Savannah Morning News Fund
The newspaper was founded as the Daily Morning News in 1850 by William Tappan Thompson. Except for a brief period during the Civil War, Thompson edited the newspaper until his death in 1882. During the Civil War he was a champion of the Confederacy until forced to evacuate Savannah as U.S. General William T. Sherman’s army approached the city on the March to the Sea.
The name changed twice before 1868. The paper went by the Daily News and Herald in 1865. The Savannah Daily Morning News lasted for one day on September 28, 1868. The next day it became the Savannah Morning News. The paper started publishing on Sundays in 1884. Four years later, the Morning News incorporated. The paper’s most famous editor was Joel Chandler Harris (his title was actually associate editor), who went on to collect the Uncle Remus tales.
On November 19, 1891, an evening newspaper, The Savannah Press, debuted with four pages under the ownership and editorship of Pleasant A. Stovall (later President Woodrow Wilson’s ambassador to Switzerland). In January 1931, the paper officially changed its name to the Savannah Evening Press.
On August 21, 1957, the Morning News and the Evening Press were sold to banker Mills B. Lane, Jr. and publisher Alvah H. Chapman (president and publisher). In 1960, Lane and Chapman sold the papers to William Shivers Morris, Jr., publisher of the Augusta Chronicle and Herald and owner of Southeastern Newspapers (later Morris Communications). In the summer of 1969, the staffs of the Morning News and Evening Press were merged. Morris closed the Evening Press in 1996, citing competition from television and other media.
As the only large daily paper on the Georgia shore, the Morning News is the state’s paper of record on a host of environmental issues, such as wetland preservation, red tide, coastline erosion, and water pollution.
During the tenure of Frank T. Anderson, who served as publisher from 1991 to 2005, the paper won the Georgia Press Association’s top award—first place in General Excellence—four times. National awards include Presbyterian College’s Hammet Award for “responsible, ethical, and courageous work in broadcast or print journalism,” and the James K. Batten Award for Excellence in Civic Journalism.
In 2005, the Savannah Morning News Fund was established at the Georgia Historical Society by William S. “Billy” Morris III of Morris Communications and Frank T. Anderson, ensuring the paper’s shared commitment to Savannah and to Georgia history education will continue.