A 19th-Century Publisher by Paisley Kirkpatrick
The Mountain Democrat in Placerville, California, called her The Gazette's "editress," and the San Francisco Call described her as "gifted editor, writer and manager." She was Maude Hulbert Horn, a reporter for the Georgetown Gazette at fourteen and its publisher two years later at age sixteen.
Maude was born in 1873 and grew up with printer's ink in her veins. She was the daughter of Joseph Hulbert, who was also a publisher. In 1880 the family moved from Auburn, California, to Georgetown. Hulbert was impressed with the town's gold mining opportunities and the fact that it was a small bustling trade center with an air of permanence. The first Georgetown Gazette was published on April 9, 1880.
Once the newspaper was established, Hulbert started prospecting for gold, leaving the responsibility of the Gazette to his wife. During the next few years, the family increased, and Maude, the oldest of four children, had to assume a great deal of the Gazette's duties. The other children were not interested in the paper.
At the age of nine, Maude was taught to set type with a steel-type stick that was cut to fit the child's small hand, and, by the time Maude was fourteen, she was recognized as a reporter. She attended public school where she excelled in English literature. In 1891, at sixteen, her father named Maude editor of the Gazette. Her name, however, did not appear on the masthead for two years, and then she was titled manager instead of editor. Maude had to give up her plans of attending college, along with social activities, to maintain the family weekly newspaper.
The young woman was running the paper by 1895, with help only on press day and whenever Hulbert returned from the mines. Her desire to learn continued and Maude found the time to study French, Shakespeare, astronomy, and shorthand.
Her father moved to Oregon and left the newspaper in Maude's control. Two years after John C. 'Jack' Horn joined the Gazette, and the couple married. Horn was an experienced printer, and together their coverage gained the respect of Georgetown. It was Maude's policy not to print items that might cause embarrassment. Many times she would omit a birth notice so readers wouldn't know how long the woman had been married. When a local resident was involved in an indiscretion, it went unreported.
Maude was also a joiner and belonged to many organizations. They provided news and allowed her to socialize. She also belonged to many lodges.
After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake her husband and daughter moved to San Francisco to help out Jack's destitute brother. Maude worked herself into exhaustion, and it was common for her to faint at moments of stress. She wrote, as a stringer, for The Sacramento Bee and submitted material to the Mountain Democrat in Placerville and the Auburn Journal. She also sold home-grown cherries.
During World War I, she directed Red Cross public health and relief efforts, and, following the war, she attended a League of Nations meeting as an honorary delegate. In 1921 her husband died trying to rescue a woman in a fire. When her son graduated from college, and after forty years with the Gazette, she sold the Gazette's equipment and took a vacation in Hawaii. She was accepted into both the state and national societies of The Daughters of the American Revolution. She became one of the jurors in El Dorado County's first Superior Court trial. Three years later she was a part of the Grand Jury, and in 1930 Maude was appointed Justice of the Peace. She was the first woman in Georgetown to hold this position and served for three years.
Maude Horn died in 1935, unrecognized for her great contributions to publishing.
Information taken from Women of the Sierra, written by Anne Seagraves.