Early in 1834, missionary Jotham Meeker set up his printing press--the first press to be used west of the Missouri River--at the Shawnee Baptist Mission in present Johnson County. That year he published hymns, religious tracts, and other materials that were the first items printed in Kansas.
On February 24, 1835, Meeker printed the first number of the Shawnee Sun (Siwinowe Kesibwi), the first periodical publication in Kansas, and the first printed entirely in a Native American language.
The paper was issued at irregular intervals from 1835 to as late as 1844, probably in limited editions of 150 or 100 copies. Measuring about 6 3/4 inches by 10 3/4 inches, the paper had two 8 1/2-inch columns of text per page.
The Shawnee Sun circulated among the Indians at and near the mission settlement. Today only one copy of one issue is known to have survived--the issue for November 1841, now in the library of the University of Missouri at Kansas City. The mission where Meeker served, Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site, is open to the public and administered by the Kansas Historical Society.
Entry: Shawnee Newspaper
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: June 2003
Date Modified: April 2013
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.