On September 11, 1915, the Hickory Daily Record (NC) published its first issue. Printed and distributed every afternoon except Sunday, the Daily Record included a mix of local and state news, as well as national and international stories from the Associated Press wire service. It served residents of Catawba County in western North Carolina, the center of the state’s furniture manufacturing industry and home to several textile mills.
The Daily Record was guided by Samuel Howard Farabee (1882-1939), as editor, and Jacob Carlyle Miller (1886-1948), as manager. Farabee arrived in Hickory after working at newspapers in such North Carolina cities as Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and Raleigh, where he had served as editor of the Raleigh Times. Miller was a longtime Hickory resident and the general manager of Clay Printing Company, which had done work for the local chamber of commerce and published a history of Catawba County that included biographies of every county resident who had served in the Civil War.
Farabee wrote in the debut issue that the Daily Record could “be depended on to stand for the moral and industrial interests of the community and state, its object being always to be a constructive force.” He added that the newspaper’s political stance “will be that of the editor, who has always voted the Democratic ticket but has ever tried to be fair to every party and individual.” Farabee then assured readers that politics would “play a very small part in the composition” of the Record.
Most issues of the Daily Record included news on the front page, a second page with short editorials and excerpts from other newspapers, a third page with columns at various times titled “Personals,” “Society,” “Woman (sic) and Society,” and a fourth page with display advertisements, classifieds, and public notices. Occasionally, the Daily Record published issues of six, eight, or 12 pages. Staff offered no explanations for the longer editions, although usually the issues included more advertisements.
Initially, international news was relegated to short front-page articles. However, as fighting during World War I escalated and the United States sent forces to Europe, coverage of military action claimed more space on page one.
The Daily Record supported economic development in Hickory and the surrounding county, and reported favorably on new businesses and the growth of manufacturing. The front page regularly included reports on commodities, including cotton. The January 5, 1916 edition featured coverage of the reorganization of the local chamber of commerce, and an editorial encouraged readers, whether engaged in farming, running stores, or working in manufacturing, to join the chamber. End-of-the year editions frequently included rosy economic forecasts for the coming year. In editorials, Farabee commented on labor disputes and strikes. He argued that strikes encouraged lawlessness and threatened stability and growth.
Farabee served as editor of the Daily Record until 1924, when he moved to Florida to publish the Lakeland Ledger. Miller continued to publish the Hickory Daily Record until 1929, when he sold it. However, he remained affiliated with the Daily Record, serving as president of Hickory Record, Inc. In 1991, the Daily Record added a Sunday edition.