Freeborn County Standard

Freeborn County standard (Albert Lea, Minn.) 1860-1931 Browse the title

The Freeborn County Standard began publication in Albert Lea, Minnesota on May 26, 1860. As the continuation of the Freeborn County Eagle, it covered Freeborn County, Minnesota, national and international news. The first editors/publishers were George S. Ruble and Joseph B. Hooker. Ruble had originally founded the Southern Minnesota Star and owned the Freeborn County Eagle, both predecessors to the Standard. The Standard was initially published weekly as a four-page, six-column paper.

The paper’s founding philosophy was stated in its first issue as:

In politics the paper is emphatically Republican ever advocating the principles of the party, as it is presently understood and especially opposed to slavery in any and all it phases. Still we will not be blind followers of party dictation, as we mean to maintain a proper degree of independence in all things.

The motto under the masthead read, "An Independent Republican Newspaper Devoted to Politics, Agriculture, Literature, and General and Local Intelligence."

Austin D. Clark assumed the editorship on October 21, 1860. By May 8, 1861 the newspaper’s motto had changed to, "The Standard, an Independent Family newspaper, devoted to the people of the Northwest, and especially of Freeborn County." On the 25th of July, 1861, A. D. Clark sold the newspaper to A. B. Webber. In August, 1861, with the start of the Civil War, the new editor added a different motto under the masthead which read, "Pledged only to the right, the constitution, and our country forever."

The newspaper was suspended from July 4, 1864 to April 6, 1865 during the Civil War because very few of the scattered inhabitants permanently resided in the county. After the war, Daniel G. Parker re-started the paper and became proprietor and editor from April 6, 1865 until May 2, 1878. He enlarged the paper during his tenure and it became 8-10 pages long by 1880. The management and editors of the Standard continued to turn over many times and are too numerous to mention here.

Over the years the Standard documented the development of the town of Albert Lea and its business community, with articles such as "The Boom is On!" about the flourishing business climate (January 16, 1884); "More Paving Plans… Curbing, Water mains and Other City Concerns." (August 24, 1910); and "Will a Public Library Pay?" about an upcoming vote for a new public library (March 27, 1895).

The Standard covered national and international issues, such as women’s suffrage; temperance and prohibition; local men’s participation in the Spanish-American War and World War I; and articles related to immigration. It covered education, such as the establishment of Albert Lea College (founded in 1883) that by 1891 was "devoted exclusively to the education of young women". There were a number of articles about weather and natural disasters. Baseball was also a regular topic with reports on the Albert Lea city baseball team. A May 22, 1907 article noted the controversy of Sunday baseball with the title, "Sunday Base Ball. Ministers Oppose, Yet Witness and Enjoy Game. Albert Lea Skillfully Snatches Victory."

By April 5, 1916 the Standard was billed as "non-partisan". The editors stated:

It will be our soul [sic] ambition to help put the STANDARD among the leading newspapers of the state whose policy will be strictly non-partisan, always co-operating with, and furthering the interest of those who hold that the community interest are [sic] greater and of more importance than those of the individual.

From May 4, 1916 to March 31, 1921 the Standard was published twice weekly on Monday and Thursday by the Trades Publishing Company. It returned to a weekly schedule from April 7, 1921 until its last issue on April 30, 1931.


Curtiss-Wedge, Frankyn, comp. History of Freeborn County Minnesota. Chicago: H.C. Cooper, Jr. & Co., 1911.

Hage, George S. Newspapers on the Minnesota Frontier 1849-1860. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1967.

History of Freeborn County. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Historical Company, 1882.

Spicer, Lester W. "Here Is The Story of Albert Lea’s First Newspaper, Published 85 Years Ago." Evening Tribune (Albert Lea, MN), May 23, 1942.

Spicer, L.W. "Our Local Newspapers Have Recorded Our History From the Earliest Pioneer Days." Evening Tribune (Albert Lea, MN), May 7, 1943.

"Standard’s Fifty Years." Freeborn County Standard, July 10, 1907.