The Algona Bee (IA, 1858)

Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Algona (Kossuth County), Iowa (ca. 1857-1858)

Frequency:  Weekly; irregular

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, No. 1, Dec. 21, 1857 (note:  another date, Jan. 8th, 1858 is marked out above the Dec. 21 entry)

Size and Format:  8 1/2 x 11 inches; two columns

Editor/Publisher:  Franklin McCoy; Algona Reading Club (et al.?)

Title Changes and Continuation:  Unknown

General Description & Notes:

The Bee was apparently produced by the Algona Reading Club, identified as editors and proprietors (see Vol. 1, No. 8, Feb. 8, 1858).  This number lists the paper’s office at “the wickeup No. 1 West State St. immediately West of the Post Office,” and identifies Franklin McCoy as “publisher.”  However, other pages (many of which are almost illegible) mention an “editress.”

The paper contains poetry, anecdotes, editorials and short story items.  The clear difference in handwriting style and script size between the numbers suggests at least two different writers were responsible for the paper’s production.  The first issue opens with the following introductory editorial:

“We are happy to present to our friends this first number of ‘The Bee’ as the first paper published in this ‘little world of Algona,’ and tho [sic] now small and may-be insignificant in the eyes of many–still we have sanguine hopes that it will thrive–and before many years stand the first and oldest among our village papers.  A person when first starting in an enterprise like this feels rather delicately.  Many fears arise wether [sic] the paper will suit the readers.  Knowing there are as many minds as persons and also knowing, that unless all these minds are satisfied, we are the losers, we feel still more anxiety than we would otherwise.

“The Bee is intended to be strictly a neutral paper.  We shall strive to please all by offending none.  It will abound in wit and humor–be graced with sound intellectual studies and pleasing stories–have all the news of the day–we hope none of the gossip [original emphasis].  We have able correspondents for the Bee who will favour it with their productions from time to time.  A few advertisements will be inserted just to help pay expenses.  We have tried to tell you imperfectly however what we shall strive to make the Bee, and we humbly beg our friends to stand by us and not allow it to sink into obscurity as the paper in our neighboring community has done.”

The Feb. 8, 1858 issue says, “The Bee is published weekly, but if the stories do not improve soon it will be published only Semi Occasionally.”  The editor also notes that “Business cards of not more than five lines in length published for the sake of the fun, flair and fancy.  Job work neatly executed upon reasonable terms.”

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  None

Locations:  Harvey Ingham Papers, Vol. 2, Box 2, Iowa State Historical Society, Des Moines, IA