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Thomas Edward Watson--The Jeffersonian

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Collection number: MS-15

Scope and Contents

The Jeffersonian was a weekly newspaper published by Jeffersonian Publishing, which was owned by Thomas E. Watson. The paper served to promote the Populist Party. Watson would use the paper as a platform for Watsons attacks against the Catholic church, African Americans, Jews, the League of Nations, President Woodrow Wilson, and the war effort in World War I. Watsons publications served an organized boycott and a federal prosecution for mailing obscene literature, and would not be silenced until finally suppressed by the Wilson administration under the Espionage Act of 1917. Despite controversy and opposition, Watsons weekly publication commanded a loyal political force, and no Georgia governor between 1906 and 1922 was elected without Watsons support.The newspapers contain articles that are relevant to the time period they are written. They include advertisements, editorials, and political ads. The Dates range from May 21, 1908 through February 23, 1911.

Harmful Content Policy: Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collection’s collection houses materials collected to elucidate the past. We recognize that users may encounter some items within these collections that contain offensive language, viewpoints, imagery or other forms of objectionable content. Such materials document the past and should be viewed within the context of their original time period. Providing online access to these historical materials does not endorse any attitudes, prejudices, or behaviors depicted therein. Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections is committed to upholding the principle of equal and free access to unaltered historical information. (based upon the statement for the Georgia Public Library Service on harmful content)


  • 1908-1911


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

Thomas Edward Watson (September 5, 1856 September 26, 1922), he was known as Tom Watson, a United States politician from Georgia. In early years, Watson Championed poor farmers and the working class; later he became a controversial publisher and Populist politician. Two years before his death, he was elected to the United States Senate. His virulent attacks on the Roman Catholic Church, African Americans, Jews, the League of Nations, President Woodrow Wilson and the war effort in World War I diminished his political influence. Watson was born in Thomson, the county seat of McDuffie County, Georgia. After attending Mercer University (he did not graduate, family finances forced withdrawal after two years), he became a schoolteacher. Watson later studied law and was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1875. He joined the Democratic Party and in 1882 was elected to the Georgia Legislature. Watson was a presidential elector on the Democratic ticket in 1888. He was elected as a Populist to the 52nd Congress (1891-1893). He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1892 and 1894. Watson resumed the practice of law in Thomson, Georgia. Watson was nominated for Vice President by the Populist National Convention in 1896 and for President by the Peoples Party in 1904. He published a magazine for many years and later engaged in the newspaper business (The Jeffersonian). Watson unsuccessfully ran for House of Representatives in 1918 and was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate and served from 1921 until his death in Washington, D.C., September 26 1922. Watson is buried in Thomson Cemetery in Thomson, Georgia.


2.00 Boxes



Archon Finding Aid Title
Deborah F. Benson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-03-23: Revised for DACS compliance by Douglas Carlson.

Repository Details

Part of the Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Valdosta State University Archives, Odum Library
1500 N. Patterson St.
Valdosta GA 30601 United States
229-259-5055 (Fax)