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Charles "Charley" Jones

Charles "Charley" Jones: Printer for 48 years

"There's never been a Courier, Coe alumni magazine, that Charley Jones didn't print. There's never been a class schedule for registration that he didn't put together either."
                                                                       (Cedar Rapids Gazette, September 15, 1946)

Charley, as he was known to students and faculty, was born December 5, 1870 in MacArthur, Ohio. He worked in his first printing shop when he was just seven years old. "My mother always said it was a lazy man's work, but I always liked it," Jones told the Gazette (September 15, 1946). His first job was folding papers as they came off a hand press for a dollar a week. He worked hard and in 1893 operated a newspaper in the coal fields of Ohio, but was forced to sell it due to his health. He then attended Highland college in Kansas and printed the college paper. An old friend and schoolmate of Jones', James Ralph Jewell, grandson of Daniel Coe, was offered a scholarship to attended Coe College in 1898. Jones transferred as well, and began to work on the college press, then located in the basement of the Main building.

The college had an old press and old type and Jones went to Chicago to purchase new equipment. In 1904, a year after Jones graduated, the college decided to stop printing its own material. Jones, E.W. Richardson and W.E. Goreham joined together and bought the equipment. They named their shop Superior Press and continued to print out of the Main building until 1922 when the operation moved to 864 First Avenue NE. Superior Press remained here until 1946 when Jones moved it to its final location, the spacious basement of the Iowa theater building.

Jones printed a variety of publications for Coe, from the catalogue and dance programs to sorority and fraternity papers. The Cosmos was printed by him a majority of the time, although he told the Cosmos that on occasion an editor or business editor with "new" ideas would transfer their business elsewhere, thinking it might be cheaper. "They always came back," he said. (Cosmos, October 1, 1947).

Throughout his years as printer, Jones saw a variety of different editors and quality of copy come through the press. He remembers such editors and business managers as William Shirer of CBS, Newell Rogers of the Paris edition of the New York Times and James Good, Herbert Hoover's secretary of war and recalled to the Gazette the work that was produced:

" 'Some of the work was good, some of it wasn't,'  he says now with a smile. 'Yes, sometimes I’d get mad at the students when I was in a hurry and they'd keep me late…but tired of them? Never,' he says."
                                                            (Cedar Rapids Gazette, September 15, 1946)

Although Jones retired in August of 1946 after 48 years of printing, he could still be found at the Superior Press, putting the finishing touches on a Coe College class schedule. He died in June of 1947 at the age of 76. The October 1, 1947 Cosmos paid him tribute, stating, "he is still very much alive in the memories of every editor, business manager and reporter of the Cosmos for the last 49 years!"

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