Interview: Willis Shenk
Date of Interview: June 1, 2007
Place of Interview: Lancaster, Pa.
Interviewer: Russ Eshleman
Willis Shenk was born in Manheim, Pennsylvania, in 1915. He was the first member of his family to graduate from high school. After graduation, he worked as a bookkeeper and accountant for six years. In 1939 he joined Lancaster Newspapers Inc., the owner of the Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster New Era and Sunday News, as a tax accountant. He later became controller and secretary of Lancaster Newspapers. He was named chairman of the board in 1983 and served in that role until he retired from Lancaster Newspapers in 2004.
Shenk speaks about his family and his education; about working as a bookkeeper after high school; about joining Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. and the various positions he held with the company; about the Steinman family, the owners of Lancaster Newspapers; about the role of the Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster New Era and Sunday News in the community; and about the changes in the business of journalism, including family ownership of newspapers.