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Sample The Des Moines Register front page
Do you have relatives or ancestors from Iowa? Come explore the Des Moines Register on! With a Basic subscription, you can see issues from 1871 through 1922; or, with a Publisher Extra subscription, access those early years and additional issues from 1922 to July 2016.

Like many other papers, the Des Moines Register went through multiple changes in name and ownership over the years, and it was finally given its current name in 1915. A daily morning paper for much of its history, the Des Moines Register grew to become the most influential newspaper in Iowa and an important regional paper, reaching peak circulation in the 1960s. With reporters located throughout the state and (beginning in 1933) a news bureau in Washington DC, the Des Moines Register was able to cover local, state, national, and international news and even provided syndicated material to other papers through the Register and Tribune Syndicate.

For more than 100 years, from about 1899 to 2008, the Des Moines Register ran editorial cartoons on its front page. One of the cartoonists was the widely syndicated Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning twice for the Des Moines Register—in 1924 and 1943. The paper has won 16 Pulitzer Prizes in total, the first being Darling’s 1924 award and the most recent having been won in 2010.

Healthiest Looking Twins in Iowa contest, 1921

If you have ancestors from Iowa, the Des Moines Register is a great place to look for them, as the paper had strong local and statewide coverage throughout its history. You might find that one of your ancestors wrote a letter to the editor, or that another showed up in a local news item, such as this piece from 1944 about a storeowner sleeping through a robbery after his wife took their watchdog home because the dog had “begged” to go.

The Des Moines Register also ran plenty of photographs of locals—from North High School’s graduates of 1905, to Iowa’s “healthiest looking twins” in 1921, to 43 Iowan GIs stationed in Australia in 1944—so you may even find a photo of a family member. And, of course, the paper carried the typical birth, marriage, divorce, and death notices and ran columns on social news and local gossip.

Get started searching or browsing the Des Moines Register on!

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