THE PALIMPSEST

     In early times a palimpsest was a parchment or other material from which one of more writings had been erased to give room for later records. The History of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest, which holds the records of successive generations.

PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA, IOWA CITY, IOWA

 

1910 Tri-Weekly

March 1910 News

April 1910 News

     Vol. XXXI No 10, October 1950

Iowa and the Lee Papers

     The story of the Lee papers is more than the history of a century of journalism in Iowa. It is actually a record of growth, out of an idea, created from the dream of founder Alfred Wilson Lee.

     Alfred Wilson Lee was born on a farm in Johnson County, Iowa; the outskirts of West Branch, on July 8, 1858. His father was John B Lee & his mother Elvira Branson Lee.

     Alfred attended classes at the University of Iowa from 1871-1873. After which so he moved to Muscatine to take a bookkeeping position at the Muscatine Journal. This becoming the cornerstone of his acquisition of the Davenport Times. There fore the Lee Syndicate was soon formed, and embraced many flourishing newspapers, such as the Ottumwa Courier; The Daily Times and the Democrat in Davenport; the Muscatine Journal and the Mason City Globe-Gazette in the state of Iowa. Along with others published outside of the Hawkeye state; The Wisconsin State Journal at Madison and the La Crosse Tribune in Wisconsin; the Kewanee Star-Courier in Illinios, the Lincoln Star in Nebraska and the Hannibal Courier-Post in Missouri.

     Alfred W Lee was the president of Lee Syndicate, when the Ottumwa Courier purchase [1890] marked the beginning of growth of the heritage to be carried forward. Sold by Major A H Hamilton, to Lee.

     When Lee and his wife and daughters, sailed to England in May 1907, the Lee Syndicate was in the midst of expansion to include the Hannibal Courier-Post.

     Alfred W Lee passed while in England, and his wife returned to succeed with the Syndicate.

     The first Lee paper was historically important, and was issued by R H Warden as the Des Moines Courier on August 8, 1848. The name was changed sometime before it appeared as the Daily Evening Courier in April of 1865. The Courier supported Des Moines River improvement, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War. It stood readly to uphold the home front, the church, and the school.

     A W Lee had early on chosen two dependable gentleman to assist him in his business and financial relationships. These gentleman were Emanuel P Adler and James F Powell.

     James F Powell was a name associated with all good things in Ottumwa, Iowa; as he was an untiring worker. Powell became publisher; his door was always open and as a part of the newspaper family continued the interest of the paper.

     Emanuel P Adler was president of various papers, and brought to the organization ideals, initiative and resourcefulness, that A W Lee could be proud of.

     Lee P Loomis, rose from the business office to make reporter and city editor, and from there went on to be managing editor of the Muscatine Journal.

     Ottumwa born John Huston was with the Courier for more than 52 years. And another, Clarence S Johnston, advanced from the business office up to the editor by 1924.

     The Lee Papers were built upon sturdiness and uniqueness of precepts which the group was founded, and existed because of the close family ties that solidated the empire.

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