Owner and publisher of the nation's oldest livestock publication and mayor of Kansas City, MO.
1854-1915 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)
Impact & Accomplishments
Born in Hartford, Indiana, Jay Neff graduated from Asbury College (now DePauw) in 1877 and practiced law for a brief time.
He moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1881, and began working for the Kansas City Price Current. Neff eventually took over ownership of that daily publication, renaming it the Daily Drovers Telegram. He purchased or founded market newspapers in several other cities, too, under the umbrella, the Corn Belt Farm Dailies: Daily Live Stock Reporter (St. Louis), Daily Drovers Journal-Stockman (Omaha), and Daily Drovers Journal (Chicago). The latter is considered the nation’s oldest livestock publication.
The name of the American Royal cattle show was inspired by a 1901 editorial in the Daily Drovers Telegram which urged the show organizers to “Call It the American Royal.”
Jay Neff was elected mayor of Kansas City in 1904. After his death, his son donated money to build a new school of journalism building at the University of Missouri in his father’s name.
Did You Know?
Neff sold books to pay his way through Asbury College (now DePauw).
Neff Hall is a school of journalism building at the University of Missouri named after the famous publisher.