Ripsaw (sometimes Rip-saw, Rip-Saw, RipSaw or The Duluth Rip-Saw) was a Duluth, Minnesota newspaper published from 1917 to 1926 and again from 1999 to 2005. In its original incarnation, the paper was a scandal sheet with a reputation for muckraking, sensationalism and criminal libel. It returned after a 73-year hiatus with a somewhat similar style, but made several stark transformations before folding a second time.

The Great Family Journal

The original Duluth "Ripsaw" was founded by John L. Morrison, a puritanical Christian who abhorred alcohol, gambling and prostitution. The paper debuted on March 24, 1917. Issues were published every other Saturday, with copies sold at newsstands for five cents. Offices were originally in downtown Duluth’s Fargusson Building, and later moved to the Phoenix Building.

Morrison produced the "Ripsaw" almost entirely by himself. Two known helpers were a cartoonist who signed his work “Webster,” and Isadore Cohen, a pre-teenaged newsboy who hawked papers in front of the old St. Louis County State Bank. Other writers were also periodically featured, but the vast majority of the work was always done by Morrison, who called himself the “head sawyer” of the “Great Family Journal.”

The birth of the "Ripsaw" came shortly after St. Louis County outlawed the sale of alcohol. When the city of Superior, Wisconsin, followed a few months later with its own voter-instituted prohibition, the Twin Ports were supposed to be dry. But alcohol continued to flow at bootleg outlets and in townships nearby. Local politicians and police did little to enforce the prohibition, and Morrison mercilessly ridiculed them for it in the "Ripsaw". He also editorialized in favor of streetcars, public toilets and higher pay for policemen.

During the "Ripsaw"’s first year, Duluth Chief of Police Robert McKercher and City Auditor “King” Odin Halden were both ousted from their positions after being labeled crooked in the "Ripsaw".

Morrison’s Demise

The downfall of the "Ripsaw" began with the October 25, 1924 issue. Morrison accused State Senator Mike Boylan of threatening him with mayhem and death, Cass County Probate Judge Bert Jamison of having acquired syphilis at a brothel and Victor L. Power, a former mayor of Hibbing, of corrupt legal practices and a weakness for women and whiskey. All three retaliated.

Morrison was quickly arrested by a sheriff from Walker, Minnesota (the county seat of Cass County) on charges of criminal libel brought by Jamison. He was sentenced to 90 days in the Cass County jail, but raised bail and returned to Duluth pending appeal.

At the same time Morrison was seeking to raise the bond in Cass County, Power was bringing forth criminal and civil libel actions, claiming the October 25 "Ripsaw" article was written for the sole purpose of injuring him politically. A warrant for Morrison’s arrest was in the hands of Duluth police awaiting his release from the Cass County jail. A jury in Hibbing, Minnesota, found him guilty, and he was sentenced to 90 days in the county workhouse. He immediately appealed. Later, Morrison was ordered to make a public apology to Power. The charges against him were dropped and his sentence rescinded.

Later that month, Morrison pleaded guilty to the charges of criminal libel brought by Jamison.

The most powerful blow to the “Great Family Journal” came in the summer of 1925. Sen. Boylan, who, according to the Oct. 25, 1924 "Ripsaw", had threatened to kill Morrison, was trying to have the paper shut down. He worked with Rep. George Lommen to draft several bills that would allow the suppression of scandalous newspapers. Sen. Freyling Stevens, a powerful lawyer, introduced the senate version of what would become known as the “Minnesota gag law,” which he is officially credited as author of.

The Public Nuisance Bill of 1925 was soon-after approved by the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives. It allowed a single judge, without jury, to stop a newspaper or magazine from publishing, forever.

Governor Theodore Christianson quietly signed the Public Nuisance Law, but Morrison was oblivious. On April 6, 1926, the "Ripsaw" attacked Minneapolis Mayor George Emerson Leach: “Minnesotans do not want loose-love governor.” In the next issue, Duluth Commissioner of Public Utilities W. Harlow Tischer was the target: “Tischer and his gang fail to establish graft plan.”

Morrison was served with a warrant for his arrest based on a complaint from Leach under an obscene-literature ordinance recently rushed through the Minneapolis City Council. The next day, a temporary restraining order was placed on the "Ripsaw" by State District Judge H. J. Grannis of Duluth. Tischer claimed that the charges of graft were untrue and he demanded that the "Ripsaw" be stopped. The Finnish Publishing Company, which printed the "Ripsaw", was also named in the injunction, and news dealers and newsboys were barred from distributing the paper.

Morrison’s trial was set for May 15, 1926. When that day came, however, Morrison did not appear in court. He was strangely ill.

On May 18, 1926, Morrison was rushed to St. Francis Hospital in Superior at around 1 a.m. Nine hours later, he was pronounced dead. The cause was reported in the Duluth Herald to be an embolism, a blood clot on the brain. The Herald reported that Morrison “had been ill for 10 days, suffering from pleurisy following an attack of influenza, a general breakdown and attacks of syncope.”

