Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


Naomi Hatton Kincaid

ABILENE REPORTER-NEWS. The Abilene Reporter-News began as a weekly newspaper called the Abilene Reporter on June 17, 1881. The paper was founded by Charles Edwin Gilbert from Navasota, Texas, and printed at the Abilene Steam Printing House. A daily edition appeared by 1885. The paper was operated by Dr. Alfred H. H. Tolar fromMarch 1886 to the fall of 1887 and by John Hoeny, Jr., and F. S. Brittain between July 1888 and February 1895. It subsequently went into financial receivership. In 1896 George S. Anderson and several investors formed a partnership known as the Abilene Publishing Company to purchase the paper and publish it as the Abilene Daily Reporter. The paper continued with intermittent weekly or semiweekly supplements thereafter as the Abilene Reporter, Morning Reporter, Morning Reporter News, and Weekly Reporter.

In 1906, when the paper was incorporated, Bernard Hanks became its general manager and one of several stockholders. Hanks, who had joined the firm in 1897, retained independent ownership even after 1921, when he entered the partnership with Houston Harte that later became Harte-Hanks Communications. In 1923 the paper divided into separate printing and publishing companies, and in 1930 Hanks was named president of the publishing company. A morning edition, the Abilene Morning News, appeared from 1926 until about 1934. In 1937 the paper merged the Abilene Morning News and the Reporter to form thedaily Abilene Reporter News, which was published in morning, evening, and Sunday editions in the 1950s. After Hanks's death in 1948, the paper was run by his wife until her death in 1967. Hanks's daughter, Mrs. Andrew B. Shelton, served subsequently as chairman of the board. In the 1990s the paper had a circulation of 43,437, and was published by Andrew B. Shelton.

The Reporter-News was the first newspaper in West Texas to fight the open range, to advocate crop diversification and stock farming, and to join the Associated Press. It claims to have been the first daily in Texas to ban whiskey advertisements and to be among the first in American journalism to use special columns for classified advertising.

Naomi Hatton Kincaid, The Abilene Reporter-News and Its Contribution to the Development of Abilene (M.A. thesis, Hardin-Simmons University, 1945). Texas Newspaper Directory (Austin: Texas Press Service, 1991).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Naomi Hatton Kincaid, "ABILENE REPORTER-NEWS," accessed November 18, 2018,

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox