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

Section 1 - Page 18, Submitted by Charlene Nichols Hixon, July 3, 2012

The Journal’s First Century - Chapter Three
New buildings occupied, new equipment added as paper keeps step with progress of community during the past 37 years.

When John Mahin retired from active direction of The Muscatine Journal in 1903 and the paper became a member of the Lee Syndicate of newspapers, Mr. Mahin’s brother-in-law, the late A. W. Lee, who had laid the foundation for his newspaper career in The Journal office by serving an apprenticeship under Mr. Mahin, and who had been one of the original incorporators of The Journal Printing Co., again became identified with the paper’s management, although not personally in charge.

Mr. Lee, who had been business manager of The Journal for a period during the Mahin ownership, and who had demonstrated marked ability along that line, had subsequently entered the newspaper business on his own and purchased two papers. The Journal was the third daily to be added to the lee group of papers.

Lane Made Publisher.

When the syndicate took over The Journal, one of the young men whom Mr. Lee had developed as an executive and in whom he had seen great possibilities, was chosen for the position, first as business manager, later as publisher. This man was the late Walter Lane, whose successful administration of The Journal was cut short by death.

Mr. Lane had accepted a position as advertising manager of The Journal in 1902 and when Harold Mahin resigned as business manager to go to Chicago, Mr. Lane had been advanced to that place. Subsequently, in 1903, when Mr. Lane, in company with Mr. Lee acquired an interest in The Journal through purchase of its stock, he assumed the position of publisher, which he held until his death in January, 1907.

Throop Succeeded Lane.

Frank D. Throop, who had been managing editor, succeeded Mr. Lane as publisher of The Journal. Mr. Throop, who had received his education in the Mt. Pleasant schools and been graduated from Iowa Wesleyan college in that city, had originally come to The Journal in 1901 as city editor. He had later engaged in journalism in Kewanee, Ill., and Sterling, Ill., and in 1905 had again become associated with The Journal as managing editor.

Loomis Takes Helm.

When, in 1907 Mr. Throop became publisher, he was succeeded as managing editor by Lee P. Loomis. This arrangement continued in effect until 115, when Mr. Throop acquired an interest in The Davenport Democrat and moved to that city to assume the duties of business manager, and later publisher.

When Mr. Loomis became publisher, his post as managing editor was taken over by Ralph J. Leysen, who has for ten years previously been a member of The Journal staff and had, since 1910 been city editor.

Mr. Leysen remained as managing editor until July, 1922, when he accepted a position as managing editor of The Davenport Times. George M. Hinshaw, who had been news editor, succeeded Mr. Leysen as managing editor.

Mr. Loomis remained as publisher of The Journal until April 1, 1925, at which time he left Muscatine to accept a position as business manager and subsequently publisher of The Globe Gazette at Mason City, Ia.

It was during the period when Mr. Loomis was publisher that a consolidation was effected between The Muscatine Daily News Tribune and The Journal, the latter purchasing the circulation and equipment of the former. The deal, uniting the papers as one evening daily, was completed Sept. 2, 1918.

Rabedeaux Succeeds Loomis.

C. R. Rabedeaux, present publisher of The Journal, succeeded Mr. Loomis in that capacity. He had entered the employ of The Journal 13 years before and won promotions first to the job of circulation manager in May, 1913 and advertising manager in 1915.

Mr. Hinshaw was succeeded as managing editor in 1930 by D. D. Mich, who continued in that capacity until 1933, when he left to accept the managing editorship of TheWisconsin State Journal. He was succeeded by Walter Russell, who had previously been city editor.

Physical, Mechanical Changes.

These changes in personnel during the last 37 years of The Journal’s 100-year-old history have been accompanied by physical and mechanical changes and additions, made necessary as The Journal has anticipated and kept pace with the forward progress of the community it serves. It was John Mahin, a youth of less than voting age, who upon assuming editorial direction of The Journal in the issue of July 17, 1852, wrote:

“Locally our paper will be devoted particularly to the interests of Muscatine city and county. Indeed as our interests are identical, in justice to ourselves, we cannot do otherwise.” That cardinal principle has remained a beacon light to guide those charged with the administration of the newspaper through the closing 37 years of its century of existence.

Two Buildings Programs.

