The Eternal Journal
Building a Newsroom Dream Team
The Eternal Journal is a fantasy "dream team" newspaper staffed by some of the most famous people ever to work in print journalism. This fun journalism education tool was put together by Mark Zieman, editor of The Kansas City (Mo.) Star.
MARK TWAIN, Editor-in-Chief
- The Hannibal (Mo.) Journal
- St. Louis Evening News (composing room)
- The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Public Ledger (composing rooms)
- The Virginia City (Nev.) Territorial Enterprise
- The Sacramento (Calif.) Union
- The San Francisco Daily Morning Call
- The Buffalo (N.Y.) Express
Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910) achieved worldwide
fame as an author, lecturer and humorist. Hemingway
called Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" the
greatest American novel. Like Ben
Franklin, Twain began his career as a printer,
then as a correspondent for his brother's newspaper
in Hannibal. He used several pseudonyms, finally
settling on his famous byline while working as
a reporter in Nevada, where his fantastic hoaxes
and wild tales of mayhem, occasionally followed
by an apology ("The story published in the
Enterprise reciting the slaughter of a family
near Empire was all a fiction...") delighted
readers and enraged rival editors, one of whom
called him "that beef-eating, blear-eyed,
hollow-headed, slab-sided ignoramus, that pilfering
reporter, Mark Twain."
FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Editorial Page Editor
- The North Star
- Frederick Douglass' Paper
- The New National Era
Born into slavery, Frederick Douglass (c.1818-1895) taught himself to read and write and started several newspapers after he escaped captivity. The Douglass home in Rochester, N.Y., became an important stop on the Underground Railroad; Douglass became one of America's greatest antislavery crusaders. He helped recruit African-American troops to fight for the Union Army — two of his sons fought in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, dramatically portrayed in the film "Glory." In later years he was appointed marshal of the District of Columbia and consul general to Haiti.
Learn more about Douglass at: The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
JOSEPH PULITZER, Managing Editor
- The Westliche Post
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- The New York World
Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911), a German-speaking immigrant from Hungary, became one of America's greatest newspaper publishers. His early crusading journalism, however, caused him many enemies. In his private life, he carried a gun in St. Louis and once was saved from a night attacker by throwing a tomato he had bought for his pregnant wife. In his newspapers, he fought back with similar violence. Sued by an opera singer who his paper reported gave a drunken performance, Pulitzer responded not with a retraction but with a story headlined "FULL AS A TICK." His editor, John Cockerill, killed a lawyer in a shootout in the newsroom. The Pulitzer Prize today remains the height of journalism excellence.
Learn more about Pulitzer at: The Pulitzer Prizes online
CHARLES DICKENS, City Editor
- Mirror of Parliament
- The Morning Chronicle
- Punch magazine
- The Daily News
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) is probably the most popular English novelist of all time. No other novelist has been able to create and sustain such enthusiasm from readers; on the docks of New York, vast crowds eagerly awaited the latest installments of his novels. The searing event of his life was being forced, at age 12, to work in a filthy, rat-infested warehouse washing and labeling bottles while his father was incarcerated in debtors' prison. He later wrote: "I never afterwards forgot, I never shall forget, I never can forget that my mother was warm for my being sent back."
Learn more about Dickens at: The Charles Dickens Page
H.L. MENCKEN, Metro Columnist
"All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is forced upon them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else."
- The Baltimore Herald
- The (Baltimore) Sun
- The Smart Set magazine
- American Mercury magazine
In his newspaper and magazine essays, Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) attacked virtually every cherished aspect of American life, from religion to politics to education — partly as a ploy to boost circulation. He fought for free speech "up to the last limits of the unendurable." He convinced Clarence Darrow to become the defense lawyer in the Scopes evolution trial, then covered the trial himself. The American public (or "booboisie," as Mencken dubbed them) both loved him and hated him, dubbing him everything from "the private secretary of God Almighty" to "an 18-karat, 23-jeweled, 33rd-degree, bred-in-the-bone and dyed-in-the-wool moron."
