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[Illustration: John B. Clarke]
COLONEL JOHN B. CLARKE.
Editor and Proprietor of the Manchester [N.H.] Mirror.
Among the business enterprises in which the men of to-day seek fortune and reputation, there is scarcely another which, when firmly established upon a sound basis, sends its roots so deep and wide, and is so certain to endure and prosper, bearing testimony to the ability of its creators, as the family newspaper. Indeed, a daily or weekly paper which has gained by legitimate methods an immense circulation and a profitable advertising patronage is immortal. It may change owners and names, and character even, but it never dies, and if, as is usually the case, it owes its early reputation and success to one man, it not only reflects him while he is associated with it, but pays a constant tribute to his memory after he has passed away.
But, while the rewards of eminent success in the newspaper profession are great and substantial, the road to them is one which only the strong, sagacious, and active can travel, and this is especially true when he who strives for them assumes the duties of both publisher and editor. It requires great ability to make a great paper every day, and even greater to sell it extensively and profitably, and to do both is not a possible task for the weak. To do both in an inland city, where the competition of metropolitan journals must be met and discounted, without any of their advantages, requires a man of grip, grit and genius.
In 1852 the Manchester MIRROR was one of the smallest and weakest papers in the country. Its weekly edition had a circulation of about six hundred, that of its daily was less than five hundred, and its advertising receipts were extremely small. Altogether, it was a load which its owner could not carry, and the whole establishment, including subscription lists, good will, press, type and material, was sold at auction for less than a thousand dollars.
In 1885 the WEEKLY MIRROR AND FARMER has a circulation of more than twenty-three thousand and every subscriber on its books has paid for it in advance. The DAILY MIRROR AND AMERICAN has a correspondingly large and reliable constituency, and neither paper lacks advertising patronage. The office in which they are printed is one of the most extensive and best equipped in the Eastern States out of Boston. In every sense of the word the MIRROR is successful, strong and solid.
The building up of this great and substantial enterprise from so small a beginning has been the work of John B. Clarke, who bought the papers, as stated above, in 1852, has ever since been their owner, manager, and controlling spirit, and, in spite of sharp rivalry at home and from abroad and the lack of opportunieies which such an undertaking must contend with in a small city, has kept the MIRROR, in hard times as in good times, steadily growing, enlarging its scope and influence, and gaining strength with which to make and maintain new advances; and at the same time has made it yield every year a handsome income. Only a man of pluck, push and perseverance, of courage, sagacity and industry, could have done this; and he who has accomplished it need point to no other achievement to establish his title to a place among the strong men of his time.