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Wisler Gable ZEAMER

Newspaper Editor

Born: 13 December 1899, Columbia, Pennsylvania USA

Died: 10 September 1939, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

Wisler Gable Zeamer was the son of Harry Wisler Zeamer and May Gable. He married Helen Lucetta Feagley of Lancaster in 1923. He had one son, Michael. Wisler was educated in the public schools of Columbia (graduating high school in 1916) and spent one year at Gettysburg College. Early on, he was interested in newspaper publishing. 

 

His first job was as a member of the editorial staff of the Lancaster Examiner. He quickly rose through the ranks and moved to the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times as night city editor. (later, named Pittsburgh Dispatch after being sold to William Randolph Hearst) as night city editor. He later worked in the Pittsburgh's New York bureau. He, then, moved to the Detroit Times in 1927 as first assistant city editor and quickly was advanced to city editor. Only a few years later, after the newest publisher of the Detroit Times, James Hammond, bought the  Commercial-Appeal in Memphis— one of the most influential newspapers in the South— Wisler remained their executive editor until 1936 when he joined the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.

 

 

One present member of the Zeamer clan suggests that Wisler Zeamer moved to so many different papers due to his political views. He was not shy about his political views, but he was also known to be zealously factual and honest which gained him supporters on both sides of the issue. Early in his career, Wisler became known for his unique and original style of writing which gained him a reputation.

An interesting example of Wisler Zeamer's personal qualities demonstrates his humanity and sense of fairness. A young woman was having little luck in securing a position as a photographer. She could barely afford enough food for daily sustenance. A friend introduced her to Wisler at the Philadelphia Bulletin. He immediately saw her talent and hired her. Before this, she was very near the point of giving up the profession. But, this act of trust in her work gave her the encouragement to continue. That photographer came to be respected for her work and that respect continues to this day because of Wisler Zeamer. She was Marion Post Wolcott.

 

 

 

Zeamer was a member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and a director of the North American Newspaper Alliance. He remained a member of the First Methodist Church in Columbia. Many of Wisler's co-workers called him 'Bill.' No evidence can be found as to why. But, one might assume that in a busy newsroom it's natural to shorten one's name is an attempt at expediency. Perhaps, 'Bill' was the closest shorthand for 'Wisler' they could come up with? Part of the obituary from the Commercial-Appeal paper in Memphis reads:

"Bill possessed the happy faculty of being able to inspire great personal and professional loyalty in those who served with and under him. When he left Memphis to meet what he believed would be a greater opportunity on the Philadelphia Bulletin, he took with him the affection and deep friendship of the Commercial-Appeal's family. One might write many deserved tributes to Bill Zeamer, but perhaps the best that could be said of him professionally, and it is the best tribute any newspaper worked can earn, is that he was always a reporter at heart and a good one. He knew news, he knew how to get and write it, and accuracy was his fetish."

Wisler G. Zeamer died at the young age of 39 in Philadelphia of complications of an earlier operation.

Marion Post Wolcott

Zeamer's Drug Store — the family busiiness in Columbia, PA

Sources

Numerous public announcements and obituaries from newspapers around the country. 

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