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The Utah Digital Newspapers Project or How to Make ESW and JDS History Article Hunting Easier!

Today, I found a faster and easier way to locate Elmo Scott Watson's (wiki bio) and John Dickinson Sherman's (no wiki bio) historical articles - see listings in my May 11 post: Selected links to Historical Articles by ES Watson and JD Sherman - 1921-1945 

While researching the "Western Newspaper Union" syndicate, I discovered, by happenstance,

The Utah Digital Newspapers Project

by K Arlitsch - Feb 14, 2003


The J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah has digitized 30,000 pages from three weekly Utah newspapers from the period of 1889 - 1922 and made the collections freely available on the Internet. This article describes a new method for digitizing historic newspapers, developed in a partnership between the University and two commercial organizations....

In particular, the process can be implemented incrementally, making it affordable for both small and large collections, and the technology supports many different digital formats, not just newspapers. The digitized newspapers are publicly accessible and may be searched full text or browsed by issue. With the recent award of a new grant, another 100,000 pages from an expanded selection of newspapers are slated for digitization in 2003....

Syndicated News

In the late 19th century, Western Newspaper Union of Omaha, Nebraska [my emphasis] sold newsprint, printer supplies and equipment to small town newspapers in Utah. It also sold syndicated news and other articles in the form of ready-print. The local newspaper editor would receive the newsprint, which was printed with national and international news on one side, and had space for local news on the other side. Western Newspaper Union also offered stereotype (metal) plates imprinted with articles. The plates could be fitted into the local newspaper's printing press.

Syndicated news was of great value because local newspapers could not afford to hire reporters to cover international and national events. Ready-print was a great bargain. Because the pre-printed advertisements paid most of the cost, ready-print was almost as cheap as blank newsprint. In turn, ready-print advertisers had a national market for their goods and services.

Besides national and international news, Western Newspaper Union offered a wide range of content including articles on agriculture, fashion, and other topics as well as columns of interest to children, serialized fiction, poetry, and other features. Many established and fledgling writers found it worthwhile to have their work published through syndicated services like Western Newspaper Union. However, none of these fascinating articles or advertisements had been included in the index for The Vernal Express....


Too often the histories of small-town newspapers, and the people who worked long hours to produce them, are forgotten. Newspapers are a primary source of historical information, and are useful to scholarly researchers and laypeople alike. Historical newspapers are immensely popular with genealogists and historians, and it is the broad appeal of these materials that garnered so much support in the academic and public library communities to drive the Utah Digital Newspapers project. In spite of their popularity, newspapers are also one of the most difficult and inefficient research materials, and they are often not consulted by researchers simply because they are so difficult to use. Regional historical newspapers are rarely indexed, and therefore cannot be searched, and are usually found only in microform in centralized locations...."

So, because it was said of Watson that,  "During the late 1920s, Watson's syndicator, the Western Newspaper Union, called him "the most widely read historical feature writer in the country."[wiki-8],  I went to the Utah Digital Newspapers site to see what I could find on Watson and his predecessor - John Dickinson Sherman.  Sherman, it is easy to see by sheer volume, was up to his death in 1926, likely the "most widely read historical" AND - inspired by his wife Mary (see below) - "the foremost pioneer "nature" or to use a more modern term - "environmental" - writer up until his untimely death in 1926  (was Sherman, also a Illinois based newspaperman, a personal friend or even mentor to Watson?)

Using the search tool,  and the exact phrase "Elmo Scott Watson," and patiently waiting through the minute or more of loading, I soon hit the proverbial pay-dirt!

To my surprise and delight, the 1st of nearly "5000 hits" yielded a serendipitous but curiously dated pdf article on Ulysses S. Grant,  who was the subject of my long ago MA thesis subject.

  1. Beaver City Press 1920-01-19 Beaver City Press 1920-01-19 "Cadet U. H. Grant"

Beaver City Press 1920-01-19 "Cadet U. H. Grant"

However, the actual date of the issue was April 19 1929 and not 1920.....

I must add that I was unaware of the existence of this article.  A  return search on google news archives of other non-Utah newspapers I had become very familiar with, to say the least, yielded nil on that date or surrounding it.....

