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Dispatch History

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From 1864-1878 the Dispatch passed through vicissitudes which ought to have wrecked it half a dozen times.  Checkered is hardly the word to apply because that would mean alternate prosperity and adversity. The Dispatch had few periods of prosperity. Its career was almost continuous adversity. There was a period when the prospect seemed hopeful; Charles P. Johnson was one of the editors, but the law claimed him. A bright spot was when Stillman Hutchins, having sold his interest in the Times, conducted the Dispatch, beginning in 1873 with the brilliant John N. Edwards and D. Robert Barclayas editors and John P. McGuffin as publisher. The Dispatch yielded good profit for a year or two. But the mistake was made of tying it to the debt-burdened Times. The Dispatch was sold by Hutchins to raise money to save his first love, the Times. The buyer came from successful newspaper management elsewhere, put his capital into the Dispatch and lost it. In the years of St. Louis journalism it has occurred repeatedly that newspaper men, whose experience in other cities has been measurably successful, have come here to fail, either in starting new papers or in operating old properties…When the Dispatch passed into the possession of Joseph Pulitzer at trustee’s sale in 1878 it was thirty years old, if the legitimacy of descent be not too closely scrutinized.

(From the History of St. Louis – The Fourth City by Walter B. Stevens, 1909).

In December, 1878, Pulitzer bought the disintegrating Dispatch at a sheriff's sale at which he was the only bidder. Its machinery was worn out and its circulation inconsequential. For years it had been published in a perfunctory manner, chiefly to prevent the lapsing of its Associated Press franchise, which was indeed its only asset. Three days later he merged it with the Post of John A. Dillon, who a year later sold his half of the combination to his aggressive partner.

(From Bovard of the Post-Dispatch by James W, Markham, 1954).

Var: Saint Louis Dispatch

Merged with the St. Louis Evening Post.