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Angela Hutchinson Hammer


Inducted in 1983



Angela H. Hammer had the distinction of being recognized by two Halls of Fame in Arizona. In addition to the Women's Hall of Fame, she was named to the Arizona Newspaper Hall of Fame in 1965. The members of the Arizona Newspaper Association conferred that honor in recognition of her long and colorful career as publisher of weekly newspapers in a number of Arizona towns.


Angela Hutchinson was born on November 30, 1870, in Virginia City, Nevada. In 1883, at the age of 13, she and three sisters traveled by rail to Arizona. They were met by their father, who took them by covered wagon to Picket Post, where the family home was located. Mr. Hutchinson was a mine construction engineer, and the family lived in several small mining towns, including Silver King and Wickenburg.


In 1889, at the age of 19, Angela obtained her teaching certificate from the Clara A. Evans Teachers' Training College in Phoenix. During the next few years, she taught school in Wickenburg and Gila Bend. In the 1890s, while she was living with her family in Phoenix, she had her first taste of journalism, taking a job as a typesetter and proofreader for the Phoenix Gazette and the Arizona Republican, forerunner of the Arizona Republic. She wrote of the experience: "I liked typesetting. When I learned to set type in the early day newspapers, I had no idea that I would ever become so identified with the Fourth Estate and publish newspapers of my own, but from that one little excursion out of my chosen profession of school teaching, I got into something I have never been able to get out of."


In 1896 she married J. S. Hammer, a building contractor. The couple had three sons before they were divorced after eight years of marriage. In 1905 Angela made the first of her newspaper purchases, buying the Wickenburg Miner for $500. At first it looked like a poor investment, but after a year and a half of hard work she had turned it into a moneymaker and was able to support her family on the profits. From 1908 to 1910, she worked to establish a chain of newspapers at four rapidly growing mining towns. In her printing plant at Congress Junction, she published the Wickenburg Miner, Swansea Times, Wenden News and Bouse Herald.


Then in 1912 she moved her printing plant to Casa Grande and joined Ted Healey to publish the Casa Grande Bulletin. The partnership, however, was not made in heaven. The two took opposite sides during a bitter dispute over water reclamation for the Casa Grande valley. According to one newspaper account, during the night of Dec. 23, 1913, Mrs. Hammer had all her printing equipment moved out of the Bulletin building, and when Healey came to work the next morning all he found was his desk. Determined to have a newspaper in which to express her opinions, Angela founded the Casa Grande Dispatch on Jan. 1, 1914. The Dispatch supported the Casa Grande Water Users Association and the Democratic party. For nearly ten years, the Bulletin and the Dispatch tangled over political and water issues. Angela quickly earned a reputation for aggressive, honest reporting and strong editorial opinions.


In 1925 Angela moved to Phoenix and the following year established the Messenger Printing Co., operated by her two sons, William and Marvin. That company merged in April 1951 with Arizona Printers Inc. and Mrs. Hammer became a board member of the combined operation. In 1938 she was appointed by Gov. R. C. Stanford to the State Board of Social Security and Welfare, a position that she held until 1943. Having earned the respect of journalists throughout the state, she was a valued member of many professional organizations, including the Phoenix Business and Professional Women's Club, the Phoenix branch of the National League of American Pen Women and the Phoenix Writers Club.


Mrs. Hammer died April 9, 1952, at the age of 81.

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