History of Early Amateur Journalism in Ohio


The Jolly Times was a small, 4 pager publishing original fiction from Newark in 1871. It appeared monthly from the editorial office of its proprietor, P. J. Kellor. Piqua was the home of the 1871 Will o the Wisp, a short-lived bi-monthly published by A. H. Sawyer, Harry Carlyle, and Charlie Chase.


After the failure to organize a Western A.P.A. at Cincinnati in July, 1870, the desire for organization resulted in 1872 in the Ohio A.P.A. In the summer of 1874 it met in Cincinnati. Meeting in Fostoria, May 30, 1879, it elected C. H. Kirshner, President, and Will C. Brown, Secretary. The next year at Cincinnati, Brown was made President. It met again in Fostoria, August 25, 1881, electing R. L. Zerbe, President, and Charles C. Rickert, Editor. In Cincinnati, July 1, 1882, Frank S. Arnett was chosen President and George W. Biehn, Editor. Its last meeting was held in Columbus, July 4, 1883. After a lapse of two years a State organization, named the Buckeye A.P.A., was formed at Akron, July 22, 1885, with W. B. Baldwin as President. Its second and last meeting was held in Cleveland, July 22, 1886. F. R. Fuller was elected President and Edwin B. Swift, Editor. A new Ohio A.P.A. was organized in September, 1907, and held conventions in 1908 and 1909. Another State organization was formed at Cleveland, in November, 1921, with William Dowdell as President and Harry R. Marlowe as Editor. Its life was short.


At Fostoria, August 25, 1881, an Ohio and Michigan A.P.A. was formed with C. H. Kirschner, President. It held a second meeting in Detroit, July 12, 1882, electing W. M. Hewitt, President.


Local clubs were formed in several Ohio cities, the first being a Cincinnati organization known as the Queen City A.P.A. It was formed February 7, 1877, with Ren Mulford, Jr., President. Several meetings were held. A Cincinnati A.P.A. was formed October 21, 1882, with John J. Weissert, President, and Edwin B. Swift, Editor. Another was organized September 11, 1890, Capitola L. Harrison, President, and Frank D. Woollen, Editor, and another October 11, 1894. These all had a very brief history. Columbus had a flourishing club formed in 1881, and holding annual meetings in 1882 and 1883. Cleveland organized a club May 5, 1903, with C. B. Harris, President, and Warren J. Brodie, Secretary. In May, 1904, Tim Thrift was chosen President. It was reorganized in November, 1908, Thrift being again President. Samuel Loveman, the poet, was Secretary. It met twice a month for about a year. In 1923 a Scribblers' Club was formed by the Cleveland amateurs.


In the late 1930's, Springfield became an active amateur center, and the birthplace of several mimeographed journals which later set the fashion for other papers reproduced by this medium. Albert Pedrick started the small, but lively, printed Mad River Driftwood. An active local club flourished; and later become the moving force in the Central States Press Club, which publishd CSPC News.


The first amateur journal published in Ohio was probably the Venture, issued in 1869 from Wooster by George U. Harn. About the same time in Cincinnati De Omnibus was published by Victor Herold and his brother. During the following decade Cincinnati became an active amateur center. St. George Rathbone, a well-known story writer under the name of "Henry St. Clair, Jr.," started the Buckeye Herald in Cincinnati in 1871, and later published the Queen City Journal and the Globe. Other Cincinnati journals of the period and their editors were: Our Banner, Alfred M. Cohen, Morris H. Tobias; Nonpariel, Charles Lee Collins; Amateur Free Press and Queen City Amateur, Ren Mulford, Jr., Edwin B. Swift; Buckeye Amateur Gazette, Charles D. Robinson; Buckeye Herald, Frank C. Lindsley; Sunflower, Charles D. Fisher; Monthly Review and Lux Luminum, Will H. McCann; One Oddity, Malcolm Douglass; Pen and Press, Will M. Carter; Le Bijou, Herbert A. Clarke [the first Negro in amateur journalism]; Paris of America, Mark M. Kerr; Junior Record, Richard L. Zerbe.


