THE ARCHIMEDEAN LEVER THAT MOVES THE WORLD IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD - THE PRESENT PRESS WHICH ABLY SERVES DAVENPORT AND SCOTT COUNTY - ENGLISH AND GERMAN, POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS - PAPERS OF BYGONE DAYS WHICH DO NOT FILL A WIDE FELT WANT - THE PAPERS OF LONG AGO AND THEIR NEWS SERVICE - THE TRI-CITY PRESS CLUB.
By Ralph W. Cram,
President of the Tri-City Press Club
The printing press came to Davenport almost with the first settlers. There were just enough people living in Davenport and Rockingham, rival and adjoining towns on the Iowa bank of the Mississippi, to get up a county seat war, when in 1838 Andrew Logan appeared on the scene. He had the intent of and equipment for starting a newspaper, if such it may be called, and Davenport captured him and incidentally later captured the county seat.
August 15, 1838, therefore, became the birthday of newspaperdom in Davenport and in Iowa. On that date appeared the first issue of Mr. Logan's paper, with a name as long as its column-The Iowa Sun and Davenport and Rock Island News. With this name he blanketed the territory of Iowa, the city of Davenport, and the island of Rock Island, then important as the location of Colonel Davenport's trading post. The present city of Rock Island, known as Stephenson, apparently got no recognition from this enterprising publisher.
The Sun shone for four years, when Mr. Logan concluded that the material returns from a Scott county farm would be greater than from his subscription and advertising list, and sold his plant to Buffalo parties, who used it in printing The Bride and the Lamb's Wife, a religious publication, afterward the Ensign.
Davenport was not left without a newspaper, however, for the Davenport Gazette had already, in 1841, been founded by Alfred Sanders and Levi Davis, the first issue appearing Aug. 26th. They are well remembered old residents of Davenport, Mr. Davis living until fairly recent years. Their paper was a four-page weekly, whig in politics. In 1857 Mr. Davis sold his interest to his partner's brother, General Add. H. Sanders, who at this writing is still living in the south. The general withdrew from the firm when he went to the front at the outbreak of the war, and Alfred Sanders sold out in 1862.
Edward Russell, James McCosh, Levi Davis and Fred Koops had organized the Gazette company, which bought the paper, and continued its publication until, it having become a daily newspaper long before, it was bought by The Democrat Company. This change occurred in 1887, and for several years the morning edition of the Democrat-Gazette was its successor, until it was discontinued as a morning newspaper.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Banner had begun to wave. It appeared in September, 1848, founded by Alexander Montgomery, a steamboat man, who sold out the following January, in ample time for a full season on the river after a very brief career as a publisher. Harvey Leonard, Hiram Price, M. D. Westlake, and R. M. Prettyman succeeded him as owners of the paper, with Henry Smetham employed as publisher and editor. A few months later it had passed to such well-known men as Theodore D. Eagal, J. W. Wheeler, Austin Corbin, and others. Before 1849 had closed T. D. Eagal, J. W. Wheeler, Austin Corbin, and others. Before 1849 had closed T. D. Eagal was the sole owner. Those early newspapers were evidently as fine things to unload as they were to run. Mr. Eagal afterward wrote that he often prepared his copy for the paper of an evening while rocking the cradle with his foot and spent the following day putting the items and ads into type.
After seven years the paper was sold to D. N. Richardson, J. T. Hildreth and G. R. West, and its name was changed to The Iowa State Democrat.
The Davenport Daily Democrat of the present day looks back across fifty-five years of continuous publication under practically unchanged ownership, to the purchase mentioned. The first issue of the Iowa State Democrat appeared Oct. 15, and Oct. 22, 1905, the Democrat company observed the fiftieth anniversary of the paper by the publication of the Democrat's Half-Century edition-a feat of journalistic enterprise which gave to its readers nearly 100 pages of historical and reminiscent reading that made the edition unique in the field of journalism.
