The Omnibus: Sonntagsblatt des Louisville Volksblatt [the Sunday edition
of the Louisville Volksblatt] was a German language weekly first published on
January 1, 1867 by editor and publisher Wilhelm Krippenstapel. German language
papers had been published in and around Louisville for over a quarter of a
century by the time Omnibus came along. Nevertheless, with a circulation of
some 3,500 readers by 1870, the paper emerged as one of four widely read German
language papers serving the increasingly influential German-American population
of Louisville. The 1870 census reported 36,319 German-born and 1,147 Swiss born
persons living in the entire Commonwealth.
The Omnibus backed the Republican Party, as most American German language
papers did at the time. It supported The Union and Lincoln during the American
Civil War and staunchly opposed slavery, as virtually all U.S. German language
papers did as well. Despite its deep political leanings, or perhaps because of
it, Omnibus was essentially "dedicated to entertainment, wit and humor"
according to its memorable masthead byline. To fulfill this mission it featured
portions of "novels from the most renowned authors, a rich selection of
entertaining reading material [and] an overview of the most important news of
The masthead itself is a striking pictorial display worthy of mention. It
is an imposing man holding a banner between his outstretched arms and legs of a
stagecoach [an Omnibus] being driven through the countryside. The masthead
artwork developed over time to include a larger stage coach and, by April 26,
1868, with each successive issue it introduced a different witty remark on the
side of the coach.
The Omnibus was published alongside the Louisville Volksblatt's
Tägliche (daily) [LCCN: sn84038483], Halbwöchentliche (semi-weekly)
[LCCN: sn84038482] and Wöchentliche (weekly) [LCCN: sn84038481], all
founded in 1862 by editors and publishers Edmund Rapp and George S. Schuhmann.
In 1863, Wilhelm Krippenstapel bought into the Louisville Volksblatt to become
a major shareholder. Then, in 1864, something unusual happened. An English
language Republican newspaper needed wire service from the Associated Press.
The only way to get it was through the Louisville Volksblatt which already had
AP service. Rapp and Schumann sold their shares of the Volksblatt to this
interloping group, leaving Krippenstapel the lesser shareholder. They
subsequently folded all titles into the Louisville National Union
It wasn't long before a syndicate [Aktiengesellschaft] formed to put a
German language paper back on Louisville's newsstands. Resurrecting the
Louisville Volksblatt (with Omnibus in tow), they put Wilhelm Krippenstapel in
charge. Eventually, Krippenstapel bought out the syndicate partners to become
the sole owner and by 1882 Louisville Volksblatt had ended leaving only his
Omnibus to carry on.
Under Wilhelm Krippenstapel, the Omnibus prospered with circulations of
4,800 in 1880 and 7,710 in 1890. W. Krippenstapel stepped down from leading the
newspaper in 1896, with George W. Krippenstapel taking over until the end of
the paper's production in 1914 at the beginning of World War I.