Monday, January 2, 2012

Georgetown Gazette

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.


  1. Wow, Paisley, what a wonderful story. Doesn't it sound like a romance plot? Certainly it would make a nice one. I hadn't heard of her, so I am so glad you shared.

  2. Thanks, Caroline. Yes, I have found several great romance plots going on in this great book. In fact, One-Eyed Charlie is the next story in me and is the fifth one I need to write. I love hearing about all of these great, strong ladies.

  3. There are some people in this world who must have been born with some special gifts the rest of us do not have. Maude surely was one of's like she did everything with one hand tied behind her back..and even had time to sell cherries.

    I laughed when the first paper called her an editress. Probably, it was so unheard of the guy couldn't think what she should be called.
    Doing all this at such a young age is astounding. There aren't many younger girls today who could do such things. On the other hand, we don't put out children to work, allowing them to be children.
    Thanks, Paisley--and Happy 2012.

  4. Unfortunately, Celie, the young people today have been taught they are entitled. They are maturing into a world where they don't think they should have to work for anything. It is sad because working hard and earning what you dream for is the most satisfying feeling a person can achieve. It just happened to me and I am still glowing from the accomplishment. :)

  5. I enjoyed this blog, Paisley. Thanks for sharing her story. I agree with Caroline. I'd love to read a fictionalized version of her life as a publisher.

  6. Thanks, Stacey. I will keep her story in mind. One of my heroines does inherit a newspaper and I know I can spice it up with some of the info in this piece.

  7. Hi Paisley, I so enjoy reading about strong women, especially in the West.Do use her as inspiration for your fiction! Happy New Year!

  8. Thank you, Tanya. The West certainly gave us a lot of strong women. Not sure I live up to their expectations. :)

  9. Wow, now that is heroine material if I ever read some! Thanks for sharing her remarkable story!

  10. Paisley,
    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog about Maude Hulbert. It tickles me that she omitted information from the newspaper that would have been scandalous in that day and time. :-) Good for her! I imagine her newspaper was full of interesting news and information.

    Enjoy that warm glow!

  11. Wow, that was fascinating, and a real inspiration.

  12. Hi Lauri, Yes, it is amazing how many great women the west produced during the settling of California. Thanks for coming by.

  13. Isn't it something, Jeanmarie, that those folks in the wild west had the integrity that seems to be missing in journalism today. How sad.

  14. Thanks Savanna. I love reading about the strong women of the west and how they never gave up on life.


Thank you for visiting Sweethearts of the West! We are very sad to require comment moderation now due to the actions of a few spam comments. Thank you for your patience.