The Iowa Press Association


pgs 6 & 7

The Iowa Press Association, a 25 year old Iowa institution, was organized in 1915 through the efforts of various state and district press associations and became the first press association in the United States to maintain a permanent central office with a managing director.

Since its inception, some 23 or 24 sstate associations have been organized along similar lines. Iowa newspapers have long been in the front of newspaper progress and the members of the Iowa Press Association have been frequent prize-winners in varous forms of national newspaper competition.

Purposes of the Association, as set forth in its by-laws, are to protect and promote the interests of the people of Iowa through the publication of better newspapers; to improve the conditions under which the industry is carried on; to develop fair and just competitive methods; to uphold the right of free speech and a free press; to collect and disseminate permanent data relating to the newspaper industry and to the people of the state of Iowa.

For a number of years the Association has made an annual award to those publishers whom it deems worthy of the distinction, "Master Editor." Requirements for such an award, which reflect the character of the Association, are that an editor must have "lived honorabley, worked hard, through soundly, influenced unselfishly." A list of these master-editors may be found in the History of Iowa, by Prof. William H. Petersen, which is a part of this volume.

The first president of the Association was Paul S. Junkin, of the Creston Advertiser, who served from 1915-1917. G.L. Caswell, Ames, was the first managing editor of the Association, retiring Jan. 1, 1938.

Successive presidents include the following:

1917 - S.G Goldthwaite, Boone News Republican

1918 - W.P. Wortman, Malvern Leader

1919 - Chas. H.J. Mitchell, Storm Lake Pilot Tribune

1920 - E.J. Feuling, New Hampton Tribune

1921 - Jas. C. Gillespie, LeMars Sentinel

1922 - Ed M. Smith, Winterset Madisonian

1923 - Geo. C. Tucker, Webster City Freeman-Journal

1924 - E.P. Harrison, Oakland Acorn

1925 - K.F. Baldridge, Bloomfield Democrat

1926 - T.W. Purcell, Hampton Chronicle

1927 - John W. Carey, Sioux City Journal

1928 - W.C. Jarnagin, Storm Lake Pilot Tribune
1929 - W.G. Ray, Grinnell Herald

1930 - J.G. Lucas, Madrid Register-News

1931 - Don L. Berry, Indianola Record-Tribune

1932 - J.M. Beck, Centerville Iowegian

1933 - V.H. Lovejoy, Jefferson Bee

1934 - Ralph E. Overholser, Red Oak Express

1935 - E.L.C. White, Spencer News-Herald

1936 - C.A. Doxsee, Monticello Express

1937 - Fred B. Wolf, Primghar O'Brien County Bell

1938 - W.K. Rogers, Mt. Pleasant News

1939 - Leon S. Barnes, Northwood Anchor

1940 - H.W. Barnes, Eagle Grove Eagle

Board of Directors
H.W. Barnes, President -- Eagle Grove Eagle
Fred W. Hill, Vice President -- Hamburg Reporter
Paul C. Woods, Treasurer -- Sheldon Mail
S.E. Tennant, Rec. Secretary -- Colfax Tribune
L.S. Barnes, Advisory -- Northwood Anchor-Index
James McCutcheon, board member -- Mt. Vernon Hawkeye-Record
G.E. Whitehead, board member -- Perry Daily Chief
K.C. Crabb, board member -- Albia Union-Republican
Charles Hacke, board member -- Sac City Sun
Leslie G. Moeller, board member -- Waverly Independent
Harold V. Ellis, board member -- Marengo Pioneer-Republican
Don Reid, Shops Building, Des Moines, Managing Director

"Who's Who in Iowa"
Managing Director - Don Reid
Supervisor of Compilation - C.N. Cornwall
Editor - Esther Stutheit


pgs 25 & 26

Journalism in Iowa
by William J. Petersen, Ph. D.
Research Associate, State Historical Society of Iowa
Lecturer in History, University of Iowa

The first newspaper in Iowa was issued at Dubuque on May 11, 1836. This pioneer paper was edited by John King and named the DuBuque Visitor. Its folio line read, "Truth our Guide. The Public Good Our Aim". The pages measured twenty by twenty-six inches in size, and each of the four pages carried six columns. Although only a weekly newspaper the subscription rate of the Visitor was three dollars a year in advance or four dollars if paid at the end of the year. In the prospectus the editors promised to "cherish and advocate republican principles" and "encourage and foster such measures as will perpetuate our happy form of Government, and promote the best interests of the community". Foreign and domestic news would be printed and contributions were invited upon "moral, literary, and scientific subjects". The cause of virtue would be preserved and the paper rendered "useful to the Farmer, Mechanic, Miner and Merchant."