D. N. Richardson, the long-time editor of the Democrat, left his scholarly and dignified impress upon its pages and made it one of the leading newspapers of the west. In his later years he won distinction as a traveler and author, and left in book form his "Girdle Round the Earth," a revision of a remarkable series of letters he wrote to the Democrat while on a trip around the world. His services to his state were large and important, and he may well be called the father of English journalism, as he was long its dean, in Davenport.
J. J. Richardson, present head of the Democrat Company, joined his brother in 1859, and his fiftieth anniversary of continuous connection with The Democrat was observed on the same date in 1909, when the other members of the company and its employes joined in presenting him a magnificent silver loving cup in honor of the occasion. Members of the Democrat company at this writing are: J. J. Richardson, M. N. Richardson, J. B. Richardson, W. T. Jefferson, Mrs. Joe R. Lane, Mrs. Wilson McClelland, Mrs. D. N. Richardson.
The Davenport Times has been a daily since 1886, when it was founded by the late E. W. Brady. He was assisted in its publication by his sons, until the latter went to larger fields of magazine publication in the east, the paper being sold in 1899 to C. D. Reimers and A. W. Lee. Two years later Mr. Reimers' interest was bought by E. P. Adler and Mr. Lee, and Mr. Adler, who upon Mr. Lee's death became president of the Lee newspaper syndicate, has been its publisher since that time.
Many of the interesting features of early journalistic life in Davenport are clustered about the succession of German stalwarts who donned the editorial harness that the desires and the ideals of Davenport's many German-American citizens should be given expression in their own tongue. Theodore Guelich was one of them, the original editor of Der Demokrat when it was first published, Nov. 15, 1851. It became a daily in 1856, and later in that year was sold to Henry Lischer & Co., and Co. standing for Theodore Olshausen, who assumed the editorial chair. Jens Peter Stibolt was another of the old-time editors whose name became a household word with the sons of the Fatherland in Scott county. In later years Gustav Donald and Dr. August Richter have wielded trenchant pens in the editorial chair. The H. Lischer Printing Co., with the sons of the late Henry Lischer exercising the business management, have insured a successful career for the paper, and are its present owners.
THE IOWA REFORM
Since 1884 the Scott county reader who wanted his news served to him in German type has had the chance to read the Iowa Reform, founded in that year by Adolph Peterson, and Adolph Petersen & Bro. (Gerhard), are still its publishers. They recently observed their 25th anniversary as Davenport publishers by issuing a splendid anniversary number of the Reform.
THE CATHOLIC MESSENGER
T. L. Sharon came to Davenport in 1882, shortly after Davenport had been created the see city of the Diocese of Davenport, and founded the Iowa Catholic Messenger, of which the first number was issued Jan. 4, 1883. His brother, Fred B. Sharon, is now its publisher, and it is the leading organ of the Catholic church for a wide territory.
MANY OTHER PAPERS
Along the way, a surprising number of newspapers have been started in Scott county, to exist for a greater or less-sometimes much less-period of time.
The Davenport Leader had several fruitful and influential years, until it was purchased by the Democrat in 1904. It was founded by the Davenport Leader Company with Thomas F. Halligan as president, J. E. Halligan, secretary and manager, and W. P. Halligan, treasurer. Jos. E. Halligan was editor.
Farther back, the Davenport Republican in 1894 had entered the morning field, which had been left open by the Democrat's purchase of the Gazette. S. D. Cook came to Davenport with the idea, and S. F. Smith, Ralph E. Lindsay, Horace Birdsall and J. B. Phillips were his original associates as local publishers. In 1904, finding the morning field unprofitable, it became the Tri-City Evening Star, but the next year under new ownership it became a morning Star, until it set for good a fortnight later.
The gap between the Gazette and the Republican was partially filled by the Tribune, first issued by a company organized in 1889. For some time it had the felicity of having the venerable Add H. Sanders as its editor. W. H. Martin, W. H. Forrest and Joel M. Parker were connected with its editorial and business management as various periods.
Not all the editorial ventures in Davenport have been devoted to a dry chronicling of news, however. In 1896 Charles Eugene Banks founded the Outlook, and for two years it was scintillant with social news and Mr. Banks' choice English and delightful verse.