Outside Cincinnati several papers were issued by amateur editors who afterwards gained prominence in several fields. Among these were Our Arrows, Alliance, Charles E. Locke, for many years Bishop of the Methodist Church; Sunny Side, Akron, Will M. Clemens, noted author and magazine editor; Buckeye Boy, George M. Huss, later civil engineer of international fame. The Schoolmate, edited by Charles McColm of Cleveland, published in 1871 a serial by Constance F. Woolson, author later of the well-known novel For the Major. Other early papers, with their editors, were: Young Enterprise, Toledo, William H. Reed; Corn City's Compliments, Toledo, George B. Smith; Composing Stick, Ripley, George W. Biehn; Home News and Scrubbing Brush, Toledo, Edwin M. Scribner; Our Galaxy, Cleveland, W. E. Aiken; Amateur Gazette and Dauntless, Fostoria, C. H. Kirschner; Tatler and Young American, Fostoria, Will C. Brown; Buckeye Gem, Dayton, John M. Kramer; Amateur Press, Hamilton, Frank 1. Whitehead; Boys' Doings, Harmar, Will S. Knox; Wise and Otherwise, Marietta, Frank H. Chamberlain; Fiery Comet and Our Optic, Cadiz, Charles A. Hanna; Amateur Enterprise, Springfield, A. D. Hosterman; Amateur Echo, Dayton, Will White; Our Youth, Cleveland, A. L. Hyde; Our Boys and Girls, Edgerton, H. A. Granbery.


In the early years of the next decade (1880 to 1889) amateur journalism gained renewed impetus by the advent of many new editors, some of the older journalists still continuing their activity. From Dayton came the Buckeye Youth edited by Harrie N. Reynolds, and Young American, V. Winters, editor; from Canal Dover the Amateur Sun, Charles C. Rickert, editor; from Akron the Palladium, William B. Baldwin. In Cincinnati were published the Picayune, Norbert Heinsheimer, editor, the Cincinnati Amateur, edited by Oscar L. Knapp, and the Caxton, F. Mills, editor. In Chillicothe the Boys' Own was published by Burton F. Stevenson, later author of many mystery novels and standard anthologies.


Columbus at this time became a flourishing center of amateur activity. Among its papers and editors were: Western Amateur, C. C. Hollenback; Owlet and Phoenix, Frank S. Arnett; Pearl, J. A. Hauser; Eagle, Henry Graumann; Buckeye Cruiser, George J. Landon; Acorn, Hugo Beck; Amateur Era, Edward Beck.


In 1890 and 1891 two notable literary magazines were published in Cincinnati. Red Letter Days was issued by Edwin B. Swift, and the Violet by Mrs. Swift, under the name of Zelda Armstrong. They published much fine literature.


In 1895 Carl B. Harris issued the American Amateur from Cleveland, and Harry R. Marlowe the Search-Light from Warren. From Warren in 1899 came the Miscellany, edited by C. D. Lovejoy, and the next year the Young Idea, Harry E. Miller, editor. In 1900 the amateur center of Ohio was located in Cleveland. Warren J. Brodie, a former editor in New York State, issued the Random Amateur from Cleveland in 1899, and in 1902 Timothy B. Thrift began the publication of the Black Book and the Lucky Dog, noted for their unique and beautiful typography. Other Cleveland papers were: Waste Basket, Alfred V. Fingulin; Synthetique, John S. Ziegler; Hobo, Samuel Loveman; Optimist, W. J. Kostir.


Later journals in Ohio were: Toledo Amateur, Toledo, Wesley H. Porter; Sprite, Scio, Harry E. Martin; Quaker, Warren, Paul C. Oliphant; Cartoons, Lancaster, Irving M. SinClair; Dryad, Bryan, George W. Priest; Sun, Cleveland, Anthony F. Moitoret; Bear Cat, Cleveland, William Dowdell; Printers' Pet, Anna, Burt Foote; Tattler, Cincinnati, Robert M. Dunlap; Midwestern Cooperator, Youngstown, John B. Schlarb; Star-Gazing, Elizabeth L. Jordan, and Walk One Flight, Willametta Turnepseed, Springfield; Dewey, Twinsburg, Charles E. Wing.


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