A number of other newspapers were quickly established. The second newspaper in Iowa was The Western Adventurer and Herald of the Upper Mississippi, issued by Dr. Isaac Galland at Montrose on June 28, 1837. The Iowa Territorial Gazette and Burlington Advertiser was first printed at Burlington by James Clarke on July 20, 1837. The Fort Madison Patriot appeared on March 24, 1838, and the Iowa Sun and Davenport and Rock Island News was issued on August 5, 1838. During the decade between the publication of the DuBuque Visitor in 1836 and the achievement of Statehood in 1846, approximately two dozen newspapers were started. All were printed in towns along the Mississippi except those of Iowa City and Keosauqua. Ten of them still survived at the end of the Territorial period. They lived and died on politics. Although the Whigs formed a minority in this period they maintained as many papers as the Democrats.

Between 1836 and 1860 a total of 222 newspapers were established in the Hawkeye State of which 118 were discontinued. The census of 1860 revealed only 104 newspapers being published in Iowa. The changing political complexion of the state, the over zealous ambitions of young editors, the scattered population, the uncertainty of mail delivery, the small amount of advertising, the high suscription rates coupled with the failure of patrons to pay subscriptions, and the intense competition, combined to cause such heavy casualties.

Between 1860 and 1940 the press has continued to wield a powerful influence in the Hawkeye State. The names of Clark Dunham of the Burlington Hawkeye, D.A. Mahoney of the Dubuque Herald, John Mahin of the Muscatine Journal, Samuel Clark of the Keokuk Gate City, W.M. Richardson of the Davenport Democrat, John P. Irish of the Iowa City Press, A.B.F. Hildreth of the Charles City Intelligencer, Charles Aldrich of the Webster City Freeman, George D. Perkins of the Sioux City Journal, and James and Richard Clarkson of the Des Moines Register loom large in the history of Iowa Journalism. Many small town editors might be added to swell the list; they too lent their individuality and personality to their newspapers and served as a driving force in every public movement.

The number of newspapers in Iowa reached its peak around 1907 when 934 newspapers were being printed, or one for every 2,366 people. In 1917 this number had decreased to 806; in 1927 it had fallen to 565, or 1 for every 4,283 people. In 1930 there were 690 publications printed in Iowa. Of this number 514 were weekly papers, 12 were issued twice-a-week, and 44 were dailies. This number has varied only slightly during the past decade.

In 1932 the Iowa Press Association established its Master Editor-Publisher award as a means of recognizing significant public service. Harvey Ingham of the Des Moines Register, Elmer E. Taylor of the Traer Star-Clipper, and Joseph G. Grawe of the Bremer County Independent-Republican, were the first to be named Master Editors. The names of those who have received this honor during the past eight years is a true index to the great journalists of the Twentieth Century. They include:

Joseph F. Grawe, Waverly
Elmer E. Taylor, Traer
Harvey Ingham, Des Moines
Ed. M. Smith, Winterset
W.G. Ray, Grinnell (deceased)
William C. Jaragin, Storm Lake
William P. Wortman, Malvern (deceased)
F.A. Moscrip, Marshalltown
G.L. Caswell, Des Moines
John C. Hartman, Waterloo
M.A. Aasgaard, Lake Mills
James R. Rhodes, Newton
K.F. Baldridge, Bloomfield
T.W. Purcell, Hampton
V.H. Lovejoy, Jefferson
E.P. Chase, Atlantic
H.W. Barnes, Eagle Grove
J.G. Lucas, Madrid
Orville Elder, Washington (deceased)
Scott Snyder, Adel
John M. Grimes, Osceola
Jesse M. Beck, Centerville
Paul Woods, Sheldon
Charles Rogers, Mt. Pleasant
W.C. Dewel, Algona

The quality of Iowa journalism has received national recognition on more than one occasion during the past decade. E.P. Chase of the Atlantic News-Telegram, Verne Marshall of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and W.W. Waymack of the Des Moines Register, have each received a Pulitzer prize since 1934 for meritorious journalism.



-Source: The Iowa Press Association's 'Who's Who in Iowa', A Biographical Record of Iowa's Leaders in Business, Professional and Public Life; published by Iowa Press Association, Des Moines, Iowa; 1940. Introductory text with presidents & board members, pgs 6 & 7; 'Journalism in Iowa', pgs 25 & 26.
-Transcribed for
Iowa Old Press by Sharyl Ferrall, May 2015.

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