Nevertheless, I told myself,  a poor article copy is better than, thanks Utah! 

Or was it you Elmo?  But - if you - then why did you let me waste all those hours hunting for, compiling, assembling and posting the links to your articles when most of them (5000) are easily accessed here on the Utah site - since 2003?

Oh well, here is the article as a jpeg image after some "cleanup":

A few hours relentless pursuit of a "good copy"...

Using the provided Paper Timeline as a guide, I found another - and better - copy of the "Cadet U. H. Grant" article on page 2 in the
Millard County Progress 1929-04-19
issue  and quickly made a jpeg of it.

(However, not so fast,  as luck would have advanced search using the exact phrase "Cadet U .H. Grant" or any of the words, or "Elmo Scott Watson" will not provide a direct link with pdf picture as displayed above,i.e.  bring up this article as a "search result," nor for that matter, any other articles from the Millard County Progress "1929-04-19" issue, or even the issue itself  as a search result!!??)  I know - who cares but me,?  No bother, here it is,  a "cleaned up"  jpeg made from the pdf file!

Onward!  to Watson's prolific predecessor, John Dickinson Sherman - and here are the:

Search results: 490 item(s) for: ""john dickinson sherman"" 

Strangely, or I should say eerily,  the first "hit"  displayed was a personally sought for article on the famous WWI Medal of Honor Winner Sgt Alvin York.  I had a feeling JDS did not overlook him - to be used in a future post planned for publishing this November around Veterans Day - or Armistice day - as it was first known...or maybe earlier....

  1. Davis County Clipper 1920-09-03 Conscience and Gun and Redhead Nerve Davis County Clipper 1920-09-03 Conscience and Gun and Redhead Nerve
my  "cleaned-up" version:


Now, just before I was "led" to the above Utah Digital Newspapers "find," I had been researching available "web" articles on and "google book' articles by Sherman and his distinguished wife - Mary Belle King Sherman (1862-1935). I found a few short bios on JDS but more on Mrs Sherman.   What a team they must have been!
Here is her remarkable and inspiring story as pieced together from the open web:


 John Dickinson Sherman, son of Penoyer L. Sherman, '51, was born in Chicago, Aug. 30, 1859, and prepared for college at the Hyde Park High School. He spent the freshman year at the University of Vermont, entering '81 in the fall of 1878. He has been hard at work in Chicago ever since he was "turned loose." He began work on the Chicago Tribune in 1882 as suburban correspondent, and in July, 1891, was made city editor. He was married, Feb. 10, 1887, to Miss Mary Belle King, daughter of Rufus King, of Rochester, N. Y. He is a Republican and an Episcopalian. His address is 4433 Lake Ave., Chicago.

A History of the City of Chicago Its Men and Institutions: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
John Dickinson Sherman is a native Chicagoan. He was born in 1859 in the home of his great uncle, Mayor James H. Woodworth, Wash avenue, near Sixteenth street, then the best resident district of Chicago. His father is P. L. Sherman, one of the old-time lawyers of Chicago, and his mother is president of the Chicago Woman's Club. His parents built a home in Kenwood in 1859 and still live in the old homestead. Mr. Sherman was graduated from the Hyde Park High School in 1876 and from Hamilton College in 1881. In 1882, while studying law in his father's office, he became Hyde Park correspondent for the Chicago Tribune merely as a diversion. Becoming interested in the work he turned his attention seriously to the newspaper business, and by 1890 had worked his way up to the position of city editor. He held this position for five years. He came to The Inter Ocean upon its reorganization in 1898 to take charge of the local department. 

Mary Belle King Sherman (1862-1935)

"...known as the "National Park Lady" because of her dedication to the preservation of America's scenic beauty, aided in the creation of the National Park Service in 1916. Sherman later served as GFWC President from 1924-28, and encouraged clubwomen to pursue conservation efforts, which resulted in the establishment of six national parks."
GFWC - General Federation of Women's Clubs - Notable Clubwomen 

Duchesne County Newspapers 1920-04-01 Out-of Ordinary People - Mrs John Dickinson Sherman 


In The End... All You Really Have Is Memories



The Pentwater News - Dec 8, 1944

"RECENTLY I HEARD a woman say: "Whatever success I have achieved has been as a club woman."
Knowing that lady and her family, I would amend that statement. Her greatest success has
been as a home-maker and a mother. Thinking of that statement served to recall an incident of some years ago, in which another club woman, Mrs. John Dickinson Sherman, then president of the General Federation of Woman's Clubs, played a leading role.
I had known John Sherman two or three years before I met Mrs. Sherman. He was a newspaper man and writer of much more than average ability. For a number of years he was city editor of the Chicago Daily Tribune. The only thing of which he was inordinately proud was that of being the husband of Mrs. Sherman. He never wearied of the subject of her brilliance and achievements, though during the years in which she was actively engaged in club work he saw but little of her. Mrs. Sherman's activities caused her to live in Washington. He lived in a room in a Chicago boarding house. Their home was a mountain cabin on the side of Long's Peak in Rocky Mountain Park, Colorado. There Mrs. Sherman spent her summer months, and he spent his two-weeks' summer vacation with her.
From hearing so much of Mrs. Sherman I had formed quite a definite idea of her personality and appearance. To my imagination she was a portly, austere dame with a commanding presence. She would have gray hair, worn in a tight
wave "permanent do." Her dress would be a dark colored, severely tailored suit, with a touch of the feminine in the while ruching at the throat- and cuffs. Mrs. Patterson was spending a summer at Estes Park and knew Mrs. Sherman. Dropping off there while on a western trip, Mrs. Patterson and I walked down the business street of the village, and she was telling me that before I left we must call on Mrs.. Sherman. As she talked I noticed a chipper little lady walking toward us. She wore a reasonably broad brimmed light straw hat, cocked jauntily on one side of a head covered with fluffy, reddish brown hair, and was wearing a brightly flowered dress of light material. As Mrs. Patterson looked up the lady stopped in front of us, and I was introduced to Mrs. John Dickinson Sherman. "Not the president of the General Federation of Woman's Clubs?" I said. "That's me," said the lady. "But woman, it just cannot be," I insisted. "You look like you could cook a meal." "At noon, tomorrow, I will demonstrate that I can," she replied. "Mrs. Patterson and you are to be at the cabin for lunch."
That mountain cabin was a comfy, homey home for a man and woman. No frills, no fancy furnishings, but an attractive, comfortable place in which to live. It had every evidence of the home-maker's deft touch, with a  thought for the man of the house. The lunch was the kind a man enjoys. A generous quantity of mountain trout, fried to perfection. Mrs. Sherman had caught them, as well as cooked them. There were french fried potatoes, hot rolls, mountain berry pie and coffee. She did it all. "Yes, woman," I commented, "you are a success as a  home-maker, and knowing your son, I can also say as a mother, and I had thought of you only as a club woman."
Mrs. Sherman explained that the first essential to success in woman's club work Is ability as a home-maker. She possessed that first essential. I could understand John Sherman's pride."


Women and Social Movements in the United States
Chapter III: Leadership, by Mildred White Wells. In Unity in Diversity: the History of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, by Mildred White Wells. (New York, NY: General Federation of Women's Clubs, 1953). pp. 46-97


Though Mrs. John Dickinson Sherman did not become president of the General Federation until 1924, she had been actively identified with the organization for more than twenty years. She served as recording secretary, 1904-1908, and was elected second vice-president in 1908. In this capacity she accompanied Mrs. Philip N. Moore on the official trip to clubs in the Canal Zone. During this visit she was stricken with an illness which almost cost her life and left a permanent legacy of physical suffering. She resigned from the vice-presidency in December 1910, after having been re-elected in the spring.

Of this period of her service, Mrs. Percy V. Pennybacker commented, "Her knowledge of the Federation [p. 88] was phenomenal. It grew to be a custom in the Board when any disputed point as to the past arose, to say, ‘Ask Mrs. Sherman, she will know’ and she did know."

As her health improved, Mrs. Sherman returned to Federation work. During Mrs. Pennybacker's presidency, she asked for the creation of a committee on natural scenery in the Conservation Department. Mrs. Pennybacker did better than that; she made Mrs. Sherman chairman of the Department in 1914.

