Frank Washburn Starbuck, president of The Journal Printing Company of Racine, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the 8th of November. 1845, a son of Calvin W. Starbuck, owner and editor of the Cincinnati Times during the Civil war, at which period it was one of the strong forces in molding public opinion.
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Frank W. Starbuck spent the period of his boyhood and youth in his native city and obtained his education and preliminary training in connection with the printing business there, but became a resident of Racine in 1873, when a young man of twenty-eight years. The purpose of his removal was to benefit his health, which had become impaired, but while here he entered upon active connection with the Journal, which at that time was owned and edited by Colonel W. L. Utley, and his son, Hamilton. On the 1st of January, 1874, Mr. Starbuck purchased a half interest in the paper, succeeding the senior partner in the firm, and a year later he became sole proprietor, taking over the entire business management and a year later assuming editorial charge when Hamilton Utley, who, after selling out, had continued in connection with the paper in an editorial capacity, went to the Black Hills. The Journal Printing Company was incorporated in 1886, Mr. Starbuck still retaining the presidency of the company, while William Horlick was elected vice president and E. A. Tostevin, secretary and treasurer. The present directors are F. W. Starbuck, F. R. Starbuck, D. F. Griswold, William Horlick and A. J. Horlick.
A contemporary writer, speaking of the Journal (or of the Journal-News, under which the name of the paper has been published since it took over the Racine News, on the 1st of January, 1912) said: “It has been for forty years a paper of broad influence, representing the best enterprise in modern newspaper facilities.” When Mr. Starbuck became connected with the Journal in 1874 it was published as a weekly. The office at the time had somewhat inferior equipment, but at that date steam power was installed and since then every modern facility for successful newspaper publication has been added. The company began the publication of the Daily Journal on the 3rd of January, 1881, a modest, four-page, six-column paper, which immediately won recognition in a liberal patronage. Various removals have been made to secure larger quarters and in 1891 the company purchased property at No. 328 Main Street which was remodeled into a complete newspaper printing plant. In 1894 the daily was increased in size to an eight-page issue and now the mechanical equipment consists of a Hoe perfecting press, five Mergenthaler linotype machines, all operated by skilled workmen, a superb stereotyping plant, etc. The policy of the company toward its employees is indicated in the fact that many have remained in its service from fifteen to twenty years and in two cases twenty-five and thirty-seven years, the latter being David I. Griswold, present city editor. It now employs over forty people, not including seventy-five paper carriers.
For an extended period the Journal has enjoyed the distinction of being one of the best edited papers in Wisconsin. It has a leased wire service and Associated Press reports, of which association it has been a continuous member for over thirty years, and is given over to the diffusion of general and local news and to the discussion of political problems, being unvaryingly republican in its complexion. For forty-two years Mr. Starbuck has remained the directing head of the paper, has developed its policy and has been the guiding spirit in shaping its course. The Journal-News has been a strong factor in developing the Wisconsin Daily League, comprising twenty-seven daily papers outside of Milwaukee: has been for years a consistent member of the Inland Daily Press Association and was one of the first to join the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
Mr. Starbuck has been married twice. He first wedded Miss Carrie Golden, of Cincinnati, and they had a daughter. Helen. In 1875 he was again married, his second union being with Miss Mattie Raymond, a native of Racine and a daughter of the late Seneca Raymond. Mrs. Starbuck died March 16, 1912. The surviving children of this marriage are Marguerite, Genevieve and Frank. Racine has always regarded it as a most fortunate circumstance that Mr. Starbuck was forced to leave Cincinnati, for thereby the Belle City gained one of its leading and representative residents who for forty-three years has been instrumental in shaping public thought and action here, guided at all times by a public-spirited devotion to the general welfare that has largely resulted in the promotion of the interests of the city.