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Contributed by Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records: State Library of Arizona
Graham and Greenlee Counties
April 24, 1899 marked the beginning of the Copper Era out of Clifton in Graham (and later Greenlee) County, Arizona. Because Clifton was a mining town, the newspaper included many articles and advertisements related to mining. An article entitled "The London Mining Journal predicts that Arizona will soon pass Michigan and Montana in the production of copper," in the June 1 issue, shows early evidence that Arizona mining towns were boosting their copper output.
Editor Charles E. Bull led the Democratic paper through its initial development until July 5, 1900. In his book, Those Old Yellow Dog Days: Frontier Journalism in Arizona 1859-1912, William H. Lyon notes that George Kelly, father of future Copper Era editor William B. Kelly, was also connected with the paper. At this time, in 1899, local governments were beginning to drop their contracts with newspaper publishers for pubic printing, assuming that the newspapers would print the information anyway. The subsequent loss of revenue forced many newspapers out of business.
Several editors succeeded Bull before the Copper Era fell into the hands of William B. Kelly. From 1911 to 1929, Kelly owned and published the paper under the auspices of The Era Publishing Company. In 1929, he transferred ownership to his own Kelly Print and Publishing Company. This wasn't Kelly's first experience as owner of a publishing company. In 1903, he and his father had organized the Consolidated Printing and Publishing Company in Bisbee, which managed newspapers in Douglas, Tucson, Phoenix, and Globe. The Kellys welcomed the Phelps-Dodge Corporation into their enterprise, and the copper company eventually procured all the papers under the publishing company's umbrella. On September 1, 1911, the Copper Era absorbed the Morenci Leader [LCCN: sn96060527] and changed its title to the Copper Era and Morenci Leader. According to Estelle Lutrell, Newspapers and Periodicals of Arizona, 1859-1911, William Kelly continued as editor until January 1944, when he sold out to the Gila Printing and Publishing Company.
The Copper Era Titles Available on AMP
The Copper Era
Years of publication: 1899-1911, Years digitized: 1899-1911
The Copper Era and Morenci Leader
Years of publication: 1911-1929, Years digitized: 1912-1922