For more than 140 years, The Vindicator has served Northeast Ohio in some form. As a fledgling newspaper, it fought for women’s rights, minorities and the public interest. Today, the paper still champions independent journalism that holds accountable the stewards of the public trust. To understand where the newspaper is going in this new decade requires some knowledge of where it has been:
Feb. 28, 1850: William F. Maag born to Johannes and Catherine Maag, Ebingen, Germany. At 14, he begins a four-year printing apprenticeship, coming to the U.S. in 1867.
June 25, 1869: First issue of the weekly Mahoning Vindicator hopes for “speedy triumph” of Democratic Party principles. Page One pleads the cause of women’s rights.
April 7, 1876: Mahoning Vindicator renamed Youngstown Vindicator as Youngstown becomes county seat. Publisher James H. Odell, legend holds, named the paper for the vindication he found in the area for his Democratic political beliefs.
April 14, 1876: William F. Maag buys German-language Rundschau (Review) from Henry Gentz.
April 16, 1880: W.L. Brown sells Vindicator to Charles A. Vallandigham and John H. Clarke, Lisbon lawyer and future U.S. Supreme Court justice.
April 22, 1881: Vindicator sells 2,000 copies weekly. A year later, Vallandigham sells his share to Judge Leroy D. Thoman.
Aug. 24, 1882: The Vindicator changes hands again. Dr. Thomas Patton is editor and publisher. Son Will H. takes over when Dr. Patton dies in 1884.
May 22, 1885: John M. Webb’s name appears with Patton’s as co-publisher and editor. Webb, an influential Democrat, will play a major role in the paper’s future.
Sept. 28, 1886: J.A. Caldwell and Charles Underwood take the helm.
July 25, 1887: Fire destroys North Phelps Street print shop.
Dec. 22, 1887: At sheriff’s sale, William F. Maag purchases The Vindicator nameplate and remnants of the print shop. Maag attended the auction as a spectator and had no intention of purchasing the newspaper, but his opening bid was the only one. He persuades Webb, a past editor, to be his partner.
June 8, 1888: Weekly Vindicator resumes publication; Webb and Maag, “publishers and proprietors.”
Sept. 3, 1889: Investors organize Vindicator Printing Co. with $20,000 capital. Officers are Maag, Webb, John H. Clarke and Judge D.M. Wilson.
Sept. 23, 1889: The paper shifts to daily publication as the Evening Vindicator; Vol. 1 No. 1 is four pages. Maag shifted from a weekly to a daily paper to compete with The Telegram, an evening paper organized by local business interests.
Jan. 2, 1890: Webb is president and managing editor, Maag business manager and treasurer.
Feb. 22, 1893: John M. Webb dies.
March 25, 1893: The Vindicator leaves 12-13 S. Phelps St. when a new building is finished on the southwest corner of Boardman and Phelps streets.
March 7, 1896: First printing using Mergenthaler typesetters. The Linotype ends laborious hand-composition and speeds production.
Spring 1896: The Vindicator exposes the bigoted American Protective Association. Courageous Republicans break ranks, help a Democrat mayor, Edmund H. Moore, and stop the APA’s takeover of the city.
June 7, 1896: Vindicator publishes first Sunday issue, competing with the Republican Telegram, which was founded in 1885 by merging The Youngstown News Register, Youngstown Daily News and Sunday Morning.
1900: The Vindicator becomes a charter member of the reorganized Associated Press.
Jan. 16, 1900: Youngstown Arc Engraving chartered with $25,000 capital. Principals included Maag and Clark. Arc will do the paper’s engraving of photographs for most of the century.
April 7, 1901: The Vindicator is the first newspaper in the nation to publish a color photograph.
Sept. 19, 1913: New Goss Sexduble press is the largest press in Ohio.
April 10, 1924: William F. Maag dies at 74. Son William F. Maag Jr., managing editor, becomes general manager and, later, editor and publisher.
July 2, 1936: William F. Maag Jr. buys the Telegram from Scripps-Howard. Public disapproval of the Telegram’s Ku Klux Klan leaning and the trial of top executives for padding circulation and defrauding advertisers had irreparably harmed it. This was a key date in The Vindicator’s decades-long battle against the Ku Klux Klan.
July 25, 1937: First issue of The Vindicator published in the Telegram Building Scripps-Howard built in 1931 at Boardman and Chestnut streets.
March 27, 1938: “The People’s Paper” motto appears on Page 1 for the first time.
Feb. 29, 1968: William F. Maag Jr., editor and publisher, dies at 84. His nephew, William J. Brown, general manager, becomes publisher and president of The Vindicator Printing Company. Brown vowed that the paper would remain committed to the city’s downtown.
Nov. 3, 1969: Work begins on a new production facility across Boardman Street from the present building. An 18-unit Goss Mark II press rolls for the first time in December 1972.
Aug. 14, 1981: Publisher William J. Brown dies at 68. His widow, Betty H., becomes editor and publisher, and president and treasurer of The Vindicator Printing Company. Their son, Mark A. Brown, is business manager and assistant treasurer. Brown’s sister, Elizabeth M., continues as vice president and secretary.
April 1988: The news staff moves to the production building, and a $4-million state-of-the-art, ergonomic newsroom.
Oct. 28, 1990: The Vindicator unveils its first top-to-bottom re-design since 1937.
Sept. 4, 1999: First issue of the Saturday morning Vindicator.
January 2000: Debut of Vindy.com.
Nov. 15, 2004: Start of conversion to morning publication for the daily Vindicator.
December 12, 2009: Debut of Neighbors.