The CLEVELAND CITIZEN began a career on 31 Jan. 1891 that eventually made it "America's oldest labor paper." It was founded on $30 capital by MAX S. HAYES and Henry C. Long, both members of the Cleveland Typographical Union No. 53. After 4 months, it was adopted by the Cleveland Central Labor Union, which financed its publication in exchange for free distribution to members of its constituent locals. Circulation of the Citizen climbed steadily from 1,000 to 10,000 during the first decade of the 20th century. Reflecting the stance of the CLU, the Citizen supported Eugene V. Debs and advocated independent political action by labor. Hayes regained full ownership of the Citizen in 1910, when internal schisms interrupted the sponsorship of the CLU. Henry Long having withdrawn in 1898, Hayes was solely in charge for the next 40 years, assisted first by ROBT. BANDLOW and later by David H. Jenkins as business managers. During the labor upheavals of the 1930s, Hayes was sympathetic to the goals of industrial unionism but reluctant to abet the splintering of the labor movement.

With circulation approaching 30,000 in 1940, Hayes suffered a stroke and relinquished control of the Citizen to his son-in-law, Albert I. (Bert) Davey, who ran the Citizen for the next 37 years. He was aided by Elizabeth Fanz, who became business manager in 1945 and Davey's second wife after the death of Maxine Hayes Davey in 1975. Reflecting the postwar merger of the AFL-CIO, the Citizen reported circulations of over 50,000 from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. When Davey terminated his editorship of the Citizen in 1977, ownership of the paper was assumed by the Cleveland Bldg. & Constr. Trades Council, which appointed Wm. G. Obbagy as editor under the supervision of a 9-member board. It published 2 editions in 1993, the Cleveland Citizen and the Ohio Labor Citizen, with a combined circulation of 27,000.

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