Although there were brief efforts to revive the "Ripsaw", it would be 73 years before the paper’s return.

Tischer continued to insist the injunction against the "Ripsaw" be maintained, even after Morrison’s death. Judge E. J. Kenney, however, allowed a continuation of the Ripsaw “without the articles objected to by Commissioner Tischer.”

On June 1, 1931, the “gag law” was found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, in what is considered to be the first and most important Freedom of the Press decision in U.S. history.

Headlines of The Duluth Rip-Saw

During its short life, The Duluth Rip-Saw was indeed a muckraking publication, in the finest tradition of that genre of publications. It was only in its final years that it ran into legal problems by attacking individuals who no doubt should have been attacked for some of their activities.

And who had been employed at others papers in Duluth and elsewhere before he started the Rip-Saw, did his attacking often with great humor.

Microfilm copies of the Rip-Saw are located in the Duluth Public Library and in the Library of the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul.

Some of the more notable of headlines of the Rip-Saw include:

Rip-Saw Columns

Tales of the Town, The Political Pot, Where is Bill Bailey?, Sawdust & Shavings, School Board Minutes, Commercial Club Activities,

Many Halden Stories are just the lead for further County Board information

Major News Stories, Rip-Saw

March 24, 1917

Magney for Mayor, Battle of Ballots
Scrub Out the Courthouse
Booze Boosters Badly Discouraged
The Passing of John Barleycorn
Ways Business is Done (Co. Board)
Hidden Hand Reaches for Water frontage
Lon Merritt Makes Good
Hidden Hand Sticks Itself Into City Business - Kettle River

April 7, 1917

Halden Seduces Hicken
Magney for Mayor
Little Alice in Wonderland (witty)
Ways Business is Done (Co. Board)
Unequal Taxation

April 21, 1917

Halden Handles House
City Hall Chatter
Hartley Hunteth Ye Octopus
Journalistic Jim?Jams (Street Railway)

May 5, 1917

Halden Hunts His Hole
Busy Beer Buyer (Blind Pigs)
How Ye Silberstein Prestige Was Saved
Mare Gonska The Goat
The Fight Over Fares
Hobbled Lawyer Towne

May 19, 1917

Halden No Longer Hides
Closed the Club (Blind Pigs)
Tinkering The Taxes
Where is Bill Bailey?
Knocking New Duluth (Streetcars)
Police Are Underpaid, Talk of Quitting

June 9, 1917

Helping Halden's House
"Feeding the Fox" (Zoo)
Blind Pig Biteth Ye Bottler - Pike Lake
Rank and File Fear Unfairness
High Grade Baseball is Promised Duluth
Where is Bill Bailey?
Burglars and Boozers Invade YMCA
Beer Wagons Are Banished
Chief McKercher's Large Marmon Car

June 23, 1917

Halden Hangs His Head
Percy Gets Pinched (witty)
Valiant Firefighters Return To Pike Lake (witty)
Col. Eva Quits the Club
Where is Bill Bailey?
New Duluth Gets Justice -Streetcars
Bishop McGolrick's Golden Jubilee
Willis Gorman Post Bears Honored Name - 1892

July 7, 1917

Friends Fear Chief McKercher is Gone Blind (witty)
Halden Hands Out the Double Cross
Old John Barleycorn Now Lies Mouldering
Minnesota Iron Ores Face a New Epoch
When the Merritt's Came To the Head of Lakes
Where is Bill Bailey?
Hermantown Annual Picnic
Victim of Blind Pig Suffers Bad Relapse
Some New Features At the Hotel St. Louis

July 21, 1917

Battling With Ballots For the School Board
Courthouse King Has a New Password
Kinnikkinic Cigarette Will Be Made
The Public Badly Needs Comfort Stations Now that the Saloons are Closing
When the Merritt's Came To the Head of Lakes
When Charles Towne Defeated Kinney - 1894
Where is Bill Bailey?
City's Harbormaster Works In Wisconsin
Cuyuna Range Iron Ore To St. Louis By Boat
Old John Barleycorn Makes Buhl Boisterous

August 4, 1917

A Fierce Speed Bug Bites "Uncle Bob" (witty)
The Courthouse King Faces Certain Exile
Food Hogs Are Loose
When the Merritt's Came To the Head of Lakes
Where is Bill Bailey?
Madam Julia Wallace Removed To St. Paul
People Get New Deal In School Elections

August 18, 1917

Hibbing Is Great Municipal Paradise
The Courthouse King Wields A Big Stick
Superior Reeks With Booze And Filth
"Strafing Mrs. German"
Where is Bill Bailey?
Picturesque Floodwood

September 1, 1917

Virginia Is As Beauteous As A Virgin
Captain Stevens Wears The Double Cross
Preacher Pulls Tigers Whiskers - Virginia
President Wilson's Reply to Pope Benedict's Peace Proposals
A Faithless Affinity Dodges a Plain Duty (Fable)
Where is Bill Bailey?
Captain James W. Bishop Loses State Sinecure
Woodland's Citizens Demand Miss House
The Boys Are Blasting John Barleycorn - Va.
County Road Foreman Pulled For Poaching
Hypocritical Pastor Despoils His Flock
Canny Son Of Austria Despoils McKinley
Cuyuna Range Ore Is Barged To St. Louis