Of a later cycle was the Trident, established by Miss Mary Harrah and Mrs. Ella G. Bushnell-Hamlin in 1904, and continuing until 1909. Through its columns Mrs. Hamlin found opportunity to advocate many movements for civic betterment, on which she was always a strong writer and ready speaker.
The Morning News appeared in 1856, and had as its editor Mr. Franc B. Wilkie, afterward founder of the Chicago Press club. The News sold out in 1859 to the Democrat. Mr. Wilkie took opportunity in the midst of journalistic toil to write "Davenport, Past and Present."
The Sternen-Banner, the Familien Journal, Dania, Dannebrog, Der Banner, and Beobachter am Mississippi, are publications in German and Danish that have come and gone.
A long list of English dailies, weeklies and periodicals that graced the Scott county field for a time includes the Daily Times of 1858, the Daily Anti-Knownothing, the Temperance Organ, the Davenport Commercial, the Davenport Courier, the Davenport Bee, the Iowa Instructor, the Chip Basket, the Bridge City Record, the Union, the Evangelist, the Davenport Journal, the True Radical, the Sunday Morning Times, the Sunday Morning Star, the Soldiers' Friend, the Iowa Workman, the Western Weekly, the Blue Ribbon News, the Weekly Telegraph, the Free Press and the Star of Woodlawn. All fulfilled their mission for a time, as well as might be, and made way for some new group of journalists who wanted to accumulate the experience that their predecessors had got.
The Walcott News was published for some years and the LeClaire Advance and Princeton Journal are filling a niche in the county's circle of weekly newspapers.
THE TRI-CITY PRESS CLUB
Davenport newspaper men have contributed their quota in recent years to the activities of the Tri-City Press club, an organization that grew out of the belief of the "boys" that their competitors were not bad fellows socially, and that by pulling together the newspaper men could do more for their community than by pulling apart. So the Press club was formed.
The club has filled the role of host, on behalf of the three cities of Davenport, Rock Island and Moline, to many distinguished men. Among them were President, then Secretary of War, William H. Taft; Hon. William J. Bryan; Commander Robert E. Peary, since the discoverer of the North Pole; James Whitcomb Riley, the poet; Sir Robert Ball, the astronomer; Admiral Robley D. Evans; Colonel Henry Watterson, editor and lecturer; John T. McCutcheon, the cartoonist; George Ade, the humorist; Richard Henry Little, humorist and war correspondent; Harry DeWindt, explorer; Edward Howard Griggs; lecturer; Henry Barrett Chamberlin, war correspondent, and others. Some have lectured under the club's auspices, and all were brought here and sent away with enlarged views of the hospitality and importance of the tri-cities.
THE CHANGES OF FIFTY YEARS
At this point there is an irresistible impulse to go to the Half Century Democrat and clip thereform the comparison between early and late journalism sketched by the editor of that publication J. E. Calkins. The rest of us might easily see some difference between a paper of 1855 and one of 1905, but it took a trained newspaper man to enter into particulars. As the matter was written for the anniversary of one publication constant reference to that newspaper is natural. The changes of fifty years in the Democrat were those of any other paper of equal years.
There is not more difference between the tallow dip of half a century ago and a 2,000 candle-power arc than there is to be noted between the Davenport Democrat of October 15, 1855, and the same paper of today. In fact, the person of this day who turns the old files, page after page, seeking something in the form of news of the Davenport of that earlier day finds himself wondering why the subscriber paid his newspaper bills at all-and what he got for his money. The oldest inhabitant may remember the paucity that featured the news columns of all papers of those days, and he may recall the reason that people advanced for paying the printer, but it is certain that no such paper as was then well supported could live a week in these times. The deficiency was not unique with The Democrat; it was characteristic of American newspaperdom. The sheets published in the largest cities were making shift to escape from this characterizing deficiency, but they were only a shade better than the papers of Davenport, and far inferior in news interest to the least pretentious of the newspapers of this day.
