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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Circulation on the Fly

How did we do it? That brings us to another phase of our work - how we got the paper, once it was made, out to all the Army. For that we had 105 Field Agents as we called them, distributed on a rough average of at least one each to every division, and to every Important project and part in the S.O.S., whose duty it was to line up their subscribers, wire or 'phone in for the number of papers they wanted (and, because of the scarcity of newsprint paper in wartime France, they could never get enough) then go down to the nearest gare and wait in their little old Fords for the train with the papers to come in, usually about midnight. For units that were not served by railroads direct we had to use autos and trucks which may explain why THE STARS AND STRIPES was the bug-bear of the M.T.C. throughout the length and breadth of the war.

In all, THE STARS AND STRIPES used 91 government cars in getting its one-time 526.000 circulation out to the men it was intended to serve, and in getting its correspondents expeditiously around the regions where the railroads were all blown to blazes or on strike. Of these cars, 81 were the humble Fords; five were Sunbeams; three, Cadillacs; one a National, and - oh, yes, there was one mortorcycle, driven by Mortorcycle Mike, the man who refused to salute a brigadier general because he had been told that every private in the Italian Army wore one star.

It should be added that we once had 15 Sunbeams, but in a spirit of generosity we handed over ten of them to the 77th Division, which was then going up to the line of the Vesle - and we never got then back. (They was city fellers, them New Yorkers, -- too goldurn slick for us Paris hicks.) In that connection we might mention that one of our intrepid Ford propellers, Pvt. A. H. Kenyon, who ain't even a wagoner yet, got cited for the use he made of his Lizzie in bringing back the 1st Division's wounded under fire during the Soissons drive. And, without detracting from his work, be it said he wasn't by a long shot the only one that found Old John Boche playing the role of indignant non-subscriber and punctuating his kicks with shells along the road.

It will be hard to tell here, or anywhere else, for that matter, how much THE STARS AND STRIPES and the A.E.F that it strove to serve owe to the field agents who, in good weather and in bad, over shelled and unshelled roads, day after day, rainy night after rainy night, week after week, pIugged along and got the paper up to the men who wanted it. It is to them that is due the real praise for the finding of the Graves Registration Service of poems, editorial, and other articles from this paper in the shirt pockets of Yanks found dead at the very uttermost parts of the front. And no greater appreciation can a writing man have for his work than to find it dutifully folded away in his dead comrade's little old Testament, along with the picture of mother and the girl.

Field Agent a Prisoner

Sgt., Q.M.C., Joe Daly, head of our Transportation Department, who can remember a certain obscure Captain Pershing in the Philippines and who used to work the Fifth Avenue bus line in New York when he wasn't vaudevilling, could tell a lot about the workings of the field agents and the non-working of the cars if he wasn't all tied up now salvaging junk and squaring himself with the M.T.C. He has let out, though, the story of Field Agent William Hale, who, on November 11 last, drove a bit ahead of the unit he was supposed to serve, and was held prisoner by the Boche until one hour before noon on that eventful day; and he has also told how Fighting Field Clerk Jenkins, of our force, who had never driven a car in his life, took a light delivery Ford with our first flying squadron into Germany and came back alive. But Joe, we fear, is saving up all his choice stuff to retail before the back home meetings of the Jewish Welfare Board, of which, as his name would indicat, he is a prominent pusher; so that is about all we can get out of him for this number.

"See the Soldiers Wrapping"

With the other news sources around the office, we have been more successful; but as it is getting close to press time we have got to cut 'em short. Plain Civilian Little Stuart Carroll, former circulation manager testifies ably and with feeling to the loyalty and devotion of the good printers, writers and other craftsmen who, for the simple sake of smelling and feeling ink (because they arrived late and there was nothing else left to do), wrapped and mailed papers and expended much elbow grease even though under guidance of Augustus Edward Giegenback. Ex-Regt. Sgt. Maj. Jones, some kind of a circulation magnate, will back up Old Joe in everything said about the prowess of the field agents, and then some, for he was-once one himself; as will ex-Some-Kind-of-a-Sergt. Maj. Melvin Ryder, who deserted the cloistered seclusion of the Adjutant General's office, in which he found time to compose that immortal lyric, "I Love You, Dear," to become assistant circulation manager under Capt. Richard H. Waldo, founder of the coupon system, later under Lieut. Milton J. Ayres, and to lead the flying squadron into Germany.

"Sports and Their Chroniclers"

Old. Sgt. Nat Worley, formerly a rockpile Engineer, can tell how hard it is to resurrect a sport page after it has been buried for the duration of the war and squeeze into it enough news to compete favorably with a flock of dailies that make specialty of sports. He can tell how cruel makeup editors are who won't give him extra space for his account of how Company X of the 333,833th Salvage Battalion beat the French Boy Scouts of the town of Moosey-le-Bum. In fact, he can tell the world that - but he says he doesn't want to say too much, as someone might get sore and push him off the gangplank just as he had his mouth all made up for Wash'n, D.C.R.S.M. (it's getting too tiring to write out these sergeant-major's' titles) Dave Sterrett, the watchdog of our safe, can tell of the unswerving accuracy of a department that had to handle French, British, American, German, Luxembourgian, Belgian, Italian, Montenegrin, Czecho-Slovak, Bolshevik and hypothetical League of Nations currency all at one and the same time, as can his former boss, Lieut. Adolph S. Ochs, Jr., our first treasurer, and his present one, 2nd Lieut. W. C. Waltman, who, with the present business manager, lst Lieut. D. L. Babbitt, stays here to wind up the sheet. R.S.M. Henderson can tell how ably the field agents and the interior office force of the Book Department pushed the sales of "Yanks," "Wally's Cartoons" and "Henry's Pal to Henry." And Capt. Harry L. Parker, who once had a piece published in the poetry column (by mistake, not by drag), can tell what a devil of a job it is as personnel officer, to keep the 200 odd members of the First Censor and Press Co. - to which most of our force now appertain -- supplied with slickers, summer underwear and C.C. pills.

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