September 15, 1917

Booze And Beer Banished By Ballot
Courthouse King Arrested For Contempt
Grand Jury Condemns Savoy Theater
The Village Of Park Point
Where Is Bill Bailey?
Main Range Highway Soon Will Be Paved

September 29, 1917

Duluth Harbors Traitorous Food Hogs
Courthouse King Displays Royal Rage
Superior Opens Hotel de Jag
The Old Pioneer's Story
Journalistic Boswell Trifles With History
West End People Want Comfort Station

October 13, 1917

"Rasty" Wright Gambles In a Garage (witty)
Courthouse King Acquires a Royal Jag
Director Has Eagle Eye
Where Is Bill Bailey?
Wright/Davis Lands Make Many Much Money
Brutal Rib Breaker Frequents Floodwood
When Fat Boys Disagree, Lean Boys Hear Fact
The Last Log Drive

October 27, 1917

Blind Pigs Grunt On Superior Street
Courthouse King Is Very Autocratic
New Era For The Commercial Club
Double Murder At West Duluth - 1892

November 10, 1917

Police Busily Butchering Blind Pigs
Courthouse King Wrongs Otto Gafvert
The Voice Of The People Is Heard
Story Of a Horseshoe - Diamond Caulk
Knocking Out Konkel -Superior
Wearing Men's Pants Unsexes Lovely Woman

November 24, 1917

Municipal Piggery Denied For Duluth
Courthouse King Tastes Bitter Defeat
Architects Buck The School Board
1904 Milk Ordinance
"Uncle Bob" McKercher Rapes Public Decency In Raid At Woodman Hall
Brewing Gets Called Down
Turning City Garbage Into Oleaginous Pork

December 8, 1917

Gamblers And Crooks Infest Oliver
Courthouse King Tastes Bitter Defeat
Danculovic Avoids The Workfarm
White Swan Drugstore Conducts a Blind Pig
Douglas County Sheep
Mayor Konkel Fights With Back To Wall

December 22, 1917Chief McKercher Finds His Lost Tongue
Courthouse King Faces Certain Exile
Underworld Bunch Deserts Duluth
Syndicate, Sin Duck Out Of Oliver
Dear Old Danculovic Loves Kaiser Bill

January 5, 1918

Chief McKercher Stutters When He Talks
The Old Political Pot Begins To Bubble
County Auditor Halden Is Doomed
Duluth Demands Common Justice - Railroads
Mistresses Of Music Engage In Bitter War
Superior Enjoyed Wet New Year
The Village of New Duluth
Two Phones Burdensome

January 19, 1918

Chief McKercher Goes On Warpath,
Two Charges Made Against Rip?-Saw Editor
Courthouse King A Political Suicide
Mayor Konkel Gets Cold Feet -Superior
The St. Louis Hotel Fire - 1893
Highspeed Speedway Was A Lively Ride
Superior's Toughest Hole
Will Buck John Barleycorn
Roadhouse Near Madhouse - Superior

January 26, 1918

No Issue

February 9, 1918

Red?light Parlors Shelter Blind Pigs
To Go Crazy Now Costs Money
Streetcar Strike That Was Finally Won - 1893
Over Dozen Big Fines Confront Mayor Konkel
Superior's Gamblers Given Stunning Blow

February 23, 1918

McKercher Protects Red Light Lady
McKercher Tried To Hang The Editor
Hot Campaign For Superior
Superintendent Hoke Retains Position
Workers Bribed Boss To Secure Employment
In Jail At Grand Rapids - 1894
Police Hunt For Beer, Find Scrubbing Water

March 9, 1918

The People Will Recall Silberstein
Spring Campaign Underway In Superior
Order Of Knights Of The Double Cross
Armstad Pulverizes de Waard
Beer Party At Billy Bernard's
The Virginia Fire In '93
Adelphi & Rex Hotels Lose Needed Licenses
Bagged The Belgian's Beer
Rates Discrimination Very Unfair To Duluth

March 23, 1918

Recall Petitions Are Being Signed
NPR Must Give Duluth Justice
County Auditor Halden Begins To Take Notice
King Booze Kicks Out Konkel - Superior
Food Kings Ignore Farmers
The Bummel Block Fire - 1893
Native Son of Duluth Makes A Cool Million
Janitor Tidball Resigns

April 6, 1918

McKercher Shows The White Feather
County Auditor Halden Pilgrims To The Range
Booze Is Banned By Superior
Police Close New Night School (witty)
Burning of the Old Board of Trade Building
Little Son of St. George Flouts American Eagle

April 20, 1918

The Leiser Store Wrongs Betty Eastman
Mayor of Ore Docks Charged with Adultery
How Dorothy Hill Was Protected
Halden Seeks More Political Pie
Woodworking Students Make Very Bad Botch
Proctor Pointers
Odin Halden Loses Trench