Learn more about Mencken at: The Mencken Society Home Page
TRUMAN CAPOTE, Police Reporter
high school dropout and one-time apprentice fortune
teller, Truman Capote (1924-1984) started his literary
career as an office boy at The New Yorker, where
one of his jobs was taking the blind James Thurber
to his girlfriend's apartment (once he slipped up
and replaced Thurber's socks inside out, eliciting
pointed questions from Mrs. Thurber). An
excellent gothic novelist and short-story writer,
Capote cultivated an eccentric image that exploded
onto the national scene with the publication of "In Cold Blood," his chilling "non-fiction
novel," (or work of "faction") that
recreated the brutal multiple murder of the Clutter
family of Kansas. Capote himself lives on in literature
as the model for the effete boy Dill in "To
Kill A Mockingbird," written by childhood
friend Harper Lee.
Learn more about Capote at: Truman Capote papers, New York Public Library
JOHN STEINBECK, Social Services Reporter
- New York American
- The New York Herald Tribune
- The San Francisco News
Ernst Steinbeck (1902-1968) lasted only a few months
as a full-time reporter, explaining later that
he was sent out to interview bereaved families
and other sources he "invariably got emotionally
involved and tried to kill the whole story to save
the subject." That empathy — and a series
of menial jobs from ranchhand to chemical tester
at a sugarbeet factory — forged a conscience
that made him one of the most socially influential
novelists of his time. A prime example was his Pulitzer
Prize-winning novel "The Grapes of Wrath,"
the story of the Joads and their Dust Bowl journey
to California. ("Okie use'ta mean you was from
Oklahoma. Now is means you're scum. Don't mean nothing
itself, it's the way they say it.") Steinbeck
later worked as a speech writer for Adlai Stevenson,
and wrote an attack on Sen. Joseph McCarthy. He
won the Nobel Prize in 1962.
CARL SANDBURG, Labor Reporter
- Galesburg (Ill.) Daily Mail
- New York Daily News
- In Milwaukee: The Sentinel, the Daily News and the Social-Democratic Herald
- In Chicago: The Daily News, Evening World, the Times and the Evening American
- The Day Book
Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) became a seasoned observer of the human condition after more than 20 years as a newspaperman covering labor disputes, race relations and workers' rights. The son of Swedish immigrants, Sandburg quit school at age 13 and served in the Spanish-American War. "Chicago Poems," published in 1916 and containing "Fog" and "Chicago" ("...City of the big shoulders") secured his reputation as a poet who used blunt diction and jargon to express his romantic vision of the young, vigorous America. In later years he gave lectures, reading his poetry and singing American folk songs. He won Pulitzer Prizes for his classic Lincoln biography in 1940 and for poetry in 1951, and in 1964 received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Learn more about Sandburg at: The Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association
H.G. WELLS, Science Editor
- The New York World
- The Chicago Daily News
- The Strand magazine
Herbert George Wells (1866-1946) invented science fiction with Jules Verne, and unlike others of the genre was a practicing scientist. The son of a professional cricketer and a maid, Wells attended the Normal School of Science on a scholarship and studied biology under T.H. Huxley. He was called "the man who invented tomorrow," and foresaw tanks, a world monetary system — and a Martian invasion. The latter, described in his book "The War of the Worlds," was turned into a radio play by a young Orson Welles that panicked as many as 12 million Americans the night it aired.
Learn more about Wells at: H.G. Wells Society
ELIE WIESEL, Religion Editor
Prolific author and educator Elie Wiesel (1928-), was still a child when he was taken from his home in Transylvania and sent to Birkenau, Auschwitz, Buna and Buchenwald concentration camps. His mother and youngest sister died in the camps. Raised in a small Hasidic community and trained intensively in Jewish scripture and mystical doctrine, he later studied at the Sorbonne and worked as a journalist for Israeli, French and American newspapers. He has written a series of well-received and well-known books and plays, as well as essays on Hasidic and biblical figures. When he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the committee called him "a messenger to mankind" whose message is "one of peace, atonement, and human dignity."
