The first newspaper in the area was the weekly Bloomington Observer and McLean County Advocate begun by Jesse Fell in 1837. The paper closed within two years, but was resurrected by R.B. Mitchell in 1845 as the Register.
This paper also failed and was purchased by Charles Merriman, who renewed it and renamed it the Whig, later known as the Western Whig, and the Intelligencer. In 1853, Merriman changed the name of his paper to the Pantagraph. The Pantagraph was a weekly publication until 1857 when it began to be published daily.
In 1868 Jesse Fell and his son-in-law W.O. Davis purchased the Pantagraph. Under their management, circulation grew remarkably, enabling the Pantagraph to absorb its rival newspaper The Bulletin in 1927. The Pantagraph remains the area’s daily newspaper of record.
The collection includes materials relating to the history of the Pantagraph, the owners and publishers, newspaper delivery boys, circulation and advertising, employee functions, Pantagraph exhibits, plus various handbooks and employee and miscellaneous publications, including a number of books. Also included is correspondence with publishers, postmasters, agents, and subscribers.