59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

A Finding Aid to Cottage City Star Newspapers, 1879-1885

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard Museum, Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
Call NumberRU 435
TitleCottage City Star newspapers
Extent4 oversize boxes (8 bound volumes) (2.969 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractThe collection consists of eight bound volumes, containing Cottage City Star newspapers issued between 1879 May 22 and 1885 September 30. The paper was printed weekly, except in July and August when it was a biweekly. It covered Martha's Vineyard events and topics of interest.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use and Reproduction Restrictions

Requests to reproduce material from this collection should be directed to the library's staff. Reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation

Martha's Vineyard Museum, RU 435, Cottage City Star Newspapers.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Howes Norris, March 22, 1941. (Accession no. 1941.036)


Railton, Arthur. The History of Martha's Vineyard. Beverly, Mass: Commonwealth Editions, 2006.

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joyce Cooper in February 2013 with assistance from Insley Julier. Machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick April 2014.

 Creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Related Materials

Related Materials

See also, RU 433, Martha's Vineyard Herald Newspapers, for the successor to the Cottage City Star.

Index Terms


  • Newspapers

Geographic Name(s)

  • Cottage City (Mass.)
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--Newspapers
  • Oak Bluffs (Mass.)--Newspapers
  • Vineyard Grove (Mass.)


  • Newspapers--Massachusetts--Martha's Vineyard

Biography/Historical Note

The Cottage City Star started publication in May 1879 in Vineyard Grove, then a section of Edgartown, Massachusetts. For years citizens of Vineyard Grove had been trying unsuccessfully to secede from Edgartown and incorporate the independent town of Cottage City, (later Oak Bluffs). Heading the secessionists was a group known as the Vineyard Publishing Association. In order to further their political goals, these gentlemen bought a print shop and started publishing the Cottage City Star on a Washington Handpress. The paper was intended to be a direct competitor with the Edgartown-based, Vineyard Gazette, and to create support up-island for the secession movement. As the newspaper's Editor Howes Norris, explained in 1885, the secession movement began so that the; "then oppressed section of Edgartown might give voice to their sentiments and have an aid in securing what they deemed their rights."

The first editor of the Cottage City Star was former Methodist minister Edward H. Hatfield. Holding the position less than seven months, Reverend Hatfield retired allowing Howes Norris to assume management. Norris was the son of Captain Shaw Norris of Edgartown, a marine reporter, editor and publisher. In 1881, Howes Norris bought a Monitor Quarto Job Press, increasing his printing capabilities. By 1883, Norris boasted to potential advertisers: "We guarantee an average local circulation five times greater than all other Vineyard papers. Our County circulation exceeds that of any other paper."

The Vineyard Publishing Association had accomplished its mission by October 1879 with a man elected to the state house. The Commonwealth granted incorporation in February 1880. The organization passed out of existence, but the newspaper carried on. Howes Norris continued to be editor and publisher until September 1885, when Charles Strahan purchased the paper and created the Martha's Vineyard Herald. The Cottage City Star was included on the masthead of the Martha's Vineyard Herald until September 1886.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection includes eight bound volumes of the Cottage City Star printed between May 1879 and September 1885. The Star was a four page local newspaper; "especially devoted to the interests of Martha's Vineyard." Articles featured news, events and activities happening all over the island.


The collection is arranged chronologically.

Collection Contents


Cottage City Star, vol. I, no. 1 - vol. I, no. 34, 1879 May 22 - 1879 November 20 


Cottage City Star, vol. I, no. 35 - vol. I, no. 60, 1879 November 27 -1880 May 20 


Cottage City Star, vol. II, no. 1 - vol. II, no. 59, 1880 May 27 - 1881 May 19 


Cottage City Star, vol. III, no. 1 - vol. III, no. 61, 1881 May 26 - 1882 May 18 


Cottage City Star, vol. IV, no. 1 - vol. IV, no. 61, 1882 May 25 - 1883 May 16 


Cottage City Star, vol. V, no. 1 - vol. V, no. 62, 1883 May 23 - 1884 May 21 


Cottage City Star, vol. VI, no. 1 - vol. VI, no. 60, 1884 May 28 - 1885 May 20 


Cottage City Star, vol. VII, no. 1 - vol. VII, no. 27, 1885 May 27 - 1885 September 30