May 4, 1918

McKercher's Pet Red?light Lady Returns
County Auditor Halden Slated For Retirement
Baxter Gives a Surprise Party
Angry Husband Murders Wife
Courthouse Carpenter Serves Halden's House
Chief Engineer Stewart Resigns
Vaccination Hotly Attacked

May 18, 1918

Boiler Inspector Wrongs Working Girl
New Herd of Blind Pigs Boldly Invade Duluth
Superior Gets a Moral Scrubbing
Mountain Will Come To Mahomet - U.S. Steel
Company Improvement Programs At Proctor
Slackers Searched Out

June 1, 1918

Leiser Store Sued For $10,000
Dorothy Ducks
Sinful Hotels Are Suppressed
How Halden Moved Clifton Station
Crane Lake Portage Is An Historic Highway
"Square Deal" Victory Won Over Grt. Northern
Commissioners Ban Booze Right

June 15, 1918

S.S. America Shelters Gambling Den
The Mountain Visits Mahomet - U.S. Steel
Phillips Wants City Wood Yard
Rapid Erection Record For U.S. Grant School
Little American Gold Mine - 1893
Halden Hands Becloud Waterfront Titles

June 29, 1918

Bad Citizen Is Driven Out Of Superior
Bibulous Barleycorn Sadly Shocks Superior
Barleycorn Breed Is Dying Out Rapidly
Poets Observe The Passing Of John Barleycorn
Uncle Sam's Birthday
Barleycorn Knew Noah But Never Found Wisdom
U.S. Steel Corporation Is Duluth's Best Friend

July 13, 1918

Why Did Schutte Quit At West Duluth?
Thirsty Pilgrims Seek Oliver
"Townleyism" In Duluth Public Schools
Defective Ventilation Hazards Pupils' Health
The Lucky Grubstake -1893

July 27, 1918

Schutte Opposes Buying Of War Bonds
Onkel Bernard Assails Demon Rum
Superintendent Grubbs Is Charged With Moral Degeneracy - Proctor
Superior Cop Halts McKercher
When Frank Surveyed Site of Rainy Lake
Some Underworld Folk Still Infest Superior
Morgan Park Runs Amuck

August 10, 1918

Oliver Is Mecca For Thirsty Pilgrims
Bold Underworld Folk Still Haunt Superior
Gambling Under Giddings Store
Proctor Pointers
The Vermilion Iron Range
Rolly Waldemar Esterly Is Pinched In Superior

August 24, 1918

Underworld King Shot In Superior
Police Authorities Meet A Mystery Murder
Pulls Oliver's Red?light Joint
Labor Day In 1892
County Auditor Halden Is Doomed
Lies Hidden In Garret Three Days And Nights
Bridging Chester Park Deemed A Necessity
Guilty Of White Slavery

September 7, 1918

Rip?Saw Editor Arrested In Oliver
Dirty Nests In Duluth Unseen By Silberstein
Max Rosenberg May Not Recover
Odin Halden, King Of Camouflage
Superior's Sinful Set Hikes For Other Fields

September 21, 1918

Booze And Poker At Gary Canteen
Questionable Course Is Pursued By Kong Odin
Oliver Is Dry
Wicked Blind Pigs Infest Ranier
Why Don't Men Go To Church
Proctor's School Head Denies Nasty Charges
1892 Democratic County Convention
Superior's Blind Pigs Dying Off
Chisholm's Old Chief Runs Amuck In Duluth

October 5, 1918

Charges Filed Against General Resche
Gluttonous Food Hogs Rob Vegetable Growers
Aged Courthouse King Flies Into Rage
Kong Odin's Influence Has Been Most Sinister
Auditor Halden Fosters Illegal Sale Of Bonds
Grubb's Right To Teach Revoked - Proctor
Expensive Rugs For Dainty Feet

October 19, 1918

C.B. Miller Is Afraid Of The Carss
Four Houses Comprise The Produce Exchange
Courthouse Autocrat Has Been Most Unfair
Amorous Old Educator Charged With Huggery
Cat Ranch Prospectus
Trolley Patron Speaks Plainly

November 2, 1918

Red Cross Is Dragged Into Politics
McKercher Is Put In Guardhouse
Tight Little Monopoly Holds Michigan Street
Dorothy Hill Departs
Judge Fesler's Fiddle Plays Tunes For Halden
Swanstrom Boys Dig For Halden
Horngren And Rich Tour Range For Halden
Preus Gets Double Cross
Lumber Barons Blamable For Forest Fires
Wobbly Willie Winkum Roots Hard For Halden

November 16, 1918

Halden Is Kicked Out Of Courthouse
Superintendent Hoke Will Hike
Local Produce Pirates Promise To Lick Editor
Sunday Closing For Iron River
Grape Wine On Iron Range
Superior's Lid Lifters Get Very Heavily Fined
Grubbs Still Wiggles - Proctor

