The Seattle Times publishes its first edition edited by new co-owner Alden J. Blethen on August 10, 1896.

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 8/10/2006
  • Essay 7896
On Monday, August 10, 1896, the first edition of The Seattle Times edited by its new co-owner, "Colonel" Alden J. Blethen (1845-1915), hits the streets. Blethen, a native of Maine, purchased what was then called The Seattle Daily Times from local owners with "Colonel" Charles Fishback, an attorney and mining entrepreneur. Today (2009) Blethen's descendents remain majority owners of the newspaper. Blethen purchased the Times despite facing near ruin from a newspaper war in Minneapolis and from failed deals in Denver. Both he and Fishback affected the military title "Colonel" without any official basis.

To challenge the larger, older, Republican-oriented Seattle Post-Intelligencer, they turned The Seattle Times' conservative editorial policy 180 degrees to support Seattle's emerging labor movement, populist causes such as the Free Silver movement, and Democrat William Jennings Bryan's bid for the presidency. These ideological stances would reverse within two decades as Blethen transformed the Times into the voice of the Seattle Establishment.


Sharon A. Boswell and Lorraine McConaghy, Raise Hell and Sell Newspapers: Alden J. Blethen and The Seattle Times (Pullman: WSU Press, 1996), 93-97.

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