There was no thought then of anything but the simplest from of printing press except the largest and richest offices. The Democrat was first printed on a hand press, operated by man power, or oftener, as being cheaper, by boy power. There was painful reality then in the phrase "working off the edition," and however limited the circulation, it took time. Even the best equipped "country offices," such as those of Davenport were in those days, had nothing better than a hand feed steam press, usually second-hand, printing from flat paper, and the complete newspaper was, as it was frequently called, a "sheet," the amplitude of which was a direct index to the prosperity of the establishment. There was no possibility of enlargement then by throwing on an extra two or four pages, as the perfecting presses of this day do on short notice; it was four pages or none. If the four pages would not hold the advertising, and the sage observations of the editor, the alternative was to make the columns longer, or add one or two columns to a page. By this process, in times of abounding plenty with advertiser, the "sheet" expanded into a "blanket" and was worthy of its name. Those old time papers had an immensity of expanse that would not be tolerated today.
PAUCITY OF READING MATTER
Today people complain that their papers contain too much advertising for the amount of reading matter, but they forget that there has been a steady gain in the proportion of reading matter all these years. The first year of the Democrat's life its entire daily quantity of news matter ran less than a column; and of this column there was not a quarter of a column that a well regulated city or general news editor of today would call news. Most of the matter that purported to be news was paid puffs or editorial observation or opinion. The occasional news item that strayed into print then was so shorn of details, so compressed and so laden with wise observation, comment and advice that the reader got only the barest glimpse of what had happened, and that glimpse was destitute of all color, circumstance, and incident; destitute of everything, in fact, but the mere statement that such and such a thing happened.
THE REPORTER LACKING
This lack of narrative and statement in the so-called news of fifty years ago may be accounted for by several reasons. For one thing, it was the fashion to treat news in that manner. The reportorial art and knack had not been developed, though it was coming. For another thing, the paper that was published in Iowa in those days could not afford to make extended mention of anything that did not have great political or financial interest, unless it might be the most sensational of events, such as a great storm, or fire, or crime, or accident. Again, it was the manner of the time to take opinions at second hand; very much more the manner of that time than it is of this, at any rate. And then there was little display of that energy in the pursuit of news matter that is the characteristic of the newspaper of today. The most sensational of incidents were passed with the merest mention. For example, consider this item from the issue of July 18, 1856-three days after the accident occurred:
"Drowned-A gentleman, whose name we did not learn, formerly from New Orleans, who had been stopping at the Mississippi House, went in the river to bathe last Wednesday evening, and has not been heard from since, and is undoubtedly drowned. He is reported by those who knew him to be a man of considerable wealth, and without relatives."
If it is inconceivable that a newspaper of today could thus turn away from a tragedy of this character, what will be thought of this item from the issue of The Democrat of September 9, 1856?
"Murder.-The dead body of a murdered man was found opposite Moline, on the Iowa side, by a boy. The murdered man's dog was licking the fresh wounds of his master. Much mystery hangs about the affair. There were two men seen to fire at another Sunday. An investigation will soon be had before the coroner, when the mystery will be solved, it is hoped."
ANONYMOUS NEWS ITEMS
There was a curious reluctance to mention the name of the individual in those days. Entire issues of the paper about this period do not contain the name of a single person in the way of news. At the same time the editorial columns may teem with personalities that verge upon virulence, and generally do. For instance, the town was a-whirl with runaways in those days, yet not a name appears in connection with such an incident till The Democrat is at least three years of age. Strangers were coming by hundreds, and Davenporters were coming and going, yet there are no "personals" such as make an important feature of the papers of today. People died, and were married, and bought and sold property, and gave parties, and suffered good and evil fortune, and did no end of things worthy to be recounted in print, as they do now and always have done; yet the local columns of the papers took practically no account of them. Politics and puffs and stale generalities made up the mass of the matter published.