November 30, 1918

McKercher Leaves Rotten Record
Safety Commissioner Protects Food Hogs
Max Rosenberg & Woman Arrested In Superior
When Big Boom Was Well Under Way - 1887

December 14, 1918

McKercher Takes A Sneak
Grubbs Has Gone - Proctor
Railroad Employees Help Out Food Hogs
Soldiers And Sailors Scrap Over Monument
Max Rosenberg Gets Arrested

December 28, 1918

Police Arrest Col. W.F. King - Adultery
Local Produce Pirates Plot Against Rival
Max Rosenberg Heavily Fined
Streetcar Situation Is Bad Here And Below
McKercher Compelled To Pull Red Light Lady
Brisk Scramble For City Offices

January 11, 1919

McKercher Quits Under Fire
Vigilance Committee Superior's Possibility
Bibulous Boys Now Go To Gordon
Dry Superior Benefits Police

January 25, 1919

Burnside Pulls Wife's Hair
Patriots Desire Postmastership
Duluth City Council Asks For Tunnel Plans
Superior's Sinful Set Still Acts Shamelessly
Boxcar Detective Dill Slakes Burning Thirst
Soldier's Happy Home Invaded By Policeman
- Adultery

February 8, 1919

Peasants Fire on Col. Eva - Forest Fires
Erickson Would Crimp Food Hogs
Underworld Folk Losing Ground
Cause and Prevention of the Big Forest Fires
Sources of Forest Fires
John Barleycorn Hangs On At Iron River
Colonel Carlson is Fired at Minnesota Steel
Bessette and Rhinow Double Barreled Boys

February 22, 1919

Governor Forsakes Fire Victims
Tried to Choke Farmers Store - Food Hogs
Food Hog Methods Tipped Off By Teamster
Chris Peterson Takes The Count - Superior
Deep Waterway From Duluth To The Sea
Fire Relief Commission Junked Wearable Shoes
School Board Retains Superintendent Hoke
Lumber Barons Grab Grave Yard Insurance
School Board Members Betray Common People

March 1, 1919 - Missing

March 29, 1919

Farrell Violates City Charter
Old John Barleycorn May Regain Superior
Sporty Husband Finds Soul Mate
Mrs. Akonn Shocks Judge Parker - Superior
Commissioner Farrell Wasted Valuable Dirt
Trolley Line Purchase Is Problem For Voters
Farrell Broke Many Promises
Motor Corps Barred By Law
Farrell's Fat Pay Rolls Open Taxpayer Optics
Cloquet Lawyers Hustle Clients
Herr Hauptmann Squirms Under Charges
Tamping Machine Proved Failure
Farrell Roared About Salaries
Colonel Burnsides' Blind Pig Gets Caught

April 12, 1919

Madam King Is Granted A Divorce
Oliver Soon Will Have Bus Service
Gay Madam West Pays High Fine - Superior
Notrorious Elgin Hotel Shelters Immoral Folk
Filthy Nests in Duluth Unseen by Good People
Socialists Win At Two Harbors
Was Carlson Dangerous German Spy?
Superior's Pest House Disgrace To City
Gust Beck Keeps Booze on Farm at Hawthorne
August Jeffers Breaks Up Home
Faked Professor Jumps The Town

April 26, 1919

Crooks Kill Mike Madigan - Superior
Autocratic Directors Crush Krebs And Smith
Should Improve Railroad Street
Blind Pigs Nest In Phoenix Block
Cowardly Ignoramus Breaks Loose
Dual Water System Hazards Public Health
Women Start Campaign Against Tobacco
New Independence Folk Use Town Funds Freely
Mysterious Company At Cloquet

May 10, 1919

Food Hogs Ravage Duluth
Hoke May Be Hunting New Superintendency
Florence Nightingale Birdies Fly
Discourage the Coming of Carnival Companies
Forest Fire Relief Work
Hotel Superior Sporty Spot
Police Once More Grab Blind Pigger Burnside
Check Valves Unsafe, Local Plumbers Insist

May 24, 1919

Is Gary A Hot?Bed Of Vice?
Dr. Nyquist Indicted In Superior
County Commissioners Oppose Eight Hour Day
Nordin Loses Fire Damage Action
New Fishing Laws
Lumber Company Seeks Grave Yard
Underworld King Of Superior Is Indicted
Mayor Baxter Reduces Superior Police Force
Red?light Women Heavily Fined - Superior

June 14, 1919

Proctor Chief Is Bad Actor
Food Hogs Profit From Potatoes
The Arrest Of Ah Sing - 1892
Cloquet Woman Is Heroine Of Forest Fires
School Board Autocrats Dodge Union Labor
Superior Thugs Assault Editor
Outlaw Gang Attacks Martin Widness

June 28, 1919

Dr. Hoke Flunks In Detroit
Unfortunate War Baby Came Into Jensen Home
Spirited Contest In Union Circles
Food Hogs Monopolize Area Milk
Teachers Stood Up When Hoke Entered
Postmaster At Cloquet Holds Up The Rip?Saw
O'Brien Admits Defeat To Baxter - Superior
Uncle Sam Soaks Wicked Rosenberg
Madam Reed Comes Back To Superior
Dances By Liberty Club Need Stricter Manager

