|Angela Hutchinson was born in Virginia City, Nevada, but since her
father was a mining construction engineer, the family moved often,
settling in small mining towns in Nevada and Arizona. She arrived in
Arizona as a teenager, in 1883. After attending a teacher training
school in Phoenix, she taught school in Wickenburg for a time, then
realized she could earn more money setting type and proofreading for
local publications. By 1890 she was working for Dunbar's Weekly, the
Phoenix Gazette, and the Arizona Republican, profiting from her
sister's observation that, "literate, sober typesetters are hard to
In 1896 Angela married building contractor Joseph Hammer. The couple
had three sons and then divorced in 1904. Forced to work to support her
family, Hammer bought the Wickenburg Miner in 1905 for $500 and
continued to grow her newspaper holdings by adding the Swansea Times,
Wenden News, and Bouse Herald to her portfolio.
Hammer used her editorial powers to encourage public sanitation by collecting trash throughout the community, building libraries and combating prostitution. She worked with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union to support local option laws that allowed towns to outlaw alcohol. In 1912 she started the Casa Grande Bulletin with a male business partner. But when the two had a falling out in 1914, she started a competing newspaper, the Casa Grande Dispatch, which she ran successfully for 10 years. During this period, Hammer became an important public leader. She established a homestead, supported water conservation issues through her newspaper's reporting and editorials and ran unsuccessfully for the state legislature in 1918. She also served as Pinal County's delegate to the 1922 Democratic state convention.
In 1926, Hammer moved to Phoenix and bought the Phoenix Messenger
(later the Arizona Messenger), a weekly Democratic newspaper. She
created the Messenger Printing Co.in 1928 and operated it in
partnership with two of her sons. The printing company was located at
210 W. Adams, across the street from the Orpheum Theatre. In 1951 the
company merged with Arizona Printers, Inc., and Hammer became a board
member of the organization.
From 1938 to 1943 Hammer served on the state board of Social Security
and Welfare, and was also active in the Phoenix Business and
Professional Women's Club, the Phoenix branch of The National League
of American Pen Women, and the Phoenix Writers Club. She was inducted
into the Arizona Newspaper Hall of Fame in 1965 and the Arizona
Women's Hall of Fame in 1987.
For more information read Betty E. Hammer Joy's Angela Hutchinson
Hammer: Arizona's Pioneer Newspaperwoman.
Hammer portrait, courtesy of the Casa Grande Valley Historical Society.