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Jessen's Sunday observer. : (Fairbanks, Alaska) 1968-1968
Place of publication:
Fairbanks, Alaska
Geographic coverage:
  • Fairbanks, Alaska  |  View more titles from this: City State
E.F. Jessen
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased Sept. 1, 1968?
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Apr. 7, 1968)-
  • English
  • Alaska--Fairbanks.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01207610
  • Fairbanks (Alaska)--Newspapers.
  • Other eds. available: Jessen's daily, 1968; and Jessen's weekly, 1968.
  • Vol. and issue numbering irregular.
sn 96060030
Related Titles:
View complete holdings information

Jessen’s weekly, Jessen’s daily, and Jessen’s Sunday observer

Jessen's weekly was a weekly tabloid newspaper started on January 23, 1942, by Ernest Forrest Jessen, a newsperson with experience working on the Seward Daily Gateway and the Alaska Miner. Evangeline Atwood and Lew Williams Jr., in Bent Pins to Chains, wrote that Jessen's Weekly was staffed by just three people at first, including Ernest and his wife, Catherine, who helped with the linotype machine. World War II overshadowed the early days of the paper, as the first issue came shortly after the U.S. entered the war, and early editorials from Jessen extolled the importance of rationing and reminded people that they would have to go without many comforts that winter. In November 1948, a fire destroyed the plant of Jessen's Weekly and the paper was forced to use the printing plant of the Fairbanks Daily-News Miner, while theirs was being rebuilt.

In 1959, multiple Alaskan newspapers began carrying ads for the sale of Jessen's Weekly that carried the phrase "Poor health" by way of explanation. Atwood and Williams, Jr., explained further that Catherine Jessen had been diagnosed with cancer in 1957, and Ernest Jessen was pursuing a buyer for the paper so that she could get treatment. Jessen successfully sold the paper to Robert Giersdorf, a member of the Alaska State House of Representatives and a manager at Alaska Airlines. The news was announced in the October 27, 1960, issue, and Jessen bid readers farewell the following week. The paper switched to a regular newspaper size and added new columns, comics, and other features. The paper also changed names to the New Jessen's Weekly. Giersdorf's stint as publisher did not last long, and Jessen returned to the job on August 27, 1961. Many of the new features were dropped, and the name reverted to Jessen's Weekly. Atwood and Williams, Jr., attest that "the business end of the paper's operations resulted in a pile of debts forcing [Jessen] to repossess the property."

Historic rainfall flooded the town of Fairbanks in August 1967, wiping out the plant of Jessen's Weekly. According to Atwood and Williams, Jr., Jessen took out a loan from the Small Business Administration in order to rebuild the plant. He launched Jessen's Daily on December 4, 1967. Shortly afterward, he also launched Jessen's Sunday Observer on April 7, 1968, in addition to the daily and weekly versions of his paper, which were still being published. Jessen's Weekly lasted until August 25, 1968, and Jessen's Sunday Observer ended with the September 1, 1968, issue several days later.

Atwood and Williams Jr. explain that Jessen suffered a string of problems with creditors starting in 1968 that led the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to seize the plant and put the assets up for sale in 1968. Local businesspeople were able to help Jessen get back on his feet and start managing the paper again, but the IRS once again took control on August 27, 1969, after a local bank filed a lawsuit against Jessen. This second seizure marked the end of Jessen's Daily.

Provided by: Alaska State Library Historical Collections