The Austin American-Statesman, in 1994 the only daily newspaper in Austin, Travis County, traces its origins back to the Democratic Statesman, which began publication every three weeks beginning in July 1871. The paper began as a semiofficial organ of the state executive committee of the Democratic party and was the only major Democratic newspaper in Texas at that time. It advocated "straight out Jacksonian Democracy" during the Reconstruction period of Republican control of the state. The paper was prominent in the election campaign of 1873, which resulted in the defeat of the Republican regime in Texas. In 1873 the paper began daily morning publication, and from 1880 to 1889 the publishers were John Cardwell and a Mr. Morris. In 1914 the Democratic Statesman took over the Austin Tribune (founded 1889), a competitor that in 1904 had absorbed a smaller local newspaper called the Austin Daily News. The newly consolidated paper began to publish each afternoon as the Austin Statesman and Tribune. In 1916 this paper changed its name to the Evening Statesman to reflect a new time of publication.
The first issue of the Austin American, published daily including Sunday, was issued on May 31, 1914, under the direction of Henry Hulme Sevier. In 1919 Charles E. Marsh and E. S. Fentress bought the American, and in December 1924, the Austin Evening Statesman, by then one of the oldest dailies in Texas. At this juncture the two papers were merged into one company, but were published as independent newspapers. The American remained the morning paper and the Statesman an afternoon paper, but the Sunday morning issue of the American was renamed the Sunday American-Statesman. Early in 1948 all of the Marsh-Fentress newspapers became a part of Newspapers Incorporated. The American joined the Associated Press, subscribed to the daily wire services of the United Press International News Service, and acquired comics and other news features on an independent basis from NEA, the Chicago Tribune, and other syndicates.
In November 1973 the Austin American and the Austin Statesman combined to become an all-day newspaper issued in four daily editions as the Austin American-Statesman. In 1976 Cox Enterprises purchased the Austin American-Statesman, and in April 1987, the paper switched from all-day publication to morning editions only. Its circulation reached 180,345 by 1991, by which time the paper was being published by Roger Kintzel.