The Daily Iowan – The Newspaper For Hawkeyes.

The Boller family owes a big round of applause to The Daily Iowan – the student newspaper at The University of Iowa. It was The Daily Iowan that offered my dad, George Boller, his opportunity to return to Iowa City, making it our Boller home from 1966 until the time my parents passed in 1991 and 1994. Read more here.

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The University Reporter (1868 – 1880) was the University of Iowa’s first publication. It began as a 16-page monthly paper in October of 1868.

1898-Sept17VidetteReporterIn 1879, The Vidette (1879 – 1880) emerged as a rival paper. The two publications merged in September 1881 into The Vidette-Reporter (1881- 1901), a triweekly paper. The Vidette-Reporter eventually combined with The SUI Quill (1891 – 1901), a weekly literary publication, to form The Daily Iowan in 1901.

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(C-0120) 1892 – W. Bailey of The State University of Iowa (SUI) Quill.
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The first issue of The Daily Iowan came out on September 21, 1901. It was first published in the offices of Miles and Moulton at 18 South Clinton Street in Iowa City and cost five cents.

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The Daily Iowan was owned by the student editors and was passed along each year to the next year’s student editor. This ended in 1916, when the student-faculty board formed The Daily Iowan Publishing Company. Along with the new ownership, The Daily Iowan moved to 28 South Clinton Street, (across street from Schaeffer Hall) and one year later (1917) moved again to offices in Close Hall at the intersection of Dubuque Street and Iowa Avenue.

In 1924, The Daily Iowan became a part of the Associated Press, and the School of Journalism was established and housed in Close Hall as well. Click here to read more about Close Hall.

George Gallup, creator of the Gallup poll, served as editor of The Daily Iowan in the early 1920’s. In 1984, Gallup was given the famed Iowa Award. Read more here.

Here is a colorized print of Fred Kent’s photo of the “Five Spot” in the 1920’s. Click here to read more about Fred Kent and his amazing SUI photos.
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On December 11, 1924, as University Hall (Jessup Hall) was opening, The Daily Iowan served as the initiator of the new name for the central campus, known then as University Square or The Five Spot. Here the DI announces a contest for students to rename their home. The winner? The Pentacrest. Click here to read more about the Pentacrest.

There was a period in the 1940’s when the paper was moved temporarily to East Hall (which was also known as Seashore Hall) because the second floor of Close Hall caught fire and was deemed too hazardous for occupation. During that time, printing was done on the presses of the Iowa City Press-Citizen. After Close Hall was renovated, printing returned to Close Hall, while The Daily Iowan newsroom and the School of Journalism remained in East Hall in a newly-added wing.

The SUI Communication Center opened in 1953 and housed the School of Journalism and The Daily Iowan offices. It’s here, George would have taken some of his 17-week training beginning in the fall of 1954.

On March 23, 1953, the offices of The Daily Iowan moved with the School of Journalism to the Communications Center on Madison Street, while the printing operation remained in the basement of Close Hall until 1968. My dad, George Boller, came to Iowa City during those early days (1954) to switch careers, learning the fine art of printing from SUI. Read more here.

George’s new printing job with The Daily Iowan was in the basement of old Close Hall until 1968. I got my first job here (custodian) when I was a sophomore at City High.

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(P-0129) At the 100th Anniversary party (October 24-26, 1968) for the Daily Iowan, each person received a souvenir from Close Hall – a hand-made nail that went into the original construction in 1890.

In the summer of ’68, the D.I. combined all of its printing operations into a newer building near the corner of Madison & Burlington Street, where The Lindquist Center stands today. All of the staff – including the custodian – had the fun job of helping move all of the heavy-duty printing equipment onto moving trucks. A big job, indeed. Read more about George Boller’s Daily Iowan adventure here.

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Circa 1968 – The Daily Iowan printing staff – my dad, George Boller is in the back row – 4th guy from the left. I’m also in the back row – 2nd guy from the left, and my high school buddy, Mark Wilson, is back row – 3rd guy from the left. Mark took over my custodial role, when I was promoted to assistant to my dad, pouring hot lead newspaper mat plates. In college, they promoted me again to proofreader. All the while, I’m surprised none of us ever got lead poisoning! Click here to read more about my dad’s time with The Daily Iowan and the University Printing Service.
April 1, 1968 – It’s no April Fool’s Joke. On Sunday night, March 31, in the midst of the Vietnam War, the Boller family was watching television (Ed Sullivan?) when there was sudden news break. Direct from the White House, President Johnson announced that evening that he would not be seeking the 1968 Democratic nomination for President, shocking the whole nation. Within moments of the announcement, the phone rang. It was Art, our DI printing manager, calling for all hands on deck. My dad and I got our coats and spent the next few hours helping prepare the “Extra” edition of the D.I. Such was the news business in those days.
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Awarded to George E. Boller on his retirement. June 1, 1986. One of a printer’s most treasured tool: Markup Ruler (line gauge) made by the Arthur H. Gaebel Company of Larchmont, NY (see below right). Formed in 1946 to serve the newspaper industry, Gaebel produced stainless steel rulers and printers line gauges. We have two from Dad’s collection. One was engraved on the backside by The Daily Iowan staff and presented at his retirement.

(M-0098) Letterpress Printers Plate – The Great Seal of the State of Iowa. Here’s a great example of the type of work my dad did in the newspaper business. As a printer, preparing a page for The Daily Iowan, he’d bring together lines of type that made up each story, and then also insert pictures and graphics as well. Every piece, back in the day, was cast in lead and reversed, of course, so a good printer had to be very efficient in reading everything backwards. This small Great Seal of Iowa letterpress plate is a good example of the literally dozens of separate pieces that needed to come together in assembling just one page of a newspaper like you see below.

Certainly, a lost art now that the printed page has pretty much been replaced with on-line communications. Yet today, when one gathers graphics (i.e. jpgs, gifs, etc.) and pulls together a webpage, the assembly concept is pretty much the same . . . except now-a-days you don’t have to read things d-r-a-w-k-c-a-b! Click here to read more about the history of newspapers in Iowa.

Here’s a tip of the old hat to The Daily Iowan – may you continue “serving the University of Iowa and the People of Iowa City” for many more decades!

Click here to continue.

DYK-February 18, 2022

Kudos to the amazing resources below for the many quotes, photographs, etc. used on this page.

Bidding farewell to The Daily Iowan’s old home in the Communications Center, Marissa Payne, The Daily Iowan, September 19, 2019

Johnson Announces He Won’t Run, The Daily Iowan, April 1, 1968

Visit the University of Iowa School of Journalism’s timeline of student journalism.


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