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January 5, 2015 4:00 AM, EST

Ahead of 80th Anniversary, Transport Topics Opens the Archives

A Look Back at First Issue and How TT Got Its Name
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Transport Topics is launching an online archive project to share the industry’s rich history with our readers. The starting point for this research endeavor was an easy choice — the first edition of Transport Topics, published 80 years ago this coming September.

The newspaper initially launched as “A.T.A. News Bulletin” in 1934, but the federation quickly decided that name didn’t tell the whole story.

“In view of the fact that the publication had grown within a year from a house organ to a real newspaper for the Trucking Industry, the name changed to indicate the breadth of the field which it covered,” ATA said in announcing the change on the front page of the Sept. 2, 1935 issue.

And since that day nearly eight decades ago, TT has been published each Monday — more than 4,100 times — with the exception of some year-end, double issues.

As for the name Transport Topics — it was the creation of H. Scott Byerly, one of several hundred subscribers from across the country responding to ATA’s “Name the Publication” contest.

The Washington, D.C., traffic advisor submitted several possible names on his typewritten letter. However, it was the words “Transport Topics” — written in pencil at the bottom of the letter — that caught the attention of ATA President Ted Rodgers and the two other judges.

They unanimously selected Transport Topics, earning Byerly a $25 prize. A photo of Rodgers presenting Byerly his check is the only photo that appears in the inaugural four-page edition of TT. Coverage that week included stories on the implementation of the federal Motor Carrier Act, Congress’ debate on highway-safety measures and a warning about increasing deaths on roads related to the growing problem of hitchhiking.

Each week, another front page from our archives will be posted at ttnews.com, showcasing TT’s coverage of historical moments over the past 80 years.

Readers are encouraged to e-mail us at tteditor@ttnews.com with suggestions on archived moments they would like to see.

Besides launching TT, another important event for ATA took place in 1935. A family-owned company was started in Salina, Kansas, known as Graves Truck Line. One of the founders — William Graves — had a son years later named Bill, who would go on to be the governor of his home state and then, in 2003, become president of ATA.