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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"

Chapter  37 - The Newspapers of the County

The Eau Claire Leader

(-as transcribed from pages 501 - 503)

The Eau Claire Leader is the morning daily paper of the Chippewa Valley that carries the Associated Press news of the world, and is issued in a daily form of eight pages, with sixteen or over of its Sunday editions.  The publisher is the Eau Claire Press Company, and its present editor is P. C. Atkinson.

When this paper was started it was called the Daily Leader and its first editor was W. H. Lamb, who began it in May, 1881.  From that time until 1885 it saw many different owners and editors, until there entered into the management William K. Atkinson, a Canadian from London, Ontario.  For many years the Leader was a sort of family newspaper.  W. K. Atkinson being assisted by his sons, P. C. Atkinson and by Harry M. B. Atkinson, who died September 29, 1908, and who at that time was the active business manager.  W. K. Atkinson also received great assistance and in a peculiarly valuable manner from his brother, Henry M. Atkinson, whose death came on October 13, 1913.  The brothers were known respectively as the "Major" and the "Colonel," and they gave to the paper that personal element that is, perhaps unfortunately, passing away in these days of co-operation and corporation.  What the major or the colonel wrote was distinctively characteristic, and for a score of years they were marked characters in western Wisconsin.  Major Atkinson is still a contributor to the paper in a department called "Northern Sparks," and which deals with incidents and opinions that have to do with the great and growing country north of Eau Claire.

Politically speaking, the Eau Claire Leader is recognized throughout the state as conservative Republican.  It is in fact independent and progressive.  It does not seek the mission of being "a moulder of public opinion," but there have come times in its thirty-three years of existence that it has seized hold of, or made the opportunity that meant something for the community.  Quite recently it began the effort to make Eau Claire the first so-called "Commission City" of Wisconsin.  It succeeded.  Before this, at the time of the free silver propaganda, it changed from a Democratic to a Republican paper.  In a large sense the Leader is a popular paper, and easily leads all others in this part of the state in point of circulation.  It has for years maintained a Chippewa Falls department, now edited by Miss Katheryn Gadsby.

The Eau Claire Press Company publishes the Leader in the morning and the Daily Telegram at night from a plant and building that are suitable and fully abreast of the times.  Their combined daily circulation is close to the ten thousand mark, and no city of the size of Eau Claire has the news field better covered.

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