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The frontiersman. [volume] : (Palmer, Alaska) 1952-2005
Alternative Titles:
  • Frontiersman newspaper
  • Valley frontiersman
  • Weekly frontiersman
Place of publication:
Palmer, Alaska
Geographic coverage:
  • Palmer, Alaska  |  View more titles from this: City State
  • Wasilla, Alaska  |  View more titles from this: City State
Matanuska Press
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 5, no. 36 (May 15, 1952)-v. 57, no. 70 (Feb. 1, 2005).
Semiweekly July 18, 1984-
  • English
  • Alaska--Palmer.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01224264
  • Alaska--Wasilla.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01230204
  • Palmer (Alaska)--Newspapers.
  • Wasilla (Alaska)--Newspapers.
  • Available on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Issue numbering irregular.
  • Published in Wasilla, Alaska, June 25, 1986-Feb. 1, 2005.
sn 84006943
Preceding Titles:
Succeeding Titles:
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The frontiersman. [volume] May 15, 1952 , Image 1


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The Valley Frontiersman, The Frontiersman, and The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

Alaska's Valley Frontiersman began on September 17, 1947, as a bi-weekly produced by Viola Daniels. Daniels had previously started the Seldovia Frontiersman in 1946 before selling that newspaper and moving to Palmer. She introduced an editorial column after several issues, titled "Daniels... In The Lion's Den." Daniels was a strong supporter of the campaign for Palmer to incorporate as a city and wrote about it in several columns; she even testified at a hearing about the importance of this move.

The Valley Frontiersman struggled with finances and securing a stable printing situation during its first three years. Daniels announced after several months that she would be forced to begin dropping syndicated content to stay in the black, and she briefly suspended publicationwhen an arrangement with an Anchorage print shop fell through. She took on side jobs to make ends meet, and the paperswitched to publishing weekly. It was also suspended for three months from late 1948 to early 1949 because of printing problems, and issues were temporarily printed on The Valley Settler's mimeograph machine. Daniels had further trouble with some people in Palmer that she dubbed the "Let's-Give-The-Paper-Hell club." They were a group of citizens that she claimed would borrow copies of the paper from the newsstand, read them looking for errors, and then return them to the stand without paying.

The Valley Frontiersman began publishing the Valdez News within its pages in 1950 but stopped after just over a year. Daniels called it quits with the October 13, 1950 issue and became a Palmer correspondent for the Anchorage News. She sold the Valley Frontiersman to Alvin DeJulio. During DeJulio's ownership, the paper released its first extra edition, reporting on the successful vote for incorporating Palmer as a city. DeJulio died in 1959, and his wife, Billie, ran the paper until 1961, when she sold it to Theodore Schmidtke, whom she later married. Schmidtke expanded the paper into a normal size, added two more columns, and dropped the word "Valley" from the title in 1952, rebranding into The Frontiersman.

Schmidtke died in 1973, and Billie sold the paper to Jerome Sheldon, former editor of Jessen's Weekly. Noted children's author Shelley Gill became publisher and editor in 1983, leaving to write children's stories full time in 1986. During Gill's tenure, the paper's circulation increased to 5,000 and won several awards. The Frontiersman also exposed a series of secret meetings by the local borough assembly and pursued a lawsuit that prompted a change in the state's Open Meetings Act. Duncan Frazier, former managing editor of the Anchorage Times, replaced Shelley Gill in 1986 and moved the paper to Wasilla, where he helped lead a successful editorial campaign to get a police department. In 2005 the paper's name became the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, under which it is still published to this day.

Provided by: State Historical Society of Iowa