Press: Pathfinder Prodded

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A weekly magazine called Pathfinder was established at Washington in 1894 by George Dean Mitchell. Republican son of a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania. Young George Mitchell filled his publication with rewrites of the week's news, political articles, journalistic odds & ends "for all the family." At $1 a year, Pathfinder soon prospered, became A NATIONAL NEWSPAPER FOR YOUNG AMERICANS supported by many a patent medicine advertisement. In 1914 War news zipped circulation up steeply. To economize in 1931 Owner Mitchell fired his staff, wrote all of Pathfinder himself well enough to satisfy his farm and small-town audience.

Mildly eccentric. Publisher Mitchell built his own home on Rhode Island Avenue by working on Sundays and in his spare time. He also constructed a small fiddle, played on it with a homemade bow. In addition, Mr. Mitchell got to be something of an amateur magician. Last week it was revealed that in future Publisher Mitchell will have all the time he wishes to devote to architecture, music and prestidigitation. Control of his magazine was shifted to an editorial group who planned to prod Pathfinder along a new journalistic trail.

New owner of Pathfinder was bustling, 48-year-old Managing Editor Sevellon Brown of the Providence Journal and Bulletin. Inheriting a share in Pathfinder last February from his father-in-law, the late Senate Sergeant-at-Arms David Sheldon Barry,* who bought in with Editor Mitchell early in 1900, shrewd Mr. Brown lost no time in acquiring enough Pathfinder stock for full control. On Pathfinder's staff went Mr. Brown's sons Barry and Sevellon III. Pathfinder's youthful new staff proposed to lop off "deadwood" in its 1,129,481 circulation, oust questionable advertising. Editorially they promised more photographs, breezier copy, brighter gags. Two things about Pathfinder that Republican Publisher Brown did not plan to alter were its $1 subscription rate and its stand-pat Republicanism.

*Sergeant-at-Arms Barry lost his Capitol job when he wrote in the New Outlook that not many Senators accept cash bribes (TIME, Feb. 13 & 20, 1933).