Twenty-year-old W.C. Simons and two partners leased the Lawrence Record and began publishing a newspaper in 1891. Three months later they gave up the lease but started another paper, the Lawrence World. They eventually consolidated four other local papers into their Lawrence Journal-World. Simons bought out the remaining partner in 1914 and in 1921 merged another local paper into the Journal-World. Simons married Gertrude Reineke in 1894. Her skill as a movie and stage show pianist sometimes helped to generate enough money to make ends meet.
W.C.’s son Dolph Sr. was born in 1904 and worked hard until his death in 1989 to make the paper a success. Dolph Sr. was active in the Kansas Press Association, serving as its president in 1939. He also served as a director of the Associated Press in the 1950s and was a Pulitzer Prize juror.
Dolph Simons Jr. started working as a carrier for the paper and then worked his way up the ladder. He graduated from the University of Kansas and served in the Marine Corps. He also worked as a reporter in London and South Africa for other newspapers.
Dolph Jr. became publisher, president and then editor of the Journal-World. He saw the oncoming impact of technology and became involved in cable television. The local station started service in 1971. In 1984 the Journal-World began the local printing of the national newspaper, USA Today. Sunflower Cable has grown steadily. In 1995 the Journal-World became one of the first newspapers in the world to launch a daily updated news site on line. The World Company also offers telephone services and has won numerous awards recognizing their high-tech innovations.
The Journal-World has purchased other newspapers and has continued to push the envelope in the realm of technology. Dolph Jr. has been heavily involved in so many professional, educational and other community activities as to make their enumeration difficult. He has served as a high office holder in, among other things, the Associated Press, and has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror as did his father. He has had a high level of involvement in the KU Alumni Association, the KU Endowment Association, and many local institutions.
In 2004 the fourth generation of Simons family members, Dolph Jr.’s sons, Dolph III and Dan, took over a great deal of the operating duties of the Journal-World’s activities. They also are involved in many volunteer professional and community organization. Dolph III received a national award from Kids Voting USA, an organization to encourage voting by having student participation in parallel elections, for his work in supporting the goal of increased voter participation in elections.
Entry: Simons Family
Author: G. Joseph Pierron
Author information: Judge Pierron serves on the Kansas Court of Appeals and has an interest in Kansas history.
Date Created: May 2012
Date Modified: May 2012
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.