The Commercial Bulletin was established in 1836 by Colonel Charles Keemle, formerly of the Beacon, William Preston Clark and Samuel B. “Steamboat” Churchill. The following prospectus marked its appearance in this city:
“C. Keemle again presents himself to his friends and fellow citizens in the character of Editor and Publisher of a paper.
“The Commercial Bulletin and Missouri Literary Register, as the style imports, will be exclusively devoted to the cause of Commerce and Literature. The growing importance of Missouri, and the City of St. Louis, renders such a paper peculiarly necessary, and he trusts that, in its columns, something will be found to amuse or interest every reader of the community…Ever grateful for the liberal patronage of his many friends, and of a generous and magnanimous community, among which he has so long lived and labored, he requests their future indulgence, and submits to their consideration the first member of the Bulletin.
“Whilst the Editors take no part in the party politics of the State, or General Government, their columns shall faithfully and impartially publish upon both sides of the great question. Yet, let it not be supposed, that the neutral ground which they occupy has been selected from any apathy or indifference to the interests of the public. For the prosperity of their country, they will always feel the liveliest solicitude, and will be ever ready to sacrifice every selfish consideration to its welfare, but they are no partisans, and their motto must be, Our Country,--Our whole Country, and Nothing but our Country.” (Commercial Bulletin 5/18/1835)
The paper at its commencement was a tri-weekly published on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at a cost of five dollars a year. Containing twenty columns, it measured about 13 x 21 ½ inches. Two months later it was enlarged to twenty-four columns measuring 15 ½ x 22 inches.
Three of the four pages of the Bulletin were exclusively devoted to commercial news, current prices, advertisements, and river and harbor news. The fourth contained the literature of the paper in the form of stories, poems, and editorials.
On November 16, 1835, the firm of C. Keemle and Company was dissolved by the withdrawal of Keemle and Churchill. The publication of the paper was continued by W.P. Clark, “with due regard to the principles on which it was established.” In August of the following year the paper was converted into a daily; the first number of the Daily Bulletin appeared on August 23, 1836.
(From the dissertation Early St. Louis Newspapers, 1808 – 1850 by Dorothy Grace Brown, Washington University, 1931).