The Stars and Stripes, 1918-1919  |  A Closer Look at The Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes banner, a closer look at the Stars and Stripes
Inside the Pages: Advertisements - Illustrations - Soldier-Authored Material - The Sports Page - Women and the War Effort
Behind the Scenes: A Talented Editorial Staff - Military Censorship - The Self-Reported History of The Stars and Stripes - Complete Roster of Employees
A World at War: The American Expeditionary Forces - Timeline (1914 - 1921) - Historical Map

(Source: The Stars and Stripes, June 13, 1919.)
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Sat on Colonels and Chaplains

For more than 14 months this board of six enlisted men - really four, because the artists were, for the most part, called in on their own work alone - X-rayed every article that came in. They brought many limelight seekers and overzealous promoters to grief, shocked many a chaplain, Y.M.C.A. man and visiting Congressman by their deafness to pleas that THE STARS AND STRIPES should run a religious column and another one entitled "Happy Thoughts" (or something killingly funny like that), enraged many a divisional publicity officer, and in general thumbed their collective noses at the martial universe. Together the four wrote fully 90 per cent of the editorials. They worked always with one foot In the hoosegow, for practically every one of their callers and advisers ranked hell out of them; but from start to finish, they held the paper to its original intention of being "by and for the enlisted man." They were typical enlisted men, as has been said-all of them. They never were anything else while In the A.E.F. They had done guard and. K.P., built (and cleaned) officers' latrines and everything, and one of them had had enough court-martials to make it an even two all around for the bunch. Having done all that, they persisted in politely informing all lieutenant colonels and other callers that they knew what the enlisted man of the A.E.F. wanted and that, by the shade of George Washington's spurs, they were going to give it to him. Give it to him they did then, going out amongst him as often as they could to find out at first hand what he wanted, what got his goat in the Army, and what didn't. Ross, Winterich and Woollcott got out in that way among the men at the front; Hailey got out and around the S.O.S.; Baldridge and the Gyrene took their flings at both. When the staff expanded, as in July and August, 1918, the same policy was appiled with the next arrivals, Sgt. Philip A. Von Blon, formerly of Base Hospital No. 4 and the present managing editor, and Sgt. Seth T. Bailey, of the Sunset Division, doing both the front and the S.O.S. with alacrity and vim.

That policy has been followed out ever since, both before and after the armistice. Buck privates of THE STARS AND STRIPES have gone everywhere in France and Germany to keep in touch with the fleeting Yank, to look at and write up everybody from Presidents and kings down to other bucks. The climax of the paper's far-afieldness was probably reached when Sgt. Robert I. Snajdr penetrated to Berlin itself to see what hell the 100 or more Yanks stationed there were up to. Yet there's one better, perhaps - on their way back home Ross Winterich and Woollcott stopped off in Algeria and staged an editorial conference in the Desert of Sahara -- doubtless to acclimate themselves to the United States.

Oh, Yes, a Few Officers Worked

It is only fair to add here that, from time to time, some officers did have something to do with THE STARS AND STRIPES work in the writing and drawing line (of course, we have always had to have a few around to sign checks and such.) Our two officers in charge, Majors Watson and Viskniskki, and our assistant O.-in-C., Lieutenant (beg pardon, Captain) Early, have been ex-officio members of the editorial council, but haven't had much to say - if the enlisted staff could help it. Our G.H.Q beat has had to be taken care of by an officer, because, for some unexplained reason they rather like officers down at Chaumont and Lieuts. Robert S. Frederick and Earle Wingart have done yeoman service there. Maj. Harold W. Clark has been our guide, philosopher and friend in the wilds of the S.O.S. and amid the pitfalls of Tours.

In the early days of the paper 1st Lieut. Charles Phelps Cushing was our first managing editor, Capt. Franklin 1I. Adams ran a column and wrote eds and verse for us, and Lieut. Grantland Rice, hired to be sporting editor, promptly canned the sport page for the duration of the war and went off to report the front. Since the armistice our divisional histories, fought over in many a billet, have been written by Capt. Joseph Mills Hanson, F.A., who wrote verse for us for a long time before he set the Umpteeth against the Umpty-First's throat, and vice versa, by telling what they did in the war.

And Oh, the Pretty Pictures!

On the art end, we were favored from time to time with special contributions from Capts. Wallace Morgan and Otho Cushing, of the A.E.F., and Capt. Bruce Bairnsfather, of the British Army, sponsor of "Old Bill," and from Lieuts. Ray N. Crosby and Herbert Morton Stoops, A.E.F. And since we had let down the bars (joke) by allowing officers to draw pictures at us, we couldn't be finicky when a mere damn civilian like Rube Goldberg offered to decorate our anniversary number of February last.

The officers named above, then, with the exception of the variegated flock we have had in off and on to run advertising, Fords and errands, are the only ones who have had anything to do - and they not continually -- with the makeup, the tone, the style or looks of THE STARS AND STRIPES. But oh -- we almost forgot our two brand new li'l shavetails!

It's a long and a sad story about them. One, a hairy, cynical Scandinavian, we hired while he was masquerading under the title of Pvt. Hilmar B. Bankhage, Coast Artillery Reserve, one-time editor. The other came to us under the pseudonym of Regt. Supply Sgt. J. Palmer Cumming, who, being a supply sarge, had a lot of time to write verse and things before he joined us. We were bit suspicious of him because he had once been a banker, and bankers are almost as hard to manage as journalists, poets and Marine cartoonists, but he put up the old line of wanting to see what he could do in journalism, etc., so we fell.

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The Stars and Stripes, 1918-1919  |  A Closer Look at The Stars and Stripes