The Akron Daily Democrat was launched in 1892 by the Dobson brothers, William and Russell. The Dobsons had been publishing a newspaper in Bowling Green, Ohio, and chose to pursue journalistic opportunities in a larger, developing city. After contacting numerous individuals across Akron, they found an interested party in William T. Sawyer, a lawyer and chairman of the Summit County Democratic Committee. The three men, who were noted as “rough play-fellows,” formed the Akron Democrat Company. The company consolidated with a previously published title, the Akron City Times, garnering its readership and retaining its political affiliation. The Akron Daily Democrat began publication on April 21, 1892.
The Dobson brothers’ slogan of “turn the rascals out” quickly came to fruition with the Akron Daily Democrat. Their strong-armed methods upset the status quo of the Akron political scene, and by election season in their first year of publishing, the paper had helped to promote interests of the county’s Democratic candidates, all of whom were elected to office. The paper continued its support of Democrats even following a change of owners. In 1898, former Daily Democrat employees Edward S. Harter and Fred Gayer purchased the paper. Despite claims that they would have the Daily Democrat back in six months, the Dobsons were never able to reacquire the paper.
The scope of the Akron Daily Democrat was international, but the paper always tried to find a way to keep an Akron-centric focus. In 1899, the Russian Navy outfitted its vessels with new engines, which the Daily Democratproudly noted were “Barberton-made,” Barberton being a suburb of Akron. The next day, the paper featured an article about an Akron-born soldier who had been wounded in Manila. The Daily Democrat always catered to its local audience, publishing guides for local elections and articles about Akron, right up to January 1, 1903 when the paper changed its name to the Akron Times-Democrat.
Researched and written by Eric W. Schnittke