On the other hand the editor had a plain and homely way of calling a spade a spade in those days-if, indeed , he did not go further than that and call it several things more-and in controversy he was wont to break out in language that would not be found in any newspaper office of standing in this time. The editor of those days had not the fear of the libel law before his eyes as now, for one thing, and it was a plainer-spoken and altogether cruder and rougher age, for another. He said things then that he would not dare to say today; he said things then that he would not be disposed to say now. It was the fashion, the thing that people expected. A newspaper was accounted without snap and vigor and character if it did not pitch into the other fellow without fine scruple touching the names it called. Without making excerpts from the unsigned editorials of The Democrat, the Gazette, or the News, the papers that kept up a perpetual clapper clawing among themselves in those days, we may offer the following communication as thoroughly illustrative of the way men bandied words in those gentle mannered old days:
"Messrs. Editors:-Referring to extremely personal communications in the Gazette signed 'Blank,' it might be expected by strangers to the man that I should answer his queries. If any person of respectablility, whether my political friend or enemy, desires me to answer questions civilly presented, I shall do so with the greatest of pleasure, but so far as 'Blank' is known in this community it is as a loafer and a liar, and with due respect to myself and personal friends I cannot condescend to discuss a matter with him in the public print, but shall hereafter treat his communications as they deserve, with silent contempt, considering as I do, personal villification at his hands creditable rather than otherwise. Respectfully yours, Austin Corbin."
Between the editor and his brother editor there frequently befell passages at arms that reeked of gore. The polite vocabulary was exhausted in mutual belaborings, and the language of Billingsgate was not infrequently drawn upon, and yet, when the paper was out the principals in this wordy combat did not scruple to appear in public in most brotherly communion. All this slang-whanging and blustering was mere stage thunder, harmless and part of the play.
There is another reason that accounts for the lack of the personal element in the news columns of those times, and that is one purely of business. It is always hard to dissociate advertising from news. Use men's names in print, and a certain amount of advertising inevitably follows. The newspaper in those days was not at all a public affair, but a private enterprise. Its duty was to its owner's interest. He was primarily publishing an advertising sheet, and by way of diversion filling a small portion of it with opinions and news matter, the advertising being all the time the prime interest. So while the first year of the Democrat, with few exceptions, showed a scant column of so-called city news, and perhaps three columns of editorial and miscellany, the rest of the paper was filled, fairly crowded, with advertising. There were no mentions of weddings or funerals or deaths, of comings or goings, of buildings and bargains in real estate-as a rule-unless the parties at interest paid for them. July 31, 1856, The Democrat published this item, which gives the clue to the situation as clearly as anything can:
"Notice-Persons getting married, and sending in notices, are requested to pay for the insertion of the same as for any other advertisement; otherwise they will not appear. The man who is too poor to pay for having his marriage published, better be thinking of other matters than getting a wife."
There is the matter in a nutshell-nothing was used as news that could be made to pay the paper a profit; and rather than miss an occasional profit of this sort the paper would miss publishing any amount of matter that is now regarded as vital news. The half century, and less, that has passed since then has absolutely revolutionized newspaper making. It has reversed the importance of the editorial and the news page, and it has likewise reversed the relative position of proper news matter and legitimate advertising matter. Then a newspaper was essentially an advertising sheet, but it carried a little reading matter. Now it is a newspaper, and carries with the reading matter some advertising. Then the department of local news was so rudimentary as sometimes not to be visible, while the editorials gave character and standing to the paper. Now the editorial quality of a paper may help to give it standing, but its repute as a purveyor of fresh, reliable, interesting, important news is the factor that counts with the public and determines its popularity. The newspaper man of this day who turns over the files of the papers of those days is apt to picture the stir he would have been able to make if he could have been there then, with a moderately good plant and a fresh infusion of modern ideas. Hardly any other well established line of activity in this country has undergone as much change in the past fifty years as the making of a daily paper.
RAN ALL TO POLITICS
The whole end of man, in those days, seemed to be political discussion, if the life of the time has been truly reflected in the local journalism of that day. Compared with the same line of matter today, it was decidedly strenuous. The man on the other side, whichever side it might be, was seldom accredited with even a modicum of brains, honor, or decency. In these days such controversy is conducted, between impersonal newspapers; then the editor who was really in earnest, routed his opponent out of the defense afforded by the editorial "we," and fought him in the open in his own proper name and person. When politics failed as a source of inspiration the shears were the main reliance, and choice selections, ranging from an elopement or embezzlement in some distant state to the manners of the king of Portugal, were offered the readers of the paper. The Democrat, in its infancy, kept company with the other papers of the state in these customs. Its old files show numbers that are destitute of anything that can be construed as local news, and again there are others that tell fairly well what happened here when the town was new. But it did as well as its contemporaries, and eventually it distanced them all.
