The woman beside the man:

Carolyn Bridgman and her role in Stanley’s history

By Joseph Back
Posted 7/3/24

When Mr. Bridgman died in 1943, it wasn’t the end of the Bridgman era for the Stanley Republican. Rather, the publishing role shifted to his wife Carolyn, who published for another 11 years …

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The woman beside the man:

Carolyn Bridgman and her role in Stanley’s history

Posted

When Mr. Bridgman died in 1943, it wasn’t the end of the Bridgman era for the Stanley Republican. Rather, the publishing role shifted to his wife Carolyn, who published for another 11 years until her own death just prior to 1955.
In doing so, she stepped into a role for which she was well suited--the background first though.
The future Mrs. Bridgman was born Caroline Fawcett near New Albany, Indiana on November 26, 1873, later moving to Minneapolis where she attended the public schools. Later going on to attend the Minneapolis Kindergarten Association Training School. Organized in April 1892 and opened at St. Mark’s Church on Sixth Street in October (per an Association pamphlet), the Minneapolis Kindergarten Association Training School was meant to prepare kindergarten teachers and show the value of such by conducting free kindergartens.
In 1896 Fawcett was invited by the Hurley Wisconsin school system to do just that, meeting Mr. Bridgman, who was newspaper publisher and county superintendent of schools. Per contemporary news reports, the future Mrs. Bridgman would challenge Mr. Bridgman for county superintendent, before things took a romantic turn.
With years gone by and love blossoming, they got married, as announced in the personal mention section from January 28, 1899 was the following nugget.
“W. H. Bridgman of this paper will be united in marriage to Miss Caroline Fawcett at the First Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis on next Wednesday evening.”
The following week carried a more detailed update.
“WEDDED WEDNESDAY EVENING,” it read. “W. H. Bridgman and Carolyn Fawcett made man and wife.”
Borrowed with credit from the Thursday morning edition of the Minneapolis Times, the wedding announcement shared that Miss Carolyn Fawcett, of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Fawcett, had been married to Mr. Bridgman “in the presence of a large company of friends.” Maid of honor was Miss Jeannette McCormack, while the best man was recorded as “L. D. Chapman,” possibly L.G. Chapman, Stanley’s mayor.
Leaving for the south and returning in March, the Bridgmans would live on North Broadway in Stanley, with Mr. Bridgman selling his paper in Iron County in the early 1900s.
Among his roles besides newspaper publisher, Mr. Bridgman served as postmaster and on the library board.
Mrs. Bridgman was similarly active in terms of her civic engagement. Taking an active interest in her husband’s newspaper work, she accompanied Mr. Bridgman to meetings of the Wisconsin Press Association, while at Stanley she invoked herself in wholeheartedly in the cultural and social life of the community. A hostess known beyond neighborhood boundaries, Mrs. Bridgman helped found or serve in the Stanley Women’s Club, the Tenth District Federation, and the district educational loan fund. Also active in the early organization of the Hospital Guild, Mrs. Bridgman participated in the Friday Study Club, Needle Craft Club, and the Order of the Eastern Star.
Like Mr. Bridgman (or else Mr. Bridgman like her), Mrs. Bridgman was Presbyterian.
But there was also home life . First to arrive was daughter Mary, born in 1900. Next was John in 1903 and then Richard in 1912. Richard and John would both go on to be veterans of the Second World War, John as an army officer and Richard with the Navy. Of her three children, meanwhile two would precede her in death, with Mary dying in October 1948 after what was described as a brief illness, and John passing later that year at work, said to be from an apparent fall while working late on his newspaper editorial duties.
Following the death of her husband Wilbur in 1943, the task of publishing fell to his wife, of long experience and familiarity with newspaper business.
Helped by Henry ‘Hank’ Johnson and Mary Brochtrup, the editor’s position would go to Mrs. Bridgman’s son John, until his untimely death, with Walter Brovald hired in in 1949 after a brief interim period.
Leaving Stanley for her son Richard’s house the week of Christmas 1954, Mrs. Bridgman died of cerebral hemorrhage (a type of stroke) at age 81. Her body was returned to Stanley where services were held at Plombon Funeral Home, internment being made in Oakland Cemetery beside her husband.