The brother’s Olcovich and the Carson Weekly
May 3, 2002
Pedestrian traffic on Carson Street was suspended for a few minutes 110 years ago today when two budding entrepreneurs posed for a photo with their staff outside the offices of the Carson Weekly.
A collection of the boys’ papers and the May 3, 1892, photo are part of a collection donated to the Nevada State Museum in 1953.
The photo was found in a Nevada State Museum file with its original donation papers during preparation work for an upcoming exhibit and is being published for the first time today.
At the time the photo was taken, two brothers named Olcovich, 15-year-old Isaac and 13-year-old Selig, were in the third year of what would be a 10-year adventure as newsmen in the burgeoning Capital City that they began at ages 12 and 10.
Sixty-one years later, Selig’s wife Mattie donated a collection of the boys’ work to the Nevada State Museum in memory of her husband.
At the time of the donation, she wrote the family knows “there is a perpetual memorial, in his memory, and one, that he would have preferred in preference to any marble or bronze statue.”
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A portion of the collection is being loaned by the state museum to the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles and will be shown as part of the exhibit “Jewish Life in the American West: Generation and Generation” opening June 21. The exhibit will then travel to Indianapolis. Other exhibit venues are still being sought, said Bob Nylen curator of history for the Nevada State Museum.
“It’s great when we can share with other museums,” he said. “The collection helps explain this Jewish enclave we had here and their significant contributions to the community.”
Like the pages of the Morning Appeal of the same time, the pages of The Weekly were filled with advertisements, news of the day and the comings and goings of Carson residents.
“They were fairly similar in their ability of reporting to the Appeal of the time,” Nylen said.
The boys advertised the Olcovich Bros. Drygoods store belonging to their father Hyman, and uncles, Herman, Joseph and Bernhard. The Arlington, Briggs and Ormsby House hotels, Charles Friend the jeweler, Abe Cohn, the Bullion and Exchange Bank also bought space in the pages of The Weekly. For nearly a decade, the boys were a voice in the community and played a part in the Jewish businesses prevalent in downtown Carson City.
At the time, the Appeal was located across the street south of the Capitol on Second Street in a building owned by the Olcovich brothers.
The boys collected dispatches from correspondents in Washington, D.C., marked a fair’s departure and the start of school in their Oct. 3, 1892 edition.
The photo of the small news firm included George T. Davis, Charles Piper, Selig and Isaac Olcovich and Isador A. Jacobs,the only adult of the bunch, who was the one who taught the boys to set type and operate the printing press.
The offices of The Sun and then The Weekly were located near the boys’ father’s dry goods store which was at 312 S. Carson St. or the corner of Carson and Fourth streets.
The pre-teen brothers began The Sun in June 1889. Two years after forming The Sun the brothers joined with George T. Davis Jr. and formed the Carson Weekly. In 1894, they lost Davis and the firm became Olcovich and Olcovich, editors and proprietors.
By May 1898, the paper had grown from four pages to eight and was selling subscriptions for $1.50 a year.
Harry Mighels Jr. purchased the paper in January 1899. Production was suspended and it was absorbed into the Appeal.
The volumes have been microfilmed and bound and can be viewed on film at the State Library and Archives. For more on the Olcovich family see the “House of Olcovich” essay by University of Nevada, Reno professor of history John P. Marschall, Ph.D., in the Fall 1998 edition of the “Nevada Historical Society Quarterly.”
On Dec. 4, 1893, the boys printed Bill Nye’s discourse on newspapers under the heading “A Newspaper.”
It is a library. It is an encyclopedia, a poem, a history, a dictionary, a timetable, a romance, a guide, a political resume, a ground plan of the civilized world, a low priced multum of parvo. It is a sermon, a song, a circus, an obituary, a shipwreck, a symphony in cold lead; a medley of life and death, and a great aggregation of man’s glory and his shame. It is, in short a birds eye view of all the magnaminity and meanness, the joys and and sorrows, births and deaths, the pride and poverty of the world — all for a few cents.