William Allen White bought the newspaper for $3,000 ($85.3 thousand in 2016 dollars) in 1895. Through his editorship, over the next five decades, he became an iconic figure in American journalism and political life. The paper rose to national prominence and influence in the Republican Party following the 1896 publication of "What's the Matter With Kansas?", a White editorial that harshly criticized Populism and the Presidential campaign of William Jennings Bryan. White struck up a friendship with US President Theodore Roosevelt who stayed at the White home, called Red Rocks, during cross country trips.
White won the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for editorials after he was arrested for a free speech violation of a newly enacted law pushed by Kansas Governor Henry Justin Allen. White's autobiography, published posthumously, won the 1947 Pulitzer Prize.
The newspaper is still published by the White family.
Besides owning The Emporia Gazette, The White family owns The St. Marys Star, in St. Marys, Kansas, The Chase County Leader-News, in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, and as of 5 November 2013, The Westmoreland Recorder, in Westmoreland, Kansas.The White Corporation added the The Junction City Union, the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle and the Wamego Smoke Signal to its newspaper family in February 2016.