Recipe for a Successful Newspaper

The Leavenworth Times was introduced on March 7th, 1857, available for area citizens at $2 per year. In its very first issue, editor Robert Crozier (a future Senator from Kansas) declared his paper opposed to “all measures and efforts to procure the admission of Kansas to the Union as a slave state.” It is fitting that the Times would be purchased in 1871 by Daniel Read Anthony, one of Kansas’ strongest free state advocates. Anthony, then 47, had worked at other newspapers. His first, the Leavenworth Conservative, was a joint effort with his friend D.W. Wilder. With Anthony as publisher and Wilder as Editor, the Conservative earned a reputation for radical abolitionist Republican views. Anthony also bought the Leavenworth Bulletin in 1864, but it was his purchase of the Times that made him the leading newsman in Leavenworth. The Slavery question had been answered, but under his guidance, the Times fought for other radical causes, including his sister’s Womens Suffrage movement.

Reproduced below is a list of rules Anthony set out for his employees. They offer insight into the workings of a typical frontier newspaper and Anthony’s style of leadership and discipline.

Times Office Rules

Note the emphasis placed on a quiet, orderly workplace. Perhaps Anthony learned his style of discipline working in his father’s mills? (Courtesy, Kansas State Historical Society)

A Compositor’s stick loaded with type (Courtesy, Wikimedia Commons)

When Anthony bought the Times, newspapers were crafted by painstakingly setting metal letters (known as type) into composing sticks to form words, sentences, and paragraphs. The entire paper was built by a team of workers known as “compositors.” The resulting “bed” of type would then be put in the press, inked, and have paper applied to it. Looking at Rule # 2, we can see a newspaper compositor’s workday was not a 9:00 – 5 affair. Anthony’s final rule stipulated that the paper “go to press” at 3:00 AM.

Operating a successful newspaper on the American frontier was a complex job; dozens of man hours were required to print a single issue, and it took an attentive leader like Anthony to make things run smoothly. That said, the news was a growth industry because people craved information. According to the Library of Congress, in 1870 Leavenworth citizens enjoyed over a dozen newspapers, many with separate weekly, daily, or evening editions. It was the Frontier version of the 24-hour news cycle. Of those, only the Times remains, due in large part to the leadership of Daniel Read Anthony and his heirs, who maintained control of the paper into the 1960s.


Kansas State Historical Society

Kansas Newspapers,

Chronicling America,

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A measure of Anthony’s devotion to the Union

The included newspaper image is from page 2 of the August 11, 1863 issue of the Cleveland Morning Leader. The article is a reprint from Anthony’s paper, the Leavenworth Conservative. Why the Cleveland paper picked up this particular story is anybody’s guess, but it does illustrate the fact that other northern states were not oblivious to events in Kansas, and Anthony’s behavior in particular. The article describes Anthony administering an oath to 8 prominent Leavenworth citizens.

Daniel Anthony was totally devoted to the Union, and as Mayor he expected the same of Leavenworth's prominent citizens. This brief note from the Leavenworth Conservative was reprinted in a Cleveland, OH, newspaper. (Image courtesy Chronicling America)

Daniel Anthony was totally devoted to the Union, and as Mayor he expected the same of Leavenworth’s prominent citizens. This brief note from the Leavenworth Conservative was reprinted in a Cleveland, OH, newspaper. (Image courtesy Chronicling America)















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Letters exchanged between Thomas Ewing and Daniel Anthony, July 20th and 22nd, 1863

Click the link below for the full text from the two letters that Thomas Ewing and Daniel Anthony exchanged following Ewing’s declaration of martial law. In these two letters, Ewing and Anthony each lay out their arguments for and against martial law. Each describes the sequence of events leading up to Ewing’s declaration, although their accounts differ from each other.

Anthony and Ewing correspondence about martial law

One noteworthy passage from Anthony’s letter describes how he and Ewing had come to an arrangement whereby action by the military would be avoided. Anthony writes with palpable anger, asking Ewing to revoke his order and citing previous legal cases from other states, including Massachusetts. He also points to previous orders given by Ewings superiors that explicitly state that martial law is not to interfere with the application of civilian systems of justice.

As a soldier, Anthony had little regard for official Union policy (or lack thereof) for dealing with slaves, and he took it upon himself to free them. Now as a civilian mayor, he showed his true colors once again, resisting the notion that the Union army should be preventing the people of Kansas from working to free slaves or to seek revenge against secessionist Missourians. 

Sources: The text of these letters is from The Miscellanious Documents of the House of Representatives, 1888-1889, volume 3. This book is fully digitized and is available for free on Google Books as part of their Public Domain digitization program. The letters begin on page 389.

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