Biographies | Albert D. Andrews
Albert D. Andrews was one of those lucky people who find their calling early in life. That good fortune may, or may not, be attributable to the rumors of printer’s ink in his blood. Whatever the reason, ten-year-old Albert visited a print shop in 1886 and decided then and there to make printing his life’s work. This was no problem in a time devoid of child labor laws.
Having finished the eighth grade, Albert began working at his craft at age 13. He became a journeyman at 15 and soon acquired broad experience in print shops in Central and Western New York, including the East Aurora print shop of writer and founder of the American Craftsman movement Elbert Hubbard.
The third of five children, Albert lived with his parents, Dr. James Monroe Andrews (b. ca.1841) and Emma C. Marshall (b. ca.1850), in Humphrey in Cattaraugus County NY, until he left the family home for his apprenticeships. In July of 1899, still single and now an experienced printer, he moved to a rental in Webster, New York.
Albert moved here with a purpose in mind: to publish a weekly newspaper. So he did. Initially, he had the help of his friend Henry Morgan, who decided after a few weeks that the work did not suit him. Undaunted, Albert produced the first issue of The Webster Herald on September 1, 1899.
Yes, that Webster Herald. The newspaper we are still reading over 120 years later. The newspaper that has never ceased publication to this day in 2021. The newspaper that has a place of honor on the New York Historic Newspapers website.
His first editorial included his newspaper’s motto:
“First, last, and always the news.” His preparation instructions for advertisers read: “What you say is of first importance; then comes the manner of saying it; then we look after the appearance.” His political philosophy was emphatic: “neither Republican nor Democrat, Fusion nor Populist, but INDEPENDENT of PARTY and ALL PARTY TIES.” (The emphases were Albert’s.)
Early issues covered news from the Grange, fraternal societies, local governments, and politics. Local news was scarce but covered such things as railway projects, fire at Forest Lawn, farm accidents, wills, marriages, deaths, census procedures and the feelings of three families riled a bit over three heifers. Regional, state and national events occupied much of each issue.
The Herald grew as Webster grew in population and complexity of issues. Albert Andrews published what the town was facing at any given time, doing his part as a citizen and as an editor and publisher, to make Webster a thriving community. He advocated for the incorporation of the Village of Webster and the organization of the Webster Fire Department. He crusaded for the installation of Webster’s water system in 1908 and promoted the civic organizations that preceded the Chamber of Commerce. His name appears on a plaque in the former Webster High School honoring his support for the “new” school completed in 1925. In his spare time, Albert took part in amateur theatrics at the Grange and learned to play the tuba in order to participate in the Webster Military Band he had helped to organize.
On April 18, 1906, Albert married Josephine Esther Hart of Penfield. She participated fully in his publishing and printing business: reporting, writing, and editing. Rounding out the family business were their children Frank H. and Roberta as well as two of Albert’s sisters. By 1930, the family was living at 39 Elm Street, joining the Bonenblusts, Pelletts, and Hawleys as neighbors. He would move to 74 East Main Street by 1940.
Albert published The Webster Herald from his shop on the south side of West Main Street until 1923 when he sold it to the first of several subsequent owners. During that time, he had also published the Webster News and a monthly magazine called The Evaporator, which served the apple-drying industry in Webster and beyond.
However, Albert was not finished with publishing and printing. From 1926-1928, he published the Webster Free Press in the basement of Hawley’s store on the corner of Main Street and Lapham Park. The paper was popular and had a large circulation but increasing operational costs cut too far into profits for the venture to continue beyond two years.
Albert continued to accept printing work until 1936 when his health declined and he took some time to recover. In 1944, he rejoined The Webster Herald as a printer and worked there until his death in 1956. His nickname of “Dad” was an honorific tip of the hat to his longevity at the Herald. In his last two years, he occasionally wrote a column for the Herald called “Observations of a Crawfish.” Albert and Josephine are buried in West Webster Cemetery.
Albert did not live to see the 1967 conversion of the Herald’s printing operation from letterpress to offset. He did, however, live to see the 50th anniversary issue of The Webster Herald on September 1, 1949. It contained messages of congratulations from many people, including Town Supervisor Sidney Backus, journalist Drew Pearson, Governor Thomas E. Dewey, and President Harry S. Truman.
We hope he smiled at the headline tribute at the top of page one of the second section, which read:
DAD ANDREWS STORY IS ONE OF AMBITION, INSPIRATION, FORESIGHT
- Corriveau Family Tree, www.ancestry.com, accessed 2021.
- Federal Census 1880, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, www.ancestry.com, accessed 2021.
- Files, Webster Town and Village Historian, accessed 2020 and 2021.
- Find a Grave, Albert D. Andrews, accessed 2021.
- The Webster Herald, 9-15-1899, 2-9-1940, 9-1-1944, 1-28-1947, 9-1-1949, 7-22- 1954, 9-31-1956, 1-31-1968.