Omaha Daily Bee

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Omaha Daily Bee
Title page of the first issue, December 31, 1901
Type Daily
Format Tabloid
Editor Edward Rosewater
Founded May 8, 1871
Language English
Ceased publication 1920 merged
Headquarters Omaha
ISSN 2169-7264
OCLC number 42958170

The Omaha Daily Bee was a leading Republican newspaper, and early on featured Rosewater's opinions. The paper's editorial slant frequently pitted it against the Omaha Herald, the Omaha Republican and other local papers.[1]


Founded as a pioneer newspaper in Omaha, Nebraska founded on May 8, 1871, by Edward Rosewater a Jewish immigrant from Bohemia who supported abolition and fought in the Union Army.[2] The Bee was Nebraska's first regional newspaper,[3] and was regarded nationally for its advocacy and success.[4] By 1875 the Bee had a circulation of 2,520 and by 1882 those circulation numbers increased to 6,100 daily copies.[5] And while it was primarily a local paper the Bee also carried national and regional news in a simple eight column design.

The paper's slogan was "Industry, Frugality and Service." in 1888 Rosewater built the Bee Building to accommodate its presses, which were claimed to be the largest in the country. After his father carried the paper to national fame before his death in 1906, the paper began to slip under his son Victor Rosewater's control.[4] The Bee was criticized for sensationalizing alleged attacks by black men in 1919 and contributing to tensions that resulted in the Omaha Race Riot of 1919 which caused three deaths and thousands of dollars in property damages.[6]

The newspaper was sold to millionaire Nelson B. Updike, a local grain dealer, in 1920 who merged it with the Omaha Daily Herald to form the Bee-Herald. In 1927 it was sold to William Randolph Hearst, who in turn sold it ten years later to the Omaha World-Herald, which promptly folded the Bee and discontinued its publication.[3]

According to a 1954 World-Herald report, "Edward Rosewater actually did not have journalism in mind when he launched the first edition of the Bee on June 19, 1871, to influence the public in favor of the ratification of a legislative bill originated by him, creating the Board of Education."[7]


  1. ^ Bristow, D. (1997) A Dirty, Wicked Town: Tales of 19th Century Omaha. Caxton Press. p 93.
  2. ^ Larsen, L. & Cotrell, B. (1997). The gate city: A history of Omaha. University of Nebraska Press. p 69.
  3. ^ a b Larsen & Cotrell (1997) p 194.
  4. ^ a b "Omaha monopoly", Time. October 11, 1937. Retrieved 4/29/08.
  5. ^ Walter, Katherine. "About Omaha Daily Bee". Nebraska Newspapers. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 
  6. ^ Jan Voogd, "Race Riots and Resistance: The Red Summer of 1919" Peter Lang, 2008 page 108
  7. ^ "Early Editors' Rivalry Included Horsewhipping, With Whipper Sat Upon," Omaha First Century, Installment VII. Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved 9/15/07.

External links[edit]

  • "Victor Rosewater". An oral history account of the paper from the Nebraska State Historical Society.
  • "Browse Issues: Omaha Daily Bee" Archived issues of the Omaha Daily Bee are made available for viewing by the Nebraska Newspapers project out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.