One of the main reasons we went on our trip was to visit the Palmer Museum in Jewell Kansas. My Grandfather, Everett Palmer, (as editor) along with his brother, Randy Palmer (as production manager) ran the Jewell County Republican newspaper.
They took it over from their father, W. C. Palmer in 1920, and ran it until 1965. W. C. had started working as a printer with the first issue of the "Jewell County Republican" in the fall of 1879 and he later purchased it in 1892.
I'm posting pictures of the upstairs of the museum, that were taken while we visiting in early April 2010. Some of the things shown, the dresses, hats, uniforms, and buffalo coat were donated by other residents of Jewell, the rest are things they used for the newspaper production. There was much more to show of the lower floor that will be written about at a later date.
I am posting excepts of my grandfather, Everett Palmer's last column written in 1965
A Shelf Filled, A Career Ended.
The first printing office in Jewell that I can remember was housed in the store building now occupied by James Clothing. Prior to that the Republican was in an upstairs room, but I think my knowledge to of this is more here say than anything else.
In the early 1900's, when my father got around to build his own printing office, two things he was a especially careful about were natural light and good floors.
Originally, the present printing office building stood in the open, with windows on all sides. The upstairs office was designed as an editorial office with a place for hand compositors to work. In this room each compositor, three in number, had her own window. The downstairs room not only had windows on all sides, but it also had a skylight.
The need for an upstairs room changed with the coming of the Linotype. The complete operation was carried on in the downstairs room that is, everything moved down but father. He stayed in his upstairs room until his retirement. Anyone who wanted to see him, and many did, had to climb two flights of stairs, including the Linotype operator in need of copy.
The publisher's owe another debt of gratitude to the correspondents who have sent neighborhood news to the paper throughout the long history. At one time practically every correspondent was a man; but with the coming of the telephone, modern transportation, women's afternoon clubs, and more social life, together with the lessening of interest in party politics, the task of writing neighborhood news was shifted to the women. This is not only true of the Republican, but also of every newspaper that comes to our exchange desk. There is one thing sure, the country newspaper could not get along without the help of its women correspondents or the approval of its women readers.
The Republican was one of the first country newspapers in this area to put its subscription list on a strictly cash basis. This came about due to the World War 1 postal regulations (never fully enforced). The Republican has never deviated from its cash policy.
A circulation chart kept in our office since 1931 shows a mixture of peaks and valleys. The greatest test for the cash system came in the early 1930's when the price of wheat fell to 25¢ a bushel. For months the Republican had an average net loss of ten subscriptions a week. To remedy the situation, we drove the mail routes, spring and fall, to get renewals and pick up a few new subscriptions. The list was finally stabilized in 1933, but there was no appreciable gain until the good wheat crop of 1937.
The peak subscription years were 1944 to 1949. When nearly every family was sending one of or more papers to distant serviceman. The top figure was about 1875. Our present mailer count is approximately 1600. Our press runs this week is 1655.
My father, W.C. Palmer, retired from active office work at the age of 50. He was destined to live for more than 32 years beyond that age. During these retirement years he was free to do the things he liked best--read, write, raise flowers and teaching adult Sunday school class.
He contributed articles to the Republican until the final two years of his life. All this copy was hand written with a lead pencil, on newspaper pad made especially for him. All the Linotype operators got so they could read his writing as if it was printed. Although it might present difficulties for the uninitiated.
I have preserved some pages of this copy as a personal memento of a very gifted writer.
During the years from retirement tell his death, my father drew small the regular sums from the office, either as owner or in installment payments.
My entry into the newspaper business and Jewell was as much a surprise to me is it must have been a shock to Republicans readers of the year 1920.
I was a junior at the University of Kansas when I enlisted in the Navy in 1918. If anyone had told me at that time that I wouldn't complete my university course, I would've thought him badly mistaken.
I was not discharged in the service, however until it was too late for me to enroll at KU for the fall term in 1919. My father suggested that I take a short course in Linotype mechanics in Chicago, which I did. When I return home from Chicago, he had a second suggestion, that I stepinto the Republican office as editor.
The reason behind all this was then during the war months, Father has experienced something new, a labor shortage. He himself, never set a line of tye by machine, or had little aptitude or liking for any kind of mechanical work.
A time or two during World War 1 he didn't know how he was going to get out the next week's paper. The Kansas City Star even refused to take "printer wanted" ads on the theory that they cause printers to jump from job to job. My older brother, John cane home and rescued the shop at one of these crisises.
So this is the background story of our father's early retirement and my entry into the newspaper business in Jewell 46 years ago.
Now the time has arrived when the Republican comes under new ownership and new management. These people have a common goal, to give Jewell a high-class modern newspaper and printing plant. They solicit the good will and support of everyone in this enterprise.
And so we close this column with gratitude in our heart for countless kindnesses in years gone by, and we wish for everyone all the good things which make life richer and happier.