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Victor Rosewater

Victor Rosewater (1871-1940), son of the founder of the Omaha Bee, followed his well-known father, Edward Rosewater, into journalism. Victor's reminiscences of his life with the Bee appeared in the Sunday Bee on June 23, 1918:

"It just happened that the Bee and I made our advent in Omaha at almost the same time. I was born in February [February 13] and the Bee's first issue came in June in the year 1871. The Bee, as is well known, was originally designed to be only a temporary institution when it showed that it was responding to a real demand of the community.

"As the oldest son in a family of five children, it simply was taken for granted that I would follow in the footsteps of my father and eventually help relieve him in the publication of the Bee. My education, without any discussion, directed itself toward that goal. . . .

"My very first job on the Bee consisted in folding papers. We then lived in a cottage that stood where the Bee building is today [1918]. The Bee office was then located on Farnam, between Ninth and Tenth streets. The papers were produced on presses that printed but one side, so that each copy had to go through twice. There were no automatic folders. When our morning paper was first issued, I used to go down to the Bee office about five o'clock every morning and help at folding papers for about an hour, for which I was paid sixty cents a week. A little later, when the Bee was having some trouble because its competitors were subsidizing the newsboys not to handle the Bee, I sold papers on the streets. Those were days of 5-cent newspapers and I would sell from twenty to fifty a day, giving me quite a little money to show for the work."

Victor Rosewater entered Johns Hopkins University in 1888 and later enrolled in Columbia University, where his major areas of study were history, economics, and political science. He became one of the regular staff on the Bee in 1893, and in 1906 following the death of his father on August 31, took over as managing editor, becoming editor the following year.

In addition to his work as editor of the Bee, Victor Rosewater became involved in political affairs. He recalled in 1918 that the state campaign of 1894 was the "first hot political campaign" in which he participated. In 1908 he served as a member of the Republican National Committee, and in 1912 was chairman of the committee. He was also active in civic affairs in Omaha, as a director of the public library from 1894 to 1905, the Omaha Board of Review in 1903, and numerous social and fraternal clubs.

In 1920 the Bee was acquired by the Omaha News, becoming the Bee-News, which in turn was bought by the Hearst Company in 1928. The end of the Bee came in 1937, when it was purchased by the Omaha World-Herald.

(January 2008)



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