The Butler County Press was established at the turn of the twentieth century in southwest Ohio by Edward E. Weiss and John F. Mayer as “the official organ of organized labor of Hamilton and vicinity.” Weiss and Mayer also involved themselves in the operations of its printer, Nonpareil Printing Company, and were known for fair, community-minded attitudes that kept the loyalty of their readers. Although they claimed no responsibility for the perspectives published in the paper, which they often sourced from other cities, the editors of the Butler County Press favored lighthearted material about everyday people. The final page of each issue was reserved for local business advertisements beneath the banner, “Patronize Hamilton Industries.” This page also featured a roster of nearby unions with instructions on when and where interested workers could join their meetings.
Hamilton and the surrounding Butler County hosted a range of manufacturers, including textiles and machinery, that made the area receptive to unionization. Rather than finding sponsorship with any particular industries or union groups, the Butler County Press was endorsed by the Trades and Labor Council of Hamilton, Ohio, which represented the interests of all working-class folk in the area. According to the newspaper, one of the major union ideals was “to allow the laboring men to live like Americans,” a sentiment that extended outside the workplace and into the community.
As the only newspaper publishing labor interests in the county at the time, the Butler County Press reliably produced at least four pages every Friday. On or near Labor Day, it released an extended issue that celebrated national success in labor movements and urged readers to support local business. Although the news content featured primarily national stories, the ad content was strictly local. In the wake of the devastating flood that demolished parts of the Miami Valley in 1913, shoe warehouses reassured that “not a pair of water-soaked or flood-damaged shoes” were in stock—a notice only appreciable by the residents of the area. The Butler County Press adopted more entertaining content by adding photographs to its news stories and including amusing cartoons. Perhaps due to the paper’s lack of competition and appeal to toilers of every trade, the paper retained its title throughout its lifespan between 1900 and 1946, when it appears to have concluded with a final Labor Day special.
Researched and written by Jen Cabiya