Founded in 1905, the High River Times served a community of small town advertisers and an extensive hinterland of ranchers and farmers in southern Alberta. Under the ownership of the Charles Clark family for over 60 years, the Times established itself as the epitome of the rural weekly press in Alberta. Even Joe Clark, the future prime minister, worked for the family business. While historians rely heavily on local newspapers to write about rural and small town life, Paul Voisey has studied the influence of the Times on shaping the community of High River. Originally, the Times boostered High River as "bustling and modern," and then later as "small and friendly." After WWII, with the help of the Times, High River constructed a mythical image as a ranching district with a wild and colourful past.
About the authors
Paul Voisey is Associate Professor of History at the University of Alberta.
"Voisey...a native of the province, chronicles the history of a town in southern Alberta and the newspaper that served the ranching and farming community for six decades under the ownership of the Clark family. (He notes that the Times continues under a different publisher). Divided into three boom-and-bust periods, the book includes photos, maps, news pages, and a foreword by family heir and former Prime Minister Joe Clark." Reference & Research Book News, August 2005
Paul Voisey tells the Times's story in great detail.... It's an interesting story, though. If you're not from a small town, you'll be surprised to learn that rural weeklies don't even pretend to deliver news other than reports of local council meetings. The Times steered clear of covering local crime, for example, because it might embarrass the relatives of the accused." Alex Rettie, AlbertaViews, May/June 2004
"To a considerable degree, Voisey's account succeeds in its twin goals of examining the rural weekly and revealing a changing human landscape. It certainly provides us with a strong sense of what the identity of most citizens of High River was, how accurately it reflected their reality, and how it changed over time. To his credit, he doesn't portray the lives of the community as pitiful and stunted, but instead hopeful, narrow, warm, and naive in equal measure....well-written and thoroughly researched..." Patrick H. Brennan, University of Calgary, The Canadian Historical Review, 86:2, June 2005
In this perceptive and well- researched study, historian Paul Voisey traces the sixty-year history of the High River Time, a weekly newspaper owned and operated by the Clark family- Joe Clark's grandfather and father. Two themes underpin the narrative. First is Voisey's very readable and informative account of the historical development of the High River area, one which draws on the author's extensive personal background and research. Second, Voisey shows the uniqueness of the weekly newspaper, and how and why its distinctive viewpoint unfolded through time. The results are insights into the travails of the rural press, the issue of small town homogeneity, and how editorial strategies reflected High River's changing priorities for its future..High River and the 'Times' documents how two men, father and son, articulated their aspirations for the town they both loved so much. As such, the book is a tribute to human hope as much as an insightful study of a successful weekly newspaper." Max Foran, University of Toronto Quarterly, Volume 75, Number 1, Winter 2006.
".[t]he disciplined dedication to research, the easy flow of words, and the coherent arguments make reading High River and the Times a rewarding experience for those interested in an authentic story of storytellers-the Clarks, proprietors of the High River Times." Bert Deyell, University of Calgary, Great Plains Quarterly, Spring 2005
"Voisey's account of High River's history is detailed and sure-footed.His depictions of the newspaper's boosterism in the years before 1914, its celebration of the homely virtues of rural and small-town life between the wars, and its nostalgic evocation of a largely mythical Wild-West past after 1945 are both convincing and intriguing." Gene Allen (Ryerson University) for H-Net Book Review, October issue
"High River and The Times: An Alberta Community and Its Weekly Newspaper 1905-1966 is the true story of a small town and its weekly newspaper, "High River Times." An enjoyable and informative excursion through six decades of change, including two world wars, and the relationship the small newspaper had in recording, articulating, and defending local attitudes, activities, and aspirations, High River and The Times is an aptly researched and endearingly presented tour through an era gone by, but not long past." The Midwest Book Review
".[T]his good book is undoubtedly needed in the surprisingly scant field of rural Prairie history. It is well written and engaging, and, while it does not go far enough in certain directions, it offers substantial contributions to the history of the Prairie small town, the role of media and newspapers, and the development of rural communities in the Canadian West, particularly after 1945."Robert Wardhaugh, Social History, vol. 38, no. 76, November 2005.