IAN FLEMING, Projects Editor
Ian Fleming (1908-1964) was a stockbroker, journalist, British naval intelligence officer and the creator of the most famous spy in literature: James Bond, Agent 007 (licensed to kill). Naming his hero after a real ornithologist, or bird expert, Fleming said he wanted the dullest name possible; he also thought little initially of his creation, calling him "that cardboard booby." Perhaps to mock his critics, Fleming also stated that, beginning with "Doctor No," he planned to write the "same book over and over again." He more or less did, using a formula that mixed intrigue, whiz-bang gadgetry, exotic locations and beautiful, provocatively named women with bizarre international conspiracies.
NELLIE BLY, Investigative Reporter #1
- The Pittsburgh Dispatch
- The New York World
- The New York Evening Journal
Elizabeth Cochran, or "Nellie Bly," (1864-1922) was one of the most rousing characters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among her legendary scoops were faking insanity to get inside the notorious Blackwell's Island asylum ("Ten Days in a Mad House"), traveling around the world in 72 days to beat the time of Jules Verne's fictional hero and becoming the first woman to report from the Eastern Front in World War I. Upon her death, editor Arthur Brisbane wrote: "Nellie Bly was THE BEST REPORTER IN AMERICA and that is saying a good deal."
HENRY MORTON STANLEY, Investigative Reporter #2
- St. Louis Weekly Missouri Democrat
- The New York Herald
Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904) was a British-American journalist and adventurer who found the Scottish missionary David Livingstone in Africa while on assignment for The New York Herald. He fought for both the Confederate and Union Army in the American Civil War and led the expedition that established British East Africa. He retired from exploring to sit in the British Parliament, and was knighted in 1899.
Learn more about Stanley at: the Pegasos biography
WILLIAM FAULKNER, State Editor
"The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one... If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is worth any number of old ladies."
Before he established himself as one of the most masterful and brilliantly experimental writers of the 20th century, the soft-spoken Mississippian William Faulkner (1897-1962) was also America's worst postmaster. Sitting as far away from the teller window at the University of Mississippi as he could manage, ignoring the pleas of patrons as he wrote, Faulkner was accused by superiors of throwing "mail with return postage guaranteed and all other classes into the garbage can." Faulkner's response: "I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp." Luckily for him, he proved a more dependable writer. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, and during his 1949 Nobel Prize acceptance speech echoed the theme of his major novels: "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail."
JACK LONDON, National Correspondent
A great American writer and outdoorsman, Jack London (1876-1916) was a sweatshop worker, sailor, oyster pirate, hobo, prospector and seal hunter, among other pursuits. His "The Call of the Wild" reflected his adventurous nature and established him as a writer. Another work, "John Barleycorn," or "Alcoholic Memoirs" reflected his life as an alcoholic. At age 40, he was the best-paid and best known writer in the world; he also committed suicide, his health broken by numerous illnesses and substance abuse.
Learn more about London at: Jack London State Historic Park; the Jack London Collection at Sonoma State University
WINSTON CHURCHILL, Foreign Editor
- The London Daily Telegraph
- The Morning Post (later absorbed by the Telegraph)
- Hearst Newspapers
From his childhood, Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) had an extraordinary memory and a fascination for soldiers and battles. After graduating from Britain's Royal Military College at Sandhurst, he covered the South African war as a reporter and was captured by the Boers. His daring escape made him famous. In politics, he served twice as prime minister and was a member of Parliament for more than 60 years. His leadership through World War II personified resistance to tyranny.
RUDYARD KIPLING, Foreign Correspondent
- The (Lahore) Civil and Military Gazette
- The London Daily Telegraph
Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in Bombay, India, the setting for his "Jungle Books" series of children's stories. Kipling was educated in England, and later won acclaim for his celebration of British imperialism. Unlike his children's literature, Kipling's adult books have not attracted a modern following; yet in his own time he was regarded as a literary lion, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907.
WALT WHITMAN, Features Editor
"A perfect writer would make words sing, dance, kiss, do the male and female act, bear children, weep, bleed, rage, stab, steal, fire cannon, steer ships, sack cities, charge with cavalry or infantry, or do anything that man or woman or the natural powers can do."
- The Long Islander
- The New York Aurora & Evening Tattler
- The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
- The New Orleans Crescent
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was America's greatest 19th-century poet. Whitman served as a volunteer nurse to Civil War soldiers, writing letters home for them. He used his own money to publish "Leaves of Grass," among the seminal works of American literature. Although its frank sexual references scandalized some readers, the work endured (Whitman helped out by writing some of the reviews himself). He sought, and largely achieved, a personal relationship with his readers and the new nation he exalted in his works, calling himself "Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos," a man who until his death was at ease with both Emerson and the bohemians of Brooklyn.
Learn more about Whitman at: The Walt Whitman Archive
EDGAR ALLAN POE, Sunday Magazine Editor
The Southern Literary Messenger magazine
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) popularized the short-story format and invented the modern detective story. Born destitute to alcoholic and consumptive actor parents, he was adopted by wealthy Virginians but ran away in his teens after quarreling with his foster father. At 27, he married his 13-year-old tubercular cousin; living in utter poverty, he wrapped her in his old army coat to provide warmth. When she died, he removed the coat and wore it to the cemetery. At 40, he died delirious from opium and alcohol abuse (and possibly rabies), talking to specters that "withered and loomed on the walls."
WILLA CATHER, Drama Critic
- The Lincoln (Neb.) Journal
- The Pittsburgh Daily Leader
- McClure's magazine
Willa Cather (1873-1947) was born in Virginia, but was raised in Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska, where she made her literary debut with a published essay on Thomas Carlyle. After working as a newspaper reviewer, she took a job at the muckraking magazine McClure's, working her way to managing editor. But with the publication of "Alexander's Bridge" and "O Pioneers!," she left journalism to pioneer in her own way the American novel, often taking as her theme the study of dual impulses — exploration vs. cultivation, art vs. domesticity, excitement vs. safety. A lesbian who wrote primarily about women's experience, Cather populated her novels with substantial working women who defy fragile feminine stereotypes. Her book "One of Ours" won the 1922 Pulitzer Prize.
ED SULLIVAN, TV Critic
- Port Chester (N.Y.) Daily Item
- New York Evening Mail, the World, and the Morning Telegraph
- New York Evening Graphic
- New York Daily News
called clarinetist Benny Goodman a "trumpeter"
and a band of New Zealand natives "the fierce
Maori tribe from New England." He forgot
the name of The Supremes and urged his audience
to fight tuberculosis by signing off: "Good
night and help stamp out TV." His notoriously
stiff mannerisms and wooden delivery earned him
the nickname "Great Stone Face"; Henny
Youngman dubbed him a "new kind of frozen
food." But the fact is that Ed Sullivan (1902-1974)
parlayed an uncanny awareness of public taste
into one of the most successful television shows
of all time, introducing America to acts ranging
from Elvis Presley and the Beatles to Topo Gigio,
the Italian mouse-puppet. And before he did any
of it he was a newspaperman, first as a sports
reporter and editor in the New York press and
later as a popular Broadway columnist. His legacy
lives on today in the chilly Ed Sullivan Theater,
home to the "Late Show with David Letterman."
Learn more about Sullivan at: The Museum of Broadcast Communications.
