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Country: United States
City: Sedalia, Mo.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 740
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 5,166
Earliest Date: 5 June 1877
Latest Date: 26 December 1893
The Sedalia Bazoo commenced publication as a four-page paper on June 1, 1869. The peculiar title and the brisk, penetrating style gave the paper fame almost from the beginning. Published and edited by J. West Goodwin, a renowned figure in Missouri journalism, the Bazoo was quickly joined by a daily edition: the Daily Bazoo. Meanwhile, Goodwin added “weekly” to the title of that edition to distinguish the two publications, and thus it became the Sedalia Weekly Bazoo.
Viewing his paper and the city of Sedalia as allies, Goodwin was ever ready to boast about both, frequently advocating for removal of the state capital from Jefferson City to Sedalia. Goodwin was a proud citizen of Sedalia but gained national attention for his unique motto, stating that his papers were published “For the People Now on Earth.” Well-known in the newspaper industry, Goodwin assisted in its growth and development by hiring Elizabeth Dugan, one of the early newspaper women of the 1870s and 1880s. Dugan worked as an editor for Goodwin and the Bazoo in 1872, writing editorials and reporting on society. She later went on to work for the Chicago Tribune and to publish her own newspaper, the Sedalia Rosa Pearle’s Paper.
Goodwin’s papers were characterized by his lively social commentary and criticism. He was a colorful editor, known for organizing “execution excursions” to attend the executions of convicts. Upon learning that an execution of two brothers in Northwestern Missouri had been halted, Eugene Field, the editor of the Kansas City Times, commented: “If there was a man standing out on the bleak prairie west of Sedalia last night, kicking himself and making the atmosphere blue, that man was the presiding genius of the Bazoo.” Although Goodwin may have been distressed at the loss of a headline, the postponement did not stop him from writing a detailed account of the large crowd that had gathered at the scaffold and its actions following the announcement of the delayed execution.
Gripping headlines or not, Goodwin’s provocative articles made the Bazoo a popular newspaper. Goodwin himself was somewhat of an archivist who kept four copies of each of his issues as part of his office files. Unfortunately, the first six months of the daily paper were lost in a fire while being bound in St. Louis. The Weekly Bazoo ceased publication in 1904, but the daily edition and a monthly edition were still published by Goodwin into the 1920s. When asked about his editorial career, Goodwin answered “I have expressed my own convictions in the plainest and simplest words at my command. I have always tried to make myself understood. I have generally succeeded—sometimes too well.”
Provided by: State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO