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The Socialist press. : (Fairbanks, Alaska) 1914-1916
Place of publication:
Fairbanks, Alaska
Geographic coverage:
  • Fairbanks, Alaska  |  View more titles from this: City State
W.J. Nicley
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1916?
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (June 20, 1914)-
  • English
  • Alaska--Fairbanks.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01207610
  • Alaska.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204480
  • Fairbanks (Alaska)--Newspapers.
  • Labor movement--Alaska--Newspapers.
  • Labor movement.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00990079
  • Socialism--Alaska--Newspapers.
  • Socialism.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01123637
  • Issue numbering irregular.
sn 96060035
View complete holdings information
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The Socialist press. June 20, 1914 , Image 1


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The Socialist press and The free press

The free press was a five-column weekly that debuted on March 28, 1914, from the hand of George Hinton Henry. Henry published numerous papers in Alaska during the early twentieth century and was an editor with a fierce temper and a proclivity for being sued for libel. Henry started the weekly Hot Springs Echo in 1907 and ran it until 1913, when he left town and moved to Tanana. He started The Tanana News in June 1913 but was arrested and found guilty shortly thereafter for libel against the wife of the Hot Springs commissioner.

Henry acquired the printing press for the free press at an auction less than two weeks before starting his newest paper. The free press predominantly reported on socialist topics and was described by Henry months later in the June 20 issue of The Socialist press as a "go-as-you please socialist paper." The free press was published for just two months and then suspended, before coming back as the Socialist press on June 20, 1914. In its debut issue, Henry called it "[a paper] under new management, with partial change in name more indicative of its purpose." The Socialist press was managed by W.J. Nicley and edited by both him and Henry. By 1915, Henry was the owner and editor of the Socialist press.

Henry's fiery temper got him on the bad side of many people, and Henry was often both target and writer of insulting columns. Henry was involved in several spats with The Alaska Socialist, whose editor he called a liar, hypocrite, and a traitor to socialism. Henry seemed to have a reputation, at least with other editors, for a weakness toward alcohol. In a 1917 editorial, the editor of the Alaska Citizen called for him to be tarred and feathered, while conversely saying that Henry was not important enough to have enemies, and also said that he was frequently referred to as "Dirty Henry" by other people.

The paper was officially endorsed by the Olens and Cleary Locals Socialist Party. The name was changed back to the free press in early April 1916, directly after Henry was arrested on a charge of libel, in a seemingly defiant gesture. The new iteration of the free press continued into May 1918, when Henry left town to start a paper in Cordova but was arrested the day after leaving town on charges of criminal libel. Henry had written a letter to the district attorney, saying that all of the members of his office staff, as well as the Chief of Police, were pro-German. Henry was convicted on this libel charge and sentenced to a year in jail, marking an end of the free press.

Provided by: Alaska State Library Historical Collections