Voices of Minnesota

Oral History Interview with Arch G. Pease

DATE: August 29, 1989

INTERVIEWER: Margaret A. Robertson

Born September 25, 1908, Pease attended the Anoka schools, graduating from high school in 1925. He received a degree in education from the University of Illinois in 1931 and until 1940 was employed as a teacher and high school coach in New Athens, Illinois, and later in Anoka. He married Amy Marie Bridges in 1934. In 1940, Pease worked as an administrative assistant to Congressman Richard P. Gale in Washington, D.C. He served with the army in the Philippines during World War II and retired from the Army Reserve in 1962 with the rank of colonel. Following his discharge from active military service in 1946, he returned to Anoka and joined the staff of the Anoka Union, remaining in the newspaper business as manager and publisher of the Pease family-owned corporation until his retirement in 1989. He authored a regular column, "Pease Porridge", in the Union from 1947 until his retirement. A business and civic leader, Pease was active in state and community affairs, and in newspaper, veterans, and fraternal organizations.

Subjects discussed include: founding of the Anoka Union in 1865 by George Gray; its purchase by Granville S. Pease; operation and growth of the family newspaper business including printing and advertising "shoppers", purchase of the Anoka Herald, the Coon Rapids News and Views (later the Coon Rapids Herald), and the Blaine-Spring Lake Park Life, and the subsequent sale to Elmer L. Andersen in 1989. Other subjects discussed are the "Pease Porridge" column; politicians Hubert H. Humphrey, Richard P. Gale, Elmer L. Andersen, Edward J. Thye, Clark MacGregor and John F. Kennedy; competition among community newspapers; the building of Anoka Mercy Hospital; the United Way; Pease's brother, Thomas, a satirist and writer of cartoons and comics including "Peanuts" and "The Katzenjammer Kids"; unions; the rivalry with Coon Rapids over the Federal Cartridge Company and the annexing of Anoka Township; the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and education; the National Newspaper Association and other organizations; and the 1939 Anoka tornado and subsequent changes in Anoka's commercial development, schools, the MA&CR Railroad, and residential growth.

Mr. Pease was ill at the time of the interview.

LENGTH OF INTERVIEW: 1 hour 23 minutes

TRANSCRIPT: 26 pages