I have a photograph of my great-great-grandfather, on my mother's side, Lester M. Rogers, in front of a printing press. It is a great photograph, clearly showing him alongside the latest in printing technology. I had seen this photograph hundreds of times, and I knew Lester once owned a newspaper, but that was really all I knew. I had to find out more.
Lester M. Rogers, was a publisher in Camden, Michigan. His newspaper was called The Camden Advance and it is still in existence today, although it was re-named The Farmers' Advance (in fact, my great-aunt, Phyllis Rogers, also worked for the newspaper). According to the American Newspaper Directory, Volume 32, Issue 3, The Camden Advance was published on Saturdays and consisted of eight pages. The annual subscription was $1.00 and had a circulation of "JKL" (the JKL rating indicates that the average issue of the paper does not exceed a thousand copies).
Publishing in the Rogers family began in 1891, when Lester, his brother, Fred and their father, William Rogers, founded the Hustler newspaper in Reading, Michigan (not to be associated with the publication later made famous by Larry Flynt). When Fred Rogers was a teenager (ca. 1885), he worked in the office of the Reading Telephone, a newspaper that began publishing ca. 1879. It was there that he learned the trade of printing.
It is interesting to note that in 1900, Reading and Camden had a combined population of less than 2,000 people, however between both the towns, there were 3 newspapers being published on a weekly basis.
The Rogers family continued being involved in the newspaper publishing industry until 1963, when Lester Rogers passed away.
1. http://michigannewspaperhistory.pbworks.com/w/page/20854464/Hillsdale-County: accessed 19 Nov 2010.
2. Geo. P. Rowell & Co., Publishers. American Newspaper Directory, Volume 32, Issue 3. Printer's Ink Press: New York, 1900. Note: JKL rating indicates that the average issue of the paper does not exceed a thousand copies, which is the advertiser's unit of value.
3. Moore, Charles. History of Michigan, Volume III. The Lewis Publishing Company: Chicago, 1915.