July 12, 1919

Ohio Tailor Sues Shaibley
The Candidacy Of John L. Morrison
Food Hogs Boost Prices Of Fruit
Sturdy Commoner Beats Autocrats Twice
Superior Says Farewell To Booze

July 26, 1919

Tailor Takes Judgment Against Schaibley
Telephone Monopoly Chokes City
Conditions At Work Farm Severely Attacked
Superior Bravely Combats Pittsburgh Plus
Mrs. Myrtle Cushway Sought Her Revenge

August 9, 1919

Work Farm Boy Beaten Up
Tammany Braves Hold Annual Clam?Bake
Blind Pig's Still Grunt In Superior
Conklin's Plan For a Tunnel Under the Ship Canal - 1892
Double Barreled Boys Becoming Plentiful
Inmate Of County Jail Utters Worthless Paper
Booze Boys Seek Baxter's Scalp
Cops once More Arrest Burnside and Al Power
So?Called Blue Sky Laws Insult To Intelligent
Duluth sold Birthright but Lost Mess of Pottage

August 23, 1919

Greeks Grab Superior Girls
Schaibley Goes Into Bankruptcy
Entire Nation Aroused By High Food Costs
Blanche White Buys Grand Hotel
Naylor Family Hard Hit By Forest Fires
Kindly County Will Sue Railway Company
Land Barons Plan Raid On State Treasury
People Oppose Old Ward System
Professor Simon Harries Blueberry Pickers
Food Hogs Sell Corn To Their Rural Cousins

September 6, 1919

Dark Girls Woo White Men
Fight On Food Hogs Seriously Under Way
Fred Harris Plays High Finance
Strange Took Eva For "Dummy"
State Forester Cox's Dismissal Demanded
American Loyalty League Discussed By Strange
Bad Booze Burglars Ravage Iron River
Big Moose Lake Meeting held by Fire Sufferers
Rosenberg Kicks Out George O'Brien
Sold Burning Booze Without Any License
Big Bully Of Bingoland Compelled To Back Down
Getting Rowley Alimony Is Very Difficult

September 20, 1919

Children Play At Prostitution
Ransom Metcalfe Talks of High Cost of Living
Cloquet Lawyers Roast Rip?Saw
Change Of Venue For Fire Cases?
Sanitary Sewer Bothers Residents of Woodland
Col. Eva's Armory Bunch Wasted Much Valuable Hay
Hotel Superior Sued For Damage
Superior Law Breakers Decide to Plead Guilty
King Colahan's Consort Wears Her Crown Tilted
Beer Foams in Bingoland as Camouflage For Booze
Simple Rustics Make Snappy Drink
Blind Piggers Rampant in Mesabi Range Towns

October 4, 1919

Young Knudsen Jumps Jail
Chief Murphy's Minions Get Active On St. Croix
How To Eliminate The Food Hogs
Dean Madsen Tenders Eye Blackened By Col. Parker
Hoke Steals Educational Idea
P:olice Woman Desired
Chiropracters Boast Of Their Influenza Record
Carlton County Cannot Give An Impartial Trial
When The Weyerhaeuser's Bought Leech Lake Pine - 1893
Rosenberg Threatens To Shoot
Badlands Of Bingoland Yield Many Lawless Men

October 18, 1919

Daily Papers Protect Food Hogs
Park?Pointers Dislike Fool?Proof Streetcars
State Examiner Audits Eva's Books
Opposition Makes Hatch Hustle - Eveleth
Policemen's Annual Ball - 1893
Conditions Are Improved In Old St. Croix Section
Matt Bolen Loses Flesh When Mated With Amelia
Knudsen Peddled Booze to his Fellow Inmates
Joe Naughton's Former Woman Must Do Time
Superior Starts Drive Against Vice And Crime
Commissioners May Move Supt. Young to Virginia
Strong Hands Of Justice Firmly Grasp Rosenberg

November 1, 1919

Harris Charged With Fraud
This Year's State Tax Is Highest Ever Known
Duluth's West End Wesley Calls At Rip?Saw
County Attorney Green Returns Home
Memorial Hospital Worries Local Builder
Cloquet Telephone Agent Roasts The Rip?Saw
Graft And Scandal Smut The Hard Road Movement
Jascha Heifetz, 18, Will Appear
Lavinsky Shoots Up Cafe America - Superior
Douglas County Schools Maintain High Standards
Douglas County Sheriff Arrests Oliver Sports
Superior Organization Will Crimp Wickedness

November 15, 1919

Boy Robs Roth Brothers Store - Superior
Victim Of Cruel Vampire Takes The Suicide Route
Carl Takla Refused Bail
Funck Becomes Municipal Judge
Cloquet Union Men Wrathy
Cloquet Chief Of Police Arrests Wrong Man
Condition Of Treasury Startles School Board
Peter Rabbit Streetcar Jumps At Lawyer Whitley
Torrance Gives Wife A Black Eye - Superior
Superior's Politicians Look Over The Cards
Hunger, Worry And Want Drive Good Women Crazy
Rosenberg's Bartender Now Happy Egg Vendor

