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Welsh Newspapers and Journals in the United States of America

Idwal Lewis, National Library of Wales Journal, Summer 1942, Vol II/3 & 4

Extracted onto the pages of GENUKI with the kind permission of the National Library of Wales

This is a complete extract of this article by Gareth Hicks [3 July  2002].

See also Welsh American Newspapers and Periodicals

One sign of the vitality of a nation is its ability to maintain a periodical press. That the Welsh people in the United States have achieved this is evident from the list of newspapers and periodicals which follows. There has been no Welsh daily newspaper published in the United States. Probably the Welsh population was too scattered to make this a practical proposition and the Welsh community at any one centre too small to secure a sufficient number of subscribers. There were eleven newspapers devoted to welsh interests. The Druid (Scranton) and The Welshman (Jackson, Ohio) were published in English. Y Drych, the oldest of all Welsh newspapers published in the United States, was first issued in 1851 and is still being published.

The periodicals were mainly devoted to denominational interests and some are known to have had a wide circulation. The English periodicals relating to Welsh affairs, such as The American Celt (Scranton) The Cambrian (Cincinnati), and Cambrian Gleanings (New York), were of a general or literary character. On the other hand, The Day Light (Utica), was a Baptist monthly magazine. Of the Welsh periodicals, the majority were published by the Presbyterians (Calvinistic Methodists) and the Baptists. The earliest of all Welsh American periodicals was Cyfaill o'r Hen Wlad yn America (New York etc), the first number appearing in 1838. It was continued with slightly modified titles until December 1933 and was mainly concerned with the affairs of the Calvinistic Methodists. In fact its secondary title after Vol XXXIII was Cylchgrawn y Methodistaid Calfinaidd yn America. This denomination, or at least the Wisconsin Assembly of the Calvinistic Methodists, also issued a periodical entitled Y Lamp (Oshkosh) specially for young readers.

The Baptist denomination issued a number of periodicals in Welsh, including Y Beread (New York), Y Glorian (Youngstown), Haul Gomer (New York), Y Seren Orllewinol (Pottsville), Y Wasg (Scranton), and Y Wawr (Utica). Some of these had only a very brief existence, but others had fairly long careers. Y Glorian, for example, was issued from 1872 to 1894, and Y Seren Orllewinol from 1844 to 1866.

Apart from the denominational publications the young Welsh readers in the United States had their own periodicals, mostly of a religious flavour such as Blodau yr Oes a'r Ysgol (Utica), Y Lamp (Oshkosh and Utica), Yr Ysgol (New York), and Y Trysor, but their existence was brief.

Literary pursuits, especially poetry, were not neglected. Y Bardd (Minersville), and Y Ford Gron (Scranton), for short periods made some provision for those with literary interests.

Seren Oneida, Cyfaill yr Undeb, and Yr Amserau were published to further the cause of the Democratic Party amongst the Welsh people in the United States but these too survived for only a very short period.

What is important in connection with the following list is that, apart from the immediate purpose of their appearance, the files of the newspapers and periodicals are indispensible to any student making research into the history of the Welsh in the United States.

The number of newspapers in the list is 11, printed at the following places;

The number of periodicals is 33 and the following list shows (i.e counting their first imprints only) how widely they were distributed;

In the following list the periodicals are arranged according to the date of the first issue of each periodical;

In the alphabetically-arranged list which follows the size of the periodicals has been indicated where possible, but as some of the publications are not represented in the National Library of Wales this has not been done in every case. An asterisk indicates those periodicals which are in the National Library.



Idwal Lewis

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