STALE NEWS PREFERRED
Another mannerism of the time in Davenport journalism was seeming indifference to the timeliness of the publication of news. There was little of the present day's haste to have a man on the spot when things were happening. The news which did get into the paper was apt to be at least one day older than it should have been, and it might be several days older. It is quite usual to find a bare mention of a ball, a concert, a lecture, a meeting, or some such event, in the issue following the date, with the promise that the matter shall be taken up at greater length in a future issue. Many things that a paper of today would report in full at any cost in the first succeeding issue were passed in this manner.
This is easily accounted for. Capital was limited and later, as money troubles multiplied in this community, receipts were scanty where they should have been plentiful. The newspaper of those days was always shorthanded. It needed more help than it was able to hire. The Democrat suffered this limitation, as did the other papers of this town and the territory. What was written must be written by probably one man, or at the most, by two. It was a physical impossibility for that one man to do all the other more necessary things that must be done first, and then have much time left for verbatim reports of toast programs and political harangues and runaways. Even if he had notes of the matter, he had to wait for time to expand them into copy. There were no stenographers and typewriters in those days.
A CHANGE OF SPEECH
Again, we notice the wide divergence between the language of the press in those days and the speech it uses now. Then it was stilted, formal and stiff, in many cases, and at least it was always tinctured with something of that kind. It had the euphemism of Washington Irving, or Macaulay, or Addison, when the writer was in good humor, and it thundered with the artillery of Burke, and Webster, and Patrick Henry, with considerable grape and cannister of the Billingsgate brand when he wanted to pierce the armor of an opponent and rankle there. Today no newspaper that is published uses such speech. We use the verbiage of the present time, which is as far from that as the aphoristic sentences of Alfred Henry Lewis are from the careful phrasings of Charles Lamb. How far this editorial bombardment overshot the heads and speech of the common herd who took the paper, either by subscribing, borrowing or stealing (paper thieves were rampant then), we have no way of learning; but if the people used the speech of the papers, those were indeed deliberate old days.
SCANTINESS OF TELEGRAPH
Of course the striking feature of this scantiness of news in the earlier numbers of the paper is its staleness. Telegraph news service was just being begun in Davenport then, or began soon after. It was limited to a few lines a day, and these were as often trivial as of value. Very often it failed entirely, owing to frail line construction, and for the first year or so of the Democrat's existence it was a feature that would not have been missed.
General news came to the city by way of the Chicago & Rock Island road, which brought it the Chicago papers, from which the Democrat was able to make up a fair news page, such as it was in those days. Papers from up and down the river were highly esteemed, especially those from down the river, as they brought news of their respective sections. These all came by boat of course. It is the usual thing to find mention of the thanks of the editor for late papers, handed him by some river captain. There were no papers from the west.
There was no cable in those days, and so there was no fresh news of the doings of the world at large. Intercontinental news all traveled by boat. The best that Davenport could expect was about two weeks from Europe, and often was almost half a year old by the time we got it. The credit line of that day did not mention that a batch of news came through the special correspondent of the paper itself, or of the Associated Press, but named some trans-Atlantic steamer as having arrived and brought it. The budget supplied by each boat was a hodge-podge of European, African and eastern gossip, all hashed together in one column and under the single head announcing the arrival of that boat. We did not hear of the bombardment and capture of the barrier forts at Canton by our navy till the June following the February in which it happened. That was less than half a century ago. A host of things have grown old and been discarded since then.
