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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