OMNIBUS (Louisville)

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 week."

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 Volksblatts Tdgliche (daily) [LCCN: sn84038483], Halbwvchentliche (semi-weekly) [LCCN: sn84038482] and Wvchentliche (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 Press.

It wasnt long before a syndicate [Aktiengesellschaft] formed to put a German language paper back on Louisvilles newsstands. Resurrecting the Louisville Volksblattt (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 papers production in 1914 at the beginning of World War I.