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

Section 8 - Page 10, Submitted by Charlene Nichols Hixon, June 29, 2012

Many Differernt Papers Started During Century

Observing this year its centennial anniversary, The Muscatine Journal today remains the sole survivor of a number of different newspapers which have been, during the century past, established and circulated in the city and community.

The five short lines of type which appear daily in The Journal in the heading on the editorial page relate briefly The Journal’s history, and that of the other publications which have been consolidated with it.

Iowa Standard War First.

The Journal’s history goes back to founding of The Bloomington Herald in 1840. By something like one week it lacked the distinction of being the first paper published in the city. The Iowa Standard, which got out its first edition but a few days before The Bloomington Herald in 1840, remained, however, in Muscatine but briefly, moving the year after its establishment to Iowa City.

The Daily Muscatine News Tribune, with which The Journal was consolidated in 1918 was the lineal descendant of another early day Muscatine newspaper. This was The Democratic Enquirer, which was established in 1848 by H. D. LaCossit. Subsequently it was conducted by Barnhart Brothers, who later became identified with the Barnhart Brothers and Spindler type manufacturing firm at Chicago.

The Enquirer’s name was eventually changed to The Tribune, which at first was issued weekly and later became a daily.

Daily News Established.

Another publication entered the newspaper field in 1887 with organization of The Muscatine News Co., Inc., which issued The Daily News. This corporation subsequently purchased the Tribune and the publication then became The Muscatine Daily News Tribune.

Consolidation of The Journal and News Tribune in 1918 thus linked in one publication the survivors of something like three quarters of a century of journalistic endeavor in the city. An evening and Sunday morning daily, The Muscatine Free Press appeared briefly during the nineteen-thirties. Subsequently it became a weekly publication of tabloid size and later was discontinued.

It had been inspired by Norman Baker, one-time proprietor of a cancer hospital here, whose enmity toward The Journal for helping to bring him before the courts to face charges in connection with the hospital’s operation was expressed in this and other ways.

The Morning Telegraph was the name of another daily published here for a time a number of years ago, it is recalled by Frank McKibben, who was employed as a typesetter on it for a period of about three years. It was subsequently consolidated with another newspaper, he said.

German Paper Published.

German language newspapers flourished in Muscatine for a time during the nineteenth and early parts of the twentieth century. As early as 1857 The Zeitung was issued by Carl Rotteck as a weekly. In 1874 J. W. Weippert established the Deutsche Zeitung as a weekly, which publication subsequently was changed to Die Wacht Am Mississippi.

This paper was purchased in 186 by Frank Koeckeritz and became the Deutsche Anzeiger.

Meantime, in 1889 Henry Heinz had established a German language weekly known as Der Correspondent.

The Deutsche Anzeiger and Der Correspondent were merged in 1907 as The Muscatine Herold and eventually became the only German language paper in the city. Later the paper was issued in English as a weekly under the proprietorship of Mr. Heinz, who had purchased the interests of other owners. It was discontinued upon the death of Mr. Heinz.

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Journal Enrolled As Century Club Member

Membership in The American Press Century club has been extended to The Muscatine Journal in recognition of its 100 years of existence. The club was established by The American Press, a trade publication, a number of years ago as a means of extending recognition to newspapers which have been published for a hundred years.

In a letter from Don Robinson, editor, to C. R. Rabedeaux, Journal publisher, which accompanied the membership certificate pictured above, Mr. Robinson said, in part:

    “Our records show that your newspaper is this year celebrating the 100th year of its existence.

    “I want to congratulate you and the members of your staff on this fine record. When a newspaper lives for 100 years it is evident that that newspaper has served its community well and has upheld the best traditions of American newspaper life.

    “We hope that the force and influence of your newspaper will be felt for many centuries to come.”

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Mich Recalls Years Here As Journal Editor

    “On the whole I found the readers of The Muscatine Journal extremely friendly and responsive and the staff cooperative to the extreme,” writes D. D. Mich, former managing editor of The Muscatine Journal, now one of the executive editors of “Look” in a letter of congratulation to The Muscatine Journal on its centennial.

    Mr. Mich, now of New York City, was managing editor of The Journal from 1930 to 1933, leaving Muscatine to assume the post of managing editor of The Wisconsin State Journal at Madison, which post he resigned to enter the magazine field.

