Douglas B. Houser, vice president of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, was born in this city August 28, 1892, and is a son of the late Daniel M. Houser. The father was born in Washington county, Maryland, December 23, 1834, and was a son of Elias and Eliza Houser. He was a youth in his fifth year at the time of his parents’ removal to Clark county, Missouri, whence they came to St. Louis in 1846. He had no educational advantages other than those afforded by the public schools and the year 1851, when he was sixteen years of age, saw him facing the problems of the business world with a career of success or failure before him, as he should make it.
His first service was in a humble capacity in the workrooms of the Union, a newspaper which was merged into the Missouri Democrat upon its purchase by the firm of Hill & McKee. The history of its evolution is contained elsewhere in this volume. It is inseparably interwoven with the annals of St. Louis and its record omitted from history’s pages would leave but a garbled version of growth and development here. Marshall Field, master of finance and merchant prince, gave this advice to young men: “Try always to be ahead of your position and increase your efficiency.” Although the words were not uttered at the time of Mr. Houser’s early connection with the Globe-Democrat, the spirit was his in his embryonic business career.
He won his promotions and they signified a recognition of his general worthiness and specific business ability. He had been with the paper but a few years when he became bookkeeper and afterward general business manager. About the time he attained his majority Francis P. Blair purchased the interest of the senior partner in the Democrat and following his retirement from connection with the paper Daniel M. Houser acquired a pecuniary interest. At that day even the most progressive newspaper had but a comparatively small equipment, its presses and other office accessories being of the most crude character as compared with those of the present day. Mr. Houser stood in the position of leadership in the west in the advance which has particularly revolutionized the newspaper business until the journal of today is in touch with every section of the globe and presents every subject, as news items or in discussion that is of any interest to classes or to the general public. While the paper has kept abreast with the times in its search for matters of presentation through its columns the work of the office has been carried on in the most systematic manner every detail carefully watched with no loss of time or labor, so that maximum results are obtained by minimum effort, which is the secret of all real success.
Mr. Houser succeeded to the presidency of the Globe Printing Company upon the death of his predecessor Mr. McKee. He was for many years a director of the Western Associated Press and shared with Richard Smith, W. N. Haldeman, Murat Halstead, Joseph Medill and other well known newspaper men in planning the operation that has resulted in giving to the public the journal of today, which is a combination of the magazine and the newspaper. There was no work, movement or measure of vital interest to the city which did not elicit the attention of Mr. Houser and all such which his judgment endorsed as beneficial or progressive received his personal cooperation as well as his journalistic support. It was therefore to be expected that he would be among the first to father the interests of St. Louis in connection with an exposition project and he became one of the incorporators and original directors of the St. Louis Exposition, contributing in substantial measure to the success of that great fair. Entirely free from ostentation, there was about him neither the least shadow of mock modesty. He was a gentleman of fine address and thorough culture, whose citizenship was a synonym for patriotism and whose business career was characterized no less for the integrity of its methods than for its progressiveness and its success. He was honored not only on account of the enviable position which he occupied in journalistic circles but also because of the many kindly deeds of his life, which were ever quietly and unostentatiously performed.
His death occurred October 10, 1915, when he had reached the venerable age of eighty years.
It was in 1862 that Daniel M. Houser was married to Miss Margaret Ingram, of St. Louis, and they became the parents of two sons and a daughter, Mrs. W. I. Aderton, of St. Louis. The wife and mother passed away in February, 1880, and nine years later Mr. Houser married Miss Agnes Barlow, a daughter of Stephen D. Barlow. She had reached the age of forty-six years when she was called to her final rest on the 12th of May, 1907. She left three children: Agnes Malotte, the wife of Sears Lehmann, a son of Frederick W. Lehmann; Douglas B., of this review; and Duncan P.
Douglas B. Houser was educated in Smith Academy of St. Louis and at Yale University from which he won his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1914. Following his graduation he entered the service of the Globe-Democrat as a reporter and from that position worked his way upward to the editorial and business department and in December, 1918, was elected vice president of the company. This advancement has marked his gradual progress and developing experience in the newspaper field through many years. He has done with thoroughness everything he has undertaken and is today an executive officer of one of the great dailies of the country.
In St. Louis, on the 15th of November, 1916, Mr. Houser was married to Miss Emma Garesche, a daughter of E. A. B. and Emma (Jennings) Garesche, the former a prominent attorney of St. Louis. Mr. and Mrs. Houser have a daughter, Nancy Malotte, who was born September 8, 1918, and a son, D. B. Houser, Jr., born March 6, 1920, in St. Louis.
During the World war Douglas B. Houser served as corporal of Company G of the First Regiment of the Missouri Home Guard. His brother, Duncan Houser, served in the United States navy, which he joined as an ensign and was advanced to the rank of junior lieutenant. He served on a convoy and also on the ship that conveyed Secretary of War Baker to France. In his political views Douglas B. Houser is a stalwart republican, having given unfaltering allegiance It the party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. In his college days he became a member of the Alpha Delta Phi. He is prominently known in the club circles of St. Louis, belonging to the University, Racquet, St. Louis and Advertising Clubs. He is also connected with the Chamber of Commerce and cooperates most heartily in all those activities which have to do with the city’s development, the extension of its trade relations and the maintenance of high civic standards. An Episcopalian in religious faith he is a communicant of St. Peter’s church. He belongs to one of the old, prominent and honored families of St. Louis and following in his father’s footsteps has made for himself an enviable position in journalistic circles of the Mississippi valley.