The Sidereal Times was first published as a 4-page broadside in the small southern Ontario town of Dorking in May of 1912, and has continued in various forms continuously ever since. Reflecting the unconventional insight, dogged sense of fairness, and possible mental illness of founder Chelmsford Harrington (pictured above, ca. 1928), ST has been offering its fiercely loyal leadership news and commentary from varied and fanciful perspectives, always confident of its readers’ ability to discern, as “Chazz” himself said, “the truth lurking behind the facts.”
Through all the twists and turns in the remarkable history of ST, through the violence of the 1934 cartoonist strike, the great Treason Trial of 1946, the tumult brought on by the ill-advised and short-lived merger with comic book publisher Classics Illustrated in 1962, two core principals have been constant throughout. One is that there are no individual author credits (as Harrington told every new journalistic hire, “If you are not comfortable sharing with your fellow journalists both the praise your work may receive and the criticism that their work may receive, this won’t be a good home for you.”
The other core principal is that the writers of the Sidereal Times must be diligent truthseekers, but also must be vigilant about the entertainment value of their work.
This notion that the journalist’s goal was to inform and entertain their readership was anathema to journalists for most of ST’s history, and has only been recently accepted as the norm. When defending his controversial 1933 headline “German Mortician’s Union Excited at Prospect of Hitler Election Victory”, Chelmsford Harrington said: “The New York Times is drily and respectfully claiming that Mr. Hitler appears to be bringing a ‘new moderation’ to Germany, and that the ‘rougher claims of his campaign speeches can be ignored.’ I personally think my so-called irreverent paper’s assessment of his potential holds more value. We’ll see who’s right.”
It is with that spirit and confidence, the Sidereal Times will proudly continue its tradition of bringing you the important news in untraditional ways.