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Newspaper Chicago Eagle (Chicago, Ill.) 1889-19??

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About Chicago Eagle (Chicago, Ill.) 1889-19??

Founded by Henry F. Donovan in 1889, the Chicago Eagle was issued weekly for sixty years. Donovan was the publisher and editor until his death in 1929 and was succeeded by his son, John M. Donovan.

Born in 1858 in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, Donovan moved with his family to Chicago in 1862. He began his career in journalism at the Chicago Evening Journal, and he later became political editor of the Chicago Times. He was a charter member of the Chicago Press Club. Along with publishing his newspaper, Donovan held a number of elected and appointed political offices: Deputy County Clerk (Cook County); President of the Cook County Board of Education; Superintendent of the Chicago Post Office; Inspector General of the Illinois National Guard; Gas Inspector for the City of Chicago; and member of the Democratic Party Central Committee for Cook County.

The Chicago Eagle has been incorrectly identified as an African American newspaper in numerous bibliographies, and one issue was included in the microfilm collection commissioned by the American Council of Learned Societies in the late 1940s, “Negro Newspapers on Microfilm,” filmed at the Library of Congress. In fact, the Chicago Eagle was a Democratic Party organ devoted to municipal politics (although Donovan, who was Irish American, billed his paper as “independent in all things, neutral in none”). With its narrow focus on party politics, the Chicago Eagle was in reality so remote from the black press that it did not even report on the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. This confusion may have arisen because of the similarity of the title to the California Eagle, the prominent black newspaper owned and operated in Los Angeles by Charlotta Bass.

Donovan campaigned relentlessly against graft and corruption in local and state government, with a particular emphasis on working conditions in the department stores; the meat-packing industry; the emerging telecommunications monopoly; election fraud; bribery of public officials; and public safety issues. The standard front-page layout of the Chicago Eagle featured two leading stories above the fold, separated by a portrait of a public figure (who may have no connection to the reported news). Each of the leading stories bore a sensational headline that spanned two or three columns, depending on the size of the portrait. Typical examples of Donovan’s headlines and sub-headings include:

“Building Law Defied: Marshall Field & Co. Appear to Have Easy Time in Violating Fire Ordinance”

“Phone Slavery: The People of Chicago Pay for Deliverance from the Group of the Awful Bell Monopoly”

“Meat Scandal Grows: Chicago is Not the Only City with Tuberculosis, Lumpy Jaw, and Cancerous Beef”

“Soak Taxpayer: Chicago Aldermen, Most of Whom Pay No Tax, Ask Governor to Help Them Increase Peoples Burden”

“Worse Than War: The Annual Slaughter of Chicago People by Automobiles is Arousing Public Sentiment”

“Beef Trust Tyrants Accused of Paying the Lowest Wages to the Employees, They Menace Public Peace”

“Red Cross Bunk: Using Red Cross Name to Buy Cigarettes or Paper Coffin Nails for Soldiers is the Limit”

“Disenfranchised: Over Quarter of a Million Chicagoans Will Lose Ballot Under New Illinois Law”

Donovan claimed for the Chicago Eagle the largest weekly circulation in the city and county of any paper published in Chicago,but in 1894, the circulation of 26,000 (as reported by the publisher) was dwarfed by the circulation of the Chicago Daily News (203,000) and the Chicago Inter Ocean (125,000). In later decades, Donovan revised his claim as the Largest Weekly Circulation Among People of Influence and Standing.

Provided By: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

About this Newspaper


  • Chicago Eagle (Chicago, Ill.) 1889-19??

Dates of Publication

  • 1889-19??

Created / Published

  • Chicago, Ill. : Henry F. Donovan, 1889-[19--?]
  • Chicago, Ill. : John M. Donovan


  • -  Chicago (Ill.)--Newspapers
  • -  Illinois--Chicago
  • -  United States--Illinois--Cook County--Chicago


  • Newspapers


  • -  Monthly, Sept. 1944-
  • -  Vol. 1, no. 1 (Oct. 5, 1889)-v. 36, no. 3 (Apr. 20, 1907) ; 18th year, no. 30 (Apr. 27, 1907)-
  • -  "Independent in all things, neutral in none."
  • -  "It will be devoted to politics, and will faithfully chronicle, without fear or favor, the doings of men in all parties," Oct. 5, 1889.
  • -  Issue for Dec. 2, 1893 called also "Thanksgiving Number."
  • -  Issues for called also whole no. <1408-7592>.
  • -  Various incorrect vol., issue, page numbering, and chronological designation.
  • -  Preservation microfilmed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library as part of the United States Newspaper Program; the years 1892-1949 (on 12 microfilm reels) are available for purchase from OCLC Preservation Service Centers.
  • -  Filmed by the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service as part of the Negro Newspapers on Microfilm collection, Reel 5, Title 9, although not an African-American newspaper.
  • -  Archived issues are available in digital format as part of the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • -  Microfilmed. 2008 Master negative no. CHM INP 2009 560-CHM INP 2009 570, for ordering information contact University of Illinois at Urbana, Preservation Department. pda
  • -  Latest issue consulted: 58th year, no. 2 (Nov. 1946) = whole no. 7592.


  • volumes : illustrations, portraits

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Newspaper

Library of Congress Control Number

  • sn84025828

OCLC Number

  • 10359768

ISSN Number

  • 2158-2718

Additional Metadata Formats


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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Chicago Eagle Chicago, Ill. -19??. (Chicago, IL), Jan. 1 1889.

APA citation style:

(1889, January 1) Chicago Eagle Chicago, Ill. -19??. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Chicago Eagle Chicago, Ill. -19??. (Chicago, IL) 1 Jan. 1889. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,