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Newspaper The Great Falls Leader (Great Falls, Mont.) 1888-1900 Great Falls daily leader

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About The Great Falls Leader (Great Falls, Mont.) 1888-1900

In 1883 Paris Gibson, a St. Paul businessman and acquaintance of James J. Hill, a Minnesota railroad developer, founded the city of Great Falls, Montana, on the banks of the Missouri River. By 1887, Hill’s Great Northern Railroad had arrived in Great Falls. In 1890, a dam rose from the river at Black Eagle Falls, the first of five hydroelectric plants, spawning a copper smelting and refining industry.

On June 16, 1888, Herbert P. Rolfe, a Fort Benton attorney, published the first issue of the Great Falls Leader, a Republican weekly. The masthead motto accurately described the newspaper’s point of view: “Devoted to the Agricultural, Manufacturing, and Mining Interests of Northern Montana.” An editorial in the inaugural issue promoted the “opening of the Blackfeet Indian reservation to farmers and ranchers” and urged the exploitation of the region’s bountiful resources including fertile soil, coal, silver and gold, and water power.

In an early issue, the Leader printed a list entitled “What Great Falls Has,” which noted that the town “has cheap fuel; a board of trade; a healthy climate; a system of parks; and a desire to protect wool tariffs.” The four-page, six-column daily, promoted both the Republican national platform and the principles of Montana’s Republican Party.

Three decades later, the Leader hired Joseph Kinsey Howard as a reporter fresh out of Great Falls High. In 1926, the 20-year-old Howard became the Leader‘s news editor, and 10 years later he established the Great Falls Newspaper Guild (union) at both the Leader and its rival, the Great Falls Daily Tribune. In 1943, Howard gained national attention with the publication of a book of essays entitled Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome. Shortly thereafter, his essays appeared in national magazines like Saturday Evening Post, Harpers, The Nation, and Esquire. Howard died of a heart attack at his cabin on the Rocky Mountain Front, west of Choteau, Montana. He was 45.

Provided By: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT

About this Newspaper


  • The Great Falls Leader (Great Falls, Mont.) 1888-1900

Other Title

  • Great Falls daily leader

Dates of Publication

  • 1888-1900

Created / Published

  • Great Falls, Mont. : Leader Pub. Co., 1888-1900.


  • -  United States--Montana--Cascade--Great Falls


  • -  Daily (6 times a week)
  • -  Vol. 1, no. 20 [i.e. 1] (Oct. 21, 1888)-v. 16, no. 208 (Aug. 23, 1900).
  • -  Published every morning except Mondays.
  • -  Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • -  Weekly editions: Great Falls leader (Great Falls, Mont. : Weekly), 1888-1890; Great Falls weekly leader, 1890-
  • -  Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 20 [i.e. 1] (Oct. 21, 1888).
  • -  Great Falls evening leader (DLC)sn 86075266


  • volumes ; 70 cm

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Newspaper

Library of Congress Control Number

  • sn86075267

OCLC Number

  • 13869505

ISSN Number

  • 2374-1813

Succeeding Titles

Additional Metadata Formats


Rights & Access

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

The Great Falls Leader Great Falls, Mont. -1900. (Great Falls, MT), Jan. 1 1888.

APA citation style:

(1888, January 1) The Great Falls Leader Great Falls, Mont. -1900. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

The Great Falls Leader Great Falls, Mont. -1900. (Great Falls, MT) 1 Jan. 1888. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,