Rochester Post and Record

The Post and record (Rochester, Minn.) 1899-1916  Browse the title

Rochester daily post and record (Rochester, Minn.) 1899-1925  Browse the title

The city of Rochester, Minnesota experienced rapid growth during the turn of the 19th century. Dairy farming became an important agricultural industry as wheat farmers experienced drought and pestilence during the decade of 1887 to 1897. Inspired by the success of the Mayo family, hospitals sprang up throughout the town that attracted educators, researchers, and experienced medical professionals. Above all, the entrepreneurial spirit and civic pride of the businessmen of Rochester made the city an enticing place to establish new industries.

As the nation marched into the new century, the Rochester Post and Record was an important news source for the community. Amherst W. Blakely and his son, Clarence W. Blakely, developed the paper by merging their Record and Union with Joseph A. Leonard’s Rochester Post in 1899 to form the Post and Record. As editor and publisher, Amherst W. Blakely had supported the Democratic Party in his columns for over 25 years, but the merger of the two newspapers marked his departure from the party. A.W. Blakely and Son’s weekly publication would support Republican President William McKinley’s platform: the maintenance of the gold standard, expansion to the Philippines, and protective tariffs on imported goods. Stating in the first Post and Record issue of February 3, 1899, "… the [Democratic Party] still clings to the free silver fallacy, the success of which would bring disaster to the country, and it will [be] the shibboleth of the party in the next campaign."

There was more to Amherst and Clarence Blakely’s Post and Record than political rhetoric, however. They also filled the six-column, twelve-page paper with local and national news, agricultural columns, fictional stories, and correspondence. An especially witty and long-running feature of the paper was titled "Ruminations of the Man on the Chimney Top." Humorous truisms were printed in the weekly Post and Record, such as, "money that comes easy usually leaves over the same route" and "everybody should take a paper, and if you want one full of good points you should take a paper of pins."

In 1899, the Blakelys also secured ownership of Leonard’s Rochester Daily Post, which they merged with the Record and Union to form the Rochester Daily Post and Record. Excluding Sundays, this paper was issued daily with eight pages and six columns and contained similar content to the weekly Post and Record. As subscription numbers rose for the daily edition, the weekly edition’s numbers began to fall; and by 1916 it became impractical to continue the weekly Post and Record and it ceased publication.

The Daily Post and Record remained unchanged until late 1917. At this time Amherst W. Blakely incorporated the A.W. Blakely and Son firm with the Blakely Printing Company, an establishment begun in Chicago by Amherst’s late brother David Blakely. Amherst and Clarence Blakely continued as owners, editors, and business managers and added J. Ted Beatty as city editor. The Rochester Daily Post and Record continued to focus on local agricultural and society news, but increased its coverage of foreign affairs especially as the United States entered World War I. This may have contributed to the decision to increase the paper to seven columns.

Amherst W. Blakely had served as a newspaper publisher in Rochester for over fifty years when he died in 1924. The Rochester Daily Post and Record survived without him for only a short time, when in 1925 the paper merged with the Rochester Daily Bulletin to form the Rochester Post-Bulletin. The Blakely family’s influence on the newspaper industry of Rochester thereby ended after over 75 years.