Our Iowa Heritage: The Daily Iowan.


The Boller family owes a big round of applause to The Daily Iowan – the student newspaper at The University of Iowa. It was The Daily Iowan that offered my dad, George Boller, his opportunity to return to Iowa City, making it our Boller home from 1966 until the time my parents passed in 1991 and 1994.


The University Reporter (1868 – 1880) was the University of Iowa’s first publication. It began as a 16-page monthly paper in October of 1868.

1898-Sept17VidetteReporterIn 1879, The Vidette (1879 – 1880) emerged as a rival paper. The two publications merged in September 1881 into The Vidette-Reporter (1881- 1901), a triweekly paper. The Vidette-Reporter eventually combined with The SUI Quill (1891 – 1901), a weekly literary publication, to form The Daily Iowan in 1901.

(C-0120) 1892 – W. Bailey of The State University of Iowa (SUI) Quill.

The first issue of The Daily Iowan came out on September 21, 1901. It was first published in the offices of Miles and Moulton at 18 South Clinton Street in Iowa City and cost five cents.

1924DI officeIowaAve

The Daily Iowan was owned by the student editors and was passed along each year to the next year’s student editor. This ended in 1916, when the student-faculty board formed The Daily Iowan Publishing Company. Along with the new ownership, The Daily Iowan moved to 28 South Clinton Street, (across street from Schaeffer Hall) and one year later (1917) moved again to offices in Close Hall at the intersection of Dubuque Street and Iowa Avenue. In 1924, The Daily Iowan became a part of the Associated Press, and the School of Journalism was established and housed in Close Hall as well.

pic-georgegallup George Gallup, creator of the Gallup poll, served as editor of The Daily Iowan in the early 1920’s.


On December 11, 1924, as University Hall (Jessup Hall) was opening, The Daily Iowan served as the initiator of the new name for the central campus, known then as University Square or The Five Spot. Here the DI announces a contest for students to rename their home. The winner? The Pentacrest.

Read more about the Pentacrest.

There was a period in the 1940’s when the paper was moved temporarily to East Hall (which is known today as Seashore Hall) because the second floor of Close Hall caught fire and was deemed too hazardous for occupation. During that time, printing was done on the presses of the Iowa City Press-Citizen. After Close Hall was renovated, printing returned to Close Hall, while The Daily Iowan newsroom and the School of Journalism remained in East Hall in a newly-added wing. Read more about Close Hall.

On March 23, 1953, the offices of The Daily Iowan moved with the School of Journalism to the Communications Center on Madison Street, while the printing operation remained in the basement of Close Hall until 1968.

1969-dailyiowan copy

My dad, (back row – 4th guy from the left) took a new job with The Daily Iowan as a printer & linotype operator in December, 1965. The Bollers moved from Mt. Pleasant, where dad worked for The Mt. Pleasant News (1957-1965), to Iowa City in June, 1966. My first job (back row – 2nd guy from the left) during my high school years was working at Close Hall as a janitor. In 1968, The Daily Iowan combined all of its printing operations in a building near the corner of Madison & Burlington Street, where The Lindquist Center stands today. Soon after the move, my high school buddy, Mark Wilson, (back row – 3rd guy from the left) took over my custodial role, while I was promoted to assistant to my dad, pouring hot lead newspaper mat plates. In college, they promoted me again to proofreader. All the while, I’m surprised none of us ever got lead poisoning!

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At the 100th Anniversary party (October 24-26, 1968) for the Daily Iowan, each person received a souvenir from Close Hall. A hand-made nail that went into the original construction in 1890.

George Boller – Linotype Operator, Printer – University of Iowa – December 1965 – June 1986.  Read more about George Boller.

Awarded to George E. Boller on his retirement. June 1, 1986. One of a printer’s most treasured tool: Markup Ruler (line gauge) made by the Arthur H. Gaebel Company of Larchmont, NY. Formed in 1946 to serve the newspaper industry, Gaebel produced stainless steel rulers and printers line gauges. We have two from Dad’s collection. One was engraved on the backside by The Daily Iowan staff and presented at his retirement.

01-printersplate-sealofIowa 2

(M-0098) Letterpress Printers Plate – The Great Seal of the State of Iowa. Here’s a great example of the type of work my dad did in the newspaper business. As a printer, preparing a page for The Daily Iowan, he’d bring together lines of type that made up each story, and then also insert pictures and graphics as well. Every piece, back in the day, was cast in lead and reversed, of course, so a good printer had to be very efficient in reading everything backwards. This small Great Seal of Iowa letterpress plate is a good example of the literally dozens of separate pieces that needed to come together in assembling just one page of a newspaper like you see below.

Certainly, a lost art now that the printed page has pretty much been replaced with on-line communications. Yet today, when one gathers graphics (i.e. jpgs, gifs, etc.) and pulls together a webpage, the assembly concept is pretty much the same . . . except now-a-days you don’t have to read things d-r-a-w-k-c-a-b!

Click here to read more about the history of newspapers in Iowa.

The Daily Iowan – 100th Anniversary edition – October 24, 1968.

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