Years in print:
The People's Organ
Russell S. Higgins, who came to St. Louis as a printer about 1838, was a partner of Abel Rathbone Corbin in the publication of the Missouri Argus. About the year 1840 Mr. Higgins started the first penny newspaper west of the Mississippi, calling it the People’s Organ. He conducted the penny paper for five or six years and sold it out at a handsome profit. The People’s Organ was one of the few paying newspapers of the period.
(From St. Louis, the Fourth City by William Barlow Stevens, 1911).
It was a four-column, four-page daily, afterward increaded to five, and finally to seven columns.
(From the Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri edited by Howard L. Conard, 1901).
Early in 1842 a small daily paper appeared in St. Louis called the People's Organ. It was edited by W.S. Higgins, formerly of the Missouri Argus, and published by Theodore W. Mead. It was a four-page daily of twenty columns, measuring only 11 1/2 x 17 inches. The Organ was an independent paper with no political leaning. The community received this new "penny paper" enthusiastically; in less than six months time the editors boasted a subscription list of over two thousand.
On January 31, 1843, the Organ celebrated its first anniversary; the following message being published for the occasion:
"Just one year ago today the People's Organ made its first appearance in this city as a daily penny paper, and under circumstances not the most flattering - for we were entering upon a project never before attempted west of the Mississippi. The publishing of an independent penny paper, in this city, was viewed by many at that time as a wild and visionary scheme, in which no one could engage with even a possibility of success. But they were mistaken - as has long since been convincingly shown by our unparalleled prosperity. The project was well-timed, and has succeeded beyond our most sanguine expectations...The Organ, as heretofore, will be strictly an independent paper, and above all party feeling. It will advocate such measures as may seem right, and such alone as we believe will prove beneficial to the people."
The Organ was enlarged in December, 1843 by the addition of four columns, making it 13 1/2 x 18 inches in size.
(From Early St. Louis Newspapers, a Washington University dessertation by Dorothy Grace Brown, 1931).
“We maintain that the People are absolutely and positively Sovereign;” R.S.Higgins and Theodore W. Mead, publishers; R.S. Higgins editor. Mead departed in 1842. In 1846, Edmund Flagg of the Gazette bought out Higgins’ share of the paper and named C.C. Cody editor. Var: People’s Organ and Reveille, Organ and Reveille, People’s Weekly Organ, Daily People’s Organ and Reveille, People’s Daily Organ, Daily People’s Organ.