FRASER’s collection of the Commercial and Financial Chronicle is expanding, so it may be helpful to know a bit about the publication’s history. The Chronicle was a financial newspaper published from 1865 to 1987. Despite a variety of changes and editors, the Chronicle maintained a consistency and accuracy its readers could rely on. William Buck Dana, the creator of the publication and principle editor from 1865 until 1910, established the standards.
Dana’s publishing career began on February 1, 1861, with the purchase of Hunt’s Merchants’ Magazine. From 1839 until it was absorbed into the Chronicle in 1871, the magazine was a principal source for all things commerce related in the United States (click here to see a letter from the editor regarding the merger). The magazine had “provided reports on agriculture, manufacturing, commodities, and merchandise trade; banking; insurance; currency; navigation; and legislation and court decisions affecting the conduct of business.”
On July 1, 1865, about four years after purchasing Hunt’s Merchant’s Magazine, Dana published the first issue of the Chronicle. Dana was precise in his approach to informing his readers. Evidence of this is found in the complete title used for the first five years of the publication: The Commercial & Financial Chronicle, Bankers’ Gazette, Commercial Times, Railway Monitor, and Insurance Journal. A Weekly Newspaper, Representing the Industrial and Commercial Interests of the United States.
Under Dana’s leadership, the Chronicle expanded and improved. He published numerous supplements—at no additional cost to readers—that addressed specific topics such as the railway industry and state and city bonds. (See the chart for supplement names and dates.) Each time a supplement was added or significantly changed, Dana alerted Chronicle readers, as in this example from Volume 60.
In 1909, Dana celebrated 50 years in publishing. He died the next year at the age of 81. Jacob Seibert Jr., a long-term Chronicle employee, became the next publisher. Seibert and his successors followed Dana’s example, continuing to enhance and expand the Chronicle’s business news and statistical information.
Possibly the biggest publication change for the Chronicle occurred on March 9, 1928, with the transition of the monthly supplement Bank and Quotation Section to the Bank and Quotation Record. With this publication, supplements were no longer included in the subscription price of the Chronicle.
On November 4, 1939, the Chronicle celebrated 100 years of publishing. The anniversary issue (Volume 149) pays homage to the Chronicle’s pioneers and is an excellent resource for diving deeper into the early history of this longstanding American publication. The Chronicle remained an active publication until 1987.
Supplements to the Commercial and Financial Chronicle, 1875-1928
Monthly;† bimonthly until November 1894; quarterly January 1865-July 1903
|April 3, 1875-July 25, 1903|
|State and City Supplement (Section)
“Supplement” changed to “Section” in October 1903.
Annual until 1895; semiannual from April 1896
|October 31, 1891-June 28, 1924|
|Street Railway Supplement
|March 9, 1895-October 19, 1907|
|May 11, 1895-February 8, 1902|
|Cotton Crop Supplement
|September 11, 1897-September 6, 1902
|Bankers‘ and Trust Supplement
Annual, typically published in the fall after the bankers’ convention
|September 3, 1898-October 5, 1907|
|Bank and Quotation Supplement (Section)
Formerly the Quotation Supplement. “Supplement” changed to “Section” in November 1924. Monthly
|March 8, 1902-December 3, 1927
|Railway and Industrial Section (Compendium)
Formerly the Investors’ Supplement. “Section” changed to “Compendium” in November 1924. Triannual until 1918; biannual as of November 1918, typically published in May and November
|October 24, 1903-November 26, 1927
|Electric Railway Section
Formerly the Street Railway Supplement. Triannual until September 1918; biannual until October 1923
|February 29, 1908-October 27, 1923
|(American) Bankers’ Convention Section
Formerly the Bankers’ and Trust Supplement. “American” added in October 1926. Annual
|October 10, 1908-November 12, 1927
|Railway Earnings Section
|February 20, 1909-December 10, 1927
|Public Utility Compendium‡
Formerly the Electric Railway Section. Biannual, published in April and October; published once, May 31, 1924, under the name Railway, Industrial and Public Utility Section
|November 1, 1924-October 29, 1927|
|State and Municipal Compendium‡
Formerly the State and City Section. Semiannual
|June 27, 1925 – December 24, 1927|
|Bank and Quotation Record
Formerly the Bank and Quotation Section. Monthly
|March 9, 1928-March 1987
|NOTE: *Titles link to the first issues. †Because FRASER’s Commercial and Financial Chronicle collection is incomplete, some publication dates are unknown. ‡Not currently available on FRASER.|
 Douglas W. Steeples. Advocate for American Enterprise: William Buck Dana and the Commercial and Financial Chronicle, 1865-1910. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002: 1.
 Ibid, 2.
 Ibid, 81-85.