BEN FRANKLIN, Business Editor
- The New England Courant
- The Pennsylvania Gazette
Franklin (1706-1790) remains today for many Americans
a model for the national character. From his
early "Silence Dogood" columns to his "Poor
Richard's Almanack," Franklin popularized
his view of how one could improve himself through
work, thrift and honesty. A printer, inventor,
philosopher, diplomat and statesman, Franklin was
the Pennsylvania Assembly and later appointed postmaster
of Philadelphia. Together with John Jay, Franklin
represented the new United States in signing the
Treaty of Paris.
KARL MARX, Financial Columnist
- Rheinische Zeitung (Cologne, Germany)
- The New York Tribune
Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) was a German economist and revolutionary theorist. His father, descended from a long line of rabbis, converted to Christianity to preserve his job in Prussian. With Friedrich Engles Marx created much of the theory behind socialism and communism; his own body of ideas became known as Marxism. When his Cologne newspaper was banned by the government in 1843 because of his editorials, he left for Paris and, later, London. His marriage, literally to the girl next door, was wracked by poverty and Marx's affair with the maid. The founder of communism left behind a meager £250 when he died.
more about Marx at: The
Marxists Internet Archive
ERNEST HEMINGWAY, Sports Editor
Hemingway (1899-1961) created a singular style
of prose, driven by action and quotes and a blend
realism and romanticism, that made him the leader
of the so-called Lost Generation after World
I. Starting his stories by writing "one true
sentence," his fiction was based partly on
his own adventurous life: covering fires and murders
in Kansas City, getting wounded by shrapnel as
ambulance driver in Italy, living in the Latin
Quarter of Paris, running with the bulls in Pamplona,
in Wyoming, fishing in the Gulf Stream and liberating
Paris with the Fourth Infantry Division. Two plane
crashes in Africa kept him from personally accepting
the 1954 Nobel Prize for literature.
BAT MASTERSON, Sports Columnist
"There are many in this old world of ours who hold that things break about even for all of us. I have observed, for example, that we all get about the same amount of ice. The rich get it in the summertime and the poor get it in winter."
- George's Weekly (Denver)
- The (New York) Morning Telegraph
Bartholomew "Bat" Masterson (1853-1921)
was a scout, Indian fighter, buffalo hunter, saloon
owner and sheriff of Ford County, Kan., (home of
Dodge City). In 1902, Bat gave up his career as
a gunslinger-lawman-gambler to work as a sports
writer in New York, where he became an authority
on boxing. One paper wrote: "He died at his
desk gripping his pen with the tenacity with which
he formerly clung to his six-shooter."
MARGARET BOURKE-WHITE, Photo Editor
"For a few minutes I think I could commit murder if anyone gets in the way of what I am doing.... There is that moment when people and surroundings fall into a relationship that is utterly pictorial. The Picture is suddenly there. It could vanish in a minute — and forever."
- Fortune magazine
- Life magazine
Margaret Bourke-White (1906-1971) was one of Life magazine's original four photographers — her photo of a dam under construction made Life's first cover. While attending college to study herpetology, she became enthralled with photography and published a study of rural life for the Cornell newspaper. Her brilliant portraits captured every subject from German death camp victims to South African miners to the famous image of Gandhi at his spinning wheel. She also was the first woman to be accredited as a war photographer and fly a combat mission. Bourke-White collaborated with her husband, Erskine Caldwell, on a series of powerful documentaries, including "You Have Seen Their Faces," on the plight of America's sharecroppers.
GORDON PARKS, Chief Photographer
"I bought my first camera at a pawnshop for $7.50. It was a Voightlander Brilliant. Not much of a camera, but a great name to toss around. I had bought what was to become my weapon against poverty and racism."
