Valentin J. Peter
|Valentin Josef Peter|
|Born||April 24, 1875
|Died||February 19, 1960
|Children||Carl J. Peter
Theodore Val Peter
Bernard George Peter
Dr. Arno Ernest Peter
Raymond Albert Peter
Theresa Katherine Peter
William A. Peter
Anna Loretto Peter
Margaret Joan Peter
Paul Frederick Peter
Dorothy Josephine Peter
Eugene Walter Peter
|Parent(s)||George Peter and Katherine Welzenbach|
Born in Bavaria, Peter immigrated to the United States in 1889. As a young man, he wanted to be a teacher but worked at a sawmill before apprenticing with Friedrich von Parrot, publisher of a weekly German newspaper called the Volkszeitung. Within several years he became involved with German language newspapers in Peoria and Rock Island, Illinois. In 1904 when the Volkszeitung went bankrupt Peter purchased the paper for $1,500 and at twenty-two years old he became the youngest editor in all of Illinois. In 1907 Peter moved to Omaha, Nebraska and bought the Westliche Presse and in the following year purchased and re-opened a newspaper called the Omaha Tribüne. Peter consolidated the two papers to create the Omaha Tribüne-Westliche Presse. Over the next several years he would continue to merge German language newspapers from across the state. On March 14, 1912 Peter introduced the Omaha Tribüne, a paper that would serve the German populations of Nebraska, Iowa, and other Midwest states until 1960.
Peter was a devout Roman Catholic, an Elk, and a number of social and charitable German immigrant organizations in Omaha. In November 1910 Peter founded and became the president of the Nebraska chapter of the National German-American Alliance. Using his position as publisher and editor of the Omaha Tribüne, Peter followed the NGAA's policy against Prohibition and rallied against Nebraskan politicians and policies he saw as working against the distribution of alcohol.
An active businessman, Peter continued buying and consolidating other German language newspapers throughout the Midwest for several years. His dominance of the German language newspaper industry in the United States was established by the 1930s. After spending 50 years operating the only German newspapers in the U.S., Peter's company sold its final publications in 1982.
Both here and abroad, the enemy is the same! Perfidious Albion! Over there England has pressed the sword into the hands of almost all the peoples of Europe against Germany. In this country it has a servile press at its command, which uses every foul means to slander everything German and to poison the public mind. - Valentin Peter (1915)
However, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Peter published a statement in his newspapers that reflected a change of heart. He wrote, "time for political disagreement about international affairs has passed" and that "all American citizens of German blood" needed to "stand behind their government."
The business Peter used to print the Omaha Tribüne, the Interstate Printing Company, still functions today in Omaha. It is owned by the family of Valentin's son, Eugene, who was born in 1925. The company has been located in the Near North Side neighborhood of North Omaha, Nebraska since the 1950s.
- Tonassi, Timo. "Valentin Josef Peter." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 4, edited by Jeffrey Fear. German Historical Institute. Last modified June 22, 2015.
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- Luebke, F.C. (1999) Germans in the New World: Essays in the History of Immigration. University of Illinois Press. p 15.
- Folsom, B.W. (1999) No More Free Markets Or Free Beer: The Progressive Era in Nebraska, 1900-1924. Lexington Books. p 66.
- Knoche, C.H. (1980) The German Immigrant Press in Milwaukee. Ayer Publishing. p 223.
- Rippley, LV.J. (2007) "F. W. Sallet and the Dakota Freie Presse," Germans from Russia Heritage Collection. Retrieved 9/6/07.
- Kurt Kinbacher, K. (2006) Immigration, the American West, and the Twentieth Century: German from Russian, Omaha Indian, and Vietnamese-Urban Villagers in Lincoln, Nebraska. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. p 171.
- "Val J. Peter, 84, Is Dead; Published the German Language Tribune". The Omaha World-Herald Newspaper, Omaha, Nebraska. February 20, 1960.
- "Obituary, Val J. Peter". The Omaha World-Herald Newspaper, Omaha, Nebraska. February 20, 1960.
- Luebke, F.C. (1999) Germans in the New World: Essays in the History of Immigration. University of Illinois Press. p 17.
- "Our German Heritage" Retrieved 9/3/07.
- "Company history," Interstate Printing Company. Retrieved 9/6/07.
- "North Omaha printing company can't be duplicated", TMCnet.com. August 22, 2008. Retrieved 9/1/08.