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The people's voice. [volume] : (Helena, Mont.) 1939-1969
Place of publication:
Helena, Mont.
Geographic coverage:
  • Helena, Lewis and Clark, Montana  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
People's Voice Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Dec. 6, 1939)-v. 30, no. 6 (Aug. 22, 1969).
  • English
  • Helena (Mont.)--Newspapers.
  • Montana--Helena.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01207480
  • Montana--History.
  • Montana.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01207555
  • "No Commercial Advertising except from Co-operative Business Institutions accepted."
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 86075189
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The people's voice. [volume] December 6, 1939 , Image 1


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People’s Voice

The People's Voice was a weekly newspaper founded in 1939 by veteran journalist H.S. "Cap" Bruce, with financial backing from Montana labor leaders and farm co-ops. Finding the press coverage of the 1937 state legislature's defeat of liberal measures lacking, Bruce decided to start his own paper. In May 1938, the People's Voice Publishing Company entered an agreement with the Belgrade Journal to rent the Journal's printing plant for six months at a rate of twenty dollars per month. By October, however, the Voice signed a contract with Bruce's Educational Co-operative Publishing Company, which had its own printing plant and offices located across the street from the state capitol building in Helena.

The first issue of the Voice was published on December 6, 1939. After editing this issue, Bruce became managing editor and passed editorship to Bennett Hansen. Associate editor Harry L. Billings became managing editor in 1948. Hansen would become managing editor in 1968 and leave the publication in 1969 for a better position elsewhere.

The People's Voice covered a wide range of issues to interest Montana's farmers, union leaders, and workers of all kinds. Harry L. Billings described the paper in a 1946 letter to a Camas, Montana, labor leader as "Montana's only state-wide progressive farmer-labor paper." He was sure workers would "find much of news value [sic] which has not been printed in other publications of the state. Being a paper owned by farmers and by workers the Voice constantly strives to bring out all of the facts concerning state and nationwide issues that the people may have a better understanding of the issues of the day."

Some of the topics covered by the paper included worker's compensation laws, state co-ops, and the problematic treatment of labor by business giants such as the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and Montana Power Company.

The Voice was published until August 22, 1969, when the Educational Co-operative Publishing Company board of directors decided to suspend publication. Ben Hansen resigned as managing editor, and the board hoped to resume publication as soon as a replacement was found. Hansen was not that hopeful. In his final editorial he asserted that "the VOICE easily could disappear from the scene." Unfortunately, he was correct. The Voice never resumed publication, and both the Educational Co-operative Publishing Company and the People's Voice Publishing Company became inactive by 1979.

Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT