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Grants Pass Newspaper Receives First Telegraph Pictures

In 1919, the Grants Pass Daily Courier bragged it was going to be the first Southern Oregon paper to receive pictures sent by telegraph and publish pictures from world events a day after they happened.

Previously, by the time pictures from faraway places arrived in the mail, they were old news.

A young Idaho inventor, LeRoy  J. Leishman, figured out how to send pictures by telegraph.  The Courier explained that a special telegraph machine would translate light and shade and every necessary detail of a picture into a series of short groups of letters that served as code.

The machine would send the code from Europe to New York, then on to the Leishman Telegraph Picture Service offices in major cities, including Portland, Ore.  A receiver in Portland would read the code and the captured image would be printed and sent by train to Grants Pass. 

The Courier would be able to claim next-day publishing from Europe because of the time difference, but it would take several days to get a picture from the U.S. East Coast.

The picture service had a short life as more efficient methods replaced it.


Sources: "How the Courier Will Publish Pictures of European Events The Next Day After They Happen." Grants Pass Daily Courier 30 Aug. 1919: 1. Historic Oregon Newspapers. Web. 21 Mar. 2016. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088181/1919-08-30/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1846&index=2&date2=2015&words=Picture+picture+pictures+telegraphed+Telegraphed&searchType=advanced&sequence=0&lccn=&proxdista;  Varney, Dorothy J. The Forgotten Genius: Biography of LeRoy James Leishman. Los Angeles: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, 2011. 3. Print.

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.