Did you read the latest in the newspaper?
How often have we said that? Computers are wonderful sources of information, but we still can't discount the value of the printed pages.
Someone approached us recently with the fact that no newspapers are printed in Harford County now. Yes, that is true, and it is a loss of a great legacy in Harford communities. But we do still have our local newspapers, but they are printed by The Sun in Baltimore now.
Fortunately, Aberdeen still has news coverage in The Record and The Aegis.
Just the other day, we were questioned about the history of the newspapers that covered the community of Aberdeen over the years. People still read this column and the rest of the news articles! And they care!
No matter that there are computers and other technological sources of information. The Aberdeen Room Archives and Museum continues to file current local newspapers, and they are often sources of information for visitors, and for our own volunteers. We have file books of The Harford Democrat and Aberdeen Enterprise from 1919 until June of 1986. All and all, together they supply valuable history. In our library, newspaper clippings are kept in binders. Donations of saved clippings continue to flow into the archives!
How did our newspapers start?
It is said that the Harford Democrat was established before the Civil War in Bel Air. Joseph M. Street was its editor until 1919. He was a sympathizer for the Southern cause and a staunch Democrat, as well, so the name was changed during the war. It was renamed The Harford Democrat after The Aberdeen Enterprise was established in 1891 by R. L. Orwen. The paper was initially a small sheet, but sufficient to handle the small amount of news of the day, by editor George Brick in a little print shop on Howard Street behind the old town hall building, now the dental offices of Dr. Morris.
In 1919, the Enterprise was purchased by J. Wilmer Cronin and W. Earle Jacobs. Later the two purchased the Harford Democrat from Joseph Street, and the two papers were consolidated in Aberdeen.
Mr. Jacobs retired in 1923, and sold his interest to Mr. Cronin who continued on as owner until his death in April 1982.
In 1952, the officials at Aberdeen Proving Ground agreed that an addition be added to the newspaper, thus the Aberdeen Proving Ground Observer was born.
In 1957 the business, incorporated as Harford Press, Inc., was moved from offices, law offices and print shop at 6 South Philadelphia Boulevard to a newly constructed building at 4 S. Parke Street, with editors J. Wilmer Cronin and his son, William R. "Doc" Cronin. In 1982, after the death of J. Wilmer Cronin, the paper was sold to the Susquehanna Publishing Company of Havre de Grace and merged with The Record.
D. Bennett Smith, Jr., a longtime valued employee of the Harford Press still operates the Printing Press in the rear of 4 South Parke Street.
Copies of the first pages of the early newspapers, and photos, are displayed in the newspaper exhibit at the Aberdeen Room. Awards for excellence are also on display.
63 years of printing newspapers! Bound copies of the weekly newspaper from 1919 until June of 1986 are available for research. Information about the old papers may be obtained by calling 410-27-6325, or email sayhelloataberdeenroom.org.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun