of 1888, for Meriden, Waterbury, Derby, and Springfield, Massachusetts. One regional issue published for Derby on April 24, 1886, can be found on paper on the Connecticut State Library.
Sometime in the late 1880s, the Examiner changed its title to the Weekly Examiner. Robert H. Pyne remained the editor, but these later issues carry far fewer local labor-themed articles and much more syndicated national content. According to Pyne’s obituary in the New York Tribune of May 20, 1913, the Weekly Examiner was ”consolidated” with Hartford’s Labor Standard around 1909.