Pittsburgh Mercury

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Front page of first issue

The Pittsburgh Mercury was a weekly newspaper published in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1811 to the early 1840s. Originally almost unpartisan, it became a mouthpiece of the Democratic-Republicans, and later of the Jacksonians and Democrats.[1] It was a progenitor of the Pittsburgh Post, which in turn was succeeded by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

John M. Snowden
Pittsburgh newspaper consolidation timeline


The Mercury began publication on 26 September 1811, with James C. Gilleland as editor and proprietor.[2] Within a year it was purchased by John M. Snowden, who while at the helm of the paper attained prominent local political posts, including Mayor of Pittsburgh in 1825–1828.[2][3]

In early 1830, Snowden was succeeded by his son Joseph in the conduct of the Mercury.[4] The son retired in 1835, passing the paper to Robert Morrow and William H. Smith.[5] Smith assumed sole control in 1840.[6]

Mergers and name changes[edit]

The Mercury in 1832 absorbed a startup paper called the Allegheny Republican,[7] and for about the next two years was published under the title Pittsburgh Mercury and Allegheny Republican.[8]

In 1841, the Weekly Pittsburgher and Allegheny Democrat joined with the Mercury to form the Pittsburgh Mercury and Allegheny Democrat, with the Mercury's Smith as publisher.[9]

Seeing a need for a daily Democratic newspaper in Pittsburgh, Smith in 1842 arranged with Thomas Phillips, owner-editor of the American Manufacturer, to unite their establishments and launch the Daily Morning Post. Begun in tandem with the Post was an edition called the Weekly Mercury and Manufacturer, consisting of matter from the past week's daily issues.[10] The Post continued as a Democratic organ until its 1927 merger with the Gazette Times to create the Post-Gazette.[11]


  1. ^ Wilson, Erasmus, ed. (1898). Standard History of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Chicago: H.R. Cornell & Co. p. 839.
  2. ^ a b "Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820: Part XIV: Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh to York)" (PDF). Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society. 32 (2): 351. October 1922.
  3. ^ Pasley, Jeffrey L. (2001). The Tyranny of Printers: Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic. University of Virginia Press. p. 150. ISBN 0-8139-2030-2.
  4. ^ "[untitled]". The Pennsylvania Inquirer. Philadelphia. 27 February 1830. p. 2, col. 1.
  5. ^ Thurston, George Henry (1888). Allegheny County's Hundred Years. Pittsburgh: A.A. Anderson & Son. p. 299.
  6. ^ Morrow, R. (12 February 1840). "To the Patrons of the Pittsburgh Mercury". The Pittsburgh Mercury. p. 3, col. 1.
  7. ^ Wilson, Erasmus, ed. (1898). Standard History of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Chicago: H.R. Cornell & Co. p. 843.
  8. ^ "About Pittsburgh Mercury and Allegheny republican". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  9. ^ "About The Pittsburgh Mercury and Allegheny democrat". Chronicling America. Library of Congress. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  10. ^ "Mercury and Manufacturer". The American Manufacturer. Pittsburgh. 3 September 1842. p. 3, col. 1.
  11. ^ "Papers Merge After Hearst Enters Field". The Pittsburgh Press. 2 August 1927. p. 2, col. 4.