November 29, 1919

Police Raid The West Hotel
Chisholm's Enchantress Possess A Bad Record
Bruce Palmer Bans Suggestive Dancing - Proctor
Some Light And Comments On Local Paving History
Duluth's Pioneer Record Of Suicides - 1893
Cloquet Chief Of Police Sued For Damages
People Marvel Because City Is Postmasterless
Wolfe Convicts Bingoland Crooks - Superior
Bettty West's Close Escape

December 13, 1919

Magie Ignores McKercher
Girls Warmly Welcome Pilgrim From Proctor
An Artistic Job Of Fistic Decoration
William Chisholm Did Not Steal
When Henry Truelson First Came To Duluth - 1893
Judge Lichten Refuses Joel Lichten Citizenship
Street Railway Company Asks Municipal Favor
Bold Bingoland Boy Goes Crazy - Superior
Madam Smith Is Convicted In Judge French's Court
Commissioner Tomlinson Fools Bingoland Bunch

December 27, 1919

Play Poker In Turkish Bath
Twenty Local Policemen Are Called Onto Carpet
Bartoni Keeps Salacious Salon - Chisholm
Page Morris ?? Politician
Special H.C.L. Committee Makes Final Report
Duluth Boy Robs Kelly Of Famous Heirlooms
Bob McKercher Suspected Of Courting Clerk's Job
Commissioners Suspend McKinnon
The Bells Of Bingoland After Absolute Divorce - Superior
"Big Bill" Adams Finds Level
Trouble Faces Louis Roth - Chisholm
Sports May Hike For Cuba - Superior

January 10, 1920

Sick Boy Brutally Treated
Accused Policemen Given Hearing
McCusick Keeps Dump At Lucknow - Buhl
Bankruptcy For Schaibley
Snake?House Is Unpopular - Cusson
Jacob Anderson Wins Forest Fire Damage Suit
Gentleman Jim Shilty Kept Blind Grunter
Incorrigible Optimist Greatly Discouraged
City Servants Annoyed By Cavenaugh's Buzzer
Bingoland Bunch Backs McKinnon - Superior
Mother Carney Has Girls In First Street Retreat
Burgled Massey's Medicine
Two Bold Bingoland Boys Arrested In Tame Duluth

January 24, 1920

Big Bill Adams Is Arrested
Charge Non?Feasance Against The Sheriff - International Falls
Kremer Hoke Re?Elected School Superintendent
Publishing Fight At Two Harbors
Palmer Licks Up Moonshine - Proctor
Chisholm Sports Deeply Discouraged
Teacher Screamed Lustily
Snippy Women Show Scorn For Soldier Coal Bearer
Snake?House Defended By Hinterland Pilgrims
Appealing Story Of Mary
Bingoland Gangsters Fear Defeat - Superior
Terminal Situation Seriously Hampers City

February 4, 1920

Railway Robbery In Ranier
Chisholm Banishes All Slot Machines
Government May Settle Hinterland Fire Losses
Sugarless Situation Is Serious
Rabbit Tales For Teaching
Colonel Jim Burnside Hones For Bill Booze
Food Hogs Feed City Dump
Lynching of Rapist Belange At Mt. Iron - 1893
Weary Wobbly Complains Of Camp At Cusson
Lumber Camp Experience Displeases Duluth Man - Biwabik
Hinterland Residents Complain Of Road Work
Profiteers Harry Hibbing
Corporations Seek Baxter's Scalp - Superior
Darkest Africa Raided By Police Of Superior
Bells Battle For Divorce
Stevens Couple Sever Marital Ties
Hyberg and Mrs. Ek Elope - International Falls

February 21, 1920

Finds Love Pirate In Cloquet
Prisoners Are Denied Brain Food
School Head Quickly Quits
Great Family Journal Grows Like Greenbay Tree
Meadowlands Taxpayers Oppose School Principal
A Certain Rich Man...
Wife Knocked Out Oken's Teeth
Superior's Politicians Think About Primary
Weakly Paper Flings Mud At Mayor Fred A. Baxter - Superior
Papa Jim Buys Bingo Farm
Chisholm Sports Resent Moral Uplift
Bad Lands Bunch Will Flit - Superior

March 6, 1920

Sleuths Raid Superior's Blind Pig
Sports Of Chisholm Play New Card Game
Meadowlands Will Hold A Special Bond Election
Lingonberries On The Free List
Profiteers Greater Menace Than The "Reds"
Grave Irregularities Charged Against O'Neill
Feared Burnside Will Go Batty - Superior
Konkel's Man Duffy Wins Union Support
Weakly Leader Assumes To Speak For Union Men
Flunky Of Backers Flouts Federal Law
Berenico Hikes For Hurley
Max Rosenberg Has A Pull

