Report by Erika Marquez
Abstract: The striking employees of the Seattle Post Intelligencer, produced The Guild Daily during the 105 day strike against the Hearst owned newspaper in 1936. An informational paper that provided news about all over the world as well as coverage of the strike, the Guild Daily built a circulation that reached 60,000 and captured an important segment of the Seattle newspaper market.
Dates: August 14, 1936- November 27, 1936
Circulation: The Guild was very successful for its short time span. It sold 20,000 copies on its first day and had about 60,000 readers a day by the end. It was distributed all around the Seattle area, and could be delivered farther to Tacoma for a higher cost.
Editor: Walter Rue.
Business Address: 316 Labor Temple St. until August 21. Then 609 Union St. In the building behind the former Ally Oop Night club.
Collection: University of Washington, Special Collection Library
Status: collection is complete
The Guild Daily was started in Seattle on the night of August 14, 1936. It was started from the decision of 36 members of the editorial staff of the Seattle Post Intelligencer to go on strike because of the firing of two veteran employees who were members of the American Newspaper Guild, a union of newspaper writers and editors. The strike marked the first time in Seattle history that the editorial staff of a newspaper in Seattle went on strike. The owner of the Post Intelligencer, William Randolph Hearst, had to stop distribution of the PI for three issues, the first time in that paper’s history that it didn’t get printed. The Guild Daily only published 91 issues, but it became for a time a very important Seattle newspaper.
William R. Hearst, whose publishing empire included major newspapers and magazines across the United States, fired drama critic for 17 years Everhardt Armstrong and head photographer for 15 years Frank "slim" Lynch for joining the American Newspaper Guild. Hearst opposed unions, especially the Guild, and was not about to let his employees in Seattle unionize his newspaper. But the other journalists stood behind the two fired Guild members and walked off the job. The Seattle Central Labor Council then declared the PI unfair to organized labor and called for a boycott.
The Guild Daily was on the streets the morning of Friday, August 14, 1936, at first called The Guild Striker. The editor was Walter Rue. The first issues focused mostly on the strike. It recalled the events that had led to the strike, and asked for support from the community. There was a great deal of information about Hearst, and some information about the people involved in the paper. The Guild Daily was merciless in their depiction of their former employer, making him appear to be a wicked man who never wanted his employees to unionize.
On the following day the name was changed to The Guild Daily and since the PI wasn’t going to be published anymore in the morning the editors decided they would make The Guild Daily the morning paper of Seattle. The paper ran ads everyday about ways that people could contribute to help the paper run. Everyone on staff was a striker from the PI. They had to support their families and try to get what they wanted from the strike. The first issue sold 20,000 copies.
The Guild Daily carried more than strike news. It had news about the whole nation and top stories that were happening around the world. It also had reports about Husky games, events that were around the area, crime, all the top stories you would expect a newspaper to present. But it also attacked Hearst whenever it could. They ran an ad the duration of the strike that said," Do not read the Seattle PI, or these other Hearst owned papers," and then gave a list of all of his publications. The Guild became the morning paper of Seattle published every day except Sundays, and could even be delivered to the door. On October 28, The Guild announced that it would be adding two additional pages to the paper and two new comic strips to the issues. By the end of the strike The Guild was selling 60,000 issues a day, had 345 employees and 380 newsboys receiving paychecks each week. This was while they were on strike.
The Guild was giving Hearst more of a headache then he had planned, but Hearst was definitely not one to give in easily, the strike in Seattle lasted for 105 days before Hearst relented and negotiated a contract. The people got everything they wanted, Armstrong and Lynch were given their jobs back, the work week was cut to 40hrs and 5 days a week, everyone received a pay increase from about $2.50 to $7.50 a wk., and everyone was hired back. The last issue of The Guild was on Friday, November 27, 1936. It gave thanks to all the people who had donated to the paper and stories about some of the workers on the paper. It also gave a full description of the contract the Hearst made with the paper.
The strike coincided with the November 1936 election season. The Guild Daily doesn’t dive into politics very much. But during the election period, it did run ads for candidates, mostly Democrats, running for various offices. It also offered a letter of congratulations to Mr. Roosevelt after he won re-election that year. The paper wrote about what a great person he was for the American people and the labor industry. He was going to help the American society survive. It also wrote that the Democratic Party was a great party. The newspaper stressed that Roosevelt and the Democrats were what was best for the nation.
The Guild Daily is an important source of information about what was going on in Seattle during 1936. There are random stories of events that take place around the area. In Ballard there was a big gambling ring that was raided in the area that made about 25 arrests in the month of November. There was a story about a mother who had killed her daughter on her sixteenth birthday because she arrived home late. It also ran a sports page every day that reported on collegiate, local and professional sports. It would be great reference for old games at the UW. There was an interesting story about an event that was called donkey baseball in which people from individual athletic clubs played a tournament of baseball on donkeys.
The collection of The Guild Daily is only 91 issues and is available as a complete collection in the special collections unit in the UW Allen library. It is not on microfilm unfortunately, but it is quite interesting to actually be able to flip the original pages of the paper as you look through it. It is an interesting paper to look at and learn how it was for the strikers during this period.
For more on the American Newspaper Guild: www.newsguild.org.
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Copyright (c) 2001 by Erika Marquez