Artifact of the Month

Printer's Block
Donated by Parker Rushing

In honor of June as National Dairy Month (or June Dairy Month, as it's also known), we offer this metal-plated printer's block engraved with a cow. The block was used by the Prairie Grove Enterprise newspaper, back in the days when the letters and illustrations on a newspaper page were hand-placed—or "typeset"—in preparation for printing.

With the slogan of "A Community Newspaper Dedicated to Building a Better Community," the Enterprise was first published on November 19, 1936, by George and Ida Wiswell and their son, George Jr. In 1965 Tri-State Publishers of Springdale bought the Enterprise but the commercial printing department and equipment were reacquired by the Wiswells in July of that same year. Boyce Davis, owner of the Lincoln Leader, purchased the Enterprise in June 1967 and sold it back to the Wiswells. The Wiswells continued to operate the Enterprise until 1971 when they sold the entire business for good to the Alan Nicholas family of Cleveland, Ohio. The paper has been bought and sold multiple times since 1971; as of 2018, it is owned by Northwest Arkansas Newspapers LLC and published weekly as the Washington County Enterprise-Leader.

Now, back to Dairy Month. Established in 1937, National Milk Month was created to by a group of chains stores to increase demand for milk at the time of year when milk production peaked as cows were turned out to pasture. Originally the month-long promotion ran from June 10 through July 10. In 1939 the National Dairy Council took over promoting the cause and moved the observance to the month of June.

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