History of Newspapers in Clay County
The Spring, or the Green Cove Spring, began publishing sometime after the Civil War and is the only important newspaper printed in Clay County (Green Cove Springs) until 1928 when the Clay County Crescent appeared.
Four short exceptions to this include:
The Crescent billed itself as the official county newspaper. It had the contract for publishing official notices, foreclosures, etc., so in that respect it was official. The Breeze began competing with the Crescent from 1944. In 1968, the Breeze was renamed Clay Today and survives until the present time. Clay Today (Breeze) purchased the Crescent in the 1990s and merged operations.
The County Chronicle emerged in 1996 and continued publishing until at least 2003.
The Florida Times Union has tried various ways of covering Clay County, from having volunteer correspondents send in news which was printed in small articles under “Clay County” or “Melrose” or “Orange Park”, etc., to publishing supplements within the main paper once or twice each week.
Newspapers have also served local areas. The Keystone Heights Reporter appeared in 1969. The Lake Region Monitor began serving Keystone Heights in 1973, and is now published by the Bradford County Telegraph. Several Middleburg newspapers sprang up in the 1970s including the Country Mail (1976), Middleburg Times (about 1981), Middleburg Press (1985), and a few others. None remain in operation.
There have been many varieties of free newspapers, including the Clay Countian, (now defunct), the Leader (purchased by Clay Today in 2007), and Neighbor-to-Neighbor (2000), which still survives.
Volunteers have completed several projects: Florida Times Union microfilm at the Jacksonville Main Library Florida Collection has been searched to index articles pertaining to Clay County 1895-1901. Various repositories have been searched to prepare an index to the location of whole historical newspapers published in Clay County. To support colonial and territorial research, volunteers have created an index to newspapers mentioning Florida 1756-1819.
Clippings are stored chronologically in the Newspaper Clippings binders and by subject in the Subect Files.
Newspaper Clippings Binders
The newspaper clipping binders was maintained by various volunteers for many years, especially during the 1980s. They are arranged in chronological sequence and are mostly from the Florida Times Union and local papers. The subject matter relates to whatever the volunteers found interesting, which was mostly local, but occasionally national articles. Some of these volumes have been scanned into searchable PDFs. Check to see if the volumes you are interested in are available in electronic form. In particuar, this is an excellent source for Middleburg history.
Newspaper Clippings in the Subject Files
The Subject Files contain all sorts of documents, photos, genealogy, newspaper clippings, etc. Most, but not all, of the papers within the subject files are indexed. Search the index to find subject files which may have clippings you are interested in.
The Archives has many original hardcopy issues of Clay County newspapers, beginning in 1891. They are arranged by publication and then chronologically. Each archival box is a series, and each newspaper is an item in the Whole Newspaper collection.
No archives has a complete set of all Clay County newspapers. For that reason, our Catalog of Whole Newspapers pertaining to Clay County lists al of the known copies presently known to exist, highlighting those at the Archives in bold. Besides the Archives, whole newspapers are available on microfilm at the Jacksonville Main Library, or at one of the Florida university libraries. Clay Today is available online from 2005.
County-wide subscription newspapers .
The Jacksonville Main Library has microfilm of the Times Union beginning in 1883 and has bound indexes available for issues beginning in 1885. The index is not complete, and, unfortunately, the issues would need to be thoroughly searched to find all articles on a particular subject. At least, the index will give a rough idea of what periods to focus on.
Births, marriages and death lists are included in the Library’s index. Very few Clay births are mentioned. The marriage list can be used, but we have the official marriage registers from pre-Clay Duval, and from Clay so those are likely to be more accurate.
For your convenience, Archives volunteers have created an Index to Clay County Articles in the FL Times Union from 1885 through 1901.
Prior to local papers, the closest publication was the Palatka Eastern Herald. Copies exist as far back as 1869. The Bradford County Telegraph can also be useful, especially for news about Melrose.
Many issues of Florida papers are available online at the Florida Digital Newspaper Library. These papers have been scanned and the content is fully searchable.
The location of hardcopy and microfilm for Florida papers is available at The Florida Newspaper Project. The University of Central Florida has a collection of newspapers on microfilm. This collection is not included in the Florida Digial Newspaper Library or the Florida Newspaper Project.
Northern newspapers, especially in New York and Boston, covered the comings and goings at Green Cove Springs during the Hotel Era. Many of the New York newspapers are available at fultonhistory.com
Accounts related to guests at the Magnolia Springs hotel have been extensively researched, and a scrapbook of articles is available at the Archives.
The Archives has developed an index to American and British papers which mention Florida in colonial times (1756-1819).
The Goza-Mickler collection at the University of Florida is a hardcopy collection of newspapers with Florida content. An online index is available. This collection is not accessed very frequently, and P K Yonge librarians aren't very familiar with it. You may want to ask for the curator's assistance.
Many other repositories and indexes are available online. In particular, check the Library of Congress.
St. Augustine Newspapers
There were no known newspapers published in the first or second Spanish periods. However, during the British colonial period, one newspaper did publish for a short period – The East Florida Gazette. It’s timing was poor, since in that very same year, Britain handed Florida back to Spain. It appears to have been pubished from February to May of 1783. About half the issues are available in various repositories. It is unknown to what extent any information is provided about the Clay County area. Known copies include: Feb 22 (Tulane), Mar 1 (LOC, Tulane), Apr 26 (Tulane), May 3 (LOC, Tulane), May 10 (Tulane), May 17 (LOC, Tulane), and an unknown set at Stanford.
Many other St. Augustine newspapers existed in later times. The St. Augustine Histoical Society may be able to assist you.