The Charleston Daily Mail, traces its origins to the late 19th century. The first newspaper with a similar name appeared in 1893, when F. R. Swann began publishing the Evening Mail. The Evening Mail became a morning paper in 1894 after George Warren sold his interest to John B. Floyd and John W. Jarrett, who changed the name to the Charleston Mail.
The ‘‘Mail’’ name disappeared in 1896 because of a purchase and consolidation. It reappeared in 1899 when Moses Donnally, the owner of the Charleston Gazette, purchased the Star Tribune and renamed it the Charleston Mail. Donnally published the Charleston Mail as a morning newspaper and the Gazette as an afternoon paper. In 1897, he sold the Gazette, and a year later he moved the Mail to afternoon publication. It appeared consistently until 1910, when it was sold to coal operator Samuel Dixon of Fayette County. The paper was eventually combined with another and called the News Mail.
In April 1914, the News Mail was purchased by Walter Eli Clark, who had been a teacher, reporter, Washington correspondent, gold prospector, and governor of Alaska. Clark reclaimed the Charleston Mail name and gave the paper stable ownership, established its identity as an independent Republican newspaper, and brought it into the modern era. On April 4, 1920, the Charleston Mail started a Sunday edition and itself became the Charleston Daily Mail. By 1927, the Daily Mail was doing well enough that it moved across Virginia Street from its old quarters to a new building at 1001 Virginia Street East, an address it now shares with the rival Charleston Gazette.
On January 1, 1958, the Daily Mail entered into a joint operating agreement with the Gazette. Under the agreement, the newspapers merged their business, advertising, circulation, and production departments into a single corporation. The Daily Mail and the Gazette retained separate news and editorial identities but merged their Saturday and Sunday newspapers into the Gazette-Mail.
In 1935, Clark named Frederick M. Staunton publisher, and Clark continued to serve as president. Clark died in 1950. When Staunton retired in 1968, Lyell B. Clay, Clark’s stepson, became publisher. In 1987, Clay sold the Daily Mail to Thomson Newspapers. Brothers Lyell and Buckner Clay, with part of the proceeds from the sale, established the Clay Foundation, a private charitable foundation.
With the sale of the newspaper, John F. McGee was named publisher, serving until 1990. Subsequent publishers included Terry Horne, who served from 1990 to 1995, and David Greenfield, who served from 1995 to 1997. Sam Hindman was named to the position in 1997 and succeeded by Nanya Friend in 2004. Thomson sold the Daily Mail to Media News Group in 1998 and in 2004, the Media News Group sold the paper to the Daily Gazette Company. On January 5, 2009, the Daily Mail became a morning newspaper. In 2013, the circulation of the Daily Mail was 17,525.
Daily Mail Editor Jack Maurice, who retired in 1978, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975, the only West Virginia journalist ever to do so.
This Article was written by Judie Smith
Last Revised on May 14, 2013
Clarkson, Roy B. On Beyond Leatherbark: The Cass Saga. Parsons: McClain, 1990.