- Life magazine
- Vogue magazine
Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was born in Fort Scott, Kan., and didn't graduate high school (blacks were told they were meant to be "maids and porters"). Nevertheless, Parks eventually became one of the world's foremost photographers and creative talents. Beginning as a waiter, piano player in a brothel and big-band singer, Parks went on to become Life magazine's first black photographer and a writer of poetry, a ballet about Martin Luther King and several works of nonfiction and fiction, including "The Learning Tree," a novel about his youth which he later directed as a movie — one of several movies he made, including "Shaft." He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1988.
Learn more about Parks at: A PBS interview; a biography that accompanied a traveling retrospective of his work
WALT DISNEY, Art Director
- The Kansas City Star and Times (carrier, 6 years)
Walt Disney (1901-1966) based Mickey Mouse on a little rodent he befriended while working in his small animation studio in Kansas City. After his studio failed, he left nearly penniless on a train for Hollywood. He told fellow passengers he was going to make animated cartoons. The reaction, Disney recalled, "was like saying I swept out latrines." His "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the world's first feature-length animated film, proved a stunning financial success.
Learn more about Disney at: Walt Disney Family Museum
FREDERIC REMINGTON, Staff Illustrator
- Albany Morning Express
- Harper's Weekly magazine
- Collier's magazine
- New York Journal
- New York World
After failing at a series of political and business jobs around New York (one lasted less than 30 minutes), Frederic Sackrider Remington (1861-1909) struck out west in 1881 and sunk most of his inheritance into a Kansas sheep ranch — only to discover he hated that, too. After his next investment, a Kansas City saloon, also proved a failure, Remington saddled up and rode west again, determined to make his fortune as a writer and illustrator for the New York magazines. Over the next 25 years, Remington completed more than 100 articles and stories and about 2,700 illustrations for the major magazines of his day. It was Remington who was sent by William Randolph Hearst to witness the rebel uprising in Cuba. When he cabled home that he found no uprising, Hearst replied: "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."
Learn more about Remington at: The Frederick Remington Art Musuem
PAUL REVERE, Design Editor
- The Massachusetts Spy
- Boston Gazette
Revere (1734-1818) learned his craft as a master
silversmith from his father, who had changed
family Huguenot name from Rivoire "merely on
account that the Bumpkins should pronounce it easier."
Revere later supplemented his income as a dentist,
copper plate engraver and illustrator, producing
currency, books and magazines, political cartoons
and even tavern menus. As an express rider for the
Massachusetts Committee of Safety, he was sent to
warn Sam Adams and John Hancock that British soldiers
(the "Regulars") were marching to arrest
them, a ride immortalized by Longfellow's "Midnight
Ride of Paul Revere." His famous (and plagiarized)
illustration of Boston's "Bloody Massacre" served
as a key propaganda piece to rouse the Patriot
more about Revere at: The
Paul Revere House
ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER, News Editor
Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991), a born story-teller and the last of the great Yiddish-language writers, won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1978. He immigrated to New York in 1935 from Poland, landing in America knowing only three words of English: "Take a chair." Singer won fame and affection for recreating the spiritual, social and intellectual world of Eastern European Jewry that was destroyed in the Holocaust. He wrote numerous children's books as well, remarking that he had "500 reasons" for preferring child readers, among them that they weren't ashamed to yawn openly if a story bored them.
SEQUOYAH, Copy Chief
- The Cherokee Phoenix (inspired by)
Born to a white father and a Cherokee mother, Sequoyah (c.1760-1843) fought with American forces against the Creek Indians in the War of 1812 and noticed that the whites could write letters home and read military orders but the Cherokees could not. He spent the next 10 years living as a recluse among his people, who taunted him for his mysterious work mimicking the white man's "talking leaves." Sequoyah unveiled his syllabary in 1821, having reduced the entire Cherokee language to 85 symbols representing different sounds. To the amazement of his tribe — and language experts everywhere — Sequoyah became the only illiterate person ever to invent an alphabet. His syllabary revolutionized the Cherokee nation; within a short time nearly all of its members became literate and the bilingual Cherokee Phoenix newspaper was founded, fulfilling his dream of providing a written record of his people's lives and history. Now a statesman and diplomat, Sequoyah made several trips to Washington on behalf of the Cherokee nation.
