“Children begin their day right when they read The Junior”

Front page of the State Journal Junior, February 2, 1902, featuring children from a local school.

Recently, a special piece of Ohio’s newspaper history was rediscovered. Four and a half issues of the State Journal Junior, thought to be missing from the collections of the Ohio History Connection Archives & Library, were found. Although this may seem a small find, this content is not known to exist anywhere else.

The State Journal Junior included drawings like this one for its young readers to color. State Journal Junior, January 26, 1902, p. 3.

The State Journal Junior was a supplement to the Sunday edition of the Ohio State Journal. The Ohio State Journal was Ohio’s paper of record for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Published in the state capital of Columbus, the Ohio State Journal reported on news from around the world and the Ohio legislature when in session.

The State Journal Junior was designed for young readers. The masthead declares its purpose: “Of the children, for the children and by the children and their friends.” The content of the paper includes jokes, puzzles, stories and poems, as well as drawings and essays by Columbus area schoolchildren. The original reader of these issues seems to have enjoyed coloring in the “Pictures to Paint” feature.

Although not much is known about the Junior, research suggests that it may have represented a trend in publishing of the time designed to interest children in newspaper readership. The Minneapolis Journal published a weekly children’s supplement, the Journal Junior, in 1898. The Brooklyn Eagle began publishing a Junior Eagle in 1907.

So, how did the State Journal Junior go missing? The newspaper had been cataloged, but at some point it was removed from its shelf location. The issues are in poor condition, the paper brittle and broken along the center fold. Based on this fragile condition, we speculate that a concerned archivist removed the newspaper from the too-small box that was contributing to its deterioration. We think that the issues were foldered (but then forgotten on a shelf) to be rehoused in a more stable container at a later time.

A weekly “Brain Puzzler” contest awarded “a pretty and useful book” to the two boys and girls who answered the most correctly. State Journal Junior, December 22, 1901, p. 4.

Now the rediscovered issues will receive that care. In addition, all of the issues have been scanned and added to the Ohio State Journal digital content on Ohio Memory so that researchers anywhere can use the materials without putting further stress on the physical newspaper.

We are uncertain how long the State Journal Junior was published. The September 15, 1901 issue is labeled Number 52, which suggests that it began publication in September of 1900. At least a year’s worth of the publication may be out there somewhere, also waiting to be rediscovered.

Thanks to Tutti Jackson, Reference Archivist at the Ohio History Connection, for this week’s post!

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