The Stamford American lost a dear family member this past week in the passing of Dorothy Craig Drain. Her newspaper career, along side of her husband Roy Craig, spanned 40 years. Anyone that knew Dorothy was regaled with numerous stories of her newspaper days.
In 1945, during a hot summer, Dorothy Craig came to Stamford with her husband, her daughter, and one on the way when her husband, who had always dreamed of running a newspaper, learned that the Stamford American was for sale.
Stamford in 1945 was booming. The population was around 5000 with several car dealers and five grocery stores. Dorothy went to work in October of 1950 with her husband at the paper. She was the part time accounts receivable clerk, full time bookkeeper, office supply order person, proof reader, and even later became publisher in January of 1978. After Roy passed away, Dorothy sold the paper to John E. Mooney in 1985. She later married Jim Drain.
One of Dorothy’s favorite articles was an editorial she wrote during the summer one year. This editorial centered on how people would come to an interview not properly dressed. Dorothy always proudly told of how a lady in Abilene printed the editorial and had prospective employees read the article when they came in for an interview.
Dorothy always said one of the most important parts of running the paper was getting the news out on time. She remembered one time when her daughter Jennifer was helping her, the paper came off the presses late. They had an old red truck that they hurriedly loaded up with the papers. They had already missed the mail in Stamford so they drove all the way to Abilene to the Post Office there. On their way, they ran into a hail storm. The hail broke the window of the truck, but Dorothy kept on driving. She and Jennifer made it to Abilene in time for the papers to go out in the mail. Dorothy also told of a time when the press broke down. The press was out for 12 hours, even though the boys had worked on it all night long. This was the one time in her experience that the paper did not get delivered until the next day.
Dorothy also recounted a time when Roy was sick. She missed the mail. She put five mail sacks in the car and headed out to deliver the ones that were close by. She wanted to get all this done so she could get home to fix Roy dinner. Dorothy made it back, but it was late. She ended up getting a speeding ticket between Haskell and Stamford trying to get home. Dorothy said, “Getting people their paper was number one on my list.” People got their paper, and she got her speeding ticket.
Dorothy had many great memories during her time at the Stamford American. She said she worked hard and enjoyed her work, and proudly stated, “My readers always got a good paper and got it on time.”
The Stamford American under Roy and Dorothy Craig was printed in their building on the south side of the square. According to an article in the November 13, 1975 issue of the American, it was “one of the most modern weekly newspaper plants in the country.” In addition to printing the American, their newspaper plant was responsible for printing the papers for Anson, Clyde, Baird, Haskell, Rochester, Albany, Hamlin, Aspermont, Knox City, and Throckmorton, and the paper for Abilene Christian College. The Stamford American also printed the programs for the Texas Cowboy Reunion from 1949 to 1985.
As for the modern day Stamford American, Dorothy was always quick on critique and suggestions. When she attended our grand re-opening 4 years ago, she told stories of the Golden Age of Stamford, and the newspaper that had covered it all. After everyone had left that day, she smiled her sideways smile and said, “Now you are going to show how you do it now days right?” What proceeded was a two- hour comparison between paste-up, linotype, and laying out a newspaper on the computer. Needless to say, one of my favorite newspaper stories is the time Dorothy Craig came and showed me how it was done.