New Ulm Post

New Ulm Post (New Ulm, Minn.) 1864-1933 Browse the title

In 1864, the town of New Ulm, Minnesota, was still recovering from the tragic events of the U.S.-Dakota War, which left much of the town destroyed, including the printing press and the offices of the New Ulm Pionier, the town’s only newspaper at the time. Arriving from Saint Paul, Albert Wolff and partner Josef Hofer founded the New Ulm Post in February 1864. Calling itself “An independent newspaper for freedom, justice, and progress,” the New Ulm Post was a six-column, four-page weekly German-language newspaper with Republican political affiliations. The New Ulm Post served the predominantly German population of New Ulm and greater Brown County, an area known for its rich farm land and home to the August Schell Brewing Company, the second oldest brewery in the United States.

Albert Wolff was an enterprising journalist who had already served as publisher or editor for several other German-language newspapers: Die Minnesota Deutsche Zeitung (“The Minnesota German Newspaper”), the Minnesota Thal-Bote (“Minnesota Valley Messenger”), and the Minnesota National Demokrat. Born in Braunschweig in 1825, Wolff was one of a group of thousands of German immigrants that came be known as the “Forty-eighters” after the German revolution of 1848, which saw many German liberals, intellectuals, and radicals revolting against their country’s autocratic government and ultimately choosing to leave Germany for the United States. Many of these “Forty-eighters” were also affiliated with the Turner Society, an organization established in Germany in 1811 as a reaction to Napoleon’s occupation of German states. Turners, as they were called, sought to promote liberal thought, physical fitness, and German Volkstum, or “folkdom”, through the establishment of Turnverein, or Turner Halls, gymnasiums which also functioned as meeting halls. Turners were integral in the foundation and early development of New Ulm.

In June 1864, Albert Wolff left the New Ulm Post, returning to Saint Paul to become the editor of the Minnesota Staats-Zeitung (“Minnesota State Newspaper”). Wolff’s departure left Josef Hofer the sole proprietor of the paper. Hofer sold the New Ulm Post to Ludwig Bogen in July 1864. Bogen operated the paper as its editor and publisher until May 1865, when he was joined by Lambert Naegele, formerly the publisher of the New Ulm Pionier. In 1869, Naegele left the New Ulm Post and Ludwig Bogen became the paper’s publisher and editor, positions he held until his death in 1886. Following Ludwig Bogen’s death, ownership of the paper passed to his son, Albert, under whose direction the New Ulm Post became a Democratic paper. 

In August 1892, at the height of a highly contentious dispute over proposed changes to the school curriculum, the New Ulm Post threw its support behind the local school board. Opponents of the school board responded by making an offer to purchase the New Ulm Post. Bogen instead sold the paper to a group of his friends, who then sold it in September 1892 to John H. Strasser, who had been editor of the New Ulm Post under Bogen. In addition to his tenure as editor and publisher of the New Ulm Post, Strasser authored two significant works that remain in publication to this day: a narrative history of New Ulm entitled New Ulm in Wort und Bild (“New Ulm in Word and Picture”) (1892) and Chronologie Der Stadt New Ulm, Minnesota (“Chronology of the City of New Ulm, Minnesota”) (1899). In December 1915, the New Ulm Post absorbed Der Fortschritt (“Progress”), another German-language newspaper based in New Ulm.

In 1917, with the United States deeply enmeshed in the war in Europe, many German Americans were feeling social and economic pressures to prove their loyalty and patriotism. German Americans in New Ulm were experiencing many of the same challenges. In December, the Minnesota Commission of Public Safety, which had been created to protect the state from foreign threats, took the unprecedented action of suspending two New Ulm city council members and replacing the mayor. The following year, a local organization calling itself the Citizen’s Loyalty League sent copies of “inflammatory” columns from the New Ulm Post that spoke out against the war to federal authorities. The paper’s editor, Albert Steinhauser, was arrested and brought to Saint Paul, where he was charged under the Espionage Act. Unable to pay a $10,000 bail bond, Steinhauser spent a night in jail. Although the case received numerous continuances, it was never brought to trial.

In the early decades of the 20th century, a steady decline in immigration from Germany, coupled with an increase in Americans of German heritage who no longer spoke or read German, caused the readership base for the German-language press to shrink. So it was with the New Ulm Post that declining readership and advertising revenue eventually forced the paper to shut down. On May 12, 1933, after nearly 70 years of publication, the New Ulm Post produced its final issue.