The Lebanon Daily Record and the newspapers that preceded it have served the Lebanon trade area continuously for more than 130 years. One of the first known newspapers printed in Lebanon was The Clipper, a small, short-lived paper published in the 1860s. Several other newspapers sprang up in the early days of Lebanon. Most lasted only a short time. To trace the roots of The Lebanon Daily Record, you have to go back to 1866 when the Laclede County Republican was established by Major A.F. Lewis. As evident by its name, the newspaper had very strong Republican views. The paper was sold and changed names several times. J.E. MacKesson bought it in 1892, and he and his family operated the Republican for more than 30 years. Another early paper that is part of The Daily Record's heritage was the Lebanon Rustic, established in 1873. The Milton Fullers operated this paper the longest number of years of any of its owners. The Rustic and Laclede County Republican were combined in 1935 when a stock company, under the name of the Lebanon Publishing Co. Inc., purchased the Laclede County Republican, the Lebanon Rustic and the Lebanon Times. The Times had been published for a short time by Paul "Pete'' Page. The papers combined under the name of the Rustic-Republican, with Fred May as editor and publisher of the company and Paul Page as manager.
Lebanon's first daily paper with paid circulation was The Lebanon Daily News, established in 1936 by Mr. and Mrs. Fred May. The first issue of The Lebanon Daily Record hit the streets Aug. 6, 1945. In August 1946, Ozark Newspapers Inc. purchased the Rustic-Republican and Daily News from Col. and Mrs. Fred May. The businesses were consolidated under the name of Lebanon Publishing Co. Inc., with the weekly paper continuing as the Lebanon Rustic-Republican and the daily as The Lebanon Daily Record. In 1953 Lebanon Publishing Co. was purchased by the late O.R. Wright, father of current owner and president Dalton Wright. Dalton Wright purchased the newspaper in 1972. He has been active in community activities for three decades as well as serving as president of the Missouri Press Association in 1986 and the National Newspaper Association in 1998. In 2000 he was inducted into the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame. The last issue of the Rustic-Republican was published Sept. 25, 1975. Since then, The Lebanon Daily Record has been the only legal newspaper -- a newspaper qualified by law to publish legal notices -- in Laclede County. The newspaper and its predecessors have been published at various locations on Commercial Street in Lebanon most years since 1866. In February 1973, the office was moved from 221 E. Commercial to 290 S. Madison.
By the end of 1996, Lebanon Publishing Co. reached another milestone when it announced the purchase of the historic Lingsweiler building at 100 E. Commercial. After a year of construction and renovation in an attempt to return the 1912 structure to as close to its original condition as possible, the company moved its news, advertising, composing and business departments in the spring of 1998. Other departments, including the pressroom, remain at 290 S. Madison.