Alan Cunningham McIntosh (October 7, 1905 – July 23, 1979) was editor of the Rock County Star-Herald of Luverne, Minnesota. He was president of the Minnesota Newspaper Association in 1949. The association now recognizes individuals who have provided exceptional service to the field of journalism with its Al McIntosh Distinguished Service to Journalism Award.
Ken Burns included several World War II-era excerpts from McIntosh's weekly column in his documentary "The War," which are voiced by actor Tom Hanks. In an interview on the radio show Fresh Air, Burns claimed that McIntosh could have pursued a more prestigious journalistic career but chose to take the reins of a small-town newspaper. Burns also opined in the same interview that McIntosh would be the most important discovery his team made in the creation of the documentary.
McIntosh owned and published the Star-Herald from 1940 until 1968, and first became famous after writing an editorial titled “A Tired American Gets Angry” in 1964.
Life and careerEdit
McIntosh was the son of the Rev. and Mrs. Donald M. McIntosh. His family lived in Grand Forks, North Dakota, before moving to Sioux City, Iowa, where he graduated from Central High School in 1922. McIntosh then attended Morningside College in Sioux City for three years, before enrolling at the University of Nebraska where he received his degree in 1928.
He started his journalism career as editor of Nebraska Agwan, a university humor magazine, and as part-time employee at the Lincoln Star. After graduation, he established himself at the Sioux City Journal as a writer as well as businessman. When the Rock County Star was offered for sale, he bought it, assuming ownership July 1, 1940.
Two years later, the editor and publisher of the Rock County Herald, A.O. Moreaux, was killed in an auto accident. The estate offered the Herald to McIntosh, and he bought it, consolidating the two publications and changing the name to the Rock County Star-Herald.
He died in his sleep on July 23, 1979.
"Al McIntosh might be the single greatest archival discovery that we ever made.... He turned down big city jobs, wanting to own and run his own paper, and he had this task of explaining the unexplainable to his fellow neighbors. He did so magnificently and wrote as beautifully as any editor I’ve ever come across.”
"The columns [of Al McIntosh] deserve a lasting place in American cultural history.”
- Associated Press - AP article
- St. Paul Pioneer Press - Front-page St. Paul Pioneer Press article
- Minneapolis Star Tribune - Selected Chaff book review in Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Minneapolis Star Tribune - Front-page Minneapolis Star Tribune article about Luverne, Minnesota, residents who appear in The War, including Al McIntosh, who is mentioned under the subhead "Surprise Star: A Writer"
- Argus Leader[permanent dead link] - Article in Sioux Falls Argus Leader
- Worthington Daily Globe[permanent dead link] - Article in Worthington Daily Globe
- KPBS-San Diego - Article about Luverne, Minnesota, residents who appear in The War, including Al McIntosh
- Lincoln Journal Star - Article in Lincoln Journal Star
- Daily Nebraskan - Article in Daily Nebraskan
- Star Herald - Article in Rock County Star Herald
- McIntosh, Al, Selected Chaff: The Wartime Columns of Al McIntosh, 1941–1945. St. Paul, Minn.: Zenith Press, 2007.