100 years ago: Journal-World struggles with skyrocketing paper costs

*Dear Readers: I have enjoyed preparing the Old Home Town column for the print and online Journal-World for over six years now. Although I will no longer be on the newspaper staff as of August 1, I wish to thank all those who have participated in this discussion of local history. Your feedback online and in person has been encouraging and informative, and your stories, both poignant and funny, have added to the development of my understanding of local history and my love for this job. Going forward, I hope to continue the conversation with many of you as we ask the assistance of our past in helping us to put our current world in context. Sincerely yours, Sarah St. John.

From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for July 31, 1916:

  • “Prices that a few weeks ago would have scared newspaper publishers are now grasped quickly by buyers eager to get paper at any price in order to insure the publication of their papers. A salesman for the Missouri Interstate Paper House, of Kansas City, which is a branch of the J. W. Butler Paper Co., of Chicago, stated today that his house was paying 5 cents a pound for print at the mill and was selling it to publishers at six cents. In order to fully understand what a price of six cents means to publishers, one must understand what prices have been in the past. For two years and more the Journal-World has been buying print paper for $1.90 per hundred F. O. B. mill, so a price of six cents is an increase of more than 300 percent, and would make an increase of $10,000 in the cost of paper for one year for this paper.”
  • “The soldiers who returned to Lawrence a few weeks ago after failing to pass the physical examinations of the United states received their honorable discharges Saturday. The men had been sworn in as regular soldiers before they were refused and they enjoyed the privilege of being regulars for about a week. The discharges are from the United States army and carry all the privileges allowed former soldiers of Uncle Sam such as free hunting licenses, paid up poll tax, and exemption from jury duty. The National Guard discharges do not carry these privileges and the militiamen feel that they are now repaid for their disappointment in not getting to accompany their squads to the border. Being a regular soldier for seven days and obtaining an honorable discharge is considered a fine thing by some of the boys while others wished they could have stayed in the service until the border trouble was over.”
  • “K. D. Klemm, of the interurban line, has made known his intention to present at the city commission meeting tomorrow a franchise covering the use of Lawrence property by the Kaw Valley line. While the exact provisions of the franchise are not known here, it is understood that the interurban officials will ask for one of two options, the ‘southwest route’ or the line on the north side of the river…. The curve in the line at Locust and Ninth is soon to be corrected. Now it is necessary for people to cross the track to get into Locust street. The track is to be moved south to accommodate drivers. It is also planned that more stops shall be made for the accommodation of North Lawrence patrons of the line…. It is believed to be the intention of the interurban officials to complete as quickly as possible all details connected with the operation of the road in Lawrence, in order that they may proceed with the work on the Lawrence-Topeka line.”
  • “Candidates over the country and state are finishing their campaigns this afternoon, and tomorrow, Kansas voters will have the opportunity to choose among those seeking places on four tickets: Republican, Democratic, Socialist and Prohibition.”
  • “A number of Haskell students are leaving tonight for their homes to remain the rest of the summer. The first of August is the time at which a number of the students are given their vacation and these with a number of others who are leaving for various reasons will leave tonight. Most of these students will return in the fall.”
  • “W. G. Parker, principal of the new Vinland High school, was in Lawrence this morning conferring with County Superintendent C. R. Hawley in regard to his new work…. The contract for the new building has not been let at the present time, but will be in the near future. The first session of the Vinland High School will open September 11 and Prof. Parker is anxious to get as many enrolled in the first session as possible.”