The first newspaper in Utah…

February 23, 2009 by  
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There was a great migration to the West in 1847, just two years before a more historic wave of travelers prompted by the California gold rush, when about 2000 Mormons crossed the western plains seeking a location in which they could peacefully follow their religion. Led by Brigham Young, among the many items they included on their journey was a printing press purchased in Philadelphia.

What is now Utah belonged to Mexico in 1847 but the Mexican War, ongoing in 1847, would result in the 1848 treaty which would pass ownership to the United States. But since federal authorities never established a system of government for this new land, the Mormons took matters into their own hands and in 1849 organized the “State of Deseret” (land of the honey bee) with Brigham Young as governor.

Volume one, number one of the DESERET NEWS newspaper, an eight page newspaper just 8 by 10 1/2 inches, appeared in Salt Lake on June 15, 1850 making it the very first newspaper published in Utah. It printed for just over one year before it was suspended for several months for lack of paper. Begun as a weekly, after just four months it became a semimonthly but returned as a weekly in 1854. Conditions for printing were harsh and crude so far from the more settled areas of the country over 1000 miles to the east.

We are pleased to share with our collectors the August 17, 1850 issue of the DESERET NEWS from our private collection, just the tenth number printed.

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2 Responses to “The first newspaper in Utah…”

  1. Larry D Christiansen on October 21st, 2018 7:15 am

    Although not the second or third newspaper in Utah, another paper appeared in the late 1860s and was frequently used as a source in the California newspapers in 1868 and named
    the Salt Lake Reporter. Other than that I haven’t been able to find anything about this paper, what do you know about it?

  2. GuyHeilenman on November 21st, 2018 8:08 am

    All we know is that it started in 1868, and only three institutions are known to currently have any within their archives. We’ve never seen one.

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