The Zion Banner

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Title: The Zion Banner
City: Zion, Ill.
County: Lake
Frequency: Weekly
History: Zion Banner (1901-19??). Frequency changes.
Available online: 22 May 1901 - 30 June 1903 (134 issues)

Zion City was a utopian religious community founded in July 1901 by John Alexander Dowie, an evangelical minister, and pioneer of Pentecostalism in the United States. Dowie, Scottish by birth, moved to Australia in 1860 and later emigrated from Australia to the United States in 1888, and eventually settled in Chicago where, in 1893, he established a ministry near the World's Columbian Exposition. Central to Dowie's ministry was the practice of faith healing, and it proved enormously popular. He soon formed a publishing company to issue his sizable output of periodicals, books, and pamphlets. In 1896 he began planning a utopian religious community, to be named Zion City, which would serve as a refuge from the many social problems troubling American cities at the time, the same problems attracting the attention of contemporary Progressive Era reformers. Whereas most Progressive Era reformers viewed these problems as evidence of social, economic, and political dysfunction, Dowie saw them as evidence of religious and moral decay. He believed that only complete subordination to religious authority could solve the problems of modernity, and Zion City was planned as a church-state, or theocracy.

The Zion Banner was published initially in Chicago during the formation and planning of Zion City. The editor and publisher of this newspaper was John Alexander Dowie. It was intended to be "A weekly semi-secular paper devoted to the extension of the kingdom of God and elevation of man."

On May 20th, 1902 the newspaper changed to be published in Zion City rather than Chicago and updated its circulation to be published Tuesday and Friday afternoons. It also updated its description and described the newspaper as including, “important educational, commercial, ecclesiastical, municipal, social, and other events of Zion City, a semi-weekly account of the progress of the world and the building of Zion City’s industries and institutions.” It also included a “news of the world” section.

As of 1920 the newspaper was published monthly and edited by John A Lewis, from 19?? until his death on July 7th, 1920. He was succeeded as publisher and editor by C.F Caldwell.