042. Print Shop: "Neutral in nothing and independent in everything"

Photograph of David Givler
Naperville newspaper editor David Givler
“A hand press, and a small card press… some body type, and a few job fonts served every purpose. I had to tread the narrow way socially, politically, and religiously.” David Givler’s equipment limitations in publishing the Naperville paper were minor compared to the ideological minefield he faced as editor. His motto “neutral in nothing and independent in everything” was tested as the temperance movement gained force and with it, opposition. Temperance was a way of life and referred to people who voluntarily abstained from consuming alcohol on religious and moral grounds at a time when breweries, distilleries and taverns were popping up all over the country. Alcoholic beverages and all forms of intoxicants, for that matter, were, in the temperate mind, a source of moral and social corruption. In this letter, written in 1885, Givler, who with his wife Abby supported temperance, explained his editorial predicament to his readers: “The Clarion is not published for fun. We have spent the best fifteen years of our life in this office, trying to publish a creditable paper for Naperville. Men have found fault and stopped their patronage because we have mildly and indirectly advocated the cause of temperance, others have withheld their subscription because we did not make the Clarion a radical red-hot teetotal, prohibition organ…. The fact of the matter is—the people of Naperville and vicinity are decidedly a mixed people. They come from Puritan New England and from every kingdom in Europe, and differ widely in religious sentiments, social habits, and in their moral convictions on the question of indulgence or abstinence from the use of intoxicants.”