With the goal of improved and augmented service to an expanding group of readers and advertisers in mind. The Journal has, in rounding out its century of existence, during the last 37 years, erected and occupied two new buildings. The first building program was in 1904, when the paper occupied a location on Iowa avenue. Old files reveal details of the structure, still standing, which was erected. A special “housewarming edition” under date of Nov. 29, 1904, announced completion of the structure. It noted in part:

“At a cost of $15,000 The Journal during the past year has rebuilt its office building at 114-116 Iowa avenue and today it has one of the most complete and modern newspaper buildings in the United States. “The building is 40 feet wide, 61 feet long, two stories in height, with a large and roomy basement, the entire building being occupied exclusively by The Journal.”

That same file lists personnel at the time. Mr. Lane was business manager; W. J. Hill, advertising manager; Ray Reesink, subscription clerk; Miss Edith Hoefflin, bookkeeper and cashier; Miss Mary Abbott, stenographer; Dick E. Blick, circulation manager; H. M. Sheppard, editor; Arthur Wilhelm, city editor; Chester Richard and Frank Butler, reporters.

Rufus Boydston was foreman in the mechanical department; Nathan Hoefflin and Frank Nathan Hoefflin and Frank Brandt, linotype operators; Bert Hurlbut, Lewis Chandler and B. F. Neidig, compositors; Sam Strajack, pressman; and Albert Rolland, stereotype.

The second building program, which brought The Journal to its present location at Third and Cedar strees, was completed in 1919. The paper was issued first from its present building Dec. 1, 1919. The structure is 50 by 140 feet, with full basements and includes a mezzanine floor.

Shortly after the turn of the twentieth century the daily circulation of The Journal was barely 3,000. Today’s circulation is approximately 8,000 copies daily. Increased facilities for gathering and handling of news and advertising have, of necessity, accompanied the growth in circulation.

Early in the present century The Journal, which had hitherto received its meager telegraph news from The Western Associated Press, became a member of the Associated Press as it was reorganized in 1900 on a co-operative basis.

First Wire News Brief.

Associated Press dispatches were, in the starting years of the century, but skeletonized reports. A paragraph from the Dec. 15, 1904, edition is explanatory of the way the wire news was received:

“The Associated Press news comes to The Journal by telegraph usually between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. It must all be carefully edited, punctuated and paragraphed, as it comes in brief, the small and unimportant words being omitted in transmission.”

Subsequently, and by the time The Journal had moved at 919, the paper was being served by full leased wire service, a telegraph operator being employed full time, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. to take down the thousands of words available daily from Associated Press sourfesl.

During the nineteen-twenties the Associated Press service was further improved by the installation of teletype machines – which automatically recorded, at the rate of 40 words a minute, press dispatches from Associated Press bureaus around the world.

Sending Equipment Provided.

These early model teletypes gave way, during the following decade, to improved models, capable of reception of news at the rate of 60 words a minute, and also equipped with a key-board, permitting the dispatch of outgoing news messages. This arrangement permits The Journal to file its own news messages directly on the wire, and allows it to “query” the state bureau office and other points on the wire about news developments elsewhere of local significance.

Increased use of pictures to illustrate news events has been one of the developments of the past third of a century in the field of journalism. Keeping abreast of this phase of activity, The Journal, in 1935 installed a photographic and engraving department, being one of the first of the smaller dailies in the state to do so. As expense of several thousand dollars was involved in purchase of necessary equipment and supplies and in the installation of suitable quarters in the building in which the department was located. Additional photographic and engraving department has since been added. This department makes it possible for The Journal to present, along with news stories involving local people and events, pictures illustrating the articles.

Other Picture Sources.

Illustrations of national and world news events are obtained through a contract with NEA Service, Inc., one of the leading organizations in the field. This organization maintains a corps of photographers around the world and has recently added telephoto picture distribution to its services, photographs being expedited to a central distribution point over telegraph wires, where mats are made for delivery by airmail to The Journal and other clients.

Through membership in the Iowa Daily Press assn.., an organization of Iowa evening newspapers, wich maintains a news bureau in Des Moines, The Journal obtains pictures of significant and newsworthy events occurring in Iowa.

To the end that the best possible reproduction may be obtained, not only of the pictures selected for use in The Journal, but also of the news and advertising columns, additional stereotyping and press equipment has been added in recent years.