Here was the opportunity to serve the cause she loved best. Since the removal of the Sherman family from Chicago to Estes Park, Colorado, for the improvement of the health of the only child, John King Sherman, the mother had developed a passion for the conservation of the natural resources of the country.

Their cottage, Tahosa, "dwellers among the mountaintops," was on a stone and timber claim which Mrs. Sherman "took up" from the government in 1909. Because of an accident to her shoulder, she spent months in a plaster cast here. Long's Peak was framed in the window by which she spent the long hours and she determined to climb to its top when her strength returned. When she finally stood at its summit, she solemnly vowed to devote the rest of her life to saving such beauty spots for the enjoyment of all the people.

Her first efforts had a large part in the creation of the Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915. This was the only national park up to that time to receive a formal dedication. The General Federation was represented by Mrs. Sherman and the Estes Park Woman's Club served refreshments to the crowd.

Mrs. Sherman then threw the support of the Federation [p. 89] to the creation of the National Park Service in 1916 and by 1920, when her service as Conservation chairman ended, she had supported the creation of six national parks. No wonder she became known as the "National Park Lady."

Her work for the preservation of forest lands was equally noteworthy. While she was GFWC president, there was a widespread movement to plant "Mary Sherman Forests" in every state.

In September 1918, Mrs. Sherman was appointed by the Secretary of the Interior as special assistant director of the United States School Garden Army of the Bureau of Education. She was in charge of women's organizations to arouse interest in the establishment of children's gardens under school supervision throughout the country. She also served during this war period as the one woman member of the National War Gardens Commission. She is credited with the establishment of National Garden Week.

When the General Federation consolidated its Conservation and Education Departments into the Department of Applied Education, Mrs. Sherman became the chairman of the new department and it was from this position that she advanced to the office of president. For the election, the Nominating Committee presented the names of Mrs. Sherman and Mrs. Wallace T. Perham of Montana, the current second vice-president. The first vice-president, Mrs. W. S. Jennings of Florida, was nominated from the floor but withdrew her name.

Mary Sherman was a beautiful woman with the unusual coloring which accompanies red hair. She was a ninth generation American, being a direct descendant of

[p. 90]
John Whitney who settled in Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635. She was born in New York state, later lived in Chicago where, in 1887, she married John Dickinson Sherman, a distinguished journalist. Her club work began in the Chicago Woman's Club, which she served as recording secretary, and as chairman of the press and legislative committees. She became an authority on parliamentary law, a subject which she taught at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. She was author of Parliamentary Law at a Glance, a handbook which had a wide circulation.

Mrs. Sherman had a most orderly mind and was a creative planner. As GFWC president, she used these powers to knit together the loose ends of the organization and make it more efficient. She started with reorganization of the offices at the new Headquarters on a strict basis of efficiency and recognized business methods. She was the first president to spend a large part of her time at the Washington headquarters and her presence there gave her knowledge of its needs. Since this building was acquired to be the center of Federation activity, she determined to make it so in fact. The office of the Treasurer was established there and an assistant treasurer employed to handle the work. The office of corresponding secretary was abolished and its work taken over by the Headquarters secretarial staff. Mrs. Sherman also recommended the raising of a new endowment fund, the Foundation Fund.

A Federation news service was established during this administration and the editorial offices of the Federation magazine were moved to Headquarters.

A program as dear to Mrs. Sherman's heart as that of [p. 91] conservation was the improvement of home life. This became the major policy of her administration. She felt that the average woman's place is in the home but that the home is the heart of the community, giving it the life blood of human power. At her request the Federation created the Department of the American Home and Mrs. Sherman bent her energies to its development.

As a result, one of the finest projects ever developed by the General Federation took form — a nation-wide survey of homemaking facilities and equipment in city and rural homes, followed by a campaign for better equipped homes throughout the nation.

After her term of office as president, Mrs. Sherman was made chairman of the American Home Department. The General Federation's efforts during her administration and chairmanship had much to do with bringing about United States Census recognition of the homemaker; also the granting by insurance companies of special policies against accidents occuring to women in the home.

