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The Madison daily leader. [volume] : (Madison, S.D.) 1890-current
Place of publication:
Madison, S.D.
Geographic coverage:
  • Madison, Lake, South Dakota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.F. Stahl
Dates of publication:
Daily 1890-
  • English
  • Lake County (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • Madison (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • South Dakota--Lake County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215598
  • South Dakota--Madison.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01228905
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from: State Archives, South Dakota State Historical Society.
  • Continues: Madison sentinel (Madison, S.D.: Daily).
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 1 (Apr. 7, 1890).
  • Weekly edition: Lake County leader, 1881-1946.
sn 99062034
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The Madison daily leader. [volume] April 7, 1890 , Image 1


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Madison Daily Leader

On April 7, 1890, James F. Stahl launched the Madison Daily Leader in Madison, South Dakota. The four-page, six-column paper cost $6 per year by mail, 15 cents per day delivered, and 5 cents daily. It was published in the evenings on Monday through Saturday and was Republican in tone. In 1902 Stahl's son, Harm A. Stahl, was added to the masthead as business manager.

From its beginning, the Madison Daily Leader carried a large amount of national and international news, with very few human interest or sensationalistic stories. Editor Stahl consistently followed several topics for many years, including the rise of unions and labor strikes, prohibition, and the evils of tobacco, and was outspoken in his dislike of non-white immigrants and of Native Americans. He tracked the beginnings of unrest in Cuba that culminated in the Spanish-American War, and published updates from that country for several years. During the Spanish flu pandemic, he encouraged closing local schools to prevent the spread of the disease in the state and kept track of the number of cases per county.

A daily "Local News" column kept readers apprised of Madison residents' travels and visitors, and a column composed of snippets from other South Dakota newspapers supplied regional news. Stahl tended to use a moralizing tone in his editorials; in addition, the Daily Leader was consistent in detailing services at local churches, listing the names of ministers and their sermon topics and at times reprinting entire sermons. Madison built the first permanent Chautauqua grounds west of the Mississippi River, and the paper extensively covered its summer programs. The Leader also published pieces on the State Normal School, built in the early 1880s, which not only prepared teachers but hosted many farm and home college courses aimed at South Dakota farmers and their wives. The Madison Opera House's programs were prominently displayed. The paper also covered local events linking attendees to national groups, including the last reunion of Mexican War veterans, which was held in South Dakota, and examination times for students hoping to attend the West Point and Annapolis military academies.

The Daily Leader was a staunch booster of the town of Madison, which it labeled "The Summer Resort City of South Dakota," and its editorials encouraged city improvements such as a waterworks and street lights. During the Spanish-American War, the Mexican border conflict, and World War I, the paper carried lists of local men who enlisted or were drafted as well as reports of their units' movements. Minutes of meetings for the county commissioners, city council, school board, and local clubs also appeared. Market reports for grain, livestock, and other products were published daily from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Chicago, Omaha, and South Sioux City. A daily section on the weather not only provided forecasts but tried to predict its effects on local crops. The Madison Daily Leader remains in publication today.

Provided by: South Dakota State Historical Society – State Archives