Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Biography - W. Earl Hall
April 07, 1897 ~ April 12, 1969

W. Earl Hall was born in Ripley, Iowa, on April 7, 1897. As a teenager he worked for the Jefferson Bee. At the University of Iowa, he became the editor of The Daily Iowan, from 1917 until his graduation in 1918.

Hall served as an infantry sergeant during WWI, and as a veteran was active in the American Legion. In 1919, Hall was a police reporter for the Milwaukee Journal. The following year, he moved to Mason City, Iowa, and took a job with the Globe-Gazette. He was managing editor at age twenty-two; in 1931 he became the editor; and in 1962 he took over as editor-publisher. His personal trademark during those years was his column, One Man's Opinion, which was also broadcast on radio throughout much of the state.

Hall was a man of many interests, one of which was highway safety. He founded the Iowa State Safety Council and was vice president of the National Safety Council. He was chairman of both the National Committee for Traffic Safety and of the Public Support Committee for Traffic Safety. W. Earl Hall was a member of Iowa's Board of Regents for twelve years and was given honorary degrees by many Iowa colleges. In 1956 and 1957, Hall toured thirty-one countries as a member of a fact finding group for Radio Free Europe. The following year Hall served as the chairman of the Iowa Crusade for Freedom. He also traveled widely for the American Red Cross. W. Earl Hall was also a music lover. He was a member of the glee club while a student at the University of Iowa. Later in Mason City he was a member of a barbershop quartet, Rusty Hinges, which was the inspiration for his friend Meredith Willson's 'board of education quartet,' in The Music Man.

W. Earl Hall died on April 12, 1969 at the age of seventy-two, and was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

SOURCE:"Guide to the W. Earl Hall Papers." University of Iowa Special Collections

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, December of 2013

 

 

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