American Indian and Alaska Native Newspapers and Periodicals, 1826-1924 - Vol. 1

By Daniel F. Littlefield Jr.; James W. Parins | Go to book overview

in its career, the publication carried no editor's name on its masthead. While Pratt may not have physically edited the paper all of the time, he evidently kept a careful watch on its content. The paper was at times delayed because he was away on school business, as he frequently was. Much of the work of editing the paper apparently fell upon Marianna Burgess, who from the 1880s on was business manager, co-editor for a while, and superintendent of printing. Miss Burgess had learned the printing trade as a child, setting type for her father who edited the Belvidere, New Jersey, Apollo.

Pratt was replaced by Captain William A. Mercer of the Seventh U.S. Cavalry. A native of Buffalo, New York, he had entered service as a second lieutenant in 1880. He had been in charge of the LaPointe, Wisconsin, Agency for four years and the Omaha and Winnebago Agency for two years and had served at the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota. In the brief time he was in charge of the paper, he had no apparent editorial axe to grind. The Red Man and Helper ceased publication on July 29, 1904, and was replaced the following week by The Carlisle Arrow.*

The content of The Red Man and Helper and its predecessors clearly reflects the basic theories that underpinned one of the most significant developments in Indian education in the nineteenth century. It was in a large measure a propaganda tool for Richard H. Pratt's ideas, and his editorial control of this first Indian Service school periodical anticipated the role that his counterparts at other schools would play in relation to school publications.

In one sense, however, this publication, like many others, proved an important training ground for Indian youth. In 1893 The Red Man had a circulation of about two to three thousand, and The Indian Helper a weekly circulation of nine thousand. The print shop was equipped with a Campbell Oscillating Cylinder press, a No. 3 Eclipse, a No. 2 Eclipse, and a small model press. Later, it had a Babcock Cylinder press. The apprentice printers received a full course in composition and as much experience as possible in the job, stone, and press work. They were taught layout, operation and management of the equipment, as well as management of the steam engine and boiler that drove the machinery. Such training at the Indian industrial schools prepared a number of students for the printing trade. It made possible the entry of many Indians into not only printing but the publishing industry as well. A good example was Samuel Townsend, one of the printers trained at Carlisle in the 1880s, who later was printer for The Chippeway Herald at the White Earth Boarding School and was night foreman for the Daily Oklahoma State Capital at Guthrie. The next generation of Carlisle printers included James Mumblehead, Cherokee, and J. William Ettawageshik, Ottawa. The Red Man and Helper and its successor proved a good training ground for many Indians who entered the publishing world.


Notes
1.
The Red Man, 13 ( February, 1896), 6.
2.
The Morning Star, 3 ( December, 1882), 3.

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