Tag Archives: William Dudley Pelley

“Responsible for A Good Paper”

In the spring of 1919, William Dudley Pelley, the owner and editor of St. Johnsbury’s Evening Caledonian, took the unusual step of listing all of the paper’s staff on the masthead, under the heading “Responsible for a good newspaper in St. Johnsbury.”

ImagePelley was a successful short story writer, and we learn more about the Caledonian staff from¬† one of his stories that appeared in the November 1919 issue of American Magazine. A photograph of the Caledonian staff accompanies “Human Nature–As the Country Editor Knows It.” Pelley provided a lengthy caption that describes what he saw as the duties and talents of the five women and five men standing in front of the paper’s office on Eastern Avenue.

ImageFrom left to right, some highlights from Pelley’s caption:

  • Robert MacKinnon, “who keeps the creditors sweet” and “sees that the books show a profit.”
  • Miles S. Gilman, “who joshes the typesetting machines into getting out the news.”
  • Mrs. Alice Massey, “our little lady reporter, who knows everybody in town and everything that happens in the community.”
  • Miss Margaret Robie, “society editor, proof reader, and trouble-fixer.”
  • Miss Florence Rouse, “the girl who is never in a hurry, but does more work than all the rest of the office put together” and “general all-around assistant to the Boss.
  • The Boss (Pelley).
  • Miss Ruth Impey, “who operates another one of the typesetting machines” and “whose proof is as pure as a baby’s smile.”
  • Arthur Boucher, who “sees that the paper is printed on the big Duplex in such shape that the town can read it without having to go and wash its fingers afterward.”
  • Mrs. A.M. Moran, “who never took a back seat when it came to setting ads that made the lives of the local merchants a pleasure and a joy.”
  • Ray Packard, “the man who bosses the whole push.”

They were, Pelley concluded, “a happy bunch who never speak a cross word to one another.”

Issues of the weekly Caledonian from 1837 to 1884 are available now on Chronicling America, and more years of the weekly and the daily Evening Caledonian will be added soon.