In order that this increased volume of news material, made possible by an enlarged news force and an expanded volume of material moved over Associated Press wires and from news correspondents in surrounding territory, may be set in type with dispatch, along with the volume of advertising which appears, additional mechanical equipment has been necessary.

Early in the year 1904 a battery of two typesetting machines, or Linotypes, handled the composition work. The present Journal battery of Linotypes consists of six machines, several of them equipped with auxiliary magazines, permitting several sizes of type to be set on one machine by changing the magazines. In addition to the battery of Linotypes, The Journal’s composing room is also equipped with a Ludlow typesetting machine which handles certain sizes of headlines and many of the type faces required in display advertising. This machine casts from brass matrices, a new piece of type for each time the character is used. After use the type is discarded and melted into metal ‘pigs’ which are fed automatically back into the machine.

An Elrod machine also is a part of the composing room equipment. This machine, automatic in operation, costs and cuts off to measurement such items as column rule, slugs, leads, base for type and cuts. This material is likewise used in a paper but once, being melted and recast into ‘pigs’ when the page in which it appears is discarded.

New Type Purchased.

With respect to makeup, The Journal was among the first Iowa dailies to adopt as a standard practice the elimination of continuing stories from the front page to an inside page. The practice of printing all stories complete on the front page has proved popular with readers and has been adopted by an increasing number of dailies.

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Oregon’s Governor Read Journal In Earlier Days

Photo Gov. Charles A. Sprague ~ Cordial greetings to the staff and owners of The Muscatine Journal on its 100th anniversary, with best wishes for continued prosperity are extended in a letter received from Gov. Charles A. Sprague of Salem, Ore.

Gov. Sprague, who is a former Columbus Junction resident, and editor of The Salem Statesman, took occasion to commend The Journal as a well edited newspaper and one with a lively sense of the importance of the community news in the area which it serves. Gov. Sprague’s letter follows:

    “My memories of The Muscatine Journal go back to the time when the Mahins ran the paper. My father subscribed to it in Columbus Junction for a great many years and depended on it vey largely for the day’s markets. He was in the rain and livestock business.

    “I am please, therefore, to learn that The Journal is rounding out one hundred years of publication. It has always been a well edited newspaper and one with a lively sense of the importance of the community news in the area which it served.

    “I extend to The Journal and to its owners and staff my cordial greetings on its centennial celebration and best wishes for its continued prosperity.”

    “Yours sincerely,         Charles A. Sprague, Governor.

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Recollections of Days Here Remain Vivid

Although he has scaled the heights of fame in the radio world, Dr. Lee deForest still cherishes many vivid recollections of early years spent in Muscatine, a letter from the noted inventor and scientist reveals.

The deForest home in Muscatine was at West Third street and Broadway. Lee deForest’s parents were Dr. and Mrs. Henry S. deForest, his mother being the former Anna Robbins, a daughter of the Rev. and Mrs. A. B. Robbins. John A. Robbins of East Eighth street is an uncle of the inventor. Dr. deForest’s letter reads:

    “In reply to yours of April 24, I am much interested to learn that The Muscatine Journal will be 100 years of age this month. I had no idea that the old town in which I spent two or three years when I was a very youngster was so old.

    “I still cherish many vivid recollections of those early days of childhood, bob sledding down Main street, picnicking on rafts down the river, wonder visits to Hershey’s Lumber Mills, scaling the clay cliffs extending from near my grandfather’s home down to the railroad tracks, visiting the cemetery on Decoration day to hear with awe the Muscatine Grays fire their musketry salute over the graves of the civil war dead. Strange how these almost infantile recollections remain as vivid in the adult memory.

    “There were then no phonographs, no radios, no motion pictures – nothing modern to amuse or awaken the youthful interest in science and invention which today appeals to the alert youth on every hand. Little did I dream then that one of the first broadcasting stations would be erected in that home of my youth.

    “It has been very many years since I visited Muscatine, but I still cherish fond recollections of the old town. I bespeak for The Muscatine Journal and the city which it so well represents continued growth, prosperity and usefulness for the grand state of Iowa, in which I was born.

    “Very sincerely yours,         (Signed) “Lee deForest.”

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