March 20, 1920

Cancer Kills Earl Gonyea
Col. James Chester Bell Chases With New Chicken - Superior
Rainier Outlaws Go To Jail
Pittenger Peeves Party Bosses
Poker Is Nashwauk's Game
County Superintendency Sought By Man
Baxter Beats Bingoland Bunch - Superior
Primaries In Superior Slated For Next Tuesday
Buhl Woman Pinched By Ranier Inspector

"'April 3, 1920 ??? May 26, 1923 ??? Missing"'

June 9, 1923

Two Barbers Held Under Heavy Bail
The Law Nabs Michelizzi
Huge Booze Supply Found By Sheriff -I?Falls
May Stevens Leaves Town
Cops Get Pete Schaeffer
Anderson Keeps Blind Pig
Aliens Make West Duluth Lawless and Disorderly

June 23, 1923 ??? October 11, 1923 ??? Missing

October 25, 1924

Boylan Threatens Murder
Bert Jameson's Unfitness Due To Physical Reasons
Two Undesirable's Must Go
George O'Brien Is Pinched For Conducting Big Still

(This last issue is the issue that prompted the MinnesotaLegislature to pass a gag law allowing the Police to confiscatenewspapers with “libelous” articles. The law was overturnedIn a case involving a St. Paul newspaper by the U.S. Supreme Court in the famous Near v. Minnesota decision guaranteeing freedom of the press to American newspapers).

There were further issues of the paper, but they have beenlost.


It was in January 1999 that the Ripsaw returned. Brad Nelson and Cord R. Dada published a monthly scandal sheet similar to Morrison’s original "Ripsaw". Its first lead story, “Dotygate,” accused Duluth Mayor Gary Doty and his administration of various crimes associated with the demolition of buildings on East First Street to make way for construction of the Duluth Technology Village.

The "Ripsaw" became a weekly publication on April 5, 2000. Paul Lundgren was hired as managing editor and the paper was transformed into an alternative news, arts and entertainment source. One year later, it was accepted into the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

While Morrison’s original Ripsaw fought against “ol’ John Barleycorn,” the personification of demon alcohol, the new Ripsaw reveled in the exploits of Slim Goodbuzz. The slender and sarcastic Duluthian traveled the region in search of inebriated adventure for his celebrated “Barfly on the Wall” column.

Another favorite of Ripsaw readers was the comic strip “Violet Days,” by Chris Monroe, which is now featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Duluth News Tribune.

Co-publisher Cord R. Dada sold the majority of his ownership in the paper to Brad Nelson’s brother Tim Nelson in April 2001, relieving himself of all duties at the "Ripsaw" and leaving Brad Nelson as the majority owner and sole publisher of the paper. Within a few months, Lundgren was dismissed and Nelson became editor/publisher.

The last weekly issue was published on Dec. 31, 2003. Three months later, the "Ripsaw" returned to monthly status, this time as a full-color magazine edited by Tony Dierckins. It lasted 10 issues before reverting back to newsprint for its final three issues, which were published every other month, ending in September 2005.

Some of the "Ripsaw"’s archives are still online at


*“AAN’s smallest paper publishes in rock ‘n’ roll time,” by Whitney Joiner. Oct. 30, 2003 AAN News.
*“Boylan threatens murder.” Oct. 25, 1924 Ripsaw.
*Friendly, Fred W. “Minnesota Rag: The Dramatic Story of the Landmark Supreme Court Case That Gave New Meaning to Freedom of the Press,” May 1981. Random House (ISBN 0-394-50752-5). Reprinted May 2003. University of Minnesota Press (ISBN 0-8166-4161-7)
*“The Great Family Journal grows like a Green Bay tree.” Feb. 21, 1920 Ripsaw.
*“Presenting John Morrison’s Duluth,” by John Ramos. Spring 2005 Cheerleader.
*"Ripsaw magazine suspends publication," by Peter Passi. Feb. 4, 2005 Duluth News Tribune.
*"Ripsaw News makes cuts," by V. Paul Virtucio. Dec. 31, 2003 Duluth News Tribune.
*“The Ripsaw’s Phenomenal Record,” Oct. 4, 1919 Ripsaw.
*"Ripsaw returns next week," April 22, 2005 Duluth News Tribune.
*“Ripsaw to suspend publication and retool as a monthly,” by Don Jacobson. Dec. 19, 2003 Business North.
*“Ripsaw turns 85,” by Paul Lundgren. March 13, 2002 Ripsaw.
*“R.I.P. Ripsaw,” by Julia Durst. Jan. 26, 2006
*“Tabloid attacks draw fire from city officials,” by Jason Skog. Feb. 14, 1999 Duluth News Tribune.

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  • ripsaw — [rip′sô΄] n. [ RIP1 + SAW1] a saw with coarse teeth, for cutting wood along the grain …   English World dictionary

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  • ripsaw — /rip saw /, n., v., ripsawed, ripsawed or ripsawn, ripsawing. n. 1. a saw for cutting wood with the grain. v.t. 2. to saw (wood) in such a manner. [1840 50; RIP1 + SAW1] * * * …   Universalium

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