Muscatine County, Iowa
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
Centennial Edition
31 May 1940

Section 1 - Page 16, Submitted by Charlene Nichols Hixon, July 3, 2012

Press Bureau a Busy Spot

Photo ~ Here is a scene from one of the Associated Press bureaus, through which news flows daily over a network of wires to reach The Muscatine Journal. Reporters and editors may be seen at the top of this composite picture, editing copy to be sent out over trunk wires to newspapers in all parts of the country. Others are shown at a similar task in the view at the lower left. The view at the lower right shows one of the staff men examining copy as it is received over teletype machines, 60 words a minute, from all over the world.

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Beck Writes of Years Here As Journal Editor
Photo of J. M. Beck

(Note: The following article was written for the centennial edition of The Muscatine Journal by J. M. Beck, editor of The Centerville Iowegian and Citizen, former managing editor of The Journal.)

By J. M. Beck. - The celebration of the hundredth anniversary of The Muscatine Journal revives in memory three very eventful years in my left spent on The Journal staff.

It was 40 years ago this April that I began work there as a reporter. A few months later I became news, or managing editor, a year later I was married, and in the spring of 1903 I came to Centerville to engage in publishing the semi-weekly Iowegian and later acquired The Daily Citizen.

Recalls John Mahin.

That stalwart and grand old man of early day journalism, John Mahin, was still editor all the time I was in Muscatine. He was postoffice inspector, therefore there only at intervals. But it was many a delightful opportunity I had to come into contact with his splendid character, and to enjoy the friendliness of the Mahin home, where Mrs. Mahin presided with such hospitality. It was a much appreciated privilege to know such people, and especially so to get first hand knowledge of the devotion to principle that characterized Mr. Mahin. He belonged to that school which did not compromise with what he considered wrong. It had been only a few years before that their home had been wrecked, presumably because of his crusade against liquor evils.

This did not deter him. I can recall that he advised the news force not to give publicity to things like Sunday excursions which involved disrespect for the Sabbath. If a matter of devotion to this ideals or profit were involved he decided on the side of ideals.

I remember that while on The Journal we published a special anniversary edition. It must have been Mr. Mahin’s 50th anniversary of relationship to the newspaper, which always had such a large place in his thoughts. We worked hard and late hours to publish what we wanted to be a creditable edition, and it was a real satisfaction to do so in honor of one we all admired so much.

Throop Joins Staff.

A few months after I arrived in Muscatine The Journal was in need of some additional news staff help. Frank Throop was my classmate at Iowa Wesleyan college, and had learned to operate a linotype machine in his father’s newspaper office in Mt. Pleasant. He was working on a machine at Clinton temporarily after graduation. He approved the idea of coming to The Journal and on my recommendation he came. Later he became its manager-publisher, and married his wife in Muscatine, Mabel Leverich. From there he went to The Davenport Democrat and then to The Lincoln Star.

When the Lee syndicate took over the paper in 1903 both Frank and I left, I to locate in Centerville, he to return to Muscatine later from Kewanee, Il. Messrs. Lane and Shephard from Ottumwa took our places on The Journal, but their relationship lasted only a few years. A trio who long remained with The Journal mechanical department was composed of Nate Hoefflin and Frank Brandt, linotype operators, and Sam Strajack, stereotype pressman. For all I know some of them are there yet. Loyalty to The Journal was always strong on the part of the employees. Nate’s sister, Edith Hoefflin, was bookkeeper for many years.

Pioneers Left Impression.

Something about Muscatine sort of inoculates those who have once lived there. One thing is the exceptional type of people who shaped Muscatine’s early history. They left an impress. Another is its place in early Iowa history. Then it has the flavor which comes from being on the banks of the Mississippi. The glamorous steamboating days may be gone, but their memory lingers on. Then too The Journal has always had personality and influence in interpreting its community to the world.

It is a real pleasure to congratulate it on its first 100 years of fruitful life.