    “My three year term as managing editor of The Journal was one of the most interesting and exciting periods of my life,” Mr. Mich wrote, recalling news events which developed white he was in this city.

    “I recall the struggle with Norman Baker while he was attacking us on the air and in his daily newspaper while it lasted. I recall that Baker referred to me as a scoundrel in one of his broadcasts before I had been in town more than twenty-four hours. I also recall vividly the excitement attendant upon the trial of his half million dollar libel suit against the American Medical Assn. Covering that trial was one of the most exhaustive and at the same time one of the most fascinating experiences I ever had on a newspaper. Baker’s defeat probably gave me as much satisfaction as anything that has ever happened.”

    Heartfelt congratulations were extended by Mr. Mich to The Journal and its readers on the 100th anniversary of the paper.

    “Best regards and good luck to you all,” he concluded.

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Father Read Journal’s Editorials to Hanley, New York Senate Leader

Hailing The Muscatine Journal, which he recalls having read regularly as a youth while a resident of Muscatine, State Sen. Joe R. Hanley, president pro tem of the New York state senate, describes The Journal as “as much a part of the community as the Mississippi river or the beautiful bluffs upon which the city is built,” in a letter of congratulation on this paper’s centennial.

Sen. Hanley, who has served in the New York senate since a member of the assembly since 1931 and before that time was 1926, is a former district governor of a Rotary International and also a national officer of the Spanish-American war veterans. A feature writer in The Times Union of Albany, N. Y., recently referred to Sen. Hanley as the No. 1 man in the republican party in New York. Sen. Hanley’s letter of congratulation to The Journal follows:

    “May I be permitted to add my congratulations and felicitations to the many you will receive upon the issuance of your Centennial Edition.

    “The Journal was a constant visitor to my father’s home and also to mine, during all the years I lived in Muscatine. I can recall distinctly, that, as a boy, my father used to read aloud to us editorials written by Mr. John Mahn and others, as published in the Muscatine Journal.

    “Much of my political philosophy, ideals of government and conduct of public servants, was formulated by these and other editorials in the Journal.

    “I recall the firm stand that your publication used to take upon all public questions. Sometimes the position assumed editorially was unpopular, but you were always courageous and consistent.

    “The Muscatine Journal during its hundred years of existence has wielded a powerful and far-reaching influence upon the community. No one can estimate the value it has been to Muscatine.

    “To me, it is as much a part of the community as the Mississippi river or the beautiful bluffs upon which the city is built.

    “Again I congratulate you, not only upon the continuation during the years, but especially because your standards have always continued to be high.

                “Very truly yours,
                (Signed) Joe R. Hanley
                President Pro Tem
                New York State Senate.

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Sam Strajack With Journal for 47 Years

Stability of employment with The Journal is the rule, rather than the exception, as the service records of the majority of The Journal staff members will reveal, but honors in that field go to three men employed in the mechanical and pressroom forces. Sam Strajack, pressman, enjoys the distinction of having the longest continuous record of employment with The Journal of any of its present staff – over 47 years. He became identified with The Journal organization on Jan. 23, 1893 as pressman and stereotyper and has been with this newspaper continuously since.

Frank Brandt and Nathan Hoefflin, Linotype operators, come closest to approaching Mr. Strajack’s continuous employment mark. The latter started to work for The Journal as a printer, Oct. 6, 1893, and with the exception of approximately a year and a half spent elsewhere, has been on The Journal force since.

To Mr. Brandt goes the honor of having become identified with The Journal staff before any of the other members, although his service record is not the longest continuous one. With The Journal this year starting its second century, he can look back to joining the organization when the paper was starting its second 50 years of existence. It was in May, 1891,49 years ago, that Mr. Brandt was first employed, at the time when the paper was located in the old building on Iowa avenue. In 1899 he went to school in Connecticut for a year, rejoining The Journal in 1900 and remaining in its employ since.

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“The only occurrence to disturb the peaceful serenity of the justice’s office was the trial of a young lad before Justice Nisly for assaulting a companion and materially disturbing the comfort of his smelling organs. . . . The pugilistic individual was fined $5 and costs.” – Muscatine Journal, January 20, 1866.

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