|Founded||September 1727(as The Maryland Gazette)|
The Gazette, founded in 1727 as The Maryland Gazette, is one of the oldest newspapers in America. Its modern-day descendant, The Capital, was acquired by The Baltimore Sun Media Group in 2014. Previously, it was owned by the Capital Gazette Communications group, which published The Capital, Bowie Blade-News, Crofton-West County Gazette, and Capital Style Magazine.
The Gazette and their sister publications have a long history, having been composed and printed in numerous locations, all in the Annapolis area, for more than 270 years. The company has moved headquarters seven times, including from 3 Church Circle to 213 West St. in 1948, to 2000 Capital Drive in 1987 and to Bestgate Road in September 2014.
Money was sometimes hard to come by, so Green sometimes traded an ad or a subscription for supplies. His wife, Anne Catherine Hoof Green, also helped to make ends meet by selling homemade chocolates at the post office.
When Green died in 1767, his jobs as editor and publisher were taken over by his wife, Anne Catherine Hoof Green, making her one of the first women to hold either of the top jobs at an American newspaper (preceded by Ann Smith Franklin of Rhode Island). A strong supporter of Colonial rights, she continued her husband's policy of operating an independent newspaper under the nose of the royal governor in Annapolis. Ultimately, she published the newspaper for eight years while raising 14 children. The newspaper remained in the Green family for 94 years. The Green House on Charles Street in Annapolis, publication site of the Maryland Gazette, now bears a commemorative historical plaque.
Jonas Green hated the Stamp Act, which among other things directly taxed his newspaper. Refusing to pay, he published the Gazette with what was then a blaring headline: "The Maryland Gazette Expiring: In Uncertain Hopes of a Resurrection to Life Again." Green wrote that because of the Stamp Act, the newspaper "will not any longer be published." In the bottom right-hand corner of the page, where the tax stamp should have been placed, there appeared instead a skull and crossbones. Calmer heads persuaded Green to return to publishing as part of the struggle against tyranny, and he later resumed publication under this banner headline: "An Apparition of the late Maryland Gazette, which is not dead, but only sleepeth." Defenders of this newspaper's claim as "the oldest in the nation" say this brief interruption of publication was not a business decision as much as a deliberate political statement by a determined and courageous publisher.
In 1766, the Maryland Gazette was one of the venues for a war of words between a future signer of the Declaration of Independence and several loyalist members of the Annapolis political establishment. In the Maryland Gazette Extraordinary of June 19, 1766, Walter Dulany, George Steuart (1700-1784), John Brice (1705-1766) and others published an article excoriating Samuel Chase, co-founder of the Anne Arundel County chapter of the Sons of Liberty and a leading opponent of the 1765 Stamp Act. The article called Chase "a busy, reckless incendiary, a ringleader of mobs, a foul-mouthed and inflaming son of discord and faction, a common disturber of the public tranquility". Chase responded with an open letter accusing Steuart and the others of "vanity...pride and arrogance", and of being brought to power by "proprietary influence, court favour, and the wealth and influence of the tools and favourites who infest this city."
In 1772, Charles Carroll of Carrollton engaged in a debate conducted through the Maryland Gazette, maintaining the right of the colonies to control their own taxation. Writing in the Gazette under the pseudonym "First Citizen", he became a prominent spokesman against the governor's proclamation increasing legal fees to state officers and Protestant clergy. Opposing Carroll in these written debates and writing as "Antillon" was Daniel Dulany the Younger, a noted lawyer and loyalist politician. In these debates, Carroll argued that the government of Maryland had long been the monopoly of four families, the Ogles, the Taskers, the Bladens and the Dulanys, with Dulany taking the contrary view. Eventually word spread of the true identity of the two combatants, and Carroll's fame and notoriety began to grow. Dulany soon resorted to highly personal ad hominem attacks on "First Citizen", and Carroll responded, in statesmanlike fashion, with considerable restraint, arguing that when Antilles engaged in "virulent invective and illiberal abuse, we may fairly presume, that arguments are either wanting, or that ignorance or incapacity know not how to apply them".
After the Civil War began and martial law was imposed on Maryland, thousands of Marylanders were imprisoned, including thirty members of the Annapolis-based Maryland General Assembly. Despite the First Amendment, the crackdown did not spare the press. Nine Maryland newspapers were suppressed temporarily or permanently, and at least a dozen newspaper owners and editors were locked up at Fort McHenry. The Maryland Gazette opted for survival, despite the known sympathies of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County for the South. In 1860, for example, Lincoln received only three votes in Anne Arundel County, and only a single one from Annapolis. However, any loss of revenue from disgruntled readers and advertisers was at least partially compensated for when President Abraham Lincoln appointed the publisher federal paymaster for the state of Maryland.
The Gazette merged with the Evening Capital after being purchased by Capital owner William Abbott in 1919. The newspaper was promoted to twice-weekly publication in 1969 and primarily covered the north county area.