In chapters that alternate between the sisters' distinctive voices, The Gazette Girls of Grundy County tells a captivating story of two women's adventures in a small midwestern town. Although both women had been trained in journalism, their education hadn't prepared them for the realities of running a country newspaper. While Gwen sold advertising to local businesses, Ardis worked financial wizardry, often dipping into her own savings, to keep the Gazette in the black. With no money for subscriptions, Grundy County residents taught the sisters the fine art of horse trading, offering dressed chickens, quarters of beef, "ricks" and "racks" of firewood, and countless other goods in exchange for subscriptions to the ever-improving newspaper. The "Gazette girls, " as they were known by the locals, were as different as they could be. At five foot two (in very high heels), Ardis was a serious career woman who dabbled in Republican politics. At five foot nine, Gwen was gregarious, always enthusiastic, and a closet Democrat. But both shared persistence and dedication in equal measure. As the sisters waged daily battles with their temperamental Linotype and the printing press, Old Bertha, and their sometimes more temperamental printer operators, the Gazette began to garner awards for editorials and features and more important to earn the enthusiasm of its readers.
After selling the "Grundy County Gazette" in 1938, Gwen Hamilton Thogmartin worked for Emporia State University and the Lyon County Historical Society Museum. Financial difficulties had made it impossible for her to complete her undergraduate studies in the early 1930s, but she completed her degree in 1975. Ardis Hamilton Anderson continued her work in journalism as a reporter. She was the youngest charter member of the Missouri Women's Press Club, in which she remained active until leaving the state in 1990. Both women now live in Emporia, Kansas, not far from their hometown of Waverly."
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