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Happy Journal Associations
Recalled by Ralph J. Leysen

Note – The following article was written for The Journal’s centennial edition by Ralph J. Leysen, editor of The Daily Times, Davenport, former managing editor of The Journal. By Ralph J. Leysen

One hundred years old and as fresh and new as the last paper off its press is the happy distinction of The Muscatine Journal. To be a hundred years old in Iowa is to have had a part in the opening scene of that ever unfolding drama of life which transformed rolling prairies into the garden spot of the world.

The Journal recorded the coming of the railroad, after the tide of immigration had overtaxed the steamboats and the stages and had congested what but a few years before had been trails leading to the wilderness. The Bloomington Herald and then The Muscatine Journal were the chronicles of the greatest peace time invasion in all history; heralds of the conquest of an empire which awaited the plow.

Other columns of this Centennial edition record no doubt anew the progress of Muscatine and The Journal from the days when it was the gateway to the west, when The Herald might boast that Bloomington was fast becoming the metropolis of the territory, through the generations which builded a commonwealth which may well boast that “Of all that is good Iowa produces the best.”

“Older than the state of Iowa” is no mean boast particularly when the newspaper which may proclaim it has through a century been in the vanguard of the forces of progress.

A beacon which first illuminated the wilderness that was the territory of Iowa when it cast its first rays, The Journal has become a tower of enlightenment, brilliant and searching, worthy of its long tradition and splendid heritage.

Through the years it has kept alive the courageous crusading spirit of its founder John Mahin, mellowed by the deep sense of civic and social responsibility which actuated the late A. W. Lee in the formulation of the basic policies of those newspapers which today comprise the Lee syndicate.

In Youthful Hands.

From the day that Frank Throop came to Muscatine, not so long after he had graduated from Iowa Wesleyan college and lee Loomis left the city desk of The Ottumwa Courier to serve him as managing editor The Journal would seem to have been in youthful hands.

This writer had been out of high school but a few years when he was rewarded for the volume of “locals” picked up at the depot with the accolade of city editor.

The frequency with which the daily trip of Mrs. John Shellhorn of Fairport to the city was recorded had not a little to do with this promotion.

The Journal has enjoyed enviable rank among the daily papers of the state and middlewest since it has always conformed to the highest standards of the craft. It was one of the first papers in a city of its size in the county to “take on” a leased wire report and this progressiveness has been the mark of its every department.

All that was required to bring it to its latter day eminence was the removal of its managing editor (myself) of some seventeen years ago.

Happy Associations Recalled.

A hundredth birthday anniversary ordinarily calls for reminiscenses of which there doubtless will be no lack in this edition. It inspires a flood of cherished memories of happy associations, when there was no wage and hour law to deter enthusiastic editors and reporters from working just as long as they found pleasure and purpose in it.

The job of putting out The Journal was never a chore for anyone. In each day’s paper there seemed to go something of the energy and enthusiasm and sense of responsibility which might have attached were it both the first and last issue to come from its press.

For though yesterday’s newspaper may light the kitchen stove out on the farm, when it is in the making it is a living thing, a pulsating record of the disasters and violence which may threaten civilization as well as a chronicle of those lesser, more intimate, events which ornament the American way of life. One hundred years old The Journal is as young and full of promise as The Bloomington Herald and its setting of a century ago. Rich in tradition, it has measured up to its opportunities in a manner which becomes its drown today.

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Journal’s Long Record Lauded by Rep. Martin
Photo of Rep. Thomas E. Martin

Commendation of The Muscatine Journal’s century long record of service is voiced in a letter received from Rep. Thomas E. Martin of the first Iowa congressional district. Rep. Martin’s letter said:

    “I congratulate the Muscatine Journal on its 100th anniversary and extend my very best wishes for continued success which you so richly deserve. “Your long record of service to your country and to the State and nation is outstanding and merits the admiration and commendation of every one. It is a real pleasure to wish you many happy returns of the day as you mark this important milepost in your career of public service.

    “Very sincerely,

    (Signed) Thomas E. Martin.

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