This real photo postcard spotlights Mr. Roy Powell, former Publisher of the Holt Rustler and the Gower Rustler, two weekly newspapers that served the southern rural portions of Buchannan and Clinton counties in Northwest Missouri. The card and accompanying envelope was a gift from Susan and Jerry Stringfellow, formerly of Liberty, Mo. Mr. Powell was Susan’s great grandfather. A citation from the Missouri Publisher’s Auxiliary reads that Powell took over operation of the papers in 1907 and ran them successfully for over 40 years.
Powell was born on a farm in rural Missouri near Filmore in 1875. He had a long and storied career as a newspaper man, having spent time at a number of papers in rural Missouri and Nebraska before settling in Holt. An accompanying postcard from the Western Newspaper Union states that Powell, along with his wife, vacationed at the Missouri Ozarks during the summer months of 1937. A short news snippet reads: “While there Mr. Powell called on Publisher E. W. Ebrite of the Gainesville Times.”
The Western Newspaper Union, at the time, was the largest auxiliary newspaper company in the country, owning and maintaining printing plants and publication offices in 32 cities, with Kansas City holding an office at 306 W. 10th Street. Auxiliary or Boilerplate newspapers got their start just before the onset of the American Civil War with the concept of printing boilerplate news pages for a specific region of the United States. Newspaper publishers could subscribe to the service in order to not only enhance their page-count but also to offer a larger variety of “news” stories to their local readers. At one point in time, the Western Newspaper Union serviced over 12,000 newspapers across the United States. The second postcard noting Powell’s vacation in the Ozarks was sent by the WNU back to Powell probably as a proof of coverage or mention in one of their editions.