Grit Newspaper – later Grit Magazine – has been continuously publishing since 1882. Originally it had a history of being a Saturday feature of the Daily Sun and Banner in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Grit was purchased for $1,000 by a German immigrant who was 25-year-old and employee of the paper, Dietrick Lamade. Also, the publication, starting from a single room and only 1,000 in circulation, grew under the control of the Lamade family to a circulation of around 1.5 million.
A Kid’s First Business
The mid twentieth century saw thousands of young newsboys recruited to sell Grit via ads in other publications, such as Boys’ Life. They sold papers for 10 cents with the newsboys paid 4 cents. However, Grit was not alone in providing early employment. In addition, the Cheerful Card Company also targeted youth during the same period to sell its wares.
Grit appeared in the early Twentieth Century in tabloid format and was best known in small town America. Its editorial policy promoted an optimistic view of the news and of life in general. The paper looked to inspire the better nature of its readers and avoid dwelling on the negative.
Grit featured a long list of comics, human interest articles, and practical advice aimed at the rural – often agrarian – readers. That is not to say that Grit didn’t appeal to an urban audience too. Grit was at times innovative in content and in adopting new technology. The paper was an early adopter of offset printing and the use of color. The Williamsport, Pennsylvania roots of Grit also offered the potential tie to The Little League World Series by mid-century.
Chain of Ownership
Here is a more complete timeline of Grit ownership up to today:
1882: George W. Hazleton published the first issue of Grit in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
1888: Hazleton sold the magazine to a group of investors from St. Louis, Missouri.
1902: Grit was sold to Dietrick Lamade, a businessman from Williamsport.
1925: Lamade sold Grit to Mast Publications, a publishing company in Cleveland, Ohio.
1936: Mast Publications sold Grit to the McFadden Publications, a New York-based publisher.
1951: McFadden Publications sold Grit to Fawcett Publications, a publisher in Greenwich, Connecticut.
1962: Fawcett Publications sold Grit to Cowles Communications, a publisher in Des Moines, Iowa.
1978: Cowles Communications sold Grit to the Rural Media Group, a company in Topeka, Kansas.
Ogden Publications – Today’s Grit
Ultimately, the Harris family, owners of Ogden Publications in Topeka, Kansas, purchased Grit from the Rural Media Group.
Ogden publishes niche magazines, books, and digital content on topics related to sustainable living, homesteading, and self-sufficiency. In addition to Grit, the company’s other publications include Mother Earth News, Utne Reader, and many others.
By acquiring Grit, Ogden Publications expanded its portfolio of publications in the homesteading and sustainable living space, and continued to provide valuable information and resources to its readership.
Grit is now a bi-monthly magazine, available at news stands and at retailers such as Tractor Supply. The magazine now has a focus on homesteading, gardening, livestock, and other traditional rural skills and interests. You may also order it by mail from the Grit website. The publication has the distinction of being one of the few older brands that has survived over time.
- Year Started: 1882
- Year Ended: 2099
- Origin Of Name: Connotation of determination and toughness
- Location Sales: North America
- Brand Name Predecessor: Williamsport Daily Sun and Banner
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Dietrick Lamade
- Owner While In Use: Lamade Family
- Owner Successor: Ogden Publications
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Grit Magazine
- Naics Code: 513110
- Location Headquarters: Topeka, Kansas, United States