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Joy, Verne E. (1876-1964) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Joy, Verne E. (1876-1964)

Historical Note:

Verne E. Joy was born in Carmi, Illinois on December 12, 1876 to Thomas L. and Lizzie V. Lockwood. The Joy family settled in Centralia in 1888 and his father owned and ran the Centralia Sentinel.

In 1897, Joy traveled to Germany as a United States consular agent. He married Ella May Brewster on July 25, 1899, and by the end of 1900, they had returned to Centralia where he became the advertising manager for his father's paper.  A daughter, Vera Irene Joy, was born on January 31, 1901.

Joy took charge of the Centralia Sentinel on November 1, 1906.  Under his direction the Sentinel had several production "firsts" for Southern Illinois, including the first Linotype, 1907; the first web perfecting press, 1909; the first tubular rotary press, 1920; the first full Associated Press leased wire, 1925; the first Gemmetal engraving plant; and first installation of teletypesetter equipment in 1934.

Among the many offices Joy held during his years as editor-publisher of the Sentinel were presidency of the Illinois Associated Press Association (1934), membership on the National Daily Newspaper Code Authority, representative of the Central Time zone daily newspapers on the board of directors of the Audit Bureau of Circulations in 1936, and membership on numerous American Newspaper Publisher's Association committees.

Joy actively encouraged and promoted the growth of the community.  He was a charter member of the Centralia Rotary Club,  and served as a director of the Centralia Chamber of Commerce for many years and as a president to its predecessor, the Centralia Commercial Club.  In 1928 he was elected director of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and occasionally served as local delegate to the national body.  In November of 1943, Joy instituted the Centralia Foundation, a philanthropic community trust for which he furnished the first trust fund and was the first chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Verne Joy never officially retired.  In spite of two strokes, he remained intimately involved with the production of the paper until his death in 1964.  Shortly after his death, Joy was named as one of six Master Editors to the newly created Journalism Hall of Fame at Southern Illinois University.


Frazer, C.A.  "Joy in Centralia, Center of the USA."  Editor and Publisher; June 10, 1961, p. 18.

Frazer, Mary K.  "Verne E. Joy: Publisher."  An unpublished thesis.  Southern Illinois University, 1965.

Verne E. Joy Papers.  "Factual Biographical Sketch of Verne E. Joy (1942-1949)."  In Biographical Information, Box 1, Folder 1.

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