Thomas Fawcett founded what is now East Liverpool in 1798 and named it St. Clair after the Governor of the Northwest Territory at the time, Arthur St. Clair. Colloquially it was known as Fawcettstown until its second platting by John Fawcett circa 1816, when it was renamed Liverpool. The prefix “East” was added at its incorporation in 1834 to avoid confusion among postal service workers with Liverpool, Medina County, Ohio. Located on the Ohio River near West Virginia. East Liverpool was a small trade post that soon gained a reputation for its many potteries. The deposits of yellow clay nearby attracted James Bennett, the first of East Liverpool’s potters, and many others in the trade, primarily English immigrants. Rather than compete with the other major group of unionized potters in Trenton, New Jersey, the potters of East Liverpool withdrew from the Knights of Labor in 1890 to begin a new organization, the National Brotherhood of Operative Potters. By 1938, the National Brotherhood of Operative Potters had seen a steady increase in membership in East Liverpool and its surrounding locale, and would eventually become the center of unionized potters in the United States and Canada. Even as tastes in pottery shifted away from the nearby yellow clay to white clay that had to be shipped in from out of state, East Liverpool’s numerous historically important potteries and convenient waterway access enabled it to retain enough notoriety to be known as the “Pottery Capital of the World,” or simply “Crockery City.”
The Potters Herald probably began publishing on April 19, 1899 under A. S. Hughes and T. J. Duffy, president and secretary of the National Brotherhood of Operative Potters to cover the interests of professional potters. Soon after, it was adopted as the official organ of the Brotherhood. Eventually the East Liverpool Trades and Labor Council joined as a sponsor, of which potters were likely already a large component. The Potters Herald appears to have maintained its name throughout the years and had no known competitors. A Thursday weekly comprised of a regular six pages, the Potters Herald published news related to union and labor. Many of its articles were based in Chicago or Washington D.C., although it regularly announced local events too. The Potters Herald also reported on War Labor Board policies and unionists’ reactions to those policies during World War II. The War Labor Board imposed restrictions on unions’ abilities to strike during a time when boosted production was necessary to supply war materials. After these restrictions were lifted and many workers were laid off, strikes resumed. Due to membership declines following these struggles, the Potters Herald downsized to a monthly in the 1970s, and finally closed in 1982.
Researched and written by Jen Cabiya