Considered the “second city” of Louisiana until being surpassed in population by Baton Rouge in the late 20th century, Shreveport was founded on the banks of the Red River in 1836 by steamboat captain Henry Miller Shreve of Pennsylvania. The city quickly became an important cotton shipping center and staging point on the route to Texas. In the early 20th century, Shreveport gradually moved from an agricultural to an industrial economy and from a river shipping center to a railroad hub. Its population nearly doubled between 1900 and 1910. In 1911, the region’s first oil well was drilled, marking the beginning of Shreveport’s rise as an oil center.
In 1889, the Shreveport Daily Democrat [LCCN: sn88064502] was renamed and subsequently issued as the Daily Caucasian [LCCN: sn88064468] and Weekly Caucasian [LCCN: sn88064467]. The name change reflected its support for black disfranchisement and white control of Louisiana’s state government. The weekly edition also became the official state organ of white Populists. The papers’ owner was Victor Grosjean (1844-1928), a native of New Orleans and a veteran of the Civil War. Grosjean had previously worked for two Shreveport newspapers and managed the Heptasoph [LCCN: sn94058012], a New Orleans newspaper published by the Order of Heptasophs, a national fraternal benevolent association. In 1900, he issued the Caucasian for the first time as a biweekly. It changed to a triweekly in 1903 with four pages dedicated to its mid-week issues and eight to its Sunday issue. The paper was issued once again as the Daily Caucasian [LCCN: sn88064470] in April 1927, shortly after Grosjean’s retirement. Ward Delaney managed it for about a year before it was discontinued.
Designated the “Official Journal of the Parish of Caddo,” the Caucasian was devoted to the interests of Shreveport’s white population and supported the prevailing views of its time regarding black participation in government and society. It published miscellaneous international, national, and local news. A “Report of vital statistics of Shreveport” recorded marriages, births, and deaths. Because of Shreveport’s location, the paper included news items from east Texas and southern Arkansas. The Caucasian was a “home” newspaper that carried fiction, poetry, essays, children’s stories, sermons, and sports news. Fashion and housekeeping sections were included for women. Of related interest are biographical sketches and other stories about leading women from around the globe, printed in columns such as “Feminine Snapshots,” “Notable Women” by Dora Bella Denison and Marcia Willis Campbell, and “The New Woman” by New York journalist Eliza Archard Conner.