The Great Chicago Fire began Oct. 8, 1871, and raged for two days. Hundreds died, and tens of thousands were left homeless. Businesses were ravaged.
The Chicago Daily Law Record — then the name of what is now the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin — was no exception. The paper missed two weeks of production after the fire, which also destroyed the courthouse.
Publication resumed on Oct. 23 from temporary quarters in the offices of Goddard, White & Crowell, a printing shop at 11 South Canal St. A note in the paper that day from publisher R.R. Stevens said:
“The Daily Law Record of this issue contains all the matter since the fire, up to and including Saturday October 21, 1871. The Record will soon be issued daily, as heretofore. I sincerely hope that my patrons will stand by me under these trying circumstances, and I shall endeavor, as I always have … to subserve their interests faithfully in my publication.”
The newspaper published three times a week, then every other day, and resumed daily publication on Monday, Jan. 8, 1872.
To this day, the weeks after the Great Chicago Fire mark the only stretch of inactivity since 1854 for the publication now known as the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
That includes the displacement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, when the delivery of legal news and court information owes much to technology. Today, even amid a crisis, we can reach readers wherever they — or we — are.
Adapted from “The 160-year niche: Law Bulletin hits milestone,” Oct. 27, 2014, by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
For more on the Great Chicago Fire, visit City on Fire: Chicago 1871 hosted by the Chicago History Museum.