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HISTORY: Erath man presents Democratic symbol to president

Long before the Civil War and Thomas Nast’s Republican elephant, Democratic donkey, Tammany tiger, and Santa Claus, a rooster was the symbol of the Democratic Party. An article in The Commoner dated May 26, 1905, mentioned that Major W. W. Armstrong of Cleveland was the first to suggest that a rooster be used as the Democratic symbol.

Was he correct?

A writer in the Washington Star begged to differ. He claimed the credit should go to a Democratic senator from Indiana, who first suggested the rooster in a letter to one of his constituents after it was definitely known that Democratic candidate James K. Polk had closely defeated Whig candidate Henry Clay in 1844. According to the Washington Star article, a letter was sent to the editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that read: “Tell Bird B. Chapman to crow!” Chapman was the editor of the local Democratic organization, and his next publication contained the first Democratic rooster crowing over the defeated Whigs. And, that is how a crowing rooster became the Democrat’s symbol.

Full article: Crowing Rooster

Attribution: William Thibodeaux,


"It was, according to theWashington Star, an excellent place, with its worst aspect being that it was much too tempting a place for a newspaperman leaving theStar after a long day’s work.
Apparently, not enough Star reporters stopped by, because by 1968, the place had become the Golden Garter, and while the Roaring Twenties had “decorative” girls, according to the Star, the new place found itself looking for Go-Go dancers."

Full story: “Golden Garter” 
Attribution: By Robert Pohl,

Bennett receives national award for cartooning

Photo by Staff File Photo/Times Free Press.
The National Press Foundation has named Chattanooga Times Free Press cartoonist Clay Bennett as the recipient of the 2014 Clifford K. & James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartoons.
The judges for this year’s Berryman Award cited “the elegant simplicity and sharp bite of Clay Bennett’s work. A combination of clean drawings and clear messages, Bennett’s style is disarming and charming, his humor is subtle and wry, and his execution is flawless.”
The Berryman Award, named after the father and son team of cartoonists for the Washington Star, will be presented at the National Press Foundation’s gala award dinner Feb. 18 in Washington, D.C.

Full article: Berryman Award

Jonathan Yardley - After more than three decades and 3,000 reviews, a fond farewell

Thirty-three years and four months — a third of a century almost to the minute — are quite enough, thank you. On the second Monday of August 1981, I reported for work in the tiny, semi-subterranean offices of Book World, the Sunday supplement of The Washington Post. Those offices moved all over the building in the years to follow, and indeed Book World itself eventually dissolved into bits and pieces of other sections, but I stayed the course, never missing a day’s work, plugging away book after book after book, to the somewhat numbing total of about 3,000 reviews.

As of the first Sunday of December 2014, I’m out of here. The choice to leave is my own: I am more than ready to retire, as I will explain below. But for me this has been a happy time, and ending it is a sad one. I had wanted to work for The Post from the day I left the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June 1961, and though it took me two full decades to get here it was — for me, at least — worth every minute of the wait.

It was not until near the end of almost 5 1 / 2 decades of professional journalism that the full extent of my good fortune dawned on me. Not merely was I permitted to spend two-thirds of my working life at this newspaper, but I spent it in the Golden Age of American newspapers. The stops that I made — at the New York Times, the Greensboro (N.C.) Daily News, the Miami Herald, the Washington Star and at last The Post — gave me a grand tour of the decades in which this country’s newspapers were at their peak. It was a time when newspapers were not really challenged as the primary source of serious news and commentary; when they were crammed with advertisements that made some of them rich enough to send correspondents wherever the news might occur and to pay many of their employees better wages than had been par for the journalistic course; when American newspapers used all these resources to make themselves, for a while, the best in the world.

Full Article: Jonathan Yardley Retiring

Attribution: Jonathan Yardley,