As the steward of items of significant county history, Delaware County Historical Society counts among its collection an extensive compilation of the county’s newspaper of record once headed by one of its own presidents.
DCHS preserves an enormous amount of the content of the Daily Times in various formats. Delaware County Daily Times issues from 1877 to 1979 are stored on microfilm in the Research Library and a vast collection of clip files store information on a plethora of issues from Daily Times’ editions from the 1930’s to the 1990’s.
Begun on Sept. 7, 1876 by an ailing Civil War veteran in his 80’s, Major John Hodgson, the first edition was only four pages with no local news or pictures and was published in a printing plant at the corner of Welsh Street and Avenue of the States.
At that time, the largest amount of space was given to time schedules for the railroads that traversed from Baltimore to Philadelphia.
Known then as the Chester Daily Times, the paper went through several management changes.
On March 10, 1892, it was announced that William C. Sproul had purchased a half interest in the paper. John A. Wallace had secured the other half and he remained involved from 1883 until his 1915 death.
In 1910, Sproul and Wallace were joined by Charles R. Long. Although he remained at the helm during his tenure as state senator, Sproul discontinued active participation in the paper after being elected governor in 1918.
A heightened focus on local news began in earnest under the leadership of Alfred G. Hill in 1942. A colorful publisher who became deeply involved in the affairs of his community, he incorporated many new features, cartoons and columns. He also installed a Fairchild engraving machine so that more pictures could be incorporated into publication.
On Oct. 18, 1955, the paper was sold to Robert S. Howard, who published the Idaho State Journal. Four years later, he changed the name of the newspaper to the Delaware County Daily Times.
The Times’ offices remained in Chester until 1976 when they moved to a new plant on Mildred Avenue in Upper Darby. They stayed there until 2016 when they relocated to 639 S. Chester Road in Swarthmore.
Since the publication of the actual newspaper, the Delaware County Daily Times has expanded to include content on its website, delcotimes.com, and has a Twitter account as well @delcotimes.
For a walk into the past production of the county’s news, come take a look at the various Daily Times’ collections at the home of Delaware County Historical Society at 408 Avenue of the States. Please call 610-359-0832 or visit padelcohistory.org with any questions. DCHS is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. It is closed on Tuesdays.
Appointments and group/school tours are available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot. Memberships are encouraged and donations are graciously accepted.
Among the collection at DCHS is a 1910 copy of the Delaware County Daily Times.