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The Camas Hot Springs exchange. [volume] : (Camas, Mont.) 1926-1959
Place of publication:
Camas, Mont.
Geographic coverage:
  • Camas, Sanders, Montana  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Hot Springs, Sanders, Montana  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
E.B. Gannaway
Dates of publication:
  • "Established Mar. 4, 1926."
  • -v. 33, no. 42 (Dec. 17, 1959).
Weekly 1936-1959
  • English
  • Description based on: Vol. 13, no. 18 (June 30, 1938).
  • Place of publication varies: Camas, <Mar. 4, 1926>-Sept. 24, 1942; Hot Springs, Oct. 1, 1942-Dec. 17, 1959.
sn 85053223
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The Camas Hot Springs exchange. [volume] June 30, 1938 , Image 1


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Camas Hot Springs Exchange

In 1926, Edna Gannaway began printing the Camas Hot Springs Exchange out of her home on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Camas, Montana. On June 30, 1938, her son Harry Billings and daughter-in-law, Gretchen Garber, took over the editorial and management needs of the Exchange, the self-proclaimed official Sanders County paper. Billings' first opinion column described his editorial policy as "one of constructive criticism with as few disparaging statements about individuals as the codes of public decency will permit." He also assured readers that the paper would attempt to understand and present opposite points of view, and he consistently took a neutral stance unless he believed someone committed an injustice, such as in the January 29, 1942 editorial when he exclaimed that people were using "patriotism as a shield for intolerant statements they make."

The Camas Hot Springs Exchange ran syndicated articles, including national and international news, society notes, fiction serials, Montana News Inserts, and comics. It focused on local news, giving the most attention to business, schools, agriculture, women's clubs, and the comings and goings of communities in the region, such as Lonepine, Camas Prairie, Thompson Falls, Plains, and Cottonwood. Billings and Garber saw the paper through the New Deal, the Indian Reorganization Act, and beginning of European conflicts that led to WWII, leaving the paper on August 27, 1942, after Harry announced his employment with a Kodiak, Alaska construction company. The couple continued newspaper work after World War Two at the People's Voice in Helena, Montana, where they received the 1958 Sidney Hillman Award for reporting.

September 3, 1942 marked Edna Gannaway's return as editor. In October 1942, she moved the newspaper offices to the more densely populated town of Hot Springs, Montana. Her editorials served as a community conscience. Her column on November 12, 1942, reminded citizens to "exercise their right to vote."  And in 1955, Gannaway explained her view of party politics, declaring "we [the editorial staff] are neither Democrat nor Republican--just can't see any appreciable difference." Under Gannaway's tenure, the paper slimmed down from eight pages to four and served the community through World War Two, the Williston Basin Oil Field discovery, and the Korean War. As in previous decades, the Exchange continued to focus on local news, with the front page consistently featuring obituaries.

A member of the Montana Press Association and Women's Press Association, Gannaway declared in her last editorial (what she called an Ednatorial) on December 17, 1959, that she was retiring. Exemplifying the paper's commitment to local news, she said she "always tried to make known the people who do the things that are good for the commmunity." The paper ceased publication with Gannaway's retirement, and she moved to Helena to be close to family.

Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT