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The Idaho recorder. [volume] : (Salmon City, Idaho) 1886-1927
Alternative Titles:
  • Idaho recorder. Semi-weekly Feb. 25-Dec. 5, 1902
  • Semi-weekly recorder
Place of publication:
Salmon City, Idaho
Geographic coverage:
  • Salmon, Lemhi, Idaho  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.E. Booth
Dates of publication:
  • -v. 43, no. 47 (Apr. 15, 1927).
  • Began with June 12, 1886 issue.
Weekly Dec. 5, 1902-Apr. 15, 1927
  • English
  • Idaho--Salmon.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01226303
  • Salmon (Idaho)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 21 (Nov. 13, 1886).
sn 86091188
Succeeding Titles:
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The Idaho recorder. [volume] October 13, 1904 , Image 1


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The Idaho Recorder

Salmon, Idaho, like many territorial towns in the Pacific Northwest, was established for its proximity to bountiful natural resources, specifically for its mining prospects. On June 12, 1886, 81 years after Lewis and Clark passed through what would become Lemhi County, John E. Booth published the first issue of the Idaho Recorder. Booth's goal was a newspaper that supported the mining communities around Salmon. However, his journalism was controversial in that it did not mirror popularly held anti-Mormon sentiments. He regularly published articles opposing the anti-Mormon political candidates of the day, which caused dissent and led to threats to boycott the Recorder. Booth sold the paper to Ada Merritt and O.W. Mintzer in July 1888. Shortly thereafter, Mintzer was elected to the legislature and relinquished ownership to Merritt.

Ada Merritt was the only woman editor of a territorial newspaper in Idaho. She changed the publication day from Saturday to Thursday and temporarily raised the yearly subscription from $2.50 to $4.00. Under Merritt, the Recorder was more closely aligned with the community's anti-Mormon sentiments. Traveling to neighboring towns, she promoted her newspaper to businesses interested in acquiring advertising space. She also exchanged subscriptions for goods and services and on occasion reminded readers to pay their dues, writing “those who promised to replenish our wood pile in payment for the paper, are notified that this is a good time to remember their promises.”

Throughout most of its life, the Recorder was a weekly publication. However, from February 25 to December 5, 1902, the paper ran as a semiweekly and grew from four to eight pages. Two columns, "Mines and Mining" and "Northwest Notes," appeared in the Recorder for many years. News of gold, silver, copper, and platinum mining was gathered from Idaho and the surrounding states of Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, and Oregon.

In June 1906, after 18 years as editor, Ada Merritt sold the Recorder to Henry E. Frost, who wrote that the paper, "will be at all times Democratic, but will not allow some politician, who lives by politics, to dictate what we shall think and what we shall say." The Recorder published official Democratic Party announcements, such as a call to vote in the primary election of 1906, to determine "whether the political affairs of Idaho shall be controlled by the Mormon hierarchy" and to oppose this "attack on individual liberty." Henry Frost died in 1913, and his wife, Mertia J. Frost, continued to publish the newspaper until 1916, changing the publication day to Friday, and eventually selling the Recorder to James F. Melvin.

Melvin was an experienced newspaperman and kept the Recorder "Democratic and honest." He died in November 1922, after being harassed by a group of intoxicated locals who wanted him to join the Red Cross; Melvin escaped but died soon after from the exertion. His wife Evelyn Melvin took over publishing responsibilities for the newspaper. In 1927, the Idaho Recorder merged with the Salmon Herald to form the Lemhi County Recorder Herald.

Provided by: Idaho State Historical Society