Jamestown Sun

I have mentioned a newspaper called the Jamestown Sun several times in the newsletter, most recently this past May after we found a page from the 19th century Sun with an article on the death of Governor Fenton. The 20th century Jamestown Sun was published from April, 1949 to June 30, 1962. Then after a 70 day lapse, a paper much like it named the Jamestown Star began a 14 month publishing run before it collapsed.

There is an excellent history of the two papers by Lorimer Moe in Ernest Leet’s 1978 History of Chautauqua County, New York 1938-1978 pp 19-25. The Sun was born in a conflict between the Post-Journal and local members of the International Typographical Union. Underlying that was the strife resulting from labor saving technological change augmented by the sense of loss of a morning paper in Jamestown following the merger of the morning Post with the evening Journal in 1941. Still another factor involved dissatisfaction on the part of some local residents and leaders with the Post-Journal’s Republican political sympathies.

There are still many people alive in the community who could add to the record with their reminiscences of the Sun from many perspectives. There are people who worked for the paper, invested in or financially backed the paper (it constantly lost money), read the paper, or – I find a number of these – delivered the paper as boys or young people. 

The Sun was popular with rural people because most of them received their newspaper through the U. S. Post Office (then so termed), Rural Free Delivery, at the time. Consequently, if you subscribed to the morning Sun, you got your paper the same day it was published. But if you took the Post-Journal, your paper arrived on the following day. Later, the Post-Journal instituted its own (optional, at extra cost) driver delivery service with the now familiar red boxes, entirely separate from the Postal Service, and, of course, it ultimately shifted over to a morning schedule (June 28, 1999). I had never realized the Sun also had used delivery boxes, or “tubes” as they were called from their cylindrical shape. I do not know if these were used in the city or in the rural areas or both. I don’t know if they were served by delivery boys on foot or by drivers or both. This tube has spent many years discarded beneath a trailer in the woods. We are lucky it hasn’t rusted more or lost more paint.

No issues of the Jamestown Sun or Jamestown Star are available on line. Neither has been extracted for genealogical information or indexed in any way. The Prendergast Library has the Sun on microfilm but November and December of 1950 and all of 1951 are missing. I know of no microfilms of the Star. We have bound original copies of the Star, August and November of 1963. We have about six original issues of the Sun, a delivery bag, and a stock certificate. If anyone has copies of the missing issues or has stories about either of these papers, please contact us at the Fenton History Center.

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