The Barcroft News

Barcroft's neighborhood newsletter was first published in 1903. Its initial publisher was Barcrofter who worked at the Government Printing Office. While Barcroft's newsletter archives date back to the 1970s (with some omissions), Barcroft is fortunate to have copies of the original newsletters from 1903.

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1903 Issues

The first issue of Barcroft News.

The first issue of Barcroft News.

According to its masthead, the first Barcroft News was written, edited and published in 1903 by O. Edward Haring, the son of Oscar Haring, who ran a general store at Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run (where the Barcroft Shopping Center is a hundred years later) at that time. Eddie Haring was then 18 years old. He was "a very bright, likeable fellow and the hero of all the neighborhood belles and the ring leader in all the sports and social events as well," according to Louise Payne's recollection in her article on Barcroft.

More recently we have been told that the actual writer and printer of the paper was Sydney Marye, an uncle of Eddie Haring who also lived in the neighborhood with his family. Marye's daughter, Adaline Marye Robertson, lived in Barcroft until the late 1990's and although she was just a babe at the time she remembers that it was a family joke that Sydney insisted on crediting the paper to Haring. (Adaline was mentioned in the 1903 Barcroft News as "the baby at the Maryes"' and she is still being honorably mentioned in the present day Barcroft News!)

The four pages of the paper were only 4" wide by 5 3/4" long. The little newspaper served a community of 20 houses, and the masthead proclaims that it was published in "Barcroft, Va."

The "Personals" give an interesting peek at life in Barcroft 85 years ago. People did lots of visiting, gardening was popular, and the Barcroft Mill was still grinding meal. Other features covered local events, the condition of Columbia Pike, the running of the railroad up Four Mile Run, and County elections. There were ads for building lots, groceries and baled hay. There is a dig at Falls Church in the July 5 issue, and there was constant sniping at Southern Railway, who ran the trains Marye and other Barcrofters used to commute to work in DC. It was a great little paper, and the patronizing review in the big Washington Times called it "the smallest and most novel newspaper published in America."

The Haring/Marye Barcroft News was the third publication printed in Arlington County and the first neighborhood newsletter. It was published "fortnightly" for about six months, ending with the November 23, 1903, issue. Later when the Barcroft School and Civic League began publishing its newsletter it was natural to use the original 1903 name. So the roots of the Barcroft News go a long way back.

The front page of issue number 3, July 5, 1903, appeared as an illustration in an article titled "A History of Printing in Arlington (Alexandria) County" by Robert Nelson Anderson. The article was published in the Arlington Historical Magazine in October of 1959. The caption says "..said to be one of the earliest items to be printed in what is now Arlington County, Virginia." The author had probably never heard of Sydney Marye, and of course assumed that Haring had published the paper.

A close look at the 1903 Barcroft News shows that it was a quality publication despite its size. It was very well edited, the spelling was exceptionally accurate, the grammar was exemplary, the general tone was mature, the viewpoint was adult, the typesetting was flawless and the printing was quite professional. Would young blade-around-Barcroft Eddie Haring have had the skills to produce such a paper? Marye was an employee of the Government Printing Office, and seems more likely to have published the paper as a hobby, attributing it to Haring because of his job at GPO. That would explain two serious articles about union activities at GPO, and numerous articles about commuting to Washington on the train.

An Alexandria Daily Times review quoted in issue No. 3 spoke of the "youthful editor," but said "We seem to recognize the ear-marks of an old sinner in some of the articles, and congratulate Editor Haring either on his adaptability to imitate a good lead or in the selection of his assistant." From these indicators it seems likely that Mrs. Robertson's memory is correct, and Sydney Marye was actually responsible for the paper.

Thanks to Mrs. Robertson, the BSCL archives have copies of the papers, and they will be reproduced here. This set is missing only issues No. 2 and 5. You will occasionally find excerpts from the 1903 Barcroft News in issues of the present-day Barcroft News, which in 2004 carries the heading Volume 101 thanks to its origins in 1903. Its editor from 2005 to 2008 was Annie Harold, living in the same house where the Maryes lived, writing and editing the Barcroft News in the same rooms where Sydney Marye had written and edited the 1903 edition.

Archive

The archives will gradually be added to this website. In the meantime, if you want to find an older version of the newsletter, please contact the webmaster.

Back issues of the Barcroft newsletter will be posted here.

Advertising

You can purchase advertising in the Barcroft newsletter. Please consult the current rate sheet. For questions, please contact Advertising Manager Jennifer Tomlinson.

News Annex

Barcroft maintains a news annex for articles that were too long or detailed for the limited space in its newsletter. You can access news annexes, where available, by looking for issues with an asterisk (*) behind the date of the issue.

Missing Issues

Unfortunately, Barcroft is missing a few issues of its newsletter, and welcomes donations of any files you may have. Please let the webmaster know if you have any leads on following issues:

  • May 2002
  • May - August 1986
  • June 1979 - March 1984
  • January 1979
  • May 1977 - October 1978
  • October 1975 - January 1977
  • Issues prior to March 1974