Learn more about Sequoyah at: the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum; a history of the Cherokee Phoenix from the About North Georgia site
ALBERT CAMUS, Op-Ed Editor
- The Alger-Republicain
Camus (1913-1960) was the leading voice of moral
responsibility during the 1950s. In editorials,
essays, novels and plays he explored nihilism,
and humanism. He was born in poverty and attended
the University of Algiers, later joining the
movement during the German occupation of France.
Camus won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1957. "Had I been a judge," he said, "I
would have voted for André Malraux."
WILL ROGERS, Editorial Writer
- Saturday Evening Post magazine
- McNaught Newspaper Syndicate (weekly and daily columns)
movie star, Broadway actor, philosopher and "gum-chewing
master of the lariat," William Penn Adair Rogers
(1879-1935) was also a writer whose daily "piece
for the papers" was read by 40 million Americans.
Born on his father's ranch in Indian Territory,
now Oklahoma, Rogers attended Kemper Military School
in Boonville, Mo., and later joined the circus as
a trick-rope artist. He performed in vaudeville,
joined the Ziegfeld Follies, and became a popular
movie actor and author, often starting his short
humorous pieces with "Well, all I know is just
what I read in the papers." A love for flying
led him to become the first civilian to fly coast
to coast, with airmail pilots. He died in a plane
crash near Point Barrow, Alaska, with famed aviator
Wiley Post. At the news of Roger's death, cars
off the roads, businesses closed and Americans
gathered around their radios, hoping it wasn't
Learn more about Rogers at: Will Rogers Memorial and Birthplace.
SUSAN B. ANTHONY, Vice President/Human Resources
- The Revolution
As a schoolteacher in New York, Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) discovered that men were paid at a much higher salary for equal work. A tireless reformer in the anti-slavery and temperance movements, Anthony teamed with Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1850 and shifted her efforts to a lifelong quest for women's rights. The right to vote, she believed, was the crucial first step; her arrest and conviction for illegally voting in the 1872 presidential election gained her movement nationwide attention. "Men their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less" was the motto of The Revolution, the newspaper she and Stanton founded in 1868. But it wasn't until 14 years after her death that the 19th Amendment was signed into law. In 1979, she became the first woman to appear on any American currency, the Anthony dollar coin.
Learn more about Anthony at: The National Women's Hall of Fame
P.T. BARNUM, Vice President/Circulation
- The Herald of Freedom
a brief career as a journalist, Phineas Taylor
Barnum (1810-1891) became America's most celebrated
in the mid-1800s. While a newspaper editor, Barnum
was arrested for libel three times, the last
spending 60 days in jail (he called the judge "a
lump of superstition.") He became a member
of the Connecticut state legislature and the mayor
of Bridgeport. The Barnum & Bailey Circus (the "Greatest
Show on Earth") was formed in 1881 with his
competitor James Bailey.
