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Alden Joseph “The Colonel” Blethen

Newspaper Publisher. Born in Knox, Waldo County, Maine, he began his career as a school teacher and attorney. He received his formal education from Wesleyan Seminary and College in 1868, and a Masters degree from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine in 1872. From 1869 to 1873 he served as principal of the Abbott family school in Farmington, Maine, and as a practicing attorney in Portland, Maine, from 1873 to 1880. He purchased the Seattle Daily Times in 1896 while on a trip to visit relatives in the region, renaming the paper the Seattle Evening Times (Currently the Seattle Times). On October 10, 1896 his paper went to press for the first time, focusing on larger bolder headlines, an increase in photographs, a color comic Sunday insert, with an emphasis on reporting stories that involved the regional labor movement and local populist causes. Within the first year of publication, the newspaper’s circulation had nearly doubled from 3,500 to 7,000 subscribers. At the time of his death in 1915 the circulation of his newspaper had reached 70,000 paid subscribers, becoming the largest selling newspaper in the state of Washington. Prior to his arrival in Seattle, he was involved in newspaper publishing interests in Kansas City, Missouri, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Denver, Colorado. In August 1986 his life story was depicted in the autobiography “Raise Hell and Sell Newspapers: Alden J. Blethen and the Seattle Times.” He died in Seattle, Washington following a prolonged illness at the age of 69. (bio by: Nils M. Solsvik Jr.)  Family links:  Spouse:  Rose Anna Hunter Blethen (1846 – 1931)*  Children:  Florence Blethen Duffy (1881 – 1969)* *Calculated relationship


  • December, 27, 1845
  • USA


  • July, 07, 1915
  • USA


  • Lake View Cemetery
  • Washington
  • USA

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