THE LACK OF HEADLINES
Another feature of the paper of fifty years ago that has a queer look in these days, was its total absence of display of news. The art of writing headlines was a knack of later growth. In 1855, and on down to 1865, and for years after that, the telegraph news of the paper was "run in," the news from Africa and Hong Kong and Cuba and Nicaragua and New Mexico and London and Chicago and Oregon and Washington, all solid type, with hardly more than a date line between these geographical subdivisions, and no sort of effort to bring out the tenor of the news so that he who ran might read. Two or three columns of this matter, in fine type, none too well printed, with less than an inch of headline to all of it, was quite usual up to the middle '60s.
THE UNSEEKING ADVERTISER
There was another feature of the papers of those days, and it was as characteristic of the Democrat as of any of the others, and that was the moderation of the business man in asking to have his advertisement surrounded with reading matter, and given other exclusive prominence of display. As the Democrat began its life its first and its fourth pages were solid advertisements. Neither of them carried a line of reading matter; all was display. The second page was about half devoted to editorial and general news and miscellaneous reading matter, such as the very limited exchange list of that day afforded, and of the third page only about a column, or at most two columns, contained what purported to be city news, and most of this was paid reading matter. But with all this great preponderance of display advertising matter there seemed to be only one difficulty, or at most two. The chief of these was to get money enough out of the business to make it pay. There was no trouble in satisfying the advertiser in the matter of "position" or display. He seemed to ask only to be admitted to the paper-somewhere. Next to this was the difficulty of getting all the advertising into the paper. The requirements of this day in these matters are of later growth, mainly since the Civil war.
The shift of ground from that occupied at first to the place where the Democrat stands today was not made of a sudden, but came, as all evolutionary movements do come, gradually and by degrees, each step in advance the outgrowth of some other that had preceded. From a city department limited to less than half a column of actual city matter, and that lacking the essential qualities of news matter, the local current history was slowly expanded to a full column, then two, and then occasionally, as upon some momentous occurrence, such as the old settlers' first banquet, to a full page. Along in war days, under the impetus of some stirring political campaign, it even bloomed with illustrations; ancient woodcuts, the stock of the office for the illustration of advertisements, or the remnants of some other enterprise, being interwoven into a lampoon at the expense of the other party. The same woodcuts did duty in much the same way at least several times, decently separated by sufficient interval to be partially forgotten. At the same time the editorial began to be more fairly critical and less bitterly partisan, and the clipped matter began to acquire some element of pertinence and timeliness; qualities which it had hitherto lacked; and the telegraph, or general news, began to expand. After the Atlantic cable was fairly set to working and the telegraph had begun to tie remote sections of our country closer together, the expansion of the department of telegraph news became much more evident. The Associated Press was then in but a crudely formative state, compared with its organization of today, and the news that came by wire was frequently contradicted a day or so after, and was an endless subject of revilement with the editor in his own columns, but it was the best there was in those days, and the people appeared to hold no grudges against the papers on these scores. The younger generation, acquainted only with newspapers that handle general news of such accuracy that error is an infrequent incident, have no conception of the jumble of fact, fancy, and fiction that was handed to the reader in the days of the war, and before, by the best editors in the land, simply because there was no way of doing any better. To relate the various steps through which this shift to higher ground has been made would be to tell a story of endless length. It is enough to say that the change came steadily along-better print, more news, better editing, better writing sometimes and a better filling of the newspaper's mission in life in general, just as the same changes are going forward now, from day to day and year to year. The Democrat, as one of the papers that have survived the vicissitudes of the past half century, is a plain ensample of the evolutionary forces that have been working through that period to make the newspapers of today what they are. There is so little parallel between the Democrat of today and the Democrat as it began its existence that comparison is a matter of difficulty. It is worth while to mention this evolution here, because, in the files of the Democrat, which can be read at will by those who are interested, amy be found epitomized the development of American journalism from the primitive and almost childish beginning of fifty years ago.
And still, with all the crudeness of those days in many things, there were giants then, and the daily press contained within itself those stirrings and workings of fermentive force that could come to nothing less than tremendous growth and power. The Greeleys, and the Prentices, and the Bennetts of that time led the way, but they were followed by a host of humbler knights of the quill, and the word all along the line was "forward."