Learn more about Barnum at: The history page of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
WARREN G. HARDING, Vice President/Advertising
G. Harding (1865-1923) holds the distinction of
being the only newspaper publisher ever to become
president; he was second-rate at both jobs. As
newspaperman, Harding preached the journalistic
tenets of the day, then violated them, covering
up important news embarrassing to some residents
and assassinating the character of a rival Republican
editor. His wife Florence (whom he dubbed "the
Duchess") ran the circulation department, spanking
unruly newsboys. Harding also was a tobacco-chewing,
whiskey-drinking, poker-playing philanderer, with
at least two mistresses, one of whom bore his only
child in 1919. He ran his presidential campaign
mostly from his front porch, venturing out to give
speeches half-heartedly. (After stumbling over one
ghost-written passage, he stopped and said: "I
didn't write this speech and don't believe what
I just read.") As president, he restored full
press conferences and became a press favorite,
for a time hid the fact that his cabinet was rife
Learn more about Harding at: The White House online; the Warren Harding page of the C-SPAN American Presidents site
GEORGE ORWELL, Vice President/New Media
Orwell (1903-1950) was the pseudonym of British
writer Eric Arthur Blair, whose experiences as
an officer with the Indian Imperial Police in
Burma, a poor dishwasher in Paris, a tramp roaming
the English countryside and a Loyalist fighter
in the Spanish Civil War became fodder for a string
of books and novels. But it was two brilliant
satires attacking totalitarianism, "Animal
Farm" (1945) and "Nineteen Eighty-Four"
(1949), that gained him worldwide fame. (He invented
"Newspeak," the truth-altering language
of Big Brother's regime, after writing weekly
radio commentaries for the BBC during World War
II.) Language, Orwell believed, "ought to
be the joint creation of poets and manual workers."
He died of a lung ailment just seven months after
"Nineteen Eighty-Four" was published.
Learn more about Orwell at: The Political Writings of George Orwell
RUBE GOLDBERG, Vice President/Information Management
- San Francisco Chronicle
- San Francisco Bulletin
- New York Evening Mail, Evening Sun and Journal
- McNaught Newspaper Syndicate
by his father to pursue an engineering career,
Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) survived six months
quitting his job mapping sewer pipes for the city
of San Francisco, a job "as interesting as
it sounds," he said. By the time he was 33,
Goldberg had traded in his $100 monthly city check
for $50,000 a year as America's most famous cartoonist.
Coming of age at the turn of the 20th century, Goldberg
countered the impersonal world of industrial technology
by drawing convoluted, whimsical caricatures of
modern machines. ("How To Balance Wife's Checking
Account: A) Wife makes out check on overdrawn account;
B) Ink squirts out window into eye of mounted cop's
horse; C) horse jumps, throwing cop who breaks flagpole;
D) end of flagpole hits pushcart, tossing up fruit
into mouth of hungry pig hanging from rope; E) extra
weight of pig breaks rope, dropping pig on bagpipe
which blows money into deposit slot, covering check.")
Today a "Rube Goldberg" invention is
synonymous with any scheme that is needlessly confusing
complex. He won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial
cartooning in 1948.
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All photographs on this page are from The Associated Press and/or the photo library of The Kansas City (Mo.) Star. Photos may be downloaded for personal use, but cannot be reprinted or republished without permission from the sources above.
INFORMATION includes original material as well
as excerpts compiled (i.e., stolen word for word)
from several sources, among them: "Narrative
of the Life of Frederick Douglass" (Douglass);
"The People's Almanac I & II" (Wallace);
"An Eye on the World, Margaret Bourke-White,
Photographer" (Siegel); "The Fabulous
Showman" (Wallace); "Nellie Bly, Daredevil,
Reporter, Feminist" (Kroeger); "Voices
in the Mirror" (Parks); "An American
Primer" (Whitman); "A Jew Today"
(Wiesel); "Ian Fleming" (Rosenberg,Stewart);
"Always on Sunday: Ed Sullivan" (Harris);
"Brave Companions" (McCullough); "Biographical
Dictionary of American Journalism" (McKerns);
"Oxford Companion to English Literature"
(5th ed.); the Web site twainquotes.com; "International
Dictionary of 20th Century Biography"; Grolier's
Electronic Encyclopedia; World Book Encyclopedia;
Jewish-American Hall of Fame; "Rube Goldberg"
(Marzio); and "Red Blood & Black Ink"
SUBMISSION CREDIT: Steve Shirk (Bat Masterson); Chris Seper (Truman Capote).
Copyright 1994-2001, Mark Zieman, The Kansas City Star. All rights reserved.
This page cannot be published or reprinted without permission from Mark Zieman, The Kansas City Star (firstname.lastname@example.org).