On 9 November 1861, during the American Civil War, soldiers of the 11th, 18th, and 29th Illinois Regiments set up camp in Bloomfield, Missouri. Finding the local newspaper’s office empty, they decided to print a newspaper about their activities. They called it the “Stars and Stripes”. Today, the Stars & Stripes Museum/Library Association is located in Bloomfield.
During World War I, the staff. roving reporters, and illustrators of the Stars and Stripes were veteran reporter or young soldiers who would later become such in the post-war years. Harold Ross, editor of the Stars and Stripes, returned home to found The New Yorker magazine. Cyrus Baldridge, its art director and principal illustrator, became a major illustrator of books and magazines, as well as a writer, print maker and stage designer. Sports page editor Grantland Rice had a long career in journalism and founded a motion picture studio called Grantland Rice Sportlight.Drama critic Alexander Woollcott’s essays for Stars and Stripes were collected in his book, The Command Is Forward (1919).
The Stars and Stripes was then an eight-page weekly which reached a peak of 526,000 readers, relying on the improvisational efforts of its staff to get it printed in France and distributed to U.S. troops.
During World War II, the newspaper was printed in dozens of editions in several operating theaters. Again, both newspapermen in uniform and young soldiers, some of whom would later become important journalists, filled the staffs and showed zeal and talent in publishing and delivering the paper on time. Some of the editions were assembled and printed very close to the front in order to get the latest information to the most troops. Also, during the war, the newspaper published the 53-book series G.I. Stories.
After Bill Mauldin did his popular “Willie and Joe” cartoons for the WWII Stars and Stripes, he returned home for a successful career as an editorial cartoonist and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Former Stars and Stripes staffers also include 60 Minutes’ Andy Rooney and Steve Kroft, songwriter and author Shel Silverstein, comic book illustrator Tom Sutton, painter and cartoonist Paul Fontaine, author and television news correspondent Tony Zappone, cartoonist Vernon Grant (A Monster Is Loose in Tokyo), Hollywood photographer Phil Stern and the late stock market reporter and host of public television’s Wall Street Week, Louis Rukeyser.
A photograph in Stars and Stripes loosely inspired the exploits of PFC Jack Agnew in the 1965 novel and the 1967 film, The Dirty Dozen.
The newspaper has been published continuously in Europe since 1942 and in the Pacific since 1945.
Stars and Stripes is the only independent source of daily printed military news and information distributed at U.S. military installations in Europe and Mideast and East Asia. Stars and Stripes newspaper averages 40–48 pages each day and is published in tabloid format. The newspaper employs civilian reporters, and U.S. military senior non-commissioned officers as reporters, at a number of locations around the world and is read by over 350,000 people. Stars and Stripes also serves independent military news and information to an online audience of about 400,000 unique visitors per month, 60 to 70 percent of whom are located in the United States.
Make sure to visit their website at : www.stripes.com