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It promised to be a glittering affair, a celebration worthy of a copper king. Across Montana in the late summer of 1899, dozens of newspapermen tossed their type sticks and inky aprons and boarded trains for the annual convention of the Montana State Press Association. For most, especially those who scraped meager livings from small rural weeklies, this would serve as the year’s only vacation–five precious days to ogle the latest technology, commiserate with peers, sniff the political breezes, and engage in what one editor described as the usual fraternal “jollification.” Mixing business with their drinks, some could glean crucial insights into keeping their papers solvent until the next election cycle or, failing that, find a buyer. Editions published at convention time might be thin on news but as Butte’s daily Inter Mountain explained, loyal readers deserved a rest from the “endless catastrophes that sizzle and seethe” through the “fissures” of an editor’s brain. “To receive one issue of a great family newspaper that isn’t trying to save the country must be a great relief to the average American newspaper reader who is brought in touch with a compelling crisis every 24 hours,” he wrote. In other words, the news could wait. Their mission thus excused, the journalists set off. For many, the trail ran through Butte, Montana’s bawdy, blasted, smoke-choked island of industrial enterprise, home of the “richest hill on earth” and the world’s pre-eminent source of copper at the onset of the Electric Age. The city’s veins of red ore coursed through dozens of mines but the fattest lay beneath the claims of the mighty Anaconda Copper Mining Company, whose story and that of its guiding genius, Marcus Daly, were as familiar to the traveling editors as their own. The Anaconda stain on Montana journalism would linger for decades. The legend of the state’s copper-collared press was no mere fiction, though the small, persistent and often radical press that howled at its heels often exaggerated its details. The story, steeped in the partisanship and boosterism peculiar to American frontier journalism, would only grow as the Anaconda company consolidated its industrial might.