Eighty years ago this week, the Nashville Banner‘s Marmaduke Morton continued his 12-part series on “The Colorful Eighties in Nashville,” reflecting on the city he had encountered as a cub reporter a half-century earlier.
An event of world-wide importance to newspapers occurred in Nashville in 1885. It was the successful use of the typewriter In taking telegraphic messages. John A. Payne, commonly known as “Johnny Payne,” was the pioneer. Addison C. Thomas, superintendent of the traffic department of the Associated Press, came to Nashville in May of that year, and found Payne, a Western Union operator, taking the press reports on a typewriter. He at once captured Payne and took him on a tour of the Associated Press papers through-out the country, and introduced his innovation everywhere.
Betsy Phillips has more on Payne’s sordid and profitable life after Nashville.