Happy Birthday to the Vineyard Gazette: the first issue of the Gazette came out 169 years ago today, May 14, 1846.

A birthday is an opportunity to look to the past, and here’s a look at the Vineyard Gazette of 100 years ago. In 1915, Charles H. Marchant was the publisher and editor; he was the grand-nephew of the paper’s founder, Edgar Marchant. Mr. Marchant devoted most of his life to the Gazette; he served as a printer in the early days, and owned the paper from 1888 to 1920. He announced his retirement on May 27, 1920, and sold the Gazette to the Hough family. But Mr. Marchant continued to be a part of the Gazette staff until his death in 1931.

Charles Marchant, publisher and editor of the Gazette from 1888 to 1920.

Under Mr. Marchant’s tenure, the Gazette started columns for Lambert’s Cove, Roaring Brook, Squibnocket, North Tisbury and Gay Head. He ran histories of Civil War campaigns and the paper often used news from mainland papers, though Mr. Marchant began to run items of Island interest on the front page. Ads were often run on the front page, too. The front page of the December 9, 1915 edition of the Gazette featured advertisements for women’s squirrel-lined gloves and Christmas handkerchiefs and a large ad for the Edgartown National Bank, “deposits and discounts solicited.”

A Gazette subscription was $1.50 a year; single copies were five cents. The winter population, the Gazette reported, was 4,500 and the summer population was 20,000.

In the May 13, 1915 issue of the Gazette, Mr. Marchant defended running an advertisement opposing women’s suffrage.

“It is perhaps advisable, for the information of some of our readers, to state that communications or advertising matter appearing in this paper do not necessarily express the personal views or opinion, or indicate the taste of the editor,” Mr. Marchant wrote. “The case in point is the advertisement in last week’s Gazette opposing Suffrage to Women. The article was marked ‘advertisement,’ was paid matter, and was inserted on the order of a gentleman, a summer resident of the island, who is an ardent anti-suffragist. Probably the majority of our readers do not agree with most of the arguments there presented and, on the other hand, do favor suffrage to women, as does the editor of the Gazette. But everyone does not like the same things. For instance: We do not see why a paper should refuse a 20-inch advertisement of Limburger cheese simply because the great majority of people would not have it in the house, and there you are.”

Next week, the Gazette will mark the beginning of its 170th year. The May 22, 2015 paper will be volume 170, number one.

Tom Dunlop contributed reporting.