Mrs. Sherman took great pleasure in her contacts with clubwomen during her visits to state federation conventions. She tried always to meet their demands on her. At one time, both she and a state federation broke precedent that they might get together. Sunday was the only day open in the schedule of the president's western tour so Idaho took that day to hold its convention. The clubwomen said they didn't know when they would ever have the president of the General Federation in the state again and they weren't going to miss seeing her. And one woman told her that she hadn't
[p. 92] missed church for two years but she did it that day to see "the president."

"I tried to get over to them the sense of their obligation to the Federation, because it can only help as it is helped. And lastly, I pointed out that this was the way for them to ally themselves with women everywhere who are truly trying to serve America and make this country the emblem of perfection to all the world. As the result of this meeting, Idaho came into direct membership."

In spite of the success and value of the home equipment survey, the Federation was severely criticized in some quarters as commercializing its influence and Mrs. Sherman was criticized for accepting payment for the syndicated magazine articles she wrote on the subject. Being so sure of her own honesty and sincerity of purpose, she was hurt by the lack of understanding of her motives and her last months in office were saddened by the necessity to defend herself.

Her friends said of her:

"I have never known a more genuine, a more sincere human being. Next came her superb courage. It mattered not the ordeal to be faced, whether it was physical, mental, or spiritual, she never shirked. She met what came with her head up and her eyes upon her goal."[note]
1. Mrs. Pennybacker

"She walked straight toward the truth and right, as she saw it, fearless of results to herself, so long as she believed good would result for the cause she espoused."[note]
2. Dr. Clara B. Burdette

[p. 93]

While she was still president, Mrs. Sherman was appointed the only woman member of the Advisory Council of the National Broadcasting Company, a position she continued to hold as long as she lived. Later she served as Presidential Commissioner of the George Washington Bicentennial celebration and was put in charge of women's activities.

Because of these duties, she spent much of her time in Washington. As she was crossing the street near her hotel in October 1934, she was struck by a bus, thrown to the street and suffered a severe concussion. After weeks of suffering, she rallied sufficiently to be taken to her son's home in Denver, where she passed away on January 15, 1935.

Mrs John Dickinson Sherman - Notable American Women:a biographical dictionary
Edward T. James, Janet Wilson James
Harvard University Press, 1974

National parks and the woman's voice: a history - By Polly Welts Kaufman, UNM Press, 2006

Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park Then& Now, James H. Pickering, 2006
Westcliffe Publishers, Inc. P.O. Box 1261
Englewood, CO 80150
Printed in China by C & C Offset Printing Co., Ltd
"In 1911, the Lambs sold the property to John and Mary Belle King Sherman. John Dickinson Sherman, a prominent newspaperman, had come out from Chicago for reasons of health and decided to stay. It was while living at Wind River that Mary Belle King Sherman launched her career as a conservation lobbyist through the General Federations of Women’s Clubs. It would earn her the title “National Park Lady.” The ranch was sold again in 1924, this time to Chicago doctor James Gay and his wife Bessy, who built seven cabins for use by family members and expanded the property to 525 acres by purchasing land on both sides of today’s Highway 7. Althoughit was the Gay’s daughter and her husband who first began taking in paying guests, Wind River Ranch, as the property was by then known, did not become a full-fledged dude ranch until 1944, when it was purchased by the Robert Hutchinson family. The Hutchinsons expanded the number of cabins, built a recreation hall (photographed above), making use of the stone fireplace that had been part of the Lambs’ “Mountain Home,” and for nearly
30 years made Wind River one of the most successful and popular guest ranches in the Estes region, a tradition continued by its subsequent owners." p. 158

Their son John K Sherman:

Enos Abijah Mills - 1916 - 62 pages - Free Google eBook - Read
American Automobile Association - 1916 - Free Google eBook - Read
... DC under Act cf March J 187y Copyright 1916. by AAA Publishing Co. table £°NTENT5 PACE Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park— Scenic Wonderlands for Touring Motorists— By John King Sherman


File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
Photograph by John King Sherman. CHASM LAKE AND LONGS PEAK. ADISTINGUISHED feature of the park is its profusion of cliff-cradled, glacier-watered val- ...

Estes Park Archives 


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