Maurice Early · 1968
Maurice Early was born on June 14, 1889 in Cleveland, Ohio, but he became the “Mr. Indiana” of political writers. He graduated from Marquette University in 1914 and worked briefly on the Columbian, a catholic newspaper, before joining the Lafayette Journal and later the Crawfordsville Review. His work there attracted the attention of the editors of the Indianapolis Star and in 1916 he began his long career with that paper, then to the police beat, the Federal Building, and finally the Statehouse.
In 1918, as a cub reporter, he was walking his beat at the Statehouse – the machinery of Indiana’s government was grinding away monotonously, and Early’s eyes rose to the 82 bronze plaques of famous Hoosiers in the Statehouse rotunda. He was intrigued, for he had heard of only two of them, and his subsequent investigations uncovered a racket in which a phony press club solicited the descendants of the “Honored Hoosiers” to immortalize, at a substantial fee, their undistinguished ancestors. Within minutes of the first edition of the Star hitting the streets the governor had sent workmen to remove the plaques, and by the next morning the marble walls were bare. Maurice Early was the first reporter to be assigned full-time to chronicle Hoosier politics, and he became a leading authority on Indiana government long before he began writing his column, The Day in the Legislature, in January 1939. When the general assembly adjourned, the column was renamed The Day in Indiana and under this title it ran from March 16, 1939 to January 8, 1954. Early emphasized the need for such government agencies as the State Tax Board, the Public Service Commission, the State Highway and Conservation Boards, and a State Legislature Bureau, all of which were established by legislature sessions which he reported. He was a member of Sigma Delta Chi and in 1934 was a founder and first president of the Indianapolis Press Club. One of his primary interests was public health, and his presentation of public health problems won him a distinguished service award from the Indiana Public Health Association.
Maurice Early died on February 5, 1954, less than a month after he wrote his last column.